So Much To Do

We have so much to do that I’m a little overwhelmed on weekends (my only days off) as to where should I put my effort.

Lots of finishing left in the conservatory.

Lots of finishing left in the conservatory: walls, floors, trim, and on and on, but today I’m heading upstairs.

I know this about myself: PLAN ALL WORK EARLY IN THE DAY. I like to get started on the main project for the day first thing in the morning. I try very hard to have everything ready to go. If I need paint supplies or cleaning supplies or tools, etc., I like to have them on the spot.  Any short trip to the hardware store or paint store totally throws off my productivity.

My brushes are all ready to go to work.

My brushes are all ready to go to work.

My plan for today is to paint the upstairs hallway.

  1. Wipe all the walls and ceiling down with water to remove sanding dust.

    What's more mundane than washing walls?

    What’s more mundane than washing walls?

  2. Prime all raw plaster areas.

    Large areas of wall have been spackled with drywall mud.

    Large areas of wall have been spackled with drywall mud.

  3. Remove the stair railing and take outside.

    The far railing goes to the top of the steps.

    The far railing goes to the top of the steps.

  4. Clean railing with mineral spirits.
  5. Paint the hall ceiling.

    The ceiling should take little time since it is narrow.

    The ceiling should take little time since it is narrow.

  6. Wipe down the stairs and baseboards.
  7. Spray paint the railing, underside first.
  8. Paint the stairwell walls.

    The stairwell walls will be Benjamin Moore's Moonshine.

    The stairwell walls will be Benjamin Moore’s Moonshine.

  9. Repaint the hall ceiling.
  10. Repaint the railing.
  11. Repaint the stairwell walls.
  12. Paint the hall walls.

    The view from the Treetops bedroom looking toward the pink bathroom door.

    Naturally there are lots of doorways to paint around on the bedroom hall.

  13. Repaint the hall walls.

When I say a simple phrase like “I want to paint the hall,” there’s so much to it. We’ve already done a lot of prep in this area. However, the hallway will still needs baseboard trim.

We're going to install baseboard trim that matches that of the downstairs hallway: 1 by 4 topped with ogee and shoe in front.

We’re going to install baseboard trim that matches that of the downstairs hallway: 1 by 4 topped with ogee and shoe in front.

The baseboard, risers, and stair trim still need to be painted.

I'll save painting the stair trim and risers for another day. Errgghh.

I’ll save painting the stair trim and risers for another day. Errgghh.

The stairs get a runner.

I'm hoping these Ikea rugs will work on the stairs.

I’m hoping these Ikea rugs will work on the stairs.

If I can get the list of 13 finished today, the project will feel like something is happening.

What’s your plan?

Sleight of Sleigh

In the master bedroom we have a Grange king size sleigh bed. (That’s pronounced “Grahnzhe”.)

Our Grange sleigh bed

Our Grange sleigh bed

I bought it second hand at an upscale consignment shop over 20 years ago.

My vision -- sort of.

My vision — sort of.

Over the years its shiny finish has become scratched and dinged.

"The refinishing of this piece shouldn't be too labor intensive", she said with false confidence.

“The refinishing of this piece shouldn’t be too labor intensive”, she said with false confidence.

I like the Restoration Hardware finish on their sleigh bed.

Restoration Hardware's Empire Rosette sleigh bed without footboard in antiqued grey.

Restoration Hardware’s Empire Rosette sleigh bed without footboard in antiqued grey.

I also would like to remove or remodel the foot board so it doesn’t take up so much room.

We often used the footboard as a clothes rack. No-no.

We often used the footboard as a clothes rack. No-no.

We tend to use the foot board as an easy  dumping ground which I’m going to try to eliminate. Once upon a time when we couldn’t find socks, shirts, unmentionables, etc. they were buried between the footboard and the mattress. Time to grow up!

The footboard of the sleigh bed takes up a lot of visual space in the bedroom.

The footboard of the sleigh bed takes up a lot of visual space in the bedroom.

I’m not sure how to get started but the bed is apart due to our renovation and so I’ve decided to strip it and redesign it.

I'm planning to cut on the white line.

I’m planning to cut on the white line.

Any suggestions?

Do you take a chance at remodeling things you’ve lived with for years? What’s the worse scenario?

Coffee Table Styling with an Assist

Most of the house is still a mess with paint cans, cushions, bare drywall, no curtains, etc. Sometimes I just need a quick little project to get my juices flowing.  Then I realize how far I still need to go to get finished.

Focus on the coffee table elements.

Focus on the coffee table elements.

I found the photo above in old Wisteria catalog that I’ve been keeping for inspiration.  I decided to use things we already own to tablescape the living room coffee table using the placement of objects similar to the ones in the Wisteria photo.

The big Chinese bowl on the bottom is a staple under the coffee table until we get the dining room table set up again.

The big Chinese bowl on the bottom is a staple under the coffee table until we get the dining room table set up again.

I looked at the elements in the photo and tried to find something similar in the house. The bowl of glass balls was easy — it was already in the living room.

My glass ball collection.

My glass ball collection.

I knew right where the blue and white ginger jar was so I went tot he kitchen to find it.  While in the kitchen I polished the silver tray.

A silver tray for the coffee table.

A silver tray for the coffee table.

I scoured the house looking for a statuette and remembered in the back of the dining room window seat cupboard was a Lladro knockoff that I had inherited from my mother.  The figurine’s delicate hands were well-wrapped in lamb’s wool and tape which has kept them from getting chipped or worse. (Good going, Mommie.)

This statue's hands are wrapped in lamb's wool and tape to protect their fragility.

This statue’s hands are wrapped in lamb’s wool and tape to protect their fragility.

Even though many of our decorative items are still in storage somewhere on the premises I found these things:

  • the statuette
  • silver tray
  • bowl of glass balls
  • bit of orange ribbon
  • 2 little verdigris froggies
  • a lantern on top of a candle stand (for height)
  • a pile of books
  • a blue and white ginger jar.

Here’s the result.

LivingRoomCoffeeTable

I’m not going to put my living room next to the first photo above because as I looked at the two I realized I still need curtains and pillows (both would really add a lot of style).

LivingRoomCoffeeTable

I also had to take the pictures around the clutter from other rooms that we’re storing in the living room “for the time being”.

A few items perched around the rooms that don't belong.

A few items perched around the rooms that don’t belong.

Getting there, folks.

From whence comes your inspiration?

Vintage Trays and Spray Paint

I picked up 2 metal trays from the FREE table at church. They measure 13.25″ square with a depth of approximately 1″.

Vintage metal tray times 2.

Vintage metal tray times 2.

This same tray is for sale all over Ebay and Etsy from $7 to $26.

Why are they out in the driveway?

Why are they out in the driveway?

It is described by an Etsy seller: “Lovely vintage Mid Century red and gold stylized peacock design square metal serving tray by Maxey. This sturdy square metal tray is accented with a stylized peacock and foliage design along the center of the tray in shades of metallic gold and black which are set on a matte red background and bordered with a gold rim. The back of the tray is a matching matte red shade. It is signed “Maxey” along the bottom of the design.”

Under the "peacock" is the name "Maxey".

Under the “peacock” is the name “Maxey”.

First of all I thought the peacock was a chicken.  And as lovely as they are (kidding) I’m going to desecrate them (just like I did my ceramic Christmas trees) with some spray paint.

Grey primer to prepare the metal surface.

Grey primer to prepare the metal surface.

I painted them front and back first with grey primer then with Valspar “Hubbell House Golden Maize” to give the living room a little jolt of color.

I should have stopped here.

I should have stopped here.

Then I got an even bolder idea but should have quit while I was ahead.

My new idea involved this bit of fun. Grrrrgh.

My new idea involved this bit of fun. Grrrrgh.

The details are forthcoming if I can improve the outcome.  If not, I’ll show you the fail but won’t bother telling how I got there.

Do you get grandiose ideas? Should you stick with the basics? Or is trying and failing better than never having tried at all?

It’s Christmas Time in the City

OK, so it’s not Christmas yet and we don’t live in the city but for some reason I’m really psyched about it this year.  Maybe because last year we had no kitchen and were in the middle of a daunting renovation.

This was our Christmas tree last year, a gift from our son.

This was our Christmas tree last year, a gift from our son.

And right on time I see 7th House on the Left’s post on 10 Little Things to do Now to Have a Jollier Christmas.  I’m in.

Lights, icicles and star -- December, 2011 -- we had hired an architect but didn't even have sketches of the renovation that would eventually take place.

Lights, icicles and star — December, 2011 — we had hired an architect but didn’t even have sketches of the renovation that would eventually take place.

This is what I’m going to get on right now so I can enjoy Christmas along with everyone else.

This year's plan -- any lights that don't work are trash. No saving them "just in case".

This year’s plan — any lights that don’t work are trash. No saving them “just in case”.

The first thing I’ll do is pull up the names of everybody for whom I get a gift.  I keep the list from year to year on the computer. This year I have 6 couples to shop for and, of course, my darling.

Gift wrap and packing materials are stored together in a plastic tub in the attic. I'll get them down soon.

Gift wrap and packing materials are stored together in a plastic tub in the attic. I’ll get them down soon.

Then I write down possible ideas for each recipient.  Some people are easy; they get want the same thing year after year.

Every year my sister sends us a personalized ornament.

Every year my sister sends us a personalized ornament.

I try to buy things well in advance of Christmas so there are no significant charges on the credit card in January. I don’t usually wrap presents in advance even though I already have the wrapping paper because I sometimes can’t remember exactly what I bought.

We've put lots of decorative things away during the renovation -- I hope we can find the Redwing stag!

We’ve put lots of decorative things away during the renovation — I hope we can find the Redwing stag!

I have also decided my theme this year which may become my permanent Christmas theme. Back in January of 2013 I decided that mistletoe would figure heavily in my 2013 theme.

I should order these mistletoe kissing balls from Etsy.

I should order these mistletoe kissing balls from Etsy.

Well there was hardly any decorating for Christmas last year so this year I’ll just say have a “Merry Kissmas.”  Check out my Pinterest board.

Bacio -- kiss in Italian.

Bacio — kiss in Italian.

I want to have the downstairs finished enough (even if the wallboard isn’t mudded or painted) to have a swell party. I’m really working on that concept.

The renovation has really cramped out entertaining style -- we're back.

The renovation has really cramped out entertaining style — we’re back.

I’m going to make a list for myself just in case someone special asks me what I want for Christmas. It’s never happed before but you never know.

Oranges, cranberries and candles in the lving room in 2011 -- in 2014 they'll be replaced by limes and something blue.

Oranges, cranberries and candles in the living room in 2011 — in 2014 they’ll be replaced by limes and something blue.

Another Christmas chore that I’ve been doing for the last two decades is having Christmas cards made for the lovely couple I work for. In the past few years the card has been from Shutterfly.  I’d like to start in August  but my boss never seems to be ready to focus on this until the week after Thanksgiving. It takes me a few days to design the card and get it sent in. Since we only send 400 and now use printed address labels, the project goes fairly quickly but still takes 2 weeks to get everything off. (We used to send closer to 1000, all hand addressed.)  I guess that’s why I don’t personally send cards.

I'm going to try to use things we already have and natural elements to decorate this year.

I’m going to try to use things we already have and natural elements to decorate this year.

This year when we put up the decorations we’ll take time to edit them and get rid of some we no longer enjoy. (Last year I got rid of some ceramic trees.)

I saved this little ceramic tree but I might want to change the color -- AGAIN.

I saved this little ceramic tree but I might want to change the color — AGAIN.

We also need to clean that part of the attic which got very dirty when the new roof was put on. WOW, I’d better get started, only 99 days left.

We wish you a Merry .  .  . too soon for you?

The Living Room Needs Color

Our first floor plan is open. You can see the kitchen from all the other rooms: living room, dining room, conservatory, mud room.

Looking into the kitchen from the dining room.

Looking into the kitchen from the dining room.

The kitchen is yellow (Benjamin Moore Waterbury Cream) and dark, warm grey.

The living room looks through to the dining room and to the kitchen to the left of the dining room.

The living room looks through to the dining room and to the kitchen to the left of the dining room.

The living room is grey with a grey sofa and blue chairs.

The living room is looking very monochromatic.

The living room is looking very monochromatic.

I want to tie these two areas together.  I know I can do it with pillows.

Grey bird on an ochre and white background would add some charm to our living room.

Grey bird on an ochre and white background would add some charm to our living room.

My inspiration shots are here and here.

This picture seem to tie all the colors in my first floor palette together.

This picture seems to tie all the colors in my first floor palette together.

And then inspiration really did hit when I found these two identical trays on the free table at church.

Can you see the tie-in?

Can you see the tie-in?

Any idea where I’m going with this?  I hope my next post isn’t a “project fail” post.

Do you get unlikely brain storms? Is it more like a storm or a gentle rain?

You Call This Progress

My plan for yesterday was to do some more painting. Unfortunately the hall was not quite ready so I had to change my focus which turned out to be a good idea since the day was grey and the weather rainy. Not good for painting.

Once polyurethaned the marks on the floor should blend into the rest of the area better.

Once polyurethaned the marks on the floor should blend into the rest of the area better.

Instead I polyurethaned strips on the bedroom floor that  needed finishing.

Mineral spirits darkened the wood.  I knew it was dry when the wood turned light again.

Mineral spirits darkened the wood. I knew it was dry when the wood turned light again.

First step was to clean the bare wood with mineral spirits.

The floor finishers left us a can of polyurethane and the tiny rollers were a free gift from our local paint store.

The floor finishers left us a can of polyurethane and the tiny rollers were a free gift from our local paint store.

In my paint supplies I found a pair of tiny rollers and roller pans which were perfect for this project.

The tiny roller is about 3 inches wide.

The tiny roller is about 3 inches wide.

The narrow roller allowed me to put the poly exactly where I wanted it and to feather the edges onto the already finished floor.

The polyurethane is taking a long time to dry in the damp weather.

The polyurethane is taking a long time to dry in the damp weather.

While I was waiting for the first coat to dry I wiped down our antique side tables which have been covered up with plastic for the past year to keep them relatively clean during the renovation.

We have a pair of these small chests.

We have a pair of these small chests.

I had stored the marble tops under my bed so they were full of dust and needed a good cleaning.

The back of the marble is marked with the country of origin.

The back of the marble is marked with the country of origin clearly made for an English-speaking market.

I wiped them down with water then polished them with Jubilee.

Jubilee is an old-fashioned product that leaves a waxed shine and protection.

Jubilee is an old-fashioned product that leaves a waxed shine and protection.

Ultimately these two inlaid chests will on either side of the bed

Our bedframe is 82-1/2 inches wide and fits between the two side tables.

Our bedframe is 82-1/2 inches wide and fits between the two side tables.

And will hold my iris lamps.

Each lamp has two bulbs which give lots of light.

Each lamp has two bulbs which give lots of light.

I’m pretty sure the lamps need to be rewired which I’ll do when I haven’t got anything else to do.  Call me in 5 years.

Does the weather affect your DIY progress? Do you have alternative projects?