Thursday, January 24, 2013

Headboard and the Unexpected

So, I went ahead and made a new headboard last weekend. I have to say, I kinda love it. I was unsure so many times during the process - did I get the right shape, is it soft enough? Is the fabric too pale? Too smooth? Do I like the nail heads or do I hate them?

But now that it is finished, I really like it. It is currently in my old craft room.

And here's the unexpected part:

Ok, so maybe it's not that unexpected. My craft room is still my craft room. While I was removing the bulletin board and the shelf underneath it, I noticed some stuff about this room that needs attention. For one thing, when my lovely husband re-painted the trim on my bulletin board, he also painted the wall. Yeah...

When I took the shelf down, a piece of the wall came with it... a small piece.

On top of that, now I have some big holes to fill where the shelf and the bulletin board were screwed into the wall.

So be patient my loyal readers... one day, this move may happen. Until then, I'll be patching and painting.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Last Look

I am gearing up for the old "switcheroo" to go down on Monday. Here is a "last look" at my craft room before it becomes our bedroom.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

100, table.

Just in case you weren't keeping track... this is my 100th post. Yay. I will have a cupcake to celebrate.... you should probably have one too.

After I posted my short list of ideas the other day, I received a rather curious e-mail that went something like this:

"Hi Mandy,
I especially like #4, I think you should move it to the top of your list.  You know something for the winter doldrums" ... "getting that list down is really rewarding. 
Have a good day."

Curious... I wonder who could have sent such an e-mail? Do you think it was the Grandmother who has been eating at a patio table about 3 inches too short for the past 3 months? So I did finish the table for my Gramma, which was #4 on the list. It required quite a bit of work along the way...

To refresh your memory, it all started innocently enough with me giving her 8 hours of my time for Christmas, 2011. In October, 2012 she cashed in the hours with the request that I refinish her kitchen table. So I brought it home and got to work.

Then everything went wrong.

and missing from this photo montage is how the table looked when I sanded off the veneer right down to the press board that was underneath it all. Big oops.

Queue the paint!

With the creamy white paint, the table would have looked pretty good... if we had painted the base.

But, I didn't. I don't think she really wanted me to... and with the unprecedented length of time it took for me to get her table from wood to white, I don't really blame her.

It doesn't look great. It barely looks good at all. But the white is better than the unevenly stained veneer, and way better than the plain press board. My intention was to paint and sell the table - giving her the money to buy a newer, real wood set. But I think she just wanted something to eat on.

I knew this about her, so when I spotted a tablecloth at Target that happened to match all of the colors in her kitchen, I bought it and presented it to her with the table last night.

It's certainly better than nothing, and I can say from experience that it works. We had some homemade chicken soup to celebrate.

And if you are curious about the other things on that list, you should know that I bought foam and upholstery tacks last night on ebay.

Monday, January 14, 2013


I mentioned that our house was really Grinch-y this year for Christmas. Let me explain why...

As landlords, we deal with all kinds of random stuff. And when I say we, I mean him. I don't relish the idea of being a landlord. I think it is kind of crappy, aside from the income. But its been a great way for us to get to enjoy a larger house that costs us very little... not to mention the fact that its an investment. Once the mortgage reaches its 30 years, we own it outright after having paid nearly nothing. There are sacrifices of course, like the endless amounts of painting and upgrading we did last year in order to get it ready between tenants. And we deal with things like noise issues, and broken items, etc. In the past, these have all been Dan issues. He deals with the tenants and with fixing broken things and collecting rent. I take the checks to the bank and deposit them, and whine when they are too loud.

This tenant however, has forced me to be involved and I hate it. So how did a Dan problem become a Mandy problem? When I saw my first bug in the house around Halloween. I don't "do" bugs, never really have. Even the sight of ants is cause enough to whip me into a frenzy. So you can imagine my delight when I googled "kitchen bugs" and found out that it was cockroaches.


Now, I understand that in some areas of the country it is so hard to get rid of them that people have just decided to get along and deal with nasty little things. Not here in Connecticut. So, as you can imagine I was in a stressed out frenzy for the first time in my life. When I say stress, I mean acid reflux, missing periods, not sleeping stress. When I talked to my tenant, she confirmed that she had noticed the bugs too, around the time her brother came to stay with them.

In case you are curious, no... she is not allowed to have her brother come to stay with her. I don't make that rule, the state does. Because they pay 95% of her rent. Apparently, she did not think it was a big enough deal to let me know that the cockroaches had come. I had to discover them nearly a month later on my own and call exterminators in a panicked frenzy.

Anyway, that was early November. They're still around. How does this have anything to do with Christmas, you ask? Well it's pretty straightforward really, they live on water and crumbs and they hide in dark spaces. I did not want to provide water (in a tree stand) or dark places (behind decorations or garlands). So we did not have any decorations this year. And, we had a fake tree.

I know, I know.... its awful, isn't it? In the interest of making "the best" of things, I decorated the fake tree as glitzy and artificially as I could. After all, people know the tree is fake, there is no point in trying to make it look real.

So, with that super long back story, here are some pictures of our super fake tree.

So what do you think? I have to admit, I kind of loved how fake and glitzy it was. Additionally, it was quite simple to take apart last week. The glittered spirals were picks that I just rested on the branches, the hideous tinsel garland looked less tacky behind the wide gold ribbon.The balls (bulbs) just all went in a hat box since I am not super concerned about whether or not they break, and the "topper" of shooting stars just just tossed into a box. Nothing was really breakable, the light were already on the tree and it went together in 3 easy pieces. I am not a fan of fake trees, and you can bet that I will have a real one next year. But I might be setting this one up again since it was kinda cute and pretty easy.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Here are some things I have decided to work on... you know, whenever.

1. Upholstered headboard. Late to the party, but ready to climb on the wagon!
2. Finish the 2 seats for my kitchen chairs. When I painted and upholstered the chairs currently at my table, I only did 4 because I knew I wouldn't have the table open for 6 in this house. But I should probably just finish the 2 seats for the arm chairs and get it over with.
3. I had an idea to make a round salt-dough disk and stamp the word "EAT" or "DRINK" towards the top. Then I'm going to dip the bottom in chalkboard paint. See then? I can label the actual drink in chalk, with the instruction to "drink" being permanent.
4. Finish my Gramma's table. I decided to paint it and sell it, but now she is claiming she wants the painted table. I don't believe her, but I should get it back to her so that she can stop using her outdoor table.
5. Switch bedrooms. It seems likely that we will be stuck in our house for a bit... mostly because there is nothing on the market that we like or want. So in an effort to preserve my sanity  I think I may move our bedroom down the hall to the only bedroom that doesn't share a wall/hall-wall with the other side of the house.

Just so you know.

And here is some Eye Candy, for your personal "Ooo-ing" and "Ahhh-ing"

via Style Me Pretty
via Martha

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Cocoa Party!

I'm not going to get too wordy today, just wanted to share another funtastic time had back in December, 2012. My cousin Steffie had the genius idea to throw a cocoa party complete with gingerbread house constructing, Christmas movie watching and lots of references to my superiority as Head Cousin. 


And then there was the gingerbread construction... as you can see from the evidence below, I am far more skilled at building gingerbread houses than my poor minions cousins. 

4 walls up before anyone else has 1!

Olivia holding her house together before one of the million collapses... stick with acting Liv, you are no architect!

what's that? My house has a chimney before the others have roofs?!
and then Caitlin spilled those little ball things... world's most hilarious sound!

Why yes, I did have a snowman and a candy cane tree in my yard

Unfortunately, most cousins did not finish by the time I had to leave... which was roughly 3 hours after we started. But hey, that's what Head Cousins do, right? Lead by example?

It was great fun, and should surely become an Annual Hummer Event.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Here's another look at the old poop table I gave Anglea for her Surprise Baby Shower - it was a steal at Savers way back in late October. As you may have guessed, I forgot to take a picture before I started priming!

After 2 coats of primer, 2 coats of "Evening Dove" by Benjamin Moore and another coat of Satin Poly (just in case) it was looking pretty damn good. I decided it to make it baby ready by adding a few baskets from JoAnns loaded with wipes, diapers, "potions and ointments" as Anglea would say, and some baby clothes that I just couldn't resist. Also, just in case you weren't aware... you can't change a baby on the wood surface. So I got a pad just to be nice.

Here is the scary thing to keep in mind: the table, paint, and baskets cost less than the tiny little bag of diapers and wipes... yikes. Glad its you and not me buddy!

More of 2012 on the way!

Angela's Surprise Shower

To continue on with events for my "A" named friends, I want to share Angela's surprise baby shower with you... finally.

A few months back I was down in New Haven with her as we did some furniture shifting, and general visualizing. There I was (Ms. Bossy Boots) telling her, "you need this" "you should get that" and so on, whilst she was playing the logical Mother-to-be, reminding me that while she would like to have a television, it is probably a better idea to buy things like a crib and a stroller, etc. And then she said the saddest thing ever.

"Well since I'm not going to go back to California for a shower or anything I really need to make sure that I..." blah, blah, blah. Basically, I didn't think it was fair for her to not have a baby shower after she didn't have a wedding shower. Let's face it friends... free gifts are the main reasons to get married and make babies!

No? They're not?

Well whatever, I decided then and there to throw her a shower and recruited some help from her hubby, our co-workers and her friends in CA. So back in December, we nailed it. Take a peak:

As you can tell, we had plenty of fun before the guest of honor even showed up! Fortunately, we had tricked her into believing she was going out shopping with another co-worker for maternity clothing. Even more fortunate was the fact that our co-worker went ahead and got pregnant so as to be very convincing. Meanwhile, Angela's hubby and I worked on getting the CA friends to attend virtually through Skype.

And when the time was right... we all yelled SURPRISE!

She had plenty of presents to keep her busy for a while, and friends from CA chatted on with everyone here in CT. Overall, I'd say it was a success, especially because of my awesome gift.

And maybe because of Scout...

Stay tuned for more stuff from 2012 as I have finally uploaded some pictures that may or may not have been on my memory card since August.