Friday Randoms

Another day, another week, another month. Every time I stop and realize that it’s Friday, I’m amazed at how fast the week went. And then I realize that I haven’t even blogged anything or done anything that could fill out a complete blog post.

Hence, I’m trying something new here. Friday randoms, where I stop and look around and groan at our slowpoke process at making this house our home. Here goes!

The first thing I’m going to do after I finish this blog post is to order this pendant light for our living room:

Oversized Equator Pendant light cb2

I am so excited! I will have to put away a few months’ of spending money to get this, but I know it will take our living room to the next level. I’ve been looking for the perfect light fixture for that room since I wrote this post.

I’m still plugging away on the laundry cabinets… well, I should be honest and say that I’ve abandoned the project for two weeks now. I keep on saying, “It’s too late into the day now, I will do it tomorrow, I WILL!” and then I don’t. It’s the last lap around the track, but when you’ve run 1,000 miles, the last lap is the hardest.

laundry cabinet doors

I will finish it this weekend. I will. I WILL.

After all, the cabinet frames have been completed since April 11.

painted cabinet boxes laundry room

Poor, patient, and lonely cabinet boxes. I’m sorry, guys. You’ll be reunited with your beloved doors soon.

Remember the art I want to work on for our master bedroom? I have several large pieces of plywood in the garage waiting for me to get started on it, but I wanted to experiment on a small piece to make sure that it will look good. So far, I’ve sanded it, added wood filler, and primed it on one side. Next, I will add gesso on both sides and see if the primer is really necessary.

plywood art experiment 1

Once that little project is done, I will update you all and hopefully have a tutorial on how to do DIY art on plywood!

Back to the laundry room – we haven’t put up the art that I made on the wall because we wanted to experiment with templates first and see what layout would look the best. I originally thought we would have the four frames in a grid (two on top, two at bottom), but it didn’t look right with our short ceilings and the second row was too close to the floor. We realized that we were planning to remove the door anyway (to bring in more light to the game room), so we could use the whole wall and line up the frames, side by side.

templates for frames in laundry room

Looks great! We will put them up this weekend. I hope. Sometimes weekends have a way of fooling you on Fridays into thinking that it’ll be long, productive, and full of events. And then on Sunday night, you look up from your laptop when you’re sitting on the sofa and realize you’ve done nothing all weekend. No? Just me? Okay.

Oh, we used wrapping paper to serve as our templates to determine the location of our frames. It worked very well!

Our girl Janella loves strawberries. At the end of a strawberry eating session, she looks like Dexter, according to Nick.

janella loves strawberries

Janella is working on her crawling. She’s not there yet, but she definitely can move forward towards something she wants. However, you need to put the right thing to entice her into crawling/lunging forward. Put a toy in front of her, she will give you a blank look. But if you use a necklace, a working phone (somehow she knows the blackberry I give her is broken), a camera, or a leather purse, you’ll see her move with determination.

I found some redness on her knees, so I told Nick we needed to buy baby legs. But I read in this fun book that I could just cut up some old socks and put them on her legs. I tried that with a pair of argyle socks that I never wear and they look mighty cute on her legs!

baby legs from cut up socks

I’m gonna cut up more socks now. It takes 3 seconds to do – my favorite kind of DIY project.

Oh, and do you see that cute white/gray/yellow pillow in the photo above? Nick gave that to me for my 30th birthday. Love it.

Last AND least, I’m eating this greek dip right now. It’s really good and aside from lots of chopping, it’s ultra easy to make. I mean, if I can make it while entertaining a watermelon-eating baby, anybody can make it.

making greek dip

The end. I wish you all a great and productive (or lazy, that’s good, too) weekend.

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9 Things I Learned While Painting the Laundry Cabinets

laundry cabinet before

Before... with a bad paint job and 1,000 weird holes.

all sanded down and ready to go laundry cabinet

All sanded down and ready to go! (and the 1,000 holes have been filled with wood putty)

first laundry cabinet completed

It's a darker gray than what is shown here... but it's done!

Well, I had the whole weekend and what did I complete? One cabinet. Sans door. Out of three cabinets. But to be fair to myself, I did do a whole lotta of sanding, wood filling, re-sanding, more wood filling, san.. you get the idea.. on all three cabinets and four doors.

I also wanted to complete one cabinet first to see if the primer and paint could completely cover the old (badly-applied) paint. So far, so good…

Sanding, wood filing, priming, and painting aren’t very exciting activities and they can take forever, so you get a lot of time just thinking. Which can be dangerous for people like me, because sometimes I rehash the same thought again and again and again and again…. It’s so annoying to be me sometimes.

What did I think about while working on these cabinets? I thought about the things that I’ve learned, that I’m learning right now, things that I wouldn’t do again, and things that I was glad I took the time to do.

And of course I just had to share them with you. Here we go…

1. Bring the light into the garage.

I can only find the time to work on the cabinets after 6pm and seeing as that it’s winter (summer, hurry up already!) it’s already dark outside by the time I even think about putting on my painting clothes. At first, I just made do with the garage light but I was upset the next day when the paint dried and I could see all the imperfections. So I bought a floor lamp into the garage and it really made a HUGE difference!

2. Don’t put the lamp near the garage door (aka outside, aka where all the bugs are)

I think this one is self-explanatory. I had to quit my priming last night when stupid bugs kept on flying into the light and falling on my freshly primed cabinet and quaking to death. And I think I saw a black widow. Nick killed it. Texas… it’s warm (it was 80 degrees yesterday!), but it’s full of bugs and spiders. Especially in the springtime… Ulkghuuuu. Summer, hurry up already!

3. Inspect used cabinets thoroughly, no matter how much of a good deal they are.

I mean, open the door, look at the shelves, look at everything. The cabinets looked like they were in great shape, other than being dirty and suffering from a bad paint job, so we were thrilled with the price we paid for them ($55 for all three cabinets). But remember what I said about the 1,000 holes? Yeah. They were everywhere. I have no idea what the previous owner was doing with these cabinets! Holes in the bottom, holes at the top, holes at the sides, holes in the doors. All drilled in for some purpose… I think? I filled them all with wood putty, so they should be all covered up and undetectable once they’re all painted, but still! Hours of my life… gone… because of these 1,000 holes.

4. If you use a foam brush with primer, work slowly and with patience (if you have any).

Many blogs say they use a foam brush when applying primer and I always thought, ugh! I tried that before but it didn’t work well. But this time I just didn’t want to ruin another brush with oil primer, so I just looked at a foam brush in its eyes and told it that I would try my best. I took my sweet time and was gentle with that foam brush. And it worked great! And once I was done… throw away! Bye! No washing! Except for my hands… which brings me to the next point.

5. Wear sexy doctor gloves when working with oil primer.

Yes, you can wash the oil primer off your hands with olive oil (true story), but it’s gross and a waste of good olive oil and not really THAT effective. Just wear latex gloves. If you’re allergic to latex, there are latex-free gloves. And if you’re breastfeeding? When the little baby screams for food, you just pull them gloves off and wash the latex reside off your hands and become food! Easy.

6. Just do it. Or you’ll wish you did it… for the rest of your life.

I had a few moments of staring at a hole that I had overlooked and thinking, “I don’t care anymore. Just leave it. Nobody will notice.” This also was my thought every time I saw a little ding here and a paint splatter there. But I just knew I would only see these things and not the things that I did right when they were done and up in the laundry room. Just buckle down and do them. The first cabinet I finished… well, there’s a little ding in there and I completely didn’t see until it was all done. I am pretending that it doesn’t exist (it totally doesn’t exist! it’s not there!) and I refused to make the same mistake with the other cabinets. Thus, all the sanding, wood filling, etc etc etc that I did this weekend.

7. Tack cloths are a gift from heaven.

Tack cloths aren’t new to me, but I really realized how wonderful they are this weekend. I was getting sick of how my tack cloths were getting so dirty so fast that I just tossed them aside and used wet wipes instead and then paper towel to dry up. Then I was ready to paint… but I still could feel dust laying on the wood and smiling up at me. I took a swipe with a tack cloth… ALL GONE. They really do work. If there’s a LOT of dust, I do the wet wipe, paper towel, and then tack cloth. And if there’s a LOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT, I…

8. Just vacuum the dust up. Even if you don’t have a shop vac.

I was getting really frustrated at all the dust that built up in the corners of the cabinet. And when I turned it to paint another side, all the dust would come out and land on my fresh paint job. So I vacuumed it. Ahhh. It’s more fun to vacuum up sand dust than it is to vacuum the carpet. Because I hate our carpet. And I’m beginning to love our laundry cabinets.

9. Putting tape on wood is evil.

I really dislike the person who had the cabinets before us. They put tape on the back of one of the doors and that tape must have been 10 years old or something. There were four pieces of tape and I tried taking them off but the sticky-ness stuck around. I had to sand them off. Sanding worked, but still. Don’t put tape on wood. Please. Thank you. I hate tape on wood almost as much as I hate winter. Can summer please come now?

Well. If you’re looking for me tonight, I’ll be in the garage.

Janella Ali Vita is finally here!

10 – 18 – 11

1:55 PM

7 pounds, 15 ounces

More details to come on Monday by Wednesday!

Featured… @ Brooklyn Limestone

Hello! Today, my ribbony roller shade tutorial is being featured at the excellent blog, A Brooklyn Limestone in Progress. Be sure to stop over and see her blog if you’re not already an addicted reader of hers.

She turned an old townhouse in Brooklyn into a beautiful place to called home. Here are some snippets of this amazing transformation.

From this…

Master Bath/Closets Before

…to a beautiful master bathroom.

MasterBath1

And she worked her magic on this dreary room…

Living Room Before

…and turned it into a gorgeous living room.

DSC_0391

Amazing, right? See more of her reno work and prepare to have your jaw permanently dropped.

Not only that, she goes all out for Halloween, which makes her alright in my book – it’s one of my favorite holidays. Check out the invitation she made for one of her Halloween bashes:

HalloweenInvite5

And how she decorated the outside of her home:

SkeletonsClimbingonHouse1

Okay, why are you still reading this? Get yourself over there.

How to Caulk Without a Caulking Gun

Just call me MacGyver… or a cake decorator.

This post might be a little boring to you, but I’m so proud of my hard work that I just had to show you what I did. Plus, my little adventure here is a testament to how the little things that you do around the house can make you so happy, even though nobody else will notice what you did.

Let me introduce you to the closet of the nursery:

It’s a pretty roomy closet, so we’re fixing it up in order to maximize its space and… to make it pretty, of course. I’ll show you more of this closet later on when we make some more progress, but today I want to talk about caulk.

This house was brand-new when we bought it, but the builders did a BAD job with the caulking. I can’t believe how many cracks we can see in the caulk all over this house.

It’s ridiculous. Caulking isn’t rocket science. It’s not even freshman biology.

The nursery closet was full of gaps and ugly cracks due to a bad caulking job.

Ugly.

Unfinished.

Since this closet will be dedicated to our special baby, I wanted it to be perfect. I also didn’t want to fix the caulk later on after the painting and the decorating. So I decided to grin and bear it and caulk everything NOW.

Out came the caulking gun and the caulk tube that came with the house.

I put the caulk tube in the gun and squeezed. Squeezed. Squeezed some more. No caulk was coming out. I kept on squeezing and squeezing. There was a small pop… Weird.

Squeeze. Squeeze. Squeeze.

Until I came to the end of the caulking gun’s squeezing range. Did that make sense? I mean, I couldn’t squeeze any more. The caulking gun was all squeezed out. And there was no caulk coming out. Huh?

I pulled out the caulk tube and found this…

Oops. I broke it.

I think the caulk dried up at the top so all my squeezing was for naught and it just pushed through the bottom of the caulk tube. Good times.

I sighed and contemplated asking Nick to buy some more caulk on the way home from work.

I stared at the caulk tube.

The caulk was soft and plentiful. Wasted caulk, wasted money, wasted time.

I squinted my eyes… wait a minute. The caulk itself was still in good condition.

Now this is where the MacGyver (or cake decorator) part comes in. I grabbed a ziplock bag and put a few spoonfuls of caulk in it.

I cut off just a little bit at the tip and tested it out.

It was beautiful.

I hate hate hate hate using the caulking gun. It’s messy and it makes me all paranoid because the caulk won’t stop flowing, so I have to caulk with my heart beating fast and then quickly pull the handle on the gun to STOP THE MADNESS.

With this ziplock bag method, I could just caulk at my own pace. The bead of caulk was also tiny, so it was really easy to just wipe it down with my little finger. It felt nice. Relaxing, even.

I think I won’t ever use a caulk gun again.

Much better, right?

I caulked everything and gave the shelf and supports two coats of white paint to cover up the dingy white that was there before. Do apartments and buildings shop at the same paint store? Is the store called Dingy White Paint? Why can’t they use Ultra White? I will never understand their obsession with dingy white.

Better. Ahh. Never mind the white paint on the walls, we’ll paint over that.

Yes, much nicer.

The whole time I was doing this, I felt like I was channeling Benita from Chez Larsson – she does things like this all the time, doing the “little things” and making them all pretty and white.

So that was my caulking adventure!

I’ll tell you more about the closet very soon. I have to go and work on it right now, actually. I’m 38 weeks now and my hands are kind of swollen, so I’m thinking that maybe, just maybe, Baby will come soon. I gotta hustle, people!

A little glimpse at our progress:

Broken AC + 100 Degrees = Not Fun

This is the forecast for this week in Austin.

Despite being 28 weeks pregnant with a big baby (doctor says it might be 8 pounds, which is bigger than the normal 7 pounds), I am definitely not going to complain about the heat. I love the heat. It’s not humid here like DC or Florida, where I spent 25 years of my life. I still remember the chill and the snow of winter, so I am not taking the summer for granted at ALL.

But I have to bow down to the person who invented the wonderful, amazing, and awesome Air Conditioning. Without it, I would melt. I know this, because a few weeks ago, our AC stopped working. In the 100 degree heat.

We woke up one morning feeling a little warm. After checking the AC temperature several times, Nick decided to check the AC fan outdoors (see this pic if you’re not sure what we’re talking about – I’m not sure of the right term) and found out that it wasn’t spinning anymore. By that time, it was nighttime – on a weekend. And it was HOT, dammit.

After calling a couple of places, we finally found someone who could come on the weekend and check out our outdoor AC fan. He found the problem really quick – this thing was broken.

This is called a capacitor, and it had to be replaced. This one had popped out at the top – see the next photo:

We needed a new one. This little thing cost us $200. Best $200 we’ve spent all summer. But it would have been cheaper if we knew anything about ACs and bought one of these capacitor things ourselves.

The guy said that the popping thing happens in extreme heat sometimes. We asked him how we could prevent it from happening again. He said to water the AC fan from time to time when it gets really hot.

So, ladies and gents, if you’re living in Hades like we are, be sure to water your AC fan periodically.

(gets off my soapbox)