Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Lesson Learned

Before we get to that - Garry and a friend of his moved our filing cabinet in our office yesterday. I'm super excited about it! At some point (when I'm not painting all the things) I'll get around to organizing all of our paperwork and maybe even decorating that wall of the room. (Which will invovle getting the sewing machine down and rummaging through my fabric - maybe even some crafts!)

Also, I've learned something today. Watching/listening to the full theatrical version of Les Miserables on You Tube at work while I'm... um... "hormonal" is probably a bad idea. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE Les Mis, it's easily my favorite musical of all time, however there are multiple parts in the production that I will cry my eyes out over. Yes, I've seen/listened to it a million times. No, that doesn't make it any different. The way the musical is written, and how some of the characters are so relatable... well at least for me.

When I was in high school there was a boy I was desperately, almost painfully, in love with. One reason or another it just wasn't going to happen, but we were very close friends. There was always a part of me that thought, maybe... just maybe... despite knowing that it would never happen or be a good idea.

I could get into more of it, but you get the idea.

After I saw Les Mis the first time I completely and entirely resonated with Eponine. It felt like looking in a mirror. That yes, I'd be that girl to run across a war zone to deliver a note to a girl from guy I was hopelessly in love with - without a care if I died or not - and just be thrilled that in that moment of death that he finally noticed.

So... feeling the way I did, and of course, being a desperately-in-love, 16-year-old Leo, with a Scorpio moon (my poor mother) I did the only thing that would come naturally to me - theatre. We had a "coffee house" once a month at my high school and I decided that I was going to sing "On My Own." I didn't tell anyone why - because that would have been really embarrassing - even though the entire universe knew how I felt already. He had graduated the spring prior and went away to college, so he wasn't around to see it. Thankfully so. I know if he had, well, that just would've made things more awkward than it needed to be.

And I sang my heart out. It was the first time that anyone in the school heard my sing completely by myself (even though I was in choir for years) and to really "let" myself sing with all of those emotions that were normally just chaos running through me.

So I "got it." Every time I hear the song I think about that very informal, fleeting performance, the way I felt, and how so much has changed since then.

It took a long time to get over it. Longer than I'd really like to admit. The falling out we had years ago is still painful, and there is a part of me that wonders if that wound will ever heal, or if I keep it open to remind myself what can happen if I let my imagination run away with itself.

But now, I'm no longer the lonely girl chasing after an impossible love. I don't feel like I need to cross war zones just to be noticed. I've got it good, and I know that because of the past. And you know what, I'm incredibly thankful for it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's electric! Boogie Woogie Oogie!

Okay, I want to know what you folks think about electric fireplaces.

I know, I flip flop on this fireplace issue more than some politicians do on their talking points. Whatever, it's a freaking fireplace not foriegn policy!

So - that being said - I know there is absolutely no way in the Universe that we're having a wood or pellet stove installed in our house (as it requires a LOT of demo work to create a vent) so my options for a fireplace are:

  1. Electric fireplace (easiest) just so you know - this is what I was thinking about: fireplace
    1. Can order online
    2. Some assembly (not terribly difficult)
    3. Will be able to use immediately
    4. Does not require any alteration of the house - doesn't increase taxes
    5. Not real fire
    6. Will probably cause our electric bill to go up 
  2. Ventless gas (most expensive) 
    1. Have to purchase all the parts
    2. Assembly is kind of difficult (will need to have inspections done on the gas line)
    3. More expensive than electric
    4. Might increase taxes 
    5. Will cause our utility bill to go up
    6. Real flames 
    7. Have to build mantle and everything as well (lots of construction) 
  3. Some sort of candle-place (most complicated)
    1. Relatively cheap (depending on design) 
    2. Won't increase utility bills or taxes 
    3. Real fire
    4. Will not provide measurable supplemental heat
    5. Not sure about how much of a hazard it would be. Essentially we'd have to buy a firebox and build a mantle (like the ventless option) except without the insert and hooking it up to the gas line) It would probably be about as expensive as an electric fireplace initially. 
This is going to sound dumb, but the main reasons I want a fireplace are: 
  1. The size/shape our of living room makes putting anything else there really difficult to design around - a fireplace is kind of the perfect solution.
  2. Fireplaces are easy (for me) to decorate.
  3. Added winter-time ambience. (Winter lasts for 6 months where I live folks) 
  4. A nice backdrop for photos. (Okay, let me explain this one - when I was a kid most of our family photos were taken in front of the fireplace. We don't really have a "spot" in our house that makes sense to do that) 
Yeah, okay, supplemental heat would be nice too. 

Thoughts? Advice? 

Steps 2, 3, and 4

I'm breaking this process up into micro-steps because that's honestly the only way I feel like I'm going to make it through this office prettification process.

Step 2: Move the filing cabinet into the office (organize the living daylights out of it!)
Step 3: Take my table/desk apart
Step 4: Spray paint my table/desk

Yesterday I bought more spray paint. When Garry noticed two MORE cans in the house he just shaked his head. He swears I have an addiction. He's just lucky I didn't bring actual wall paint home too - because I was seriously thinking about it. And really... of all things to be addicted to - painting all the things isn't the worst thing out there.

The cans I picked up are for our two very old work tables that are functioning as desks in our office. There are people out there that would probably beat me stupid for painting these vintage work tables, but they don't go... at all. If they did, or even if I could somehow find a way to make it "work" in my head, I would leave them alone, but, my friends, that isn't going to happen. I don't even think David Bromstad or Nate Berkus could make that happen.

The problem with painting everything is that you have to pick a color. While this is what "transforms" something - and I'm all about that - I really like to get the color right the first time. Okay, at least with spray painting. Painting walls doesn't count. We ALL know that it takes at least 2 different colors before you get it down.

Anyway... after standing in the aisle for quite some time mulling over different paint colors and thinking about what would go well in the room, which needs to flow with the house... etc I ended up with a taupey-grey color. I know, not the most exciting, but think about it - these tables are vintage, they weren't painted exciting colors like sunshine yellow and bright orange. Not to mention that those tables take up a lot of space in our office - so painting them a bright color wouldn't be just a "pop" of color, it would be a big ol' BOOM. Considering I'm pretty desperate to repaint our very blue bedroom, I apparently can't handle living in bright colors in that large of a quantity. Lesson learned.

Don't get me wrong, I did entertain the idea of fire-engine red or kelly green desks, but it just didn't "do it" for me (Kelly green chairs would be fun though!)

I'm still debating if I'm going to use the left over ORB spray paint from the cabinet for the table tops, or if I'm going to redo them in aluminum (the sides of the top are aluminum). I'm also debating if I want to build or buy a bookshelf or not as our current one is really narrow and a lot of my books don't really "fit."

Hopefully this weekend Garry will move my table outside so I can paint it. This is probably going to take a couple of weeks to get the spray painting completed as we can only do one desk at a time, when I feel up to it, then let it dry for two days. Oh, and it can't be raining... and where I live it rains ALL THE TIME.

I'm also dreaming of the track shelving unit I want to put behind my desk. I think that could look really awesome with some worn-looking, walnut-stained wood. I also think a big clock hung where I want to put our book shelf would look really cool too. (I lurrrrrrve big clocks)

I also can't wait to pull out my decorative bits box. I realize that I probably don't have anywhere near the amount of decorative stuff that I think I have. That's where all of my craft stuff comes in (which I have WAY more than I'm sure I think is there) to use some of it up.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Step 1 - in the bag!

Is it sad that I kind of want to do a touchdown dance right now?

Okay, maybe I *did* do a little touchdown dance yesterday - after I got home from work Garry and I finally got around to spray painting the filing cabinet. The funny thing was, I totally expected him to want to just move the thing where it needed to be and then just go inside to do something else. Decorating isn't really his thing and I can totally understand why, but this time around he was really excited to help spray paint. Lo' and behold - he was actually really good at it - as in, better than me.

I was shocked. Mostly because I have done a bunch of spray painting projects over the years and this is the first time he volunteered to help. If I knew he was so awesome at spray painting I would've asked him to teach me YEARS ago.

Apparently spray painting is "manly." Okay... I'll remember that when I end up spray painting just about every piece of non-upholstered furniture we own.

So the filing cabinet looks great. We just need to wait for it to cure completely and then we can move it in the office. I'm excited to go through some of my decorative things and start really decorating that room. Now if only I can find some good, solid barnwood. Otherwise I have to buy some planks and age them myself... Either way I think it will look awesome when I'm done!

Maybe on Saturday I'll convince Garry to move my desk to the garage so I can start on that project soon. As long as I'm feeling up for it, I might as well keep going.

Here's the list right now:

  • Paint file cabinet: $12
  • Paint my desk: $12
  • Paint computer desk: $12
  • Install cork/white erase board: $15
  • Create/find items to use to corral small desk objects - free  
  • Make barnwood shelving on metal tracks (above my desk) - $100 (for materials) 
  • Paint bookcase - free 
  • Make/find artwork - $50 (allowance for new frames/printing costs) 
  • Make curtain panel - free 
  • Add other furnishings (office chairs, rug, lamps, change out light fixture) 
All said: $200 (before the furnishings) 
So let's say $400 total. 

Things like office chairs, rugs, and light fixtures aren't necessarily cheap. Not too bad for a complete redo of a room if you ask me. Certainly the least expensive so far. 

Yeah, still have a long way to go. I'm hoping that I might be able to get a good chunk of the DIY stuff done by the end of the year. Another thing I'd like to do is get a second computer screen for our desk top (I have two screens at work and I LOVE it) just in case I ever have to work from home. 

We also have some closet cleaning/organizing in there to do. Ideally, we'll move all of my crafting items to the office where they will all be organized (hahahahaha!!) but I know that's going to be a bit of a feat, (there's a reason I wanted to make enormous shelves for that room) and that will require the little closet in the room to be emptied. Should be... interesting... to see what was stowed away in there when we moved in.

We also need to tear the carpet out of the sunroom. Yeah... I just don't want to talk about it... luckily there's at least some tile underneath (which will need to be steam mopped to death) so it's not a complete disaster. We may end up installing something else in there - it just won't be a huge priority since it's only a 3-season room. But, I would like to get it "ready" for work in the spring. Before we close it up for the year I think I'm going to hang the curtains, clean the windows, move the wicker loveseat in there and set it up so it almost looks like it could be functional. :) I'd love to get a big wicker couch and two chairs to go in there with a decent-sized coffee table. I think that would be nice. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Life is what happens...

...when you're making other plans.

Yeah, I'm channelling John Lennon.

But he's right, you know, he's right, life is what happens when you're making other plans. Or at least in my case, things happen, crop up, or however you want to put it when I have plans to do something productive.

Didn't get around to spray painting the cabinet over the weekend. Hate to say it, but I'm not surprised about it either. Saturday was pretty crazy with going into work, having a friend over for dinner, and then I was hoping to have a relaxing night to myself at the house (which I totally did) except for that Garry had gone off to a party and ended up not being able to come home until around 2 a.m. because of logistical issues at the party. Awesome. Did I mention that I don't sleep well, especially if Garry isn't home? Augh...

Yesterday was nice - had to go into work, then went to a friend's house for a pumpkin carving party. I don't have photos of them yet. Boo on me! I did get to take a nice, long, hot bath in her tub of awesome. It was a lovely thing.

But... we didn't get home until late and by that point there wasn't going to be anything productive happening at my house.

Stupidly enough I ended up not being able to sleep at all last night. I think I forgot to take my Ambien or something... I might've slept 2 hours. It's hard to tell, I'm not sure if I was having dreams of being awake or if I actually was. I ended up trying to sleep on the couch (after Auron decided that 1 a.m. was a good time to need to go potty and Garry was tossing in his sleep) and I that didn't go well either because try as I might, I just couldn't get comfortable.

So... I'm exhausted. I'd really like to get that filing cabinet spray painted today, but I think at this point I'd just like to make it through the day without falling face-first into my keyboard. That would be awesome...

On the bright side - I found some chairs like what I'm looking for on the Ikea website. The dumb thing is that (of course) they're all chairs that you have to buy in a store and the closest store is about 3 hours away... and, love them as I might, I'm not driving 6 hours round-trip to buy chairs (that kind of defeats the purpose of them being cheaper than others I've found).

Friday, October 19, 2012

Step 1, subgroup A

I'm actually stupidly excited about spray painting my filing cabinet. I stopped by the store on my way home from work yesterday and picked up 2 cans of Rustoleum Hammered Metal in... oil rubbed bronze. I think it will look particularly awesome. Hubs is (hopefully) getting the hardware off for me today so I can paint it either tonight (depending on how late I end up needing to work or if it will ever stop raining) or tomorrow - and get it into our office by the end of the weekend (just in time for me to start working on painting my desk next week - mwa ha ha).

Surprisingly, Garry wasn't nearly as irritated as I thought he'd be. I think he's finally just used to the fact that I must "paint all the things." 

A happy surprise was to come home to my sunroom cleared out (for the most part, a few necessary things were left in there), and Garry and his friend Eric split the wood in the backyard and had build a fire in our firepit. It was lovely enjoying the evening wrapped in my very soft and fluffy cloak with a warm fire with friends. Even Auron got to join in the fun for a little while. 

Tonight - except for possibly spray painting - will be a night for mostly crawling under the electric blanket and staying warm, watching a movie, and lots of snuggles with the hubs and the critters. 

In other words... the perfect Friday night.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Just like stairs, it takes a while for each "step"

Apparently each "step" for doing something is similar to me trying to go up or down stairs, it takes forever.

Still haven't gotten around to spray painting the tables. Granted, yesterday I couldn't even get out of bed on my own power so... I guess I can't be too hard on myself. Planning on at the very least spray painting the file cabinet by the end of the weekend. Small goals... and taking one "stair" at a time so I don't fall flat on my face.

It's also incredibly easy for me to get side-tracked by other ideas I have for the house. Geez, right now even if I had all of the materials I needed for every single one of my ideas, it would still take MONTHS to complete all of it, even if I wasn't working...

Which reminds me... I need to find a lot of cheap barn wood and a lot relatively inexpensive, rustic, metal shelf brackets, or even some hinges... I have lots of ideas...

Today (and other days before this admittedly) I was thinking that our living room desperately needs a fireplace. It just begs for one. However, installing one is not cheap - and the easiest kind (the ventless gas kind) are still a few grand.

Yeah, we don't have that kind of money.

Also - even though adding a fireplace definitely adds value to your home, it also increases your taxes. Our tax payments are already the same amount (actually, just slightly more) than our mortgage payment. We're already going to be adding onto that amount by finishing the attic and the basement and possibly adding another bath and a half, why add more than necessary?

The *easy* way out of this would be to get an electric fireplace. But you know what? They're kind of cheesy. They look pretty when they're not lit, but dammit, I'm going to want to light it up! Also - a really nice one (the size I want) is fairly expensive still.

So what are we going to do? Well, a very creative idea I came up with takes the idea of the old non-working fireplaces that have a bunch of candles in it, and building something. Not sure how that's going to work so I don't end up setting my entire living room on fire, but it has the potential to be very unique and very awesome (and irritate Garry with yet another one of my "this is harder than it needs to be" projects). Heehee, I still continue to be surprised with what he lets me get away with.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Office Prettification - Step 1 - paint the tables

Oh man... Garry is NOT going to be pleased... :)

So I've decided that I want to spraypaint the two work tables in our office. I'm leaning toward painting them white. I know... boring... but white is a really easy color to work with and I can distress the tables and do other things to make them look "old" still. It will not be a quick or easy process. I'm sure Garry will be more than annoyed with me since I "should've thought to do that before we moved them into our office" since the tables are so big that we have to disassemble them to get them through the door. I'm hoping he won't be *too* annoyed - especially when he sees how nice they look when I'm done!

Add some apothecary lamps and other vintage-industrial style bits about the room and... yeah... that could be interesting...

As boring as white sounds, it would definitely "lighten" up the room. I know right now that I'm thinking of making a curtain out of drop cloth material, or maybe natural colored muslin (since I have a ton of it somewhere in the house). Since the window is in the corner of the room I'm only doing one large panel and adding a hook to open side of the wall to keep the drape "open." If I add in oil rubbed bronze and copper accessories I think that could look really cool. 

We also have the file cabinet to contend with. It's kind of a beast (one of the tall, 4-drawer units) and I'm thinking of painting that a color different than the desks. Not sure which yet - that might end up being ORBed.

Step by step... it's going to take a long  time to get this office the way I "want it" I'm sure. We also have the attic to deal with still - as well as repainting our current bedroom and add closet doors too. It's one project after another. Eventually we'll get to crown molding... someday... 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Office moved - now to prettify...

Garry would cringe if he heard me use that word... "prettify."

Well, we moved our desks, computer and chair upstairs to our former guest room and it is now officially our office. The room still definitely needs some work and I'm still formulating design ideas...

The desks are very grossly mis-matched. Augh. For some reason I thought they were both the very same, beat-up steel-grey colored tables, but no, they aren't. One is like a pukey yellow color with a wood veneer top. Blech. It just... doesn't go.

So, my next thought is to spray paint them so they match. Or maybe not "match" but at least "go." The room is relatively small and those desks are fairly big. I'd like to keep the antique architectual feel to the room without going way overboard. We still need to move our bookshelf and our file cabinet in there too.

Garry, I think, at this point is just thankful that I haven't decided to repaint the room. Thankfully it's a color I really like and it flows with the rest of the house.

Our sunroom (attached to the office) is in desperate, dire, need of being organized and thoroughly cleaned. Let's just say... it's not pretty.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Office planning

I know I've been kind of all over the place with design ideas lately. Not really being able to do much around the house has been bothering me and it just allows my mind to run away with itself. This leads to getting a little scatter-brained when trying to come up with some sort of "direction."

With our roommates pretty much moved out at this point, we've been looking at what to do with the spare bedroom. We're not planning on having a kid any time soon (besides, that room is probably the coldest room in the house since it's attached to the sunroom) so we figured that would be a good room for our office.

Since we're pretty low on funds right now (we want to keep as much in our savings as possible) we figured we would move the old, broken desk upstairs and just use that until we could afford or build something nicer. This desk was left at our old apartment by the previous tenants and even though we could refurbish it, we really do need a bigger desk than that, so it's not really worth our time and effort.

I've been racking my brain for ideas for desks, whether or not it would be cheaper to build a desk or buy one, what "style" direction I want to go, and all of that stuff. And then I realized...

We have two very old, decent-sized, metal work tables in the basement. They're just sitting there, not being used for anything and taking up space.

And that's where I started going with this...

Over the weekend we're going to dismantle the bed in the guest room and move it into the attic, scrub the room really well and move one of the tables up to see how it will fit in the room and then decide if we can git the other table in there or not. We also have to make room for our filing cabinet and possibly our bookshelves.

Not to mention office organization... we'll need to wrangle some containers for pens, pencils, and other office supplies - as well as ways to keep all of my craft "stuff" neat and tidy. That will be a bit of a feat since I have a LOT of craft stuff.

I'm hoping that by putting our office together we can start going through a lot of our random knick-knack items and decide if they are worth keeping for another room, need transforming into something else, or should get the boot. I'm also planning to reuse as much as I can to minimize the overall cost. I know off the top of my head we're probably going to have to purchase a few things:

  1. Office chairs (with proper support) 
  2. Rug for the floor
  3. File folders (for the filing cabinet) 
  4. Waste basket
  5. Shredder (something we should have bought a long time ago)
  6. Desk lamps (I don't do well with overhead lights) 
  7. Closet storage system (for better organization of our "stuff" so the room looks less cluttered)
Right now that's all I can think of. We'll probably end up building some shelves if we can find enough old wood and attach them to the wall with the track shelving to make it look cool and industrial. Replacing the light fixture would be nice too, but not really needed at the moment, especially being on a tight budget. 

Hopefully we'll get a good chunk of the rearranging accomplished this weekend. I'm actually really stupidly excited over making this transition, as it means we're one more step closer to making the house function in a way that suits "us." 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

20 Things I Love About Fall

  1. Cooking and baking in my kitchen without sweating incessantly. 
  2. Fall foliage in upstate New York is gorgeous!
  3. That period of time between not having to run the air conditioner and before the heater kicks in - lower utility bills!
  4. Perfect cuddle weather. 
  5. All of the very warm, soft blankets come out of storage - more cuddling ensues.
  6. Hot cocoa and mulled cider is more practical. 
  7. Football season starts (around here high school football is a big deal).
  8. "Grey" days that are perfect for napping or doing something indoors. 
  9. No more mosquito bites when I go outside!
  10. Everything "smells" good. 
  11. Eating fall food like squashes, root vegetables and roasts with warm glazes.
  12. Soft, quiet music - folk music is so nice this time of year. 
  13. Photographing the scenery. 
  14. Roasted pumpkin seeds. 
  15. Warm, comfortable clothing including my favorite sweaters.
  16. Hot showers and baths feel so much better.
  17. Cider Mill doughnuts. 
  18. The annual "feast" we get together for with a bunch of our friends.
  19. Everything starts to "wind down" and I feel less rushed in life. 
  20. Probably the biggest reason - the fall season starts with mine and Garry's anniversary. :)