Friday, February 24, 2012

Before and After, Bathrooms

Since I'm fairly convinced that the bathrooms were the most transformed during this process, I'm going to start showing you the B & As from there. So, if you aren't impressed with these changes, you wont be impressed by anything else... take the next few posts off!

Also, I'd like to see you do better if you aren't wowed.

What do you think? To do the bathrooms, we bought new flooring: Traffic Master Allure in "hickory". The price was $1.49 for sq ft. We also replaced the vanities in both bathrooms. They were $10 each at ReCONN. The drop-in sinks were also from ReCONN and cost a whopping $1 each. New fixtures were $30 each and the tile top that the Mr. and I did together was $5 per sq ft. Overall, a very affordable fix. We did a lot of cleaning and some re-grouting. We kept the mirrors and medicine cabinets and just gave them a good cleaning and/or painting where it was needed.

Stay tuned, I'll be adding more B and As in the coming week!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Well friends, it seems my life is slowly returning to normal levels of insane. It's quite the welcome change. I owe most of the new found calmness to the fact that the apartment is nearing the finish line. So to celebrate, I thought I would share some of the awful "before" pictures.

a gift for us... items left on the front lawn

No seriously... they cooked here.

and in here.

downstairs bathroom

yes, this is where they showered! Ugh!

well, they owned cleaning supplies....

nice clean carpet

the living room

in the front room

Upstairs bathroom

I already showed you this nonsense

Want to be a landlord yet?

Not sure why there is a gaping hole here.

oh, so clean.

my skin was crawling when I saw this

they took good care of the wood floors

all the holes my dear husband had to patch

living room after we ripped up the carpet

1980's lighting fixtures abound on this side of the house too

holes again

Look at him go!

this photo had to be extra large to show the holes. Apparently, they really sucked at darts.
So, what do you think? Did it look like a nice place to live? We certainly had our work cut out for us, didn't we? Now, I don't want to leave you completely hanging for the "after"s, so I'll show you one now, and will save the rest for later.
new upstairs bathroom vanity

Upstairs Bathroom with new floor, no mold and a new paint job

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Going Grey

February has been the craziest month in the history of months. Both the Mr. and I traveled separately for work, and together for a wedding. We also did a ton of work next door in the apartment... which is still un-rented (long, angry story). I also managed to get some work done over here, thanks to a little Birthday present from my Mom. 

Evening Shadow.

The ghost room is now painted "Evening Shadow" do you like it?

And the daybed is almost finished. I returned the Pottery Barn glorified fitted sheet and got this down blanket and duvet at Ikea. I'm not wild about it, but it will do for the time being. The colors still need ironing out (a bit monotone right now) but it's looking pretty good. And if I waited until I was done to show you, you would never see anything. So then, here's some progress in the ghost room.

looking in from the living room

This is the wall that I would like to cover with built-in book shelves painted white - perhaps a bench under the window

view looking back into the living room (which now appears to need paint)

some of the beach paintings I'm collecting

this was a gift from the MIL, the man receiving treatment next to her at the hospital painted it.

the chair I cained and the blankets I made for the wedding. 

hideous 1980's ceiling fan... told you it was still in progress
This is my favorite painting in the room - it was a gift from my Grandmother for my shower. She did it on a picnic basket so that I could use it in a place other than on a wall.

Another ocean painting - found at Goodwill. I love how it's beat up a little.

So what do you think about the grey? And the daybed? It's really starting to come along, and it makes me look forward to the "built-ins" which obviously, won't actually be built in. Then, I will have my very own unofficial library. 

Now if only I had time to read.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Goin' Simple for the Superbowl

One of our guy-friends is having us over for the Superbowl this year. Last year we had friends at our house, and while it was nice... it's always nicer to go to someone else's place - where you don't have to clean their kitchen the next day.

So after my friend Amanda and I forced our friend Jon to host our gang, we decided it would only be fair to bring some snacks. I'm keeping it simple this time, with my go-to Mexican Dip, some spare salsa and chocolate chip cookies.

Every now and then I go real scientific on cooking. I actually spoon the flour into the measuring cup, and then sift it with the baking soda for even distribution. Sometimes I even sift twice! All in the name of a good light and fluffy sweet. I use a cookie scoop to make nice even-sized drops, so that they all can cook in the same amount of time.

And... just in case you wondered. It doesn't make a damn bit of difference for chocolate chip cookies.

See how flat? Honestly I think it just depends on the recipe. This batch I made with a recipe from the Mr.'s Aunt - her cookies are always very good. But I think she is intentionally leaving steps or ingredients out because these cookies came out rather flat and crisp. Next time, I will use Martha's recipe, because I like a nice soft and lumpy cookie. 

As for the Mexican Dip - well, I can't make that too far ahead or it will get soggy. But, you're in luck because I am going to share the recipe. You will thank me because it's so easy to make. Your family and friends will thank you because it is delicious. And no-one will know that it is yet another recipe that I stole from my Mom.

Mexican Dip:

8 oz cream cheese
8 oz sour cream
Shredded cheddar cheese
Shredded lettuce

Mix the sour cream and cream cheese together until it's not lumpy, then spread onto a platter. Keep it a nice thickness, say 1/2 an inch or so. Then cover with a light layer of salsa. Next add on the cheddar cheese and top with the lettuce. You should eat this with Tostitos Scoops: the regular chips are just not strong enough and they don't capture all of the layers like the Scoops can.

Happy Superbowl - go Pats!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Oops the Surprise Project

About a month ago, I bought a daybed at goodwill.

I had been wanting one for so long... probably since the time when I was actually sleeping in a twin bed. But my more recent longing was to have a daybed that looked more like a couch a la Pottery Barn where I could read from time to time... you know, if I find some free time that I don't waste on youtube or facebook.

Something pretty like this:

This was the project that I said I would show you on January 4th... (in all fairness, I did warn you not to hold your breath). You know what happened between then and now? I can tell you... a RIDICULOUS amount of work has been goin' down at the apartment. SLAVING, literally cause the Mr. is making me spend so much time over there, I haven't been able to shop at all and obviously, he's not paying me, so by not shopping (read: doing fun things) and (obviously) not collecting any rent, it's not a pretty situation around here.

Anyway, the daybed is done. Here is a photo.. apologies for not making it pretty, but there's a story behind it and I didn't want to launch into the story without showing you the goods. You can skip it if you want, I know how I often get long winded. Also sorry for the weird eyelash on the picture, my camera needs to be cleaned badly!

Ok for the story. I love you if you're still with me, by the way, even after I told you that I was going to tell you a long story. It's stories like this that make me wish I was southern, because they would sound so much funnier. For example:

Ya'll wouldn't believe what I went through with this darn thang! Shoot.

So I bought the bed on a goodwill trip with my friend Amy (the awesome chemisict.. chemist? whatever). It was all in one piece and it looked clean and sturdy. But I was driving the Jeep so we'd have to take it apart to bring it home. It was $75 and this caused me to hem and haw over it. Should I buy it? $75 seems like a lot for a thing at good will... and, it was actually tagged at $150 - but it was half price day. Anyway, I obviously decided at some point to buy it, and asked that someone take it apart so I could bring it home in my Jeep.

Bruno models the "before" shot in the basement

The screws and bolts came out, but it didn't come apart, so it wouldn't fit in the jeep. So then I had to drive home (16 miles) and get the truck and drive back (16 miles) to get it into the truck, so I could eventually get it into my basement (16 more miles). By the time this all happened, one of the employees at Goodwill ended up slightly breaking it into 2 pieces. Anyway, this was all on December 26th.

On the 27th, I ordered a tan daybed cover from Pottery Barn with a store credit I had. I paid extra for the 2 day shipping hoping that I could have it in my ghost room (that's an extra living room, if you didn't know) by our New Year's Eve party. HA HA HA. The cover came in time, but the daybed wasn't ready.


Because it didn't take the 2 coats of paint I thought it would need. No, that would be too easy. After the 5th coat of paint, I basically threw my brush up in the air and was like, "oh well... 5 is all its getting!" Plus is the light of the basement, 5 coats looked like it was enough. I would like to emphasize this one more time: FIVE coats... with all those stupid little spindles. it was basically torture. Needless to say, I didn't accomplish said coats of paint by New Years.

After 3 coats, in the 2 pieces I am talking about

But! I was done on January 4th. Before the whole apartment bomb went off. So it sat in the basement, while the mattress cover sat in it's unopened shipping box. Waiting.

Tonight I decided enough was enough. By 8:00 I had cleaned up the messes elsewhere in the house, and decided it was time to bring 'er up! So I waited for my husband to come home. (In a southern voice now) that good for 'nuthin dawg wasn't home by 8:30, so I just said "I will do it myself!" like Chicken Little.

And this is where it gets good. In 2 pieces (pictured above), I tried to bring this thing out of my basement. Oh my God, I wish I had taken a video of this process, I could be the queen of youtube. First, I was knocking everything off the walls, then I was twisting it this was and that. Next I got it stuck. Then I got stuck! And as I'm sitting there cussin out that no-good husband of mine (you know, the one who was at work, getting paid overtime) I decided I couldn't do it by myself. This whole process was unfolding in the stairwell of the basement, by the way, to add to the hilarity.

So I try to bring it back down into the basement and I'm sweating and swearing and twisting around and still knocking things over (as the dogs run up and down the stairs the whole time), when suddenly, one of the arm things breaks off, exactly like the break that happened at Goodwill.

Now, if it had broken at Goodwill, it would have fit in the Jeep and it would have been a lot easier to paint and get up the stairs. And I say "broke" but really what happened is the wooden pegs holding the arms to the long back broke.. so it's easily fixable.

Anyway, now that it's broken and the Mr. still isn't home, I am finally able to bring it up to the Ghost room by myself. So I do and I start putting it back together and fixing the pegs. And I finally the whole thing together. At this point, I notice that's my 5 coats of paint have been damaged in the process.

So with another choice word or two, I decide that this is going to be a "distressed" daybed... because after all of the painting I have been doing in the apartment, I have no interest in breaking out my brush again. So I start sanding. At this moment my husband walks in and sees me sanding this thing and asks "WHAT are you DOING? You're ruining it!"

Thanks Mr. Obvious, that's a helpful comment for you to make at this moment in time.

Anyway, so I distress it and I clean it up and now its time to bring down the twin mattress and open up that box from Pottery Barn. But isn't there something wrong with that as well... the cover I ordered was tan... this thing looks ivory. The options were tan or white, so I know I can't send it back and get something that would be better. You can't own white things in a house with dogs... or men, for that matter.

Pottery Barn's photo of the cover, making it look like a super-tailored piece

So I take it out of the box thinking, "maybe I can dye it" and that's when I notice that this "cover" that cost \ $119 is just a glorified fitted sheet. It's not made to cover the entire mattress, just the top of it. So basically, every time someone sits on it to read a book (which is code for "every time a dog decides to jump up a take a nap") it's going to need to get straightened or re-tucked.


And then the Mr. asks if I am going to cry because he thinks I look like I am going to cry, but instead I just sigh dramatically and ask outloud why the world can never live up to my (seemingly low) expectations. And I tell him the whole story as he laughs and asks, "who is going to sleep on this anyway? I'm not sleeping on it."


So anyway friends, if you're still with me... that's my daybed for now. It needs to be dyed, (or returned) it needs some kind of bed skirt that will cover the brown metal bar, but not go all the way to the ground, and for god's sake, it needs pillows... the kind that come from a store... where people go shopping.

If we ever get this dumb apartment rented maybe I will shop again someday and dye the cover, and make a skirt and take pretty photos. Until then, please bear with me, being a landlord has gotten to be very time consuming.