Friday, August 31, 2012

Vintage Find: Barometer

I got a vintage find delivered to my door the other day, so I don't suppose I could call it a "find." I also can't call it a "find," because I've known where it was for oh, the last thirty or forty years or so-- it was hanging on the living room wall in my mother's house. 

It is this thermometer/barometer/humidity meter:

Wrinkly fabric sample background, because I'm classy like that.
Mom decided to update and rearrange the art and other items hanging in her living room, and the barometer was getting the boot. 

Now I'm famous for adopting items I feel sorry for, and I certainly feel sorry for Mr. Barometer, serving so faithfully for so many decades and then being deemed dated. Oh the humidity! (Sorry. I can't help myself.)

This was one of the most fundamentally familiar objects of my childhood. I don't know how long my mother has had it, but I wouldn't be in the least surprised if I was chewing my baby fists under the weather dials. I don't remember it ever not being around.

It's actually a pretty typical decor item from the 50's and 60's. There has been one in this house before, in the den/front room. See it hanging under the clock? 

Mine has the broken pediment and column style typical of a lot of Colonial style furniture popular at the time, which makes it a good fit for my house. It surprised me how sentimental I became at the idea of my mom hauling it away to Goodwill. 

Right now it's gone to live with other things I have leaning against the wall on the top of my living room credenza, awaiting their perfect place and forever home. That's a Grant Wood print and a little birdie painted by my sister (my wax and airplane plants photobombed the shot, the rascals.) 

Have you ever rescued something from your own history? Did it surprise you how sentimental you felt about it? 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

All This Plus a Blog, Too

Projects around here don't get done fast. Or efficiently. Or in logical order. Not at all.

In fact, if you're looking for thoughtfully researched, well-planned, competently executed, finished on time, poetically blogged projects of hip, cutting edge renovations, you won't find them here. Believe me I aspire to that (well, everything but the hip and cutting edge. I gave up on that pretense years ago), but this is not that blog. This is the blog where projects happen while the homeowner is flying by the seat of her pants through doubt, stress, and exhaustion. This is the blog where projects get regularly interrupted by pots of macaroni and cheese, emergency Nintendo repairs, homework, and the fact that the household is out of clean towels.

Sometimes, it causes me blog envy. Kit over at DIY Diva is not only able to but often does work several 16-hour days in a row on her 19th century brick farm house and gets crazy loads of work done in just a few hours. The Petersiks at the wildly popular design blog Young House Love just pitch in together as a couple and improvements seem to go from demolition to pillow fluffing in mere days.

Neither views are exactly accurate or fair to those bloggers, all of whom are awesome in their own way. It's just that their time and priorities are distributed in different ways than mine, because they are different people. Kit's a young twenty-something who doesn't have kids. The Petersik's blog is successful enough that it's their full-time job (eek! How scary that must be at times!) Their lives are unique to them, and not mine. And then theres the illusion provided by a blog itself, where the process or mess can be edited down to 1200 words and 8 to 10 carefully staged photos.

All the advice says bloggers should "stay on message," stick with their theme, and concentrate on it. I decided to start a blog about an old house renovation, it's true. I'm disinclined to be slavish about sticking to one subject for a number of reasons, but the key one is this: it's not all me, all the time. There are things going on in my life besides home improvement projects.

Right now in my life?

School has started.

That's Ben and me fooling around with my cell phone camera right before he walked into the classroom on his first day of third grade. I love that cheezy (yes, when we're talking about that face, it's spelled with a "z") smile on Ben.

We're also ready for some football.

That's my oldest son with the pigskin, in a game last season. This is his senior year, and the family is looking forward seeing our son and brother play.

I'm baking cookies.

And muffins and brownies and......Four boys keeps me in the kitchen cooking. And then loading the dishwasher. And then cooking some more. The real reason I didn't show you anything more than the soffits and ceilings in the progress photos of my kitchen painting project? The counters were stacked full of the day's clutter from feeding a large family. Yep, while I'm in the middle of painting the kitchen.  Does my kitchen ever close? No. Is my kitchen ever clean? Rarely. But there's always something good to eat.

I'm planning a big yard sale.

There's the gritty reality shot for this post. It's the tubs of clothing and miscellaneous stuff that has been stacked and growing in a corner of my dining room for months now. I've also got furniture, housewares, a mechanic's tool bench, and other things the previous owners left behind. While I've considered simplifying things for myself by hauling it all to Goodwill, if I can get even a couple hundred dollars out of it, that's welcome capital for checking things off that huge list I have going.

I like to have fun.

Granted, my idea of fun is having a glass of wine while reading a book (and if I can manage it, having Mr. Man Friend rub my feet at the same time). But all work and no play make a girl, well, bitchy. It's best to build some time for yourself into every day.

As I wrap up writing this post, it's apparent to me that it was almost entirely "off message." There's nothing in here about vintage anything or renovation updates. But it's more honest than staying 100 percent stuck to a blog theme, I think. I am very okay with that.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lamp Love Link: Mad for Plaid

I've been at it again. There may need to be an intervention. Or not. I'm not sure I want to be helped.

You may have caught me in previous posts referring to a basement TV den/study that was so many miles down on the project list I didn't think it would ever happen.

Maybe so. But I already bought lamps for it.

I found them on Etsy, and well. I just had to have them. The plaid design is in a wash-y blue, aqua, tan, and terra cotta color, with stripes in gold. Here's a closer look:

I think these need a strong color shade to max out the design on the bottom. Like gold, aqua, or even a medium brown. The fabric underneath is a clearance remnant I hope to use for toss pillows. I'm also working in this vintage office table that came home with me earlier this year:

And throw it together with lots of travel and cabin kitsch and brown leather:

What do you think?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Another Glimpse of the Past

I feel silly. I happened onto another old photo of my house, and it was in the most stinking obvious place: the county tax assessor's web site. Why didn't I think to look there? Who knows. But the little clues they've left me have me intrigued. 

On the Doorstep readers have seen this photo, from 1942. Though we don't know the color of the house for certain because of the black and white photography, it looks to be white with black or possibly dark green shutters. Maybe dark red?

On the other end of the timeline, we have this photo that was taken in April 2011, when the sale of the house to me was still pending:

The yard was an overgrown mess, and there was an ugly A/C unit stuck in the upstairs bedroom window. The yard was cleaned up quite a bit this summer and a new dry-stacked retaining wall was installed near the driveway. I need to blog about it! The clump of maiden grass you can just see peeking out from behind on the left hand side of the spruce tree has been removed. The house is still this same fleshy beige color, and the shutters are missing. Major dislike. And homie needs a new roof. Badly. More major dislike.

Now here is the photo of the property from the last time the assessor documented it, in 2000:

White with blue/gray shutters. An aluminum front screen door. The brick patio is still there, but with a wrought iron railing. And look at that tree! I wonder when it was planted, since it doesn't show in the 1942 picture. What looks to be a huge cedar is eating the right side of the facade.

The tree was taken down in the last 5 years, according to neighbors. The traces of its stump and rotting root system is still evident in my front flower beds. The cedar is long gone, and the spruce is much taller. There's been a wood deck smacked on the front of the house, and you can tell from my choice of verb I don't think much of it. I've found the shutters in the garage attic, and I intend to put them back on the house. I don't know what the previous owner may have thought about them, but I think the house looks bald without them, and not true to its Cape Cod personality. Further down the road, it's my intention to tear down that deck and get a brick patio/steps and railing back on the house.

Less important to me, though just as interesting, is the little sliver of view between the tree and my house, where you can just see a slice of the next-door neighbor's garage. If you slide back up to the 2011 photo, not only is the tree gone, but so is the neighbor's garage! It's remarkable to me how much has changed in the appearance of the home just in the last decade.

I'm leaning toward some COLOR for the house this time around, but I haven't settled on exactly what. With me, it's likely to be green!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Painter's Tape Review

Under the blog tab "Front Hall Closet," (go ahead and read the whole thing over there if you want, I'll wait.....) the first two general statements read:

1. I am not a professional.
2. Sometimes I swear. 

Just these two declarations pretty well cover the description of me painting, and especially me painting using painter's tape. Over the years I've used quite a bit of it. Not because I want to, but because with my love of bright or dark colors, living through the 1990's stenciling craze, and feeling obsessive-compulsive about doing things neatly, I feel like I have to. 

In the past, I've gotten frustrated enough with the results from painter's tape to just go at it free-hand, especially in the line between ceiling and wall. I have a pretty steady hand, I've learned to push a "bead" of wet paint ahead of the brushstroke, and I figure that most people can't scrutinize your work standing on the floor looking to the 8-foot ceiling level. 

Fast forward through many, many paint chips and projects to the kitchen renovation currently under way, and once again I'm faced with the dilemma of a clean line between a pretty intense color, the avocado green, and the ivory ceiling, and between the avocado green and the neutral buff color on adjoining walls.

I thought I'd give painter's tape another chance, this time with a brand I'd never tried before:

I've heard good things about it from people in the 'hood, and there are other blogs (like Young House Love, and they are paintin' fools over there), who've said it was the real deal. So I taped up the soffits at the ceiling line and at the lower edge too, because I wanted to keep the ivory ceiling color under the soffit to reflect light onto the workspaces. So, an inside corner and an outside corner. 

On the soffit over the sink side of the kitchen I taped up before I got out the paint, and in a previous post I gave you a quick and dirty on the process with the cell phone camera: 

What happened when I took the tape down?

The ceiling line (inside corner) looked better than the soffit line (outside corner). But even then, there were still tiny glitches here and there that annoyed me. It annoyed me enough that I went back to my usual way of thinking, "I could paint it by HAND better than that tape, pffffft!"

So, in the spirit of rebellion, getting the hell on with the job, and comparison, I did the soffit over the stove/microwave on the other side of the kitchen free-handed. And then I took a close look at them both. While I've been pretty confident in the past with my free-hand painting, it wasn't "as good as" the painter's tape. It was very close to the same on the inside corner, but definitely not better on the outside corner. 

Because I was less satisfied with my free-hand painting compared to the Frog Tape, I decided that I would paint over the edges with the ceiling color and start over on that side of the kitchen 

Slapping the ceiling paint on over the edges: 

Now it's taped up for another try (yes, the green paint is thin in areas): 

This time I tried a tip that you find various places around the internet, which is to paint along the edge of the tape with the existing color FIRST. It's supposed to seal what little glitches or uneven places are in the tape seal. 

Another layer of ceiling paint: 

And then layers of the darker color go on: 


The second try with the Frog Tape, using the advice to paint the edge with the existing color first, was significantly better than just free hand, AND better than just taping and painting with the new color. 

Was it perfect? Still, no. There are places with tiny bleed-outs and a couple of other places where the tape failed to ride a small bump perfectly. Here's one view of the outside corner. Keep in mind this is a close up, and these bleeds are 1/8" or less in length: 

While it was bugging my inner perfectionist, my inner common sense gal (who's been known to smack me when I need it) was saying in no uncertain terms "NO ONE is going to look at this THAT closely. QUIT WHILE YOU'RE AHEAD." 

So I did. I am also not going back to redo the soffit over the sink except for a few small lengths, to touch up. Now that the soffits are done, I have to repair some cracks in the other walls before I can continue painting. 

Ta-DAH! (pay no attention to the missing light coverplate)
In all my previous projects, the painter's tape I used was 3M Scotch, aka "the blue stuff." I never liked it, and the product was to blame for many of my past acts of blasphemy. It stuck to itself, fell off the wall if the humidity was too high, and bled or wicked too much to really make a clean line. That's where I got in the habit of painting free-handed in the first place.

If you gave me a choice between using the 3M brand blue tape and painting edges by hand, I would pick doing it by hand. It you gave me the choice of free-hand and Frog Tape, I would give Frog Tape the (slightly) better edge. Haaaaaaa, see what I did there? Sorry. I couldn't stop myself. 

Checking my experience through online research, it looks as though Frog Tape does rate better than others in comparisons (like in this Good Housekeeping test here). It also appears common that professional painters with years of practice forgo painter's tape entirely and paint free-hand around ceilings, baseboards, trim, and moulding. I've also had some luck for short lengths, especially along baseboards, using the edge of a wide putty knife (very clean and rust free) to get a straight edge against the wood trim. I also use a small artist's brush with short bristles and a flat head to fix tiny errors. That's probably how I'll go back to those tiny errors that are still visible from standing on the floor. Outside edges are really hard to get sharp, and the tape did a better job on the inside (ceiling) line.

My big caveat? 
Surface is everything. Even if you have good-quality painter's tape adhered properly to the wall, if the wall is textured even a little bit or has little bumps or hiccups, you're not going to get a perfect line. And if you live in an older house, you're a lot less likely to have perfect, smooth drywall. Heck, you might not even have drywall. For that reason, I truly believe that painter's tape, no matter what the brand, has its limitations in the older home. I wish it weren't so but I think that's why, in the end, there is no "perfect" painter's tape, and no single answer on how to get crisp paint edges. 


Disclaimer: I bought the Frog Tape with my own cash. I didn't accept any compensation, payment, or promotion from the company that manufactures the product, and the views here are solely my own.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Big List is Born

It's time for the list. The BIG List. No, I don't have a head injury. When I discussed it before, here, I was averse to it. For good reason. The amount of work that needs to be done on this little house is OVERWHELMING, so overwhelming that I needed the caps lock on to type the word. The price tag, well, we're not even thinking about that because it makes me nauseous and prone to facial tics.

But, well, I got to thinking it might be a good idea to see what I've got done so far, and be able to compare progress in individual rooms. And as a way to strategize projects. Probably also as a way to incite panic and guilt in my psyche too, but you have to take the good with the bad.

So I started going from room to room and itemizing. The upside is that in some rooms, lists aren't really that long, or are in rooms that can wait almost indefinitely. The downside is that a lot of really big (roofing the house), difficult (removing asbestos ceiling tile) or expensive (roofing the house again) jobs are still ahead of me rather than crossed off. The good news is that the boys' bedrooms are mostly all done. That's good. It was a priority to me to have them comfortable as soon as possible in our new space. The down side is my bedroom is still under construction, and our main bathroom is kind of a wreck.

The list is after the text jump, so readers who have better things to do (and I hope you do) don't have to bother reading it. It offers a few clues to future blog posts, and also some things about my house you may not have known-- like the fact it has a darkroom, which is now mostly a bleak, mildewy corner of my basement. My other shameful basement secret is a toilet in the corner of the workroom. Just sitting there, exposed, with no other facilities (handwashing, anyone?) and certainly no walls for modesty. Mercy!

I expect things will be added and removed as my priorities and realities change. But for now, this is it.

I think the list will be helpful in the future, but it took a lot out of me just to write it down. Right now, I'm conflicted about it. I want to roll up my sleeves. I want to go lie down. Not to be a big Debbie Downer but at the moment, the last one is winning.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Zap, Slap and Unwrap: Progress Report

This post is a list of promises....or teasers, depending on how you look at it. Posts were thin this week. Even Wednesday's normally scheduled Lamp Love Link did not appear. Here's the lowdown:

1. Zap (or how to avoid same).

Remember my bedroom, the one that's still considered a construction zone? We took it from this:

To this:

But I was worried about the electrical wiring in the room. Also, because we'd sheathed the walls in a fresh layer of drywall, 3/8 inch, the sockets were recessed into the wall too far to fit correctly and solidly into their faceplates. The center screw wouldn't reach. Also, I had no functioning closet light.

As I type this update, an electrician is upstairs getting the sockets rewired with some GFCI protection and getting them mounted securely in their boxes. He's installing a light in the closet.

I can't tell you how woo-dee-hoo I feel about this. It means I'll be able to do finish paint, trim, and moving in. So this decidedly unglamorous blog post now about electrical wiring will result in far more interesting ones later. Woo-dee-hoo!

2. Slap

I'm still slapping paint on the walls in the kitchen. I had a set-back due to my own experimentation with this product:

While it was a set-back in terms of time (so what else is new?), it gave me the chance to compare this brand with painting freehand, and decide which is better. I didn't use the blue tape as well, though I intend to share with you my past experiences with it. (I'm crazy enough to do something twice, but not crazy enough to do it three times, even for the sake of comparison).

3. Unwrap:

We've had packages arriving On the Doorstep this week, one for the 1970s kitchen and one for the basement den, which is so far into the future it seems like a daydream. The other one is for sweet little ol' me. We'll share the kitchen one in the final reveals, and we'll share the contents of the other two packages next week.

Progress isn't always pretty, and not always press-worthy (i.e., a blog post). Next week it should be a lot more of both.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Brief and Slightly Lame Updates in Kitchen Paint

Here I present a brief update in kitchen painting in three lame cell phone shots.




Also, an electrician came to my house today and I did not find it necessary to either a) weep, b) swear, or c) take out a substantial bank loan.

Things are moving along. More later!

Saturday, August 18, 2012


This lovely free use vintage image is from the blog Brocante Home.
Good morning!

It's Saturday morning here On the Doorstep, and I've already run two loads of laundry, written a column for the local paper, and ordered some iris for fall planting.

While some people don't much appreciate being faced with household chores on the weekend, as a working girl I somewhat (Just somewhat. It's not like you'll catch me dusting or anything.) embrace them. It means I'm home and not at the office.

It also means a way to do some necessary "excavating" as I call it, after a week with a busy house with four boys. A way to find the clean house under all the week's accumulated practice jerseys and dirty socks, junk mail, and random stuff, like the screwdriver in the bathroom (somewhat explainable) and the dirty dishes in the teenager's room (tragically predictable).

Taking time to take care of the routine business in one day means high hopes of getting further on with the kitchen painting business the next day.

The coffee pot is empty, so that means I need to finish this blog post and get a move on. Have a great Saturday no matter what you're doing!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Kitchen Painting: Progress Report + Floor Plan

I knew when I started the kitchen painting project would not get done in one, or even two or three days. Still, it's hard to be patient when you've got blog readers waiting and you've got the place looking like this:

But life happens. The boys came back after their visit with their dad, I've got to head back to work, I've got a broken extension pole (see this post) and people around here want to eat. I've also had these hangups:

1. When painting different colors on different walls, especially when there is a strong contrast between them (like between the buff color and the avocado green color I've got going here), I like a clean line, and that means painter's tape. I tend to like to do the pale colors into the corners and around it a little bit first, and then do the wall with the dark or bright color last. But the Frog Tape that purchased has instructions that say to wait three days before putting the tape down on fresh paint.

THREE days? Well, I figure I've got a margin there, because they're probably trying to idiot-proof their product. But then again, the humidity was SO high the weekend I painted that waiting three days isn't a bad idea to make sure I have a completely dry and stable surface.

2. I've admitted I have a problem. Namely, a few wall areas that need more attention than just a little spackle and sanding. Like this crack under the window below:

Yeah. If I try to hide that, it will only come back. And that's not moisture around the crack if y'all are worried that's what the darker area is. The previous owners tried to put some sort of clear sealant on it.

Here's the promising shot:

Here you can begin to see where finished and unfinished are colliding. On the right wall is the Sherwin Williams Buff color, on the left wall is primer over that old navy blue paint. See that lovely perfect ceiling? You can also see a bit of the ugly white (and filthy) ceiling fan that is going to be removed soon. The door to the right is the basement stairwell.

The chickens on the cupboard want their closeup, so here:

It's also my feeble attempt to divert your attention from the lack of a finished project (look over here! Now here! Pay no attention to the disaster unfolding just beyond camera range!)

To give you a better idea how this is all shaping up, I found a great iPhone app called MagicPlan that will map out a floor plan on your phone. No really. The heck I say. What's below is from that, then doctored up on PicMonkey.

The small red arrows are showing that the soffits above the counters are primed. The big red arrow on the bottom is the wall that is finished. The upper arrow is pointing to the far right wall, which is the one primed over the old navy blue paint. And the ceiling (a BIG ceiling) is done.

The dimensions of this aren't 100 percent accurate, but give you an idea of how my kitchen lays out. The photo above of the cupboard, chickens, and corner is the lower right hand corner of the room in the layout. There is a wide galley kitchen to the left, and an eat-in area a step down to the right. I stuck a table in there for effect, but mine isn't oval. The diagram also shows the bi-swing door bottom right to the basement, the door bottom middle that passes into the dining room, and the sliding glass door, top right, that goes out to the screen porch.  The arrows and text were additions from PicMonkey editing. 

What's next? I'm going to paint the eat-in wall with the sliding screen door, and then the wall to the far right (the one that is now primed) avocado green. I hope I get kicking on that this Friday or Saturday. Wish me luck. Fortitude. Extra doses of sanity and drop cloths. 

Lamp Love Link: A Light in the Kitchen

Since I've been painting my kitchen, I've had kitchens on my mind, and so I had to pull a few of my favorite kitchen lighting related items currently for sale on Etsy.

Catch this fruity lamp at Etsy seller LookingForYesterday's shop here. 

Or this one is also great if you've got a Jadeite thing going on in your kitchen: 

This sweet thing is found on Etsy with Tinkerztreasures here.
There should be no worries that I'm changing my mind about kitchen lighting for my own place. I'm sticking with my first love, which is this beauty here: 

I picked up this beauty at OrWa Designs on Etsy. They've got smashing good taste in lighting (though perhaps the word 'smashing' shouldn't be used with lighting, but you get me), AND they make some great furniture pieces for Midcentury Modern lovers. 

Stay tuned for a kitchen painting update later today!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Watching Paint Dry Blues

Here's a view of my front yard on Sunday:

Notice anything special about this rose? There's raindrops on roses! After the long, dry, drought-y summer we've had, these ARE a few of my favorite things! Honestly, it was a lovely sight and a cool, misty day.

Which makes me hesitant to complain about day two of painting. Relative humidity for the day ranged between 70 and 92 percent. So I painted......and then waited.....and waited.....and waited......for paint that would. not. dry. Add the moisture from the paint into the mix and it felt a little like the inside of a terrarium inside my kitchen.

Oh well. The rain on the windows and the slow pace are like a blues song, right?

I painted one wall of the eat-in area of the kitchen, and primed another wall. It was gratifying to cover up that blue with primer:

Do not get me wrong. I am not against the color blue. I'm only against this particular color of blue, in my particular kitchen. It was sucking the light and warmth out of the space where I feed my family and friends. Who wants that?

It wasn't wasted time. While I watched the paint dry, (well, really, I sorta did. I'm that excited to see the new colors on the wall) I pondered curtain designs and sketched up a few ideas. I think I'm going a different direction that I had originally thought. Oh, and I decided a round table would be better in the eat-in. And that I wish I had my Aunt's kitchen chairs (metal with vinyl seats) from the '70s right now, though they're long gone. See? I didn't waste a minute.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Painting Ceilings. It's the Pits.

After Day One of the kitchen painting projects, I can tell readers these two things:

1. "I really love painting ceilings" said no person ever.
2. I think I still have paint in my armpit.

The first one I googled. Seriously, I thought I'd find a blog post or an entire website, maybe, titled "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Paint in My Hair." The closest I came was "learning to love your popcorn ceilings," which is related, but under a different entry in the diagnostic manual for mental disorders.

The second, well, is absolutely true. I had paint in my armpit. It's not my fault. I had epic equipment failure. The $3.96 extension pole I bought for the paint roller was a total loser, and snapped off at the head while it was overhead, bringing my paint roller crashing to the floor.

The threaded extension for the paint roller was made of plastic, and snapped right off.
Yes, there are three colors going on in the background. No, it's better not to ask. 
If cameras had been rolling, they'd have seen me stick my butt out to the side (apparently trying to catch it with the largest part of my anatomy), and then catch the roller in a little chicken wing maneuver before it slipped out of my grasp (wing?) and fell to the floor. It was as least as graceful as this:

And yes, I felt like a (throws arms skyward) SUPERSTAR! With grace and an armpit involved, Mary Katherine Gallagher was the kindred spirit who came to mind.

Here's what I learned:

1. I did not buy ceiling paint off the shelf. I bought a custom tinted regular paint, and it's much less sloppy-runny-messy than ceiling paint. I may never buy ceiling paint again. It's totally worth the few extra dollars not to be tortured by the watery cursed stuff. Because of that, the actual painting went pretty well.

2. The Cream Delight by Valspar was exactly the right color for my ceilings (and it's going on my trim in the rest of the house too. Nice, creamy white.

3. This isn't something I learned so much as already knew: a paint project in one room inexplicably creates chaos in at least two other rooms. I've got kitchen crap piled in the living room, and a pile of satellite painting supplies cluttering up the dining room. Considering the ironing board had already been residing in the dining room (don't ask), it's not like I was a paragon of order to begin with. Heavy sigh.

4. With prep time, lost time because of aforementioned extension pole disaster (which meant I had to go up and down a ladder and move it a little each time), and a necessary clean up before supper time, I didn't get much more done than the ceiling on the first day. We'll see how far I manage to progress on Day 2.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Post About Underwear, Painting, and Ultimately, Butterflies

Friday started in a distressing way: without clean underwear. A girl can't conquer the world (or the kitchen walls) without freshly laundered skivvies, and so I squandered a few precious morning hours of my free Friday home in PJs, watching the laundry spin through its cycles. It was okay though. While I waited for my "foundation garments" (as our grandmothers used to say) I made a thorough shopping list for Lowe's, and now I'm ready to start cleaning, prep and painting for the kitchen tomorrow. Oh, look at that. It's already tomorrow. Okay. I start painting the kitchen TODAY.

The shopping trip was great. Home improvement stores seem like this magical land where anything is possible--hardwood floors, new mailboxes, bright wall colors, a new kitchen sink. It's the platonic ideal of home improvement projects. You know, before you make the big mess, find the major problem, forget the key plumbing part. Still, I'm in the honeymoon stage with the kitchen painting project. Brandish that paintbrush: Charge!

Since this is the first full height ceiling I'm painting at my house, I picked up one of these: 

I'm refraining from adolescent jokes, right here. 
Though I already have a supply of paint tape, I picked up some Frog Tape, because I need to secure my amphibians. Ummmmm, because I've heard really, really good things about it, and that it's loads better than the blue stuff in giving a clean paint edge. I'm gonna give it a go. 

In the first photo you can also see a 4-inch roller that I thought might be handy for maneuvering all the smaller spaces and under the soffits. I don't really hold with lots of gimmicks or gadgets when it comes to tools.....until I'm painting. And then there's a sucker born every minute--me. 

I also allowed myself some other necessary items (though I'm thinking it's too bad Lowe's doesn't sell multi-packs of women's white cotton hip-hugger briefs) since I'm still building up a basic tool collection. I bought a hack saw. I picked up a longer 25-foot tape measure, because the 12-foot one I have is driving me bonkers with its inadequate length (and again like with the extension poles before, I'm refraining from adolescent jokes. It's the lack of sleep, so help me.)

That package on the top left is a assortment of weapons of miniature destruction that I need to wrest the last few stubborn carpet staples from the hardwood floor. I've tried everything else. I had no idea they sold dental tools at Lowe's. I'm not sure I'll ever use these again, except to combat gingivitis. 

Despite my sartorial crisis this morning, I still managed not only to get the DIY-shopping done, I went the grocery store, worked on a freelance story, grilled some honking big burgers for me and Mr. Man, AND pulled a few weeds out of the garden. The butterflies have discovered my purple coneflowers, and I'm feeling all warm and squishy about it. It was especially nice to see since I'll be spending tomorrow with paint and primer dripping into my eyeballs.  And it's not a bad way to end a post, either.  Anyway, better than a picture of stacks of clean underpants.