Thursday, June 27, 2013

Letters to Myself

For the past couple of years at the end of our yearly vacation to the Adirondack mountains I write myself a little note to pop up on my phone a year later.  I list things that I think will help me plan for next year and improve the packing and planning of the vacation.

I just received last year's message today.  Here it is:

Getting a message from myself a year later has to be one of the greatest things I've ever done in my life.  I get such a kick out of the them. 

We haven't really found a cabin, or I haven't really found a cabin, that really felt right, until we got the one we stayed at last year.  Friends of Brian's family were staying there a couple years ago and we went over the visit them and it was like the best place ever.  It just felt so comfortable and not creepy and I wanted to stay there so bad.  The folks that own the house visit it every weekend so they only rent it out during the week, which is unusual because most people who rent a house stay for a week not Sunday to Friday.  But the house is so awesome I didn't care.  We'll stay at a hotel the other nights, I'll sleep in the car, I do not care, this is the house.

Getting this message and assuring myself, oh yeah, well watch me eat fruit this year SUCKER! makes me so happy for our trip.  I cannot wait.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dear Me and the Old Lady I Have Become

Every time I sell something on Ebay, which isn't that often I go to box my item for shipping and can't find the bubble wrap.  I search high and low in the house and then certain I have bubble wrap at the office I check there too.  And I never find the bubble wrap.

So I buy bubble wrap at Office Depot further reducing my profit (bubble wrap is expensive) and ship my package and then I come home and look for a place to store the remainder of my bubble wrap, like that giant basket above the office armoire and there I find 3 rolls of partially used bubble wrap.

Why can I remember that I have bubble wrap and not remember where it is?  And why is it driving home from Office Depot I always think, oh, I'll put this in the basket and yet I can't seem to remember that before hand?

The letter is for me six months from now when I go to ship something else.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

House Tour - Kitchen

Continuing the home tour, we move into the kitchen.  I really wanted this room to look like a cupcake store so that was my jumping off point.  I chose a soft aqua for the walls and mosiac white tiles with gray grout for the floors.  I originally was going to do white upper cabinets and dark gray bottom cabinets and marble counters but I had to adjust things for my budget. 

The kitchen used to be closed off, there was a wall right where the camera is looking through, and it was very important to me to open this space up.  I think after having the very tiny kitchen in the yellow house and admiring so many open concept spaces on HGTV and elsewhere, it was something I really wanted to have.  I also thought it was important to be open to the backyard as much as possible.  There used to be a long, narrow window at the back of the house and a door off to the left where the washer dryer now is.  I wanted to put in french doors or sliders to have loads of natural light flow through the house.  Sliders worked best for us because of the cats and wanting to keep the door open on cool days, though french doors are a much prettier option.

I also know my island is too small.  I have my eyes on an island way out of my price range at Crate & Barrel and have been looking at other options too but until then, this cart from Ikea has been doing a great job.  My unique shelving unit thing is on the left.  I thought it would hold more dishes but it's mostly photographs and for display.  The bottom folds down awkwardly and holds extra cat food and other storage needs.

I put up the scalloped banner for Christmas and really like it.  The mint honeycomb balls are from the Oscar's party.  I think they are fun to look at so I haven't taken them down.  This is not a house to be serious in, the more whimsical I can make it the more I enjoy being here.  The big house was the stuffy house and I really like a playful look in this little bungalow.

Since the shelf unit is on the left side of the kitchen and I opted not to have a peninsula, all of the main kitchen is on the right side of the room.  The island of course was supposed to be a main prep area and it could stand to be about twice as long and work very well for that purpose.  I really didn't think I'd be here for over a year and still not have the proper island but that's the way it goes.  Other things are in line to be done before the island situation and that list is long and expensive (replace front porch boards, painting exterior, new roof, extend deck).  Until then I've found this kitchen to be extremely easy to work in.  I've thrown multiple parties here, some as big as over 30 people and this kitchen is great.

We were on a very tight budget to renovate this kitchen ($10,000 for the whole house, though I did go over some due to window treatments - they are expensive).  We used cabinets you can pick up at Home Depot right now.  After having a kitchen with only 1 drawer, I went drawer overload as you can see.  I'm a huge fan of having a single deep white cast iron sink and that was a splurge for this house.  My sink light fixture looks almost orange but it's mercury glass, I really like it.  The view from the sink is of the next door's house beige vinyl siding so I've tried to hide/spruce up the view with cute cafe curtains and cute items on the window sill.

I recently mounted the television to give me extra counter space.  I don't really need a television in here except for maybe the Oscar Party or Thanksgiving, I'm partial to using my Pandora on my beloved ipod dock.  It doesn't really look that great even mounted so maybe I'll remove it one day.  This "cord zone" kind of drives me crazy.  My shelves are kind of a renovation mini-disaster.  There's always something at the end you want to change but it's such a big ordeal you just leave it and these shelves are the mistake.

I figured the studs would not be symmetrical to hang my scrolly brackets so I had the handyman cut a backboard from plywood and use that to attach the brackets.  I should have made the backboard much larger and my shelves would not have ended up so dinky but worse than that, the studs ARE symmetrical and I could have hung the brackets straight on the walls and have my shelves be much longer and look much cleaner.  The downside to that is the walls are a mess and I think they are beyond simple (spackle) repair.  The plywood hides that.  With a larger budget I could either a) install beadboard along the back of the wall and paint it white or aqua or with a real budget b) install subway tile all the way up and used a more simple shelf bracket.  I so want to take the plywood down and get longer shelves but it's a lot of repair and painting and I'm just plain lazy about it.  I envisioned these shelves holding all our plates and glasses but it looked a little busy and not functional (I can only reach the bottom shelf) so I just use it for display.

I had different knobs from Anthropologie but I found they stuck to the fabric of my clothes and I was afraid something would rip.  When I saw these aqua milkglass knobs I knew they would work perfectly.  I never know what to do above the cabinets.  I'd love cabinets that went all the way up and I was certain I'd put up crown molding but the budget ran out and then later the cats started using the top of the cabinets to sleep and I didn't want to block them so I just left it plain except for the mixing bowls at the end.

On a budget there are limited countertop options.  I personally have never minded Formica.  I find it extremely affordable and durable and easy to clean.  I really wanted marble counters considering the countertop is not very long but financially it didn't work out.  They had a Formica that looked like marble but I was unsure, I thought it might look cheap.  I ended up going with this "soapstone" looking Formica and it's great.  As a consolation prize for not getting the marble counters I bought a marble utensil holder from Crate and Barrel.  I also use this toaster oven all the time.  It's truly a second oven for us.  I even cooked a quiche in there for Mother's day when I was running out of time.  I would love a kitchen with a double oven one day but this oven is great until that time.

And now, the other side of the kitchen.  I've posted about this pantry before but to recap, I was really trying to figure out a way to hide the litter box and unfortunately because of Zimmy I need the largest cat box known to man or he won't fit.  The pantry ended up having pretty good dimensions so I cut the hole and use a Rubbermaid storage container for their litter the front open.  Besides a lot of dust in the cabinet that drives me crazy it works really well.  I only store cleaning supplies in this cabinet and they are all dusty.

I found these vintage Westmoreland plates at a local store for $5 each and thought it was the steal of the century.  One broke during the move and I had to replace it for like $25 but they probably more than anything else I own speak to my style.  I love the colors and the milkglass delicacy of them, the little beads around the edge.

Brian is crazy for water and having the water in the house has always been a problem to solve.  Back in the Big house we put the water dispenser in the laundry room and it was ugly and out of the way.  Then at the yellow house we used 2 Britta pitchers but they take up a lot of space and were high maintenance.  At Costco we saw this water cooler that hides the water bottle inside so it looks cleaner.  It works pretty good.  Mostly it reminds me everytime I wonder why I didn't buy stainless steel appliances how much I hate stainless steel.  Between this and the toaster oven they never look clean even after I clean them and polish them.  White appliances stay clean and when they aren't clean it's because you need to clean them.  Stainless steel drives me crazy.  I don't know how you guys do it.  The stool I got from Home Decorators.  It's very handy for cooking for long periods of time like for parties and Thanksgiving. 

The charging station should probably be in the office but I wanted to make it easy for my husband to charge his phone so I put it here.  Sometimes you have to use function over form.  I have my little ipod dock that I got for Christmas and love and I also replaced my digital photo frame that was broken in the break in.  My mom gave me the vintage canisters a billion years ago, I love them.  The bird is one of my favorite things in the whole house.  We display the bulk of our photos here, the cats have a knack for knocking them over if I put them in other places.  I really need to paint that purple frame.

I really want a basket for the island to put bread and other food items.  One odd fact about me is I don't like to put open food in the pantry.  I have a bug phobia and everything has to be wrapped really well and I don't trust my husband.  Having the food in the center of the room means the bugs have to work harder to get to the food.  I know, I'm so weird, right?  However, this basket from Target is too big and isn't working for me.  Man looking at this makes me want to get a bigger island.  I also have the cat food and the trash can in the center of the room for the same reason.  Notice the cat bowls are off the floor.  I'm telling you, I'm totally weird.

For the flooring I really wanted to do checkerboard marmoleum tiles or industrial vinyl tiles (like at Home Depot).  And though they were a bit more expensive I think I could have swung it but I remembered my husband telling me at some point that he hated vinyl tiles.  So when it was time to do this kitchen I went with this mosiac tile that we had to drive to every Home Depot in a 50 mile radius to get enough of.  I chose gray grout to hide stains and then I spent my 40th birthday laying this tile and grouting it and crying a lot and wanting to die.  I worked my hand so hard my thumb and first finger were numb until around Christmastime.  I swore I would never tile again in my life and I mean it.  Then a few months later Brian was all, you could have done vinyl tile, I would have been fine with that.  Grrrr.  Also, I am not a master tiler or anything but this floor is so uneven it would blow your mind.  We tried to somewhat level it, I spent $600 to get it as level as we could but it would take probably another $2000 to get it completely level and sadly I wish I could but I didn't have the budget.  So the tiles like curve over the bumps so it doesn't look perfect at all.  I could have done a much better job (and it would have gone faster) if the floor was level.  But since I'm never tiling again it doesn't really matter. ;-)  The grout has worked perfectly.  This floor has seen normal stains and it's never been an issue.

I'll source a couple of things, if there are items in my kitchen that you are curious about let me know and I'll try to help you out.

Paint Color - this is color matched to a Maine Cottage Furniture color sample but I looked in my Benjamin Moore fan deck and Antiguan Sky is a very close match.

Blue Milkglass Cabinet Knobs
Mercury Glass Pendant Light
Aqua Bar Stool
Breville Toaster Oven
Bose Ipod Dock
What I Love Most About My Home - Print
Adorable Bird - Get on the mailing list if you want one.
Cake Stand
Westmoreland Fruit Plates
 Floor Tiles

Friday, June 07, 2013

More on the Side(Board)

You guys, this one is $125!  I think it's an absolute steal.  It's really bad timing though because we are going on vacation very soon.  I don't know, I've been thinking hard about this one, maybe I'll talk to Brian about it tomorrow.

He also has a china cabinet just like mine (but unpainted of course) and the most beautiful dining room chairs with a shield back, very reasonable (but I don't need chairs).  Can't you just picture this beauty painted turquoise and distressed?

So great... sigh....

My Nightgown Search

If you follow me on Pinterest, and you really should, Pinterest is awesome, you know I've been trying to find some plus size nightgowns.

My criterea:

Not terribly expensive
100% Cotton
Short enough to sleep in but long enough to sit down in

I was really searching for sleep t-shirts because the one sleep shirt I have from Target is almost perfect.  It's XXL, which is slightly too small but acceptable and it's purple and white mini stripes.  I went to Target to get the same thing and the only ones they had now I didn't like the print or colors.

I found a couple at Nordstroms and other department stores on line but jeez I don't want to spend $60 for a nightgown and I need more than one.  I even ended up buying one from Hips & Curves through Amazon and it got lost in the mail or never sent and they refunded me.  I think that was a happy accident.

Finally I decided to do what I hardly ever do and that's shop for clothes in an actual store.  I went to Kohls and bam, there they were, exactly what I was looking for.

Plus Size Nightgown

Link to the Adorable Kohl's Nightgowns

They were $16.99 each and I think 15% off that, I still don't understand the pricing at Kohl's.  I got three for around $44.00 and I was so freaking happy I can't even tell you.  They are very comfortable and super cute and I'm so happy I don't have to glum over on anymore.

Come one Target, get your act together.  I expect more from you.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Yes, It's Totally Amazing!

I'm still pretty upset about my blog being copied and posted onto a blog that is not my own.  It's not that my work was stolen and someone is taking credit for it, it's that it's my private work and I chose one day to make it private and then I find out its not and worse, blogger or google or whoever is taking their sweet time getting it down.  The titles of the posts are the same, I just don't understand how you don't automatically shut it down and ban the ip or something from every using google again!  Mwaaah-ha-ha.

So now when I come here to write and think what I write is mine to do with what I want, it's so glaringly apparent that it's not.  So I don't really want to write because it worries me that I might change my mind about it later.

The blog world has changed.  A part of me is so sad about it because I loved pouring my heart out on the page and then publishing it to the world.  But back then the internet was smaller then and we were all intimate so it felt like we were all friends.  Then the troll thing happened and it was this time to build a tough skin sort of feeling, like we can handle this right?  And then like at the same time, everyone just stopped being personal.  When was the last time Dooce said anything personal, anything that really pulled at you?  Years.  It's been years.  And we're all this way.

But the thing is, I'm built to share to much information.  As a kid, I used to write very personal short stories, mini-memoirs so to speak and then share them with my friends.  That's what kind of weird-do I am.  And I didn't care, I loved it.  I thought I would grow up to be a writer and when blogs first happened, these public diaries, I felt like it was designed for someone like me.  It was awesome.  It really was, and I'll cherish those days forever. 

But we live in a Facebook world where we put our best foot forward and hide all the bad stuff.  I'm not even good at doing that, I posted a huge thing about the break in and updates and the trial on Facebook.  No one else does that stuff.  It's all about being the best mom in the world, that's pretty much all that matters on the internet.

I also read a lot of design blogs and they have just been weighing on me lately.  I'm tired of seeing stylized photos.  I look at stylized photos in magazines all day long.  Can't they just take it down a notch.  Can't I just see what real houses look like?  One post I saw was of a night stand perfectly styled with little jewelry trinkets and fresh flowers in a vase and all I can think is: I KNOW YOU HAVE A CAT SO THAT STYLING IS BASICALLY A LIE. 

When I'm not annoyed with house styling lies I'm annoyed with sponsored posts.  I'm annoyed that I just read a post where someone took a sheet and taped it to the wall with duct tape to earn a buck.  And then there's like 20 comments telling the poster what a genius that was.  Really?  If I went to stay at someone's house and they duct taped a sheet to the wall for a headboard I would think they were off their rocker.  Especially if they're all like, wow, look what I did with this duct tape, isn't it amazing?  Totes Amaze!?

So that's why it's hard for me to come here.  I don't really like to take my life and spin it as perfection, in fact I like to go the other direction and make fun of myself and the absurdity of life, but that's just me apparently.  I always thought it was funny with my old blog that people didn't recognize my sarcasm and the dark humor I was trying to convey.  Maybe I was doing it wrong, that wouldn't surprise me, but that always humored me especially when I was reading comments about my posts on troll message boards. I was always like, wow, you took that so literally, like I wasn't aware of  how I was portraying my narcissism or neurosis, I was doing it on purpose, you dumb idiots. 

*Awkward Segway*

Summer is not my favorite season.  I do not like crazy heat and I do not like giant cockroaches and that's pretty much what summer is where I live.  But last week we were driving over the bridge headed for a day at the beach and it was like Brian and I thought at the same time, isn't it weird how summer is so different than all the other seasons.  It's like everyone changes.  Our normal town turns into this surfs up beach atmosphere and everyone is out (though they are probably just tourists from somewhere else) and doing things in public.  People walk differently, their hair shines more, their skin is warm and alive.  It really is something.  As much as I do not like summer, it's so radically different that for a while at least, I'm intrigued by it.