Craft Room

In the process of trying to renovate/decorate our home, I need to be able to do things like paint and upholster.

My sewing machines (just a regular machine and a serger)have been in the great room, which is not a great look, to tell the truth. Close by, just through the double doors, though, lies a sunroom. A sunroom that my husband had told me was not going to be a "dump" for my scrapbooking and sewing. Instead, it was going to be where he and the kids watched tv made art projects. And, I put cable in our bedroom, and he never went in there again.

So our seven year old daughter took over. And completely trashed the place.

So, now, a year later, we (he and I) are going to share the space. He'll take part for art, and I'll take part for sewing and scrapbooking.

Now, though, we need to do something with it. It is half painted, with remnants of former leaks peeling off some drywall paper. It has windows everywhere, eating up most of the wall space. There is no closet, no storage.

I need ideas. I'll post some links a pictures here, and then maybe I'll make a decision. Perhaps that is a bit ambitious... Maybe I'll at least pick a paint color.

Home Office Gets Budget Makeover For $1000, a woman made over her space, adding lots of storage. Includes budget breakdown.

Also found a redo your kitchen on a budget article, that might work when I move on to another room...

Better Homes and Gardens Quick and Easy Decorating Projects

This is a great laundry/sewing room from Flikr. There is a lot of stuff packed into this room, I'll admit. But it is relatively neat and completely accessible. I could live with this level of clutter, I think, in the sunroom.

I love how this seamstress stores notions in jars, simply lined up on shelves.

And sewing supplies hung up on a pegboard. Although, I like this peg board better. Or here is another, with a thread holder attached.

This room has an ironing station on top of a credenza in the middle of the room. With drawers.

And, this one is a metal shelf from Lowe's, all kitted out.

Metal drawers from the Container Store (Lowe's has similar, for less), but overall a bit fussy for my tastes

This one is just beautiful.

And so what did I learn from this little Flickr adventure? All furniture goes together if it is painted white. Walls need color. I just need to pick one and go with it. Hanging stuff on the walls is a good way to get it off the floor and out of a drawer. And might help me use it more often.

Oh, and even really utilitarian stuff looks pretty okay.

I bought a new dishwasher. Even though we're down to one salary this summer and money is tight, our dishwasher was coughing dirt into our dishes that required being scrubbed out by hand. With five people in the house (one of whom is a teenaged boy who eats enough to feed a Bible camp), we have to cook at home. I know people used to cook at home and do dishes by hand, but I am thinking those were generally stay-at-home mom's. I am a phd student. Even when I am not working, I am working. My husband is in graduate school (again) this summer, and heaven knows none of the kids are going to jump right in with dishes duty.

So I bought a new dishwasher. An energy-star, tall tub GE dishwasher that sanitizes.

But to install it, we had to install the garbage disposal, because the one in that came with the house only sort of worked. I brought out the AHS home warranty people once to fix it. That cost me $60 and all they did was clean it out so that it worked that day. Oh, and they told me that the leaking under the sink was from the sprayer.


My dad came riding in on his white horse to install my dishwasher, disposal, and new sink sprayer. He did, but the sink was still leaking. Why? Because the drain had been installed wrong. As in, where it was supposed to be glued, only half of it was.

Another trip to the hardware store for a new drain.

Then we pulled out the old dishwasher. The copper supply tube was twisted multiple times in a spiral. It is a miracle that *any* water got in and that my dishes got as clean as they did. So we think that, maybe, the old dishwasher is salvageable, so my dad is going to put it in my brother's house. They don't have a dishwasher at all.

Anyway, after two days of work, we got the new dishwasher installed. And it runs beautifully. My polycarbonate pitcher that I splurged on from Pottery Barn fits in the top rack, so I can actually run it through the dishwasher. It holds more dishes than any dishwasher I have ever owned.

And the disposal actually disposes of garbage, instead of taking it for a carnival ride in a circle. And nothing is leaking under the sink. Of course, there is also no floor under then sink. All the drips over the years completely disintegrated the particle board floor. So my dear husband is supposed to be building a new floor for the cabinet. Three days and counting. :)

1959 American Standard bathroom, originally uploaded by 50s Pam.

I love this bathroom. I love everything about this bathroom, in fact. I even love the colors, even though I have never used them.

Flickr Goodness

I am loving the Shabby/Vintage Chic pool on Flikr.

I found this, and this, and this (see the suitcase as an accessory?),and this spice rack.

I also like this before and after refinished buffet.

This is an awesome kitchen.

I love this fabric storage idea!

I thought this was a framed fragment of quilt, but instead it is a mirror propped on a quilt. I think I liked it better, though, as a fragment. I have a couple of quilts that I've picked up at yard sales that have seen better days that have bits of them that could be salvaged.

My family accuses me of being fond of "ugly."
I don't think that is the case at all. I just see beauty underneath the surface. *I* really liked this house. I liked the mid-century vibe. It needed too much work, however, so someone else gets to enjoy the coolness of this house and its copper range hood and pass-through to the den.

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So, this is as clean as it got. So it had to go. Currently, it is smashed up into three or four fairly substantial fake-marble pieces out in the garage.

I do not understand how it got to be so... nasty. I cleaned it with Ajax, Clorox Spray, Scrubbing Bubbles, and Lysol Wipes (not all at the same time, or I would be dead). Nothing made it clean.

And the faucets were original to the house. Need I really say more?

I am trying very hard to persuade my parents to move down here. They live about 100 miles north of here, in the Grand Canyon of the Ozarks. Understandably, they are reluctant to leave. My mom has lived 90% of her life there. She lived a few years in Kansas City, MO when she was a young child, and hated it. She did not leave again until college, and finished that in 3 years. Her first teaching job was in the mountains, too, but they were Ouchitas and could not compete with her beloved Ozarks.

But then her mother died.

And she got cancer. (In remission, by the way).

Now her knees are bad.

So, especially after the ice storm this winter, I am getting a little concerned about them living 35 miles from anywhere and 100 miles from me.

So we house stalk. Today, they finally walked into one. It is FSBO, but it is really, really lovely.

Curbly is a blog dedicated to DIY home decorating. Articles range from button paperclips to The Laziest Slipcover Tutorial Ever.

My own advise for inexpensive decorating is this: fall in love with an era where people built catalog furniture out of real wood. Springs are usually shot, but often there is enough wood around the springs to lay plywood over the top. This makes the furniture feel like a padded bench rather than a spring-y new sofa. But in my house, with three kids, nothing feels new and spring-y for more than 15 minutes anyway. Almost any design ill can be solved with black paint and slipcovers.

Talked to my dad

So tonight, I was at my parents' house for dinner, which is unusual since they live a couple hours away. I was in town for a funeral, and ran into my mom there.

Anyway, I told my dad what we had gotten done in the master bath, and he was most impressed with us. :) And best of all, he says that he can help us replace toilets later this month. Our fixtures are old, and they weren't top of the line when they were installed in 1978. And the college aged male renters did not improve them along the way. If things go well, this should be a really quick change-out. Of course, things hardly ever go well...

Master Bath

Being back to work, I can't really get my bathroom finished. The paint is spotchy in places, even though it is Benjamin Moore. I don't think a one-coat paint exists. Around where we had to repair the medicine cabinet, the Spackle is not as nice as it could be-- I may just texture that area & forget trying to make it smooth.

Vanity update

Spring break is over, but not my renovation project. Parts of it are done, though. The new vanity is in. The new faucet is in. The shut-off valves are replaced (they are compression valves-- I am not brave enough to solder copper). The sink has a drain-- I replaced the trap and ran it into the drain. The trap is pvc, but the pipe in the wall is ABS. This required a connector and a glue that the man at the hardware store sent home with my husband. I've talked before here about men not believing that I know anything about plumbing, so I sent the pieces with my husband and told him what I needed (because he really does not know anything about plumbing).

The bright side is that once I finish the painting and the edging on the floor, it is pretty much done.I have not started with the floor by the toilet, yet. The joy of peel and stick tiles is that I can do part of the project, and then stop. ;) The toilet needs replacing, but I am kind of afraid to tackle that without my dad around for moral support at the least.

Last week, I spent $80 on bamboo matchstick blinds for my breakfast nook, so my window treatment budget is pretty tapped out.

My six year old, however, whose room is on the decorating list because she is sweet about it, needs something other than the nasty mini-blinds that came with the house. My co-worker, however, posted a link to a diy roman shade tutorial last week. I, however, am only seeing it this week since I now have to leave my home with my nearly-complete bathroom to breathe air and see the rest of the world.

I'll post pictures of both projects when if I ever get done.


So taking out the old vanity in my bathroom was a four hour job for three people. Evidently plumbing standards were "plumbing suggestions" in 1978. I can hardly believe the mess this thing was. And to get to anything, we had to ooze through layers of mold and rotted caulk. Oh, and the builder used regular drywall behind the sink instead of green board or cement board like someone who is not an idiot. So I also had to patch disintegrating drywall. Now, of course, it needs painted because it looks like patched drywall.

And since we got the old vanity out (in pieces), we see that one of the shut-off valves leaks. We have to fix this before I can start on the floor. Because there is a big vanity-shaped patch of cement in my bathroom, with no flooring. Around it are three layers of flooring, each more horrific than the last. The bottom layer is thankfully past my ability (interest) to dig out. The second layer is bright almost-Williamsburg blue. The top layer is mauve. I don't know why, because it clashes with the pumpkin colored walls. If there were ever a room crying out for a neutral, it is this one.

I just have to thank God that we escaped the harvest gold bathroom fixtures.

Spring Break

I love hearing my colleagues tell me that they are going to have relaxing spring breaks. For me, spring break is kind of like half-time. There is a break, so I actually *look* at my house.

Then I make a list.

Today, so far, Mea and I replaced one of a pair of really awful track lights. We'll probably get the other one before the day is over. Last night, I took the burners out of my stove and scrubbed that nastiness underneath (which I should have done when I moved in, but avoided until now).

Other items on my to do list:

  • Put new flooring down in the master bath before installing a new vanity and faucet (the old faucet leaks, and the old sink is stained and ugly).
  • Replace the light fixture in the master bath
  • Take out the shower doors in the master bath. They are outdated, stained, hard to use and hard to clean. I am totally replacing them with a bleachable curtain.
  • Paint Miss O's bedroom. Really, green and dark green with a huge border, with chunks missing. Really, really terrible.

I think this is a reasonable list, mostly. Painting is really the one thing that might not get done, because I'll have to clear out her room, then prime, then paint. That will be a two-day job.

And Mea is talking wistfully about a day-trip to Silver Dollar City.

Update: We finished the other light. No more 80s track lights.


Dripping faucets. How hard can one be to fix? I have even done it before. So I buy a $35 kit and get my husband to turn off the water, and tear in.

Let me back up. To understand, you really must know that I fall asleep pretty easily and sleep like the dead. My husband, on the other hand, is an insomniac, and every little thing keeps him awake. The shower in the master bath has been dripping since we moved in. Our home warranty does not cover faucets. So, he felt that something *had* to be done. I on the other hand, have been putting this off for months. I knew that there was no shutoff for the shower itself. That means all the water in the house has to be off until I get everything put back together.

But dh finally nagged talked me into tackling this. I took apart the faucet, removing the handles and stems, and put on the new stems and handles. This took a relativity short amount of time. Couple of hours.

But of course, both handles still leaked. We had not touched the seats. The seat is a little nut-like thing that connects the back of the faucet to the faucet stem (which is under the handle).

So we take it all apart and take out the seat on the cold water. It didn't want to come out, so off to the hardware store for a different seat wrench. That helped. The seat loosened and came out. It was, of course, shot. So I try to put in a new one. It would not go in. Would not thread. We spent an hour or more trying to get it to catch. So I try putting in the old one, taping the threads and stuff. Nope. Leaking mess. So back to Lowe's to see if there is a different seat sold. No. Gerber changed the way they manufactured them. The clerk, though, helpfully pointed out how the threads were machined differently. And the old seat is ever-so-slightly smaller than the new one.

So there is no way to fix the old faucet. Which means after 6 hours, and $50 in materials, we are back to the beginning. Well, except for the drip that has turned into a waterfall. Dad is coming on Monday to sort it out.

Yeah, I slept in Miss O's room. Dh got to enjoy the waterfall by himself.


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