Sunday, March 29, 2015

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em.

This was me last night.
I's like, done. And exhausted. And grateful. And done.
I hereby pronounce the family room painting fiasco el finis.
I'd like to thank my sweet, patient hubby for putting up with my crap,
and my awesome Daddy-o for lending me his scaffolding for 3 complete weeks and helping put it up and take it down. Risking his life. Wasting his Saturday afternoon.
Scaffold: it's been fun. But let's not do it again.
So, the new mirror. It was at this point when I was very upset and completely loathed the way I had moulded it out-- you should have heard me.
It was dinner time. I was ridiculous. I'd look over at the work I'd done and go,
"Ugh I hate it. I hate it. That is not the way I wanted the mirror to turn out."
(Growling, crusty face, irrational behavior.)
Jeffro: "Well, why don't you try. . . "
And then I'd talk about it some more. And explain why I don't like it. And then the hubs would lovingly try to interject a good idea and I'd cut him off and growl that I didn't want to talk about it again.
So I'm not easy to live with, okay? I apologized profusely later. Out of view of the mirror.
Guess what though? Mirror is staying the way it is. As the Daddy-o advised,
perhaps I'll come up with a fantastic plan that I'll love for this mirror. One that will actually work with it's 2" deep framing. And when that day comes, it's definitely something that can be accomplished with just my ginormous ladder, and not the scaffold.
Also, still not done with wood restaining. Ignore the blue tape. I'm now considering all the wood restaining in this house as a COMPLETE and SEPARATE project of the family room makeover/main floor repainting catastrophe. I have to, else might lose my mind.
Let's talk curtains, people!
These bad boys are 17' long. I have a good friend to thank for being willing to take on the job of hemming them.
So I love them. And I've always wanted dramatic curtains in here. But apparently everyone doesn't love curtains.?. What the? What's wrong with you people? I guess people see them as granny-style, which is similar to Gangnam Style but with less dancing.
And right, RIGHT as I was finished putting up my curtain rods (let's not even go there-- I was having a tantrum about the stud not being in the proper place, 18' up in the air. I've sunk to all new lows this week), the hubs informed me:
he doesn't care for curtains. Gulp.
Well, to quote that awesome scene in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith",
"You'll get used to them."
I'm totally teasing. He doesn't care for them, and also doesn't care if I hang them. I do have his permish.
Can you see our new fan in the corner of the new mirror picture?? Can ya? Can ya?
I have such conflicting feelings! You are Luke Skywalker and you can feel the conflict within me.
I was disappointed about going the "safe" route with a fan, but I knew it was practical. And then I started looking at large fans and was more disappointed because there wasn't really anything under like a bajillion dollars that was sleek and new and cool.
I had to lower my expectations.
Seriously, though, I really do like this fan. In realsies, it's actually pretty interesting. The blades are cool and it really moves the air, and it's huge and it's on a 6' downrod and I freaking love it. I bought a ginormous ceiling medallion that we could not make work with it so I'm disappointed about that but I'll get over it.
Thanks for all that advice.
And then there was the entryway.
Don't bust my chops about the other beam still not being done.
I have a new chandy with a ceiling medallion, and I love it. This upper window was thee FINAL window in this whole house that needed moulding. And it got done. Unspeakable things had to be done to get it completed--
things we should never talk about. Asinine things. Things that involved scaffolding and a ladder on top. Things you only see on Youtube and you laugh and go "nobody's really that stupid".
Let's just leave it at this: it was ugly, it wasn't Osha approved, Jeffro is a saint, and it involved us both on a ladder, my head in Jeffro's armpit, lots of cursing and taking breaks to let the blood rush back into the arms, but it got done.
And I hope I picked a classic enough haunted house chandy that will never have to be replaced before I die. Or I move. Whichever comes first.
Also, I do not promise I'll get back up to that top window and caulk or paint.
Oh man, between sicknesses in this house and utter chaos, I feel like I've been released from purgatory. I keep singing Barry's "I Made It Through The Rain", because that's who I am.
And I just decided that my kids are old enough to handle some cute pillows on my sectional, so a pillow hunting I will go. Call it a reward for the painting.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bringing My Home Out Of The 90's, One Project At A Time.

First off, I'm having a hard time deciding which words should and shouldn't be capitalized in my title up there.
I'm stilllll working my buns off to get finished in here and get the metal jungle gym put away. Dang good thing it's the Daddy-o's and not like, a rental from the Depot, right? 'Cause holy crap I'd be racking up a huge bill. It's been two weeks already and will definitely be a third with all the commotion I've caused.

This is where we were. Paint. New crown moulding. My bro stopped by, and he's been trying to talk me into moving and building a home elsewhere, and he's all,

"Oh. So you're not going to want to move now."

That's another discussion for another time. ANYWAY--

I replaced my three footer moulding above the mantle this week.

 This is how it's been for a couple years. And I did like it. I did. But I thought, when you have a chimney that's 20' long, you can get away with more.

I looked and looked and loookednlookednlooked at different moulding ideas for my new mantle above the mantle, but when push came to shove, I liked my original choice, and I stuck with it. Mostly.

It's now sporting a 8' mirror. Which I now get to mould out. So add another project to my expanding (NOT shrinking) list.

These projects are giving birth constantly, I tell you. They're like rabbits.

Also, I know you love these shots I'm trying to take around the scaffolding. They're so scintillating and inspiring.

Also, restaining my banisters to a nice dark walnut. That actually has been a bit of a nightmare. I don't love sanding all the poly off these things with it's nooks 'n crannies and it just bites the big one. It really does. Oh! And while we're craning our necks to take a look-see at the chimney, I decided crown needed to go up there too, so that got done.

Hey-- I really did get a few things done this week. This is making me feel so much better.

And the painting moveth forth.

Strange hallways got done,

the kitchen, the music room. . .

(I'm totally quoting "Clue" right now-- "You can show him around, Mr. Green. You could show him the dining room, the kitchen. . .the ballroom. . .")

 Where would we be in this world without "Clue" to quote? Nowhere I wanna be.

So now my music room is dressed in greige, which is a lovely combineige, of gray and beige.

Also, notice we're missing a violin. It's at the shop because my son is apparently a klutz don't tell him I said that.

My 20 foot entryway got painted, thanks to a great friend who was willing to come over and risk her life with me on a ladder. Thanks, great friend.

And don't worry- the chandy already has a replacement waiting. Bringing my home out of the 90's, on step at a time, people. And by the way, that is thee final window in my home that is awaiting moulding. One more to go. I can do this. Keeping my eye on the prize.


And I moved my crazy heavy black mirror over to this wall for kicks. I just love how it reflects the scaffolding, just so. . . .

Other things of note:

-Fabric for 17' curtains purchased and dropped by my personal seamstress
-Totally boring and disappointing YET relatively extremely cheap and very practical huge fan is on order and currently en route to my place (thanks sooo much for weighing in. I was really surprised by everyone's thoughts. My entire family will thank you this summer).

So, here we are. And honestly I cannot wait to put this place back together. And since I'm into my favorite 80's movies today, I'll go ahead and quote The Money Pit: "How long will it take to put this place back together?"

"Two weeks."

Oh please, for the love, let it be really two weeks.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

There's a Jungle Gym In The Family Room.

Remember where we left off? The jungle gym in the family room?
I think I just combined my two favorite things this week: being sick. AND painting. It's been kind of a depressing week, not gonna lie.
"But Mandi, normal people don't start a project when they're coughing up a lung."
I know, I know! It's just not normal over here! And have I ever pretended to be normal?
But do you want to see?  Let's do a before and after, here.
Before paint and moulding.
And. . . after paint and moulding with jungle gym.
I keep typing "pain" instead of "pain-T". Heh. Heh heh. Freudian slip.
So what do you think? I do love the color. It is so soothing and I love it so. And if you're eagle eye, you noticed I took the time to put up crown moulding, and let's not talk about how much that cost, because what's done is done.
It took an entire day to get the crown up, caulked, and painted. One entire day. And I swear I tried to hurry. But crown will not be rushed.
 Wanna see my inspirational pic?
I have zero idea where I came across this picture. I happened upon it by chance and it spoke music to my soul and I saved it to my phone and the rest is history.  This is a blogging no-no. Bad blogger.
But, perfection up there.
So I played it safe. Don't you judge me. You don't know what it's like painting on a scaffold for days! You don't know what it's like hanging over a stairwell 18 feet in the air! This isn't gonna get done on a whim every year or so, it's just not!

It's the Benny Moore Revere Pewter that is so commonly seen these days. 'N I love it.
And like all things that happen in this home, it's opened a can of worms. Wanna see my ever-expanding to-do list? Course ya do.
--I still have to paint: the kitchen, the music room, the entryway, and the hallway.
--I've decided to re-do the chimney moulding. Instead of three ish feet tall, it'll now be 10+ feet tall.
--The totally awesome green faux marble and brass ceiling fan is gonzo, and that's getting replaced.
--The banisters are being restained
--The entryway chandelier is getting replaced
--There's talk of canned lighting up here
--The world's longest curtains of all time are going to be made and hung
Huh. Listing them out doesn't make it seem so impossible. Oh, and while this is completely separate, the kitchen cabs are getting a facelift at some juncture as well. Heaven help us all.
So! Help me out for a second, here.
Ceiling fan? Or chandelier?
Fan? Chandy? Fan? Chandy?
This little luv bug is sitting in my cart on amazon.
Yeah, I prefer the haunted house type of chandy. It's who I am. Or as a close friend said, "Oh totally! Morticia Adams is my style diva."
I'm serious, though. This thing is over 4 feet long. I can totally see it hanging in the window and reflecting off the 9 foot mirror above the fireplace that I also neglected to talk about.
But here's the thing: I want this chandy, but even I have gone back and forth between the fan/chandy debate. This room gets hotter than H. I will regret not having some airflow. And there are some nifty looking ceiling fans out there these days. So again, the Jeffro and I both throw up our hands and scratch our hands and ask,
Beauty? Or practicality?
Crystals, or airflow?
Fan, or chandy?
Please, aidez moi. This controversy isn't going to end itself.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

What I've Been Up To.

For years, I've stared and stared in my closet, and wanted to make it kinda fabulous.
But I had no idea how.
Yee-ah. I used to actually think this was relatively organized and "clean". I was shocked when I compared this to the now. Don't you judge me!  I don't have the largest closet. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to have the size I do have-- heck, this is at least double the size that I've ever had anywhere.
I know some of you people have huge closets. And for that I hate you. But what I continue to be in denial about won't hurt me! My closet is fine! Except for the total disaster, it's just fine!
I can't make my closet any bigger, but I can work my buns off to purge and cleanse, can't I? I'd love to make my closet such that if a stranger were to walk in, they'd think a refined lady lived here.
And the people who really knew me, upon hearing such a thing, would spit their drinks everywhere.
I kept thinking of this quote from "Clue":
(preface, Mrs Scarlet): "Would you like to see these Yvette, they might shock you?"
And then:
"No merci. I am a lay-dee."
I kept purging and rearranging and saying to myself "I am a lay-dee" in my best bad french accent.
Not to go back to the whole small closet, big closet scenario, but if I did have a bigger closet, I'd have a specific little space for each and every "theme" of clothing, if you will. Exercise clothing and shoes? They'd have a spot. My favorite dresses 'n heels? A fancy little section. Summer clothes. . . winter clothes. . .even paint clothes. . .and so forth.
Okay, so--
if I were to "stage" my closet (and that's not really possible, is it? We've established it's small, and the lighting in there, without windows, sucks), then I'd hold back the motherload of clothes and make it like so:
Ta da, my side! I especially love the metal basket for lacy underthings.
Ta da, Jeff's side! (sing-song voice.)
You know those fashion mags that show closets, with like, five pieces of clothing? That looks great 'n all, but, um, people live here.
People who dress really, really poorly live here.
Thus, it really looks like this.
A few things:
-Jeff and I traded sides. It just made more sense. Trust me.
-I moved every single shelf, and every single clothing bar, at very least, once.
Holy cow, I moved clothing around, trying to make it work the absolutely best for us.
-My paint clothes never looked so good stashed in a cute little milk box, and I've always wanted a hat box, even though there's no hat in there.
-I had to face the hard reality that if it was not clothing for Jeff and I, or accessories, it could not stay in here, period. End of story. If I want a non-embarrassing closet, it had to be so.
-I now have three rows of crown moulding for my heels, and I installed corner shelves for Jeff's shoes which aren't really worth looking at, but the point is---

Having nothing on the floor makes this feel so, so much cleaner. More spacious.
And finally,
this is also the gateway to our attic, and my kids are very strangely obsessed with the possibilities of having an attic. I think they imagine, like, I don't know? A spooky dress form up there. A big chest filled with old and crazy things. Maybe even a treasure map.
There's nothing up there kids, except for really scratchy cotton candy. Ah well, we'll let 'em dream.
So, I love it. I feel crazy good when I walk in to dress now. It's the little things. Also, I'm trying to talk a good friend into taking over my credit card and dressing me from now on. 'Cause wow, I'm a bad dresser.
And finally, on a side note,
this was also happening this weekend. I have 10 hee-uge things on my list that I'm going to make happen-- it's going to cost a lot, it's going to be dangerous, so this is where I'll be for a while, as soon as I can get over the flu. It's kicking my butt,
and meanwhile, we have this lovely new metal furniture in the family room for everyone to come and enjoy.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sometimes I'm Not Lazy.

I've noticed that everything I really want to do in my home these days is an evil combo of hard, expensive, and time consuming.
Frankly, I've felt pretty discouraged.  You can tell, can't you?

Take painting this room, for instance. I just simply don't know how to get up to that ceiling safely.
How long ago did I say I was going to frame in this wall o windows? No, don't answer. Let's just pretend like it was only six months ago.
Getting out my huge, heavy ladder just seemed, daunting. Crazy dangerous. And when I finally pep talked myself into crossing this project off my big list, I remembered why the Jeffro told me I couldn't do this project without another adult present.
Because hello this is high and I might fall and die and my pants are baggy and I thought I was having a decent hair day until I saw this picture.
You can call me a total baby, but it really was scary standing on the last rung of my ladder heaving pieces of trim over my head and managing the nailgun up there.
But it was so, so worth it. Holy cow I love these windows now. I love this room.
Okay so check this out.
When I first put up my pieces of mitered trim, the ends look like so. Now, I know there are lots of ways to "finish" trim, but this way, taught to me by the Daddy-o, is my favorite.
You make mitered cuts, and then you carefully slice off the ends to get these nifty little pieces. I was like a machine mitering and slicing. Mitering and slicing. I needed, let's see, 26 of these to complete my wall o windows.
And then instead, with the help of these little pieces and just a little wood glue, your trim looks like this now.
This entire, battered stairwell could use a repainting and don't you judge me. It's on the to-do.

Man this room has seen a lot of changes over the years.

It's funny how I just had this mental block about getting this whole thing done. It felt like a ton of work (and it was), and it felt dangerous (and it was). But once I was determined, and I found myself hauling in the air compressor and strapping on the ole nailgun, it was like, I don't know,

lunch with an old friend.  

Took me hours upon hours to spackle 'n paint, but it was actually funsies. I put on some old 80's movies to listen to (and attempted not to stop and watch at times), carried up a smallish bowl of gummy bears, worked my way around the room, and just went to town.

My favorite spot? New and improved stairwell windows:

(Window area before)

And now. So much better.
This has opened a serious can of worms. The hubs was trying to help me by carrying out the ginormo ladder, and I'm like,
"No, but thanks. Leave it in here."
I can't even, I don't even know where to start with all the things I want to change around in this area, now.
But I'm pretty excited.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Good Thing We're Perfect.

Do you know what I think is so interesting about blogging?

I could just put up all my pretty, carefully chosen pictures from the trips we just took, and we could look all happy and like we had just the time of our lives with no care in the world--

Rainbows 'n unicorns.  Sunshine 'n cool drinks.

I could make us look like that family.  Perfect-ish.  I could leave out that the kids whined and moaned all through Chinatown,

And one of my kids was a total pill and tried to make me promise I wouldn't make him go on a trip again for a long time and I threw up my hands and repeatedly said something along the lines of,

"What kid complains about going on a cruise?? That is so messed up!"

Or, you know, I could leave out the tired, mega-meltdown #4 had on the beach. I could not mention that the boat rocked incessantly on the way home, and one night I could barely sleep because of it.

I could leave out all the yelling and how I still can't decide if I was disciplining too much or too little, and why do you kids have to act like little idiots if we get anywhere near an escalator or elevator, hello?

Calm down. Stop climbing crap. Help me pull some freaking luggage-- no mom cannot pull five pieces by herself, duh.

My son didn't accidentally kick a stranger's bike helmet off a bench and into the ocean,

and an airplane passenger ahead of Thing 3 didn't turn around and ask him to stop kicking his chair.

My oldest didn't yell he hated me in a random South Carolina gas station.

 No, my daughter did not color on the dining room tablecloth.


There was no fighting. No smacking, no kicking, no pinching.
No one peed their pants. No one barfed in the rental car.

And I never, ever, scratched my head and wondered what the hades was wrong with me when I planned and spent that much dough for this. Nope.

Nothing but good, wholesome memories over here.

Yeah. We're pretty amazing. We're sorry you're not us, too.