May 18, 2014

Spring of a sort has arrived, at last! We are about 3 to 4 weeks behind in terms of what is blooming. Unfortunately, many trees and shrubs around the area died over the winter due to the harsh conditions we endured; many more trees that by now would be abud have yet to set buds. My reliable pink and white bleeding hearts have set their flowers and will give me a fine display again this year. I will be taking slips with me when I move to my downsized digs, probably by the end of July. Much has happened the past few months! This collage features photos of my yard from other days in Mays past in my back yard. I am going to miss Maison Newton, but a smaller yard and smaller house to care for will be welcome. I hope you are all enjoying beautiful weather. Ours has been up and down, but I am enjoying the longer hours of daylight! Take care. Jan

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Gardens: Beginnings -- Back Yard

This is a photo of my back yard (and part of the large concrete patio), that was taken after I did my very first cut of the back yard, on July 8th:

A partial view of the large concrete patio area.

That lovely raised planting area with lots of day lilies vulgarus (that's not the actual botannical name) in the photo above, looking lush and pretty, is now looking pretty crappy:



The very last bloom on the day lilies bloomed on July 13th (I had off from work that day so I could appreciate it).  The rest of d-l-vulgarus have bare, dried-out stalks that need to be cut down, and lots of dying-back foilage (ditto). That's just the nature of this particular beast. After having put up with their habits for 24 years at the former Maison Newton I want to go in a different direction with this garden... 

If you'll take a close look at the second photo near the center of the bed, you'll see that I have added a baby Rose of Sharon plant donated by my friend Barb.  I transplanted the little shrub that was there (see same area in the first photo) to the north bed, where it seems to be happy. I didn't realize it until a couple of weeks later when the first flowers popped open, but there are ALREADY two other Rose of Sharon plants in that east bed!!! Duh. I did not recognize them until the tall one on the left started blooming.  Then I took a closer look at my baby Rose of Sharon and the blooming plant in that bed (and also the not-yet blooming much shorter plant on the right side of the bed) and realized the leaves are exactly the same -- they're all Roses of Sharon. So how do I get the smaller shrubs to catch up with the tallest one that is now blooming???

You may have noticed, too, the Rose of Sharon with lots of blooms poking its head and shoulders above my fence! That much larger shrub in the neighbor's yard . I enjoy looking at its lovely blossoms from my perch at the dinette table looking out through the patio doors into the yard.  It has deeper pinkish-purplish blossoms with burgundy-colored inners.  That plant has TONS of blossoms and is really putting on a show.  As far as I can tell, my neighbor (single thirtiesh male with a shaved head and buff bod) doesn't do a thing to his yard as far as I can tell, other than cutting the grass and using a string-line trimmer once a week, so perhaps I don't need to be babying my Roses of Sharon so much (giving them lots of water during the past 3 week dry-spell; and of course, I'm babying the baby transplant until its root system gets established). 

I haven't had luck growing Rose of Sharon in the past but this, my third house, may be the charm.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gardens: Beginnings -- Front Yard

Hola darlings!

The lot at the new house is about the same width as the former Maison Newton, but it is not as deep.  The configuration, with a public sidewalk out front and a lot-bisecting walkway from the curb to the front door, chops up the front lawn into four distinct areas.  You can see that in this listing photo below:


The backyard has a large patio, and with the addition of the 2.5 car garage taking up a large chunk of the southeast corner of the lot, the lawn area is minimal compared to what I used to have.  There's much less mowing time now.  That's a good thing!  But the trimming area and the time it takes to do it, that's a bad thing!  Takes much longer than it did at the former Maison Newton.

The front yard is blah (looks like the listing photo above is from March or early April). I have some plans brewing, but most of them will have to wait a year or two while I save up funds. There are more pressing things that will take up any spare cash for the foreseeable future (like, a gas range and a new mattress set). 

I think the planting beds are too narrow -- I want to make them bigger to cut down on the lawn space.  I'm not a fan, either, of some of the selections Mrs. Seller made (lots of ornamental grasses, some not doing too ell), although I understand her choices. 

I couldn't go with what's left of this summer season without a nod toward dressing things up a little bit out front.  I thought a couple of planters would add a nice touch to my plain concrete porch.

I wanted something white, maintenance-free, and inexpensive.  I found some nice plant holder boxes and some inner pots that fit perfectly at Amazon.com that did not break the bank - they are offered by Miles Kimball (you all know Miles Kimball catalogs!)  I ordered two.  I also ordered two white plastic planters with punch-out drainage holes in the bottom, and they fit perfectly inside the Miles Kimball plant holder boxes (but they are not from Miles Kimball).

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Little Things Mean a Lot

Hola everyone!

Well, I'm stealing a cue from Suzan at Simply Vintageous (those of you who read her blog will know what I mean; she's got the music in her...)



Little things, like this little thingy, which is supposed to function as a door stop but failed utterly because of the kind of door handle my sellers had installed on their bathroom door when they remodeled (hint: it didn't stop anything):


Oops!


You can see the dent in the drywall (on the right) from the lock knob, LOL!  It was driving me nuts.  First thing I did when I moved in was put a cotton ball underneath a bandaid and plastered it over the lock knob.  Yeah, crazy, but I didn't want any further damage done to the wall!  Sure looked silly, but it did the trick :) 

So, today Kevin the Handyman was here working his way through a list of things (more things to come, there seems to be something every time I turn around in this place), and addressing the bathroom door stop issue was the first thing he did.  And he discovered -- a hole at the bottom of the door after he'd removed the circle door stop.  (An aside:  I had attempted to yank [I yanked and yanked] and then tried to twist the little sucker [no go] and pulled and tugged with NO results, until I was ready to tear down the door with my fingernails, but couldn't budge the door stop.  It came right off for Kevin.  It was a "stick-on" thing, with a sticky backing.  Geez - I am obviously avalanching into old age when I can't even manage to remove a "stick-on" door stop!  Or maybe Kevin's big honking hands terrorized that door stop into instant surrender.  He's got Godzilla hands, people.)

Kevin figures that there was probably an old-fashioned solid metal doorstop on the former bottom trim behind the bathroom door (before remodelling removed and replaced it with the white painted trim), and someone unfortunately opened the door with a little bit too much oomph once (or maybe several times), it hit that solid metal stop, and it punched a hole through the thin veneer of the hollow-core door.  The half-circle door stop was purchased to cover up the hole rather than  -whoever - taking the time to repair the door properly and replacing the stop!

So, after the new door stop was installed (a springer doorstop, so no danger of punching a hole through the hollow-core door because the door knob lock stops a good distance from the wall and if the springer stop is hit too hard it just goes BOOOIIIIIIINNNNGGGGG):


Kevin rummaged around in his van and found some wood filler.  He filled the hole in the hollowcore bathroom door (it's a new door, they replaced the old one, I can tell because the stain finish is absolutely uniform):


Kevin will smooth it out on his visit, probably next Saturday (more cha-ching!!!) and use some left-over bathroom stain (courtesy of Mr. Seller)  to cover it up.  I could do it myself, especially since it's at the bottom of the door and whoever, really, will notice it, but since Kevin is coming anyway to complete the current "to do" list, he'll take care of that, too.

 That was Happy #1.

The next "to do" that Kevin tackled was taking down the ceiling fan in the dinette (see prior post), then taking down the ceiling fan in the mistress bedroom and putting it up in the dinette!  I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I was that it fits the space perfectly and, I think, is actually a smidgeon smaller and more in scale with both the size and my style of the area than the former fan (which I thought had a country-ish vibe, just not me):

 
I am liking the bedroom fan in the dinette!  OHMYGODDESS, LOOK AT THAT WAVY WALL TO CEILING PAINT LINE!  YIKES!  Something MORE to be fixed. 

The former fan went into a box:

 
The glass shades are sitting in a safe area on the kitchen counter, as yesterday was recycling pick-up and all of my newspaper is gone until the Sunday paper comes tomorrow -- so, nothing easy to use to wrap the shades in (I don't feel like wrestling with bubble-wrap since this won't sit long in storage):



That was Happy #2.

One of the items on a future "to do" list will be installing that fan (former dinette fan) in the bedroom that will eventually become my den/library.  There is a little kidlet-type fan in there right now (dig the chalkboard paint race track!):



Happy #3 was, perhaps, not such a little thing.  Kevin put my new canopy bed together, whoop whoop!  For the first time since I moved in, I will actually be able to sleep in my mistress bedroom tonight!!!

Since the first night here on July 7th (the day of the pro movers moved my big stuff), after a long hard day of unpacking essentials, I made up my bed and was so eager to ease my weary, aching-from-moving-body into it. The bed collapsed!  Yes, it did, darlings. You can read about that here.

I've been sleeping either on the sofa in the living room or in the guest room since then, but really neither arrangement is satisfactory for everyday living.  Most of my clothes and all of my other things (undies, socks, and such) are in the mistress bedroom, not the guest bedroom and, of course, nothing like that in the living room.  I knew it would be a temporary arrangement, so I just grit my teeth and muddled through it.  I have since developed an intense hatred for the guest room mattress. 

Tonight, though, for the very first time (DRUM ROLL, please) I will sleep in my brand spanking new absolute princess-style canopy bed, woo woo!  I'm pooped!  Been up since 5:30 a.m. and working outside and then inside (nonstop cleaning, geez, how many times do I need to scrub the bathroom floor grout before it doesn't look black in some areas anymore - like it got a case of mold, and what kind of sealer do I need to apply to it...)  I'm sunburnt (look a fright) after doing all the out-front yard trimming this morning as the Sun swung around from the east to the south, sure enough, hitting me full on, while Kevin Handyman was working away inside, I have too much grey hair is showing (been too tired to expend the effort to re-color, which should have been done 2 week-ends ago), and I'm running low on wine, so I will probably need to hike to the Pick 'n Save once the sun starts sinking in the west.  Right now it's just too damn hot outside for me! But, wine trumps hair coloring every time.


So, what is that, you're wondering (I hope).  That, darlings, is the little ceiling plaque I purchased from Home Depot online to cover up the "hole" I new would appear where the ceiling fan in the misttress bedroom used to be. It's not too big, and not too small, and definitely not heavy. I had bought a packet of two-sided Command tape-ons with velcrow, and Kevin knew just how to use them to attach the plaque to the ceiling. 

That dark grey metal thingy in the lower portion of the photo, that's part of  the "crown" portion of my new canopy bed, woo woo!  For now, since the room is an absolute mess (but I made up the bed beautifully, can't wait to lay my aching bod down on it tonight and it sure as hell better not collapse), I won't be showing any photos.  No great reveals of that room (or bed) any time soon.

Next on the list was getting my new mirror hung in the bathroom.  I have no idea why, but Mr. and Mrs. Seller removed the bathroom mirror when they moved out.  As it was not permanently anchored as a "fixture" I could not legally and wasn't going to make a fuss about it anyway, but it seemed a little bit of a chintzy thing to do.  Anyway, I measured and measured and purchased a mirror online from Bed, Bath and Beyond that I thought would fit.  And it did, beautifully!  Except the hangers on the mirror shoved it up about six inches BEHIND (UP) the light fixture, arrrrggghhhh!  I did not have the tools, nor the stamina needed, to try and rehang the mirror (but I did give it a college try before deciding, wisely, that this was a Kevin project). 

And so, the "hanging mirror on bathroom tile thingy" was added to the Kevin-to-do list. He made short, beautiful work of it.  Tape measure, zip, zap, power drill screw driver, zip, zap.  Done!  TA DA!  He also mixed up some grout to plug in the holes left by the screws he removed upon which the former mirror used to hang.  He got gunk all over the sink, the baseboards and the floor.  He asked for a small vacuum, which I provided him (a Dirt Devil), and he diligently vacuumed.  He missed most of everything.  He definitely gets an "A" for effort, though. After he left, I went in and vacuumed thoroughly and wiped everthing down with a wet cloth (several times), and then vacuumed again, for good measure.  Beautiful!

 I erased Kevin's fingerprints on every single square inch of the mirror (how do guys manage to do that?) in short order with a power cleaner and it's gorgeous!


Kudos to Kevin, who wondered how on earth I was able to get ready for work in the morning without a full working mirror in the bathroom (we girls have our secrets, don't we...).  That mirror hanging was Happy #4. 

Happy #5 was relocating the shower curtain rod 2 inches higher.  I was sooooo disappointed when I at last uncovered my former main bath shower curtain (the "Antoinette" toile pattern in cream and black) amidst the tons of packed boxes and large anonymous black trash bags filled with soft items, and eagerly hung it and the behind plastic waterproof curtain up on the lovely bowed-out shower rod in antique bronze Mrs. Seller had selected to be installed.  Gorgeous!

Only to discover that somehow my shower curtain had grown too long.  At the former Maison Newton it had hung perfectly, not quite touching the floor, leaving room for a cushy bath rug underneath, but not so here.  It was all too long.  I told Kevin "this has to be raised two inches" in my FIRM voice.

Kevin was good enough to admit, afterward, that he was skeptical of the "2 inches" command; he thought it would be raised too high, and for a brief moment or two, he thought about putting it up less than 2 inches.  But he relocated the rod 2 inches higher and the result -- perfect!  He said "that rug of yours just fit under.  It's good."  High praise! 



No photo of Happy #6, but my right hip sure is thankful this afternoon.  Kevin replaced the too large door sweep on the side garage door with a metal threshold, and then he also made the deadbolt easier to use by drilling/cutting out something or other (I don't know precisely what he did as I was scrubbing some of the black grout in the bathroom at the time).  He also did some waterproofing stuff.  I no longer have to bang my right hip against the garage side door with much force 4 or 5 times in order to get the service door fully open, hooray!  Kevin, my right hip thanks you mightily. 

What I figured -- he saw a mouse as I hit the auto open on the garage door.  LOL!  I think he was more shocked than I about that, as during the very first showing of the house I could clearly see piles of mouse nests and mouse poopies along the south interior wall of much of the garage.  Sellers did not bother to clean that out.  Personally I haven't seen a mouse, not that they scare me.  They can live in the garage, just don't come into my house, I WILL KILL YOU WITHOUT MERCY IF YOU DO. 

Cleaning the mouse stuff out of the garage and spraying all along the foundation with expanding foam and then paying Kevin to caulk the remaining nooks and crannies is lower on my list of priorities. That will happen some time in October, I think. Right now, I have about 100 boxes yet to be unpacked, curtains to hang but I need to buy double curtain rods - drat! (online shopping tonight).  Probably a thousand yards of curtains, etc. to iron before hanging, once I have aforesaid rods installed (and what a PAIN IN THE HANDS THAT IS, let me tell you!) Carpeting needs a serious cleaning, I am discovering more and more things for Kevin to do around here so yes, I probably should have married the millionaire back in 1976 when I had the chance.  Priorities, darlings, priorities!  Inside of the house must be somewhat settled first, garage a far second down the road. 

Tomorrow Laurie-Broker and I are going flower shopping!  So excited!  I make an exception to the "outside" thing for my gardens :)  Will be shopping for hardy shrub roses, peonies, straggly greatly-reduced perrenials that will survive in sunny parched conditions, and autumnal annuals to fill my new planters... 

All in all, a productive day.  Right now, I am going to go out and enjoy the shady part of the day in my otherwise very hot and sunny back yard on the patio, whilst listening to the Packers premiere pre-season game on WTMJ radio (AM).  I'll worry about hanging curtains and such in the mistress bedroom...later...

A lot of happies today!  A Packers pre-season win would add a happy :) 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Plans for Doing the Kitchen

Hola darlings!

This kitchen of mine is dark and dramatic!  Here's a listing photo, so you get an idea:


I was intrigued by the use of dark and darker greys for the walls of an area with dark oak cabinets.  I liked the space when I saw it in person, and figured my existing dining set would fit -- that was one of my priorities.  Another priority was having ready access to a backyard, and these Sellers had installed a brand new patio door, with stairs made out of composite wood, down to a brand new large concrete patio.  Raised flower beds along two sides and a fence around the perimeter were equally attractive.

The ceiling is a white satin finish -- and it really helps lift and brighten the space.  All the paints Mrs. Seller used were Behr paints, and Mrs. Seller helpfully labeled the left-over cans with the rooms the paint colors were used in.  Thank you! 

As you can see, the walls are grey and the tile is an even darker grey.  The appliances are black. The countertop looks white in this photo, but it is actually cream colored with "speckles" of a light goldish/tan color (or maybe it just looks cream-colored because of all the speckles of light goldish/tan).  It is not ugly, but it is old and in not very good condition -- lots of dinged-out areas, and scratches (some deep) galore.  Not much of the original glow is left.

The cabinets are oak, and as you can see, very grainy.  They are good quality, sturdy cabinets.  I had hoped to hire a painter first thing to paint them out white, but (not so surprising, I guess), other things ate into my budget and there isn't money left this year to hire a painter.  I know better than to attempt this kind of project myself -- I've neither the will nor the stamina of my younger days and frankly, the thought of picking up a roller or paint brush does not appeal the way it did 25 years ago.  I'd rather spend my money hiring a pro who has the right tools for the job, the know-how, and can get it done quickly.  So now I'm saving up again for another round of re-dos and new purchases in 2015.  Geez, that sounds so far away, but here it is, already into August.  What happened to my summer???

There is also a darkish (not oak colored) vinyl plank floor that I like very much, it cleans up very easily with my electric broom and/or a Swifter and has the look of a wood floor but not the cost or upkeep of one.  Like wood, though, if one is not careful the floor can be scratched or gouged.

The patio door in the dinette area lets in TONS of light and radiant solar heat.  The patio doors have built-in mini-blinds, thank goodness, because they are needed to block out the excess sunlight and heat!  But the blinds are not 100% efficient. 



Photo of patio door with blinds closed taken during final walkthrough
of new house on June 29, 2014.
I had pondered over the charcoal grey tiles, wondering why someone would select that color instead of white.  Mr. Seller clued me in during my final walk-through of the property (Mrs. Seller was not there).  He told me that the former tiles, perhaps original to this 1955 ranch style house, had been the worse for wear, ugly colors, and some tiles were decorated with chickens and roosters inset here and there.  OH MY GODDESS!  When Mrs. Seller painted the kitchen, she painted the tiles too.  Up until then, I'd had no idea that the tiles were painted.  I just thought they were mat dark-grey tiles.  Wow!  She did a great job. 

I like the contrast between the white ceiling, the medium-dark walls, the even darker tile color, and the lightness of the countertop.  There is a feeling of richness and coziness in the room that appeals greatly to me.

BUT --

I took the custom-made pelmets down from the windows above the sink to  - ironically - let in more light (you can see thee in the listing photo above).  I tried to get the blinds down to give them a thorough cleaning -- that is a post in and of itself!  I am thinking of removing them (maybe I'll ask Kevin the Handyman to do that), at least seasonally, and putting up some light airy curtains to remove an element of darkness from that corner but still filter the light and provide privacy. 

The dark floor cleans up wonderfully with my electric broom.  The kitchen light fixtures are fine.  Mrs. Seller coordinated the lights above the sink, in the bedroom/bathroom hallway and in the back hall with the fixture that graces the center of the kitchen ceiling. If you look at the top photo, you can see the main light fixture in the kitchen and the light fixture above the sink area.  I was not a fan of them at first but they have grown on me since I moved into the house.  They have a neutral finish and go well with the style of the house and color palatte Mrs. Seller used in the house. 

I don't like the ceiling fan above the dining table:


But I have become a fan of the fan because while I'm sitting at the dining table typing away on my trusty Toshiba lap top, the ceiling fan is going and nicely circulating the air.  So although it might be warmer than I am used to temperature wise in here compared to what I tolerated at the former Maison Newton, I am comfortable because of the breeze created by the fan.  Nice!

Ever since I had an accepted offer on this house, I knew I would be making some changes, so I spent a lot of time researching various products and items I knew I wanted (like my sleek Summit euro-style fridge/freezer).  But once I was actually moved in (that took place on July 7th), I realized there were yet more things to add to my to do/shopping/wish list.  Here is the current Kitchen/Dinette list. 

Kitchen

Short term plans:
Take down pelmets
Replace pelmets with something else (seasonally?  And with what?)
Replace ceiling fan -- don't like style of current four light fan
Look into redoing sad countertop with a faux-stone kit (what color???)
Repaint tile backsplash in white???
Replace enamel cast iron sink that looks gigantic but works small with stainless steel
Possibly paint dinette space a different (lighter, brighter) color? Right now, although open to each other, the kitchen and dinette are divided by a soffit that cuts the space in half, the kitchen peninsula/breakfast bar, and the fridge; so painting the two distinct areas in two different colors is possible.  Question is, do I want to do this?

Longer term plans:
Repaint cabinets white
Replace electric stove with stainless steel and black gas range
Replace countertop with white Carrara marble look synthetic
Replace flooring with black and white checkerboard tile or travertine-look grey/white vinyl tiles
Relocate living room entrance into kitchen, possibly take out wall space to the floor (there is already a pass-through) between living room and dinette, remove soffits (still contemplating whether it is a pro or con to lose half-wall space in living room by totally removing wall between living room and dinette)
Move refrigerator/freezer north of new entrance, add roll-out pantry/storage unit and add double lower cabinet unit to finish off
Replace existing tile backsplash with white subway tile
Remove peninsula cabinets and reconfigure cabinet run on east wall, removing "breakfast bar" countertop overhang
Replace light fixtures

Dinette

Look for colors that complement the oak cabinets in rug and accessories that still go with things from the former Maison Newton
Buy circular rug large enough to fit under dining table and chairs
Buy some curtain panels for the patio door
Hang some art work and add some accessories
Replace current ceiling fan
Do something with built-in glass cabinet on south dinette wall

It was while bringing in my massive dining table into the dinette that the movers from Two Men and a Truck suggested putting a rug under my dining table to help prevent scratching the vinyl "wood" flooring.  We ended up using the rug that was from my former family room, a rug whose colors went beautifully in the room, but it's 5 x 7.6 rectangular size did not add anything to the space.  So, I set out to find what I figured was the most logical solution -- a round area rug.

I wanted something cheap inexpensive, easy to clean (not the thick New Zealand wool of the rug that was temporarily anchoring the dining area) and something that would complement the existing colors and tones in the kitchen/dining area. 

I also wanted to add curtains, not only to aid in filtering out the excessive sun light that pours in half the day, but also to help frame the window and add an additional layer of privacy and coziness at night, when pulled close over the doors.  At the former Maison Newton, with a large private backyard, I had no blinds up, only semi-sheer panels framed on either side by linen-look draperies.  Here, with a more closed-in area (no wide open family room on the other side of the dinette), thought that would be too much.  I decided on two panels to frame-out the window during the day, wide enough to pull shut in varying degrees over the patio doors. 

I also wanted to get a runner (for summer), and a table cloth (for winter) for the dining table; but that had to wait until I knew what colors/patterns I was getting for the rug and curtains.

Highest on my list was getting a new rug.  This is what I ended up with:


I found this indoor/outdoor rug priced right at Home Decorators.  It is the Fuego pattern, 7" 10" round in an intricate geometric pattern of cream, light grey, dark grey, yellow-gold, and brownish-olive green, woven synthetic fabric that washes down with a hose (!)  I got it on sale (sale through August 18th, offers discounted price plus a free rug pad).  Buying this rug was an ADVENTURE and way out of my very traditional comfort zone.  I wasn't sure that I would like it.

And when it arrived, I was SHOCKED!  But it quickly grew on me.  And, once I had it in place underneath the heavy dining table (that was a massive chore of heaving, tugging and pulling, doing it alone, let me tell you!), all kinds of possibilities for decorating the rest of the space opened themselves to me...


These are Sonoma curtain panels from Kohls.  I bought two panels on sale for 50% off, and they now hang on either end of my patio doors.  They are medium grey and creamy white "fret" style panels that go on the rod through smokey colored metal grommets.  The pattern reminds me of the ancient Persian and Arabic tile patterns of the Middle East. 

The decision to purchase these cutains was a mixture of working with the geometric element already introduced into the space by the pelmets on the kitchen windows (those that have now been removed, LOL!), my newly purchased area rug, and the color scheme (greys/whites/wood tones/black, and stainless steel), while wanting to introduce lighter tones into the room for contrast and balance.

I then shopped online for a table runner and table cloth.  I like to use a runner during the summer, to "bare up" the table, and use a full table cloth during the colder months to add a cozier element.  I found these at Target and bought both (the tablecloth is on clearance).

Threshold Paisley Collection in Gold/Grey:


 

I went with a floral instead of a geometric.  The scale works with the new rug and curtains and the colors are perfect.  Only drawback is that these are 100% cotton and the runner, at least, was a bear to iron.  It looked great after ironing it on high heat.  But after a few days of gracing my table in Milwaukee humidity, it looks like I barely touched it with an iron!  Can't imagine what it will look like once I have to launder it!  Will I ever be able to get the wrinkles out?  Hand-wash perhaps?  Hopefully the table cloth, being only a single layer of cloth, won't be as temperamental. 

Oh, and the ceiling fan in the kitchen that I don't like.  Kevin the Handyman came over yesterday.  I have a list of items I want him to do around here, including taking down the ceiling fan in what will be the mistress bedroom so that my new canopy bed will fit.  The fan is centered in the room and my new bed will not fit where I want it unless the fan is taken out.

I do like the style of the bedroom fan, there's just no room for it and a tall canopy bed :)  So the bedroom fan:


will take the place of the current ceiling fan in the dinette.  And -- just thought of this now, it's not on my list of Kevin Handyman work -- I may end up putting the four-light ceiling fan in the room that will become my den/library, replacing a smaller white (kid's size) ceiling fan.

Stay tuned.  Lots of changes in the works.  The first roun d of cosmetic changes to the kitchen and dinette are almost finished.  I hung up "art" work today, woo woo!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

New House, New Fridge, LOVE!

Hola darlings!

As you can imagine, I've been uber-busy for the past several months, but never more so than the entire month of July. 

The move of the big stuff to my new digs was accomplished by Two Men and a Truck on July 7th; the rest was up to the help of a few friends (family was nowhere to be found, I WILL remember this).  After closing on June 30th, it was a steady stream of car-loads of things -- I am still shocked at just how much there was!  And more yet to haul -- the last dregs stashed in a corner of the garage which will, I hope, be packed up into a friend's van and hauled here after work one evening next week.  I NEED my ironing board, geez!

Anyway, here I am now, unpacking -- endlessly unpacking.  Easter Seals has been the beneficiary of two overflowing boxes of kitchen items I decided I did not need after all, as well as four large bags of clothing.  Just what the heck I'd been thinking holding on to some of those things -- oh well, they're gone now, and hopefully someone will get good use out of them:  three suits, several blazers (separates), some skirts, even a few dressy dresses, even lingerie, woo woo!  I'll never see size 10 again or 34B, geez!  Gad, those items look SO tiny!!!!!

One of the most important purchases for the new digs was a refrigerator that would fit the current space configuration of my kitchen and dinette which are, er, a little strange:


Looks pretty reasonable and nicely updated (for a 60 year old house) -- until you realize that - hey, where's the fridge?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Junking the Junk Drawer(s)!!!

Hola darlings!

I want to be outside soooooo badly on this beautiful summer day in southeast Wisconsin, but I am being a good girl and unpacking an entire BOXLOAD of the contents of two junk drawers from the prior Maison Newton.

Geesh!  I should have taken a picture when that box was full of crap junk stuff items I cannot live without things I rarely need but occasionally use.  But -- the end is near!!!


Look at that sucker - it's gigantic!  It is a copy paper box from the office, one of hundreds dozens people at the office hoarded for me once I put the word out I needed boxes for moving. It was filled TO THE BRIM; what you now see is what is left after working on it for an hour.  I am so proud of myself!  Pat on Jan's back from Jan to herself :) 

I now only have one pitifully small junk drawer and an orphan cabinet in my kitchen peninsula where I am stashing odds and ends that don't fit anywhere else but that I don't want to put on the shelves in the basement as past experience has taught me that I actually do access my "junk" quite a bit.  There are eleven steps to the basement and while the storage is nice, I really don't want to be trekking down there several times a day!

This is what my new junk drawer looks like:


As you can see, this drawer is loaded, but it is actually organized by function (sort of) and everything has its own container -- that is a first for me:  tools; scissors and various forms of hooks and holders; plastic tape, command strips, various thingies for hanging pictures and photos, and tons of push-tacks; glue, a couple of electrical adapter, measuring tape, extra styrofoam blocks (I use them to elevate the rear legs of my laptops); at the far left are rulers and a compass (because you never know when you may need to make a circle); furniture scratch covers and fillers; scotch tape; three little containers filled with various forms of tacks, nails and screws, and hammers across the back of the drawer.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Bed Instead of a Bedframe

Hola everyone!

So here I am, living at the new house.  The "big" move was on July 7th.  The movers had re-assembled the bed in my mistress bedroom and set up the room the way I directed (they were so kind and patient with me, doing the guest room just so and also the living room).

The movers were gone before 3 p.m. and I started unboxing some items.  About 8 p.m. I made up my bed, then I scrubbed myself up and got into my PJs; time for sleep on my comfy soft mattress.  I sat down on the bed and KERPLUNK -- the mattresses fell through the frame straight to the floor.

So, there I am, trying to get myself up from an awkward position, legs flailing in the air. 

LOL!  What does one do in such a situation (and position) except laugh.  Of course something like that would happen.  Of course! 

After I extracted myself from the wreck of my bed, I was too tired to make up the bed in the guest room, so I slept on the sofa in the living room.

Next morning, I surveyed the collapsed bed in the mistress bedroom to see if there was any damage.  Hardwood floor came through unscathed, thank goodness!  I examined the bed.  Two thin cross-wires that were supposed to be hooked into the frame to support the box spring and mattress were missing in action.  That's why the bed mattresses collapsed when I sat on it. 

No wire struts to support the mattress, alas.  This my room after I woman-wrestled the mattress
and box spring off the floor and out of the bed frame.  Buhy buhy bed.  I'll sell you to someone
who paints things like you with chalk paint and will make you all fancy and purty.   

I could have done a lot of things at this point.  But honestly, after thinking about it and doing some unpacking while waiting for the AT&T technician to arrive to hook the house up for U-verse internet and telephone, I realized that taking the bed apart and putting it back together with those thin wire "struts" was a pain in the neck.  I had struggled with doing just that on a couple of occasions at Maison Newton when I had switched beds and/or bedrooms around.  Would I blame Joe and Jimmy for a small oversight in the larger scheme of the excellent moving job they'd performed for me?  Heck no!   

Soooo, I decided to shop online for a new - easy to put together - bed frame.  Instead of "making do" (can you tell I am the child of Depression Era parents?) I was going to get exactly what I wanted.

So, two days later I'm still shopping online for a reasonably priced bed frame that has what I want and is the proper size (full size).  I never imagined it would be so hard! Pay well over $100 for a full-size bed frame?  Are you nuts?   I'm shopping during my lunch hour at work after having exhausted Amazon, Sears, Target, Penney's, Verlo (a local outfit), when I decided to try -- as a last gasp -- Overstock.com. 

I haven't mastered the technique of searching for just what I want when it comes to Overstock.com.  Sure, I type in specific information "full size bed frame" in the search box -- and I get 10,000 items, only 100 of which are a bed frame.  What the heck am I doing wrong?

So I started scrolling through my search non-results and lo and behold, my eyes alight upon this, accompanied by the wondrous harmonies of a Heavenly Choir:


LOVE!  I've seen this style of bed before, while searching for other items that I wrote about here.  Never seriously considered buying anything like it for myself.  Until July 10th...

This is the Bailey Charcoal Full Size Bed -- perfect for moi and my 10x12 mistress room at the new house, free shipping, and the price is $316.  (It also comes in twin-size for under $300.)