Saturday, December 13, 2014

Paint. (Houah.) What Is It Good For?

Do you know what the holidays are good for?
Well, lotsa things, but one un-obvious one is it's potential to shame you into fixing crap in your house.  Because people are coming over, hello.  Christmas dinner and what not. Fix the house! Unclog the toilet! Hide the bodies! People and their stupid social customs.
Remember thee ole "Gray Owl" fiasco that was so, so wrong in my home?
Actually, it's kinda growing on me as I'm staring at it. . . .
Well, I neglected to mention that I went nuts with that color on another wall. I don't know what I was thinking.  The day I picked up that sample bottle of paint was the day my brain was like oatmeal. Maybe I had an aneurysm. Moment of temporary insanity.
Why in H would I just go nuts on another wall?
It just sat like this all mostly painted (It's like "mostly dead" on Princess Bride.) One thing I just love about my personality, is how I swing back and forth between making crazy impulsive decisions, or being crippled by complete indecision.
Oh, my endearing quirks.
And don't let me forget to mention that the moulding on the bottom of this wall was NOT there until I painted that wall all fugly-like.  I was covering up the paint job, people. Because, I mean, if you gotta fix a wall, why wouldn't you cover it with more moulding? Am I right or am I right?
And why stop there? Just keep on going until the problem solves itself.
I totally love this wall now, totes serious.
(It matches the rest of the hallway moulding motif don't worry.) 
I also had this crazy impulsive idea that I should carry more of that black and white style I adore that I mentioned a while back that nobody gives a poop about but me, and just go nuts painting an entire wall in the kitchen a nice, dark, black.
Let's just cut right to the end and spare you the worry. It didn't happen. But I have seen it look soooo cool in other peep's houses. Just so you know.


What I did do, however, on a complete whim, was take this wall and experiment. I have black paint already. In the form of chalkboard paint. And what better place to put chalkboard paint than on a "command center" wall?
At least it's what I told myself at the time.
I actually really do like it. My kids think it's totally funsies. I think I'm used to it, but when I first did it, it felt like the wall was creeping up on me. Like totally closed my kitchen in.
Thank heavens I didn't paint an entire kitchen wall black. It would have felt like I turned my cooking area into a motor home kitchenette. And we can't have that. Kitchen morale is already so low.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

How Much Tree Could a Jeff Fluff Fluff if a Jeff Fluff Could Fluff Jeff?

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And thank heavens for that, because what else would we do during the cold 'n dark besides complain?
Our entire weekend was spent decorating, tree fluffing (Jeff is a tree fluffer. Only three hours this time! New family record. Good job, Jeffro), fixing (hate) and stringing a bajillion Christmas lights, and my new personal favorite tradition,
yelling "That's it, Christmas is cancelled!" if even the slightest thing ticks me off.
 It's sick. But it feels so right. Try it in a sentence.
We don't need to talk about my one open kitchen cabinet agaaaaain, except that I really wanna point out that I have these silver wine buckets, as you see up there, and although they'll hold nothing more than sparkling cider, I'm insanely excited about their decorative and hosting potential. Planning out my Christmas dinner tablescape now, people.
And it's exciting and compelling. Believe dat.
what I really wanna talk about this holiday season, is our ginormous tree again.  Remember? The one that was given to us with a "Hehehe suckers!" thrown our way as we drove off with two hee-uge boxes of 14 foot faux pine?
"Hey Griswold, where you going to put a tree that big?"
"Bend over and I'll show you."
I haven't watched that movie yet this season. I'll fix that today. How can it be Christmas without it?
So we haven't decorated the "tower of Babel", thus far.
And why can't a ginormous pre-lit 14 footer just be pretty on it's own? Gosh. People were all incredulous that I wouldn't stand on the very top rung of a ladder and spend $500 to decorate it. Well there's a few reasons for that:
1. lazy
2. cheap
3. lazy
So I have this fabulous friend.
She is like glitz and glamor and sparkly and frankly I don't know why we're friends because I'm so paint clothes frump and she's so scarf 'n heels. I'm jagged nails and dirty jeans and smelling faintly of paint thinner and Tonya is so diamonds and perfume.
Somehow she puts up with me, and she hooked me up with all her old tree decor when she redid hers (oh my stars you should see it-- black and white damask and sparkle. It is right up my alley. Actually I should go take a picture of it. I really should.)
And these ornaments are legit. They're so fancy-like and fabulous,
and it was so fun to decorate my tree with free awesomeness.
Ta da.
So I need a big fancy star on top. Thanks for noticing. Your noticing has been noted.
I owe her big time, don't I? Now no one will whisper "The Tremaynes have this Christmas tree in their house and they don't even decorate it!" (snicker) anymore.
Thanks for saving us from such a big social faux pas, fabulous friend. I'm sure it won't be the last time.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I'll Give You a Winter Prediction: It's Gonna Be Cold, It's Gonna Be Gray. . .

There's a storm brewing outside. My normally overly bright house is nearly as dark as night, and it's just gonna get uglier as the day goes on. Or as Phil said on Groundhog Day:
"You want a prediction about the weather, you're asking the wrong Phil. I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life."
So you know how I feel about winter. But serious, I'm trying really hard to embrace this entire season this go around. After all, it is nearly half my life, unless I want to move. And I ain't moving. Because nobody would buy this house after all the jacked up crap I've done to it, so we're in it for life.
So I'm embracing the word "snuggly". It's my new word. I've got some warm 'n fuzzy socks, the fireplace is firing, the hot chocolate mugs are accessible, blankets are everywhere, and I'm going to get over my totally strange aversion to long sleeve shirts.  It's all about tight things around my forearms.
It's strange. Seriously. Who else gives a poo if there's clothing around the forearms/wrists? Raise your hand. I'm the only one.  It just bugs me. It itches. Sleeves get wet when I do the dishes. And then I'm always pushing my shirt sleeves up and they get all stretched out and floppy and I have issues.
So anywho-- to the point at hand--
tell me these Snowman Kits from LL Bean aren't adorable. I dare ya.
Hello forced family fun! Total cuteness.  I wouldn't say $40 cute, but DIY cute, fo sho.
I was obsessed with making these for a few neighbs with little kids. I couldn't get it out of my head.
And I'm not going to pretend like these are profesh, or nearly as cute as the store bought ones, 'cause they ain't.
In fact, I suck at free-handing anything, and I should never try it again. Ever.
So I freely admit that I'm totally insecure about the quality of all these little pieces I made.
And then I remind myself that they're going to be out in freezing cold weather getting wet and hammered, so. . . ? Why am I so worried, ya know.
Man I hate it when I bare my insecurities.
Oh, it rhymes!  It's my first poem. Don't you judge me.
Now I just have to man up and actually deliver them. Maybe I could just attach a disclaimer to the little sacks:
-Likes to cut up lumber.
-Doesn't like to paint.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

There's Nothing Wrong with a Little Friendly Couples Competition.

There's a shake up going on in thee ole basement, also known as, the "Man Cave".

Basically, I'm just really sick of having embarrassing spaces down there, and I'm working hard on making everything down there a little less ghetto. There's a long story there, complete with more playroom makeover, the possibility of a small wet bar down there, and so on and so forth, but--

Enter in our computer sitch.

I'm ashamed to admit (but not ashamed enough to keep it a secret apparently) that we have 4 computers down there. Yeah. 4. And if we pull out the laptop, then there's 5. Instant family LAN party, people. You can find us once a weekend blowing each other away on Counter Strike. It brings us closer as a family.

Wow we are nerds, and I'm just now realizing just how much.

Anywho-- let's get to the point, here. Project! Two computers were sitting on a trashy folding table (hangs head in shame).

I says to the Jeffro, "Um, not loving this folding table here, hon."

Jeffro: "What did you expect from a folding table? Plus I'm not building another double computer desk. No way."

Did you. . . did you just hear that? Yeah. It was the sound of a challenge. Gauntlet thrown down.

Yeah. I will build this desk. It will happen. While the hubs is out of town so he can't say no. I'm sneaky that way. But I'm really just doing him a favor, aren't I? I mean, no to-do list for him, right?

Picked these plans from Ana White via Shanty 2 Chic. I am really digging the X legs, lately. This is my 3rd piece of furniture I've chosen/built with that look.

Now, I've said it a million times and I'm gonna say it once more: Jeffro and I. Peas and carrots. Carrots and peas. PB&J. BUT, we are complete opposites in thee quality workmanship perspective.

He, perfectionist. Me, sloppy.

 I actually tease about the competition of it all-- I actually just really wanted to impress him with trying my danged hardest to make this desk nice.

So, how'd I do? Eh. This is a pine desk. The base is made of 2x4. It definitely keeps the costs down which is a big bonus, but you can only expect so much.

I did run my 2x4s through the table saw to take off the rounded edge and sanded the shizzle out of them with a belt sander to smooth them out. I used pocket holes for all screws.

But that's the thing-- Jeffro would never use screws. He would spend the money on quality furniture hardware. And I wouldn't know the first thing about that.

Loving these fabulous legs, though.

One thing I do know well about Jeffro, is that he'd care about the quality of the top, and while I do like the look of a planked top (like the plans suggested), I just knew he wouldn't.

So I waited for him to come home and choose the material. See? Told you he'd know what he wanted. Nice, expensive piece of oak ply for the top with some oak moulding to finish off the edges.

A couple coats of Dark Walnut stain by moi, and 3 coats of poly by the both of us,

 and voila. No more folding table.

(Lights on, lights off. Neither is a good shot. This is the dark basement-- I do what I can. Plus, I should do something about those cords. But honestly it's not gonna happen.)

Doth it compare to Jeffro's double desk?

Pffft. Heck to the no. But why does everything have to be a competition, people?? Gosh.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I'm A Big Girl Now.

Am I the only one who starts, like, 5 different projects all at once? 'Cause that's what I've done.
So right now I'm dead center in 5 things. Nothing to show for my work but 5 messes, and I want to talk about all of them but don't want to show anyone the massive disasters I've made.
So that's where I'm at right now. Just so we all know.
Anyhow-- completely switching gears here--
I'm a big girl now!! I'm finally am not the last person left on earth to not own a smart phone. Finally. That was a really long and convoluted way to say I now own a smart phone.
And I'm as giddy as a schoolboy.
First off, I went with an iPhone for several reasons and for some odd reason I feel like sharing them right now:
-I already own plenty of apps
-I already know my way around one because of my iPad
And the biggest reason:
-I have lots of friends who love and swear by their Samsung, but I own three Samsung products and allow me to tell you a bit about them:
-My old Samsung phone: I'd love to throw it out the window. Run over it with my car. Back up, do it again. Add it to a flaming bag of dog shee and leave it on somebody's porch.
-My new Samsung blu-ray/wifi player: whoever invented it deserves to be hit over the head with one.
-My Samsung "Smart" TV. Eh, never mind. This post is already too long to get into that crap.
Aw, I'm just razzing you Samsung lovers. I'm sure the Galaxy is a great phone. Really. Just all their other products aren't.
So like the mature, respected, adult that I am,
I had phone covers picked out nearly a year ago. These were my choices (currently sporting the Nintendo 1.0 right now thankyouverymuch). I think the Wonka bar is my favorite, and yes, I'm 5 years old and these things make me happy and excited-like okay? Gosh.
And ohmyheck you should totally call and text me when you're around me because I have thee best ring and text tones ever! Bwahahaha it's so awesome. Quotes from "Clue" and "Austin Powers" (the clean ones swears), and sounds from Star Trek and Star Wars (general text tone currently set to be Chewy's roar)--
Oh, wait. Call me and listen unless you're my mother in law or that cousin I totally hate. Then, um, I haven't assigned you anything mean. . . at all. . . . . .
I am a nerd.
It's definitely time to move on and talk about my kitchen. Because I love switching it around since I spend 75% of my life in there. Barefoot and (not) pregnant!  That's how we like 'em.
So I did up the mantle. And I have a feeling decorating with leaves is sooo old lady-like, and I totally don't care. In fact, if Jeffro started calling me his old lady, I would laugh my bum off.
And of course I had to redo thee ole open cabinet.
I have not regretted opening up that cabinet, by the way. I highly recommend it. Show off your fun dishes, people. It's your chance. Hide the crappy stuff everywhere else.
I have owned these lemons and limes for about as long as I've owned my house, and they pop up from time to time because they make me happy,
and also because it's a family joke. My aunt came to visit years ago and was all, "So do you eat a lot of fish or something?"
Indeed, we do. And then we squeeze these plastic lemons all over the top.
And I just know I've mentioned before that I have a really bizarre straw fetish, and check these babies out:
Aspen straws!! Aren't they so cool and fall-ish? 
Anyhow, I had fun. Again. And I also have to completely ban myself from buying anymore dishes. I don't have one ounce of space left to store them. But that's a talk we should have for another time.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I Don't Even Know Who I Am Anymore.

I both love and hate how doing something like this,
my new backsplash, makes me want to change everything up.
I'm crazy full of new ideas, and the biggest one is paint.
And that's the whole dealy-o right there!  Shouldn't paint be the easiest, cheaper-ish things one can do to one's home?  I have wanted to repaint my main floor for a couple years now. 
What's stopping me if it's easy-ish and cheap-ish?
18 foot ceilings.  I finally measured. 
I feel trapped by the very reason I bought my home: a big open floor plan with vaulted ceilings.  It's what I love about it, 'cept now I feel like I can't change my paint color any ole time I feel the urge.
And then after said backsplash,
I was like all, "I'm not letting high ceilings stop me from doing what I want!", you know, like all empowered 'n stuff,
and then I let the hubs know I was doing it, and he put his foot down right then and there.
"You are not painting these walls by yourself.  You are not painting the stairwell so you can fall and kill yourself. Forget it."
(not a direct quote)
So here we are again, at this impasse.  Like Cher, I felt impotent and out of control.
Just so we're clear, I've looked into scaffolding, those little mini cherry picker thingies you can rent (that's the technical term), and I've had a professional give me a quote (just in case you're like me and you always want to hear the actual numbers-- what people paid for their house, what they make, and other similarly socially "tacky" questions of the like, the quote was over $800 just to do this room, the stairwell, and the small, high entryway above what I couldn't do by myself).
I talked with the Daddy-o about scaffolding options, and it was like I could hear my mom in the background--
"Oh Mandi please, your paint color is just fine and can't you sit still for 5 seconds?"
Except I don't know that she really said that. But it sounds like something she might at least be thinking. In a nice way, though.
And I was dead set on picking out a creamy gray color.  And everyone's doing Grey Owl online and it looks fabulous in pictures, so I was just "sooo sure" it was all going to be totally perf in here,
And thank heavens I only picked up a sample of it and went nuts on a wall or two instead of the entire kitchen (side note, thank heavens you are not here in my home right at this moment because to the left of this pantry is this monster mess of chinese food.  It was like we were throwing ham fried rice everywhere).
Anyways, as I was saying, thank heavens for this small sample because I DO NOT LIKE THIS COLOR PEOPLE.  It is wrong wrong WRONG.
It is so wrong. I love it in The Lettered Cottage's house. I love it on the interwebs.  In my warm, very bright house, it has a strange blue-ish hue that does nothing for me.
Just believe me. Nothing. For me.
And you know what else? A friend said to me, "So, gray, huh? Are you just doing gray because it's so popular or is it because you truly love gray?"
I have no freakin' idea. I don't even know who I am anymore. 
Wait.  Wait-- yes I know who I am. Let me tell you who I am. In an annoyingly roundabout way.
I walked through a Parade of Homes home, and it was kind of my dream home.  Picture it--
Dark floors, lots and lots of white moulding, black touches here and there--
nothing but soothing blacks and whites with grays here and there.  The grays were nice, but it was all about the blacks and whites. Just like piano keys.
Gee, you've never heard that before. You're going to have a heart attack and die from that surprise. You wouldn't be more surprised if you woke up with your head stapled to the carpet then you are right now.

I told the Daddy-o that, during our scaffolding convo.  "I just really really like blacks and whites" I says. And he's all,

"Well I worry that style will go out and you'll regret your decisions",
and I'm like,
"But that's the thing it's really not in style. I just like it."

And the Daddy-o got all "oh wise one" on me and said,
"Well I guess that's your answer. You do what you like."

And. . .
I don't know what this means in regards to painting-- gray paint? White paint? Professional or scaffold rental?

Monday, October 6, 2014

I Don't Usually Do This. . .

Just a couple random things I really need to get out of the way:
1. I really, ree-hee-heally appreciate your opinion/thoughts/commiserations on thee ole plastic surgery overshare last time we were together.  Dang you guys have good advice.  Have ya considered starting your own Dear Abby?  Just a thought.
-Also, I considered a dozen times deleting that post so no one else could see those pictures.  I guess I'm leaving it up. I have nothing more to hide. Well, mostly. But I'm really glad those pictures are not at the top of this ole blog, as I'm sure everyone else is, too.
AND. . . switching topics. . . .
2. Verizon Wireless is on the top of my SH$% list. I wish someone would have warned me, and so I'm going to warn you right now:
"Free Tablet at Verizon".  JUST SAY NO.  Make like a tree, and leave. It is a ploy, a sham, unethical, and I now have zero respect towards or loyalty to Verizon for it. They're not free, they will let you in on the "setup fee" as you are signing on the dotted line, you are assured a 14 day return period,  BUT not told of the restock fee (that will be handily specified in small print below your signature) and it will be horrendous.
Don't do it! For shame, verizon. You just lost a loyal customer for hustling me. I'm sporting my Angry Brows.
Okay!  All done. Everyone's been warned.
Let's talk about something I doooo love. Namely, the best holiday in the whole world: Halloween.  Olive it. I know I go on and on and onandonandon about summer, but I really do love fall.
I just hate that winter always steals from fall around here. Winter, you dirty whore.
I don't usually do this, but I really wanted to do a Halloween-y vignette in my open cabinet you see here.
Honestly, I love changing this thing around. Heck right now I love changing everything around 'cause I'm at home a lot and it's fun to have things feel different-like.
So obvs I was really feeling the white with touches of red before and it was funsies,
but I was totes looking forward to making things spooky. Except these were the rules--
-can't buy anything. I deeply need to consider another spending cleanse because I'm out of control again but THAT'S not what we're here for today. I'm sticking to the subject.
Anyways, I dug up stuff.  Found these cool candles I totally forgot I had and spray painted 'em,
Oh, I did previously buy black dishes with Halloween in mind a long time ago, but that doesn't count okay. It just doesn't. Black dishes are soo cool! Shoulda gotten 'em a long time ago.
And I saw on the interwebs how you can add the vampire blood drip by using cornstarch and red food coloring, and I thought the kids would think that was all neat-o so I did that,
and they didn't turn out as well as the pics online but what ever really does for me?
And there we have it. The cookie jar is now "POISON!" and I say that in my most overdramatic tone everytime I can to embarrass my older boys, because it's in my job description. I have to live up to my potential.
Also, the spiderweb plate was done by the Jeffro. With a sharpie. Waste not, want not. Know what I'm sayin'.
Now raise your hand if you like candy corn. (Me!)