Monday, April 30, 2012

The Little To Do List: Summer 2012

Since I wrote the Winter To Do List, priorities have changed. The biggest by far, of course, is the fact that we're now focussed on getting out of debt as quickly as possible. As a result, anything I want to do has to be able to be done with whatever we already have on hand: or with minimal expenditure. So, the list is full of littles (and one big).

Curiously, the Nester recently crafted a small post on how satisfying it was to her to get the little things done. I hope she's right. I tend to prefer the adreneline rush of a big project, though.

I have big projects in mind, too. I'd love to repaint the kitchen, the dining room, the living room, and the master bedroom. I want to slipcover our couch, beef up the bookcases and finish trimming out the livingroom, properly. For that matter I want to redo our hardwood floors, sand and restain the stairs, finish insulating the basement and rewire the house. And, more than any of that, I want to take my family to Europe before the oldest turns 18 (in four short years!) So, this list, in the context of the real big list right here is "little."

So, without further ado, here we are:

Living Room:

The Rocking Chair. Embarrassing, actually.

--Slipcover the rocking chair

--Turn Ritva curtains in living room from hidden tab tops to pinch pleated drapes. Hem them. Put trim on leading edge.

--Sew zipper on pillow
done! May 31:
William Morris and Four Small Projects.


--Paint second coat on baseboards behind stove.

Back Hallway:

Enjoying a bit of a neutral look for now.

--Paint the back hallway (grellow) to match the front hallway, BM Edgecomb Grey (already on hand).

--Finish painting trim and doors BM Cloud White. (Mostly on hand)

--Scrape "popcorn" off of ceiling.

--Decoupage the dresser top. I had been thinking of painting the old IKEA melamine workhorse (above). I've collected all sort of images to pinterest and I've been thinking about all sorts of cool colours. Then, I saw this:

The damage on my dresser is confined to the top--and a little bit around the holes for the hardware for the top drawer, that's all. I have scrapbook paper and modge podge (and acrylic sealer, too.) I'm thinking about it.

Downstairs Bath:
--Paint trim, ceiling and door.
done! Though not all at once--or even in the same month!
William Morris and The Bathroom

--Sew window shade.
I made curtains instead.
The Bathroom Curtains

Master Bedroom:

--Make a drop cloth slipcover for the love seat.

--Move my curtain brackets further away from the frame, and put them at the same height! Iron and hang curtains.


This is really an annual thing, but we only planted the boxes for the first time last year, so it still feels new. Hubby and I have to:

--Plan what to grow where.

--Dig out the even numbered beds and add compost.
Those are my tulips coming up ever so slowly. I have to transplant them in order to use this bed for vegetables. Not sure when or how to do that!

--For the front flower pots, I think I'll just plant yellow pansies this year.

My house has been my hobby for a long time. May be too long? I don't know. But, I ant to finish up these projects as quickly as possible and see how I feel. I will be antsy, I will  have itchy patches and I ill want to scratch. The question for me is: do I want the scratching to continue to look like decorating and organizing--or something else?

I'll keep you posted.

PS: I'm working on something special for a final wrap up of the Spring Cleaning project. Hopefully, I'll have it together, soon!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

William Morris: The Bedroom Bookshelves

Dust catchers, no question.

It has been a long time since I actively decluttered these shelves. They hold my journals, magazines, books on child rearing, on being a Mom, and being a Christian. They also hold my decor and design books, fitness and diet. In short, stuff that's personal. (Though all books, really, are personal.)

I haven't referenced nearly any of them in a long, long time. Still, I was shocked at how much dross these shelves held. Fortunately, it was much, much easier to sift it out than I'd thought it would be.

rejects: the chair is piled with magazines and the laundry hamper is full of books.

I started clearing out and cleaning up these shelves ten days ago. Actually, it only took me about three long, concentrated sessions to deal with them: but it took ten days for those sessions to avail themselves. You know how that goes.

These are my journals. I looked up the first and last date and wrote them down on labels. They all overlap. I would lose it, start another, lose it, find the original, then use whatever was nearest to hand. I'm sure you know how that goes, too.

I haven't kept a journal for several months now. They seemed to devolve into To Do lists. I think I'll start up again for May and see if they will be valuable to me again. I've kept one fairly continuously since High School.

I went through an old red velvet box holding jewellry from my childhood and gave most of the necklaces to my daughter. I dusted the fan. I transferred my summer tops and pj's into my drawers and will put away the winter stuff as it emerges from the laundry.

Would anyone be interested in buying back issues of Martha Stewart Kids magazine, or of Elle Decor, do you think? I'm not sure what to do with those.
I have plans to iron and rehang my curtains, (I want to rehang the rod, too) and declutter my dresser, but for the most part, I'm finished with Spring Cleaning the bedroom.

So, here are the bookshelves in the bedroom.

and after:

It may have been Maxell Gillingham-Ryan of Apartment Therapy or maybe it was someone else, but when giving advice about how many books to declutter, someone once said you should clear out as many books as you are willing the future to bring.

I think I'm ready for the future.

Linking to our Hostess, Jules for the William Morris Thursday morning coffee klatch at Pancakes and French Fries.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spiffing up the Shelves

I was quite happy with putting up the shelves in the kitchen: but I did think they looked a little blah.

I had always intended to paint the nasty beige dish carousel: but I had thought it would be white to keep things feeling fresh and clean.

But I was craving colour, so, using paint I'd purchased for another project, I made it yellow, instead.

Then, it was actually an easy job of balancing it with dishes I already had on hand.

I'm much happier.

The other day my daughter said it was "much easier to put away the dishes, now."

Useful and beautiful?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Spring Cleaning the Bedroom: Progress Report

Day 1: The window.

Down came the drapes and the shade. I held a blow dryer to the adhesive holding the plastic to the window and blasted it off. Then I took out the screen and vacuumed it and shined up the to window panes. It was glorious.

Hello Spring!

While I had the vaccuum out, I took everything out from under the bed, moved the nightstand, and then gave the floor and baseboards a good going over.

Then, I did it again on the other side.

Day 2: The bed.

nasty nekkid box spring! (and yeah, you are looking at two pairs of socks (at least) hiding in there!)

Nice, eh?

I bought a queen sized fitted sheet last week from Zeller's. (They are closing out most of their stores to make way for Target!)

This is what a queen sized box spring looks like when you can't get a regular one up your stairwell. It really is in two pieces.

I don't really want a bed skirt. I can't have one anyway: not without somehow tusselling with the rails and slats.

I fussed with corners, of course.

I vacuumed the mattress--but too late!

I should have vacuumed the side that was facing up before I took it off the bed because once I got it off the bed, it was facing the wall. Then, of course, I flipped the mattress. When I put it back on the boxspring, the side that had been on top was now underneath, inacessible.

I try to flip the matress four times a year. I think spring and fall will be side to side--and winter and summer I'll flip it top to bottom. That just makes intuitive sense to me.

Then, I decided to tackle the bookcase. I wasn't going to at first, but I saw a few books I could do without--and when I removed them, I saw this:

Nothing for it, then.

After just going through two shelves I had this in my "let go" pile:

And these in the keep piles:

One on the shelf and one in the basket.

Wash mattress pad, bed skirt and comforter
Wash curtains
Flip mattress
Vacuum mattress (Well, 1/2 of it!)
Vacuum sofa
Wash windows, window frames, and door frames
Vacuum and wash floor
Wash baseboards: I vacuumed 1/2 of them.
Wash light fixture and clean fan blades
Make any necessary repairs (eg, the light in the closet needs fixing.)

Clothes (and Personal Items):
Swap out seasonal clothes
Clean winter shoes and boots.
Take repairs to cobbler
Clean jewellery

Shelves: Book and magazines: in progress
Clothes closet

As soon as I can get to the clothes, I will!

Why my paint testing splotches look vaguely like Texas I cannot tell you.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

William Morris: The Taps

The first time we had the faucet set installed on our vintage late forties sink, we had to call a plumber. We simply had no idea how to install a faucet, two taps and a drain. That was in May 2001. We spent $151.00 on the taps and $258.55 on the plumber. (Yes, I made a scrapbook page about it.)

We've had a leak in the left hand faucet for ages. Every time we would turn it on, water would leak out at the base, right by the estrucheon. It was more annoying than anything, until I noticed this beneath it:

There's no mold: just water damage.

I sent away for a part: it didn't fix the problem. I called customer service again, and they told me that I had a lifetime warranty on the faucet set and that I could return them to the place I bought them and with this number the nice man on the phone was about to give me, I could get the exact same set for free.

That was last fall. It seems like procrastinating, but what I was really doing was trying to justify paying the money to replace these with something more to my liking. I couldn't. They aren't terrible. Taps which would express my taste and sensitivity for our vintage modern sink are not a need but a want. It's just taken me this long to accept reality. Curious, I checked out the current price for the same taps. They were fifty dollars cheaper, $109.00.

So, last week being Bathroom week on the Spring Cleaning schedule, the hubs and I took everything apart and went into Canadian Tire on Sunday to pick up our new set. Turns out, the store had to call Danze Customer Service and confirm the number. They keep banker's hours, Monday through Friday, two time zones the wrong way. So, I went back Monday and hubs re-installed everything on Tuesday. And so here we are:

I love the estrucheon plate underneath the new spout. I have no idea if we had one before but it looks much better. Bonus: the tap doesn't leak anymore either.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spring Cleaning the Bedroom: The Master Plan

This is the second to last week of Spring Cleaning.

I have to say I'm glad. I'm not sure what I will do next: part of the difficulty with having a blog about my home is that if I don't have any projects on the go, I don't really have anything to blog about--and I like blogging! Oh well, there are two whole weeks left to go before I need to worry about it.

More than any other room, I love working on the bedroom. I love knowing that everything is fresh and clean when I snuggle under my covers. This is going to be a great week.

Here's the Master Plan.

Wash mattress pad, bed skirt and comforter
Wash curtains
Flip mattress
Vacuum mattress
Vacuum sofa
Wash windows, window frames, and door frames
Vacuum and wash floor
Wash baseboards

Wash light fixture and clean fan blades
Make any necessary repairs (eg, the light in the closet needs fixing.)

Clothes (and Personal Items)
Swap out seasonal clothes
Clean winter shoes and boots. Take repairs to cobbler
Clean jewellery

Shelves: Book and magazines
Clothes closet

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The West Wall in the Kitchen: Changes.

My spring cleaning schedule has me in the bathrooms this week: and there's been a whole lot happening in the one downstairs, too.

But all that's not quite ready for a public showing just yet. Instead, I present to you two projects from the kitchen.

Almost exactly one year ago, the west wall in my kitchen looked like this:

I commented then that the area to the left of the window looked a little bare, so sometime last year I bought a frame and put up an embroidered duck I'd found at Value Village.

I liked it--and other than changing out the pillowcase for a curtain panel which would match the one I made last fall, I figured this wall was complete.

That is, until one moment last week, when, for the second or third time, I called my son into the kitchen to put away the dishes in the dishrack--and had to stop making dinner (or whatever it was I was doing) to give him room to do it.

Once I got rid of my shelves over by the stove, I was downright hostile to the idea of open shelving. I thought it looked cluttered. And truthfully, mine certainly did.

The shelves over the stove, circa 2006.

But there were two reasons to put some shelves over by the sink:

1) I wanted the dishes closer to the table and out of the corner where everything takes place.

There are my dishes, second shelf from the bottom. Below, you can barely see it in this photo, but that is the only work surface I have in this poorly laid out kitchen.

Not only is it tough to put dishes away, but more often than not, it is also awkward to set the table when everyone is crowding about getting a drink or, in my husband's case, making toast. Yep, he makes it every night.

2) A cabinet would have blocked too much light and encroached on the seating area. As well, whatever door I would have put on it would have conflicted with the cabinets.

And so, here they are. Trendy, yes, but practical, too.

And I finally, finally made the matching curtain panel for this window.

I love all the graphic black and white going on!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring Cleaning Report: The Dining Room/Office

I am thrilled with the work I got done in this room, even though I didn't get through everything I'd planned.

I think I have given up on the idea of cobbling together two different, old and outdated computer towers. I didn't even find out if it would be feasible. Instead, I started to dream about the computer of the future. (or maybe it is here already? I wouldn't know.)

I'd want the portability of a laptop but also the comfort of a separate keyboard and a large, large screen. I started thinking of a three componet laptop where each piece can detach from the other two and be used together or separately--without cords:

1) a motherboard like a little black box on the desk to which I could attach all sorts of devices if I wanted to (remember tuner/receivers in old stereo systems? Like that, although ideally without cords, but I'll suffer them if I have to!)

2) A screen

3) A keyboard

I could put these three pieces together and have something resembling the conventional laptop--and I could take the pieces apart and type without the stupid mousepad area under my wrists--and the screen could be a comfortable viewing distance (with the option of plugging into/connecting with a larger one).

Maybe by the time e've paid off our debt, there will be such a thing.

Meanwhile, I simply took everything related to the tower down to the basement.

(It's like those pictures in kids' magaizines: Can you spot the differences?)

That meant I had to deal with this mess:

I don't know how well you can make out the infrastructure under all that mess: but I have a power cord "wrapper"-type thingy from IKEA there at the top, and a metal basket at the bottom which holds my power bar. Both are attached to the desk. That meant you never, ever saw the cords. It also meant that I had to pull the desk out from the wall to access everything--but when I had the tower in the desk too, it made no difference.

I labeled the plug ins.

I plugged everything back in.

I'd removed the lamp, the tower, keyboard, mouse and screen. Five plugs gone and fewer cords but still, a mess.

The future will be cordless.

(Wow. 500 words on power cords. Who knew I'd ever write that?)

I packed up my projects.

I'll unpack a few of them tomorrow, I think.

And I edited and rearranged the tops of my various bookcases and such:

I got it all done in time for Easter dinner Sunday night.

I gave my daughter a free hand to set the table.

I loved it.

And now, we've rounded the corner, we're more than half way done. Next, we plunge into bathroom week.

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