Wednesday, October 27, 2010

There's gold in them thar pumpkins!

Okay, excuse the hokey title, but I really felt the need this morning. After all, I'm trying to renovate the disaster area known as our toy shelves in the second living room. More on that in the next few days after I get it done (teehee).

After discovering that two of our local grocery stores were completely out (yes, really) of carving pumpkins this Sunday, I panicked. Monday night, I took the two kids with me to yet another local stores which (yay!) had plenty of nice pumpkins to choose from. They both chose really nice ones and of course, I had to pick up two for Mr. K and myself. Not only for the joy of using a knife on something to get out my frustrations (I kid, I kid), but for something that's been a tradition in my family for a while.

Look closely in the picture below and see what I mean:

No, no. Look CLOSER. Like in the center of the table where the most important things go:

Pumpkin seeds = gold to me.

You see, one of my favorite things about Halloween is eating roasted pumpkin seeds for a couple of weeks after carving, depending upon how 'seedy' your pumpkin is. *THAT* is why I buy at least 4 pumpkins and harass my friends into giving me whatever pumpkin guts I can get my hands on. Seriously.

You can find the nutrition info on pumpkin seeds here. I think it's probably without the shell, since the fiber content is so low. Also, they mention no salt (ahem). I found a cute video of Alton Brown's stovetop method on FoodNetwork; click here to see the short video. Also, there's a great recipe from Emeril Lagasse (no video, sorry to disappoint LOL) for spicy pumpkin seeds that you bake instead; click here.

I personally prefer to do mine in the oven. I can do LOTS more this way and I usually do a few batches spiced differently. The important thing to me is that I'm getting all the mileage out of the pumpkin I can and the smell of roasting seeds takes me back to childhood. You know, childhood; when the house magically cleaned itself and presented you with hot, home cooked food every night . . . a big thanks to you, Mom!

And here, my post would be woefully incomplete without sharing the ultimate finished product of our labors!

What do you do to get the most out of your Halloween? Feel free to share your ideas!



Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tires and Dishwashers and Water Heaters: Oh my!

We hit the trifecta this week. Sadly, not the good one, but the three things that go wrong in an expensive kind of way.

Sunday, I visited Sears to get a replacement for our elderly (13 years old) dishwasher. It has been needing replaced for a while and I finally begged (whined) hard enough and Mr. K gave in.

Much to his delight, I visited Discount Tire on Monday and got 4 new tires for my ride. Never a cheap option, but this was starting to hit a little hard after the dishwasher.

The wonderful new dishwasher was installed on Thursday and it works *INCREDIBLY*! I mean, clean dishes from an appliance? Wow! I guess our old one really had outlived its useful life.

Not to be outdone, our water heater pulled a fast one on Saturday. I'm guessing it was feeling a bit put out by all the attention lavished on our kitchen appliances (the oldest one, the stove, is a mere baby at 5 years) and decided to pull out all the stops. Mr. K and our son had just visited the hobby store to see about the latest young boy obsession (remote control airplane - NOT cheap) and had come home for lunch. Upon entering our lovely abode, my nearest and dearest happened to open the door to the basement, whereupon he used some not so lovely words, prefaced by, "What the . . .?" I looked under his arm to see the beginnings of an impressive indoor pool in our non-pool climate Colorado basement.

Suffice it to say, the project involved LOTS of money, swearing (on both our parts - kids were ensconced upstairs out of hearing range [please]) and at least 6 hours of hard labor. Not to mention at least 4 trips to the local Home Depot.

Note to self: when installing a new appliance, just buy all new connectors. Nothing that worked with the old one will pretend to work with the new one and it will all need to be brought up to code anyway.

I've resigned myself to the fact that my car's new tires are probably my Christmas present. And really, I couldn't ask for a better one. After all, they are a perfect fit and they keep me and my precious family safe and mobile for the next two years. A bargain!

Here's hoping that your last few weeks were NOT as expensive as mine and infinitely more enjoyable!

Please do share your 'feel good' stories. I'm in need of some consolation here recently!



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Today's (ongoing) project: concrete

Yes, that lovely substance that provides us with driveways, sidewalks and various other niceties of life which require a smooth, hard surface.

My project for today was to start contacting various contractors and seeing what the cost would be to tear out our existing patio which has settled and cracked horribly. Oh, and the front steps which are now starting to list to port might cost us a few trick or treaters sliding off into our bushes should it snow that night. Yes, it is usually cold around here at Halloween (sadly enough).

My first step was to start asking friends and acquaintances if they had recently had work like this done and whether or not they could recommend someone. I start this way because I would rather give my (husband's) hard earned money to a local business that's a known quantity and has someone I personally know to vouch for their work.

I have set up a few companies (usually about 3 for a large job like this) to come by and give me estimates on the work. I will ask them about start dates and completion times, as well as other contingencies depending upon the job. For instance, working in the back yard with all this labor and equipment brings to mind the other expensive component of our outdoors: the sprinkler system. I was assured by the contractor today that if they happened to damage any portion of the sprinklers, they would cover the cost of replacement. I will also be sure to get this in writing when I agree upon the final contract. There might be other special considerations and concerns with certain project; the best thing to do (I think) is sit down and list everything you can think of that relates to the project you have planned. That way, you can be fairly sure that you've covered most, if not all, of your bases and won't have any nasty surprises.

Oh, well. There is no shortage of things to be done around our house, both major and minor, but as long as I keep working on them, I'll be done eventually (right?).

Thanks for being a friend and reading my blog. It feels good to know there are folks like me (and my family) out there trying to keep up with everything!

Take care,


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Word for the day: cull (as in Home Depot)

Merriam-Webster's online dictionary gives discard as a synonym for the word cull and that's what I'm focusing on today.

You see, Home Depot has a selection of cull in their lumber department, and, each individual piece is only . . . wait for it . . . $0.51. That's right. 51 cents. Barely over half a dollar. BARGAIN! The cull section is usually at the back end of the store near their cutting station and all the pieces have been sprayed with green paint on one end to mark it as cull for the cashiers.

This is their stash of unsalable wood products (like Trex, MDF [Medium-density fibreboard], shelving, etc.) that, once you find out where it is, you will visit again and again and again (trust me).

I found a piece of MDF a couple of months ago that was big enough to put a door on our crawl space (not really a standard door size, you know). The gentleman working in lumber was even nice enough to cut this huge piece to my dimensions for NO EXTRA COST! The hardware to set this baby up cost $12, but the actual door only cost me 51 cents. Oh yeah, I am the champion!

Why, just today, I sauntered through one of my two local Home Depots and visited the cull pile. I spied another piece of MDF and the light bulb going on would have BLINDED you (not kidding). I am working on my basement (as you well know) and finally got the kitty litter boxes swapped to the other side and my sewing table set up under one of two windows down there. But, as with all good ideas, there is an *issue*.

Ahem. We have those interlocking mats as our basement floor to protect our little footsies from the rough particle board serving as our floating floor. This is not going to ever be a finished basement while we're here; it's just not practical. Now, the back end of the sewing table isn't on the mat while the front end is. I'm not a very balanced person myself, but I require that I usually work on a level surface. Helps keep stitches straight, you know. Enter the rescue MDF piece! I will pull out two mats and put down the MDF and voila! Level sewing table! I'm also going to paint it white so I can see those pesky pins and needles I seem to drop occasionally.

See how this works? Many times, you don't need tons of lumber (or 7 feet of whatever piece) for a particular project. Knowing about this cull pile will save you a pile (of money)!

Any handy hints about bargain stashes you've found at your favorite haunts? Share them here!

Take care,


Friday, September 17, 2010

Confessions are good for the soul

As you might have guessed, I have a confession to make. It's not good or bad, per se, but it was affecting my timely blogging practices. I stalk several blogs and I'm addicted to them. As I find new blogs that I enjoy regularly, I will add them to my sidebar here so you may (get sucked into) enjoy them like I do.

That was a major reason for me putting off my blogging from August until mid-September. These ladies not only blog every day, they blog WELL! I was dutifully following their blogs and catching up on them from before I knew about them which took some time and allowed me to cultivate my lazy side.

Their blogs are entertaining, informative and . . . make my inner English teacher sing for joy. No misspellings or grammar abuse to make me cringe *AND* they manage to inject humor, humility and lots of fresh outlooks on their worlds and therefore mine too.

A well written blog is a joy and I find myself refreshing my own page to see if their links have updated with a new post. I'm addicted, as you can see.

But, hopefully, it is for a good cause. They influence me in many ways, not the least of which is to remember that if I'm going to do this, I had better do it well!

Which reminds me: the best way to reward a blogger is twofold. One, you should comment often and positively (and I will be doing that shortly, since I need to follow my own advice) and two, you should definitely recommend the worthy blog to your friends, family, neighbor, postman and anyone within earshot. I've been known to recommend these blogs to total strangers while standing in either Home Depot or Hobby Lobby.

Keep the love going and hug your favorite blogger today! If you can't do it in person, then leave a nice comment to generate that warm, fuzzy feeling!

Love to you all,


P.S. It's a bad sign when I have to type my 'name' over four times to get it right. Sheesh! You'd think it was Friday night or something . . .

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What do I do with it?

I will attempt to address the question of 'What do I do with it?' when referring to the items you discover you don't want/need after 'decrapification.'

Thankfully, we live in a modern world and have MANY options to pursue when looking for an outlet for our (junk) stuff.

Option 1: The circular file a.k.a. the trash can

I know we all have several and we use them regularly, but I think it bears repeating that this is a handy resource for getting rid of things we don't want any more. If I look at something and realize that, not only do I not want it any more, but I can't conceive of anyone wanting it for whatever feasible reason, then it should go into the trash. If it can be recycled and you can do it within reason, then by all means recycle it. Don't get hung up in that hoarder mentality or you'll never throw anything out (honestly). Use this resource judiciously and it should make your decrapification job *so* much easier.

Option 2: Donation without expectation - Freecycle or the free section of Craigslist

Freecycle was started several years ago (see the history here) as a means to reuse items that might have otherwise been thrown away before their useful life ended. You may join a Freecycle group that is local to you and can provide a ready means to get stuff out of your house and get it to someone who really can use it and appreciate it. You don't get a tax break, but it generally helps out those in the community who can really use a helping hand. They have restrictions on what may be offered and there is etiquette involved making sure everyone adheres to the letter and spirit of the idea of Freecycle, but the possibilities are endless. I don't want to raise any hopes, but I've actually seen hot tubs being offered on my Freecycle group.

Craigslist is generally thought of as a website to sell your stuff (we'll cover that next), but there's also a section to list items that you give away. Craigslist is also an area-specific service, so you can deal with people on a local basis. A good friend of mine uses this and swears by it. Many times people will finish their garage sales and offer the leftovers in this are.

Option 3: Donation with expectation - Organizations that give you a tax receipt

There are national organizations dedicated to accepting your donated goods, giving you a tax deductible receipt for them, and reselling them like Goodwill and The Salvation Army. There are also many regionally specific organizations; here in Colorado, we have ARC and I know there have to be TONS of others that I just don't know about. These places have the benefit of giving you a break on your tax liability for giving them your stuff. In all fairness, it's best to donate items that do have some intrinsic value so they realize some benefit from taking your items. The retainer you've had since high school just doesn't qualify, even though you could probably slip it in (see Option #1 above for that). The catch is, you designate what the value is of the items you donate; it's best to be VERY conservative and most places give you a handy little chart showing a reasonable value for common items. There are limits to how much you can claim on your taxes and it's definitely best that you hold onto ALL your donation receipts with the copy of your return in case of an audit. I'm by no stretch an accountant or tax preparer, but I am dedicated to making sure I don't spend any time in prison for silly things like lying or not having my tax paperwork saved.

Option 4: Making money - Garage sale, eBay, or Craigslist

We all want to realize some financial gain from all the hard work we put into cleaning out our houses and you can do that several ways. You can take all the saleable stuff and price it yourself, get up at the crack of dawn to fight off all the people who have shown up an hour before your advertised start time and have your own garage sale. This has the benefit of giving you almost immediate cash in hand for your items, but you have work to do beforehand (organize, price, advertise, get up early, etc.) and realize that it means total strangers coming to your house to sift through your belongings . You can list your item for sale on Craigslist. This means it might take a little while before selling it, but you generally have a fixed price and can realize money in your hand with not much preparation. If you're not sure of the value, *OR* you think you can make a killing off of your Aunt Linda's treasured wine cork collection, then you might consider eBay. You have to set up an account and navigate through listing the items (which entails quite a bit of work the very first time you attempt this), but the benefit is that you might realize more money *AND* you have a much larger marketplace in which to sell your item (read: nationwide, if not worldwide).

And there you have it. Several options at your fingertips (literally!) to get rid of the stuff you no longer wish to have in your house.

Let me know what options you've used and to what success! I'd love to read about your success stories (both selling/donating and buying/receiving) that might give someone else hope that their stuff (trash) is someone else's dream (treasure)!



Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Pit of Despair

Or, in more common nomenclature, the basement.

I hate to call it a pit, but I should be true and honest about it, right? And no, you won't be seeing any pictures of it until it's not a health hazard (just joking) any more.

We moved into our lovely house just over 10 years ago. It started out with just Mr. K and I and it seemed *so* spacious. I mean, really: 1,500 square feet for just the two of us? What luxury after an apartment!

It hasn't shrunk(I'm taking that on faith), but the accumulation of 4 people over the course of 10 years without a major gutting has taken its toll. In my defense, I have managed to get the main floor and our bedroom back to a more minimalist perspective over the summer. (The kids rooms get their nod after I'm really done with all the main floor painting).

So, in addition to cleaning out the basement fitting with my general mood of 'cleaning up my act' so to say, it serves another purpose. To be the work area for the settee I found at Goodwill last week and have stored at my in-laws garage down the road.

We won't discuss how I'm in the dog house over this. You see, after texting Mr. K with a picture of said settee and asking him what he thought about it, he responded with a very short text. The one that only takes two letters. N-O.
I was good that day and didn't immediately purchase it. But, after sleeping on it and the next morning in which I drove back over there by myself and saw it still for sale, I totally caved. Look at it:

I spent several hours contacting friends and family trying to figure out not only transportation, but storage. It's hard to tell by this photo, but this incredible piece of furniture is six feet long. Yes, six feet. And it will look perfect in our library/reading room under my seven foot window. *AND* it won't even interfere with the window at all!

Back to my transportation/storage issues. Remember my 1,500 square foot house? With a basement that is fairly (mostly) full? [Cue ominous music and show pictures of our heroine biting her lips and sweating profusely]

Now for the best part: my father in law not only agreed to store it in their garage until I get my workspace cleared out, but he and my mother in law drove up to pick it up. Did I mention how much I *love* my in laws? LOTS! And I did even before now, but you have to admit this is really going above and beyond the call of duty here. I should also mention that my MIL used to deal in antiques so she could gauge this beauty with a practiced eye.

Well, I probably should get back to the decrapification of my pit so I can start working on reupholstering my settee.

Love to you all,


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Behind the orange door

Or, more appropriately, the whole thing 'about' the orange door.

See, we had the entire outside of the house repainted a few years ago, but didn't repaint the front door. We've let it languish in squalor and I didn't give it much thought until my current 'redo the house' manic phase.We didn't change the outside color of the house, but I never much cared for the front door color. It was a muted mulberry color originally; it has been through enough winters here that it is a mere shadow of its former color. I had originally bought some dark blue paint to grace the front door . I have now awakened to the fact that our gray house is a warm gray, and a blue door just isn't in the cards.I tortured my family into choosing a color from paint swatches I brought home, fervently hoping that they would pick the color 'Red Jalapeno' but Mr. K and my dear son chose 'Firecracker Red.'
This wasn't a problem until I realized that I had a slew of other colors to choose from at Home Depot in the Behr family and latched onto . . . (wait for it) . . . 'Sweet Carrot.'
Yep, you read that right. 'Sweet Carrot.' As if that could be anything but a rich, warm ORANGE. But, to my defense, it scanned with our brick highlights purrfectly.

So on a recent past Saturday, while Mr. K was distracted by all the men on TV
in tight pants (football - get your mind out of the gutter!), I set at our front door. I first did a test strip to see what I was in for:Hopefully, you can tell that it was just about (high) time to paint the door.

I stood back, and said, "Yeah!" and proceeded to slather the entire door with two coats, to the end result of:
I liked it pretty much instantly. It provided that little 'pop!' that everyone seems to be seeking. Oh, and I hadn't even consulted the homeowner's association about my color choice - Booyah!

Mr. K's reaction was, shall we say, less than enthusiastic. He had the temerity, nay the audacity, to ask why I had consulted the rest of the family, then capriciously ignored the consensus.

Umm. Good point.

I wasn't so much in love with it that I wouldn't change it. I am holding out for after Halloween, though. Doesn't this just scream (in 120 decibel glory) fall? I shall post a follow up on the really final color of my front door. I'm hoping it hasn't snowed by then, but then if pigs had wings . . .

Next item on the agenda: the doorknob.

First thing this morning, after getting my little darlings out the door to ride the bus to school, I whipped out my trusty painter's tape and a few sheets of newspaper to get to this:

As you can see, most (all) of the shiny finish has worn off of our doorknob. Of course, it was the builder's special installed about 13 years ago, so I'd say it's given pretty good service.
Suffice it to say that finances currently are such that I've got other things to invest in (like new tires so I don't kill myself this winter) so I'm going to teach y'all (yes, I'm originally a Texan) a new term today: stopgap measure.

You probably have heard that term mentioned in news articles about Congress, but it applies to LOTS of things; namely, my doorknob. A stopgap measure, as defined by thefreedictionary website, refers to 'an improvised substitute for something lacking.'
Yep, that's my doorknob; something lacking.

At the very least, shiny brass is *so* yesterday anyway, so I whipped out a can of trusty Rustoleum spray paint and had at it! I chose Hammered Gold since I had the amazing foresight to buy this at one point because I *knew* I needed it for something.
I gave it two quick coats and I love the finish it gave me:

I did notice the underside and the back needs a little more coating, but for now, it looks *SO* much better!

What have you got going on for fall cleaning this week? Or, are you all caught up and doing fun stuff? Talk to me, please!



Monday, September 13, 2010

I *LOVE* it! (but hubby doesn't)

No, it's not something I've done, just something I just saw in a magazine. Dwell, to be exact. A wonderful magazine, but it also tends to be just a little bit modern/minimalist for my regular gal tastes. But, I caught sight of something that I will have to have one day.

I was cruising through their latest issue and gaping in amazement at these families that live in unnaturally clean, uncluttered houses when I came upon an advertisement for Woolly Pocket. It featured this fabulous array of plants just hanging on the wall, VERTICALLY! Well, now I've got my blank space in my newly painted living room taken care of - NOT.

I showed the ad to hubby, all breathless and giddy and he says, "What? The couch?"


I looked at the ad. Yes, there was a couch pictured but it is a 60's mod-style that isn't my taste at all.

"No! Can't you guess what I like in that picture?" to which I received a glare and a "I'm not going to play guessing games with the whole page. Just tell me."

I pointed with great vim and vigor to the sculpture of lush greenery and said, "That! Isn't it fabulous?"


Hmmm. Not the response I was looking for. This may have to wait for our next house when I get some sort of hobby/craft/office room to myself .

I couldn't find the ad picture in the magazine that started all th
is, but feast your eyes on this use:
Seriously? What's not to love about fresh produce that not only gives you something to fix for dinner but also looks good AND keeps your air smelling like a garden? NOTHING!
This is a little more similar to the type of use that set my heart afire:

Granted, my house is a 'leetle' less on the avant garde decor (okay, LOTS less, but I digress), but doesn't that wall of plants just look divine? I knew you'd like it!

Has anyone out there had any experience with this type of product? Or, have you had the desire to do something like this but didn't know you could? I'd love to hear your incorporating plants into your house stories!



Saturday, July 31, 2010

I spoke too soon

Okay, I may be 2 for 3 on the cars, but my car is really taking a beating. Today, the A/C condenser got holed (yes, I mean holed) on the drive on I-25 today. A part from the trailer hitch on a Dodge pickup nailed a 1 inch diameter hole in it. Sheesh! I'm hoping my string of bad luck on cars ends *NOW*!

Any way, I promise to have good pictures of all the improvements I (read: Mr. K) have made recently on this Sunday's post. Saturday is shot, as both kids' teams wrap up their season and we have trophy/award/picture presentations as well as end of season parties . . .

Not enough hours in the day to get done what I need to! Do you feel the same?


Thursday, July 29, 2010

All apologies

To everyone I convinced to come check out my new blog, I owe you *big time*!

You see, 5 days after the last post (June 24th), I was rear-ended and had to put my car in the shop for 2 weeks. Oh, and I discovered that I didn't have rental coverage on my policy (crud). So, that means that Mr. Kellacious graciously lent the kids and I use of his snazzy '06 Mustang and he drove our Heep. Excuse me, I meant to type Jeep.

I won't even delve into the details of taking the Jeep to band practice and it stranding me in a part of town I wouldn't normally hang around at 11:00 . . . that little exercise involved Mr. K waking up both kids at 11:30 (daughter was raring to go and son could've cheerfully killed us all for waking him up). At least that car was fixed in a day.

So now I'm 2 for 3 on killing our cars. Yes, I am fortunately still married, but I digress.

The original intent for this blog is to follow the home improvement path I take with our house, good, bad and ugly (a rarity, I'm hoping).

What has happened in my blogging MIA days:

1. Almost finished the front living room. By this, I mean that I got some of the new trim painted, the mantel painted and some beautiful greenery for the top of the fireplace that splits the room. Also got one gold bar on the fireplace painted aged copper as a test run. *MUST* find the ultra high heat brown paint to change the fireplace panels from black to brown!

2. Mr. K whipped himself into a frenzy on the 4th of July weekend and managed to empty, paint and redo our 2nd living room. I have finally managed to do a passable job on a color wash to blend the ultra dark brown (mine and son's fave) of the front living room to the medium brown (preference of Mr. K and daughter) of the 2nd living room. Compromise makes the world go round (peacefully)!

3. Mocked up (excuse me, I'm an engineer and some things you can't beat out of me, like geeky terminology) a fabric storage bin for my too deep shelves in the 2nd living room to hide the perpetual toy/game/whatever mess that lives there. Have to get up on my soapbox here for a moment: Mr. Builder? When you drew up the plans for my house, did you not think that maybe a nice bookshelf on both sides of the fireplace would be handy? And that shelves that are 2 feet deep aren't practical except for shoving junk into and looking like a mess? Okay, enough rant. I'll post a picture to show what I mean about this very soon!

Okay, enough typing for now, since it's time to start printing out team and individual photos for my son's baseball team in time for the last game/end of season party.

Thanks again for your time, and I really do promise to keep up this time. I mean, it's not like the world's gonna spin off it's axis into the sun and prevent me from doing this, right?

Take care,


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nifty website for original decorating

I feel the need to share with you a website I found from a design book. For a while, we've been getting Dwell magazine. It's not something Mr. K or I ordered and it really is a mystery as to why we receive it. Maybe my Mother-in-law sent it (but this isn't really her taste or modus operandi); who knows.

Anyway, while looking through it and gazing at all the wonderful pictures and ads, I came across this ad for modern, digital canvases. The company, md-canvas, offers a wide variety of artwork that you can have printed in three different sizes to fit your design space. 'Incredibly nifty!' I thought.

After browsing their artwork, nothing really zapped me for the space I have in mind. I did, however, have a photo I took and adjusted with Adobe Photoshop Elements to look like a watercolor painting that I though would look fantastic printed like a painting on canvas and maybe framed.

Here's the shot:

And before you either break out in wild, raucous laughter or call the local insane asylum, let me explain. The original photo (if you couldn't tell) was of some exposed roots beside a trail we hiked along this past Father's Day close to my in-laws place in the mountains. I like the cragginess of them and I thought the colors would look good in my new living room (you know, the deep chocolate of my couches tied with the warm, orange-y tan of my walls), hence a picture of roots. Just be glad it's my living room and not yours. Also, I envisioned this being a fairly large print so you get the watercolor-esque detail.

Soooo, lo and behold, I find that md-canvas has a subsidiary that does custom canvas printing from your own, original artwork (or photo, etc.): Photo2canvas!

I'm in heaven! Now, to quit spending money on the silly renovation part of the room and start investing in making it look WOW! Photo2canvas has the same sizes as md-canvas and at what I thought were very reasonable rates.

Do you have a nifty design website/store/etc. find that you'd like to share? Please do!

And I promise, more photos tomorrow, since I should be almost finished with my carpet repair work!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More progress = no pictures

Sad to say, it's true. No pictures for today, but what a set you'll be seeing (hopefully) tomorrow! Even though I got some painting done today (can you say window surround and the rest of the background to the fireplace), I also got something major started.

You see, I had a beloved cat who had lasted me through a few marriages and several moves, but had a really bad habit. You guessed it: she peed outside of her litter box. That's partially why we never really used the front living room - because she had.

Well, folks, I'm here to tell you something. Today was the end of it all. I have ripped up the affected area carpet, pulled back the padding and torn out the carpet tack strips. This is in preparation to my 'stopgap' measure for that room.

You see, I plan on having the entire main floor done in hardwood. The only thing holding us back? That silly little commodity that is in such short supply nowadays: money. Within the next year and some months, I should be able to seek a mostly full time job with a fairly nice salary. *THEN* I will declare war on the interstellar fungus that has declared itself our carpeting for the past many years. Oh, it was subtle at first, lying low and acting all nylon and such.

Suffice it to say, the carpeting in our house was the original builder's spec carpeting with that oh-so-fabulous high squish padding (NOT) and has been subjected to almost 8 years of young kids. Heck, I'm almost completely worn out by now too.

Back to my original reason for doing this: getting rid of that smell. I am embarking on a major experiment to see if I can get rid of that smell and have my flooring look somewhat normal for the next two years.

After doing all that prep work listed above (a.k.a. annihilating everything she peed on), I am going to coat the entire area with Kilz, which is a primer that is also touted as being a pet odor eliminator. We shall see (picture me wringing my hands as I write this) . . .

After coating with Kilz, I will tack down new padding and I am using strips of the carpet that are left over from the original installation as my replacement. Yes, I heard you gasp in horror when you read that. I will say that where this carpet will be is along that wall pictured with the window and there will be a nice love seat strategically placed over that area, haha.

See, I'm nuts, but I'm not crazy. You'll see . . .


P.S. I'm also working in Adobe Photoshop Elements to convert some of my photos to artwork for my new, fabulous living room!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Walls are PAINTED!

Well, you're probably thinking "It's about time" and you are *so* right! I still have the ladder work (to edge the top near the ceiling) but the major work is done .
I can never remember to take these during the wonderful natural light, so here's the flash(ier) version.

View from the division of the two living rooms:
And from the front:
I checked closely and the light spot that shows in the photo above is a camera flash anomaly and *not* a missed spot (promise).

I confess, I spent the time going to Home Depot instead of doing the fine tuning work. I bought new trim for the much needed areas. I can't wait for Mr. K to work his miracles on mitering the new trim and make this baby POP! I think I'm getting giddy again . . .

It will all be better when I get the whole room finished and can look at all my hard work come to fruition - isn't that always the way it is?

Don't think I'm done with you yet, either. I've got plenty of improvement projects to keep this blog going, well, forever!

Thanks for tuning in again!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wishful thinking

I spent some of this weekend wishing I could get into the room to paint, but to no avail.

Massive amounts of time spent at ballparks for Little League/T-ball games and a Sunday spent at my in-laws mean a Monday of painting for me! I enjoyed all my 'away from painting' activities and got some good pictures to scrapbook when that portion of my renovation is finished: Yeah!

I did pick up another gallon of paint so I can at least finish the room. I will be smart and wait to do the up high stuff when Mr. K gets home so there's someone who can scrape me off the floor if I mess up and fall (fingers crossed that this doesn't happen).

My sincere apologies who thought I really going to get progress done - this is my last backsliding, I swear!

See you tomorrow night with some great pics!


Friday, June 18, 2010

Well, Mr. K is hoping that Centsational Girl will give a demo on her blog about completion. Ha! It's not her issue, but mine.

I hate painting above my head. It gives me a crick in the neck and makes my arms ache. Did I mention that I need to work out more? No progress today on the painting, but I plan on rousting myself up before the noon hour tomorrow to at least get two walls done (and I do mean done) so we can start moving furniture back into place.

I did get to peruse the Oops paint section at one of the Home Depots next to our house, so the evening wasn't a complete loss. That, and I've picked out a contrast paint to do the fireplace mantel, etc. We'll see how that goes.

Anywho, off to work on the painting, since Mr. K is up late with me and typing his heart out on his next book. Translation: he just looked over, with his MP3 player plugged into his ears and said, "I take it you're not painting."

Stay tuned, faithful readers!


It's only the beginning

Okay, I'll try for two posts today (yeah, right). I broke down and took a picture of the ugly, in-between stage of the partially painted wall.

I think I might title this picture 'Anticipation.'

Usually I at least finish to the edges, but I was so pooped and didn't feel like dragging in the ladder to reach the very top. That, and the kids finally got on my last nerve with a screaming argument, so we all took a break and went shopping for my son's friend's birthday present.

We then dropped by the local park for some fresh air and change of scenery, complete with other kiddos to divert mine's attention from each other (whew)! I sat at the picnic benches with some tiling and painting books I'd picked up at the local library (who, me, slack?).

Which reminds me: I have always used my library as my 'browsing' function for getting to look at many books before I decide that I can't live without them on my shelf. Yes, Mom, I actually do
decide NOT to buy some books (she knows how many bookshelves exist in my house). By the same token, our changing things up a bit will allow us to make the secondary living room a library of sorts and I'm going to move all our bookshelves into that room. But that's a later project, or at least after this one!

More later . . .


Thursday, June 17, 2010

I promised myself when I started this blog that I would not miss a day, but today is a toughie to say much about. That's not to say I didn't *do* anything, I just don't have any lovely pics of my WIP room to show.

I got most of one of the big walls covered and wouldn't you know I need a second coat for this round. Sheesh! That's the heartache of choosing a color that's very similar to the one already there . . . At least I got enough done that I can stand back and say, HMMM, it looks kind of pinkish to me . Cornered Mr. K when he came home and it doesn't strike him that way, so we're okay. Not that I have anything against pink, it's just not on the top of my list and not what I was looking for for the first impression when you walk into the house.

Also, tonight is band practice night. I know, I'm a geek if I'm still doing that after all these years. So sue me. It's Mom's night out once a week and don't you know I go skipping out the door on Thursday evenings!

I've got until Friday evening to finish that one wall and start working on the rest, as Mr. K would like to move some furniture into the room so we're all not suffering from claustrophobia any more. Did I mention that our house is about 1,500 square feet? And I've moved an entire room's worth of furniture to various points within the small confines so I can have some room to work? I'm sure you're starting to get the picture now.

With that, I should have some more pictures tomorrow of great progress because I know that's all you're interested in: results!

Don't forget to feel free to chime in at any time with your success stories . . .


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I managed to clean the front room carpet today (plus the other living room, hallway upstairs and one child's room and our bathroom). So, a picture of that just wouldn't be exciting in my mind. I will digress a bit and tell you that I made the family suffer through my favorite summer time dinner: grilled chicken on an Asian salad finished with my current favorite oil-based dressing. It's 'Asian Salad Dressing and Marinade' from Teresa Burns Salad Dressings book published in 1997. I looked around the web tonight and can't find it for sale new (reasonably priced, that is), but I'm guessing this book from the same author probably has it. Here's the recipe to convince you that you need her book:

Asian Salad Dressing and Marinade

In this dressing, it is the combination of sesame oil, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and mirin that creates the characteristic Asian flavor. Mirin is a sweet rice wine. It is found in Japanese markets and many grocery stores.

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce*

*I usually don't put in the Tabasco sauce, but I substitute a squeeze of chili paste sauce called Sriracha (it has a rooster on it and I find it at my local Safeway easily)

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl or jar and stir or shake to blend well.

Cover and chill the dressing until you are ready to use it. Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before stirring or shaking again and serving.

This dressing will keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

My other fave from this book is the Creamy Winter Special salad dressing - yum!

So, apologies to all for not posting much of my redecorating, but I hope you enjoy this dressing recipe and get to use it sometime soon!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My fun-filled day

I have to be amazed at what I got done today - for me, at least.

1. Rented the Rug Doctor,
2. Turned in used inkjet cartridges
3. Returned the loaner car to the dealer and got mine back
4. Got cleaning supplies from Target
5. Cleaned the front room carpet
6. Fed the kids and I lunch
7. Dropped them off to their play date
8. Got my hair colored and cut and traded in my 80s do for a more modern style
9. Picked up kids
10. Went to T-ball practice for the youngest
11. Ate a late dinner out
12. Went to Ulta to get the requisite tools for my new do
13. Came home and sat down!

Knowing that the car dealer and my hair stylist are both halfway across town (and on opposite ends, mind you), I did a heck of a lot of traveling today!

I'm still on track for getting my front room painted by Friday (Mr. Kellacious's deadline) so I can put the furniture into the room and out of the overly crowded current living room it's all residing in. I can put up with it if I know it's temporary . . . but I'm going to really kick it in tomorrow so we'll all be happier when it's finished!

Thanks for checking in with me and I hope you all had an equally productive day today!


Monday, June 14, 2010

A little room history and current standing

So I spent much of today removing what I could from the front living room and shredding unimaginable amounts of old documentation. I *will* be better about culling old documents from here on out, I promise!
So, here's a reasonable approximation of what the room looked like for the past 5 years or so:

And another angle:Of course, my close friends know it hasn't looked this organized or clean since this picture was taken in 2006 (sigh). I'm the messy creative type and it's just a really bad idea to have that be the first room in your house any visitors see.

Here's an interim photo from late last night.

As it sits right now:

Aaaand from the flip side:

Please disregard the carpeting that is shot. I'm going to Rug Doctor it to the best of my ability and we're going for hardwood when the money's available. You'll know when that happens because you'll hear the 'thunk' from me fainting with joy.

So there you have it: the very definition of WIP (Work In Progress, for you unitiated).

What projects have you begun this season? Share with me in the comments section, PLEASE!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Wow! I'm already behind (sheesh)

My apologies to everyone. I know it's bad form to start a blog and immediately start slacking on it. But, I did mention that I had numerous projects on my plate (I did, didn't I?) and I'm trying to document as I go (insert canned laughter here).

Spent most of today okay all of today working on my front living room of my house. It was a disaster area and a study in squalor. I have managed to box up most of my hobby stuff (mainly scrapbooking, beading and sewing) and move it into the basement. It's not set up there for work yet, but my priority is to have the main living area of my house lovely so that I might entertain guests without having to ply them with liquor so they don't notice how it looks. Many thanks to Mr. Kellacious and my son to their hard work on getting my 3' x 6' desk into the basement from that front room.

So, in the next few days I'm going to treat you to a blow by blow of the transformation of that room.

Prepare to be flabbergasted!


Saturday, June 12, 2010

I've become a junkie

With the delight many folks reserve for things like Disney Land/World or Christmas morning, I visit furniture stores. And thrift stores. And home improvement stores (like Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, you get the drift).

Yes, sad, I know. I didn't used to be this way. Until early this year, when my good neighbor J pointed out a few design blogs she said I might like. You can see them on the right hand side of this blog. As we all know, misery loves company it’s fun to share with your friends!

Now, I drag the kids with me as I peruse the oops paint sections and ponder the merits of what I could re-purpose from the thrift store. Not to mention the fun of herding them through Ethan Allen. Actually, they were really quite well behaved in that one. It was WOW! that drove them to the edge and I contemplated using bicycle flags to locate them.

For those not familiar with WOW!, it means Weekend Only Warehouse furniture and is only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday and specializes in closeouts from top furniture manufacturers like Henredon. I don't think they have many locations and their website says it's under construction. Searching on Yahoo brought up Houston, Denver and some South Carolina ones.

Anywho, I just thought I'd give you some idea of my current level of obsession and point the finger give credit where credit was due for this whole mess. Thanks, J!


Friday, June 11, 2010

Greetings from me to you!

My very first post to my very first blog; how exciting! At least it is for me.

Mr. Kellacious (my loving better half) walked in just now while I was playing with layout setting and asked that oh-so-dangerous question, "Watcha doin'?" My witty reply? "Setting up my blog." "Why do you need a blog?" was his retort. I won't bore you with needless details of the back and forth that went on for the next several minutes. Suffice it to say, it ended with me saying (in an exasperated tone, sadly enough), "I don't know all the answers to what you're asking yet. I have yet to do much of anything productive except tell you I'm starting it." I can now hear the sounds of the master bathtub being filled, so he's soaking his tired bones and reading a good book while I type this. Yes, I *do* love that man!

My idea is to share various home improvement projects (of which I have several going on currently), bargain-hunting finds and AHA! tips from the dark recesses of my brain. I quit my full time job a little over four years ago and am just now finding a use for all my spare time. Did I mention I have two young kids at home, only one of which is in school full time? Yeah, spare time. That's a good one.

So, howdy to all my cyberspace friends and I hope you enjoy the ride!