Thursday, 21 June 2012
Tuesday found me in the car with my mother-in-law, driving to a nearby town to pick up a rattan ottoman I had bought online for $15. We were talking about this and that, projects and remodeling and re-dos, and I was talking about how my husband and I have a rather bad habit of picking up projects to do, and how I wanted to really curb that, and be more practical about what is and is not feasible before we buy things. The problem is that I really don't have the willpower to turn down projects, because I can usually easily envision how cool something would be once it's refinished. But I am trying hard, I said, to learn to say no.
Then I pulled into this lady's driveway and saw the ottoman she had left out for me.
It was...not in as good as shape as the pictures seemed to show. The rattan on top was missing in places so that the foam underneath showed through. It's not even something that painting would fix.
I must have stood there for a while, looking at it with a funny expression on my face, because my mother-in-law leaned out of the window as I was rolling it towards the van. "Don't get it if you don't want it!"
But I did want it. Sort of. And then, I didn't. One thing was clear--this was a project. We looked at it together and decided that it could easily be recovered. I felt bad enough about driving all the way out there that I didn't want to go home empty handed. And I could see what it would look like when I was done with it. If I ever got done with it.
See? Willpower. I don't have it.
So I stuck it in the back of the van, drove home, and then left it there for a couple of days while we contemplated fabrics. I wanted something light and simple, since the living room is pretty busy with its bookcases and brocade and whatnot. We found just what I was looking for at Joann's, on clearance for $9/yd, which turned into $4.50/yd with the help of a 50% off coupon.
I added some batting on top so that it wouldn't feel like you're resting your feet on fabric-covered-rattan. I used hot glue to fasten it down. This was going to be a fast project.
Since the ottoman had a wood frame underneath, it was really easy to just tack the fabric down.
All done and Scotch-Guarded. A project completed in one Remy Nap. Now I don't feel so guilty about not having the willpower to leave it on the previous owner's porch. :)
Monday, 14 May 2012
Just my personal opinion.
We found this chair at an estate sale a couple of weeks ago. There was a marriage taking place, and a subsequent blending of households, and consequently a great number of rugs, decorative items, and furniture was being hauled off.
This chair was half-wrapped in plastic, and had a tag with $60 on it. It was an ornately carved arm chair with an enormous matching ottoman, the upholstery of which has clearly seen better days. It was apparently greatly loved by a dog who found much pleasure in laying his head on the left-hand armrest and chewing on the carved wood. (Just a guess.)
I have a weakness for chairs. I also have a weakness for shoes and mugs, a habit I am very happy to say I've officially kicked and don't even really browse those sections in Goodwill anymore. Chairs, though--chairs are hard for me.
This chair needed TLC (otherwise known as a Rug Doctor with an upholstery attachment, some sandpaper and stain, or maybe even an entire reupholstering job.) But I moved a little bit of the plastic aside and sat in it. Oh my heavens. This was probably the most comfortable chair I have ever sat in. And at 26 weeks pregnant, that was saying something, for me. There's not a whole lot of places I can sit and actually want to stay in, these days.
Jeremy saw my look and asks what I would pay for it. (I hate this part of yard sale-ing.) The chair is amazingly comfortable, but it is super dirty. And I don't need another chair. So I said $30--half the asking price. It's still before 12 p.m. and there are several other people there, so it's unlikely the seller will agree. So I made Jeremy ask, since I am really paranoid about the haggling process, still, and hate to be rejected, even if that's sort of what I'm aiming for.
Jeremy asked, and the seller agreed immediately, and both of our faces kind of fell--Jeremy's because he really wanted the seller to say no, and mine because I'm now kicking myself for not saying $25, or maybe even $20, if he was that eager to get rid of it.
We brought it home and unwrapped it, and I was pleased to see that the only awfully dirty places were the places you sit (or lay your head, if you're a dog.) So I threw the cushion covers in the wash for a couple of cycles, and they came out looking almost new. The fabric on the armrests and ottoman will still need steam cleaning, but at least I could stop looking up "how to reupholster a chair" on Google.
I'm glad we got it. It's certainly the most comfortable piece of furniture I've ever owned. The best seat in the house. If you come over, I'll fight you for it.
Wednesday, 02 May 2012
We have a breakfast nook right next to the kitchen. The poor thing is constantly having a bit of an identity crisis.
Back in the day, it was just a plain old breakfast nook. It had a table and chairs. Sometimes it had a rug (when the rug wasn't traveling around other rooms.) Then, one day, everything changed.
We had a baby.
I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I guess most women do. When Remy got a little older, I realized I needed someplace where he could play while I was working in the kitchen. So, I moved the breakfast table and chairs into the living room, and made the nook into a playroom of sorts.
Then we sold our baby grand piano, and I moved his play area into the huge void it left in the living room. So then the nook-turned-playroom became the place where I put my old digital piano, and there it stayed for a while.
In February, I moved the digital into the dining room (where all the music pictures are, anyway.) and turned the nook-turned-playroom-turned-music-room into a sitting room of sorts, where we usually had breakfast. I loved this incarnation. I still do--but I must use the past tense, because as of today, the nook-turned-playroom-turned-music-room-turned-sitting-room is getting a turn as a playroom again. I have mixed feelings about it; I've been contemplating it for at least a month. I really, really didn't want to give up my sitting room, but I feel like it needs to be done. Here's why:
1) The only "playroom" Remy has downstairs is a sort of pen we set up with some grey child gates that we have. It suits its use perfectly. The problem? It's ugly. And it's in the living room. And it's big. And in the living room. And he really only spends maybe 1.5 hours in there each day. It was incredibly useful, particularly when I needed a place to put him where he couldn't get into things. But I hated looking at it. I mean, really, really hated.
2) When we added the bar to our kitchen, we put drawers facing on the nook side for some extra storage. Remy loves those drawers. He's allowed to get into most of them. So--perfect place for some toy storage.
3) The bookcase-door to the basement is full of kid books and toys, anyway. So we're halfway to a playroom in there as it is.
4) The nook is easy to block off, so it still gives Remy a place to explore without me worrying what he's into. A place that's not a big, ugly eyesore.
With Remy down with a virus, I've had ample time today to clear out the nook-turned-playroom-turned-music-room-turned-sitting-room-turned-playroom-once-more.
(Saarinen chair stays. I like it in there.)
Which means the rest of the house looks like this:
Which is all just part of the process of the Perpetual Switch.
Thursday, 26 April 2012
When making the list for Clive, I listed moving the closet last, probably because I thought it's what would take the longest. I was moving Remy's things from his previous nursery closet to the new nursery closet, which was probably half the size. And Remy's closet was full. Not that I actually used all that stuff in there, but it was still full. To make matters worse, the guest bedroom (now nursery) closet was full, too.
This closet was purged and organized before Remy was born, too, which should give you terrifying idea of what it looked like before then.
Here is the after:
Ha, just kidding.
While I thought the move would take the better part of a day, it really only took an hour or so. I actually only moved the stuff that Remy really used daily, which was clothes (already in the dresser, which I just pushed down the hall) and the things in the white boxes (bibs, extra packs of wipes, shoes, sheets & things.) The baskets are the IKEA ones that I had wanted to paint, but was talked out of changed my mind. Since the other closet was, as I said previously, twice the size of this one, all the things from this closet fit just fine over there. Hopefully soon that closet will get a thorough go-through, but for now it's just fine.
Another thing crossed off the list! That, along with finally moving Remy's crib, means that I don't have too terribly much left to do. Which is good, because I'm already scheming about the former nursery-turned-guest-bedroom. And I have the feeling I'm going to need a list.
- paint crib
- paint rocking chair
- paint ikea baskets
- sew curtains
- make clive's name in branches
- make mobile for changing table
- move ephraim's crib
- move closet
- paint crib
Monday, 23 April 2012
Remember how, last week, we remembered we had a paint sprayer? And how really, really easy it was to use said paint sprayer? And how I said we were combing the house for things that could be paint sprayer-ed?
Oh, I didn't say that? Well, I'm saying it now.
There's not really anything from the nursery list that needed more paint. I considered painting the baskets we got from IKEA, but decided that I liked them better natural. (Or, really, Jeremy convinced me they would be better natural. If it were up to me, the whole nursery might be painted now. Paint sprayer-ed, I mean. Good thing he is here.)
One thing we knew could really, really use a coat of paint was our wicker set. We got it last year at a yard sale, and it's spent most of the past year in our screened porch. Until the front porch got painted in February; then I moved some pieces to the front porch. As is usually the case with wicker sets, the pieces that were more exposed to the elements have started to weather a bit. We've been talking about painting them for a little while, but now that we've remembered that we have the tool to do it, we decided to go ahead with it. Even though it's not on "the list".
So, once we got home from church and got the boy down for a nap, we got cracking on hauling the set out to the front lawn. (Does anyone else throw themselves into DIY projects while their children are sleeping? Just us?)
(notice the big blue spot from painting the crib and rocking chair last week)
We love the paint sprayer so much that we had to take turns using it. And then all the bending over made my back hurt too much, so I had to relinquish the task to Jeremy, which pleased him enormously.
(the big blue spot is now a big white spot.)
The whole process took around 1.5-2 hours. It would have been quicker, but we did have technical difficulties when the sprayer got clogged. Thankfully, it wasn't permanent damage, otherwise I may be writing today from the depths of half-painted wicker depression.
This morning, the newly white wicker is back on the front porch. The rest is in the living room until the screened porch can be cleaned out and re-set up. That's not on the list, either, but I imagine it'll be happening pretty soon. Who needs lists, anyway?*