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15 Jan

I’ve found myself in a bit of a nesting phase lately.  Old episodes of House Hunters on Amazon Prime have been high on my watch list. Easy viewing while folding laundry.  It’s been fun for me to watch home shows lately.  I didn’t used to be able to do this.  Living previously in a home with foundation problems that never seemed to be fixed, no matter what we did, made me feel depressed when I watched programs about other people’s nice houses.  Now that I have a house I love and am interested in fixing up to my liking, I enjoy watching.

I do find myself annoyed with some of the people on House Hunters, though.  The ones who walk through beautiful kitchens that just don’t have granite counter tops, so they act annoyed and horrified that a kitchen could be *gasp* granite-less!  Or the shower isn’t redone in that brown, large tile that everyone seems to be installing these days.  I’m noticing that no matter how much home buyers claim they want a house with character, they really just want the interiors done in the exact same materials and bland neutral colors that everyone else has.

And then there are the pretentious buyers.  The ones with super-grand expectations.  I watched one episode where the couple wanted a home that would reflect their level of success.  I automatically disliked them.  It got worse.  As they looked at a master bedroom that was easily 4 times the size of my own, they kept saying that it seemed small.  Same with the master bath, that had to be the size equivalent of the entire upstairs of my house.  Seemed “small.”  That line from The Princess Bride kept going through my head.  “You keep saying that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Which brings me to the subject of my own master bathroom.  It wouldn’t pass muster with the majority of home buyers on that program.  It’s small.  It has a tub/shower combination, and the tub isn’t a garden-sized one.  The cabinetry and counter top are original to the house, which was built in 1980.  The cabinets were painted badly by the former owner.  Sure, I’d love to get a whole new vanity, but it’s not in our current budget, nor do we feel capable of taking on a project of that size at this time in our lives.  I can’t even seem to get my kitchen painted because I can’t figure out how to get it done with a toddler at home and a husband at work all day.  Nap time isn’t long enough.  (Seriously, how do other people do it?!  I see blogs where the writer has small children, and somehow, major, messy projects are accomplished.  I’m baffled.  Do they not sleep?  Because I need sleep.)

When we moved in, I just slapped up my old shower curtain and used all our old towels and bath mats that matched the curtain.  There was nothing wrong with it, but it didn’t go well with the beige walls, and as I got it as a wedding gift more than 15 years ago, it was time to change things out.  Good-bye, Laura Ashley’s circa 1990s “Bramble.”  Hello, something more contemporary from Target.

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I should confess here that in typical little-sister fashion, I totally copied my big sister with this shower curtain.  I saw the same one hanging in her daughters’ bathroom in their new house when we were in Texas for Thanksgiving.  Loved it, bought it, copy-catted not for the first time in my life.

I bought new towels and floor mats to coordinate.  It all looks nice with the existing wall color, which is good, because the next thing I paint (if I ever get the chance to paint again) will be my kitchen.   I also found this round, swirly metal thing at Hobby Lobby for super cheap.  It dresses up a very boring beige wall.  (Sorry about the bad lighting.  Small bathroom, poor light conditions for photos, especially for someone who doesn’t really know how to use her camera.)

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Next up was new lighting.  I wish I’d thought to take a photo of the old light.  It was slopped with paint (because apparently, the previous owner let a 12-year-old paint the entire house without taping off anything), had rust spots, and mismatched glass globes.  It was a real thing of beauty, let me tell you.  I found a beautiful new light at Lowe’s, and my handy husband installed it in about 15 minutes.  All was well, except for this:

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That would be the improperly-installed medicine cabinet/mirror from our master bath.  The hole in the wall for the lighting is too low for the cabinet/mirror.  The glass globes didn’t even fit over the mirror, much less allow the doors to open.  Whole new problem.  My husband took this mirror/cabinet down, and then we were left with a darker paint color on the wall where it used to hang, as well as no mirror.

Cue the emergency trip to Lowe’s.

We found a new mirror that coordinated well with the light fixture, it was attractive, and more importantly, it was affordable.  The only drawbacks: it doesn’t completely cover that dark paint patch on the wall, and it’s a tad too small, in general.  I can’t see anything below my chest, and my tall husband has to bend at the knees to see his entire head.  Ah, well.  That’s what happens when 1) you have to buy an emergency mirror right away, and 2) you can’t afford to spend $300-$400 on a mirror.  Because that’s just crazy, in my opinion.

So, if you can ignore the ugly paint patch behind the mirror, here’s the new light fixture and mirror.

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A $25 can of paint certainly would have been cheaper, but in addition to wanting new stuff, this room really needed a sprucing up with nicer things that aren’t slopped with paint.  And I came out $15 ahead.  I sold that tacky medicine cabinet on our local Facebook selling group.  I should probably use the cash for a can of color-matched paint to touch up behind the mirror.

Craft Room Re-do

20 Oct

The previous owner of our house decided to paint the entire interior a neutral color.  Instead of being all HGTV, it comes off as dingy and depressing in many of the rooms.  My plans all along were to paint the kitchen and adjoining breakfast room, which serves as my craft room, a combination of pink and white.  Non-traditional for sure, but it works well with the green and white tile floor.  More importantly, it makes me happy.  I’d hoped to get the painting done before we moved in, but our house was given to us in a filthy state, so I had to spend the time prior to move-in cleaning like a madwoman.  Painting didn’t happen.

I also learned how impossible it is to get extra, nonessential projects done when you have a baby to look after.  Somehow, it always seems more important to cook dinner and do the laundry and cleaning during nap time.

I finally got fed up and decided to paint.  I pulled meals from the freezer for our dinners and got to work.  My husband (wisely) advised me to do only the craft room and not the kitchen at that time.  I was annoyed, but he was right.  It was too much work and mess to have done it all at once.  But the bad thing is that the kitchen is still ugly-dingy.

The horrible before pictures:

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During the painting process:

While I'm proud to say that I did most of the painting myself, my husband did help.  He even replaced all the outlets and light switches so all would be new and clean.

While I’m proud to say that I did most of the painting myself, my husband did help. He even replaced all the outlets and light switches so all would be new and clean.

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Painting is finished:

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This was all done back in May.  I’m finally posting about it in October because I just finished putting the room together.  All the furniture was moved back in right after we cleaned up all the painting mess, but I wanted to get stuff on the walls and clean up my other mess before I took completed photos.

This is the view if you're standing in the kitchen.

This is the view if you’re standing in the kitchen.

My craft table

My craft table

Storage

Storage

My lovely butterfly batiks that my dad brought back from Barbados for my sister and me over 30 years ago

My lovely butterfly batiks that my dad brought back from Barbados for my sister and me over 30 years ago

More storage

More storage

My craft table (covered in paper-punch mess from the toddler) with my inks and some of my ribbons on the wall.  You can also see my kitchen, which still has our mess from lunch on the counter.  Oops.

My craft table (covered in paper-punch mess from the toddler) with my inks and some of my ribbons on the wall. You can also see my kitchen, which still has our mess from lunch on the counter. Oops.

I was so happy to finally have all this put together that I made some stuff last night.  It’s so nice to have a functional and cheerful space again.  The only problem is that this room has now made the kitchen look even more dingy and drab than it did before!

It’s Been a Year

15 Apr

I realized last week that our one-year anniversary of our move from Texas to Oklahoma had passed.  Reflecting on the past year, I came to the realization that I like it here.  It took me a very long time to reach that point, but here it is.  Oklahoma is pretty great.  I thought it would be nice to make a list of what I like about living here:

  • My husband works 2 miles from home and doesn’t have to drive in traffic like he did in Dallas.
  • Steven often comes home for lunch.  It’s always nice for Alex and me to have lunch with him.  Or, we can all go out to lunch without having to drive a long distance to meet up.
  • We live in a fabulous neighborhood.  We’re on a quiet cul-de-sac where Alex can eventually learn to ride a bike, our neighbors are all friendly and helpful, and we share a fence with folks who have become good friends and even have a kid the same age as Alex.
  • We’ve made some really nice friends through church and Steven’s work.
  • We love our house and backyard.  The house has everything I wanted in a home, and the backyard is large with lots of room for Alex to play.
  • The vet costs a lot less here.  (But for the record, while our new vet is very nice, I really miss my old vet in Texas!)
  • Shopping isn’t the main source of entertainment here.  One problem I always had with Dallas is that shopping was the favorite pastime of many people.  Materialism was rampant.  I don’t want my kid growing up thinking his self-worth comes from the brand of clothes he wears or the cars his family drives.  (Materialism exists everywhere, but it doesn’t seem quite so prevalent here.)
  • Steven gets to work for an organization that has been near-and-dear to our hearts for years.  He loves using his technical skills for Kingdom work instead of advertising for soulless corporations.
  • My backyard has loads of birds, squirrels, and bunnies, and even turtles!  I love animals!  It’s a hoot to watch Ninja Cat get into hunter mode while watching from the window.
  • There are lots of little boys Alex’s age in the nursery at church.  I love that he’ll grow up in a church with lots of kids his age.  (While we adored our church in Texas, the only other kid in the nursery with him was a little girl who was 6 months younger.)
  • And then there are the amazing sunsets we see most nights:

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That’s not to say that there aren’t things I miss about Texas.  There are.  A lot of things, actually, but I’m at the point now where I can’t focus any longer on the deficiencies of life here.  Life is good.

Pulled Apart

8 Jan

I mentioned the other day that I finally got our coat closet unpacked and organized.  The bifold doors had a track that needed to be replaced for the doors to close properly.  Steven took them down to get at it and realized that like much of this house, the closet had been done in a very sloppy manner by the previous owner.  The framework had a line of unpainted wood where the doors sat.  They painted the woodwork without bothering to remove the doors!  Who does that?!  Then Steven noticed that the baseboards inside the closet had never been painted…

He pulled out everything that I’d just gotten organized and put into place!  That’s okay, though, because he did it to fix everything that was wrong.  Sometimes his perfectionism drives me nuts, but other times, it’s pretty awesome.  Our coat closet is now covered in a fresh coat of paint.

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Closet Overhaul

4 Jan

We left a really nice-sized walk-in closet in our bedroom in Texas and moved into a home with his-and-hers closets.

This was taken prior to move-in, before we painted, and before the nasty carpet was replaced

This was taken prior to move-in, before we painted, and before the nasty carpet was replaced

I forgot to take a before photo of my closet, but Steven’s closet will do to let you know how very inadequate these closets were.

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A single bar and shelf on each side.  Steven could cram his clothes in there, but he had a ton of stuff thrown on top of those shelves, somewhat disorganized.  (You miss the messy shelves because I remembered to take a photo as he was in the process of removing everything from his closet.)  As for me, my clothes didn’t have a prayer of fitting on a mere 2 bars, and those shelves were too inconveniently high to be of any real use to my short self.  All my overflow clothing was in the coat closet, which couldn’t be unpacked and organized until my clothing was removed.  This project was long overdue.

Steven removed a bar and the shelf on one side of my closet.  He raised that bar up towards the ceiling, then added a second bar underneath.  I would have been happy with just that, but my husband wanted to give me extra storage in there.  He put together a shoe-storage cube for me, then built shelves to go on the wall above that.

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The build-out my husband did in the center of the closet (and yes, I have way more shoes than are pictured here)

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The side where he raised the bar and added another

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This side was basically left alone for my longer items, although he did paint the shelf so everything matches

I have more storage space now than I actually need!  I was able to move our bed linens from the linen closet upstairs into my closet.  Very inconvenient to go upstairs to get linens for the downstairs!  And that hanging shelf thing that you can see in the far right of the last picture is gone now, as I don’t need it.  It’s now in the coat closet.

Steven built shelves for the center wall of his closet that go from floor to ceiling.  He raised the bars on both sides of his closet, added a second bar on one side, then put in shelves on the lower half of the other side.

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He also now has more closet space than he actually needs.  It’s amazing how just utilizing the given space efficiently can make such a difference!

 

The Nursery

30 Dec

We left our house in Texas in April.  We moved into our house in Oklahoma in May.  (In the interim, we lived in on-campus housing at my husband’s company.)  Our poor baby didn’t get to move into his nursery until September.  Alex had to wait so long for his room because when Steven started working on it, long before we moved into the house, he discovered there was wallpaper under the paint.  And under the wallpaper was a big hole in the wall.  A simple paint job turned into wallpaper stripping, wall repair, and a complete overhaul of the walls and electrical outlets.  (Nothing was wrong with the electrical; the outlets were just painted over and looking icky.)  Of course, all of this took a backseat to unpacking the house, hence, an even longer wait to get it all done.  But finally, after being without a proper nursery for nearly six months, Alex had a happy room to call his own again.

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That last photo is the fabric I purchased to make a valance for his window, as that wall looks horribly bare with nothing on the window.  I took these photos in September.  It’s now end of December, and I’ve still not made his curtain.