Kitchen Remodel: Phase II

Remember the Phase I post from a few days ago?

You wonder– is she actually done?!
Done is often such a subjective word, don’t you think? It’s like perfect– can the pure meaning of those words exist in the world of paint or furniture placement? No, really– JB wants to know if done exists in someone else’s house.

Ahem. So the answer is no, I’m not done. But I’ve met the first major milestone– a working kitchen, with many, many coats of beautiful brilliant white paint.

There are handles to rehang and another coat of paint (hmmm…sharpie?) around the counter-tops. Speaking of molding– we need some around the top of the cabinets. And to add the furniture feet at the kick plates. And to paint the door (quick, no one look up– so don’t wanna paint that popcorn ceiling!)

But not tonight.

I’m also going to move two of our bookshelves to surround the big dining room window, adding cabinet doors at the bottom to mimic a built-in look. Which means more sanding/priming/painting.

But not tonight.

I want to add beadboard inserts to replace the current panels in the cabinet doors (paint the beadboard after cutting, then it’s just a simple glue-caulk-quicky top coat type of install). Yes, I did stare at a package of wood shims for 10 minutes, trying to decide if they could be turned into some facsimile of beadboard. Then I stared at the dremel kit and considered.

JB googled the instructions for involuntary commitment of spouse.

Thankfully, none of that is happening tonight.

The computer-armoire-turned-food-pantry needs more shelves. All the cabinets either need shelves or vertical stacking systems. Maybe some pull out drawers. Both the kitchen and dining room windows need new curtains.

But not tonight.

I want a new dining room table– round this time. Which would then free up the current table to be scavenged for parts. That I plan to turn into a mini-kitchen island. With a pot rack. On wheels.

But not tonight.

Why? Because last night, what you saw up there looked like:

Me? I set up a hard deadline by hosting my mother-in-law’s birthday dinner here today. For 11 people. Why? Because I’m not stupid organized enough to fall for those soft, internal deadlines. I need the adrenaline-fueled energy that can only come from a looming event requiring the use of whatever space is currently deconstructed.

I’m supposed to run–5.5 miles. Anyone want to take the over/under on whether THAT happens tonight?

But I did at least find the inspiration for the design– what great paper! Yes, it did occur to me to use it as wall paper accents in some of the panels. Yes, JB did threaten to lock me in the bathroom if I came within 10 feet of the kitchen with wallpaper paste. Now all I have to do is narrow down the accent color. Bright turquoise blue? Shhh… orange?

The Beauty of Love

This was the little story that JB and I (snort, who we kidding, it was I, all I) included on our wedding announcement. Sweet, hunh?

Now, that I rediscovered the thing a few hours after screeching for him to bring me crowbar? Just amusing.
That he brought me the crowbar, with the only comment delivered being a reminder to not accidentally knock a hole in the wall? That’s trust– trust I haven’t necessarily earned.

But, hey, when I did this to the wall, in a different room, a week later, I had it patched long before he got home!

Why is the trust so impressive? Well, I ask you all– do you know what your couch looks like under the fabric and foam?

I do. I absolutely know that most couches are made of a few pieces of wood and some really strong cardboard. Why? Because I took a reciprocating saw to our old one once, just to see.

Any-hoo. I needed that crowbar because I was doing my own version of Habitat for Humanity for the homeless stuff in our house. Mostly mine. And the Small People. Not much of it is JB’s. That’s the issue with DIY (and ADHD). A person needs supplies if they are going to craft their own environment. An ADHDer goes and buys those supplies, shoves them in a drawer, laundry basket, box, bag, or closet which promptly wipes stuff’s existence from working memory. Then, while frantically looking for a missing plastic shark for the Smallest Small Person, she opens up a box, and it’s christmas all over again.

I can’t even claim this behavior is new– I’ve always been this way. Which is probably why I hooked up with a guy who moved the totality of his belongings in a Saturn Coupe, whilst I needed a 17 foot uhaul.

Then the hoarder and the minimalist had two children, whereupon they realized their stuff spreads like kudzu over a southern telephone pole. And just like kudzu, you can metaphorically burn that shit to the ground, only to step on the sharpest part of a lego brick which is lying in mocking repose right next to your bed, the very next morning. True story: I threw away a plastic kazoo 17 million times– before finally crushing it to death in the driveway and throwing it in the neighbor’s trashcan. Never underestimate the staying power of a cheap (yet costly in its annoyance factor) toy.

I started with some free wire shelving and some not-so-free tracks and brackets (why, pray tell, are those damn brackets $3.50 each? Because if you don’t want the shit to fall down, you have to buy them, that’s why). And technically those shelves were installed a few months ago– just not correctly and were being held up with duct tape, which just isn’t safe.

Thus it went from this:

to this:

Ahhh— I might not be able to get a whole room of my own, but dammit I made myself a writing nook–as per my not-resolution resolution’s list to write more. And no nook would be complete without my Quixote, ready to tilt at some windmills. And all the old shoe boxes I decoupaged, thus saving them from JB’s need to throw away the things I’m saving finishing the planned upcycling project.

One mess done, one giant one to go.

Bunk Bed Tents

Before anyone starts doing the cough-laugh thing whilst whispering “bless her heart” to themselves… I know. I feel the same way about the tent portion of the bed tent. The images on the inside? I traced what they wanted from that google place onto leftover scrap material, added some acrylic paint (and some glow in the dark paint) and was done in an hour. JB did the Millennium Falcon, after he fell to the floor laughing about how my version looked like a penis with some sort of testicle disease.

I had many,many dreams for the bed tents (damn you, pinterest!) But dreams are dreams and reality is, well. Life. ­čśÇ

Dream: You wait until the last minute (December 21st…) for stuff like this, while blithely waving your hand, saying, “it’ll take me an hour– tops”.
Reality: Your youngest child will puke that night followed by your oldest, 48 hours later. In between they will seek your love and attention. You will feel like a douchebag for ditching them to sew. You sigh and sit with your children. As it should be.

Dream: You will decide to wait until Christmas night, since you know you are getting a new sewing machine.
Reality: Sixteen seconds after you get motivated to unpack the new toy, you– and the rest of the street, oy he’s loud– hear your husband vomit. He will then spend the first 2 days of vacation either holding down the couch, or sitting really still on the floor watching cars spin on a track. I must pause and give some love– he was made a strong effort to play enough with the kids that I wasn’t bombarded the entire time.

Dream: Your husband is finally well enough to take kids away from the house for a 3 hour window. You can finish the tents!
Reality: You realize that the very reinforced window is crooked as hell. You will also realize that the up-cycled bed sheet is so old that ripping out seams is not an option. You nash your teeth, figure out a way to hang the monstrosity in the living room window and stare at it for 2 days.

Dream: You’ll just start over, you think.
Reality: Your kid has already said he didn’t care about the crooked window. If you start over you are in direct conflict with the “not everything has to be perfect”** life vibe you keep preaching.

Solution: You do your tracing thing and hot glue gun the pictures over the crooked window, which will now face the wall. Then you glance at your shiny new sewing machine and the now-hated bed tent. You feel the weight of the already heated glue gun. You hot glue gun the rest of it– sewing be damned.

**will resist urge to obsess about making upgraded bed tents. will…resist…**

Don’t trash it, repurpose it!

Don’t trash it, repurpose it! This is why I am sort of a┬áhoarder-light. There are so many things that I can look at and think, “NO, that’s not GARBAGE! It can be reused. Into what, I have no idea.”

My darling husband is more of a, once a shower curtain, always a shower curtain kind of guy. So when our dog decided to protest the Small People by eating most of the puzzle pieces JB would have tossed the leftovers.

But I saw future opportunity! Snatching up the square tiles and hiding them adding them to my craft collection, they sat patiently for 3 years.

Apparently I’m on an anti-Pottery Barn kick. Because as I flipped through their christmas decorations and saw these signs (and prices), I immediately thought about my lonely puzzle boards.

Pottery Barn Hanging Signs

In two nights of half-watching South Park and Robot Chicken with the husband, I made these. Not perfect, not totally done. More importantly? Definitely not $100 worth of once-a-year-signs. I’m going to guesstimate my cost at $10 bucks, because once upon a time I had to buy the puzzles, the paint and the brushes. But they were all in-house when I got inspired. Which is why I don’t throw anything away.

Scattermom version

Why DIY?

Warning: Image Heavy!

I get accused of being cheap at least weekly. Personally, I prefer frugal, or to use the latest buzzword for practitioners of the frugal– Upcycle. A fair bit of it frugality and being all eco-happy. Why DIY? A fair chunk originates with just being here more, seeing ugly too much. Or trying to get really old and ugly truly clean. Why DIY? Personal satisfaction for something, that once done will remain done for the time I live here.

Is my DIY craftsman perfect? No way. Will the next owners notice the little thing that’s going to drive them bonkers every day before they move in? Probably not.

This picture sums it up. See that big smile on my face? And that’s after we busted the pipes, semi-flooded part of the basement, and went without water for 24 hours. I’m just saying– I love this stuff. Mr. Unhappy likes the result enough to continue entertaining my “it’ll be fun” even while scoffing my “it’ll take, like, 3 hours.” Plus he has that upper-body strength thing that I lack.

In retrospect, I’m not sure how I talked JB into buying this house.

Master Half Bath- Before (started for serious April 2011):

Oh look– the original wallpaper.

This vinyl flooring? Easy. Waterproof. Looks fantastic.

Zach doesn’t like bad smells. Pulling up a 40 year old toilet qualifies as mask-worthy.

Master Full Bath– After (July 2011, mostly. Just need accent pieces)

No giant sink cabinet that had to be cut in half to remove. Much smaller replacement. Toilet that flushes 1700 gallons each time? Nope– new eco-friendly buttons. A second shower.


Ahh–sheet tile. You are some lovely stuff. I’ll meet you again.

This is going to be the accent color. Yes, I am going to sew some rendition of this one myself. Why DIY? Because the craftsmanship and materials don’t add up to a $195 shower curtain.

Zach thought our new bathroom looked joyful (exact words). He was less complimentary about the hall bathroom.

Hall- Before
That contact paper is vintage, baby.

Those pipes totally needed to be fixed anyway. The flooding wasn’t too bad and I got to learn how to use a blow torch. But it did kill my 3 hour timeline hopes.

Hall– After
Now begins the paint battle. Zach loves red, and there isn’t any red anywhere to be found in our house. I know this because he’s brought it up. I mean, he didn’t ask to paint the walls black.

But it can’t be all red. Not with that rocking blue-aqua bathtub tile. So don’t feel like dealing with the bathroom tile right now. But I needed to test different shades, so I used their Crayola paint to do some color combination testing.

Do normal people finish things?

Do┬ánormal people actually finish things? Is my fantasy of this place where projects are completed and all of the stuff has a predesignated space just a myth. Are there more people like me, who have a dozen projects residing in either the plan or execute phase and–very rarely–the finished phase? Stuff makes me crazy. Disorder makes my brain hurt. Paying retail prices for just about anything makes stomach hurt. My heart aches over the creative things that I never get to, because it takes too long to shift, dig, and sort through all of the stuff.

I’d like to take this opportunity to blame my piles and unfinished-ness on my ADHD, thankyouverymuch. Impulse begets purchasing things that you aren’t ready to actually start yet. Random, creative thinking gives second lives to otherwise landfill-bound stuff. Which means that I have a hard time letting go of things.

And even as I cognitively realize that there are people who have control of their lives, I have to wonder if it is actually the norm. Mostly I just hope it’s not because that means I would actually be closer to normal.

For those of you that can actually take a package to the post office and mail it before the dust accumulates, well you’ll think I’m a moron. Whatever.

I have problems following a linear path even with the lines drawn out in the road. Well, here, let me try and explain with a recent example.

Since Memorial Day weekend, I’ve been in one of my “get rid of, put away, finish” things. I’ve been freecycling, craigslisting, and goodwilling. I started with the baby clothes in the basement. Which motivated me to clean out the playroom–they have too many toys, they can’t even decide what to play with. The storage system just wasn’t working, the cube idea is cute and all, but the bins don’t stay sorted. I upcycled one of our leftover cabinets from 2008’s kitchen makeover (of course I kept them! I might need it for something!) into a book shelf so I could switch over to the clear, plastic bins. My brain got away from me during the process and I ended up trying to make the bookshelf look like a house, but it just didn’t look right outside of my brain. The cabinet/shelf was fine though. Yes, I have pictures. Yes, I’m too lazy to get up and go download them off of the camera right now. I’ll post ’em later.

By cleaning, sorting, and purging through too many toys, I reclaimed a line of wall space in my bedroom where two rubbermaid tubs had become toy boxes. But three little projects before I finished the playroom, I got distracted and started cleaning through the piles in the bedroom. And, once again, before I was done with either the playroom or the bedroom, I decided to clean out the top of the boys’ bedroom closet. Until yesterday, that closet space was the home to several random glass antiques, a broken coo coo clock, Joel’s ski bibs, and a korean hand fan. Now it has a giant box of kid winter and hand-me-down clothes, so at least the contents are appropriate and those clothes are off my floor. Of course, the clothes were replaced by previous closet residents. My piles are like an elaborate game of tetris. I do not have the high score.

Even now, I’m blogging because–thanks to the great bedroom re-org–I got motivated to finish the floor pillows I planned for the playroom. And by finish, I really mean start. I found all of the necessary items–pillow forms, fabric, thread–under my bed. The project was fresh in my mind after spending 7 hours in the hot, hot NC sun at the Spencer Transportation Museum today. Like the Grouchy Ladybug, at 6pm I looked at the unfinished project and said, “do you want to fight?” and got started. Everything is cut and pinned for three pillows, because if I was going to do one, I might as well do all three of them. In truth, all I’ve done is make a giant mess in the middle of the bed right…….before…….losing……interest.

Now it’s either:
1) finish the pillows, because otherwise I need to unpin the fabric and will have wasted all of my time investment.
2) create a new pile (mess) in a new place (top of dresser) to finish (not to be seen for another 6 months) later.

Decisions, decisions.