Saturday, May 16, 2015

Demolition Derby

Hey hey hey there, blogging neighborinos! I hope your weekend is treating you fabulous, and your Mother's Day was awesome last weekend.
My 7 year old gave me a book just for me, and the second page has a picture of me, as a fabulous stick figure, working on my stairs with a huge frown, and a tear, and the caption says,
"My mom works at home. She thinks it's hard."
Thanks, bud.
In the midst of working on said stairs, before the last nail was even in place, I started on the next project. Because it's who I am. It's all I know.
We decided to utilize the space under the stairs. I was so crazy excited about it. The hubs wasn't even an hour off to work, and I'd already hauled all the crap out of there, brought in the drill with the largest circular bit I have, and my sawzall.
And I just started cutting.  The beauty of this was I knew, by looking under there during stair reconstruction, that I didn't have to contend with electrical, and I knew where the studs already were so this was a breeze.
I made some circular holes here and there to fit the sawzall blade in there and just cut that drywall away.
You would NOT believe the gigantic mess. Would not. I'm still dusting it up everywhere. Remember how I said the builders of my house had swept all the construction crapola underneath here?
You monsters.
Tons of big pieces of drywall, stud pieces--
I actually had to get a dumpster just to get rid of it all, those bastages.
But check this out, yo.
After hauling out all that stuff and tons of sweeping, and then reframing the opening to make it rock solid and as open as possible,
  I had enough space to stick ALL my Christmas stuff under the stairs. I have like a lot. I'm so happy I could cry.
So instead of hauling my ginormous Christmas trees up a flight of stairs, through the kitchen, and to their official places, I pull them out of this closet, 10-15 feet over, and voila.
Remember that I inherited the world's largest tree?
There's 3 tree boxes under there. My storage room in the basement is practically empty, people. Now I can go shopping to fill it up with other junk! What a glorious world we live in. Sob.
Gratuitous side note:
I hooked us up with thee most fabulous Christmas clearanced decor for both my trees. They are so freaking shiny and sparkly that I almost can't wait for the holidays.
Almost. This is nearly summer and I'm not crazy.
But these are these hee-uge sparkly pears! Just take my word for it my trees are going to be legit this year.
But back to the huge gaping hole in the closet.
I know I can utilize this space better. I know I can. I put my coat bar back up and this is all carefully hidden so basically I don't really care what it looks like in here.
Maybe one day I'll come up with this fabulous way to organize the extras in here, but today's not that day.
Here's some embarrassing trivia:
this is the door I put on this closet.  Let's call it, #1.
Make it so, number one. (I had to.)
This was #1 two years ago. Just a flat door that I drew all over.
Then I did this.
Then I did this.
And I declared it boring, and I went bold.

This is like, huge for me. I painted something an actual color. My kids were so proud.

I confess that I went through phases of loving what I'd done and thinking it was crazy.

Today's an, "I like it." kind of day. Navy doors are sooo European.


the other side of the same door I left, just. . .as it was.

Dinged up and hideous. You can tell that I drew on it already, can'tcha. I can't pull anything past you.

I nailed on my favorite thin moulding that also happens to scare the shiznit out of me when I cut it because it easily splinters, and yet I keep using it,

busted out the same navy paint, and here we are. 'N I

Can I please get a high five for taking off the door knob to do a proper painting? I'm really growing up, lately.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Staring At My Stairs.

How many different angles can one take a photo of one's stairs?

We-he-hell I don't know! Let's find out!

It took an entire Saturday of hard ace work to completely finish the longer direction of my stairs, and it was heinous. I'd rather chew broken glass then take this on again. It was that fun.
But I do love them. But um, how do you people with those fabulous dark wood floors stay sane? These show every.single.speck of dust. My eye is twitching for you just thinking about attempting to keep them dust free.
I'll take this any day over carpet, though. 60 seconds with a wet rag and they are clean. 60 seconds is all it takes. Ironically that's how long they stay clean.
So I wanted to do something super funsies with the landing. Something different. Something brave. In a perfect world, I'd have a large enough landing that I could put a cute little window seat that nobody ever sits on but looks just darn cute.
Since this isn't that world, I considered my options. Seriously looked into a floor medallion for the landing. Something like this one.
I don't have the faintest idea how to incorporate them into another flooring product and also they're a bajillion dollars. I mean you could sell your house to pay for the floor medallion. And then you'd be left with just the floor medallion.
Just want you to have all the facts.
You might not love this. It's okay if you don't, because you don't live here and I do and I totally understand your feelings, but I do love it. We took some left over oak, and then we took some left over maple hardwood, and we like married them together. Because I have maple floors and they're not going anywhere. And now I have oak treads, and they're staying, too. They should be together as one.
 And the hubs had this great idea to like make the hardwood turn with the stairs, and I was nodding my head loving this new different plan but had no idea what he was talking about but I loved that he was being creative so I was onboard.
I really do love it. I also love that the Jeffro, like the engineer he is, drew it out and planned it all perfectly and then went out and cut those pieces and kept the whole thing perfectly square and then brought them all in and they magically fit because his math was pure. That's what I married you for, Jeffro.  Your brains. Also your abs and shoulders. But not your farts, because, wow.
So if I get tired of it, it's not a big deal to replace. It's a teeny area. Also, it was free.
So, let's talk stairs.
So you say you want solid wood treads, huh? Like I said when we chatted last about stairs, just count on not having nice wood under your carpet. Sometimes it happens. I've heard about it before in hushed, reverent tones. There is also probably a unicorn in your backyard. But like I said: sometimes.
Pssssst (loud obnxious whisper): not in Utah.
Stair Tread Options
Lemme give you the run down on your options for running to the hardware store, okey dokey? Generally, (GENERALLY) this is what you can expect to find:
Four choices, here:
1. Solid oak 1 and 1/2" treads. Barely under $30 each.
2. Oak (solid? not sure) tread covers that go over the top of your existing tread: $27 ish.
3. Solid oak 3/4" treads. A little over $20.
4. Pine treads. The low low cost of $10.
I was tempted with door #4. Really, I was. And then I thought about all those knots, and knots starting to pop out, and a really cabin-y barn-y feel and moved on.
Also, I have 14 total stairs. So here's my oak range: $280-$420. (Before taxes.)
And then it hit me:
Wait a second.?. I could spend a few hundred bucks to still take these home, rip them to my exact width, cut each one, and stain and seal every single one?? What? What am I paying for? Just the bullnose?
Yeah. I wanted to make my own treads. If I still have to rip and cut each dang tread, I'm going to save some money. 
 Now hold up a second:
I'm not really suggesting you should copy me. You might want to.  This is not the normal way to do things. I might regret it 10 years down the road.
All my treads are 3/4" oak plywood.
Here's the thing: I already had a crap ton of this hanging out in my garage. I already had it. It made sense to use what I already had to save money and cut down on my hee-uge lumber pile.
Oak ply comes in 4x8 sheets for the price of $50. I bought one sheet and got 8 treads out of that sheet. Then, I ran over to the wood moulding section and purchased a pretty bullnose-ish piece of oak trim for the cost of around $4, wood glued and clamped the snot out of them, and they were ready to stain.
So my stairs cost me (again I had some material lying around): $78. Plus taxes.
Price per tread (if purchasing all the material from scratch): $8.50 (before taxes. Not including stain and sealant, yo.)
Obvs, the price is a pro, and here's the con: it dawned on me that if I ever wanted to restain these, you really can't do that with oak ply. Over-sanding the top takes you down to the ugly ply part. So there's the downside.
Oh! And if you are crazy like me and simply cannot live without stair skirts, I think Ana White did a great job of explaining cutting the stair skirts to size right here. They are worth it. They are fabulous. Good luck. May the force be with you.
So! One last time:
This is actually my new favorite angle of the house. I love the way the moulding on those windows turned out, and I love my stairs.
My stairwell is no longer the crotch of the house. Sigh. It's the little things.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Because I'm Always Up For Some Good Demolition.

I honestly don't know what's come over me the last month. It's been nonstop project time in this house. I've gone from paint and scaffolds, to new light fixtures, and then I'm off to more moulding and huge ceiling fans and sanding and staining and sealing and cutting and nailing and tiling and grouting and heaven knows what else.
My husband puts up with soooo much crap.
While I really want to stare at my stairs (homonym again!) together, we'll get there, all in good time. But I need one more day to do touch ups. Never. Ending. Touch. Ups. Shoot.Me.Now.
So! Let's move on to part 438 of why Mandi is utterly insane.
First of all, my family room has truly become more of a room, instead of the ho hum, blah, just . . . "there" existence it so recently had. Let's just start with this real quick:
here's my fireplace. Annnd I think my daughter is watching like, Lalaloopsy or something? Random sidenote!: Have you ever seen Barbie, Life In The Dreamhouse? It is heelarious, and makes a total mock of all things Barbie. And I love Barbie. And it's a hoot.  Anyways, I love my fireplace. It makes me feel so cozy in the winter. Ooh and I love my new candlesticks. Thanks for noticing those.
As with most items in this house, it's a Monet. From afar it's okay but up close it's a real mess. Can you tell? 
Close up:

I swear to you I did not paint on it. Swears. Scouts honor. I say that to the Jeffro and I know he doesn't believe me. Anyway, I just knew with a little bit of high heat paint this could look sharp again. It's not a big deal, but it's simple enough to make it worth ten minutes of my time.

And it's better. Yes? Yes. Actually I might do one more careful coat. If you're a friend or neighb and you want to touch up your fireplace and need some high heat black paint, come borrow mine because I couldn't have used more than a couple teaspoons of this.
Okay! So!
I had this swell idea that changing out the tile around said fireplace would really update the space.
Take a little look-see at what we had before. Nothing really wrong here. Nothing really right, either.

Just some plain white 4x4 tiles that seemed a titch on the 90's side to me. Obvs, when I snapped this shot I was ready to do some demolition. No the subwoofer doesn't sit on the hardwood; it's tucked back there along with all those ugly wires.  But I was ready to start swinging hammers.
And the 10 year old really wanted to get in on the action. Three things to say about this:
1. Smashing stuff is fun
2. Nice undies son
3. I'm now aware that he was using the pry bar right into my hardwood and there's little dings all over the place where he was working. D'oh. (frowny face emoticon, palm to the forehead.)  I don't want him to know though 'cause I know he'd feel bad and I appreciated the comaraderie we shared as we smashed stuff.
So demo took about 30 minutes. I know because I was there.
This is where I fess up:
I constantly discuss what projects were totally legit and worthwhile, and which ones were hairbrained and moronic. This whole tile switcheroo business leans towards moronic, I'm afraid.
I honestly don't think it makes a big impact. I just don't. And guess what else? I figured it'd take me a couple hours tops to complete the entire thing. The actual tiling did. So I was right in that sense, except for I didn't take into account cleaning the tile, adding new moulding around the tile, the quarter round that needed adding, the second round of cleaning, the sealing, etcetera etcetera.
So I'm telling you it took me a lot of time to actually, truly complete this whole shenanigans, and plus, it cost a lot, too. I don't want to say how much because I want to be in denial. But let's just say it wasn't like,
"For $10 dollars we went from this. . . . to THIS!"
This is the tile I chose:
Humor me and tell me you can see why I chose it, would ya? It is smooth and travertine, and then it's also sandstone-y and rough, and it's so lovely in it's soft greige-ness and I figured it would add "texture" and I loved it--
But it just wasn't worth the headache and the price I paid.
We must do this. It's a DIY law. Here's a before of this general space:

Here's an after of the fireplace area.  Sorry. Different angle. But I've got so much going on in that other direction that I'm just no ready to discuss yet.

 So I like it. But I don't love it. It's just different for the sake of being different. It has no wow factor.

Well, I live and I learn.  Maybe I should impose like this 48 hour moratorium on ideas or something. It might stop me from impulsive Lowe's visits. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Falling Up The Stairs.

I fully admit to skipping around in the project mania that is taking place in the Tremayne home the last couple weeks--
what I mean is, I've taken on half a dozen projects all at once, and we aren't chatting about them in chronological order, and I'm okay with that, if you're okay with that. 
I just really want to talk about this huge undertaking that I never want to do again, because it truly involved blood, sweat, and tears, and it was a disastrous mess.
Also totally worth it.
But backing up. Three and a half years ago, and I can't believe it's been that long,
I had this totally nasty carpet on my stairs. Now, this picture makes it look a ton worse, but it was still nasty, believe dat.
Does everyone have a space in their house that is like, the armpit of the house? I used to call this the armpit of my house. That is an understatement.
My stairs have always been the crotch of the house.
And long story short (too late), I did something about it.
And you're like, "Did she. . . yeah I think she pulled up her carpet and painted the particle board treads. What the?"
Oh yes I dit-id. And it looked a lot cleaner, but still ghetto and it was only meant to be temporary.
Agree with me, fellow DIY-ers, when you say you've dreamt of pulling up your carpet and finding these beautiful, untouched solid wood treads begging to be stained and shellacked.
I'm telling you right now, particularly if you live in Utah, if your house is under 20 years old and it's not like, custom built and extremely expensive, you will not find anything but particle board underneath your carpet. 95% sure. Don't shoot the messenger. I wasn't stupid and I knew what I'd find, and I still did it.
Might be the partial definition of insanity, right there. Also, like I said, it was meant to be temporary.
I can't tell you how many times I sat in my family room and stared at my stairs (ooh! Homonym) and tried to figure out how to add stair skirts. Or stair trim. Whichever term you'd prefer. Who doesn't put in stair skirts?? For the love?
(stair skirts for the layman)
You think I'm being a drama queen, but if I were to ever, ever look for another home, stair skirts would be on my list of things to check out. No stair skirts? No dice.
'Cause I can tell you from experience that they are a serious pain in the A to add after the fact.
Three years later, tons of thinking and pondering and studying of adding stair skirts, and a year of fear to work through, and I've finally made my dweam within a dweam come true.
And the work totally sucked.
Now, nobody cares, but this was a three phase project.
I started with the one direction up the stairs, stopped and took a much needed break, then went the second and longer (and much harder) direction, and then phase 3 will be the landing which still isn't done because I'm tired and are you insane.
I hate phone pictures.

First: every piece of clutter was swept under my stairs by the builders. Well done, jerk faces. You can't tell very well because this is a crappy phone shot but that's a Black Cherry Shasta can right there. That actually made me happy. Hello childhood beverage.
Second: I wasn't anticipating essentially having to reconstruct the entire stairs, with the exception of stringer removal. Oh well. It got the job done right.
every tread was stamped with the date. Interesting. Nostalgic. I was a junior in high school then.
Side note: the daddy-o popped by during demolition, and he goes,
"Are you going to clean this out?" (whilst sipping a Barq's root beer)
I shrugged my shoulders.
"Naw. I like to think of it as a time capsule."
"Good." (Tosses root beer can inside.)
 I've already talked too much, and so I'm going to stop,
but just know, that I love my new stairs. I love them. Also, getting the treads off this direction was a nightmare. The dude laid the liquid nails on these bad boys with gross extravagance.
But back to the positive: I love my new stairs.

Remember that I said the landing isn't done. And you can point out that I have a ton of touch up to do on pre-existing moulding and trim if you want, but you'd be pointing out the obvious and I'd protect your junk first.
Classic oak treads and white risers, baby. But most importantly:
Stair skirts. Finally.
 I'm so happy I could cry. From exhaustion, mainly.
Next time we'ere together, I'll discuss how I saved a crap ton of money on my treads, I'll show ya the whole thing next week all done, including the landing which has pretty exciting possibilities if I do say so myself, and ooh!
Plot twist!!
We've decided to use the space under the stairs. Secret space, people! Armory for potential vampire or zombie invasion. Or perhaps a panic room. Or just enough room for a bed. With a kid in it.
Fine, child endagerment nazis. We'll put the christmas trees there. Still exciting-- in a storage space kind of way.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

And Then I Realized Something.

I worked my badonkadonk off this week on several various projects that I'm just dying to talk about, but I'm interrupting all that because I realized something that's been staring me in the face and now I have to talk about that for a minute.
Thanks for your time, by the way.  Ahead of time. I should pay you for this small therapy sesh.
First off, let's listen to my favorite band and one of my favorite songs, because this song kinda sorta pretty much sums up everything I'm about to say.

Listen to it while we chat. I find it to be so choice.

Now don't get me wrong-- 2014 was an epic year. Loved it loved it loved it. But I have totally realized that I spent, and am continuing to kind of spend 2015 in fear. I have been crippled by it.

As far as my house goes, which is like, my favorite hobby of all time, I was at a standstill on my projects. This can be blamed on a dozen different things, and I had tons of excuses ("it's a lot of money, I'm not sure how to accomplish that, the hubby prefers when I'm not deconstructing the house" etc.), but mainly the source was fear.

I was afraid other people wouldn't like what I'd done. And mainly I'd talked myself into this strange feeling that I can't really accomplish anything. It was like I couldn't see the beginning to the end and so why even try.

This fear was stretching out into all other aspects of my life. Stupid example: my son needed me to fix his bike. I am capable of fixing his bike. I am. But in my head, I wasn't. I deferred it to the Jeffro to take care of business. And I'm constantly doing this.

"Oh, I don't think I'm capable of that. . ."

All my decisions have needed 10+ people to back me up and give me the go ahead. I can't make any decisions without mulling it over and getting approval.

I do not trust myself anymore. And I have no idea why.

Now I've really laid down on the proverbial therapist sofa, but truly, it's trickled out into my whole life. I can't speak in church-- even giving a prayer wigs me out. I don't play the piano in front of anyone anymore.

I am surprised I took my family on our vacays this last year-- I had myself so convinced that something would happen that I couldn't handle away from home.

I think putting up that dang scaffolding and finally, finally tackling some things that seemed impossible to accomplish is what snapped me out of it. And the Daddy-o, who knows me all too well, sent me this, out of the blue, while he was in China last month:

Yeah it's from a movie. I heard the movie wasn't so good but hey, this quote's great.

Okay, I'm done now. Still pondering on what it means for me. Sitting up from the sofa and walking away. You're the best.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Vanity, Thy Name Is Mandi.

Hey hey hey, good morning and happy Easter!!
My belly's full of eggs hollandaise and cinnamon rolls,
the sun is shining and my tulips are popping out in the backyard planters and that makes me happy.
So life is good.
enough with the cheese. Let's get down to biznis.
I've said it before 'n I'll say it again: I've had some good ideas in this house, and some seemingly great ideas that turned out horrible, too.
My vanity table though,
still continues to be one of my fave things in my home if not thee most favorite thing. It gives me the false illusion that I've "arrived", if you will. I feel pampered and spoiled and like a real lady. Successful. Refined. And you can stop laughing now.
So I joked about said vanity table when I put it in years ago, that it would become a dumping ground. I already knew back then that I probably wouldn't take very good care of it, and it would become a catch-all for our keys and wallet and junk.
Pretty much true, thus far. I still love it, but I knew it could be so much more.
This is what we had a few days ago. Cords everywhere, I'm not putting stuff away, abandoned paint clothes on my chair (that I knew I'd just throw back on in a few hours), and so on and so forth.
When I cleaned out my little tray I made, I found drywall screws and washers mixed in with my earrings and makeup.
I am who I am.
So, I've worked on my closet:
and I've worked on my bed:
And that same rug's getting moved around. You're right. Ya got me.
And it was fun, nay, a pleasure, to clean up my vanity table and add a little bling.  Put the washers and the screws where they go. Put away the paint clothes and built just a little.
Ta da. 
I built a little shelf similar-ish to the nail polish shelf we made a bit back,
except mine holds every possible girly item I could think of. Obvs, I really spare no expense in the perfumes department. You know, it's kinda funny I care sooo much about having a vanity table when I make so little effort in my daily toilette. Are you feeling the irony? I'm feeling the irony.
But this shelf was fun to build. Used scraps from the window moulding experience. I keep thinking I'm going to come up with a great way to add some fancy moulding to this because I find it a little plain, but it hasn't hit me how yet, without making it look dorky.
It'll come to me.
I saw this online and loved it.
Makeup brushes and lip glosses held up with floral beads or those little glossy rocks you can buy.  ("Does she even use makeup brushes or lip gloss?"  shuddup.)
Earrings have been gathered from the four corners of the earth, and it's nice. You know, I hadn't worn earrings for 15+ years and then suddenly, inexplicably decided it twould be fun to wear them again, and here I am taking it slow with some studs.
Did you see I put up a little chandy?  It's a plug in chandy, so my husband didn't have to kill me for yet another thing to wire. (Found on Amazon.) It's too soon from last weekend's debacle.
Oops I should take off that warning sticker on it. Well this is awkward. Also it's missing a lightbulb because it came broken but don't tell.
Couple phony peonies,
and what I consider to be the crowning jewel,
I finally got a perfume sprayer!! They're soo dreamy. I feel like, Greta Garbo. Old school glam. If you want one of these, the best price I've found is the Hob Lob. But if you're a close friend, please don't buy one because I cannot wait for your birthday to gift you one. Have patience.
This was a deeply satisfying project. It really was.
And just to keep it realsies,
the rug goes permanently in my closet, and I'm not keeping that pillow there because that's just ridiculous. But it was fun to lay it there for five minutes. Oh, and I removed some hair products on that second shelf. I can't have people knowing that I use Suave aerosol hairspray. What?