Saturday, May 7, 2011

Neigh Neigh: Color for my Mantel

Yesterday was a blast spent with my Dad in Phoenix. We grabbed breakfast at Coco's, wandered antique stores, found some neat pieces, and later ate some ice cream at Mary Coyles. Looks like I'm going to have to find another way to get 80% butter-fat ice cream, since Mary Coyles is betraying us all closing its doors for good this month. After having so much fun yesterday, can you believe I didn't take a single picture? Thanks for a fun-despite-being-pictureless day, Dad!

I decided to stop at the giant Goodwill on my way home. I had never been inside this store and wanted to see if I could get lucky with a furniture score. No such luck came my way, but I did find a pretty vase for $7.99 and an awesome porcelain horse head for $14.99. Neat pieces, but I'm not about to spend such money on spray-painting victims. Then, a magical voice came over the loudspeaker and announced that it was half-price-green-sticker-day! Just for kicks and giggles, I went back to check the two things I liked...and they both had green stickers! The Spray Painting Gods smiled down upon me, and these two items were soon sitting next to me on my drive home after forking over a whole eleven dollars.

Unfortunately, it was too hot to spray them when I pulled into the garage. The spray can suggests painting in temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees, but we reached our first triple digits yesterday at 101. I didn't want to risk a bad finish, so I patiently waited until this morning to crank out the ol' trusty cans of spray paint. In addition to Rustoleum's "Lagoon" color for the vase, I used their "Eden" green for the horse head. It's the same green as my lamps in the living room, and I am tickled that everything seems to be falling together. It's unintentionally intentional.

This morning, bright and early, while Hubby slaved away shoveling gravel and cleaned the pool, I squealed with delight at watching my new horse and vase transform!

I left the vase wicker exposed and liked it. I love bringing natural elements into a room. However, after I added the yellow flowers, the wicker just didn't match. A few moments later, the additional coats on the vase were dry and the entire piece was now "Lagoon." I like it much better against the pop of yellow from the flowers.

It's fun to see so much bright color when I look at this end of the house. I really like how the homemade lamp and vase are the same color and play well together. Animal busts are so popular right now, but I just don't have a thing for rhinoceros. Horses? Now that's something I can paint and proudly display in my house!

Luckily, I'm headed to work next week. Canada, here I come! It will keep me out of stores and prevent any painting from taking place. It will be so much fun when we have an area rug, love seat, and ottoman in this corner for a reading nook. Hubby will be building a new mantel this fall when it starts to cool down. For now, the pops of color add so much to the whole house. I like it. So there.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Future Graffiti Artist in the Making

A whole new world has opened up to me in the past few days. I've been looking at everything with an imaginary can of spray paint in my hands. Perspective can be key in any game, so this outlook has really made normal items jump out at me. Because I now realize that I can change the color, I was looking more for shape and size than just if it would match in the house. I went to a few stores the other night with my heart set on finding some cool pieces for my dining room. That end of the house is in sore need of some color, and what better way to change that than with some spray paint!?

My first stop was to Goodwill, which ended up being my jackpot of the evening. I glanced at furniture but found nothing. My reason for visiting tonight, however, was to find a lamp for the top of our gorgeous homemade buffet. Yes, Hubby made it from scratch. For me. Isn't he awesome? But that entire room has been begging for lighting other than the harsh, charming, overhead ceiling fan lights. Goodwill to the rescue!

I found a cool lamp with nice curves. The gals up front let me borrow a light bulb to check for proper operation. Since this was my first purchase at Goodwill, I wanted to make sure I didn't have a dud before I even got home! It worked like a charm and was paid for...$7.99! I was soon on my way to TJ Maxx. After not finding a lamp shade or additional accessories to receive the wrath of my spray paint can, I continued on to Walmart. Though I didn't want to spend $14 for a shade, that's how much this little guy rang up. Had I been able to wait, I would simply watch TJ Maxx for a great shade on clearance. However, since I had the lamp in my possession and was now on a mission to find the perfect color to top it, I couldn't wait for the cheap shade to come into my life. I handed over the $14 and went home.

The next morning I made an early trip to Home Depot after being disappointed with three stores' selections of spray paint colors. Home Depot came to the rescue with a beautiful "Lagoon" color by Rustoleum. I also picked up a can of Satin Nickel Metallic Paint to cover the brass fixtures. It's probably well-known by now, but I happen to think brass is of the devil. After I got organized at home and scrubbed the lamp from top to bottom, I began taping off to spray the metal parts. And it looked great! I waited a painstaking thirty minutes before un-taping and prepping the base to receive its beautiful, bright blue color!

And I absolutely love it!

What a difference a few swipes of paint can make! I am thrilled with the final outcome...a gorgeous, deep teal that pops from the buffet. The old lamp cord is brown, which perfectly blends into the wood and disappears. The lamp shade looks elegant and made for the piece. It's just a perfect lamp! And for about $22, I saved quite a bit by not buying one in the store. I must say, it feels incredible to take one thing and completely transform it into something just right for our home.

I hope I don't get addicted. This statement may be coming too late.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Day with a Boy

My favorite little man spent a few hours at my house yesterday.

We went outside to enjoy the 99-degree weather but only lasted a few minutes. We then came inside and watched some birds from my couch. Birds are interesting, as long as they aren't pooping on everything in sight. Like pools and patio furniture and anywhere a person would want to step. For the first time in my life, I want to buy a gun.

I decided to comb Evan's hair to see how cute it would be, and he certainly didn't disappoint! He took a great nap and then watched Uncle Hubby play Zelda on the Wii for a whole three seconds before being whisked away for some yogurt and bananas. His mama was only gone a few hours, so we didn't get much time to do anything. He did show off his throwing skills with the Cheerios container and even displayed his speedy crawling techniques. He absent-mindedly took two steps towards me when we were playing in the living room, so I think he's getting really close to walking! His knees will thank him when he does. Tile floors can be a beast on knees.

It's always fun having Evan around. He is such a sweet kid and is demonstrating more and more personality each day. Evan has started to crinkle up his nose about 80% of the time...I wonder where he got that skill! I also took a few pictures of him with his eyes closed, so we certainly know who he belongs to!

I always love when Evan comes over. It a great way to discover how much my house isn't baby-proof!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Dream Car

As I drove to take Hubby some lunch at work the other day, I passed a wonderful thing. Though this two-door hatchback sports car was the wrong color, an awful teal that was very popular back in the early nineties, a flood of memories came back to me as I remembered my own college car. My pink 1994 Plymouth Sundance.

At least, what paint was left was pink.

For my first year of school in Salt Lake City, I rode public transportation. And did I ever learn some interesting things about people as I rode two buses, 1.6 hours one-way to get to the International Airport for my flight lessons and work (one of my jobs during my stay in SLC was to be an administrative assistant for my flight school. I also worked in the library on campus). It was a time-consuming way to get around such a large city, especially since I literally had to go from one side of town (up on the eastern bench of the Wasatch mountains) all the way to the west side of the valley to the airport. And, thanks to my mad skills at becoming car sick if I look down for just a few seconds, I wasn't really able to use the travel time to study. I even rode my bike to the airport a few times, but it's mostly downhill and thus not very impressive (and I only did a a few times before realizing I was crazy for riding twelve miles in the city with a heavy flight bag attached to my back). My bus trip to the airport was made about five times each week.

When it came time to move to North Dakota, my parents let me use the pink Plymouth Sundance for my trip. And, they let me use it during my full four years in North Dakota! What champs! It ended up being such a neat little car for me. Before I left Utah, my step-dad installed an engine block heater inside my hood. I wasn't sure what this was for until I arrived in North Dakota two days later to find it was minus thirty degrees. That's right...I moved to the upper Midwest in the dead of winter! I knew I had made a mistake when I first stepped out of my car, houseplants in hand, only to watch them die instantly when feeling the fifty-degrees-below-zero windchill. Ah, those were the days.

I drove that car for three and a half years. I faithfully "plugged it in" everywhere I went, but especially overnight at my apartment (I wasn't senior enough in the house to get the single garage spot that came with paying rent). All the stores have electrical outlets at each parking spot so cars can be plugged in to keep them warm. Some folks just left their cars running while they ran into the store. That's how neat Grand Forks was...doors could be left unlocked and cars could be left unattended. Most people, however, used remote starters on their cars to warm the engines and the interior before even heading out into the bitter cold. Because my pink Plymouth Sundance was a stick-shift and not an automatic, I could never get such a wonderful contraption to save my frozen fingers. And toes. And nose. And everything, really. 

One of the greatest days of my life was when I threw away all of my thermal underwear after moving from Grand Forks.

My parents had purchased the car from chain smokers who politely left several cigarette burns in the top of the roof lining. I rigorously scrubbed the interior to prevent the smoke smell from staying long. My shifter quickly lost its top due to the cold not helping glue stick for long, so for most of my stay in North Dakota, I drove around with a carefully-wrapped-in-duct-tape shifter in my hands. It was nice being able to use my gears to help me slow down on ice, too. Man, I hate driving on ice. For six months straight. With 40-MPH wind gusts. But that little car stayed true to the end. Not the bright pink paint. It was trying to leave the car faster than most people were trying to leave North Dakota.

In the summer of 2005, my dad drove from Phoenix to Grand Forks for his last trip in his Ford Taurus. Before he moved to Mexico, I was lucky enough to receive his 2002 car with 194,000 miles on the odometer. I put my little pink Plymouth Sundance up for sale and actually got $900 for it after just a few weeks. Cash. From a night-shift construction worker. Which made me nervous because he was actually excited about the pink. No doubt that little car is still running around North Dakota at speeds barely trackable on a radar gun. And I'm still driving that Ford Taurus, which is about to tip 230,000 miles. Who would have thought it could go so long!

My little pink Plymouth Sundance was such a great little car, and seeing its twin the other day reminded me of all the fun times driving around such a hopping city. Well, at least we were hopping after the Super Target came to town. That's right...Grand Forks had a Super Target (I worked there for three years during school)! And Walmart wasn't even a grocery store yet (though rumor has it that it certainly is now). I knew it was rush hour when I saw more than three cars at a stop light.

Thanks for being such a little trooper, Pinky. And thanks, Mom and Merrill, for letting me take it to the Great North for school. I can't imagine riding my bike in February to get around there!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Old Garden Switch-a-roo

Last week, we made a desperate decision to try to save the last few plants holding on for dear life in the garden boxes. We purchased some big pots from Walmart and got to work digging out the remains of some pretty puny vegetables.

This morning, a week after the transplant, some are starting to look better. We were able to save both cherry tomato plants, which are growing adorable mini-tomatoes this very second (I've had to remind myself not to get too stoked since those same tomatoes were on the plants when purchased...and haven't grown or done a single thing in the month we've had them). We saved one of the six Better Boy Hybrid tomatoes, and one of the five Roma tomatoes. It blows my mind that after so much hard work and excitement over a huge garden, that this is all we have left. The visions of endless jars of homemade salsa and marinara sauce in my pantry have quickly faded to just chocolate chips. Which will be eaten by me eventually as a direct result of Garden Grief Syndrome.

We "planted" the Basil pot in between the tomatoes since we read doing so will make better-tasting tomatoes. Also, the Basil will supposedly help repel bugs that normally eat 'maters. Hopefully this holds true even if the Basil roots aren't anywhere near the actual plants but are hanging out in their own pot.

Speaking of Basil, I skipped out to my garden last night and plucked several large leafs from my healthy and happy plant (hey, one out of ten isn't bad, right?!). I chopped it up and added it into my homemade Alfredo sauce, which only made it better. Hubby slurped it up for dinner and even shed a tear or two because it was so yummy. Don't worry...we also had a salad with dinner to counteract the forty-million calories found in made-from-real-cream Alfredo. Now you know why it was so good!

I like the idea of having things in pots. If they start to get a little scorched from the overly-friendly sun, we can move them to shade or even move them inside, if necessary. I want to do our entire garden in pots, just to have this flexibility. Thanks to the crappy dirt in the boxes, I may very well get my wish for the next few years until Hubby has prepped the soil for plant life once again. He bought a composter and is already decomposing stuff inside. It's his new baby, and he is dedicated to turning our garden boxes into mad vegetable-producing machines as soon as he can.

Hopefully the pots will work for now. It must be on my mind more than I thought, because I had a dream last night about my Better Boy Hybrids. I went outside and found their stalks to be two inches thick! Very Jack-and-the-Beanstalkish, if you ask me. Unfortunately, it was just a dream. When I went out to water this morning, they stems were still tiny and nothing to brag about to our neighbors. Oh well. We will see if they survive transplant shock and can start to thrive in nutrient-rich potting soil.

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