from that thrift shop down the road

sometimes the work week is just so much work, am i right?

today i escaped my apathy and boredom at my desk and headed to my favorite thrift shop, which is more consignment-meets-hoarders, and is one of those places where you take really shallow breaths to avoid inhaling centuries of dust and mildew and god knows what else.  it is awesome.  i was not in the mood to spend money today, which is usually the case, which makes me wonder why i ever go shopping at all?  but oh, the clothes and the trinkets!

i walked right in the front door and found this black lucite chair for only $28 and the skies parted and the angels sang and even as i thought “where on earth will i put this?” i thought for sure that i had found a priceless treasure.

lucitechair

just to be sure, i sent a picture of the chair to my long distance girlfriend ashley,. who introduced me to said thrift shop, and asked her opinion, assuming she’d be all, hell yeah you go GET you that lucite chair!  but then things took a turn.

me: how badly do i need this $28 lucite chair?
ash: uncomfy and sure to look outdated soon enough. i don’t think it’ll be a good investment.

my soul was crushed, until i received her followup text.

ash: my husband would say that it looks like it belongs in a Miami hotel room where people snort cocaine.

with that, i slowly backed away from the chair, strangely validated in my rejection of the once hopeful seat.  we hardly knew ye, lucite chair!

i spent the rest of my tour taking pictures of ridiculous things and sending them to hubs with messages like “this monkey lamp is worth $100 right?” and “how much do you love this poster of a lady walking two afghans?”  he knows better than to protest too much, so i left the thrift shop empty-handed on my own accord.

here is a glimpse of some of the other treasures that i passed up.

stroh’s is probably the worst beer in the world.  there were 12 of these mugs.  hubs drinks stroh’s sometimes if it’s the $1 beer special at our local restaurant that allows you to bring your dog.  needless to say, we eat there a lot.

strohsmug

upon further relfection, i seriously regret not getting these tiny busts of unknown (to me) Swiss composers which also wind up and play music!  shoulda gone back for these babies.

musicboxbusts

the illustrious monkey lamp.

monkeylamp

a plaque that i 100% seriously wanted to buy for my father-in-law, though i was uncomfortable with the reference to an “old” fisherman.  nobody wants to be called old, right?  but i think my mother-in-law would have approved of the reference to his “best catch”.

fishplaque

and the afghan poster, which is quite possibly the most hideous thing i’ve ever seen at a thrift store.  we both know that’s not true.  but it left quite the impression on me.

afghans

i mean, right?

this concludes our thrift store adventures for today, and possibly ever.  it was exhausting wading through all of the W.S.S.A. (Worthless Shit that Sits Around ™).  until next time!

how to keep pollen off of a screened in porch, and other things

every spring in atlanta, when the pollen descends from the trees and into our lives, we are ostracized from our screened in porch during the time of year when it would be most enjoyable.  so this year, we took matters into our own hands and (desperately) tried to keep the effing pollen out of our porch.  behold!

pollenscreenedinporch

we bought a $10 roll of clear poly (not quite clear, as you can see) and stapled all the way around our porch to create a barrier against the pollen.  we also used masking tape to keep the seams sealed.  and you know what?  so far so good!  I think this keeps the pollen at bay! 

though, we do not exactly enjoy the porch while it is dressed up as one of dexter’s victims, and it is creepy as hell to sit at the table and eat dinner while surrounded by plastic.  but at least we won’t have to clean up the pollen before we can use the porch again.

pollenscreenedinporch2

and we look super classy, our neighbors are not skeeved out at all.

though after we had done this, we realized we could have just removed all of the cushion before the pollen came, and then rinsed the pollen away once it was done.  oh well.

some other things we’ve done around the house in the name of spring and general getting stuff done-ness:

i bought this mirror a few months ago at goodwill.  it was bright gold.  and hubs took one look at it and declared that it was “the penis mirror”.  and i showed it to my sisters, and they may have agreed with him.  but that didn’t keep me from painting it blue and hanging it in our upstairs hallway.

inappropriatemirror

[those are my painting clothes, I promise I don’t go out in public wearing soccer shorts.  also, full disclosure, I have never played soccer.]

the print is new and by an artist named elizabeth mayville.  I found it on etsy and I am obsessed.  the table is a homegoods find, and now that I look at it, I feel like it’s super off-white and needs to be painted…maybe next year.

and YES that is a futon in the next room don’t judge me!

one last major crazy thing I took care of on sunday night was painting our stairwell!  it is, mmmmm, 95% done?  but the last 5% is going to be the WORST.  uggggghhhhhhh.

paintedstairwell

i’m sorry the light is so bad but hubs turned off the lights downstairs right as i took this picture.

painting the stairwell finally connects the downstairs, which has been painted since before we moved in 2.5 years ago, and the upstairs hallway that I painted recently.  except, you know, now I have to figure out how to finish it without getting paint on the ceiling.  because I have NO IDEA what color paint goes on the ceiling in our house, so i have nothing to touch it up with.  god help us.

i will say that painting with an extender pole filled me with so much glee.  to be able to reach a point on the wall that was 3 times my height was strangely exhilirating.  okay so hubs may have done the VERY tippy top of the wall, but 90% of the 95% of the stairwell was done by yours truly.

throughout these home improvement endeavors, buster has continued to have no physical boundaries whatsoever.  he also needs a haircut so very badly.

bustergreenchair

finally, i cannot conclude this post without showing you the most amazing thing that happened at an irish pub this weekend.  my good friend (we will call her melamine) looked into her beer and saw someone winking back at her.

smilingbeer

most people see jesus in their food.  we get creepy smiley faces.  sounds about right.

Living Room Arrangement

When we were house hunting 2 years ago, hubs and I agreed that we didn’t see the need for a separate den and formal living room.  We are not terribly formal people (understatement of the century).  Most of the houses we looked at were built in the late 70’s to early 80’s, and almost all had a separate den and formal living space.  But our precious homeowners had already knocked down the wall between theirs, which basically made us see the opposite of dollar signs flashing in the air when we walked in the front door.

The only problem we’ve been having is how to fill up that space purposefully, functionally, and classilly…?  So here is how it looked for almost 2 years:

The red squares are two giant mid-century armchairs that we inherited from hubs’s parents.  They are neat in a been-around-the-block kind of way, but Buster’s hair clings to the fabric like Madonna clings to her youth, which can be so frustrating.  So up the stairs they rolled (seriously, I rolled them, by myself.  Have I ever told you how impatient I am?).

Here are the red chairs, sort of:

We decided a while back that we needed a desk in this space, because when we work from home, it’d be nice to have a space to work that doesn’t involve the couch or the stools in the kitchen that make your butt go numb after 45 minutes.  We came up with two configurations.

This one, which we ultimately decided was a little too wacky:

And this one, which is more boring but also lends itself to laziness, in that the TV can stay put:

So we ordered a desk (this one) and put it together, and rearranged the room, but the desk ultimately felt too small for the wall.  So hubs agreed to keep rearranging until it felt right, which had me all hot and bothered because usually I have to beg him to move furniture around.  Hubba hubba.

After shuffling things around for a bit, we decided that the desk was a better fit between the windows that face the front of the house, and that we can go one of two directions from there.  This one, which involves scouring the ends of Homegoods for 2 more armchairs (they are blue and green because we already own 1 blue and 1 green chair):

Or this one, which allows us to go shopping for a super fancy (looking) settee!  Which is really just a pretty and less bulky loveseat.

Decently priced settees are surprisingly difficult to find.  Brand new, they are in the range of $600 to $1200.  I even found a gently used and not hideous one on Craigslist for $425.  But then I did a quick google search on gray settee, and found this baby hiding at my favorite money-sucking everystore, Target:

It’s beautiful.  It’s not a behemoth.  And the greatest part of all is that it is cheap AND has great reviews.  AND it’s gray AND it has silver nailhead trim AND I am obsessed with it.  Original price is $299, but with the 5% off with my redCard and another 15% for a reason I cannot quite figure out and free shipping (the way to a girl’s heart), it comes to $259.

SOLD!

For now, we have the living room in this setup, which feels goofy, but hubs and I found ourselves parked across from each other in the armchairs for a good chunk of our evening, so maybe we are on to something.

God, I love rearranging furniture.  It makes me feel so alive.

And now that the windows are no longer blocked, Buster can assume his figurehead position as house watchdog.

Repentance for Pendants

For the past 2 years, I have been eyeing the pendant lights above our kitchen sink, lusting after the idea of taking them down and replacing them with something sleek, industrial, and that doesn’t remind me of the secret vine in Super Mario Brothers.

You know what I’m talking about.

I bought some cheap but stylish pendants from Home Depot a few weeks ago, and they arrived, and the finish was hideous, but nothing a little oil rubbed bronze spray paint couldn’t fix.  One of the pendants was missing an important piece, so I actually had to order a third one, but that’s okay, worse things have happened.

So tonight, as hubs sat on the couch working away because his company was not satisfied with the 12 hours he had already put in today, I decided to replace the light fixtures.

By myself.

I’m not dumb, I’ve done it before.  Seems simple enough.

I took down one vine light.  There were two but I got excited and took one down before I remember to take a picture.

It took about 20 seconds to take down both lights, so I was all, pfffft this is so easy I’ll be done in 20 minutes.

Except the previous owner of our house was the MacGruber of home improvement.  There is paint INSIDE the junction box.  THERE IS PAINT EVERYWHERE IN OUR HOUSE.  No hinge, knob or light fixture was left unblemished when the previous owner painted the house before putting it on the market.  Also, his name is Dick.  So it’s super fun to yell “Dammit, Dick!” whenever we find an issue.

I mean our house was built in 1977 and wasn’t wired for cable until we moved in in 2010.

I realized I would have to replace the existing hanging hardware, which was super fun to do with 35 year old screws that had been painted over (they’re probably newer than that, I’m just being dramatic).  This is when the sweating started, because I spent a lot of time directly underneath a recessed light.

Then I had to strip some wires.  Cue the preemptive feelings of badassness.

Then I summoned hubs and he was the brawn while I was the tiny-fingered wire assembler. All was going swell.

Ta da!

But wait, there’s more!  Look closer…

OH YES, the screws that came with the pendant are about 1/8″ too long.  Because OF COURSE.  Why would I think that a $15 light fixture, which I had to return one of in the first place, would come with the perfect parts?  Maybe because I live in the South and that would be the polite thing to do?

Why is it that every project I think will be a quick wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am of DIY splendor turns into a multiple day crapfest?  Is it just me or does everybody else have the same shitty luck?  Is Dick haunting us?  (He’s not dead, but according to our neighbors he does drive by our house “all the time”, so…eew)

On a more whimsical note, I used this super cute elephant bowl to hold my spare nuts and bolts while I worked.  He looked on smugly as I sweated under the glistening recessed CFLs.

And Buster watched skeptically from the couch in the living room.  Some support system I have.

Dammit, Dick.

To be continued…

Wall Stencil Woes

Guess what I did a couple of weeks ago?  Here’s a hint:

Still perplexed?  Let me back up a little more…

If you guessed that I painfully stenciled the massive blank wall in our master bedroom over the course of two separate Sunday afternoons, while simultaneously drinking and crying and freaking out, then you are a genius!  Here’s the widest shot that I have readily available:

I still have to finish the bottom edge, which can’t be seen when the bed is pushed back against the wall, so try not to judge me too harshly, mmmkay?

I bought the stencil from cuttingedgestencils.com and followed their video tutorial to a tee.  Rather than rehash the process for you, I’ll just give you a couple of little tips that I picked up along the way:

  • Spray adhesive is your friend.  Use it every time.  If you get lazy and think you can get away without using it, you can’t.  Just use it.  See photo #1 for evidence.
  • Frog tape is your double best friend.  Stenciling isn’t precise, especially once you get to the edges, and backup support is always a plus, especially if you were super lazy and just painted over the existing white walls without and paint to touch up later.
  • Patience patience patience.  Even if you think it’ll be quick, it won’t be.  It took me a long ass time to do this.  And I’m so sick of it that I kind of already want to get rid of it.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself.  I can’t tell you how many times I said, “Why isn’t it sticking? Ohmygod it’s bleeding! The stencil is deformed! It’s not level! It looks horrible! Why do you hate me so much?! I give up!” and then peeled back the stencil and said, “oh…that actually looks fine.”  The stencil looks worse the closer you get to it, but from afar it looks pretty uniform.

I have a really difficult time coming up with big art for large blank walls, so this seemed like a good idea at the time.  I originally waffled between kelly green and royal blue, but indecisiveness won out and hubs is picked this teal color, Bon Voyage from Behr.  I love the color, but in hindsight, probably should’ve picked something lighter so the mistakes would be less obvious.

There are so many options when you’re re-doing a room from scratch that I constantly second guess every choice that I make.  I’ve texted hubs twice today alone to ask if he hates the bedroom wall.  He insists that he doesn’t.  I’m insecure about it, but also pretty lazy, so it’ll be there for at least the next 12 months.  I’m thinking of renaming my blog “Insecure but Lazy and Also Thirsty Annie.”  Thoughts?

Here’s a preview of my next bedroom project.  This one might kill me.

Ikea Lack Repurposed on the Cheap

I bought my trusty Ikea Lack coffee table almost 5 years ago for $20 when I moved out of state for the first time.  It has been through 4 moves and can hold my husband’s entire bodyweight when he gets drunk and stands on top of it.  It’s been a champ!  However, the cheap look and black-brown finish has run its course, so it was time to repurpose.

In what is probably the most lazy DIY project ever, all I did was unscrew the legs from the top, take off all of the remaining hardware, and spray that baby down with about 5 light coats of Krylon chalkboard spray paint.  Then, rather than put hanging hardware on the back of the board {why stop being lazy when it hurts so good?} I installed a wall shelf from Target, also circa 2007, for the chalkboard to rest on.  And then, even though my dad swore up and down that “they don’t even sell chalk anymore”, I picked up a box at Target and got to chalkin’.

While the placement isn’t ideal {right next to the door and in front of the main light switch}, it was the best spot to place it so it could be seen from the couch and easily accessed for future chalkin’ activity.

Fun fact: I’ve played the guitar since I was 10.  Hubs has been wanting to learn, so I drew him some chords so he could practice on the pretty little Fender he bought me a couple of years ago.

So there you have it.  The house is slowly evolving.  This used to be the crap room, and look at it now.  I’m so proud I could weep into my instant cheese grits.  I’m trying to be cheap without looking like I’m being cheap…is it working?

DIY Farmhouse Light Fixture

Remember that farmhouse/planter light fixture I was going to make that I was ultimately unimpressed with?  Well it finally made it up to the ceiling in our new office, and I’m sort of obsessed with it now.  Here’s the inspiration:

We had to use a ceiling medallion, because apparently the ceiling used to be beige, and when the previous owners painted every inch of our house white before selling it, they painted around the ceiling fan, which I understand.  But it left a big beige circle on the ceiling, and I am NOT about to paint a ceiling, so medallion it is.  I don’t think I would’ve liked it as much without the medallion.  It adds so much pizazz.

The lightbulb is an Edison-style bulb, where you can see the filaments.  I bought the larger of the two that they sell at Home Depot, and that baby is BRIGHT!  No shortage of light in this room at night.  I typically loathe overhead lighting, but I’ll make an exception for this guy.

The assembly was fairly self-explanatory.  I used the clips that came with the planters to attach them to each other, I cut the wires at the bottom of one planter so that they’d naturally rest in the light socket, and voila.

This is just the beginning of a wave of projects I’ve been trying to accomplish at home.  Hubs is so excited to help me with all of them, too.  He’s so lucky to have a wife that will exploit his handyman skills shamelessly.  You’re welcome, honey!