Workin’ On My Skillz

So, I know it’s been awhile, but do I really need to explain the blogging absence? Life. Blah, blah, blah. Really busy. Yadda, yadda, yadda. We done? Cool.

On to more important things. My skillz.

Many months ago I set myself a little project to keep the boredom away. You see, Andrew was away on a business trip for most of the winter and I was bored. And lonely. So lonely and bored that I adopted a feline friend. He likes to cuddle and be petted, and has blue eyes, so Bubba became an acceptable substitute for my husband.

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Seriously, look at this husband cat.

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The other project I worked on to stave off the boredom was a 30 day drawing project. Everyday for 30 days, I drew what I wore. I needed an excuse to get back into the practice of drawing anyway. Working on this project helped me loosen up on figure drawing and got me back in the swing of things in terms of illustration.

Without further ado, here are some drawings/outfits I wore from this past winter. Enjoy.

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I started out being pretty detailed and honest. Note that on day #3 I wore pajamas all day… and a blanket. I laid around with a blanket most of the day.

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It was after day 11 that I decided I I really need to work on my faces.

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This girl has a sad face. Seriously adorable outfit skills though. Man, this girl, while sad, has some style. Who is that anyway? Oh yeah, me. I wore that.

Here are some more:

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Finishing Up

** Side Story: I was inspired to write this post because sister had a post she started in our shared document called “Procrastination.” The title was the only thing written. Procrastination indeed.

It seems that the cycle of DIY in my house goes something like this:

  1. plan to start a project, buy all materials we think we need
  2. wait at least one month before actually starting the project
  3. start project, realize it isn’t as hard or complicated as we thought
  4. complete project to point where life isn’t impacted by project being unfinished
  5. wait 3-6 months, think about completing project
  6. actually complete project at some distant future point.

It’s a system that is well practiced here. We routinely get excited about a project and buy all the materials, and then let them sit in the basement until we actually get around to starting the project. We also routinely omit completely or forget about the finishing step. Which is why a lot of my ongoing projects are never “finished.”

Well, I’ve had about enough, and it starts in the Kitchen.

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Our kitchen was a great renovation. It took a considerably short period of time, we were able to get the things we needed complete and we now have plenty of room in the kitchen for all of our things. But technically, it’s still unfinished. We’ve been using the “unfinished” kitchen for several months now, and I’ve decided to FINALLY cross the last things off the list.

Unfinished detail #1: our backsplash.

So this is my bad. When Andrew and I went to install the backsplash, I never really thought about how to finish the ends. So it ended up looking like this. FOR ALL ETERNITY.

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The tile we used didn’t have a special finishing piece that we could buy, and I wasn’t crazy about the other options (wood trim, metal stripping). NOTE TO SELF: only consider tile you can find finishing pieces to in the future. At one point we did buy metal stripping, it’s still in the basement. The most difficult parts about this project are the vertical sides that don’t end in a corner. these ended up having those crooked little half circles. Clearly we need to finish the backsplash better.

After hemming and hawing for what feels like for-ev-er (and in fact has been 9 months), I decided to just use strips of the tile itself to finish off the edges. I thought that the top edge of the tile looked the most clean, so I cut strips and glued them in place. There were 4 places I needed to fix. Instead of going through the laborious process of removing and replacing tile, I just added a new strip on the vertical spots with some caulk adhesive. There was one spot that needed to have the tiles popped off. I then used a premixed grout to fill in the spots that needed it.

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 Then I simply taped and caulked. I did have some trouble keeping the caulk off of the round tiles, but it really was just a test in patience. Protip: using a we paper towel is extremely helpful.

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You can see all the places that needed finishing in this panorama:

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 In all, finishing up the tile took MAYBE 2 full hours spaced out into 20 minute intervals over 3 days. Totally do-able, and completely shameful that I didn’t get to it sooner.

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Unfinished detail #2: Baseboards. Well, one baseboard in particular. We had to cut this particular baseboard shorter because of the drawer cabinets. I prepped and sanded the wall, and then NOTHING. Unpainted portion of wall for 9 months. It wasn’t even that bad, and only took 20 minutes of actual time to caulk and paint the baseboard and wall. What a slacker. Also, no pictures because baseboards are boring, and the aforementioned slacking.

So that’s it. The kitchen reno is complete. It only took an entire year, nbd.

P.S. The kitchen renovation does not include the back door (seen in the panorama picture), which I was never part of the original plan and this way, I can call the kitchen project officially complete!

Adventures in Upholstering

Before I go into all the upholstering I’ve been doing, I have a very important announcement about a new addition to my family.

We got a cat. His name is Bubba, and he’s awesome. Here are some pictures to prove how awesome he is.

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OK, on to other things….

I like to think that I’m a relatively talented person in the fabric and sewing department. I mean, I have a degree in Fashion Design, for christsakes. But for all my ample talents, I’ve never tried my hand at upholstery. So I gave it a try (over several weeks, spanning different levels of difficulty), and here are the results in order of difficulty.

Project One: I’ve had this chair for a few years. It was my grandmother’s. Generally I love my grandmother’s slightly offbeat sense of decor, but the seat of this chair just wasn’t doing it for me.

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So I started by ripping off the faded pink fabric. Side note: I highly recommend buying one of those staple remover jobbies. It makes the job a hell of a lot easier.

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under the pink fabric, I found this:

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WHAT?!? How many mother-effing layers of fabric are on this thing!?! Also, what is that? Is that a TOWEL!?!?!

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At this point, I sort of just threw my hands up. The green fabric and the towel (*shudder*) was tacked down with little baby nails, and I didn’t feel like ripping off a whole other layer of fabric… and a gross towel. So I just used the green fabric as my base point and put new fabric over it. I chose a blue and black buffalo check that I had in my stash.

Covering a seat is pretty easy:

  1. remove seat, rip off old fabric
  2. iron new fabric
  3. staple

Here is the final result.

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Project 2:

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Inspired by the success of project one, I bought these chairs from my new favorite internet space, Everything but the House (www.ebth.com). The chairs are a good size, and have really cool detailing on the back. However the seats came from some terrible hellhole of fabric from the past. So it had to go.

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I had some fabric in my stash that would work, but not enough of it to cover all 4 of the chairs, so I decided to mix and match. This is a flat weave poly with a water resistant coating on it, so I’m hoping that it’s easy to wipe down and care for, etc. (Update: so far so good). These cushions had a little bit more detail (sides and piping) that would require some sewing.

My process was slightly different for this project:

  1. remove seat from chair in order to measure out for new pattern
  2. determine that I didn’t want to stop watching Gilmore Girls, meaning that I didn’t actually want to do any sewing.
  3. decide not to rip off old fabric, and not care about silly details like piping or cushion sides.
  4. iron, cover, staple.

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So yeah, I got a little lazy and decided to just cover the whole thing instead of making the pattern and piping. Now that I think of it, I might not have had enough fabric to make the piping. Anyway, the piping that is covered can’t be felt when sitting on the chairs, and they look pretty baller, AND I was able to watch Gilmore Girls whilst crafting, so that’s always a plus.

Project 3:

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This office chair was another great find from Everything but the House. I like the brushed chrome accents and the short back, AND the fact that it doesn’t look like a corporate drone chair. But the fabric, youch. What was it about this green fabric in the ‘60s-‘70s? Did it hypnotize people into thinking it was stylish?

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I started ripping the fabric off. I knew going in that this wasn’t going to be an easy peasy job like covering a chair seat, but I soldiered on. I was prepared for the sewing and the gluing, but not the sheer amount of hulking strength I needed to get out all the staples. This was before I bought the staple getter outer, and the flat head screwdriver was NOT cutting it. I also broke a seam ripper on this chair.

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LOOK AT THEM ALL!!!

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The basic process goes like this:

  1. remove staples (this actually took me 3 days)
  2. rip apart seams with seam ripper
  3. iron new fabric and add interfacing. I only used interfacing on a few pattern pieces to be sure the fabric would be stable.
  4. lay old pattern pieces on new fabric. I used a black stretchy corduroy, and a red and black buffalo check flannel.
  5. sew pieces together that need to be sewn. In this case that’s the arms, the side panels on the chair, etc.
  6. start stapling

Now it’s a fabulous new chair!

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I also made a pillow out of some left over blue buffalo check from project 1.

Bonus round: In case you were wondering what my grandmother’s off beat sense of decor means, see the below photos of these bad boys. This is my inheritance. I chose these things, so I suppose I share the off beat sensibility.

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….and we’re back!

Happy New Year, y’all.

Did you miss us? I bet you did. We have been bad bloggers for the last couple of months, not even remotely because we didn’t have anything to write about, more because this blogging/writing/journaling thing just took a back seat to real life.

Here is a shot of what real life entails: IMG_0614

(Here, I’m entering the Ministry of Magic… pause for general jealousy)

So, here are my blogging resolutions for the new year. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t make resolutions halfway through January.

  1. Write something at least once per month. I’d like to write more, but I’m going for attainable goals. If The Bean hops on this resolution, that means TWO posts per month. Can I get an A-MEN!
  2. Take before photos. I’ve already started to fail at this. I must redouble my efforts!
  3. Encourage audience participation. WordPress told me that the most popular post of the past year was when I asked for votes on my hairstyles. I’d like to hear more comments, especially when you agree with me!
  4. Follow up. Speaking of that very popular post from last year. I did choose hairstyle #1, because that is what the people told me to do, and here is proof x 3.

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So thanks for the help choosing a hairstyle, and I promise to follow up sooner next time!

P.S. This totally counts for my post for the month of January

 

Fall is a Four Letter Word

WHERE DID SUMMER GO!?!? Fall is certainly not my favorite season. Growing up, I never liked the fall- it always meant going to back to school, which was never fun, but it was also my parent’s busy season, which meant weekends spent at their office. That’s when the Judge and I would break out our roller-blades and have some fun on the smooth floors of the warehouse. All I keep reading about is how great fall is, but really the only good thing about fall is the clothes (which means EXTRA thick magazines) and the weather, both make me happy. What doesn’t make me happy is shorter days, and WINTER. I mean, do all these people realize that winter is coming next when they’re all excited about fall?!?! I don’t think so.

So, a few things have been going on in my life over the past couple of weeks:

The Judge and I did some painting over Labor Day weekend. I thought she would have posted about it by now, but there are other things, like school, that she has to attend to. Post to come, promise.

The acorns and buckeyes have been CRAZY this year. I don’t know what it is, but I have a thing for buckeyes. Maybe because they are harder to come by than acorns. Dan watched me gleefully collect a bajillion of them from the alley behind our house. Also, I don’t not like acorns, but I usually don’t collect them like I do buckeyes. I had to pick this one up, though. LOOK how big it is!!!!

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I am working on a couple of projects, like painting my transoms and using the crock pot method (it works SO WELL) to strip paint off of hardware that some idiot painted over. I am probably the worst blogger ever because I didn’t take before photos. I promise I will share the afters.

This video changed my life. Seriously- I had a lot of problems folding fitted sheets, but now it’s a breeze! And my linen closet feels so much more organized!

I’ve left the best story for last. Well, it’s not really a happy story, but it’s definitely worth telling. The other week, Dan drove down the alley that runs behind our house to park the car in the garage and found that another car was in our driveway. He pulled into the garage and when he came out, he noticed the car was idling, but there was no action- whoever was inside wasn’t making any moves to leave. Dan went over to the drivers side of the car to tell the person to move, and saw that the person behind the wheel had vomited everywhere and looked as if they were passed out. So he called the cops. Long story short, he saved a life. Apparently, that person had overdosed on heroin. Pretty scary stuff. Don’t do hardcore drugs, people. They are really bad. I know you all remember this commercial starring Rachael Leigh Cook of She’s All That.

So, that’s what’s been going on over here. I will have some good AFTER shots for you soon.

Vote on my Hairstyles

Guys, I need your opinion on something. It’s important. It’s about my hair.

I have a kitchen post coming soon, I promise. It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks. I’m still in the midst of finishing up my MBA and summer classes make it difficult to keep up with other life stuff. For the past couple of weeks I have been basically trying to not fail my class, because all I really want to do is paint walls and make crafty things while watching old episodes of The Office.

Beets.

Bears.

Battlestar Galactica.

Anyway, since I’ve been SO, SO busy, I have neglected to get a haircut, for a long time. Seriously, this is what my hair looked like in January:

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My stank face looked like this in January too.

And a few months later:

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And now… well I don’t have a photo of that. It’s longer and still with bangs.

I’ve been trimming my own bangs with only moderately disastrous results. They were crooked for a few weeks.

So here’s the deal: one of my very greatest friends in the world is getting married 9/6. I literally cannot get in for a haircut until 9/9. I have a schedule conflict for every single open appointment, so I’m screwed. My hair is going to look sad for the event…. and for any photos that I might appear in. In order to not look all scraggly and homeless, I’ve been experimenting with a few different hairstyles. Note I am usually pretty terrible at doing my own hair, and these selfies I took are comically douchey. Bear with me here.

Look 1: Glamorous Curls

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Pros:

1) I own a curling iron

2) I’m pretty sure I can’t mess this up

Cons:

1) Andrew told me the back of my hair looked like a rats nest (hopefully I will be able to fix that if I go with this look)

2) I had to use A LOT of product, so much that my hair didn’t actually feel like hair anymore

Look 2: The Rooster

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Pros

1) this is pretty easy to do

Cons

1) it involves a lot of hair teasing

Look 3: Twisted

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Pros:

1) I kind of feel like a 40s housewife

Cons:

1) Andrew said it looked mullet-y in the back…

So friends, what’s the winner? Tell me what do I doooooo?

 

 

These are My Obsessions

That title is to the tune of “Confessions” sung by the multi-talented Usher.

Last week, we had a visit from some cousins, who so kindly activated Instagram and Snapchat accounts for me. I guess I must be really old now that the younguns are helping me with technology. Jeeze! I am really loving instagram; Snapchat, not so much (I feel like I NEVER have enough time to actually see the pictures. I am old.). I can see what my friends are posting, what my favorite bloggers are posting, and even what the Kardashians are posting (I CAN’T stop!). Also, you should follow me and Julie.

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My new glasses. Aren’t they cute?? You know I look smart in them.

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I mentioned that I was going to read Pillars of the Earth in this post– I am completely wrapped up in the story, so much so that I’ve dreamt about the characters. Can’t wait to see what happens next!

I know I already mentioned Orphan Black, but seriously, people, I think I am going through withdrawal. To combat this, I ordered the Pillars of the Earth miniseries from the Library. We’ll see if it’s as good as the book.

Last, but certainly not least, my FitBit. I check it all day, every day, to make sure that I am getting all my steps in. Oh, and I get incentives at work for doing this, too, which is another great perk. Since I started using it back in July, I’ve walked over 250 miles!

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