Saturday, December 19, 2009

Its Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Our first Christmas in our new house... I love this ornament my Aunt Sharon gave us to celebrate the occasion.

We put our tree up last week, all decked out in tinsel and lights. As far as I'm concerned, tinsel is magic. Forget tacky - nothing says Christmas like glittery tinsel wrapped haphazardly around the tree (the kids did the decorating). Money has been tight for us this year. Besides the economy being on the rotten side, any scrap of savings we had went into buying our new house. But a home to call our own is much better than fancy Christmas decorations!

Here's a little before and after of my living room:


And also, we aren't done decorating, so please don't judge. Blech, empty walls. I have pictures to hang but I couldn't find the hangers - must still be in an unpacked box somewhere.

And also, check out those curtains... appalling, I know. I didn't measure when I bought them... a leeeettle too short. But that will be okay, as I'll fix them soon!

Its beginning to look a little teensy bit like Christmas!

The kittens helped decorate, too.

Oh wait... that's destroy. The kittens helped destroy the decorations.

And nothing is as sweet as an ornament from a friend... this one is from the lovely Tia and family. Thank you! She made a tutorial showing how to make ornaments like these on her blog here.

Will added the finishing touch - a couple of chocolate Santa pops.

They have since been removed after I caught Gracie and Annelie stuffing empty wrappers and sticks under the coffee tables.


But hmmmm.... I think we're missing something...

Ah, now were done!
Doesn't a lit up Christmas tree at night just look like magic?

Our decorations aren't fancy, but they are pretty darned cozy. We don't have a fire place so I thought the stockings could be hung with care over the couch instead. Hey, whatever works, right?

I wish you all the merriest of Christmases, the happiest of Hanukkahs, and the most wonderful holiday season of all!


Getting Ready for White

Hmm... what to choose, what to choose...
nothing quite like an art collection of paint chips on the wall!

Wow, its been a while since I've updated, but let me just tell ya, you haven't missed anything. Our kitchen cabinet's are still a rotten mess, as I haven't been able to use the paint stripper on the cabinets since the weather turned cold (it just gels up on the cabinets and doesn't strip anything). So, my kitchen is going to have to be finished in the Spring. I hate that. I really wanted the cabinets done - the half lime green, half white, half paint-stripped look isn't one I love... but as there isn't really anything I can do about that now, Will and I have decided to tackle a different room -- The Dining Room.

Okay, so I had planned on painting my dining room a camel color but after collecting paint chips for ages, the perfect color just could not be found. So I thought, well, maybe white - a lovely creamy warm white - wouldn't be bad after all.

I'm not ordinarily a white paint kinda gal, but with the front room being so full of color (painted yellow and all that) and the dining area coming straight off the living room, I figured the white just might bring out the cute and coziness of the living room.

The lighting in this room is awful... very dark, doesn't get much sun. My camera doesn't know what to do with it, so I often get weird polka dots on my photos!

Okay, what you see here is the original color of the walls. The previous owners did a neat stripe treatment in the dining area, using a gloss paint and a matte paint in the same color. I really like it, but the cold grey color just wasn't for me... so the paint had to go!

Nothing is more annoying than setting up to paint.

Oh wait... I change that - Nothing is more annoying than your two year old stepping on the nearly full paint can and spilling the entire thing all over the hard wood floors.

Yep, nothing is more annoying than that.

I nearly had the room done before Annelie spilled all the paint. Only trim work along the ceiling and one more quick coat of paint in some areas.

So have I finished the room yet? Uh, nope. After spending all we could of our allotted house-improvement $$, we have to wait another month or so before we get more paint and supplies to finish. Thanks a lot, Annelie!

But do I love the white so far? You better believe it. I was afraid the white would be so stark, but it really is bright and creamy and looks lovely next to the yellow living room. Stay tuned for more photos as we finish and decorate!


Monday, November 9, 2009

The Most Delicious Tree

I'd like to introduce to a little somethin' special: My pecan tree. That's right - I have a pecan tree! Mine, all mine!

I've never had a tree before and I'm pretty excited about it, if you can't tell. Unfortunately, I didn't know I had a nut tree until after buckets full of pecan pods were tossed in the trash - didn't want to break the lawn mower on those darned alien pods littering the lawn.

Luckily my new neighbor across the street saw everything and came over to chat. Our conversation went something like this:

My new neighbor: So have you eaten any pa-cawns yet?

Me: Uh... what?

My new neighbor: Pa-cawns. From your tree. Right there. See? There's tons of pa-cawns all over your lawn.

Me: Pecans? I have a pecan tree?

My new neighbor: A what?

Me: A pecan tree. You just said I had one.

My new neighbor: A what? A Peeee-can?

Me: Yeah. A pecan.

My new neighbor: You mean a pa-cawn.

. Right. A pa-cawn. Silly me. When in Texas, right? So we all stood out there on my front path, stamping the pecan shells and eating while we talked. They are goooood!

And after that, I grabbed my little helper monkeys and we started scooping and saving our pecans in a bucket in the kitchen, like little squirrels (who, by the way, are pissed that we've moved in and invaded their winter nut stash).

Next on my list of things to do: Learn how to make a pecan pie!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Paint Scraping: Not My Idea of a Good Time

I'd love to report that my kitchen cabinets are finally finished and looking gorgeous... but I can't. Because they aren't. With this whole oil/water paint debacle, I feel like I've taken two steps forward and twenty steps back.

I googled how to remove the latex paint from an oil painted surface and got the recommendation to give them a hard sanding down through the layers of paint.

Um, no. DON'T DO THAT. It is a waste of time, as you can't sand off the peeling paint. It just won't work.

So, I googled it again, and found the majority vote for removing the paint was washing it off with soapy water and a sponge. Seriously, I found that answer in so many forums I figured it had to be the best way.

After about 20 minutes of soapy scrubbing....

Same cabinet door. Time lapse: 45 minutes.
(Not even making that up)

Soapy scrubbing with a sponge: DON'T DO THAT. You'll waste the rest of your life, getting that paint off.

In complete exasperation, I posted how much I was hating life on my Facebook page... and got a reply from my awesome pal Michele, who said: "Get yourself a paint stripper and then just scrape it all off."

Never in a million years would that have occurred to me. Hurray for social networking! I went out right then and there and bought myself a container of paint stripper, some protective eye-wear (so hot) and a scraper. Now, I'm in paint-scraping mode. I didn't want to use the chemical stripper in the house, because of the kids (okay, and also because I couldn't figure out how to remove the child-proof cap) so I'm going to leave the cabinets doors and drawers for later... but in the meantime, I'm just peeling the paint off strip by strip.

Yes, it absolutely sucks. But at least it is working! Hopefully soon, I'll have the whole finished kitchen to show off!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Kitchen Cabinet Revamp... Gone Wrong

I had a post all ready to go for today. It was going to be about my kitchen cabinet revamp... about my process start to finish, as I prepped and primed and painted my cabinets. It was going to be about my hard work for four days straight, as I busted my behind to get my kitchen in shape... It was going to be filled with butterflies and unicorns and whimsical songs about lovely kitchen cabinets and the joy of working hard to turn something not-so-fabulous into something FABULOUS...

But then, last night as I was unloading the dishwasher, a large chunk of paint peeled straight off of the cabinet door and I froze in horror...

What. The. HECK?

So, I scraped the chunk with my finger, and even more peeled away.

I called my grandma in a panic, and what did she tell me?

"Your cabinets were painted with an oil based paint, and you painted them with a water based paint."

Oh. Right.

You know, the annoying thing is that I knew that oil and water paints react to each other like, well, like oil and water, obviously. I knew it. I shouldn't have been surprised. And truthfully, I wasn't surprised. Nope, I was pissed. Because the guy at Lowes who picked out my primer for me, said that the primer I was paying top dollar for was so good, that the walls/cabinets didn't even need to be sanded first.

And I fell for it because I'm Marisa: The Most Trusting Girl in the Universe.

So. Now I have to take down all of my cabinets and spend another four days prepping and priming and painting them. No, make that FIVE days, because it will probably take me an extra day to sand it all back down. And as for a post laced with butterflies and unicorns and sweet little songs about the joys of painting cabinets... that will have to be reserved for a day when I'm not stomping my feet and crying my eyes out in frustration.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Color Inspirations

I love color. Love it. And, as wall color in a home really effects a person's moods, picking the right color scheme for my house was very important to me.

In my last post (click here to see), I shared my wall colors, before and after, from when I moved in, to the colors I ended up painting them. In this post, I want to share my color inspiration for my major living spaces (living room, dining area, kitchen, family room, studio), as well as share the most awesome room color resource ever.

My mom bought me the book Color Schemes Made Easy which is a Better Homes and Gardens book, to help me figure out the color scheme for my house. I wanted all of my main living spaces to flow from one room to the next, while still having their own wall colors and decor. This book majorly helped me out. It has you pick your one inspiration piece for the room/house (fabric, paint color, accessory...) and then choose your wall colors and accent colors from that inspiration piece.

I had a problem from the start, in that I had 2 inspiration pieces. Pieces that did NOT match.

The first: Fabric from my living room couch.

This floral corduroy sofa is HUGE and a major focal point for the living room.

The second: The wall color of my studio which sits directly off the family room (the doors to my studio are glass-paned).

Yikes, right?

So... you can see that my color inspirations are very, very different. Using the book, and with the help of my mom, I was able to choose a color palette for my entire house, so that each room flows while keeping their individual colors and style (my style is very eclectic, so each room will have a mix of contemporary, traditional and whimsical elements, pulled together through art and accessories).

This page has many of the colors in my house.
  • Living Room: the buttery yellow color.
  • Dining Area (which sits directly off the living room): the camel color, which is the top most color block
  • Kitchen: the mustard color (I'm going with a lighter shade) The kitchen also has white cabinets and appliances, so the color wont be overpowering.
  • The Family Room: color not featured in above picture... I found a light green that looks beautiful with the other room colors
  • The Studio: the blue
  • The Laundry Room: same blue as my studio, on the opposite side of the house
As I'm almost starting from scratch with my house, not having had more than small apartments with institutional white walls to decorate, I'll have a lot to add to each room as I decorate.

For my studio, here is a sample of the illustrations which will be on the wall:The blue going around these garden gnome illustrations is the exact color of my studio wall. I designed these illustrations specifically to go in my creative space and am thrilled to finally have a place to put them!

For my mustard and white kitchen, which will flow off the living room and dining room colors, I love this print:

Salt Meet Pepper
by Emily Martin of The Black Apple

Look! The blue is the perfect match with my studio and laundry room!

The pillows I'm going to have in my family room:

Pillows by lindylou
(who is actually my mom)

The green that is in the center, behind the bird in the above pillow is almost the exact shade of my family room walls.

So this is just a start. I'll be able to show more as I pull the rooms together.

If you are looking at my color choices and eclectic inspirations and thinking, "Marisa, you will NEVER pull off the flow from one room to the next with those choices..."

Well, all I can say is: stay tuned!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Painting, Painting, and Painting Some More

Let me tell you a little something about me... I don't like painting rooms. In fact, I don't like painting at all. I'm a colored pencil lover for a reason: Anything that takes longer than .5 seconds to dry is not my friend.

But my new house needed a major paint job, so for the last few days, we've been painting, painting, painting. I was lucky that my mom came up from Austin to help me out (thanks, Mom!). She is my complete opposite when it comes to painting. She loves to slap new color on a wall; I am happy taping a room off so I don't have to touch the paint. In the case of my new house... I had to touch the paint. For four days straight. My poor arms... so tired!

We did a pretty good job, considering that the power and the water was turned off in the house. That didn't make things easy, but the companies couldn't get them on any sooner for us and I wanted to get the walls done before our truck load of furniture and boxes came in.

You're going to have to wait to see how it is decorated. A long time. The exciting thing about moving into a house double the size of your tiny apartment is having double the space to decorate and buy new furniture. The sad thing: spending all your money on the down payment, moving expenses and apartment lease-breaking, and not being able to decorate or buy new furniture right away. Oh well, I've got time.

Wanna see what has been done so far?

My Studio:

Priming and painting bead board walls is probably one of the most annoying things EVER. But worth it in the end! Look how cute:

My Living Room:

A cold (and dull) light grey.

I really, really, really wanted green walls... but I couldn't find a green I liked.

A bright and buttery yellow.

I like how cheerful it is with the yellow, but I'm a little unsure of the color as my furniture for this room is in Austin at my mom's, so I can't see how it looks. We haven't had a space big enough for the furniture since we moved from California and I'm so excited to finally have space for it again! Once I see how my furniture looks in here, I'll decide whether to try a different color or not. In the meantime... it is cheerful!

My Family Room:

Here is my green room!

It is actually much lovelier than this picture shows. And all molding and trim will be a bright white (they are mostly light yellow in this picture). And look: no Texas stars going around the ceiling! Man, those things were terrible to remove. I have slices in all of my fingers. Boo.
Annelie (age 2) didn't even get into the paint. Or touch a wet wall. My little girl is growing up!

There is a lot more to do. Tons. But I'm going to take a nice break for a few days. My mother-in-law comes into town next week... she doesn't yet know that I'm putting her to work as I get the rest of my house finished! Surprise!