book page covered file cabinet

I know, I know … I’m supposed to be filing.

But the minute I started checking out filing cabinets online I just couldn’t shift back to this pile.

Seriously, the second I hit publish on this post, I pulled my ugly beast out of the corner and got to work.

I took some pics of her dusty rusty, decrepit state. (more…)

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the month in minutes – february 2012

Hey there!

Hopefully the week is treating you well.

Yesterday we did our very first month in review and we’re going to follow it up today with a little February rundown.  The plan is to keep these posts in the right sidebar for easy access to links to all of your favorite posts.  I’ll also be sure to toss in some new things just to keep you guessing.  😉

And, if anyone has any navigation tips for this little blog please let me have ’em…I don’t want any fun information getting lost as we continue to grow.  🙂

Now, February started with all of the nitty gritty details about how I hung a gallery wall from one little screw for $15.

(more…)

doing a lot…and gettin’ nothin’ done

Hi, hi!

Nothin’ like waiting all off-season to get wrecked on the 2nd lap.  I can’t even imagine the disappointment for the team.  😦

Anyone else watch the Daytona 500 last night?  Or, just judge me for the habit?  🙂

And I move on…

Do you ever feel like you’re working on so many things but not really accomplishing anything?

That is where I am right now. (more…)

Is that a white wash you’re wearing?

Well folks, the big a$$ tv has a new home.

You’ll remember it used to live here.
If you want to see how I upgraded an old dresser with some fun maps and stenciling, click here.

Yes, that is in our bedroom.  :/

And we had this little cutie in our living room.

Wait…is that a plain, dirty piece of plywood hanging above my tv?  Hmmm, odd…more on that another time.  🙂

Why?  You ask, do we have our little tv in the living room and large tv in the bedroom?? Well, we have this great outdoor space (being as we live on an island and all) and we will often move our tv outside when we are just hanging out on the roof.  It is a space I have been keeping under lock and key…well not really, it IS outside.  But, I have yet to share it on the blog.

The outdoor space is one of the best parts of this house.  No, I take that back, the outdoor space IS the best part of this house.  🙂

But, after over 2 years of living here we find we’re not lugging the little tv outside quite as often as we used to and… really people…the house is the size of a bread box so moving the little tv into the bedroom adds an extra 12 steps when we do decide we want to take it outside.  Yes, I just paced it off.  🙂

But, clearly the big a$$ tv wasn’t going to fit on this gal.
No, not the dog, the cute little Ethan Allan 4 drawer I got for….wait for it…$10.  Now…where to put her, hmmmm.  A decision for another day.

But, I did have this, not real special, hutch.

Some of our neighbors actually gave it to us when we lived in MD.  They had sold their house and it was the morning of closing day and whatever was left in the house was being left…unless we wanted anything.  Hahaha…they had no idea who they were dealing with when they innocently came over and made the offer to husband and I to “take whatever we want”.  Ahhh, so many pieces of junk treasures we acquired.  🙂

The hutch made the trip to Curacao, you know, along with all of the essentials.  😉

That’s a joke about all of the items my husband gives me a hard time about bringing on our island adventure.  There may be a still un-upholstered chair and some yarn lying around.  😉

Anyway, I figured the hutch =
1 – a piece we didn’t care about if anything happened to it, and
2 – good storage.

So, take that husband.  That’s called logic  😉

One cool part about her is that she is two pieces.  So I thought, if I just take her top off she’d make a great tv stand.  Who needs a top, er hutch, anyway?

But, if she was unremarkable all together, now she’s less than half of that.
Those are close ups of left) cute idea…coral handles, middle) cute idea gone wrong, scratches from coral and, right) top of the bottom of the hutch.

Am I right?  She’s a mess.

I was hesitant to paint her because of the sliding doors.  Wouldn’t they just rub, scratch and get haggard looking?  No, really, wouldn’t they???

Then I saw this beauty hopping around Pinterest.  Seriously, at least 3 of my blog buddies had pinned this, including Roeshel, Kari and Sherry.
Now, it’s going to take more skill than this girl has to turn my hutch into this.  haha

But, I thought a finish like that might give the bottom of my hutch a little pizzazz.

So…how does one get that finish?  Is it a white wash, is it a dry brush, is it a stain?

Let’s say it’s white wash.

How exactly to does one white watch?

Well, if you don’t know Shaunna, you’re missing out.  Not only does she write a beautiful blog, but she has an eBook that is all about different furniture finishes.  And, she wrote a great post way back in 2010 about the difference between white washing a dry brushing.

She gives all kinds of great details and tips so definitely check her out.

Following Shaunna’s advice, I added some water to my paint.

I brushed on my watered down paint.

And then I wiped it with a lint free cloth to get rid of any paint strokes.

I ended up doing two coats and do have a few tips:

1- Less is more.  Brush on your paint/water mixture very thoroughly.  It helps with the look, dries faster and saves paint.
2- Wait a few minutes before wiping if you want a whiter finish.  I wouldn’t have needed to do 2 coats if I had learned this the first time.  🙂
3- If you have a spot you don’t like, STOP wiping it.  I had a few OOPS! spots and realized that the more I wiped the worse they got.  I had much better luck just letting the spot dry and then reapplying and wiping.
4- If you put the paint/water mixture on areas to, say touch up a bit and maybe, just hypothetically, forget to wipe it off and end up with a few spots that are a little more painted then you’d like…don’t panic.  🙂  I just dipped my brush in pure water and brushed over the same area and it evened out the look a bit.

It’s hard to see in the picture but the top has two coats and the side only has one.

Now, of course, I don’t ever take the time to take pictures when I’m rectifying an OOPS! moment.  Somehow my body just doesn’t react this way.  As, I was evening out my OOPS! spots I was definitely thinking, “I should have taken a picture”.  But I just can’t seem to stop the quick reflex action to Fix. OOPS. Now!

Similar to when I was balancing the one screw gallery wall.  🙂  No pics of that hazardous moment either.  :/

Anyway…

After I had the two coats we had her in place for a couple of days before I thought…STRIPES!

I have been wanting to do stripes for awhile and thought this would be an easy little first go round.  Then I thought…DRY BRUSH!  (Yes all of these thoughts came in all caps, exclamation point strength.)

Why not dry brush the stripes in a gray color (they really are gray, I know they look blue in the night pic), over my nice new light, light gray white wash.  Or would that be gray wash?

Then I wrapped a few of the handles I took off of the mapped dresser with twine.
And then…I thought….NUMBERS!

I am clearly loving numbers right now.  So I picked a couple not-so-random numbers, the same copper stencils I used for the HOME art here, and added some numbers.
My stripes were measured at 5 inch height (the whole cabinet is just about 30 inches tall) which worked perfect when I pulled out my stencils and realized they were 5 inches high. Score!

I traced the stencil and then  painted in the lines.  You know how I roll. 

Then I sanded them down a bit…and called her done.
Dare I say she’s nautical and beachy?  I love her.

Joel’s reaction…

…what are the numbers for?  Sigh.

You can’t please everyone. 😉

I am sharing this project here and at:
BNOTP, Home Stories A to Z, Savvy Southern Style, Remodelaholic, Today’s Creative and Sugar Bee Crafts.

imperfection is the new black

Seriously.

I mean, who’s into perfect anymore?

Well, I’m sure there are many out there.  But not this girl.

Is there really any better way to set yourself up for disappointment…than to expect perfection?

For starters, I would never be living in this house.  Oh, how you are imperfect…let me count the ways.  But let me only point out the tile…oh the tile of which you have an abundance.

But what was it that someone once said…where ever you are, I am home…or, my favorite thing about my house is who I share it with…or, as long as we’re living here together I can overlook the tile…it was something like that.  😉

And it really isn’t about the structure, or even the things in it, is it?!?

Oh, if it were about the perfection of the things…

I would probably shudder at the sight of that silly, un-level driftwood shelf in my new one screw gallery wall every time I walked in the room.
 Or, I might have finished re-upholstering that chair by now…8 years later.
Or, I might not have gotten disproportionately excited when I bought these hideous couches for $65 for the pair.
I can’t even tell you how hard it is to find “American” sized furniture for a reasonable price on an island.

As an aside, if you’re looking for perfection, definitely don’t move to a Caribbean island…I know some people who learned that lesson the hard way.  Please refer back to that comment I made earlier…something about the expectation of perfection = surefire disappointment.  🙂

Now, I have to give a shout out to the Nester for the idea of Celebrating the Imperfect with a link party.

And, in contemplating her idea, I realize, that through my never-ending search for a steal deal, my need to find ways, albeit more difficult or time consuming, of doing things that hardly cost me anything, and my complete and total aversion to keeping up with the Jones’, I live in a space full of imperfections.

And that, my friends, suits us absolutely perfectly.  🙂

I crack my knuckles, I shave as infrequently as possible, I don’t clean as often as I should. I overlook dog hair everywhere on the couch, I leave unfolded, clean laundry lying around for days, I love to swear.

I often waste time, I don’t keep in touch with people I love, I am not nearly as involved with my nieces and nephews day-to-day lives as I’d like to be.

I am emotional, often times erratic and sometimes just a plain ol’ pain in arse.

But just call me Ellen because “I want to be clear and here are the values that I stand for. I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated, and helping those in need.”

Everything else…in all of it’s imperfection…is just gravy.  🙂

I’m a Follower

Good morning, good morning!

Man do I wish the Patriots had won yesterday.  😦

Today, for a potentially slow moving Monday for all of us football fans…and those who just love the Sunday that is the Superbowl party…I have an easy little Valentine’s Day project.

But first, for all of the bloggers…and anyone who likes to follow blogs and keep them all organized in one spot, a little word about the new Linky Follow tool that you’ll see top and right in the, well, top of my right sidebar.  🙂

I didn’t necessarily fully understand this when I jumped in the pool of blogs, but blogging is a game of numbers.

Here I thought it was game of eloquent writing, well edited photos and thoughtful topics – whatever the focus of your blog.  Believe you me, it for sure is all of these things…plus the numbers.

Before I had a blog I would read bloggers talking about different conferences they attended with seminar topics specifically about not measuring your success in numbers.  I didn’t really think too much about it pre-the space between.

But now that I am IN the space between, literally, I get it.

I started a blog because I thought it might be fun to keep a chronicle of all of the things we do in the spaces we find ourselves in.  When I think back to all of the homes we’ve had and upgrades we’ve made and projects we’ve learned how to do along the way, I’m down right bummed out that many of those things live only in memory. Memory can be so fleeting.  :/

And the response to this here blog, my friends, has been phenomenal.  I didn’t know I would get so excited when I got a new comment, or a new follower, or repin on Pinterest.

Seriously?!?  You like what you see enough to want to get a notification when I do something else (or are a blogger who knows about the numbers)?  How cool is that for this gal?  Wicked fricken’ cool I tell you!

So, when a couple of blogs announced the new Linky Follower tool I jumped right on board.  It’s easy to get signed up and totally free.

How fun to be a part of something from the very first day it was announced to the whole world. Roeshel and Cheri posted all about how to get started and are also hosting a month long Giveaway Bonanza to kick start the new tool.

If you feel so inclined, it would be super cool if you would click to follow me on the new Linky Tool…and be sure to let me know you did because I would like to follow you back.


Click here to follow this blog and view my other followers…

Now, back to my lazy Monday Valentine’s Day heart idea.

Did I mention she’s FREE?  I always have that exact change in my wallet.  😉

See her snuck in the new gallery wall there?  You may recall the faux zinc letter B was there for the reveal, or maybe not, whatever. 🙂

I thought a little pop of holiday, and color, would be fun to switch in that spot throughout the year.

For all of the deets on how to make this beauty you have to head over to A Content Housewife where I’m guest posting today, while Lianne is busy moving to Charleston. Hope it’s going well Lianne!

If you missed the nitty gritty details on how this whole wall is hanging from one screw please click here.

To hang the heart, I just hot glued a length of ribbon scrap to the back and duct taped it behind the framed stencils.

To me she’s just the right amount of Valentine’s Day in our otherwise neutral colored wall.
The whole deal took about 3 hours…perfect for a lazy evening.

I happened to be watching the collapse of Kyle Stanley at Torrey Pines.  The poor guy had a 4 stroke lead on the tee at 18…and then nothing went right and he lost the tournament in a playoff.

I would gander to say my afternoon went better than his.  Sorry Kyle!

Now, don’t forget to drop in on Lianne to see some more pics and how I made the rosettes.

And, if you haven’t yet, you can click right here to get signed up to follow me in the new linky tool.

And then, have a fabulous Monday.

Oh, and I’ll be back tomorrow with the announcement of the giveaway winner and my features from the Imagine the Impossibilities Link Party…I am having a seriously hard time narrowing it down…

I am sharing this project here and at:
BNOTP, Home Stories A to Z, Savvy Southern StyleRemodelaholic, and Sugar Bee Crafts.

Mapped, Dressed and Done.

I did it.  I finally finished the dresser.
And it was really more like mapped, dressed, braided, jigsawed, sanded, painted and done.  🙂

I explained how I got it started here.  Then I got a little distracted by a little thing called Christmas (are you guys ready for it?) and went a little ornament crafting crazy.  If you haven’t been keeping up (where have you been?) I put all my projects in one handy spot for you to check out here.

Now, for the dresser, I’m lovin’ the upgrade.  It reminds me of where we have been, where we are now and makes we wonder where we’re going next.

I let the drawers sit for a bit with the maps on them.  I didn’t even put them back in the dresser to use.  I just used this always essential chair (more on that here) to toss organize what would be in the dresser.  Apparently even if I have to step over a project 10 times a day it does nothing for my motivation to finish it.  😉
One day out and about I found these letters at a local scrap booking store and had the idea to stencil on the names of the locations that each dresser represents.
They didn’t have all of the letters I needed so out of a cereal box (love me some Honey Bunches of Oats) I made an O with a little help from the C I bought and an A with some M, N and W.  And yes, the M and W are exactly the same but I didn’t realize it until I got them home.  Bamboozled by the alphabet.  Drats!

I mixed together a few different colors of craft paint I had to create a subtle color that wouldn’t over power the maps.  Honestly, each drawer came out a little different.  I needed to make a different color for the Curacao map since it was darker.  I had outlined the Maine letters darker than I wanted, the Cali letters look almost perfectly white, but the Iowa letters turned out exactly how I wanted.

And then with the addition of the twine handles.  Oh dear do I love them.

Thank goodness because they took some time to make.  Each braid is 3 pieces of twine and each handle is 3 braids braided together and there are 8 handles.  Sooooo … carry the 1, and that equals A LOT of braiding.  About an episode of Sportcenter combined with the first new episode of Fear Factor.  Mid process it looked like this.

Can I just say, as a side note, there is nothing about the eating challenges on that show that is worth $50,000 in my opinion.  But, someone I graduated from high school with is the Supervising Producer so I was supporting the cause.  Congrats Anthony!

Ok, back to the braids.  I also learned too little too late that I should have cut my lengths of twine much longer to make it easier for me to tie them together.  Of course I was being cheap responsible when cutting just the right amount of twine for the braids.  But, to attach them to the dresser I just fed the 9 ends of each handle through the existing hole and tied each end in a knot inside the drawer.

TIP!!!  In addition to making the lengths of twine longer than you think you’ll need, make them as close to the exact same length as possible.  This will make the process of feeding them through the ridiculously small holes more manageable.  When all else fails, use a narrow, pointy tipped object to force the suckers through.  I used scissors.

As soon as I had the handles finished and put the drawers back in the dresser I knew I needed to change the color.  For some reason the drawers just made that hideous detail at the bottom even worse and the green just wasn’t right with the maps.  So, without even moving the dresser out of the bedroom, I got my broom stick straight edge, drew a line from scrolly edge to scrolly edge and jigsawed a straight line.  (And yes, I know the Curacao map is on upside down, I address it here.)

Yup, jigsaw was on the move essentials list.
But then when I went to sand the newly cut edge I uncovered a little white primer and had the thought to just distress the whole thing.  And I just didn’t want that much more dust in the bedroom so we needed to move this project outside.  Amazing that this little spot of white changed my whole strategy.

So, I flexed my big girl muscles and moved the big a$$ tv the really cute accessories off the dresser and moved outside.  I sanded and re-evaluated and decided to mix a little paint, similar to the lettering color and do a little dry brushing.  And when I say a little paint, I only used about a tablespoon or two of my mixture.  Dry brushing = time and money saver with the bonus of intentional imperfection.  🙂

I tell you, the combo of distressing, maps and dry brushing just makes this guy seem so well traveled and distinguished.  This little spot shows all the layers, I love it.
She definitely brings a little character into our rental bedroom and just plain ol’ makes me smile.  Picture me opening the Maine drawer and smiling at the thought of playing soccer at Little Falls field in high school when our high school was getting a face lift. Or reminiscing of some of the fun early memories I have with my husband in and around San Fran when I go to get a tee shirt.  Just random goodness.

Here’s a reminder of the before:
And an after.
And the real after.  :/
Yes, we have a large TV in our bedroom.  And yes, we have a LARGE dog bed or 2.  And yessirree, we have a wad of cords.  They are hard to see in the pic, nicely hidden in the shadows.  But I’m just keepin’ it real for ya.

But hey, we have a neat dresser now too.  How much better is that straight line along the bottom?  I love the upgrade.

But, more importantly, what do you think?  I’d love to hear.

I am sharing this project here, here, here and here. Check ém out!

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