Thursday, February 28, 2013

Home Progress

So, the new floors are in and a (relative) peace has settled in the house.  No more workers and saws and buzzing noises and dust!  Well, I should qualify... there is lots of dust around here!  But at least the creation of daily sawdust has ceased.  Phew.  You can see that Gemma is inspecting the floor carefully.

I shopped forEVER for an area rug to lighten up the (now) dark floor and brown couches and brown furniture ... and I finally found one, which arrived last weekend.  And I love it.  (It's from Garnet Hill, btw.  This is my second rug from them and I have been delighted with the look and quality of both of them.) 

I'm not liking the yellow sofa pillows much but this was the first look with the rug down.  I now need to reaccessorize and haul the stuff that I stored upstairs during the floor work BACK downstairs, and get things moved back in.  I also found the perfect fabric to make curtains and soften up the room some.  So it was a good news/bad news thing.  Yay! I found the right fabric!  Oh no, now I have to make them!  Eventually. But that rug makes me very happy. 

And, as long as the floor guys had moved the dining room furniture out to the garage during the work, I decided to take the opportunity to paint a piece of furniture that has been bugging me since we got it.  The dining room is relatively small, with a wall that has two windows and a narrow space between them.  When we found a china cabinet that would fit in that space (at a consignment store for a great price) we grabbed it.  It fits well and it functions beautifully -- but it was very dark, stained wood and I ended up feeling that it loomed over the room in an unpleasant way.  When the floor guys took it out of the room, I felt instantly relieved.

So, inspired by the furniture painting lessons and encouragement on Pinterest and DIY blogs, I decided to paint the thing. 

 One of my favorite home improvement/decorating bloggers, Kate at Centsational Girl, provided great detailed instructions for painting furniture which gave me just what I needed to know.  So I've been spending time sanding, filling, priming and as of yesterday, painting. Here it is with the first primer coat.  (That front piece, which has glass-fronted doors, stacks on the rear piece.)

 Upon reflection, it probably wasn't the smartest idea to start with a huge piece with drawers and doors and two big sections ... This is clearly going to take some time.  But heck... I figure that once I do this, any project after will seem easier.   I should add that on this piece, the shelves are nailed in place so painting those bottom shelves equired lying on my back and painting to get the undersides, which are visible when the piece is assembled and glass doors are on  (While swiping away from that not very comfortable position, I pondered  Michelangelo. There is not a Sistine Chapel in my future.)

See that round table up there in the living room picture?  I plan to paint that a creamy white.  I should have started with that, I'm thinking now.  Oh well.  Live and learn.  And paint. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Feeling Springy

The mustard is in full bloom around here, so I am feeling very springy.  Isn't that gorgeous?  When I took Miss C to her horseback riding lesson last week, I couldn't help wandering off to take some pictures of the field next to the ring.  

I've got various projects going, not the least of which is heavy cleaning after installing new floors throughout the downstairs in the house kicked up a TON of dust.  But the result is wonderful and I'm delighted it's in and finished.

I've taken a break from cleaning to finish a project (yahoo!) and start some new things. First, I finally put the binding on the red flying geese quilt I started some months ago, which I call "Every Which Way."  I also realized that I have a bunch of big quilts I've never photographed in full because I don't have a big wall on which to hang them for that purpose.  But I rearranged the bedroom recently and that freed up a wall which will work for that purpose.  So there's a quilt photo-shoot day in my future and I'll be able to show a full picture of this and some other quilts.)

I was so charmed by seeing a lovely scrappy Trip Around the World quilt that I couldn't resist cutting up a bunch of scraps to make one for myself.  All you need is a whole bunch of 2 1/2 inch strips at 16 inches long.  The easy method for making these blocks is here
  and yes, it really IS easy and yes, it is rather addictive, seeing how every block comes out differently.  I've got a stack made, because you know -- when things are busy and you have a ton of things to do, that's always a good time to start a new quilt!  I am looking forward to finding time to sew them together.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Coffee, Anyone?

 During this past week (and for the next few days) the entire downstairs of the house has been in extreme disarray as workers tear out the old flooring to replace it with some lovely dark wood laminate.  This change has been in the works for months, and was originally planned for last November, but product shipping meant that it is happening now.  And that has not turned out to be a bad thing, actually -- there's been a lot of household discombobulation with Mr. H's departure, so having every room in the house feel wildly topsy-turvy seems sort of fitting.  When it's all done, it will be clean and fresh and it will give the downstairs a whole new look, and that is a welcome thing about now.

But here's what makes me grin every morning.  I had to clear off all of the counters in the kitchen to avoid the flying dust and debris while they work downstairs so I brought the coffee maker upstairs into the bathroom.  And every morning, I take a weird pleasure at being able to make my morning coffee right upstairs in the bathroom.  I can even look at myself in the mirror while I do it.

It's such an odd thing but it makes me laugh every morning.  I feel a bit like I'm in a hotel.  Sure, I have to go downstairs and out to the garage to get the milk (I had to empty the kitchen fridge because they need to unplug and move that around to put the new floor under it) but even so, it's a funny  start to the morning.  I know someone who lives in a rather grand and large home, and she has a "butler's kitchen" in her very expansive master suite, complete with a coffee maker, mini-fridge, cupboard for snacks, etc.  When I saw it I thought it was quite odd.  But now I totally get the appeal.

So here is how the new floor looks right now, partially done (and very dirty):

And here is what the family room looks like currently, with the kitchen furnishings crammed in.  This shows the bare concrete and they will be working on adding the wood today:

Oh, what a dusty mess it all is.  But then sometimes life IS a dusty mess, isn't it?  I'm in one of those times now, but gosh, it feels good to have peace ahead.  I could make all sorts of jokes about "a new foundation" or "new footing" or some such things... but it's true. 

Today, while the work continues downstairs, I plan to shut myself into my studio for some scrappy sewing.  And I'll probably drink too much coffee, just because it's so fun to make it up here.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Chuck and I

I am feeling quite empowered these days.  Last week was about wielding a paintbrush (Emplowerment Phase 1) -- this week it has been power tools (Phase 2) What is it about using a power drill or screw-driver that is so exciting? 

I installed shelving in my newly-rosy office.

(Note here to any Black & Decker people reading this:  When you write the instructions for operating the drill, please identify what the "chuck" is on the drill.  When one --ahem-- is new at this, one reads the instructions to find out how to use the tool.  And repeated references to the "chuck" without ever identifying "the chuck" is hardly helpful.  I figured it out, no thanks to the written materials. Chuck and I are good buddies, now.)

I also assembled a small flat-pack bookcase which holds boring and unattractive legal reference books in the closet.  So with Chuck's help (he not only  drills but he screws, too) I got that thing together in no time.

Today, I assembled a day bed which will double as a comfy lounging and reading place in the office, and guest accommodations.  As my first guest arrives on Friday, I have this thing together just in time.  Between getting it all assembled and then getting the whole thing made up, I figure I've accomplished my work-out for the day.

BUT THEN I went on to Empowerment Phase 3 -- electronics!  The CD/DVD player we've had for years finally bit the dust, and the new DVD player arrived today.  (They are surprisingly inexpensive now, and so tiny!)  So I unhooked the old thing, hooked up the new one, AND rearranged the components on the shelves so they fit better and look tidy.  Best of all, they all worked fine when I tried them out.

I have now thoroughly worn myself out so perhaps a test of the daybed for a trial nap is in order...

Monday, February 04, 2013

Random Thoughts From a Fevered Weekend.

Do I have the flu? Or an ordinary head cold? If I feel like this, does it matter knowing what it is?

Chicken soup never tastes as good when I make it myself.

Changing the sheets on the bed is one of those annoying jobs (especially when the bed is against a wall) but it is SO worth it to climb into a bed with fresh sheets. I marvel over my friend DB who changes the sheets on her bed EVERY SINGLE DAY.

A certain dog who happens to be wearing a big cone on her head (Two knees. Three knee surgeries. Just sayin'.) managed to wedge the edge of the cone under her full dinner dish and flip the whole thing over. Let's hope this is not a new dinner time game.

On Project Runway, when a designer claims directly to the camera, "I am better than everyone here and I am going to win this thing, " you have a good idea of who will crash and burn and leave in that episode. The editors' subtle idea of irony, I guess.

Is it actually possible to have all of the laundry done? For half a day, maybe? Clearly I am dreaming BIG.

Puffs are softer than Kleenex. My nose knows.

A certain cat in the household likes to chew on tulip leaves but will leave other cut flowers alone. What is THAT about?

I seem to be obsessed with the idea of putting buffalo check curtains in the living room. But my mind boggles when I calculate how much fabric I would need. I'll worry about that tomorrow.