Wednesday, December 9, 2009

If I could just retire...

I could stay at home and get my decorating done!  I honestly intended to have all my Christmas decorating done in time for Southern Hospitality's Christmas Home tour.  I took the button off my blog because I still have only one thing remotely "Christmasy" in the house.  My annual Christmas Tea is next Sunday (the 13th) so it will all have to be done this weekend and I am not looking forward to the 30 trips to the basement.

So, stay tuned.  I promise there will be something pretty to see in a few days!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I am an Army brat and I can do ANYTHING!

That has been my mantra for the day.  This morning I moved the deadbolt strike plate at the front door and now my door closes tightly up against the weather stripping.  No more drafts!  I am one happy woman.

I did have to get out the drill, power screwdriver, regular screwdriver, measuring tape and a pencil.  I love tools. Yesterday I cut dowel rods to use to bunk the twin beds in the guest room.  I used my power finish sander to just take a little off the rods as they were a little too snug in the holes.  To cut the rods I used a little hacksaw only because it was too small a job to bring out the jigsaw.

I covet other people's power tools.  It's a character flaw.  Don't hate me for it!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Staining wood

I am attempting to stain one of the pocket doors in my house.  It was an unfinished door that I have been trying to ignore.  I got out my power sander, sanded it thoroughly, wiped down the dust and started to stain.  There are several places where the stain is "taking" in a blotchy manor.  Some places are too light and some are too dark.  This is not the first time I have stained something so I do have some experience.  I just can't figure out what is going wrong.  I am going to let it dry for 24 hours and then hit it again just in the spots that are noticeably too light.  My fear is that the door may be poplar and it will never take the stain correctly.  If I try another coat and it still doesn't work, I am going to just paint the darn thing.  That will mean it will need sanding again and a coat of stain blocking primer BEFORE I can paint.  I am going to be really cranky if this door ends up having to be painted!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Found it!

I went shopping this weekend and found the fabric for my kitchen.  I wanted something with a "country French" feel to it.  Looky!

My kitchen is large enough for the dark print and I love this little chicken vignette.  I may need to go to a lighter shade of olive for the paint but with vaulted ceilings and so much light, I think this fabric is perfect.  Now, do I do a cafe' style or just use this fabric for the valence and keep off white ones on the bottom?  Maybe this on the valence, off white on the bottom with a band of this at the bottom of the curtain?  I haven't purchased the fabric yet and I need some help making this decision!

Friday, October 2, 2009

New profile photo

So - I updated my profile photo.  It was time to get real.  The other photo was 4 years old, taken in Hawaii and I was tan and very blonde.  My son was sitting across the table when he took the shot.  He is a pretty decent photographer and I love that photo.  Brian referred to it as "Mom's money shot".  (I am not exactly sure what that means!)  This one is me at 57, hair definitely graying and I now have squinchy lines around my eyes when I smile.  I thought I should post one before my face starts sliding down to my chest...

Mama was right!

You DO get what you paid for.  I bought two cans of white paint (one is flat and one is glossy but in this regard it doesn’t make a difference).  I paid a dollar for the can on the left and roughly $3 for the can on the right.  


I have been trying to paint a couple of small faux pumpkins to go in an arrangement for my dining room table.  I have painted them 4 times with the paint on the left which I will now refer to as “Crap Paint” (or CP) from WalMart.  I used the Krylon which was left over from another project to paint a larger craft pumpkin.  Two coats and it is perfect.  With the CP I can still see orange coming through.  I tried to put a coat of the Krylon over the CP but it bubbled up so I am guessing they are not compatible.  I have 3 cans of CP and I don’t know what to do with them.  I guess I can save them for freshening up my white wicker porch chairs next year. 

This is what happens when you try to take the “cheap” route.   Next time I will just pick up the Rustoleum which I already know I love and use that exclusively.  Live and learn.  (Why do I seem to learn EVERYTHING the hard way?!)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Life is good!

I am making a mushroom and onion quesadilla for supper, have a large glass of a very nice cabernet sauvignon in front of me and a new book to read.  Nothing in the house is broken.  I am one happy gal!

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 Remembered

I was living in Seattle. We were sleeping soundly when the phone rang. He jumped out of bed to answer the phone. He listened for a moment, had a very strange look on his face and then handed me the phone. "It's your mother." I said hello and my mother's first words were "It's bad out here. We are under attack. Turn on the television." I quickly hung up, grabbed a robe and headed downstairs. He had turned on the tv and was sitting in front of it with that same strange look he had when he talked to my mother. We watched, barely comprehending what we were seeing. It was surreal. It was confusing and frightening.

And then we saw the towers fall. The horror took my breath away.

We watched for hours and then he went to the Southcenter Mall as it was reported the Red Cross was there taking donations. Originally he was going to give blood but they said they didn't need that. They needed money. So we gave. And we prayed. It was all we could do.

I am remembering those today who lost their lives and those who lost their loved ones. I continue to pray for our nation and our leaders.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It’s the little things

I really do not like the vanity,  medicine cabinet and light fixture that came with my house.  REALLY DO NOT LIKE.  I know why he put it in the house.  I used to rehab houses in a previous life.  I know that the sink/vanity top combo at Home Depot is just a little under $200.  I know that the medicine cabinet sells for roughly $40 and the light bar is $30.  We put them in several houses because they look decent and are cost effective.  (We were not rehabbing houses in high end areas!)  The difference is that I always put in the white version where we could.  I hate the look of oak.  (And I am really sorry if you love it.  I just doesn’t work for me.)  Anyway, I am taking down the medicine cabinet and putting up a framed mirror as soon as I find one that I like.  The light bar is also coming down and I want to put up something pretty more like this

vanity light

or maybe like this

vanity light 2

(I just need a little light to put on my makeup.  Not so much light that I feel like a porn star getting ready to film!)

I also want to get a much larger vanity.  The bozo that sold me the house told me that the vanity was going to be 48”.  I thought that was perfect.  I know with that size you usually get a set of drawers which I really like.  When I did the walk through, I discovered that he installed a 36” vanity (surely price was the factor as he was starting to get cheap on me!) which leaves an 8” inch gap between vanity and wall and looks stupid.  He also installed a basic faucet and drain.  No pop up.  (Can I you guess how annoyed I was about that?! )  I found a faucet that I liked and purchased it about 6 months ago.  It is now installed!  I went from this


(Notice the missing cap on the cold water that mysteriously was broken one day?)

to this


I am much happier.  I asked my brother to come over and watch me install it just in case I was doing something backwards or weird.  Instead, bless his heart, he installed it for me.  I love it.

Next bathroom project involves bead board wallpaper and some paint.  Stay tuned…

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Basement door is up

It isn't pretty and it doesn't fit properly but the original cellar door is hung. We had to trim part of the railing back with the jig saw and then sanded the threshold. Drywall mud and layers of paint prevented the door from closing. I still need to borrow my father's planer and do a little work on the door edge but at least it is on the hinges. I was pretty excited to have most of the tools that we needed to use. This was the first time I broke out my new sander. I already had one but this came in a set of power tools and has a filter on it to eliminate some of the sanding dust. Very cool.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The best laid plans

I had wonderful plans for my son this weekend. What I just didn't take into consideration is that since he and his family arrived on Thursday evening and are leaving on Sunday morning, 2 days goes by really quickly! Yesterday we spent our day in Lancaster and Lebanon counties. Today they went to the Crayola Factory in Easton. That is about a 3 hour round trip driving time from my house. It takes about 3 hours to do the activities and see all that there is to see at Crayola. We are having dinner with my parents this evening so I have to cram a lot of Chad chores into about 3 hours. It is raining so the outside projects will not be attempted. I think the faucet in the bathroom has moved to the top of the priority list. Labeling the electric power box will be the only other thing that will get done. I wanted to hang the chandelier in the dining room but I really can do that soon as we figure out which switch in the panel box controls the fixture! (Silly me - I thought for the house to pass the electrical inspection the panel box would have to be labeled correctly!)

I would have gone to the Crayola Factory with the kids this morning except that I have pulled something in my back trying to wrestle a piece of furniture from the basement to the second floor. I am probably doing major damage to my stomach lining taking the number of ibuprofen tablets that I am but they do help. Now, because I am overcompensating for the pain on the right side of my back, the left side is cramping. Good grief!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What is old shall be made new again…

Remember the ugly, dirty Queen Anne side chair?  This one?

Well, my sister and I made a trade.  She needed a chair for her daughter’s apartment and I needed a tall white bookcase for the guest room.  My niece asked my sister to decorate the apartment for her.  The only thing she requested was “zebra”.  Here’s what my sister had done to the chair.

Is this gorgeous or what?  (BTW – photo was taken in my sister’s breezeway – not my niece’s apartment!)  My sister has an upholstery guy that did it for her since she just didn’t have the time to attempt it herself.  She found the fabric on sale at Joann’s and bought enough to do the chair and pillows. 

I shoulda kept the chair!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Found the VISA receipt in a purse that I wasn't using. I KNEW I still had it...somewhere! We took the unit back to Lowe's and they gave me a refund without any problem. I really was concerned since I had bought it so many months ago. I had to wait for 3 days until the charge reversed and then I picked up another air conditioner - at a savings of 20% off! I am still driving around with it in the back of my car until I can find a man to unload it for me.

I finally painted the brass chandelier with a beautiful green paint called "Italian Olive". The chandelier looks fabulous. As soon as Chad hangs it up for me I will share photos. I wish I had thought to take a "before" photo but when you see it, you will know exactly what it looked like originally. Seems like every builder in that time frame put one in the dining room. It's ok if you live in Colonial Williamsburg or have a very traditional decor but for most of us that isn't the case. I do, however, love it painted.

The kitchen sink was fixed by my friend's husband who also moved the ceiling fan from the guest room to the living room. I have a new faucet for my bathroom that I am saving for my oldest son to install when he comes in a couple of weeks. If I can get him to do that and to hang my chandelier...and put in a dimmer switch...and help me figure out which switches in the breaker box go to which rooms...and build my deck platform...and pull the cement blocks away from the back of the house... (He will NEVER come to visit me again!!)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Oh no!!

I cannot find my receipt for the air conditioner....anywhere! I used my VISA check card when I picked it up. I know I can get a copy of the transaction off my bank statement but will they take that? I could just scream. I am so good about keeping things like that. I especially kept that receipt since I wasn't installing the unit right away and because it has an Energy Star rating and I know I will be able to take the credit on my income tax for 2009. I have turned this little house upside down. I have looked in all the logical places and some of the weird ones, too...just in case. The only thing I can think of that might explain the receipt going missing is that I cleaned out my desk drawer a couple of weeks ago. You know how you sort papers (trash, file)? Could I have mistakenly put the receipt in the trash file?

Mercy. I could live with the heat myself but I have more company coming and they are used to air conditioning. Not to mention the fact that I have a new air conditioner that doesn't work.
Seems like all I do is whine and complain lately. Sorry for that. I usually have a pretty upbeat attitude. Maybe it's because I am hot...all the time. As if the humidity wasn't enough, the hot flashes are about to kill me. It is only a matter of time until they just find a pile of ashes in my shoes...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

When it rains...

I just need a little something to go right. Seriously. I bought the big air conditioner for my downstairs in May. I finally had it put in the window about 3 weeks ago. It has been unseasonably cool here so I did not need to turn it on until July 25th. Ran fine. I had my parents over for dinner on the 26th. Ran fine. It was hot and humid on Monday, July 27, so I turned it on late in the day. I wandered back outside to the garden. When I re-entered the house, I thought it strange that it didn't feel much cooler so I went over to check the air coming out of the unit. Not refrigerated. As I stood there, the compressor kicked on. Or should I say, it attempted to kick on. It just made a grinding, thumping noise and stopped. So I reset the unit, took the temp up to closer the temperature in the house (thinking it wouldn't have to work so hard) and still the grinding, thumping and cut off continued. I just turned if off. Yesterday I tried again to no avail. My brand new, Frigidaire air conditioner is broken after 2 uses. Thankfully, my son is coming this weekend and he can pull it out of the window for me so we can haul it back to Lowes. If they won't replace it (I realize I bought it 3 months ago!) there will be a foot stomping, blood pressure raising brouhaha going down!

Did I mention I still haven't found a plumber to come by the house to fix my kitchen faucet? I hope my boy can fix it for me!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Another joy of homeownership

A couple of days ago I noticed that the kitchen faucet base was doing some shifting when I moved the handle from cold to hot. Tonight the faucet is completely detached from the base. It is a single hole, center mount. I found a plate of some sort and part of a severed washer under the sink. I know the plate anchors the unit but I can't figure out how so I guess I will have to enlist the skills of a plumber. Someone will have to remind me exactly WHY I thought owning my own home would be a good idea. I miss having a landlord!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

No rain

I made plans to do some more yard work today if it didn't rain. I was really counting on rain! My legs and back are sore from all the work I did on Friday. Not only do I need to find a man with a toolbox (and knows how to use it!), I need a yard boy!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Yesterday I worked in the yard, in the hot sun, for about 3 hours. When a headache started, I knew I had been out there long enough. Today I will drive over to one of the big box home improvement stores and pick up a couple of bags of top soil and another 3 bags of hardwood mulch. Owning a wheelbarrow would be really helpful at this point but since I don't have a shed yet for that kind of storage (and I am NOT dragging a wheelbarrow up the basement steps!) I transport heavy bags of mulch on a large, flat cardboard box. It isn't pretty but it works.

This morning I wiped off the porch railings and started painting. I just put down the base coat so if it doesn't rain tomorrow I will put on the second coat. I also painted the trim around the back door. Turns out that the jerk that sold me the house didn't paint it. There was only the factory primer coat. I discovered it a couple of weeks ago when I realized that the paint was peeling. So, last night I caulked the nail holes and this morning I sanded, wiped everything down and put on a coat of paint. As with the front porch, I will put on a second coat first thing tomorrow morning depending on the weather.

I have a couple of cans of spray paint waiting for me in the basement. I think I will have a go at painting a couple of things that I will share later.

Hasn't this been just the most interesting post?! Sorry if I bored you with the minutia in my life. Have a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Yard sale goodies

I love yard sales. Seriously. I never look for them in the newspaper classified ads. I just like to cruise neighborhoods and see what I can find. (I think it is the thrill of the hunt!) As I have mentioned before, I especially like community yard sales. Here are some of the purchases I made a couple of weeks ago -

First up are my vintage linens. I love damask tablecloths and napkins. I have way too many already but cannot pass them up. I am not crazy about fabrics from the 40s and 50s but for $2, I could not pass up this blue beauty.
From Little Nest

From Little Nest

These pewter platters were only $3 for the two of them. I think they are really pretty. You cannot tell from the photo but the large one is about 14" long and the small on is roughly 10" long.
From Little Nest

In one neighborhood, it seemed as if everyone was selling the "Colonial" style pretend brass chandeliers. Some wanted as much as $10. I got this one for a dollar. I am going to paint it sort of an antique white and then glaze it with sage green. I think it will look fabulous in my dining room!
From Little Nest

I need lamps and the prices to purchase them new are just more than I want to spend. The tall green one will be painted white for my guest room. The pretty little brass one is in really good shape except for the shade which just isn't my taste. I have some white acrylic craft paint that I am going to use to paint the shade and then I may cover it in fabric. They were each only $2.
From Little Nest
From Little Nest

I found this Rowenta iron (and it doesn't leak!) for $2. I don't know why she was getting rid of it but I am excited to own it. It did have some hard water crystallization that was trapped inside but a good cleaning with vinegar took care of that.
From Little Nest

OK - here it is. My big yard sale purchase. I SWEAR it doesn't look like anyone ever sat in it. The retired couple selling had moved from Vermont and downsized into a townhouse. They had a couch, love seat and this recliner. Their new living room is just too small for all of the furniture. It is made by Thomasville and the colors in the fabric are perfect in my living room - pink, yellow, green and off white.
From Little Nest
Now for the price - $40! Whoo hoo!!

Lots of paint projects, yard projects and sewing projects for this weekend. I think I need a clone!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Back to Garden Spot Furniture

I was so excited to finally be picking up the buffet I purchased a couple of weeks ago. I just needed a pick up truck and a willing helper! My kitchen doesn't have nearly the amount of storage that I need and this was a heck of a lot cheaper than adding another full bank of cabinets and a countertop. This has a French or Italian feel. All I know is that it is mahogany and made by Drexel. (I know it looks like maple or some kind of fruitwood but it really isn't.) Although I am going to paint it, the finish is in very good shape and looks great with the cabinets in my kitchen. I am going to use it as a baking station. My enormous Kitchenaid mixer fits in the right hand cabinet. I am using one of the drawers for baking supplies and another for baking pans (cake, loaf, muffin, whatever).
From Little Nest

I love the brasses on this
From Little Nest

While I was there I spotted this spool chair. It needs to be recovered but that is a quick and eazy job as soon as I find some time. For $20 I think I got a great deal!
From Little Nest
By the way, this photo was taken in the furniture shop, not my house!

There is a 3 panel wooden folding screen that I have my eye on. It probably won't be there the next time I go but if it is, that baby is coming home with me!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Finally - something to talk about!!

I found a buffet for my kitchen! Whoo hoo! I am finally going to pick it up this weekend and then I will post a photo. It will be perfect for my baking center. I know I will feel guilty about painting it because it is a solid mahogany piece but I will get over it!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

New Project!

My sister and I went to our favorite old furniture store today. I found this very nice and VERY dirty Queen Anne style side chair for only $29!!
From Little Nest
The wood appears to be cherry and needs to be refinished. The chair fabric is really disgusting. Looks like someone had a very dirty dog!

I have never upholstered anything so this will be a new adventure. Julie and I both have several projects that we are currently doing so this will wait for a few weeks. Later this afternoon we stopped at a great discount fabric place and I found a beautiful pink and white toile for $7 a yard. I don't think it will take more than 3 yards to cover the chair. This will be such fun!

Friday, January 23, 2009


This is probably the first time in my life that I have wanted to rush winter and move into spring as quickly as possible. Last month I received a nearly $300 electric bill. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I immediately called the power company and found out that it was from an actual reading and that it included an extra 5 days. Still...that number was just way too high. I knew I had some draft issues. I just didn't realize how much they were costing me!

My brother has come for two consecutive weekends to do insulating work for me. He is coming again this Sunday to caulk. Apparently the meatball that "flipped" my house did not caulk around windows, baseboards or doors. My brother has shoved insulation everywhere he could reach and then put spray insulation around the sill plate in the basement. All of that has helped. My kitchen floor is very cold so in the spring he is going to put foam board insulation under my floor joists.

I love the look of my pocket door going down to the basement but it will have to be replaced. Way too much cold air gets around the door so right now I have the door pocket space filled with foam caulk filler. I hung an insulated curtain from WalMart over the door so that you can't see how strange the door looks. I used a pretty wrought iron looking rod that matches one that I have a quilt hanging on in the dining room. (The sage green looks so nice that I think I am going to replace my dining room curtains with a set!) My brother is going to hang a "real" door there for me so that there is a seal between cold basement air and warm dining room air.

"Frost King" is my new favorite company!

Friday, January 9, 2009

New magazine

Maybe I have been living under a rock or something. There is a new magazine at Joann's (and you can use your 40% off coupon)! It's called Junk Beautiful. If you are a junker, check it out. It is sealed in plastic so your cannot peruse it in the store but here is a link to the editor and more information.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

More for my wish list

There are 2 other pieces of furniture I have on my "wish list". One is necessary and the other is on the bottom of the list.

I have an enormous television in my living room. I think it is 32". It is not plasma so it weighs a lot - like 140lbs. (My son hated moving it so much he gave it to me and bought himself the plasma screen unit.) I have it sitting on top of an antique wash stand. It sits in the corner of my living room near one of the heating units. The wash stand periodically makes a cracking sound. I am terrified that the wash stand is going to totally dry out and collapse under the weight of the television so I really need something actually designed to hold up a TV.
I think I want the antique white. I have a lot of mahogany and cherry pieces in the living room. What do you think? I really do like painted pieces.

Here's my "I really could use these but they are not a necessity" itemThese I would like in black since I have cherry and black Hitchcock chairs in the dining room. I have a nice little bar adjacent to the dining room and I would like to use it for quick meals. Right now the bar just serves as a pass through to the kitchen when I am cleaning off the dining room table.

I really need to win the lottery. (Oh, yeah - you have to play to win, right?)

Monday, January 5, 2009

2009 Wish List

Because I am considered a displaced homemaker, I have the opportunity of receiving the "First Time Homebuyers Credit" with my income tax return this year. It is a nice little chunk of change so I am working on my wish list.

My dryer is pretty inefficient. I think I have two dryer settings that work - High and Fluff. This is on the top of my list There is a matching washer but my washer works great, has a good EnergyStar rating so that will be on my list in 2010 or 2011.

My refrigerator that came with the house is OLD. So old that I think it came from Montgomery Wards and they have been out of business for years! This is what I looking at to replace the fridgeThis one is so big that I won't have to keep running down to the basement to get stuff out of the little fridge down there.

My stove is horrible. It also came with the house and has seen better days. In addition to the cosmetic issues, the oven simply will not come clean and the thermostat doesn't work. It needs a new burner electrical connection on one of the large burners and there are no little knobs on the timer and range setting thingies. I love to bake. I desperately want a convection oven and I want one that is self-cleaning. I WANT this stove!

Last, but not least, I want a new sofa. I want one with a cover that I can pull off and wash. I think IKEA has the best price. I am not in the living room very often but would like something pretty and new. I am tired of hand-me-downs. This is what I am thinking about The sofa will be a "want it" kind of purchase. I may not do it this year but I surely would like it!