Wednesday, October 24, 2012

master bedroom: campaign mirror and Gary's new home

In keeping with my theme of using what we have, Gary moved upstairs and I painted the lamps and a mirror I had laying around.

I don't have a "before" picture of the mirror, but it was an ugly birch melamine.  This mirror has been sitting around the garage for quite a while and never been used, because it weighs about 400 lbs.  It came as a part of the set of campaign furniture I bought off craigslist (that was later stolen).

There really should be some more stylistic crap on that dresser, shouldn't there?  Unfortunately a fancy vignette would be impractical, seeing as we like to heap the dresser high with laundry and stuff that should be thrown in the trash can two feet away.

I wanted to give Gary some pukka beads but apparently they are not de rigeur anymore so he settled for a necklace I already have.

The lamps were also painted Krylon Emerald Green.

I am wondering if I should have left the naked lady over the dresser and put the mirror on the side of the bed where the naked lady is now.  The Mister has shown a distinct lack of interest in moving the 400 lb mirror to a different wall.

You might have noticed that I brought back the blue duvet cover and greek key shams from our old bedroom in the last house.  The woodland duvet curtains will also be coming down as soon as I find the time to put the trim on the new curtains.

Last but  not least, a headless shot a la AB Chao:

Friday, October 19, 2012

one more bedspread, garland tassel, exercising, plastic surgery

Somehow I missed Serena and Lily when I was bedspread shopping.  Lets add this one to the list, shall we?


I am also thinking about what sort of art I could hang over the bed in Princess's room.  I saw this tassel garland on 6th St Design School today, and oh! Isn't that pretty! Hmmm.....

via Everly Lane Design

I had this feeling when I signed all my kids up for school that I would have ALL THIS TIME to do stuff.  I have an extra five hours in the day, right?

No. I don't.  I am still doing all the same stuff I was doing before, except its quieter and I get stuff done in less time.  But on the whole, I do not have a ton of extra free time.

However, now that I don't have to arrange for childcare, I do have time to exercise.  For years I have walked on the treadmill every morning at 6:30 before taking everyone to school. I still do this, but now after I drop everyone off, I go to a Pure Barre class.  I am in no way being recompensed by Pure Barre (please feel free to recompense me!), but I am really enjoying this class.

I have never ever been one to enjoy organized exercising. I do not like to go to the gym.  I am incredibly uncoordinated and my inability to follow basic dance moves has kept me out of any aerobic or Zumba type class (or any other organized sport) for years.  In fact, I still fumble the moves in the Pure Barre class, but for the most part, they are simple and straightforward and I can follow them.

Its not an aerobic class, but I leave hot and sweaty, feeling like I've just gotten an intense workout.  I don't feel like I am straining my neck working out.  It is very pilates-based and tones your core.  I did not take pictures or measurements before starting, which I regret, because I can already see a difference in my stomach after a month of going 3 times a week.  Now in week five I can do exercises I couldn't do the first week.

The cons: it is not cheap.  It is also full of very fit, athletic, skinny women, which is kind of depressing if you are not fit, skinny and athletic. There are many yoga moves and I look at these women with their long, lean lines in yoga poses, and I feel...not long and lean, that's for sure.  Regardless, my mirrors at home tell me I am getting smaller, so I will keep going.

I was sitting at the doctor's office the other day reading a magazine that had a number of articles on plastic surgery.  I wish I had at least taken down the name of the magazine, it seemed like a local-to-LA kind of magazine.  In any event, one of the articles made the humorous point that "teeth are the gateway drug to plastic surgery."  I find this fascinating.

I was born without two of my adult front teeth, so I have already had extensive cosmetic dentistry performed.  In my teens, implants were just starting to become popular, and instead I had maryland bridges installed.  These fake teeth had a projected life span of 15 years.  They've been in for 23 years now.

Although my fake teeth were the appropriate size for my mouth when they were installed, your gums recede as you get older, and now my fake teeth are too small.  Its not terribly noticeable, but I would prefer to have teeth that fit.  I've looked into getting them replaced, but since its not covered by insurance it won't be anytime soon unless one breaks (the horror).

I feel I should also admit that I want lasik surgery.  I would be way hotter without my glasses, yo. And so the slippery slope begins, right?  First the teeth, then the eyes, and we'll work our way down from there, just like the article said.

I have always thought that I would never get plastic surgery done.  For one, it seems like the sort of expensive thing movie stars do, and I am not a rich movie star.   I plan to grow old gracefully and appreciate all the memories my wrinkles represent blah blah blah holy crap I HAVE WRINKLES NOW perhaps its not such a bad idea, hmm.

For some reason, although in New Jersey I would never have dreamt of seriously getting plastic surgery, here it seems....possible.  Sure! Why not! Everyone here does it! I don't think I'd ever touch my face, but the thought of lipo-ing my lower half beckons.

To recap, before you flame me and tell me how vain I am, I'm just saying that in my unwrinkled youth and living in an area where people don't get plastic surgery frequently I would not have gotten plastic surgery, but now here where its common and now I'm old it seems like "probably not but never say never."

Would you ever get plastic surgery if you had the means?

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I spent some time last night window shopping for bedding for the Princess...not buying anything for a bit, but I do like to shop.   There is lots of beautiful bedding out there.

I have a gift certificate to West Elm that I have been hoarding for a while, perhaps this Fair Aisle duvet might work with her pink Emmy curtains.  I LOVE this bedding, especially the standard shams.  It has a lovely casual but pretty vibe to it.  To be honest, it reminds me of a quilt my mother would have made when I was a kid.

Or this large pink buffalo check from Ikea.

I don't think this one will go with the curtains at all, but I think its super pretty:. Which is weird because I do not really like purple.

This one is also pretty, but I think too busy to go with the curtains:

Land of Nod has some lovely bedding and I would get this immediately, but they do not carry queen sizes.

Seen any noteworthy bedding lately?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Princess's room: the layout and the defeat

The Princess's room is not going very well.  Every single thing I have done in that room so far has turned out poorly.

I freely admit that space planning is not one of my abilities. When we decided to get Princess a queen bed, we taped it out on the floor to see how it fit.

No problemo, right?  Um, well, actually, yes problemo.  See that little snippet of rocking chair in the lower left corner?  See how the tape pretty much goes under the seat of that chair?  Even if we move the bed over so that it is schooched up against the closet, that still leaves about six inches between the chair and the bed. Seeing as this is the third time I've used this picture, I probably should have noticed this earlier.

I have taped off other various ways of arranging the room (going through a lot of tape, yo), and that chair doesn't fit in there with that bed.

So! Since we already bought the bed, the chair is moving out.  My baby's crib and my baby's rocker (my first baby! I bought that rocker when I was pregnant with Greg! THIS IS THE END OF AN ERA!) are gone.  Its a big girl room now.  Sob.

My original plans for this room were to essentially just plop a big girl bed in it, use art and bedding we already have, and spend essentially no money in here.  

I thought that we would just use queen sheets from our old queen bed from a few years ago, and the blanket from our old bed.  Except apparently I donated all the old queen sheets but for one dark brown pair that we use for the air mattress. (Damn you, William Morris.) The old blanket from our queen bed was actually a king blanket, and since we bought a very low platform frame for the new bed, the king blanket hangs a good eighteen inches off either side.  No way of folding or arranging the king blanket is working to make it fit the bed.

Perhaps a dry cleaner would hem this blanket down to a better size?

The mirror I wanted to use over the bed is not the right scale. I also realized that hanging a mirror over a toddler's bed in earthquake country is not one of my better ideas.

I think I am falling back and regrouping for a while. I need a plan of attack.  Its not about the stuff, right?  I keep telling myself that.

Monday, October 15, 2012

the weekend

Our weekend was spent building stuff.

Princess got a new pink kitchen.  I gave away our old play kitchen because it was enormous and just didn't fit in the room very well.  I had all these big Pinterest ideas of DIY-ing a cute little bitty kitchen. I even went so far as to buy a cheap Ikea nightstand to make it with, sat in the garage for months. 

I gave up and ordered this kitchen from Costco.  It is dainty, pink, came with a fridge, and fit the space perfectly.

It also arrived in about four hundred pieces.

Once upon a time the Mister and I used to eat out on Friday nights.  Now we do manual labor. 

We also picked up a bed for Princess.  We built that too.

The Mister, as he wrestled three very heavy boxes up the stairs, said "When I turn 40 I am done with this Ikea sh*t."  I have to say I heartily concur.

I painted some stuff.  The children turned the sprinkler on and soaked all the items.

And we cleaned the garage. Again.  And took much of the overflow to a storage unit.  I have no pictures.

How was your weekend?  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Princess's room: Nester makes me rethink it.

For the past hour I composed a post about possible headboards for the Princess's room, and it was all I want I want I want.  My original idea for a pretty headboard was only available in a twin, and now that I've bought Princess a queen bed, that option won't work.  It was also a very cheap option in a twin, and now that I've bought a queen bed, I've used up my budget for the room.

I took a break from writing and hopped over to the Nester's 31 Days series.  And immediately felt ashamed of myself.  Have you been following along with Nester's 31 Days, where she writes about having an intentional home?  Its an excellent series--I'm a little behind on my blog reader, so I hadn't yet seen it.  The second post asks "what is the purpose of your home?"  The fourth post notes that your home is "not about the stuff."

And those are two important things that sometimes I forget.

I really like shopping for my house. I like dreaming up moodboards. I like spending money on furniture and art. I like doing DIY projects. I like sharing DIY decor on my blog.  But the purpose of my home is not to provide fodder for my blog. (It is certainly a by-product, but not the true purpose.)

The purpose of my home is to provide a warm, nurturing, casual, and welcoming place to live for my family.  Its not about the stuff.  Its not about the fabulous headboard I wanted. My three year old will not be impressed by the headboard.  Its not about what will be fun to share on my blog. Its not about how I want an item I can't afford.  Why do I focus on that?

Its about my family. Its about providing a functional place for them to live.  Attractive, yes, but functional.  I have a playroom sofa with clean midcentury lines that I like, but I don't care if the kids eat yogurt and popsicles on it.  I have a gallery wall of art, and fifty percent of it is created by my kids.  I have a gallery wall of photos, and they are all family and friends. I have two ottomans that I hate, but the Mister likes them better than any alternatives I have suggested, so they stay.

I sometimes look around and wish that my house were more sophisticated and glamorous. I sigh over the peeling paint on my dining chairs, and the yogurt and popsicle stains on my sofa. I wish that I were more Design Within Reach than Ikea.

But I'm not. My house is not glamorous, or sophisticated, but it is warm and cozy.  It has numerous spots to curl up with a good book, or challenge your sibling to the Ultimate Bey Blade battle, or eat without fear of ruining the upholstery. It is filled with art I find meaningful, and furniture that is comfortable.  It may not be glamorous, but it is a nice place to live.

The entire point of buying a queen bed is to give our family a comfortable place to sleep when they visit.  What headboard I put up is irrelevant.  (That won't stop me from shopping for one, but I will try not to get so worked up about not finding the perfect one.)  Decorating is a hobby.  Its a hobby that I greatly enjoy, but, still, just a hobby.

Its not about the stuff.

Greg, using a table not for its intended purpose.

My friend Rita at This (Sorta) Old Life has made it into Apartment Therapy's Room For Color Contest. Check it out and vote for her bathroom if you are so inclined, pretty please?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

costume closet hack

Our play costumes have a new home in the playroom.

When we moved here, I set up the playroom with all of our cube units from our previous house, and just set them up in a row along the back wall.

At first, we kept our costumes in an open toy chest in the playroom area.  That was kind of a mess, and the toy chest took up a lot of room.

Then I transferred all the costumes to a plastic bin that I stored underneath the sofa.  This was much neater, but since the kids couldn't see the costumes, they didn't play with them nearly as much.

A few weeks ago one of the kids used the cube storage as a ladder and broke the interior shelves.

 I decided that this would be a good excuse to turn the cube unit into a costume closet. I have wanted one ever since seeing this one at Rambling Renovators.

I took out the interior of the cube unit.  This cube unit was a cheap one from Home Depot, and all I did was unscrew the top and loosen the screws on one side, enabling me to just wiggle the posts out and remove the interior. Then I tightened everything back up so it was reassembled. As a side note, we nailed the pegboard to the back of the unit to give it more structural support; the unit didn't come with that on the back.

I screwed a closet rod socket in the top sides of the unit. These are about $2 at Lowes or your local hardware store; you put the rod in the closed side and then slide the other end in the open side.  I discovered these last year when our tension shower rod kept falling down.

I actually used a 24 - 48 inch shower curtain rod for $7 as the closet rod.  Using a wooden dowel would have been about $2 cheaper, but the saw at Lowes was broken and thus I went with the expedient route.  (Yes, you could just use the tension rod, but my kids will rip that down in a hot second, so I went with the additional reinforcement of a closet rod socket.)

I lined the back with fabric I had in my stash.

And voila, a costume closet for $9.

The playroom has been gone through a serious purge.  With the costume closet, we lost 9 bin spots, and I moved another 6-bin cube from the other end up to the Princess's room.  The blank spot on the end is to make room for a new play kitchen that should be arriving this week.

Its working; our neighborhood has seen an invasion of terrifying pirate clowns complete with hook hands and cutlasses.

If you have kids, how do you store your play costumes?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Princess's room: full or queen?

The Princess's room is getting an overhaul.  I didn't do much with her room when we moved in, just threw together what was in her room in the last house.  It was adequate and functional but not exactly inspiring.

We already moved the bookshelves out of the Princess's room and into the upstairs landing.  My budget for this room, with the exception of one item, is non-existent.  Nearly everything will be reused or repurposed from somewhere else in the house.  I only plan on buying one thing: a big girl bed.

Princess is currently in a crib, and her room is not very big.  However, we have frequent house-guests, and when we do, we have to rearrange all the furniture and take the rocking chair out of her room in order to use the air mattress.  Rather than buy Princess a twin bed, and still have to do all the rearranging when guests come, we are buying Princess a bigger bed.  That way, guests can sleep in Princess's bed when they are here, and Princess will sleep with her brothers.

We have been debating a full bed, or a queen.  We taped it out on the floor to get a sense for size.

Obviously the full would fit better in the room.  However, our decision came down to "what's better in this room for the next year versus what will be better in the next house for the next ten years?"  We decided to take the long view--we know that we are going to be in California for a long time, that we are buying a bigger house next year, that we will have frequent family visits, and we want our guests to be comfortable. Since neither this house nor the next house will have a dedicated guest room, that meant a queen bed in our toddler's room.

Nearly all the toys in our house are kept in the playroom, so the lack of floor space in Princess's bedroom is not a huge concern for us.  She only sleeps and gets dressed in here.  I feel silly admitting that my three year old is sleeping on a queen bed---I didn't have a queen bed till I bought my own in my late twenties---but her room is the only place we have for guests, and it would be sillier to make my guests uncomfortable because of a perceived notion that a child doesn't need/deserve a queen bed.

We are having guests for Thanksgiving, so I hope to have this room mostly finished by then.

Anyone else have a kid sleeping on a queen bed so that guests have a place to stay? 

Friday, October 5, 2012

100 of you!, Flowers in the Attic, new reading nook

Holy cannoli, invisible internet friends, I have reached the mythical ONE HUNDRED FOLLOWERS status. Thank you for joining me on this fun-filled ride, and watch out for the invisible confetti.

Honestly, I am really flattered that 100 of you tune in to read my ramblings and poorly lit pictures of my living room.

Reader Reema informed me that Gary and Elaine are actually brother and sister:

"So, just for funsies, did you know that your busts are copies of the Apollo Belvedere and the Diana (Artemis) of Versailles? If so, Gary and Elaine are twins. Your tale of star-crossed lovers just became soap-opera worthy :)."

YIKES. I had no idea we were getting all Flowers In The Attic up in here.

Gary is still in the living room in front of the fireplace, refusing to look at Elaine, who is steadfastly refusing to look at him too.  Eventually he may be relocated to my bedroom, but currently my dresser is covered in laundry so it may be a while.  Bring on the arsenic donuts.

This past weekend I began the Moving Around of Furniture.  One of the spots that was reassessed was the upstairs landing.  Previously, I had stored the filing cabinet and Greg's homework table there. It was crowded and cramped and too big for the space.  It was also a clutter magnet.

I was attempting to have somewhere quiet where Greg could do his homework.  It didn't really work, as Peter and Princess would simply play in the hallway while we did homework.  Now we all do homework at the dining table together--Greg does his actual homework, and I give Peter and Princess either coloring or tracing words and numbers to do as their "homework". (Peter is getting really good at spelling "Ninjago" and "high-tech Batman Bat Cave".)

This weekend I pulled the table and chairs out and put them in a storage unit. (Oh yes, I am serious about rearranging the furniture.) The filing cabinet went out to the garage, now that more garage crap has gone to the storage unit.

Using the bookshelves that were previously in the Princess's bedroom, I turned the landing into a reading nook:

We've had the two travel posters for nearly ten years; they were from Target and graced our bedroom five houses ago.  The bookshelves are from Ikea.  The pillows were a present from the Mister a few years ago.

We are all enjoying the new nook.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Paint a Rug party: reveal

Ta DA!  My painted rug revealed:

Sorry for the yellowy lighting, its an interior room with a teeny window in the shower and thus the light is not that great.

As you saw last week, I tried fabric spraypaint, which was crunchy underfoot and too expensive to do an entire rug, and fabric dye, which looked good and wasn't crunchy, but did not dry even after four days and kept rubbing off when I touched it, which is not a great quality in a rug.

I could not find textile medium at any of the craft stores here, and finally ordered it from Amazon.  After taping off the rug, I mixed it with plain black Valspar paint from Lowes, and used a rough rag roller to paint it on. I only had enough textile medium for one coat, but luckily there was enough coverage that it didn't need two.

Then I dragged it out of the garage and onto the driveway to bake in the sun, since I couldn't run it through the dryer to heat set it. (Yes, the neighbors do think I am weird.)  I could have ironed the rug, but that seemed like a lot of effort.

After a few hours in the sun, I dragged it back in and ripped off the tape.  And voila, striped rug!

This was a really easy project; I don't know why I procrastinated so long.  The taping was easy, as was the painting.  However, to be completely honest, despite the addition of textile medium, the rug is still a wee bit crunchy underfoot.  I would be okay with this in a foyer or mudroom, or a place where I don't spend a lot of time in bare feet.  Unfortunately, my master bathroom is a place where I do spend lots of time without shoes, and thus I don't think this rug is going to stay in this room.  I'll have to find another place for it, because I think it looks pretty good.

You can see my inspiration for this rug here, and the process of making the rug here.

Check out what everyone else did with their rugs:

Chinoiserie Chic
Design du Monde

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

wedding outfit and thievery

Your comments to yesterday's Gary and Elaine post made me laugh. You all are too funny.  

I am attending a wedding at the end of October in DC, and I will admit that my selection of fancy-wear in my post-childbearing years have nothing that fits.  I asked Mel from I Pick Pretty to help me figure out a nice outfit to wear, because she is excellent at that sort of thing.  She came up with a beautiful ensemble, which I have ordered.  Thank you Mel! I will post pictures once the outfit gets here.  

I am not that great with cash.  If its in my wallet, I spend it.  Knowing this about myself, I rarely carry cash.  I almost always use a debit card, because then I can easily track my spending.  

I take out cash for specific purposes at the beginning of the week.  If I know that I will have a sitter on Wednesday, or that I need to give a donation for a maternity gift for a teacher, or that I need to pay the swim teacher, then I take out exactly that much money and usually keep it in a designated basket in a cupboard. 

Over the past few months I have felt like I have spent more cash than I could account for--I thought I had more cash than this? I thought I had forty dollars in here, not twenty?  But, as I said, I know that I am not that great with cash and figured I spent it on something.  Although yesterday I could have sworn that I had taken out $80 for various things, and I couldn't find that $80--it wasn't in my purse, and it wasn't in the basket, and that's pretty much the sum total of places I keep money.  And I might not notice if I spent $10, but I assure you I would notice if I spent $80 or a series of small purchases that added up to $80.  

So, after not being able to find that money, I went to the bank and took out $400 because I was on my way to go buy something off craigslist.  I ended up not buying the piece I went for because it was bigger than I thought.  I bought some cupcakes and Auntie Anne pretzels at the mall, and I left the remaining $390 in my wallet.  

Tonight I went out, and upon arriving home, pulled out my wallet to pay the sitter, and the $390 was gone.  Okay, I may not be great with cash, BUT I DID NOT SPEND $390 SINCE LAST NIGHT and "forget" where I spent it.  Also, if someone stole $390 out of my purse, why did they leave me $12 and all my credit cards??

A quick Spanish Inquisition of the childrens revealed that one of my children had, in fact, helped themselves to $390.  Kindly go get that money and bring it here, child.  Child brought the box in which said child had been hiding the goodies, and we proceeded to count all the money that said child had been hoarding.

To the tune of $700.  And my nice gold watch.  


(Granted, $470 was accumulated in a twenty-four hour period, but SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!!)

If you are a family member who has stayed in my house in the past few months and want to put in a claim, line forms on the left.  

Tomorrow is my painted rug reveal!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I must, I must, I must increase my bust.

If you saw yesterday's post, then you probably figured out that I bought a pair of busts over the weekend.  I have been searching for a white grecian style bust for about two years, and lo and behold, craigslist gives me not one but two in one weekend.    

Meet Gary and Elaine, star-crossed lovers forever separated at opposite ends of the mantelpiece.  

Gary was evicted when his owner moved in with his girlfriend and the girlfriend, quote, "is forcing me to sell all my stuff on craigslist."  I'm sure that relationship will last.  Gary also came with a valuable and architecturally interesting column, but I drove a hard bargain to not take the column. 

Elaine came from a broken home in Santa Ana.  Remarkably, Gary and Elaine are nearly the same size and are the same finish, which is a lovely coincidence. 

Gary and Elaine are a bit too big for the mantelpiece.  They rendezvous in front of the fire, instead.  

Elaine gets in a tiff; they stare coldly in the opposite direction.  

Elaine storms off to live on the dresser in the foyer.  

Gary gazes forlornly into the distance by himself.  

I am not running a home for wayward grecian busts; is two busts in one space too many?

Elaine looks pretty awesome in the foyer and I plan to leave her there.  I like Gary in front of the fireplace, but am willing to move him to my bedroom.  

Advise, invisible internet friends!