Wednesday, October 28, 2009

There is something so wrong with these candles

The mail at work usually consists of two things, magazines and bills. This morning when the mail came, there was big envelope from Pottery Barn, address to me!

I open, excited for the possibilities that await me, and find a letter. Hu?

Dear Erin,
Welcome to your new home! It's good to have you in the neighborhood.

Uhm...there are so many things wrong with this letter. Let me first state the obvious. This is my WORK address, not home. I've worked here (not lived here) for 4 1/2 years.

To help 'welcome' me, there were 10% off coupons inside! Yippy! Also included in the package was the latest catalog. I heart Pottery Barn's catalogs and all the super expensive layouts that fill the pages.

I came across this one page though, #65, and couldn't believe what I was looking at. Click here for the photo. A set of four candles, all shaped like woodland creatures. Ok, the part about having woodland creatures doesn't bother me half as much as the fact that their wicks are on the TOP of their heads!

This makes me think that once they are burned for about an hour, the raccoons eyes will start to droop, the wise owl will look like he's got a disability and the porcupine will loose his ears!

However, this bunch of friendly woodland creatures can join your holiday tablescape for just $14!

Sucha deal!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Stick a fork in me: I'm done

There comes a time in each girl's life when you don't realize, until its too late, that you've over done it. This is what I did yesterday. I totally overdone it.

When I first started operation: honey to white, I didn't think I would end up feeling like I got run over by a truck, alas, the truck has hit me and kept on rollin'.

I have Mondays and Friday off from work, which means I get four day weekends each week (score!) but it also means there is a high probability for lazy to kick in. I've decided several months ago I'd kick lazy in the ass before I ever became one of 'those' women. (You know the kind, who stay home, turn into a couch potato and can't get enough of soap operas...yeah, I'm not that girl.)

This past Friday I wasn't feeling well, so I was 'that girl' all day. Sitting on the couch, just waiting to feel better. Saturday we went to a birthday party (and, as always, had a wonderful time with our friends and adult beverages!)...Sunday we went appliance shopping with my mom (she just got a new house yesterday!).

I realized while looking at the fancy washers and dryers, that I needed more blue tape (and more masking tape). Himph. The hubs and I took a trip to Walmart (ours just got turned into a fancy super there anything they don't carry? I don't think so!)

Even though I was feeling tired, I opted to start masking off the foyer...which lead me into the half bath, then kitchen...oh dear God, you know where this is going, don't you? I taped off the whole first floor. Took about three hours (and some pizza) but it got done. Naturally, when I woke up yesterday morning, I was ready to prime/paint/getter done.

I started at 7.30 a.m. and kept saying to myself, "self, when I get to the bottom of this container of paint, I should stop"...but did I listen to me? Of course not. By 2.30, it was done and so was I. But I didn't know I was done yet, so I kept going.

Jack and I went to the bank, then went to Home Depot (where, when getting out of my car, got the MOTHER of all shocks on my middle finger. Seriously, my skin smelled burned afterwards!) And then we went to Petsmart. Because, of course, that couldn't wait!

As if doing all these other tasks wasn't enough, I then met up with mom at her new house to take part in the walk-thru...I measured all her windows, all the rooms and made lists of what she's gonna need. When I did finally get home, I could barely stand up straight. My back was so sore and stiff from bending down, painting all day. Oh, and then this really cute cough started- you know the kind that makes you sound like a big, grumpy truck driver, yeah...that cough. Its awesome.

The hubs was home when I got there after the walk thru and he took such good care of me. Turned on the heating pad, made dinner and even kept me hydrated :) hehe...

I'm so relieved to be at work today and get to rest :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Last night, rather than sitting on the couch all evening, I got up and started to tape off the staircase so I can paint it on Friday when I'm off. Eek!
When I first started this project, I made a fancy checklist so that I didn't forget any step while doing a room. I put it on the freezer door so when I'd get a glass of water, I'd think, "Should I really read my book now, or do something on the list?" Its worked beyond my wildest dreams.

I have become, as I mentioned in my previous entry, paint drunk. Now that a good portion of the house is already completed, I want it all done, now. A little impatient, yes. A little immature, probably. But you know what, I'm a busy body. I can't just sit idle for hours on end, mama's gotta shake it. Here are the after shots of what I worked on Monday:The spindles from hell. (While painting them, I got the oil based paint on me, which didn't come off, and when it did, I got hives from it...whatevahs!)Yes, I know, I didn't paint within the lines...but here's why. I don't dig that blue color anymore. So, rather than waste time (and that super expensive blue tape) I just painted freely, knowing that I'll be repainting the blue soon!)
And this (above) is the bath tub in our master bathroom. (The one I talked about before being such a pain in the arse to paint...) I love the way it came out!! LOOOOVE it :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Paint drunk

I'm on a freakin' roll with this trim-painting operation I've undertaken! I can't tell you how many people, once I told them what I was doing said, "There is a lot of wood in your house. You're really going to paint all of it?". No. I'm going to stop half way down the hall. OF COURSE I'm gonna do it all.

This weekend I did the whole master bathroom. Which, wouldn't have been so time
consuming if it weren't for the front panel to our bathtub:
Seriously, that beast took so much time! My instinct was to paint up and down, however the grain of the wood went east to west. It took FOREVER not to have the paint streaks. I'd add more paint to the eliminate the drag...anyway, that was the worst part. But it looks awesome! Sunday, while the hubs was watching sports, I taped off our bedroom. Then, still feeling some effects from Saturday night (hehe) I took a nap, made dinner and sat on the couch for the rest of the evening.

Yesterday however, I woke up ready to freakin' go! Seriously, I grabbed a quick shower, pulled the few pieces of hair long enough to interfere with a perfect paint hand out of my way, and dove right in.

Master bedroom got done fast, so then I though, "I should do the guest bathroom"...well, that lead to me doing the trim on the landing...which turned into me also doing the doorways, the banister and the spindles. (and I'm wondering today why I'm sore?!)

Since I was home alone, I turned up the tunes and just kept going! Somethings that I've learned while doing this trim painting thing (which I'm sure will continue to grow as this continues!):
- when painting base trim, best to wear long pants. Shorts don't protect your knees from rug burn!
- keep your mouth closed while your stretching your arms up to clean the top of doorway molding. (That sounds like a no brainer, but its like keeping your mouth closed while putting on mascara...its near impossible!)
- when using oil based paint, try hard not to get it on your sensitive skin because, unlike latex paint, it DOES NOT COME OFF with water. I tried and failed. Then tried nail polish remover, which worked well, but didn't get it all...warm water with antibacterial soap (and scraping with my finger nails) ended up doing the trick- however, then my skin broke out in hives- sexy right?!

Have you ever tried to paint a banister and the little spindles? Wanna talk about f-n crazy work? Like, my eyes were almost crossed because there is just nothing else to look at...between that and the fumes, seriously...(you can see where I'm going with this one)

Although I gotta say, the Kilz odorless primer is living up to its name. It is truly odorless. The regular Kilz smells like a fat Sharpie marker...but because of the pets (and my own mental health) declined using it.

Next stop on the paint train is gonna be the staircase! Eek!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Operation: Paint the trim

Our house was built in 2002, we purchased it in 2006. And now, in 2009 I'm DONE with the honey-stained oak trim that is everywhere.

The hubs and I were talking one night about how we didn't like the stain on the mantel. (We
never talk about things we don't like in our home, we do truly love where we rest our heads and hearts each night, so this discussion really stuck with me.)

He said, "but if we change the trim, where would we stop? Everything in the house is honey!". This got the gears in my head-a-turning. It was a slow turn (approx. 5 weeks worth of turning) but it hit me, JUST PAINT THE DAMN TRIM!

So yesterday I had a sit down with B (my boss) and D (one of the architects in our office)
about my dilemma.

me: where do I start? I don't want it to look stoopid

b: if you don't want it to look "stoopid" then don't stop halfway through. if you do this, you have to do ALL of it.
(It wasn't until after I got home with all the paint supplies I realized just how much would need to
be painted. After I threw up a little, I realized, I could totally do this!)
me: uh hu. but what do I buy? I don't wanna get the wrong thing, latex? oil based? primer? no primer? (I never play helpless girl in the office, but sometimes, I just don't know what I should do, and I'd rather NOT screw up!)
b: get an oil based primer, latex paint, brushes, tape and GO!

And off I went. Armed with a coupon for Lowe's (that randomly appear in our mailbox!) I went to the paint department. I was helped by a VERY knowledgeable woman (who was about my age...she laughed at all my stoopid jokes, so we got along swimmingly!) who pointed me in
the right direction. (She even let me smell the difference in the regular and 'odorless' primer I was buying. I went with the 'odorless' because I didn't want to a) die b) have the hubs complain c) kill one of our animals...)

Here's what I bought:
- #00 grade steel wool (to rough up the already stained wood)
- (2) huge rolls of wide masking tape
- (2) really cute paint brushes (they don't have a long handle and are much easier to hold for
long periods of time)
- gallon of Kilz odorless (smells like egg...but it goes away really fast!)
- gallon of Valspar "white" (omg, there are like 1,000 shades of white)

- (2) super cheap cans of no-name white, glossy spray paint for the registers/returns

After talking with the hubs, we decided (well, I decided and he agreed) that, in case we didn't like the white trim, I'd just "try it out" in our closet. You know, see how the steel wool works, how the primer lays...that kinda stuff.

I had never used primer before (but more on that later)...lets get to the good part, PICTURES! Here are some befores:
(Do me a solid and don't judge the blue robe. That thing is KILLER comfy!)And here are the afters:(It might look kinda lame next to the white walls...but just wait because the closets are pretty much the only rooms in our home that aren't painted!)...and there you have it. My first attempt at painting the trim in our closet. (and don't worry about the little honey-colored outline around the inside of the trim on the door. I didn't want to go too crazy painting last night, just in case we ended up not liking it!)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How do they do that?!

I visit a lot of websites. Since my job allows me to sit at a desk (for most days) I get to do a lot of research on design trends, colors...that kinda stuff.

There is a new (new to me anyway) blog that I've started following, My bestie, Caitlin, turned me on to it (accidentally, she posted something about it with her sister, Colleen, on FB and I was nosy...anyway, I follow it now.)

I have also just been turned onto (the people who have (for getting married) (for those who are preggers) yeah, they have just about

So here is what I don't understand and would like clarification on. These are, primarily, young couples, who have these awesome homes. How do they AFFORD these remodels? How do they get their homes to look like they just fell off the pages of W?

We are beyond blessed and thankful to own our house. That, in and of itself, is a HUGE expense. But then let's talk about decorating it. I don't have an extra $30,000 laying around to renovate my kitchen, 'just because I didn't like the cabinets'. I'm all about working with what we've got.

When I just logged onto thenest I saw another spotlight on a 'young' couple who has this uh-mazing house.

This makes me think of how magazine editors only use SUPER skinny models, which makes normal teenage girls feel bad about themselves. Where is the realistic approach to designing for young couples, without them going into TERRIBLE debt?

Maybe these are terrible things to say as an interior designer, because I should be more creative with my own surroundings? But, most twenty-somethings I know, simply just cannot afford all new things, so they use what is (was) in their parents garage, their old bedroom or whatever they can get their hands on...


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Real-world paint tips

I have been a home repair/paint freak all my life. Growing up I always sat with my dad when he did things. Install a dishwasher, check. Paint the house, check. Use power tools, double check. Because of that, I've never felt the need (nor do I have the funds) to hire someone to do these things for me.

After making lots of mistakes along the way, here are some of my tips for painting:

- Get a
roller shield. It helps eliminate the "spit" from the roller. If you don't use a shield, you're going to be finding little spots all over the room your painting; which is just not fun.
- Use a good roller. If you buy the cheapest one, you'll probably get the fuzzies stuck in the paint on the wall and then your walls gonna look like its got acne. Ew.
- "You get what you pay for" Yes, a gallon of paint at Walmart is $13 and a gallon for Behr (at Home Depot) is $25+...but the coverage from a gallon of Behr
vs. Walmart's brand is UNBEATABLE
- BE PATIENT and let the paint dry before you put the room back together. Semi-gloss/Satin paint takes the LONGEST to do a coat, wait 1+ hours, add the second coat, then WALK AWAY.

- Use plastic baggies for the face-plates and screws. Why? Because if you take off 6 face-plates and make a pile, you are bound to loose a screw (and then you are literally 'screwed').

Since the plastic baggies come in boxes of 9,000 (approx.) you can surely spare a few.

- When you start painting, it will be SUPER tempting to start painting the border of the room (where the wall meets the ceiling, corners, around outlets, etc.) but DON'T start there!
- Start with the roller! (Why? Just keep reading)
- Once the roller is covered in paint, roll a capital N on the walls, and then, in the same vertical motion, fill in the N.
- Get as close to the ceiling, corners and base molding as you can. Let it dry.
- When you've covered all the walls with the roller, go back to the FIRST wall with a paint brush and a small dish filled with paint (I like to use Rubbermaid plastic tupperware containers, the reusable ones...)
- Start at a corner, and work your way around the room, filling in the spaces the roller couldn't get.

Okay, now some people like to use painters tape. I am not one of those people. I would rather keep a steady hand (and a wet rag in case I mess up) then use painters tape.

I'm a freak about being clean while painting. I keep plastic bags (Target/Walmart bags) under the gallon of paint, roller...

When you are all done and ready to put the lid back on the paint can, put a paper towel or rag over the top of the can BEFORE you pound it with a hammer. Why?

Because, if your like me and you pour the paint from the side of the can, paint collects in that little ridge. If you don't put a towel over the can, when you smash the hammer down, paint WILL SPLATTER EVERYWHERE (and I mean everywhere!)

Do you have your own painting tips? Lemme know!


Its been almost two weeks since I painted the kitchen, but I hadn't posted photos of it because I've been a wee-bit busy.

Window wall:
I painted the kitchen 3+ years ago...Sherwin Williams 'Dutch Cocoa'. The color is really pretty, but I decided it was time for something newer and fresher looking. I chose Benjamin Moores 'Temperate Taupe'.

(Pardon the mess, I haven't taken new photos yet because I haven't hung things up in the kitchen yet. Why? Because the next room to be painted is the family room, and some of the art from the family room will be moved into the kitchen and vice versa...)

What 'cha think? I looooove how clean and fresh it looks!! It really makes the wood tones pop!