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My Little House Design: September 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Thrift Shop Find, Updated

Remember how I am a terrible painter? If you missed my last attempt at painting, here are the links Part 1 and Part 2. You should look at them if only to laugh at how bad of a painter I am. The thing that is ridiculous is not that I'm a bad painter because painting is hard, but that I keep trying when I know I'm not good. I've just always loved painting, so it's hard to give up the dream that I could be good too. There is always the hope that next time I'll be better.

So I tried again and my latest attempt was less of a 'major fail' and more of a 'eh' (which is how a lot of my DIY/craft projects turn out).

A few months ago I showed you guys this painting I found at a thrift shop (more about it here):

It was only $2.99! And it's pretty big at about 14" tall and 18" wide. I love a good deal and I also like things that are just slightly ugly. This scene, while quaint, isn't the best painting ever or anything. But when I saw it I really liked the frame and what the scene evoked. I also liked it because I've been wanting to do a 're-painting' project. I've seen a lot of projects lately that take old thrift shop paintings and update them by painting over or accenting the original (examples here, here, and here).

So I did it!

And it looks... eh. It's just so... 'eh'. Why do I keep attempting painting projects??? That is a question that I just can't answer, but swearing off of painting has done me no good in the past so I highly doubt it will make a difference now.

Not sure what I'll do with this painting. For the last few months it's been on my dresser leaning against my Scratch Map so it will probably remain there.

Have you attempted any re-painting projects? I'm a huge fan of them, but apparently they aren't quite as easy as they look.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

My TV is a Diva

My TV is way too cool to be sitting on a dresser, or so it's been telling me for the last year. I'm like, TV be cool, there is no need for you to be hanging up on a wall. But I got tired of it's whining so I finally gave in. Last Christmas I asked for a TV mount and I got one. But then it sat next to the TV in it's box for 10 months, whomp whomp.

One of my goals before the home tour (mentioned here) was to get that dang TV hung. I don't really care about TVs hanging or not. I mean, it kind of seems like a guy thing to want the TV hung on the wall, but I had specific reasons for wanting it up off of the dresser.

1) I moved the TV and dresser from the right wall to the left after about 9 months of living here.

I love this set up so much better for many reasons, but the only set back is that in order to see the TV from both couches the TV always has to be at an angle. I'm juuuuust OCD enough that the TV being at an angle drives me insane. For the last year I've been moving it to angle when I'm watching it and then moving it back to a right angle when I'm not watching it. Yeah, I'm weird.

2) As seen above, the TV is resting rather precariously on the DVD player. Every time I moved the TV (which was often, as discussed in #1), the DVD player creaked and groaned and I saw angry dollar signs coming at me so I really wanted to get the TV off of the DVD player as soon as possible.

3) It is a generally known fact that I am running out of wall space so I've been eyeing that blank wall behind the TV for like a year now. So many options! With the TV hung up I could do one of those fancy gallery walls where the TV is incorporated. Or maybe not, I'm about one vintage advertisement away from my house becoming a TGIFridays :/

With so many reasons to hang the TV and the fact that I already owned the wall mount made it a priority before the home tour, except for the fact that I couldn't hang it on my own. My hand is still really weak, oh speaking of my hand, have I showed you my scar yet?

My eyes are not actually as lopsided as they appear in this photo.
It is a combination of a shadow and heterochromia.
But my hand is really that pale.

Pretty gnarly, huh? I actually kind of like it! It's very Harry Potter-ish.

Anyway, with that plus the fact that I'm pretty sure hanging a TV is a two person job I asked my brother and dad to come over help me. I'm so glad I did! Since I have plaster walls there was an added layer of difficulty, but they did a great job!

It not only looks better but now it functions much better. Photos as proof:

Flat against the wall.
Angled, view from first couch.
Angled, view from second couch.
Angled, side view.
Flat, side view.
Flat, view from entry.
Now I have this big beautiful blank wall just asking to be covered in art and photos! Or should I leave it blank? I feel torn. In some ways my house is getting overdecorated, but also I don't care and I want to just be myself and I think I may be an overdecorated sort of person. Or maybe I'm a minimalist with a hoarding problem? So many questions!

In all of the above photos I hadn't put the DVD player back yet, but here is what it looks like now:

Next on the to-do list is to get one of those paintable cord covers (like this) to help make the cords blend in better. I'm loving this new set up though. Now I can move the TV back and forth all day long!

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Threshold Makeover

Eight months later and I'm still in love with the cork floors in my kitchen (more on their installation here and here). Seriously, they are amazing. They look great, feel good under my feet, and are easy to clean. If anyone ever asks me how I feel about them, I become a walking infomercial (have you googled 'cork trees' yet? DO. IT. Your mind will be blown). But there was one task leftover from the big install last winter that I never got around to finishing.

This is the threshold between the kitchen and the dining room. While it was installed perfectly and I've never had any problems with it, I never got around to staining it to match the cork. 

For some reason I was nervous about staining it, which I soon realized stemmed from my last attempt at staining. If you don't remember, I tried to stain a dresser and it was disastrous (more about that here and here). But after a brief tutorial and pep talk from my friend that helped me install the floors, I was ready to just get it done.

I used my good old Frog Tape (more on my preference for Frog Tape here) to tape off the threshold. Since sanding wasn't necessary, I just put on latex gloves and used an old sock to rub the stain on. I used Minwax in 'Special Walnut', the kind of stain without the poly added in (that was my mistake last time). 

My staining coach told me that if I wanted to make the stain darker I should apply the stain, let it dry over night, and then apply another coat. But if you know me at all you know I am the most impatient person on the planet. It's like a real problem, so after a few coats I was done. I left the tape on until the next day optimistically thinking I might do another coat, but the next day I was satisfied with how it looked (or too lazy to stain it again, take your pick). 

It's a little thing, but it made me happy for a solid week. The transition looks so great now! I should have done it months ago since it only cost $6 and took 15 minutes. C'est la vie!

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Updated Faux Sofa Table

Remember my faux sofa table? I made it a few months after I moved in (more about it here).

Here is a refresher of what it looked like behind the scenes:

It worked great for over a year, but then BOB happened:

He was all like, "Hey, thanks for putting this special shelf here just for me!" Not cool, Bob. Since the home tour was coming up I had grand plans of making an actual table out of wood for back there, but like a lot of things, it didn't get done. But, I couldn't just leave it like this for the tour so I decided to get creative again.

Though I have more tubs like the bottom ones they were being used elsewhere so I pilfered only the lids and set them on top of the cardboard boxes. Obviously, this is a bandaid to a bigger problem, but you know... it is what it is.

Little known fact about me: I don't use a top sheet. I find them unnecessary so I have like 10 top sheets that I never use so I grabbed two white twin top sheets and folded them over the tubs.

Voila! Not a long term solution but it worked great for the home tour (and beyond, it is still holding up nicely). One day I would like to build a simple table for back there but one day at a time.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Home Tour Recap

Guys, the home tour was insane... in a good way! If you are visiting my blog because you were on the tour - WELCOME!

So about that home tour...

I have a lot of dreams, but being on a home tour was never one of them. But when a friend suggested that my house would be great fit for the Irvington Historic Home Tour, I thought, why not? I emailed the board of the Benton House to ask about the application process and before I knew it I was having a home visit that ended with a "we'd love to have you on the tour!" After that I had about four months to plan, which turned to be just that, planning only. What with my month long trip to Switzerland, my unfortunate accident, and subsequent surgery (more on that here), I was happy to just get the house cleaned (you can read about my realistic to-do list here)!

Anyway, enough with the set up. The tour itself was amazing and strange. It ran from 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm so for five hours I stood in my living room welcoming people into my house.

Me, awkwardly being photographed. No joke, my friend had to coach
me on how to smile, that is how much I dislike getting my picture taken.

While I could tell you lots of stories about all the awesome people I met, I'll keep it simple with two lists. First, the phrases I said hundreds of times, and second, the most common questions/comments I heard.

These are the phrases I said about 500 times (which is around how many people came through my house!):
"Hi, I'm Jasmin, welcome to home."
"Thanks for visiting."
"Thank you, I appreciate that."
"Have a nice afternoon."

"That's so nice of you, thank you."
"I have a blog if you want to know more about ______."

These are a few of the questions/comments that I heard A LOT:
"Are you English?" - my response was always, "No, just an anglophile."
"You sure do love to travel."
"You are an avid reader."
"Are you an artist?" - I said, "No, I'm just artist-ic."
"We are soul mates/we should be friends." - I got this comment a lot! It was my favorite comment of course :) Welcome, to all of my new friends!
"Where did you get that chandelier?" - the dining room chandelier was very popular!
"What are those little books on the wall?" - the post card wall art led to a lot of questions.
"Are the floors original?"
"Is that a photo of your grandparents' wedding?"
"Did you take those photos behind the old windows?"
"How long have you lived here?" - Since I've been here for 20 months, I had the weird decision of saying I've lived here for 20 months which makes me sounds like the mother of a toddler or saying a year and a half, I went with "A year and half." or the occasional, "Almost two years."
"How old is the house?"
"Is there a basement?"

Flowers from my Mom!
Flowers from the tour coordinator!

Disclaimer: I am a major introvert so the thought of talking with hundreds of people for five hours straight was anxiety inducing to say the least, BUT everyone was so nice and kind that my anxieties quickly vanished.  I had a really lovely time and I was happy to meet so many cool people. Special thanks to my Mom, Hayley, Kristen, and Amy for being with me for moral support :)

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Gift From Japan

Side note: The home tour went amazingly well! I'll be back on Friday with a post all about it!

A got a gift from Japan, actually I got several, but today I'm only talking about one, and it's awesome!

I had two students stay with me from Japan a few weeks ago and they were great. Sweet, kind, and came bearing gifts!

Can you spy what is new below?

I'll get a little closer...

I got a fan! Were you as obsessed with these when you were a kid? I always had one that I played with (which is retrospect is sort of strange... what did I do with it?). Anyway, I was really excited when my friend got me this one, mostly because I love the print on it.

It's little fish. Adorable! I really really like this print, too bad I can't go buy more of the fabric!

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Monday, September 16, 2013

New Blinds, Finally

Happy, happy day! I finally got new blinds in the living room! 

Soooo goood right?? While I was grateful that my house came with blinds on every window (seriously, that was amazing), they were all of the $4 vinyl variety. Not my favorite obviously, but they kept sun and people's eyeballs out. That is until Bob systematically destroyed the blinds in the living room. He kept getting his paws caught up in the cords and yanking them down. After buying four new blinds for the living room (it was only $16 but still, they are ugly and I hate buying ugly things as place holders) I said enough was enough and I refused to buy more. When he broke two more a few weeks later I held my ground. And then... well, a year later I still only had two out of four blinds in the living room, but Bob totally learned his lesson.

But, my long game paid off because when I finally decided I had enough money to buy the ones I wanted (it too me a loooong time to decide what I wanted, here is a post about that) they were on sale! $140 later (sounds like a lot but it totally isn't for blinds, trust me on that!) and new blinds were at my house. Of course, it didn't occur to me until after they came that I would have to hang them, boo. Thankfully, they came after my cast came off (oh yeah, my cast is off!!!!) but my wrist was/is still really stiff so I wasn't sure if I could do it myself (drilling is hard for me on a normal day). I asked my brother to help me hang them some time and he said yes, but in typical Jasmin style I randomly decided one day that I couldn't wait another second and that I was going to hang them that moment. And I did! The process required a lot of cursing and two-handed drilling but the end result was totally worth it. Now, let's revel in their glory shall we?

They are also thermally lined (not sure what that means, but it sounds good) so they provide great coverage at night.

Needless to say, I'm extremely happy that my wait is over.

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Last Post Before the Home Tour!

Soooo.... that time has come, the home tour is this weekend! I'm excited, nervous, and I'm already tired thinking about how long I'm going to be standing and schmoozing. But I think it will go well. If you live in the Indianapolis area you should definitely check it out! My house is one of six homes and there are also three buildings. It should be pretty cool. Tickets are available at several Irvington locations (more information here).

In other news, here is what I was able to accomplish before the tour (my original list here, my updated list here):

1) Replace/Get blinds in the living (currently only two of the four windows have blinds). 
2) Hang the TV (I already have the mount).
3) Buy new plants to replace some of mine that are looking sort of sad.
4) Clean, just like, everything.
Bonus items:
* Build sofa table to replace my 'faux' table I created (here). 
* Re-grout shower 
(posts to come about all these projects soon!)

Considering how I was gone for a month and then one-handed for the first five weeks I was home, I'm pretty proud of everything I was able to accomplish. I am excited about the home tour for a lot of reasons but mostly because having my house this clean made me jump on an opportunity I have been thinking about for a while. What is it? Well, you will just have to stay tuned to find out! 

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Greeting Cards, and Why Little Dressers are the Best*

Little known fact, in 2008 when I first heard of Etsy's existence I opened a shop and sold greeting cards. I know, super random right? It didn't last long, but I still have like 30 greeting cards that I made and haven't used. In fact, I have a whole drawer full of greeting cards that I rarely send. So wasteful right? Well, what can you do? The road to wherever is paved with good intentions (or something like that).

I love my little dresser turned nightstand (my semi-failed DIY of it here and here), especially because it has extra storage for the random things I own.

The bottom drawer holds my eclectic stash of greeting cards, a mix of ones I made myself and ones that were purchased. 

Do you want to know the most interesting thing about greeting cards? They are completely useless unless sent. Yeah, I know, bummer. But the nice thing is that we live in a world where there are lots of options when you forget your sister's birthday or your cousin's graduation.

Take for example The Greeting Card Shop (check out their ad on the top right!), not only can you buy a card, electronically write a message in it, but they will send it directly to the recipient for only the cost of a stamp. Pretty slick right? Obviously, a homemade or hand written card is more personal, but any card is better than no card when your friend three states away has a baby.

Meanwhile, I'm just over here glad I have a little dresser to hold all of my good intentions.

*Full disclosure, this post is sponsored but be cool, I'm my own person. I do and say what I want.

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