Saturday, October 31, 2015

31 Days of Coffee: Random Thoughts From An Overcaffeinated Brain

Here it is...the end of 31 Days of coffee. And if you've stuck with me this long, then perhaps you're thinking the same thing I am, which is "Whew! I thought this month would never end!" ;)

So here are some random thoughts from my overcaffeinated brain to wrap up this month.

* Coffee, like wine is best shared with friends and family.

*Contractors are notorious for underestimating two things: the length of time to complete the project and the cost. Whatever they tell you, be sure to add twice the length of time and one third more in cost.

*Rain and cold might be a terrible recipe for exterior house painting, but it's a great recipe for making soup.

*One benefit of having a house under construction is that you'll have the scariest house on the street for Halloween.

*A life without a dog or cat is just plain sad.

*God smiles on me in the clearance section of stores. Case in point: This Ottlite Floor Lamp, originally $149, that I snagged for $59.99 at Michael's! I bought two. One for me, and one for my mother in law for Christmas!

*Most days, my life is so boring that even I have nothing to say.

*I discovered my new favorite store, and it's close to home. Goodwill. Found this shabby chic Christmas tray for $2. And now that the contractors have made us broke, it looks like I'll be doing the rest of my home shopping there. :)

*When I am not in bible study, my life is out of balance.

*I miss the camaraderie of coworkers.

*My new solution to escaping the house I don't like in the town I'm not overly fond of is to leave it, often. Planning on at least one weekend away every month, and calling it my sanity break.

*You are never too old to learn a new house flipping skill. This weekend: staining wood trim of new windows. Getting the color wrong, going back to Home Depot, and trying again. Wishing for the thousandth time that this house had painted white trim.

* Halloween and rain seem to go hand in hand.

*The Hallmark Holiday movies start today. Rejoice!

One thing's for certain. After a month of coffee, I'm ready to switch to tea.

Blessings on your weekend, cafe friends!

Friday, October 30, 2015

31 Days of Coffee: Life Documented November Planner

As 31 Days of Coffee quickly comes to a close, I'm looking ahead to November.

Holidays and happenings.

A month to give thanks...for housing projects finished. (Please, sweet baby Jesus, let the exterior projects be finished! Amen!)

Special events not to be missed.

Important moments to remember and cherish.

A TO DO list for the house that never seems to end.

Making a mental note to pause, lift my head up from the house flipping project at hand, and remember to enjoy the days with the people I love.

Blessings on your Friday, cafe friends!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

31 Days of Coffee: How To Create A Collage Wall

So remember when I told you that I'd been drinking too much coffee and reading "The Nesting Place" by Myquillin Smith at the same time? Apparently, that is a dangerous combination.

One of the things that The Nester mentions is that we have to get rid of our fear of hammering nails into walls. I'll admit it, it's the one thing I hate to do, especially after we've painted a room. What if I screw up? And that's when the Nester says a little putty and paint, and good as new, so stop obsessing.

I started thinking about the wall over my couch, the spot where the previous owners had hung a nail too high, and because I was afraid to move it, I'd hung a sunflower painting there (too high) and called it a day. But I never really liked it there.

One thing that I'm really trying to add to my home are more of the things that have meaning, and less of the things that do not. And when you move as often as we do, you find that sometimes a certain thing may have looked great on a wall or in a room in one house, but it just doesn't work in the next one.

I began to "shop the house", as Myquillin says in her book, and came up with an assortment of things that just might work together. And then I laid them out on the floor.

Some picture frames from my parents' home, a few iron trivets, and a piece of Pennsylvania Dutch artwork that I'd picked up at an antique store in our former hometown of Noblesville, Indiana. I tried a few configurations until I came upon this one.

Then I cut out the shapes from newspapers and catalogs, and taped them to the wall to see if it would work.

At this point, I called in my son, Luke, and asked him "What do you think?"

"Woah, Mom. Wow. Just wow. It looks like a cry for help! All you are missing are the crisscrossing red strings and the letters cut out of newspaper!"

Ha. Ha. Ha. Very funny.

Maybe it is a cry for help, as in HELP! I've been stuck inside my house for too long! Someone save me!

At any rate, the visual helped me, even if it disturbed my children.

The cool part about this is that you can lightly hammer the nail right where you want it, then...

...peel off the paper, and hammer the nail where you've already started the hole.

It worked out just fine.

Voila! Collage wall completed.

I can see where this wall may grow a little more over time, and perhaps those empty frames will be fun places to add a little whimsy in the future.

Luke says it looks much better than it did yesterday, minus the newspaper clippings and the soundtrack from the movie Psycho. He's quite the comedian, isn't he?

I like it when a home decor update costs me nothing...especially because we've spent all of our remodeling money on windows, paint, and landscaping. We'll be back to total DIY jobs soon as we try to get back on budget and continue to update this house on the cheap.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

31 Days of Coffee: My favorite place to have coffee

I'm feeling homesick this week.

It's been a bad combination of rainy days, unending house projects, and too much time spent alone indoors.

I wish I could get in my car and drive home this weekend. Home to family in Michigan, because it's my favorite place to have my Mom's kitchen table, surrounded by brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, laughter and tears.

Instead, I'll just have to stay home, and drink a little Motor City Blend from my favorite travel mug...made in Detroit, just like me.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

31 Days of Coffee: The Kitchen Before and After, and After Again

Welcome to day 27 of 31 Days of Coffee! And what better place to find the coffee than the kitchen?

This kitchen had gone through a mini renovation at some point before we moved in. The countertops are a composite material called Staron, made by Samsung and similar to Corian or Silestone. The glass tile backsplash had been added, and the chrome hardware on the cabinets had been added.

Like I said, it had been updated a little, just not to my style. But then again, nobody asked me. :)

And then there were the mismatched appliances. I had mismatched appliances at my last kitchen, too, but it didn't bother me because they were all white. But this kitchen had a little bit of everything. A white refrigerator that dripped and was on its last leg. A black microwave with a broken door handle. A black functioning dishwasher. And one newer stainless steel oven that they called a double oven, but was in fact, just an oven on bottom that we had to bend down every day to use, and a broiler on top that we never used.

We know from past experience that buyers love two things : First, they love stainless steel appliances. You just have to sit through a marathon session of House Hunters on HGTV to figure that out. And second, they love to have their appliances all matchy-matchy.

This is where I have to add my disclaimer: I'm not a fan of stainless steel appliances. I don't like the added work of keeping them clean from constant fingerprints and smudges, and I'm not a fan of the industrial look they add to a kitchen. My dream kitchen has white appliances, or maybe even retro vintage appliances that look like the ones in my Tante Mimi's house. But this is not my dream house or my dream kitchen, so we're pandering to the HGTV crowd.

Over the summer, we purchased an entire set of new appliances for the kitchen. After doing a lot of research online and in stores, we decided on the Whirlpool Gold series appliances.

I fell in love with the size of this refrigerator. It's huge! And the best part?

The freezer has a pocket for pizzas! We love that! The freezer also has two pullout drawers, so no digging through piles of frozen foods to find the fish sticks.

My husband really loves the ginormous microwave. But me? I love the ginormous gas stove!

I love how sleek it looks with the controls on the front and not the back.

Somehow, the absence of the control panel on the top makes the back area look larger.

If you have the option to get a dishwasher that is stainless steel inside, I would suggest you do. They run so much quieter. And because our kitchen opens up to the family room, I really wanted a quiet dishwasher.

The kitchen does have some unique features. I really like this black double sink.

And the wide window sill with crank out windows is very nice.

I can see my happy birds at the feeder.

The glass tile back splash is a little busy for me. But I'm managing to cover some of it up with my collection of tole trays.

I also like the under cabinet lighting. It gives a nice ambient glow at night.

This little corner cabinet is begging for some love and attention. I'm thinking of paint and maybe some beadboard wallpaper in the back.

The kitchen has a coffee bar! Now I know, some people would say "Lady, that's no coffee bar. That's a planning desk." To which I would respond "Who needs to plan when there's coffee to drink?"

The kitchen opens up to the sun room.

Look! A new, functioning sliding glass door to the patio! Excuse the wall...that's a future project. And yes, it is raining today, which means no painting.

Oh look! My Christmas cactus is getting ready to bloom...for Halloween!

The kitchen is big, but we're not sure what to do with the wide open space between the prep area and the kitchen table in the sun room.

It feels like a dance floor. Maybe it needs a disco ball?

We would just move the table out, but then the light fixture is not centered over the table, and the ceilings are differing heights.

And then there are the cabinets. The honey oak cabinets. Or should I say, the partially real, partially fake honey oak cabinets. Seriously? Who chooses fake honey oak?! Cheap builders, that's who.

You can see that it's fake because when the previous owners took down their stickies and calendars, it left behind nice holes where pretty fake wood used to be. Nice.

So now we will be turning our attention to the kitchen. Our plan is to paint the cabinets in this lovely color called Linen from ReClaim paints.

ReClaim is magic paint that will stick to anything. It bonds and it self levels, so no brush marks. Unlike Annie Sloan or other chalk paints, this paint actually has a nice silky finish. Not gloss, but not flat either.

If I like the look, I will probably use it to paint the bathroom cabinets as well. But that's a project for another day.

Today, I will drink my coffee in the kitchen and ask my husband "So when are we getting started on this kitchen?"

Blessings on your rainy days, cafe friends!