Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ice, Ice Baby....

....too cold... too cold!

Now that I've got that awesome song stuck in your head, I just wanted to chuckle about our weather.  It was 25 degrees this morning when I left my house.  It's not going to be above freezing until at least Wednesday.  Awesome.

Honestly, the cold weather doesn't bother me.  It's not the same kind of cold as Louisiana, where 40 degrees will chill you to the bone.  It's a dry cold here.  HA!  Unless it's snowing, of course... and the next 2 days will bring the white stuff, so I went ahead and put on a jacket. I may have to break out the gloves on Saturday if I decide to venture out.

But what really makes me smile is just thinking about Dad's reaction to this weather.  I can hear him now.  He'd tell me we are going to be "frozen solid!" and that we should just pack up and head to Baton Rouge right now.  "Y'all are going to freeze to death!"

It just makes me smile thinking about him watching our crazy weather.

There's been snow and/or ice ever year since we moved in 2006.  I repeat EVERY. YEAR.  So you'd think people who've lived here forever would be used to it and just deal.  Nope.  Just like when it rains, people have suddenly forgotten how to function.  Stores are swamped with people buying enough groceries to last through the next month.

Apparently the only people used to this winter weather are the South Louisiana transplants.  But Dad sure would be worried about us and making sure we had enough winter clothes for "the baby."  Side note: Caroline hasn't had a snow suit since Dad died, but she had one every year prior to that.  He was going to make sure that baby was warm!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

From our turkey to yours, we hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Quick Update

So it was a busy weekend at the Smiths. I finally got out into the garage and started the finish process on the doors. 

After spending 30 minutes trying to figure out how to work the Dremel too, I finally was able to grind off the too long nails. I added another layer of wood filler in places and finally got to sanding. 

And sanding. 

And sanding. 

I wish I had pictures of this step, but I didn't want to come into the house as filthy as I was to get my camera or phone. I will say that the orbital sander came in super handy and made relatively quick work of the doors.

I wiped them down and admired my handy work. Whenever I do something "handy", I think of my Dad. I know he would have loved to see how these doors turned out. 

The. The biggest hurdle was topped. We cleaned off the workbench so I could paint. I haven't seen the top of this work bench since we moved. But I managed to get 3 coats of paint on them. 

They look good. I know I need touch ups and the construction is not perfect. But I'm extremely happy with them. We are definitely going to let them cure a couple of days before we add hardware and install, but I will have panty doors by next weekend!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Halloween Recap 2013

This was our first Halloween in the new house and I had no idea what the crowds would be like.  I had asked a neighbor and she didn't really know.  We do have a lot of kids in the neighborhood, but it's definitely not every house.

Halloween at the old house was more of a marathon.  The first kids arrived early and lines formed at our front door.  I'm not kidding... LINES FORMED.  In our rural town, there were only a handful of actual neighborhoods, so people BUSED their kids to other places.  And many of the adults addicted to many more powerful things than sugar also liked to join in.

In the past, I'd bought roughly 1000 pieces of candy, only to run out about 30 minutes BEFORE it all ended.  You literally could not drive down our street.  It was nuts.

Enter this year.  I bought three combo bags of chocolate candy.  Not cheap, but not nearly the dollar amount of what I've bought in the past.  T joked that we moved to the nice neighborhood and we've got the fancy chocolate candy now.  We took Caroline to Haunt the Zoo.  She'd had a big party at school, including a moon bounce earlier in the day.  I also took her to have pictures taken in her Halloween costume.  She has been so excited about Halloween that I had to make her a countdown calendar to color in pictures each day, so she knew how many days were left.  It's been a busy month!


Caroline waiting anxiously for it to get dark, trying really hard not to fall asleep.  But we finally got the text from her friend Owen next door that they were ready to head out.  So T and Caroline took off with them.  They were gone about 30 minutes and made the block.  When she got home, her bag was FULL of the good stuff - chocolate candy!  No cheap-o candy in this neighborhood!


However, everyone's favorite part of the night came next.  Caroline loves to give out candy!  So when the doorbell rang, she took off to hand it out herself.  But I warn you... don't show up to our house without a costume (she'll ask where it is), without saying "trick or treat" (she'll tell you to say it) or without saying "thank you" (she'll make you say it before you leave).  She's a stickler for the rules of social convention!

She loved seeing the costumes and interacting with the other kids.  She loved giving them handfuls of candy (we had tons leftover, so that's ok).  However, she was not impressed with the kid using a garbage bag for his candy.  She only gave him 1 piece and a very disappointed look.

I can hear the kids now.  "Get to that house on the corner early.  If the kid is handing out the candy, she's rough if you don't follow the rules!"

Friday, November 1, 2013

Small Changes

Sometimes it's tiny changes that only you notice that make you the happiest.  Enter our mix and match Target furniture.

We bought this when we moved to Oklahoma.  Our house in Baton Rouge had a built in entertainment center.  No, the pieces don't match.  Well, the bookshelves are a matching pair.  But the center piece we bought separately when we upgraded to a flat screen.  It blends well enough of course, and the knobs are all oil-rubbed bronze (or the Target version of ORB).

As you can see, we've got round knobs and oval knobs.  They were perfectly fine.  Nothing wrong with them.  And frankly, nothing anyone noticed.... except me.

Enter the website House of Antique Hardware.  We've got mismatched door knobs throughout the house and I've been looking online at various places for options to either match the original knobs (brass and slightly squashed rounded shape) or new options for the whole house.  I've also been looking for a new knob for our front door.... but the front door is another post!

While browsing the site, I saw these bad boys on sale.  Don't let the enlarged picture fool you, they are cabinet pulls and the size was perfect.  So I added 4 of them to my cart and went on my merry way.

I had actually forgotten that I bought them for a while.  At the same time I was doing some Christmas shopping, ordering hardware for the pantry project and new stuff for Caroline's room.  My brain was swimming with different design projects.  And the joke at my office when the UPS guy pulls up is "What did you order now?"  My response is typically, "I don't remember."

But when this package came in, the first thing I noticed is the weight.  These bad boys are solid!  I am truly impressed with the quality.  Cabinet pulls and hardware is not something I buy all the time, so frankly, I didn't know what to expect.  But when I opened them up, they were just beautiful, and so much more shiny than the picture showed.

I grabbed my camera and snapped a couple of before pictures.  Then I lowered my pre-surgery crippled self to the floor and started swapping these out.  I had to make sure I went back and wiped off my fingerprints because did I mention these gems are shiny?  I was so happy with how they look.

Then I started attempting the after pictures.  They are so shiny, they look like mirrors in the picture and you can't actually see the brass color.

Naturally, when I asked T if he noticed anything different when he got home, he did not.  And that's ok.  I love them.  And it was a simple $20 change to the house that I think make a nice difference.  And it makes my cheap-o furniture look a little nicer.  (It also wouldn't hurt if it got a good cleaning, but I'll take that up with the housekeeper!).
And of course, you need the full size after shot too.  I know it's not really noticeable, but I can tell.  And frankly, that's all that matters!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Anything for the Kiddo!

(Just chillin waiting for our table at the restaurant on a regular Sunday)

Caroline loves costumes!  She loves to play dress up (no princess stuff though).  We have an assortment of costumes - mostly superheroes.  She has been extremely excited about Halloween and Trick or Treating (or Trick or Training as she says).  I even had to make her a countdown calendar so she'd stop asking me every day if it was time.

(the entrance at the end of the ridiculous line)

I thought we'd take her to the zoo for the "Haunt the Zoo" trick or treating experience as an extra special treat.  She's been doing really well in her Pre-K class.  She's done a good job of using her words to express her feelings, including telling me that she was "so excited for Halloween!"

(the ridiculous line)

"Haunt the Zoo" is open on weekends from 6:30 to 8:30, after the zoo is closed.  You just have to pay for the person receiving candy.  I thought it would give her another chance to go since she's so excited about Thursday.

(Waiting patiently while looking at all the other kids)

I wanted to leave the house at 6 so we could get there early and get in line.  I didn't know what kind of crowd it would be, but figured getting there early would be good for parking.  Saturday, the weather was kind of gross and rained off and on.  Sunday, the weather was beautiful.  Naturally, we went Sunday..... just like every other person in Oklahoma City.  We should have just gone in the rain.  Lesson learned.

(Momma, take a picture of that cute robot!)

We exit the interstate and approach the zoo at 6:20.  I say approach because we can't get close to it for the traffic jam going on of people trying to get into the zoo.  We park across the street from the zoo parking and walk towards the entrance.  At this point, T and I are both regretting ever bringing this up.  Caroline, on the other hand, is pumped!  She is having so much fun looking at all the other kids in costume.

(Darth Vader with Princess Ariel and Prince Eric)

We get to the end of the line which is approximately 3/4 of a mile from the entrance.  I'm not sure if I'm exaggerating or not.  If I am, it's not by much.  Also, the gates don't open until 6:30, so the line isn't moving.  Even after 6:30, the line is not moving.  The line doesn't start moving until at least 6:45.  Caroline doesn't care.  She's "a little bit excited."

(Ariel - with braces - and Darth Vader)

We finally get through the world's longest line and enter into the zoo.  But at this point, we are still in a line.  We stayed in a line through THE WHOLE THING.  Pictures the world's worst cattle-call-Disney-in-July-capacity-crowd-slow-moving line you can think of.... and this is it.  In the dark.  With over-amped kids and super immature adults.... and I repeat THROUGH THE WHOLE THING.

(Time to lose the mask and just take pictures at each place!)

It would open up in places but WHAT A MESS!  And yes, the all caps are totally justified.  After walking at least 2 miles, my knee was unhappy.  But there's no exit from this hellacious cattle call of death.  Just keep moving or you're going to get trampled by the grown man dressed as the Mad Hatter racing to get candy.

(Robot and Vader)

Each candy station is set up with a little scene for picture taking.  About half-way through, Caroline decided she wanted a picture at each one.... we only had our phones, so the pictures aren't top quality in the dark.  When we finally made it to the end, T and I cheered.  Caroline didn't even whine about it being over because she was so tired.

(The robot thought she wanted to battle.  She just wanted a picture.)
We took a couple of pictures with the Science Museum Robot and "Mike the Tiger."  She said "that robot was cool, Momma!" 

(Posing with "Mike the Tiger")
It was a late night last night.  We got home at 8:30.  Caroline was so tired she was delirious with the giggles.  But she did go to bed easily, so that's a plus.  I think it's just made her all the more excited for Thursday.  I'm not sure we'll do the zoo thing again next year. 

No caption needed.

Wait... who am I kidding?  If my kid wants to do it, I'm sure we will.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall Family Fotos

I couldn't resist the alliteration.... I know it's photos and not fotos.  We took these pictures a couple of weeks ago when it was still warm.  But I made sure we all had on long sleeves so it would look like the Fall even if the temperature outside didn't get the memo.


We took them at the Myriad Botanical Gardens.  It's one of my absolute favorite spots downtown.  They spent a lot of time and money redoing the whole park a couple of years ago and it's truly a great downtown space.

We took our family pictures here two years ago and I'm actually wearing the same sweater.  Sshhh... don't tell anyone!

Can you tell my kiddo is a ham for the camera?  I attribute that to sticking a camera lens in her face from a very early age.  We are actually scheduled to take some pictures of her in her Halloween costume like we did last year.  She really enjoyed that and the pictures were so cute. 


  So I hope Darth Vader comes across just as cute as Buzz Lightyear did.  We shall see!!

There is one more picture that will be used on our Christmas card... so if you're on the list, stayed tuned.  If you're not on the list, maybe I'll post it after the holidays.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Operation Cover Up The Crap - Part 2

As you recall, I'm in the middle of Operation Cover Up the Crap.  And I'm on a slight holding pattern at the door stage.  What's the hold up, you ask? 
Oh... well... um.... knee surgery.  I had knee surgery a month ago and that's my problem.  Truthfully, I'm not 100% with the knee but it's not holding me back.  I've been stricken with DADD.  What's DADD?  That would be Decorating/DIY Attention Deficit Disorder.  My brain is all over the place and my limbs are tired.
But I did want to show you updates of the actual doors since I think they look really great.  Please ignore all the other crap in the garage (where I'm working).  We already have doors to cover up that crap.
What's left?  Sanding the wood filler and that is happening tonight.  I promise.  I really, really mean it this time.
Then after the sanding, I'll slap a coat of paint on there.  Considering all the flat surfaces and the relative small amount (even with the backs), I'm hoping that won't take too long.  I'll put the final coat on tomorrow and Thursday will be the hardware and hanging phase.
T will be in charge of the final phase since he took Thursday off.  And hopefully it will get finished before our guests roll into to town in the early afternoon.

The hinges arrived on Friday and the handles arrived last night.  They are seriously heavy duty and I'm quite impressed with the quality.  The pulls were just under $9 a piece.  Yes, that's expensive if you are outfitting a whole kitchen.  But for our 4 doors, it seemed like the right touch to really make the whole thing standout and more high end and less DIY.

And there is still the issue of adding the poly to the cabinet itself (and the doors), but I don't have any yet... so that may be a guest assisted project!  Who knows at this point?

At least the weather has cooled off quite a bit and working in the garage is comfortable.  That should make sanding better... but have I mentioned I hate sanding?  That's probably another big part of our holding pattern.

Oh well.. time to push through the plateau.  Wish me luck!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Kryptonite

I know everyone was expecting finished project pictures today.  Unfortunately I've got this issue with weekends... it's hard to get going!  I like to sleep in, slowly drink my coffee, enjoy College Game Day and snuggle with the girl.  None of that is conducive to finishing ambitious projects.

But here's what I have done.  I took comprehensive before pictures.  You'll be astonished at just how bad this area of my kitchen is... and then again, if you've been to my house recently, you will not be.  I also got the actual pantry painted - one coat of deglosser, two coats of primer, two coats of paint.  It looks really great.  I only painted the face frame and the outsides.  I intend to put a fun color on the inside in the future.  I probably should add some poly, but I don't have any.  And I didn't think about it.  I'm sure it will happen before I call this project complete.

I got the doors constructed and filled with wood filler in the gaps.  I was trying to save time and cut multiple boards at one time... and while that works, it doesn't make for an exact fit.  So I should have just taken my time and cut them one at a time.  But it was after 9 pm and I was working a chop saw, much to the chagrin of my neighbors, I'm sure.  Oh and I was tired.

And do you know what happens when you pull out your brad nailer and just use whatever nails you've got in the gun and don't think about it?  You nail your 3/4" door to the table with your 1.25" nails.  I'm not kidding.  I totally did this.  Luckily it was just the skinny brad nails and I was able to pull the door right up.  So did I halt my construction and wait until I could get the proper nails on Sunday?  Of course not... I just created more work for myself.  Now we've got to snip all the extra off, countersink the ends, fill with filler, sand and THEN paint.  We'll put this in the DIY FAIL category.

But I did accomplish other things this weekend - watched LSU win, the Saints come oh so close, family pictures and I made some decisions about the fate of my black wallpapered foyer.  I'm all for making a statement in a small space... I'd prefer not to make one that says, "Welcome to 1986!"

Tonight I'll be sanding my heart out on the doors and HOPEFULLY getting at least one coat of paint on them.  It's raining today, so I'm not sure if the humidity will be conducive to the painting.  But at the very least, we'll get the rest of the kitchen cleaned out and random furniture put where it will eventually end up.  Hopefully.  Probably.  Maybe.  Definitely!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Office Makeover

Earlier this year, we hired another person at work, and I moved into a new office.  Well, I should say I moved into an ACTUAL office, not just a desk floating in the middle of the large front room.  I've got doors (yep, 2 of them), walls and built in bookcases!


We really were starting with a clean slate.  The desk and chairs in this space were broken and needed to be replaced.  So I had a great idea.... I was going to make over the space using some office stuff and a bunch of my own stuff, including Dad's old desk (made over in a glossy navy blue).  You can see my the plan below.


I was lucky to have freshly painted walls, even if they weren't necessarily the color I'd choose.  I'd consider them neutral enough to work with whatever I wanted (the proper color is reflected in other pictures below, not the green/gold shot shown next).  I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go, but I decided on navy, pink and white with gold touches.


I'm guessing start to finish, the whole office design and move took about 2 months.  We had to clean out the office of it's previous contents (see above) and paint some things I was adding (the desk above).  I also had two old chairs recovered.  We had 3 here floating around the office, but only 2 would fit in here.  They look pretty mid-century to me, so no telling how old they are.  I'm sure they were purchased for the very first office in 1971 when we opened.


The faux white leather and new pillows totally transform them!  The upholsterer even said someone came into their shop and tried to buy them.  No way, Jose!....especially considering how much recovering them cost!!!  They were structurally sound... just needed a little face lift.

In fact, a lot of little things got a face lift.  Our motto was "if it's not quite right, use the spray paint!"  So several things were painted either pink or navy blue (like my tape dispenser)

The gallery wall is made up of things that remind me of not only family, but also home. (Some of the smaller pictures have already changed)  And the best way to break up the giant built in was to put something on the back.  I had this design printed in color and mounted on foam core.  They are just resting against the back. 


The curtains are just simple IKEA panels ($10) with ribbon glued onto the front.  The gold lamps were hand me downs and got new cheap-o Target shades.  The only knick-knack I bought for my office was the gold sea urchin from Target.  I adore it!


Six months later and it's really "lived-in" and still not quite finished (big blank wall above the credenza and incomplete bookcase styling)... but it definitely reflects my personality.  For the first couple of months, whenever anyone would walk in, they'd go "whoa!"  I guess I should preface that by saying I work with 98.9% men.  So seeing this much pink in one room is certainly mind-blowing for them.  But it truly does make an enjoyable space to work.  And I love that I've made this room my own.  When I do leave (upon retirement, of course), I can take all my things with me and it will once again be a normal blank office.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention Chante's help in all of this.  Chante is the person we hired and I'm sure she didn't imagine part of her job would be sanding and painting a desk.  Although we both did work on it.  It was definitely a group effort - especially the emptying of the room.  She did that all by herself!