Monday, April 21, 2014

Adding electrical stuff: let there be light

Last summer I had an electrician come out to give us an estimate on a large list of items. Most of the items were putting in overhead lights (we have none), fans, and sockets.  Last week (ten months later) I finally called him back to get started on a few things.  

We had fans installed in the master bedroom, dining room, and family room.  Not the sexiest decor choice, but it gets warm here.  

It turned into a goat rodeo.

But after six trips to Home Depot, it was all good. 

One thing that I am really happy with is the hallway can lights.  Previously the dark hallway was lit by one enormous sized can light that held a twenty-watt bulb.  I didn't take a before picture, but in the below picture you can see the new can light and the size of the hole that was left by the old fixture. 

We switched out the large can light for a regular one that could hold a higher wattage bulb, and added a can light on either end of the hallway.  


I am super in love with ALL THE LIGHT.  Woot woot.  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One Room Challenge, Week Three: new chairs and pillows

This room is never going to be finished in three more weeks, yo.

This week I bought two chairs for the living room.

I have been searching for either one interesting chair or a pair of matching chairs for under $200 that do not need to be reupholstered on craigslist for a year.  I search every. single. day. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
So I gave up on craigslist.

My sister bought some slipper chairs from Target, and suggested these blue and off-white ikat chairs on clearance at Target for $107 each.  (They are no longer available online.) I hesitated, even though the price was right.  In the past decade I have bought four pieces of real furniture at Target (a bookshelf, a cube unit, a leather bench, and a table) and have returned them all for being terrible,  un-build-able pieces of crap.  Also, I dislike slipper chairs.  I like to curl up in chairs with a good book, and that is impossible in a slipper chair.

However! They were pretty, I love the pattern, they were the right price, and they provided seating for guests.  More importantly, I see them as a temporary fix for the living room.  When I can afford to buy real chairs with arms, I will move these chairs into my bedroom.

When they showed up at my house, I got to building them.  And failed.  I could not get the screws to line up at all. I tried for two hours.  I cursed Target and their crappy furniture.  I called my sister to complain. She told me that her three year old daughter built her chairs without any help.  The Mister came home and built them in twenty minutes.  ANNOYED.

End result: new chairs that look nice.

I also switched out our old pillows for blue and red and black ones.

Almost all of the pillows are previously owned; the only new one is the black and white one from Ikea.  The small red one with blue trim is a $5 pillow from Target my mom sewed some trim on, the red and white lumbar pillow is from this etsy store four years ago, the large blue/black/red one is Ikea a few years ago, and the large red/white/blue is a John Robshaw from four years ago.

Next week: art!

Check out the linky party playing along at home here.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

One Room Challenge, Week 2

Week two of the One Room Challenge and whoa, the designers are bringing it something fierce. (As are all the others linking up on Thursdays; I am feeling outgunned and outclassed.)  Go check them all out.  

You can see my Week One post here

A wee bit of progress--I switched out the floral curtains for white ones, and switched out the orange lamps for white ones with navy shades. Also, a few months ago I put up some picture ledges in the corner of the living room.

This may have been a mistake.

I enjoy having the pictures out and collected in one spot.  However, I put up the ledges before we figured out the current furniture arrangement, and now I am second-guessing myself.

The problem is the corner on the other side.

What do I put there?

No, the dinosaur isn't going to stay there.  

My sense is that something symmetrical on either side of the window would be nice.  However, like every other single thing in this house, the window is off center.  The far corner with the dinosaur is 26 inches wide, while the side with the picture ledges is 38 inches.  (The curtains are hung high and wide to camouflage this.) 

I could take down the shelves and put a narrow Vittsjo shelf on either side:

Alternatively I could leave the picture ledges where they are and do something completely different on the other side.  Different like what I have no idea.

Update:  I should have said that I have a few tchotchkes (not many since taking everything out a few months ago, but five or six)  that I would like to display, which is why I am attempting to shoehorn a shelf unit in that corner.  

Do I look for symmetry for behind the sofa?  Or consider the view from entering the front door (which is of course also off-center)?  

(No, the dinosaur isn't staying over the fireplace either.) 

I am at a loss on that corner.  Orient for symmetry on either side of the window? No symmetry and put something on the wall where the federal mirror is?  Put something on the longer wall where the bookcase is facing the door?  I CANNOT DECIDE.  Halp.   

Check out everyone playing along at home here

Thursday, April 3, 2014

One Room Challenge: My Living Room, week 1

I'm super excited to join the linky party for Linda at Calling It Home's One Room Challenge! On Wednesdays nineteen designers are taking on a room to redecorate in six weeks, and on Thursdays everyone at home can play along by linking up.

I am going to be refreshing my living room and a bit of my dining room.  Since we moved in, our living room has been the room where our old furniture goes to die.  It will be starting off like this:

Everything in here is from our previous house. It is perfectly adequate, but it doesn't really fit this house.  I'd like to make it a bit quieter, and more centered around blues and reds instead of the rainbow.

I've made up a mood board for the new room.

My plans for the room include:

-new curtains
-two new chairs
-new art over the fireplace
-new art in the dining room
-a coffee table
-shelves for picture display
-do something in the far right corner

Here's hoping I can do it in six weeks!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Review of Starfish Indigo Pants from Lands End: don't buy them.

I've been meaning for a few months to write a complimentary review of these pants, because at first I loved them.  However, now I do not and this review will be scathing, not complimentary.

Last fall I gave away all my jeans.  I hate wearing jeans. I will admit that I probably have sensory issues, as I have many, many, many clothing rules that other people seem to find weird.  After 39 years of fruitless searching for a pair of comfortable jeans, I decided to embrace the fact that I am just not a jeans person, and I donated them.  All but one pair, in the extremely unlikely event that I find myself needing to wear actual jeans.  I don't find this to be a huge problem, as about nine months out of the year in southern California I can wear dresses.

However, for about three months here, it is a bit cool for dresses, and I prefer to wear pants.  If one is not going to wear jeans, then one must replace the jeans with some other type of pants.  I have a large selection of sweatpants and yoga-type pants,  but I will admit that they are not the most flattering items.  I have a few pair of what my mother would refer to as "slacks", but sometimes, I'd like something more casual than slacks but more dressy than yoga pants.

Enter the Lands End Starfish Indigo pants.

When I first got these, I fell in love.  These pants are a stretchy cotton knit made to look like blue jeans.  When I wear them, I look like I am wearing jeans! My favorite part is the elastic waistband. (Yes, this makes me an old woman.) They are stretchy and comfortable.  They are like leggings but not leggings!

Ok, I admit this pair of pants will not contour your bottom or make you look hot. They are for the older, slightly sagging crowd, not for a 25 year old who likes to go out to bars.  But they are SO COMFORTABLE.  Like, they have changed my life kind of comfortable.  I can wear faux jeans every day and look like other people!


A few days ago I bent over to pull on my faux jeans, and saw this:

Multiple pinholes of light shining through the material!  Horrified, I inspected all the seams.  My faux jeans are disintegrating before my very eyes.  All three pair I own have the same issue, over ALL the seams.

They are only four months old.  They have been washed mainly on the gentle cycle. I recognize that stretchy cotton knit is not as sturdy as denim, but I expect them to last longer than four months.  They cost $49 per pair, which is admittedly not a pair of Seven of All Mankind jeans, but still, not disposable clothing either.

I am seriously disappointed in these pants.  Don't buy them.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Downstairs bathroom {Calling it all done}: Lady Vader art

A few weeks ago I was lamenting the lack of fresh art in my house.  My sister saw this Lady Vader piece on Centsational Girl's weekend roundup and sent me the link.  I bought it immediately for my powder room.  Sister bought it for her powder room too.  We have matching powder rooms!

I bought the 11x17 print and had it custom matted in a 16 x 20 frame at Aaron Brothers.  You can buy an 11x17 frame easily at Target or Michaels, but for some reason it is not a standard size with a mat.  I felt the picture needed to be a bit bigger on the wall, so I went with a custom mat.

One reason I liked it so much, beyond the funny juxtaposition of old lady wearing Darth Vader's head, is the colors go perfectly in my pale pink bathroom with the green and coral pelmet.

This also gave me the nudge I needed to finally finish painting the mirror from electric grellow to a cheery apple-ish/olive-ish green.  (Rustoleum no-name green spray paint.)

You can see the old chiang mai dragon art that was previously in the bathroom here.

I had big plans to paint the vanity, but I think I'm going to leave it as is.  While I'm not terribly excited about it, it looks fine and is functional.  The biggest reason is I just don't have time for that at the moment or at any time in the near future. So!  I'm calling Phase I of this bathroom All Done.  Phase II will be gutting it completely, but that's a ways away yet.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Minutiae: switching all the art, then switching it back

Thanks for all the kind comments on the last post.  I feel the need to put up some other content not related to my colon, so that anyone wandering by doesn't think that is all I talk about. 

Princess's room has a pink splatter painting I did a while back.

I decided that I would move the art out of Princess's room and replace it with the chiang mai dragon painting. I love that vignette--I think the colors works really well together--buuuuuuut I am not sure about how the dragon painting goes with the other art and bedding in the room.  It feels very very busy in there.  The splatter painting is a little less...I don't know...pattern-ish?  More neutral? Not as busy?  

I moved the pink splatter painting into my own room, because it plays nicely with the horse painting over my bed.

But sadly, it is too big for that spot.  All this rearranging and I am going to put everything back where it started from.  

BUT!  Tomorrow the art I bought for the bathroom comes back from the frame store, and I fully expect some "bleeding eyeball" comments on it, and I can't wait to show it to you!