Monday, January 26, 2015

Projects Two, Three, and Four.

I clearly cannot stop.


Well, technically, I clearly cannot start. Most normal people would finish one project before tackling the second. As the Morton label says, "when it rains it pours" and goodness knows it has been pouring in for me. A kind friend gifted us a large country-style table and a wee bit wonky but otherwise useful buffet she scored on Craigslist but never did anything with. Our new neighbor knew I was on the hunt for dining chairs and donated a whooping six to our cause. Remarkably all the pieces seem to kind of, sort of, match each other. Not so remarkably they are not my style.

At all.

I like slender, sleek, industrial. These are chunky, clunky, and about as Grandma Higgins as they come. Not that I know a real Grandma Higgins. But if I did, she would have white hair in a tight bun, too many cats, make questionable combinations of fruit pies, and have too much furniture of the too big variety in too small of a space. I would often bruise my shins at Grandma Higgins' house. And get stomach aches. But mostly shin damage.

The pieces of furniture were, however, all completely free. And free is awesome.

They were also gifted without restriction under the disclaimer that I am someday going to paint the holy hell and who knows what else to them.

That table? I want to fill in the cracks and make it smooth then paint it with high gloss paint and whack it down a good few inches. The wonky buffet? Add a bookshelf to the top, fix the shelves and update the doors, and add a shelf at the bottom to turn it into a proper kitchen hutch.



The chairs? That's a secret. Partly because I think it will be the ultimate surprise when you see the before and after pics and I don't want to ruin it, but mostly because I am not sure it is at all going to work out and if I fail miserably I want to at least be able to pretend that this never happened, there is nothing to see here, and really I only had five chairs to begin with.


As for the olive walls. Oh, those olive walls. They came with the house and match the olive carpet in every (non-sink-containing) room. Every room. Even the bright princess purple painted one. This isn't our house so we leave it. And I don't care how this year olive green is or how beautiful you think it is. It belongs in Grandma Higgins' house with her chunky, clunky, shin abusing furniture and no, absolutely not am I taking it into consideration when I choose paint colors for the furniture redo nor am I going to leave any part of any piece still looking like wood because it goes so well with the olive. So there.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

School Desk Redo: the Beginning

Look at what I got for just $5. Each. Plus tax.


I know. Totally exciting, isn't it? It's ok to be jealous. Unless you live in my general vicinity in which case you can stop being jealous and grab yourself one. Or two. Or a couple dozen.

They look like they have been left out in the elements since 1952. The wood is completely rotten. The frame, while rusted, looks like it has just a superficial rust. I would bet my eldest born that the chipping paint on it is full of lead. However, they are incredibly sound and sturdy. And they may or may not be riddled with tetanus germs. Good thing the whole family is up to date on those boosters.

I want to use these as actual desks, for actual children, as I home school, actually. I can't get away with something for show only- it needs to be durable and functional. And free of lead-based death. Originally I was going to learn how to bend the wood and remake the seats and seat backs. Then I discovered the dozens of places that sell the replacement seats and desk tops for pretty darn cheap. Bingo. I really don't care they are going to be high-grade, gouge-proof, water-proof, ink-proof, indestructible, injection molded plastic in a beautiful cranberry color instead of my questionable self-laminated plywood jobbers. I am sure I can somehow manage to survive.

My current plan:
  • sand, prime, paint, and seal the metal frame in a pure bright white
  • replace the screws and what-not
  • attach the pre-purchased seat and desktop parts

I will update on my progress as it unfolds. Exciting, I know. That's how I roll.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

There Will Be Coffee.

It was dark when I went running this morning. Very dark. I couldn't follow the normal path I like to run through the greenbelt area with the beautiful, wide, weirdly always ice-free pavement that gently meanders through desert sage and scrub trees, with the beautiful Sierras scraping the very top of the sky in the background. I got stuck on cookie-cutter subdivision street. On skinny sidewalks. With surprisingly infrequent street lights. And ice patches.

While running I saw another runner suffering the same subdivision fate, but who was clearly more professional than I will ever be. Other Runner had a dog with her. The dog had running shoes. And a lighted collar. Other Runner had a cool head lamp and was criss-crossed up and down her body with reflective gear. Her shoelaces glowed. I swear they were glow in the dark.

Aaaaaaaand suddenly I need more gear.

I need LED light up everything. And reflecto-clothes. And a side-kick who is willing to wear mini disco balls on their neck. And cute Capri pants that would apparently keep me warm when it is twenty-freaking-something degrees Fahrenheit outside, just like Other Runner.

I was thinking of all the things I needed later on when I was performing day two of what I like to call "Let's teach ourselves to bake bread because seriously, cave men did this. It can't be that hard." Well, it is that hard. If I were a caveman the human race would have died out long before we discovered the wheel. Apparently the recipe called for 1 tablespoon oil and half a cup of milk, not the other way around. I know, right? Easy mistake when one is pre-occupied with thoughts of neon compression socks. Don't worry, I slugged in more cold milk until it hit the right squishiness and carried on, not realizing at the time that (a) cold milk killed my yeast and (b) half a cup of oil in bread is gross. Really, really gross.

I totally served that bad boy up for dinner anyway.

My middle child is a bit obsessed with the Lord's Prayer right now. She insists on me giving her "her daily bread." It is kind of endearing, actually. She ate two slices. No one else ate two slices. They all just took a polite bite and moved on. Losers.

She also said she had a stomach ache when she went to bed, but I am sure that is just coincidental. She'll be fine. I am totally not planning having to get up at 0-dark-thirty to the cries of "mommy! where is the pook-bowl?" as of course my youngest two have such adorable British accents for random words and say things like pook and gnaw-ty and call them biscuits instead of cookies. No clue where on earth it comes from, seeing as how we aren't British. Oh, and also the puke bowl is currently in my fabric cupboard holding about a zillion micro-sized notions and my entire scissor and pin collections and can't really be coughed up at a seconds notice to random-accented children who are in no way ill from my nasty loaf of daily bread as this is clearly a coincidental stomach condition.

Did I mention my lack of a travel flask for coffee? Yeah, I getting that bad boy tomorrow. Assuming my daw-ter doesn't pook and can be transported to tah-get so I can poore-chis one. Because thinking of her being up in the middle of the night reminds me that I am pretty much up in the middle of every damn night for someone and I have that hour drop off routine I still have to live through. And I need my coffee. Oh do I need my coffee.

I wonder if they have a flask with reflective stripes and attaches to a belt? Because the next time she passes me, the one being jealous of cool gear can be Other Runner. And her little dog, too.

Monday, January 12, 2015

That Time Actually Exists?

Since I am going with a whole new me, I need a whole new look. I am going to look into a new blog color scheme and layout. What this means is over the next week or so I will spend hours on Design Seeds looking at swatches and color schemes, tweaking by blog layout, and finally ending up with the winner sometime around 3 am the first Tuesday of February which will look remarkably similar to this one. If not identical.

Yes, I have been down this road before.

But at least I can give it the old college try. Right?

In other news.... I am trying to work out the best run schedule for my families needs. I just completed week 5 of the Couch to 5k program Saturday, and start week 6 tomorrow. No biggie for some maybe. But I have an hour commute to deal with. And I work from home. For with the joy of moving to America, came the pain of having to get rid of half our stuff including our car. And now we are down to one teeny tiny number that is awesome for little ol' 5 foot tall me and a couple of preschool aged kids, but kind of on the small side for a family of five. Thank goodness the teen is size minus two and can actually squeeze in between the two car seats and still manage to slide her hand on down the side of her leg to get her seat belt on.

Small cars need to have a shoe horn accessory pack.

But as it is now, we all five pile in the car and I drive the hour loop betwixt home, the teen's high school, the husband's office, and back home again. I discovered two vital things I lack in my life: a portable coffee flask and decent morning radio. Because, seriously, today was only day one and while I am proud of my kids for being so creative with Old MacDonald having yellow spiny toads, llamas that spit, and fire breathing dragons, I can only handle so many verses before my mind drifts towards thoughts of doing anything but THIS and being anywhere but HERE. Especially when that mind hasn't had sufficient caffeine and was forced out of bed at some stupid hour that in former college years was considered a bedtime.

I also don't have a broom, an iron, or a vegetable peeler. But right now the coffee flask is taking highest priority. Especially when I have to wake up at even stupider early tomorrow to cram in the run before all the rest of the morning routine has to happen. Because so far that seems to work best for my family. In theory.

Here's hoping those endorphins kick in right about the time I hit that freeway on ramp. That would be a nice bonus.