The Bathroom Saga Continues.

Hello! I haven’t been here in a long time. I’ve been elsewhere. However! The bathroom. The bathroom! It is a problem.

When I first moved into the house, the bathroom looked like this:

IMG_0289It was okay. I hated that peachy-apricot paint color, and thought it clashed with the tub and toilet and over-toilet shelving thing. I also hated the vanity — weird antiqued cream, ancient paint job.

So eventually, I painted it. Here’s how that turned out:

IMG_1860 IMG_1858Better… but with the unfortunate effect of clashing violet and peach. The paint looked much more purple-pink than it was, and the faux marble ended up looking very very yellow. Sigh. However, the white vanity was an improvement.

So finally today I painted it again. I liked the white that I had painted the vanity, so I thought I’d just paint the whole thing that color. I was aiming for spa-like serenity. Here’s how that turned out:

IMG_1487 IMG_1488Better… but as you may be able to tell, the paint, when applied to the walls, took on a distinct grayish hue, which did NOT neutralize the faux marble. It looked fine in the morning as I was painting, but as the afternoon wore on, and the clouds began to form in the sky over the skylight… the paint looked more and more blue-gray, not clean white, definitely not creamy white.

So. This is VERY FRUSTRATING. The problem is that the tub and toilet are definitely gray-white, and the faux marble is very very yellowy-cream-peach. These two things automatically do not go together. Right now, the paint really matches the tub and toilet. But does not enhance the faux marble. So, I think I will live with it for a little while, and then probably paint it AGAIN, this time, very close in color to this white, but leaning towards the creamy, not the gray. I think that will solve the problem… at least, as well as this particular color problem can be solved.

Lesson: pure white countertops, tub, and toilet. Makes things WAY easier.





house photos, as-is

Don’t you get tired of over-styled house/home blogs? We’ll have none of that here. Here, as promised, are some photos of my full-of-possibilities house, as-is, taken just now, without any cleaning up at all.

The entry (also known as the left side of the living room). New is the very-old rug,  purchased by my great-grandmother on her travels to the Holy Land. There is one more, much larger, that I will bring down sometime from my dad’s, whenever I can (or whenever someone drives down to see me). Photos are childhood photos, not-very-artistically arranged. It works for now.

Here’s the rest of the living room. The red quilt is probably as old as I am. My mom made it long ago. I love it so much.

Next is the dining room. Kind of bare, but a bookshelf full of treasures from my childhood. Excuse the corncobs on the table — that was my lunch. (see? I didn’t clean up at all for you. You’re welcome)

More books, and Raggedy Ann and Andy that my mom made. Love them.

Kitchen, after canning something like 24 jars of orange marmalade.

First almost-empty room: the art room. Maybe to become the office/guest room.

Next mostly-empty room: the office. Probably to become art room (bigger!)

My bedroom. Not empty. (thankfully)

Master bathroom (otherwise known as the Closet Bathroom — so tiny!)

Main bathroom, with the skylight that I love:

Let’s go outside now! I spent the majority of the morning trimming trees and mowing the lawn — I even have two blisters to show for it. It’s 94 and beautiful right now.

Garden (tomatoes)

Garden: cucumbers and zucchini:

Herb garden. I love growing herbs. I want more.

Thomas loves the yard. His newest trick is climbing the crabapple tree.

There you have it! House in its current form. And now, time to finish reading a book, make some salad, and no more chores for me today. yay!


spring spiffing

Ah yes, the obligatory Spring Blossom photo. Well, I can’t help it. The crabapple tree is so pretty right now. Big puffy popcorn tree.

The yard needs to be weeded but it’s so pretty and green — finally. We had hardly any rain over the winter so it was pretty dry and brown until just a couple of weeks ago. That little upturned piece of border-brick, middle left, is from a raccoon standing up on it to try and get into the tree. They like to mess up that little brick border, and dump out the birdbath, and sit on anything fabric left out overnight (cushions, tablecloths, etc.) I think they are adorable but they really are destructive.

Fixed up the living room a bit today. New curtains (finally!) and put up my piece of driftwood I brought all the way back from the Oregon coast over the winter. You can also see my growing stick collection. Haven’t you always wanted a stick collection? I have, and finally figured out a way to justify bringing home those awesome sticks you always find on walks. Hmm. Maybe that stick over the TV needs a little straightening.

That chair is covered in old towels because Thomas is shedding and that’s one of his favorite napping places right now.

Isn’t that an exciting photograph? Yeah, I’m really branching out these days. I’m kind of impressed with myself. See that incredible light, the careful composition? No?

The curtains are IKEA’s Lenda curtains in light beige. I didn’t hem them, I stylishly let them “puddle” on the floor. I’m so hip and with it like that. I should start a style blog.

What else… I made some orange-berry muffins with an orange from the tree. The oranges are *almost* ready for juicing — another couple weeks of sun and they’ll be perfect, I think. Then I can make some marmalade. I think citrus bread and muffins are going to be a late-spring staple — so good and a good way to use up those oranges. I also made a quiche for tomorrow. It’s Easter. I don’t really celebrate Easter (although I like Easter decor and food and bunnies and resurrections and fertility and all that) but someone gave me a chocolate egg from See’s, and a friend is coming over so I made a quiche. There. Easter, done. I’m really going all out for holidays this year.

I’ll do a garden post soon. Tomatoes are in the ground, potatoes are really doing great. I am a bit behind because of my trip, but it’s time to soak some beans and peas, and get my cucumbers started and all that good stuff.

Happy Easter if you celebrate, happy pagan fertility season if not!

things and such, plus some booknotes

As these things go, the division-of-property has been going fairly well. Especially since T. has essentially left it up to me, with a few notable exceptions.

I’ve had to replace a few items, including dishes and pots/pans. They say not to make any major decisions while going through huge life changes — do dishes and cookware count? Well, I needed them, so had to decide anyway. Here’s what I chose:

  • I always love pretty dishes, but one can tire easily of patterns and color. So I ended up getting a set of Crate and Barrel’s Cafeware II dishes; they were on-sale when I ordered them: bonus! Inexpensive, classic, sturdy. I just got the dinner plates, salad plates, and bowls; no mugs. I like choosing a different mug each time I have tea or coffee and mugs take up a lot of space for something I wasn’t going to use that often. I LOVE these. They are heavy, sturdy, plain white dishes with a nice lip all around the edge which works great to keep sauces, crumbs, etc. on the plate and not, say, on my lap. The bowls are really nice and big, too.
  • The cookware was more difficult to decide upon. T’s dad gave us his old set of All-Clad, which was of course wonderful and I loved using them, but each piece is so freaking heavy. She wanted the cookware (since her dad had given to us; can’t really argue with that), and I decided that I loved the way the clad cookware worked but a) didn’t want to spend over $1000 on cookware to replace the All-Clad (seriously!!) and b) All-Clad is really, really heavy. So I did some research and came up with the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro set. All the reviews say it’s like All-Clad only not as heavy and not nearly as expensive — plus the set was very reasonably priced on Amazon. These arrived tonight and I joyfully unpacked them — so pretty! And although they feel like very nice cookware and have a nice heft, they are definitely not as heavy as the All-Clad, which is a relief as I have sort of weak and injury-prone wrists. I think I will really enjoy these and hopefully I won’t ever need to buy another set of cookware again as these seem quite sturdy and well-made. I like that the set comes with plenty of lids, even for the skillets. And the handles are actually noticeably more comfortable to use than the All-Clad. So, WIN!

I had to convince myself that it was okay to buy these things new and not just get a hodge-podge of “it’ll work for now” from the thrift store or whatever, but ultimately I decided that I would be happier getting quality things that I really liked. They’re classic and will hopefully last many many years so I won’t have to do that again anytime soon.

I’ve been very tempted to get new sheets but I have very comfortable, fairly new sheets and don’t need new ones (although am seriously pining for plain white sheets, which I do NOT have…)  Other than that, I don’t think I will need to replace much else. Maybe some bookshelves. A few copies of a few books. Not too bad.

In other news, I’m down to the last Harry Potter re-read, and will post a review of the series when I’m done. My reading mojo is back and it’s such a relief. I was getting worried. I’ve been able to read for a few hours at a time; I still have times when I can’t read more than a page or two, but what a vast improvement. Thanks to J.K. Rowling — it’s pretty difficult not to get sucked into Harry Potter books, and I think it helped get me back in the habit.

As I think I mentioned before, I am very tempted to just re-read old favorites this year, with some classics thrown in. Don’t think badly of me, but I’m sort of tempted to re-read Judith Krantz’ Scruples, which is deliciously gossipy and naughty. Maybe this summer. I have started listening to Oliver Twist — a good recording, and of course the story is fun and I am appreciating the Dickens style, but I think I’m going to have to listen a bit longer before I get truly sucked in.

Going to finish up The Princess and Curdie this week and then I have a few other old favorites to get through before they have to go back to the library. I’m also thinking that I might want to read some more Elizabeth Von Arnim. Stefanie had a review of Solitary Summer that sounds lovely.

a new kitty

I hadn’t wanted to talk about her until I got some photos, but I have a new kitty! Here’s the story of how I got her:

I was out in San Francisco a few nights ago. On the way back to the car, I saw her.

A little, white, fluffy kitty, just sitting on the corner, looking so lost and forlorn it broke my heart. Blue eyes, pink nose, obviously abandoned.

I picked her up right away and knew she had to come home with me. I cradled her carefully all the way to the car. She didn’t look hurt, but you never know.

I put her in the backseat where she settled down immediately and didn’t move the whole rest of the way home. She was quiet as a mouse.

I got her in the house and settled her in the bathroom so she could take her time and get comfortable. She seemed to like it behind the toilet, so I let her stay there.

When I introduced her to the boys, they came up and sniffed her, touched noses, and then went about their normal cat-business. She didn’t seem to phase them much, so I guess they accepted her.

She still hasn’t come out from behind the toilet, but honestly I would be quite shocked if she came out on her own.

I named her Flushy, and here she is. Isn’t she adorable?

She’s quite useful as well.

I think she’s adorable. And hilarious. Who could resist these blue eyes?

I knew I had to take her home and give her the love she obviously hadn’t had.

Door Captain

Today I woke up and decided that I felt like having clean carpets. Yep. I’ve been dying to have the carpets cleaned since we moved in, but, as with so many things, there were many reasons why this did not get done. But today = The Day. I rented the big carpet cleaner thing and hauled it home. I used a mixture of hot water, vinegar and a little Simple Green. It wasn’t that hard, although it did take awhile because I was very slow and deliberate about doing a good job and sucking up as much water as possible. I was going to get my $27 worth, dammit.

I probably should have waited for a day when it was sunny and I could open the doors and windows, but oh well. I cranked up the heat and now, at 6 pm, they are almost dry.

They look much better, but time will tell how well it worked. If nothing else, I know they’re better than they were (and it wasn’t all that bad, it’s just me being a Virgo), and I can have them professionally cleaned this summer if I want. I just had to Do Something About It today.  And for $27, I’m happy.

And now, am completely wiped out. I forgot to eat until 4 pm (such a bad idea) and then I was starving. I ate an enormous dinner and am now collapsed on the couch watching Portlandia and petting the cat.

All in all, not a bad few weeks. New bathroom, new bedroom, clean carpets. For under $125 total, that’s a lot of happy. And that’s it for me with Home Improvement for a little while. Have worn myself out. Now it’s on to my new obsession: knitting. I get obsessed with it for a few weeks every few years. I don’t know how to purl — I just do the knit stitch over and over. Whatever, it works for me.

In other news: I am attempting to volunteer for the local performing arts center. They finally got back to me with an email about a volunteer training, so yay! However, there is also this mysterious bit: “If you’d like to attend the Door Captain training as well that will be held at 7pm.”

Door Captain Training?

Hells yeah, I want in on that. What I wouldn’t give to be a Door Captain.

(I have to go just to find out what that is!)

a sneak peek

Came home from work last night and started painting right away. Could not stand it one more night. I absolutely love it! These were taken tonight so the color is off; will take more tomorrow in the daylight.

Yes, need some better window treatments (or in the case of the window above the bed, something there at all) but this feels *so* much better. This is a bedroom I want to come home to and curl up in. 

And having my mother’s amazing quilt on the bed makes it even better. Will try to get a better photo tomorrow also. She hand-quilted this, stitch by stitch. It’s an automatic family heirloom; I treasure it and am so glad it gets to be on display now (I hadn’t wanted to use it before because of sick kitties). The pattern is Double Wedding Ring, my favorite.

Of course after all that fun and games and painting two rooms in a week, my neck went out this morning and I’m totally exhausted, but happy. I look down the hall and see the beautiful Blue Room and I think of my favorite room at my paternal grandmother’s house — it was a soft blue bedroom with vintage-style birds painted over the bed, and I loved that room so much, and always wanted a blue room similar. This blue is much deeper and much more robin’s-egg, but it’s got a similar feel in there now and it’s making me very very happy. It also makes the master bathroom paint look really good, so I don’t have to paint in there now. Bonus!

the next project(s)

The next project on my list of home/self improvment is to repaint the bedroom. Oh yes… that bedroom. The one which had over 30 paint samples on the walls. The one that took over a year to choose paint for. It’s currently painted a very pretty terra cotta rose color, but I hate it. Hate. It. I only like it at night when a certain lamp is turned on (of course, it’s a lamp that I *never* turn on), so most of the time it’s just sort of driving me crazy. It’s too warm, it’s too intense, it’s too messy (was done in a hurry and looks horrible).

So. I am going to repaint it this weekend. I am going to try and complement the gorgeous double-wedding-ring quilt my mother made for me (hand-quilting the entire thing, I might add) — this quilt deserves to be shown off. It’s gorgeous oceany greens and blues with a little rose thrown in. With a little input from friends, I’ve decided to go with Valspar’s Evening Stroll. I’m a little worried that it’s too intense, but I think it’s going to look really good (I hope). It’s actually very close to my favorite of the above swatches. I like having a rich color in there, just… not terra cotta. Paint the walls, touch up the trim, call it good. There is one spot behind the bed that I can’t reach, and the bed is too heavy for me to move, so it might just stay unpainted (it doesn’t really show.) Then I can work on enlisting some help in moving the bed so I can finish the paint job later. But at least I won’t be stuck with a color that makes me mad every time I see it.

Then it will be time to get the carpet cleaned, which I’ve been wanting to do for over a year. Since I am trying to keep costs down I’m thinking of renting a cleaner for now, and then if it still needs further cleaning this summer, getting it professionally done. But at least it will be better. I’ve done some research and many people say that a vinegar/water solution works just as well, if not better, than the stuff they sell to go with the cleaning machine. Any input on this?

When my mom comes in February, we will work on getting some curtains in the house. Then I think it will be pretty much “set” for awhile. So many things did not get done before, for many reasons. But I’m really ready to get some of these basic things taken care of and have the house feel like mine.

Then it’s time to get rid of those awful junipers in the front. Probably in the late spring so I can plant some easy-care plants and call it good.

The next few weeks and months might be a little tricky, but I think if I do some low-cost improvements to the house, it will be a safe place to cocoon and rest. I’m feeling better but still so tired, mentally. I’m only good for about half a day and then it starts to become a struggle. But I’m sure that once the days start getting lighter and as all the decisions start to get made and we begin to move on, I will feel better and better. I’m able to read again, and able to follow a TV show or movie, so that’s improvement. I’m also not conking out quite so dramatically when it’s time for bed, which is somewhat annoying but more like my usual self, so that’s also a good sign.

Seeing friends new and old, getting out to some cultural events (a photo show, a magazine launch)… coming back to life in many ways, but still needing to take very good care of myself.

new bathroom

Well, new paint. It’s amazing what a new coat of paint will do, right?

Before, creamsicle orange:

After: Benjamin Moore “Porcelain” and a fresh coat of white on the vanity:

I was worried that it would be too lilac (and turn into little-girl bathroom) but I think it’s okay.

So that’s what I did yesterday. And then I did this: