Category Archives: D.I.Y.

Decorating for Christmas, Part Two

Our first Christmas card arrived the other day and I was so excited to put it up on the mirror like last year.  I’m hoping more are on their way . . .


If they’re not it’s because we haven’t sent out cards at all, mainly because it’s just the husband and I, and no one wants to see our mugs year after year.  But we wanted a picture to sent to JT’s grandma this year and came to find that really we haven’t taken many of just the two of us in the last almost eight years of marriage. . . . something that will need to be remedied soon.  The photographer who did my sister’s engagement photos was really great . . . .

Also some presents are wrapped! Sticking with my “white and bright” theme, I picked up a roll of plain white wrapping paper.  I still need to add some embellishments in the form of tags and ribbon and then they will be all done!   I wish I could say we’re all done with shopping but that’s never the case.  There’s always someone a little trickier to buy for. (You know who you are.)

While putting up our decorations this year, there was one spot that felt a little bare.  While browsing through my daily Google Reader feed a few days ago, I saw a wreath that reached out of the computer screen and pulled me in.  I HAD to have it.  Immediately.  I haven’t felt the urge to acquire something that strongly in a while.  Check out this post on the Nesting Place here and see if you can spot what I spotted.


Or . . .  I’ll just go ahead and show you what I did!


I figured rather than buy, why not make!  I still had some paper left over from my punched dots garland and off I went.


At first I thought I needed to get a wreath form or something more round to attach my paper leaves to but I still wanted the wreath IMMEDIATELY and didn’t necessarily want to start spending money on something I had already started for free.    So I used a large bowl and a little dessert plate to trace out my circles on cardboard.


My sisal rope from Home Depot is still going strong so I used that to hang it in what I’d like to consider a simple-yet-casual arrangement.  There was one spot on the wreath that was a little flattened out already from my learning curve as I glued the leaves down so I looped the twine around that section.


I also had a couple of sections of white twinkle lights left over from my teenage years when Leonardo DiCaprio was Romeo and Claire Danes was Juliet and I listened to Sarah McLachlan a lot in my bedroom.  You know, the nineties.  I wrapped them up into a little white light twinkle ball and nonchalantly set that on the window ledge to complete the holiday decorating.

I still had one other task at hand — that pesky green painters tape I used to rig up the mantel.  After a quick trip to Target (kidding – when is it ever a quick trip!) I had my white duct tape and fixed up the mantel.


Doesn’t it look like I photoshopped that picture or something!  It’s magical!  And then . . . I saw something else  I could use the white duct tape for . . . at guess where . . . . The Nesting Place.  Check it out – this is next.  Watch out mantel!

Let’s Get Large

Large art I mean!  Art that will cover walls and have a “presence” (said in a singing Oprah voice, right?). 

Back in 2010 I got a crazy idea that I wanted a very large art piece for the bedroom.  We made a trip across the street (almost literally across the street) to Home Depot and picked up some simple trim lumber, angle brackets and a canvas dropcloth.  It was fairly simple to put together, although once we stretched the dropcloth around the frame and stapled it into place, the outer frame bowed in slightly.  We added a few more intermediary members to try to straighten it back out (to mostly no avail).


A few coats of gesso later (which you can get pretty much anywhere that sells craft paint like Michaels or Hobby Lobby) the Home Depot canvas dropcloth became a bona fide canvas.  I experimented with a few different paint layouts before deciding I liked none of them and just went with a simple brush coat of our living room wall color. (All pictures from the basement of shame.)


While it was hanging in the bedroom which had white walls from the previous owner, it worked out.  But the furniture shuffle started once again when new owners came and took away the dressers Friday after work.  That left a big blank wall in the living room.  We can’t have that!  So I looked around my piled-with-furniture basement and pulled out a low slatted Nelson-esque table and brought it upstairs.  It’s twin was under the tree (Little Walter) so I swapped that out for a stool and voila . . .


A new place for the large art.  We’re about the start painting the rest of the bedroom walls so the canvas needed to be relocated temporarily.  Now it  was maybe 9pm on Friday night (I know how to party, folks) and JT was out at a gig.  The tone on tone color was so boring . . . .


So I did what any normal/impetuous person would do and I painted it. (Sorry for the middle of the night no lights on in the living room picture.  All I got.)


I did the bottom band in the Urbane Bronze of the living room accent wall and the middle band with the paint color for the bathroom (and I already can’t remember the name or if it was the first one that we discarded . . . I’ll have to check the can).  The top band I left the wall color which is Amazing Gray (Sherwin Williams genius).  Here it is by the light of the next morning and I think Sophie likes it.  Or she’s concerned about what’s going on at the back door.  Who knows what that dog is thinking.  (And yes, if you look really close Where’s Waldo style, you can see that our kitchen counter is a mess.  Real life things like cooking and coffee-making and giving the dogs their vitamins take place in this house.)

Here’s a sneak peek of the canvas yesterday, after Christmas decorating had hit the house. . . .


More on the rest of the holiday decorations soon!  I finally got to string up my little punched circle garland and I was so happy!  Cheers – CT

Only a few more hours of work left . . .

And then a nice four day weekend!  Filled with tofurkey! 

You don’t eat tofurkey?  You’re probably not missing out.  Even though Turkey Day is impending, I seem to have other holidays on the mind . . .

With the help of my trusty sewing machine, some thread (I’ve done both lime green and dark gray),  a 1″ hole punch and some left-over paper I  trimmed off a presentation at work, we have garland.  (There have been a lot of good documentaries on PBS lately — the garland has given me a way to get in a little TV fix while still getting something done.  Husband hasn’t complained about having to watch the TV on loud to compensate for the whir of the sewing machine.  Yet.)  I’m kind of ready to get this non-turkey eating day over with and on to hanging up my miles and miles of garland!

As we race towards the end of 2012, I’ve been trying to get going on the “big change-up” I so carelessly promised my loyal readers (all five! I love you guys!)

So the other night I spent pushing around all the larger furniture items in the house on towels.  Good times.  Right now it’s still craziness so no photos (and it is PITCH BLACK when I get home from work and pretty dark when I leave in the morning too.  Boo.  And not good for photo taking.)

Here’s where things are headed:

The dressers will eventually be making a big exit and making room for some more changes . . . .

What else.  I know you guys like my “furniture funnies”.  I got this email today.

Yeah. What they said. . . . (Don’t you want to meet the person who had to sew a turkey costume for a chair?)

Have a good one guys!

Living Analog’s Living Room – 4th paint color is the charm

I’m a little overdue in sharing some “after” pictures of a do-over on the fireplace and our accent wall. (Maybe it was because I spent all last week ranting and raving. Sorry about that.)  So as a reminder, we started here:

White accent wall and dirty, stained concrete fireplace.

Then came a can of off-the-shelf white garage floor paint from Home Depot and a can of Behr Paint & Primer color matched to Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze.

Urbane Bronze is the darkest member of Amazing Gray’s color family (all the other walls are Amazing Gray).  Since they share a similar base color, they blend well together.  Although if I had all the time in the world, I might consider painting all the Amazing Gray walls to be Shoji White (the color that used to be the accent wall which is two steps lighter than Amazing Gray in the same color family).  Having your colors be “related” can make a big difference in your home.  They work together effortlessly, e.g. with no effort on my part in picking from the whole big box of colors — I can just go to one strip on my fan deck and – voila – done!

Since I had the camera out and I’m about to reshuffle everything in the whole damn house around, I thought I’d take a minute and do a “snapshot in time” of the living room and dining room.  For our tiny bungalow of a house, we actually have a fairly open floor plan with the living room and dining room joined together.

The Value Village doesn’t-fit-in-the-car-debacle chair is currently hanging out in the living room as well.  Our house is about to explode with all the stuff I have crammed into it for the Green Shag Parking Lot Sale (October 20th!!). 

I gave the chair a good scrub-down with some rubber and vinyl cleaner we have for the Fairlane and then went after the legs with the Simple Green stainless steel spray and some aluminum foil.  That has been my secret go-to for getting chrome to shine up nice and get rid of age/rust/dust/miscellaneous spots.

He looks better, no? Well everything looks better with a (faux) sheepskin on it, especially now that fall’s chilly weather has arrived.  Next to Paul (our Paul McCobb secretary turned bar) you will see one of my I’m-a-lucky-girl birthday gifts.  My father-in-law and his wife now live in Eureka so we sometimes hit the Eureka Antique Mall together.  They remembered how I fawned over this cool bullet-esque planter but resisted pulling the  trigger for fear of becoming a crazy plant hoarder.  When we were at Home Depot picking up paint, I added a Draconae (?) plant to the cart but haven’t had a chance to pot him up all the way.  (As a side note, I’m not sure why there’s an eery green light in the hallway in that picture above.  Husband was working on his guitars in the music room so maybe he did it).

I also have another little before and after of the dogs’ storage — before it was a large woven basket we kept under the orange vinyl sofa.  It was hard for the dogs to get to their bone stash and the woven basket was a magnet for dog hair.  I picked up the white plastic one at Target, purged out a few of the toys they don’t like anymore and moved it over under the black chair.  Sometimes it’s the smallest little “tweaks” that can make a big difference.

Speaking of dogs, where are they?  Oh, just relaxing on the sofa while I take photos.

Lazy bums.  And for documentation sake, here’s one more of all the clutter that lives on the wall behind the sofa:

The floating shelves are not really styled right now, they are mainly filled with all the things I took off the mantel and moved about willy-nilly.  Since the whole room is about to get moved around willy-nilly, I didn’t really mess with them. 

So  that’s the living room and dining room as it stands right now.  And yes, if you look carefully you can see that one of the Hans Wenger-ish rope chairs has had its seat de-roped.  It’s a snapshot in time, a snapshot of how we sometimes live with half-finished projects until the time rolls around that they can be completed . . . a nice dose of reality — the Living Analog living room will never be quite “done” but I’m starting to like where it’s headed. 

Cheers – CT

Weekend Update & “Big News”

Hey y’all.  Did you have a good weekend?  Was it sunny and brisk fall weather where you were?  Are you guys ready for some “Big News”?  Well hold on to your hat, it’s coming . . . First, the back story.   I went through a time warp this weekend and got twice as much project stuff done while also getting out to eat and seeing family too.  I wish every weekend could be so amazing.

Weekend update #1:  I turned 32.  Yikes.  Not really yikes.  I like where I am in my life.  The plus of having your birthday fall on a weekend is that it becomes a whole birthday weekend!  JT took me to Farmhaus on Saturday night for dinner.  The food was delicious.  There were little green tomatoes in the succotash that were mind blowingly awesome.  Like little vegetable candies or something.  I also need to mention that JT grilled tofu steaks for us on Friday night that was one of the best home-cooked meals I have had.  Ever.

Then the whole shebang rounded up on Sunday for brunch at Lola with my mom.  We had beermosas which are getting added to my brunch repertoire immediately.  Picture a good beer like Blue Moon with a nice smooth orange juice (no pulp).  It does sound a little weird but tastes great and lets you drink beer in the morning.  Lola had some great live music (trombone and guitar player doing some old-timey stuff and jazz, the perfect pairing with brunch). 

There were also gifts but I’ll post about those later . . .

On to Weekend Update #2: Projects.  Hang in there, I’m saving the “Big News” for last. . .  This weekend saw some big progress on the basement closet I mentioned on Friday . . .

and I got brave and defaced our fireplace during the Emmys . . .

Longer posts to follow on these two when we have some nice after shots. 

Now on to the “Big News”!!! (No Mom I am not pregnant.)

Mark your calendars for October 20th as there will be a Living Analog booth at the next Green Shag Market parking lot sale!!  I will finally be able to clear my basement of all its hoarded furniture in one fell swoop.

Not only that but I also poked around the thrifts and a few estate sales this weekend and dug up a few things that will also make their way to the sale.

A Haskalite serving tray, Harmony House clock and a matched pair of Carrera marble bookends with the old Famous & Barr sticker still attached on the inside.  However all was not smooth sailing in the world of thrifting.  Friday night I swung by St. Vincent de Paul and spotted this little guy.

(Bad iPhone picture as I sized it up).  The drawer was stamped “American of Martinsville” and it reminded me of my Paul McCobb secretary/bar.  But there was no price tag as it turned out another lady had already scooped it up (along with a bunch of other stuff.  Thrift store fail.  I think I missed out on a good one.

And all that happened in one weekend!  Just thinking about all that we eating/celebrating/building/painting/cleaning/shopping that we did makes me worn out.  Now to snooze until Friday and then do it all again!

Soon to be one less disaster area in the basement . . .

I haven’t posted any pictures of the basement on this here blog because I didn’t want to scare all you nice folks away.  In one corner of the basement (under our bedroom),  the previous owners “finished” off a room and added a walk-in closet.  I say “finished” loosely because there are no doors, no flooring beyond painted concrete and the ducting is attached with duct tape.  Although now that I type this, maybe that is the purpose for duct tape.  This larger closet was coming in pretty handy because the upstairs closets are all teeny-tiny in the style of the 1940s.  But then there was a leak or something in the mechanical stuff on the other side of the closet wall and I noticed one day my closet was smelling funny (and thus my clothes) . . . and moldy drywall was discovered and quickly torn down.

So now we’re here:

And we’ve been here for a while (One or two years?  Who’s counting anymore . . .)  My clothes have been patiently hanging on one of those mobile hanging racks and they want to go back home. 

But there’s good news — (insert drumroll) as an early birthday present,  my father-in-law is coming over tomorrow to help the husband hang the pegboard and some other goodies to put me back on the path to a functional closet.  Yay!  This may put me close to completing one more thing from my 2012 New Years Resolutions . .  Crazy. As always, updates to follow!

Basement dweller soon to see the light

This self-imposed bathroom deadline (that I didn’t quite meet) got me to thinking . . . maybe these deadlines/goals/whatever you want to call them could be used to help me finish up all these pesky little projects that I always start and NEVER FINISH!  So September is bringing a new project/goal/deadline.

This chair:

Purchased in 2007.  Yup, 2007 and festering in the basement.  With matching ottoman all for the low,low price of $30.

Poor thing hasn’t seen the light of day for five years.  That should be illegal – chairs have feelings too. 

So this is my September project: MCM Chair & Ottoman Restoration.  Here’s what it needs:

1) Tung oil frames (they are sanded to bare wood currently)
2) New straps like we did to the Baumritter chair
3) New Upholstery!  — This is the step I’m a little nervous/excited about.  Not only am I going to make a box pillow cover with welting, I’m going to tackle zippers too!!!

Step One is already underway and the fumes are beginning to drift up to the main floor. . . .

I’m having a hard time going from “To Do” to “Ta Da”

All my projects seem to be draaaaaaaaaaaaaaging on . . .   First world problems, I know, but (whiny voice) I just want something to be done already!

This led me to a *shocking* realization.  If I want something to be done already, I better damn well do it!  With this revelation ringing in my ears, I focused my new-found determination on our half-destroyed, no-mirror bathroom.

Bathroom. (Phase One) Will. Be. Done. By. September. 1st.

I summoned the husband to a meeting of the minds and we looked at my (lack of) progress so far and brainstormed for the future.  I had left the walls half smeared with blue and froze when the patches were not blending away.   After a little internet research, we decided on trying to add a (subtle) wall texture.  Then I hit it, list style (perhaps we should call it a “Ta Da” list rather than a “To Do” list . . . ) 

Phase One  “Walls”  Work to be Done:
1.  Apply textured wall finish as primer coat to walls and ceiling.
2. Paint walls and ceiling Sherwin Williams Rainy Day.
3. Demo out clunky wood shelf.
4. Demo nasty disintegrating caulk around sink.
5. Caulk/seal any areas that need it.
6. Sand and clean all paneling.
7.  Install new chunkier chair rail.
8.  Paint all paneling and trim.
9.  Demo nasty light fixture.
10. Order and have custom mirror installed – this will be too large for JT and I to attempt ourselves.  I would rather have someone with big mirror suction cups hoist this into place then face dropping and shattering a mirror and the ensuing bad luck . . .
11.  Install new light fixture.
12.  Install shelf/cabinet/TBD storage above toilet.
13.  Install hand towel ring

This is the work/hard/boring stuff.  Now for the fun stuff — shopping!  Here’s my list:
1.  4 Turkish/Peshtamel towels.  Like this (via The Anatolian on etsy).

2.  Knobs/hooks to hang the above turkish towels on that will be installed on our soon-to-be chunkier chair rail.  Maybe like this (via Anthropologie)

Or this? (via Hobby Lobby.  So it’s a Hobby Lobby Knobby. Yikes)

And a bath mat  — a fun woven one via Bed Bath and Beyond . . .

I’m considering adding to my month-long challenge with a sewing project — an extra tall shower curtain like this one from Mothra, I mean Martha Stewart (found via Escapade).

So what do you think?  Does anyone want to jump off the one-month-one-project challenge cliff with me?  I’ll hold your hand and scream with you on the way down.  Should I post up some in-progress stuff or just save it all for an extra big “Ta Da” on September 1st? 

All right, it’s off to the races, folks . . . or in my case Home Depot!

Small Cool!!!

Hey y’all!  I may have had an ulterior motive to fixing up Shenanigan’s cowbell and the kitchen door . . . I was readying the kitchen and photographing it for Apartment Therapy’s Small Cool Kitchen contest

And we’re in!  You can vote for us — CT’s Perfect Cheerful Blue Kitchen — here.  I think it’s semi a lot of work — you must have an Apartment Therapy/The Kitchn account and be logged in.  But maybe if you already have one and want to vote, that would be cool.  Or if you want to make one and then vote, that would be totally cool too.  

I’m so excited to have one space in the house feel so complete.  It will still be ever evolving and changing but I feel like the big tasks we set out for ourselves — new countertop, new lighting and tiling the floor — have made a huge improvement in our little home. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Cow bell fever

Shenanigan has the fever.  And the only cure is some more cow bell.  The little monkey is always scratching/kicking at the back door to be let out.  I decided to make him a bell to help reduce the wear and tear on our door . . . .

(See how scratched up the paint is on the door?  I finally got around to painting that, mostly as part of this project.  Yay!  We still need to put a sweep on the bottom of the door though . . . .boo.)

Out came the $13 ball ‘o twine that I used to crochet my ZZ plant’s snuggie pot.  There’s still a ton of twine left so I cut about 16 pieces to use for my braided rope.  I simply put a twist tie in the middle, had the husband hold on and twisted each end counter-clockwise.  Then they wanted to wrap around each other, creating a twist/rope/braid thing.

Next the cowbells.  I just wove them into the bottom of the twine rope/braid/twist and tied it off. 

Now for the training . . .  Shenanigan says you want me to ring what?

To be fair, I did try to photograph Sophie as well but every time the camera comes out she runs for her life. . .

Actually, the bell is starting to catch on.  We’ve been encouraging Shenanigan to ring it every time he goes outside and he’s willing to do whatever stupid thing we make him do if we’ll just open that door!  So hopefully the new paint job will remain intact.  I’m going to withhold judgement on that one . . .

And, coming soon . . . . a new chair for the Living Analog living room.  I am officially a chair (and ottoman) hoarder.  But it rocks and the ottoman tilts up OR lays flat.  And it was $13 for the set . . . . so home it came.  We may have had to rearrange the whole living room and put some furniture on Craigslist but I can’t resist a vintage chair and JT can’t resist a rocker.  I have a feeling this will be my old man’s old man chair.