Thursday, March 29, 2012

Living Room Curtains!

I almost didn't write this post.

The living room is a disaster.

It's spring cleaning month--and things get much much worse before they get better.

But the William Morris Project isn't about perfection, right? It's about making things useful, or beautiful, or both, right?

So here we are.

I purchased this panel, by Martha Stewart for Home Depot, when it first appeared. It was hideously expensive (for us) but I had been looking for something for the small awkward windows on the fireplace wall since forever.

And then this one sat here forever. Or so it seemed. I know it was there all winter.

I took it down a couple of days ago. Measured, cut. Sewed the bottom on one panel--and the top (the heading) onto the other. I never, ever seem to measure for my curtains properly and these are a little on the short side.

I'm not sure I even like them. In spite of the modern pattern, they may scream "granny" too loudly, even still.

Can you even tell there's one curtain on each window, now?

I'm working on another project for this room so it will look like this for a bit longer yet!

Linking to the William Morris community post at Pancake and French Fries.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring Cleaning Week 3: The Living Room. The Plan.

It's quite simple really.

Remove everything.

Wash everything.

Put back only what we love and use and which we find beautiful.

Switch winter for summer curtains.

These purple drapes were an experiment. Normally I put up brown ones--but I switched with my Mom as she wanted them.

In addition to these Spring Cleaning tasks, I have a fair bit of sewing I want to do in this room as well. My lack of fabric choices has been bothering me. I could order on-line, but there's that whole debt reduction no spend thing going on now, too. My "budget" for indulging my fix-it-up-itis is simply my blow money--$50 a month. And since I like my chocolate and paying a child for an occasional chore, it doesn't leave me a whole lot for buying and paying the shipping on fabric.

But I do have a few bleached dropcloths lying around. And paint. And bottles of that stuff hich turns ordinary paint into fabric paint aren't that expensive (and can be purchased at Michael's with a 40% off coupon, if need be).

But I am as nervous as heck about doing something like this: so don't expect anything fancy!
Wish me luck.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Entryway Update: Deadline Edition.

I have paint in my hair.

That's about all I managed to do, so far, for entry way spring cleaning week, and I'm OK with that.

Painting the closet, I mean, not my hair.

(I just watched Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I've watched it through twice and once with commentary the past two days. Paint takes a while to dry, you see.)

I didn't get anything done on the exterior of my home.

You see why.

After procrastinating for many days, I finally stuck my ladder inside the tiny closet, took up my paintbrush, reached over my head, and began.

After the first coat, I wondered if someone had installed a light inside.

After the second, I was thinking of how I might not have to.

You see why.

I have to put everything back in, of course, and possibly deal with the mess in the top drawer of this dresser, but not tonight. Tomorrow, perhaps.

You see why.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Catching Up

Something is wrong.

I think it's me.

I'm feeling extra-irritable, and tired, and put-upon.

I don't know why. Probably this reverse-teenager phase I'm going through. You know.

My house, though, is not whispering about my fragile mental and emotional state to the world. No, no, no. It is SHOUTING it.

I'm supposed to be in the middle of spring cleaning my entry-ways. Other than empty out the coat/cleaning closet, I haven't done anything. I've been a complete sloth since Sunday.

I've been completely stuck. I "shouldn't" do anything until I've prepped the closet for painting. I can't "clean up" with the contents of the closet thrown up all over everywhere, can I? But, I "should" be doing my daily cleaning and tidying. I "should" not be doing this all or nothing "Spring Cleaning" thing. I have slipped back into my all or nothing thinking. I have let "Spring Cleaning" (which I'm not even doing) become my excuse not to clean at all. To tidy up, to have to tidy up at all, is to admit to the world that I am, once again, a housekeeping failure.

OK: even I can see that's twisted. Sort of.

But,these have been my thoughts. Well, close enough to.

Today, I couldn't stand it any longer--my thoughts or the mess. I can't really do a whole heck of a lot about my thoughts: but I do know how to tackle the mess.

I started with my bedroom, right after my nap.

the dresser area:

the bed:

The hall outside the bedroom also got cleaned up.

This is the basket of stuff to be redistributed to other rooms (watch for it, it pops up again):

It took me forty-five minutes or so including dusting and swiffering the floor.

I don't know what got into me. As soon as I hit the main floor, I started cleaning up the hallway,

the office/dining room:

and the kitchen simultaneously.

(do you see it?)

It's a style of cleaning I picked up while waitressing. Pick up something, carry it somewhere else, pick something up there, take it where it belongs, pick up something out of place in that location....round and round it goes. You could sum it up: never take a step with empty hands. It can work well.

But, of course, I'm supposed to do this kind of picking up and putting away every day. I have it on my daily list. The list I made up in October and stuck to for 31 days (almost) straight. My 31 day project was supposed to train me to do my chores. But it didn't stick. I'm still not doing them consistently, obviously. How long will it take until they become engrained? How long before I can stop reminding myself to do them?

Maybe never.

Maybe I will always have to print the list and consult it and tick off the boxes.

Maybe. And I will have to figure out how to do my chores and other things at the same time, too. Gah. I don't chew gum and walk at the same time.

My daughter came home from school and told me about her day as I did the pre-prandial dishes and kitchen wipe down, too.

I'm still feeling tired, but only somewhat irritable and put-upon. But at least, now, I am not full of self-recriminations. I folded two baskets of laundry and I did my dishes after supper, too. That's progress, right?

(Yeah, this really is an after. Remember I mentioned that the coat/cleaning closet was empty? You can see the door to it just in behind there.)

Linking to the inestimable Jules at Pancakes and French Fries for the weekly William Morris post. This wasn't supposed to be my William Morris post for this week--but you knew that.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Cleaning, Week 2: The Entranceway(s). The Plan

Like most in North America, I have two entrance ways to my home: the front door and the back door.

Is that the same everywhere?

Sarah Susanka in her crusade for the Not So Big House talks about designing houses with one main entrance way for both family and guests. I would love that even as I have no idea how one would design it given our North American preference for entering through our garages. Not that we do.

Although our entry ways, both front and back are teeny tiny and woefully inadequate, at least we don't enter the house through the laundry room. A long time ago, my husband and I would tour show homes: I thought it was insane how expensive home after expensive home we would enter through the laundry room. (Seriously, the sales people thought that setting up their sales centre in the garage was a good idea, so often you would enter the "grand" house like you would every day if you were living there. All I could think as that it as like being an indentured servant entering through the "service way.")

The entrance ways will include the immediate exterior, too.

It's too early to plant anything in these pots, but I think we could remove the "pumpkin" leaf bag and take down the Christmas lights, don't you?

As well:
Sweep the steps and landing
Wash down mail box and light fixture

I may do a few more things, but it is still rather brisk out there!

The Front Hall:

Wash down walls
Wash rug
Wash floor

White dresser, especially the top drawer
Yellow Cabinet

Coat Closet: (opposite the hite dresser above)

Figure out how to close up the back wall.

Figure out how to store the ruddy vaccuum.

Back Entry:
Wash the doors.

Back (Interior)

VacuumWash the walls.
Paint them?
Wash the stairs.

What, if anything, should I do ith these stairs? Remove the tile and paint them?
Paint the floor?

the baskets leading to the basement
the pocket organizer

The problem with painting the stairs and the floor in the back entry is not having access to them while the paint dries. It is especially problematic with the dog who is driving me insane going in and out every 15 minutes. Oh the smells--so tempting! Oh the wind--so cold!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kitchen Wrap-Up

I am exhausted.

I had no idea how physically hard deep cleaning could be. I'm not sure I ever want to do this again.

So, what did I do? Let's check the list:

Cleaning Checklist:

Scrub floor. CHECK!

Clean and organize cabinets, shelves and drawers.

I scrubbed the lower cabinets and laid shelf paper.

For the uppers,

I took everything out

painted the shelves and put everything back.

There was one bag of hard dried up fruit I had to toss. And as soon as the oven is operable, I will make granola bars to use up some more stuff.

The little cupboard right by the fridge holds my baking pans.

It is 6 1/2 inches (16.5 cm) wide. You are looking at three cookie sheets, two plastic cutting boards, two cooling racks, and three muffin tins.

I found some lovely vintage shelf paper (called Tye Tack). It had this illustration on the back as part of the instructions:

This is what it looks like on the front:

I took everything out of the bank of drawers to the left of the sink, wiped them down and put everything back. Actually, a pleasant little job.

One of the prettier moments this week.

Scrub counters CHECK

The Fridge: CHECK!
--Pull fridge from the wall and clean floor underneath Vacuum fridge coils CHECK!
--Clean fridge and freezer with mild detergent. CHECK!
--Defrost fridge freezer (it self-defrosts, I forgot)

The Oven:

Clean inside of oven CHECK.

Clean stove burners CHECK.

I knew it was past time when I started a fire in one of the burners making tea this week. I took everything apart and washed them the next day. Unfortunately, the large burner doesn't seem to be working properly any more.

I mix dish soap and baking soda into a paste, smear it on everything and wait--usually 12+ hours. Scrub, if necessary. Rinse and wipe clean. It is still hard work but at least everyone can still breathe.

Clean exterior of small appliances CHECK!

Clean coffee maker w/vinegar --Check.

Have knives professionally sharpened. Soon, I hope.

Clean trash can: I wiped down the outside. The inside will wait for warmer weather when I can use the hose outside.

Wax floor. No. Instead, I worked very hard to get old wax up off the floor.

Wash windows. No, I'll do this when we change out the windows.

Wash and install screens --still a wee bit cold for this.

Wash curtains. I'll do this with the whole window cleaning and switcheroo thing later next month.

Clean dog food container --Wiped it down. Good enough.

Wash walls and baseboards --I painted the baseboards!



(Please pardon the wet spots on the floor--still drying after I washed it!)

Touch up paint on window and door trim. CHECK!

I really didn't toss much. We are down to the bare minimum on just about everything we need.

Last night, I was driving through a neighbourhood that has been built up in the last ten or so years at the far reaches of our city. The houses are enormous and they are tightly packed together. My son kept saying he wanted to live in such a house. "My bedroom would be really big." he said. I replied, I like our small house. It means that we have to learn to get along as a family and that we can't have too much stuff.

I really meant it, too.
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