Monday, April 9, 2012

Going where few paints have gone before

There are lots of reasons being an adult is great. One of my favorite things is that you can do things that kids want to do, but aren't allowed to. Like eat cookies for dinner, or paint on furniture. I have done both in the last month or two. Want to guess which one I did last week? Here's a hint. The first picture is what our living room looked like 9 days ago. This is what our living room looked like two hours ago.

Notice anything different? If you guessed "the fireplace is turned off," you're only partially right. (If you thought "they should really be better about folding their throw blankets," well, yes. That too.) BUT... the point is, there was a pink chair and now it's blue and NO I have not begun my long-talked-about foray into furniture upholstery.

After some testing, then getting fed up about the process taking too long, I decided to paint the chair. With paint. House paint. Behr house paint, because I had some midnight blue lying around. I toyed with an assortment of options, viewed here:

These options included acrylic paint, permanent marker (I briefly entertained the idea of buying out Office Max's whole supply of blue Sharpies), and a combination of polyester and cotton dyes. I landed on a watery mixture of Behr Midnight Dream and fabric or textile medium.

I soaked the chair and did two coats of paint, really working the paint into the fabric with a brush. The first two coats took three hours each. Here's with one coat, looking plummy:
And with the second coat... still a little blotchy.
The third coat was the charm. This I decided to sponge on, and it took about half as long as the other two coats. I just used a regular household sponge and got my hands very painty. Here's the before:
And after, back in its home:Now, to be clear, this chair was never going to win any awards for world's most comfy chair. And it's sure not going to win them now, with its new stiffer finish. But it's not that uncomfortable, and whatever loss of comfort suffered is well worth the coinciding loss of pinkness. Maybe someday I'll change the upholstery to something less stuffy than the sort-of flame print/texture. In the meantime, I'm feeling quite pleased with this little experiment.

Soon to come, a reupholstered YELLOW ottoman to infuse some much-needed color into the room. This and my largest shot at modern art to date (a 3' by 4' faux Rothko for over the fireplace) make up my weekend plans, and I am pretty jazzed about it!

P.S. Don't you love the rug? Hit a sale and used a coupon at World Market and got a great deal on that. Hopefully the ivory won't make me too neurotic.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Of things to come

We've been out of our apartment and completely in our house for almost two weeks now. Naturally, we moved during Central Oregon's ONLY snowstorm so far this season. Bone-dry weather bookended the four days we spent moving. Those four days featured tons of snow that plugged the storm drains, rain that flooded the streets and "fell" horizontally because of the crazy wind, iced-over roads and very chilly temps.
Have to get rid of that storm door soon...I am worried the HOA is going to yell at us for leaving it open all the time.

But we're all moved in now and it feels like we've been there all along. I have been developing plans and plotting with the fervor of a mad scientist. It has been absolutely beyond fantastic. Especially after I discovered this free furniture plans website and nearly lost my mind with giddiness. I am going to build SO MANY THINGS it's ridiculous.

I've also starting purchasing my anniversary present: an assortment of tools. (Happy 5 years, Todd! Our anniversary was in December.) Last weekend, I picked out a sliding chop saw and a small air compressor with a nail/staple gun. Pictures to come soon. Especially action shots.

This weekend, we're in Medford to pick up some of the rest of our stuff and furniture. In preparation for this, I bought a hitch cargo tray (which I have been thinking of and referring to as my "mini trailer") and intend to bring A LOT of stuff back to Bend using it. It's pretty big: it extends two feet behind my car and is five feet wide. Plenty of space for my wing chairs. I hope. We shall see.

I can't wait to post pictures of what the place looks like partially furnished and what I'm going to be up to. This house is going to be a wonderful thing.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ski Lodge Open January 19

Back in July, we started talking about the possibility of looking at new housing arrangements. Then in August, around when we returned from our camping trip and it was 88 degrees in our un-air-conditioned apartment, we decided we needed to move. Thus began our hunt for a house.

We tried (twice) and got outbid (twice) on one house in SW Bend. That was mid-October. After that, feeling mildly sulky, we bought a second car and forgot about moving for the time being. Then I spotted something the day after Thanksgiving: same floor plan, same street and neighborhood, better price, better location and better condition. We went and looked last Sunday, offered Monday, and as of Tuesday afternoon are well on our way to owning a house in Bend!
Here are the specs: 3 bedrooms and a den, 2.5 baths, 2-car garage, fireplace, private backyard, wired for hot tub. HUGE master closet. Newly installed wood floors and slate tile in kitchen and entry. It has enough tiny projects to keep me happy, but also looks almost like a brand-new house inside. Closing is January 18 (or sooner!!)

So I guess my days of studio living are numbered (45, to be exact). It's been a good run here, but I don't know how much I'll miss it. I think this is going to be a really good change, and we are excited for it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall daze

It's officially been fall for two days now, and I've felt it in the air for a little longer than that. The weather has been warm, hot even, on some days, but it's a golden sort of heat, not the searing silver-white hot of July or August. And we didn't really have that this year.

For a few weeks, I've been glancing at the maples outside the office window and thinking they looking slightly tinged with lime green that was headed toward yellow, but then decided my eyes were playing tricks on me. But it's unmistakable now, the yellow is coming.

I'm good with that. It's been a coolish summer (which I'm also good with) but fires kicked up all around Bend and it turned smoky, which always makes me immediately ready for fall.

In the meantime, we're looking at buying a second house in Bend, which is exciting. It'll be good to have a little more space so people can come visit and we can not spend all our time within 8 feet of each other.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

New addition

It was a bit iffy whether the now-yellow dresser was going to come back to Bend with us, but I ended up doing it. The paint, for some inexplicable reason, was still kind of gummy, despite having had three weeks to dry and harden in 85+ degree temperatures. Consequently, the finish ended up a bit crappy, after getting jostled around in the back of the Q.

(And the "reveal" pic is craptacular, thanks to the impromptu hailstorm we had while I was taking pictures. It's much cuter in person. Whatever.)

But I'm overall very pleased with how it came out, mainly because of one little secret ingredient: Floetrol. It's a paint conditioner. It extends the wet edge and helps reduce drag. It's like pouring magic into your paint. Somehow, without diluting the color (which is good, because yellow is a sucky color to paint with and requires a lot of coats) it makes painting worlds better. I highly recommend you snag a bottle for your next project. I will never paint without it again.

The dresser takes up a bit more space at the top of the stairs than I'd expected, but it's ok.

It also doesn't particularly matter, because we're thinking we'll be changing places in Bend soon. We're kicking around the idea of buying something that's the exact opposite of our Hillcrest house...NOT a short sale or foreclosure, NOT with a yard that wants maintenance, NOT a fixer-upper, and probably more like 1500 square feet or less. Or renting something bigger. In any case, our 600-sq-ft studio days are numbered. And the dresser will have a new home.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Time flies

Been a busy few months around here...but before things got busy (more on that shortly) I finally painted the stupid wooden knobs that came with the dresser I painted last winter. I used some antique gold paint and am happy enough with how they came out (and really loving actually having knobs on the dresser--makes getting the drawers out a lot easier).

Fun trick with painting knobs (I've done it several times and this is my best method). Get a box, like a cracker box, and cut X-shaped holes in it. Put the screws in the back of the knobs and insert the knobs, screw-side down, into the box, so the knobs are sitting on the box. Then you can easily paint the knobs without holding them and getting your fingers all paint-y. And they're nice and stable, so you can easily paint all the way around.

In other news, I started working at Todd's company about six weeks ago. Not the direction I expected life to take, but a good opportunity came along and I decided to take it.
Anyway... We're headed back to Medford next weekend, and I'm in the process of painting another dresser there. This one's for Todd, since he's been living out of laundry baskets and under-the-bed boxes since we moved here.

Several months ago, he ranted, "I used to be a man! I used to store my clothes in a dresser!" So I'm painting the champagne-colored one that was in the guest room a school bus yellow color, filling the holes and adding new nickel hardware. It gets to come home with us next weekend :)

That's mostly what's going on here these days!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Brownie hangover can happen. At least, I'm pretty sure. I made these dulce de leche brownies the other night and ate some last night, and I swear they ruined me. It took a LOT of very loud dance music to get me going this morning.

Normally, I like silence or quiet ambient rock in the morning. I realized desperate measures were in order when, in my zombie-trancelike state, I accidentally ate a brownie for breakfast. Love that Lady Gaga Pandora radio station.

They are amazing and I highly recommend making them. Next time, I'll be adding some not-melted chocolate chips to the mix, because I like brownies with chocolate chips. Adds nice texture.

On the other end of the food spectrum, my lettuce seeds are coming along nicely, despite the fact that there was SNOW in the forecast this week.I'm excited for fresh lettuce. Like most produce that's home grown, it's just a lot better than grocery-store lettuce.

We're headed to Medford this weekend, and I'm excited to dig into some projects. Like a table for our grill I want to build. Maybe "stand" is more accurate, but something to lift it up a little. I need to take some measurements. Our neighbors have been gardening, so it'll be fun to see how things are coming along there. And, of course, yardwork. YAY!

Lastly, I finished my lemon wreath a while ago and it makes me happy every dang time I look at it (which is frequently, since I spend most of my time in a very tiny apartment).