Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Home Improvement: Basement

During my junior year of college, my roommate and I watched "Trading Spaces" on TLC every day. Do you remember that show, when Ty Pennington was a carpenter and not completely nuts? Well, the designers on that show just loved to paint vertical stripes on everything; I'm pretty sure my house wasn't on that show, but the basement looked like it had been hit hard by Doug Wilson circa 2001.

The dark paint, dark wood stain, stripes, and underground-ness made it feel like a cave. Here are the before shots with the previous owner's stuff (I believe this was supposed to be a "man cave.")

If you've seen the pictures of the rest of our house, you'll surmise that I'm not a huge fan of beige or neutral paint. But in this situation, it was truly needed to brighten up the cave.

A coat of primer and 2 coats of "Wild Honey" on the walls, and 3 coats of paint on the bookcases, we now have this:

Painting that bookcase was a giant pain, but I think the results were worth it. I also spray painted the frames over the desk black (they were varying shades of brown), made 2 pillow covers, and new curtains. Even though I have a love/hate relationship with Ikea, I made 2 trips there for the lamp, bedding, rug, shelves, and chair cushion (the previous cushion had an unfortunate run-in with the cat.)

We also sprung for a new TV (the shelf the TV is sitting on was free from the trash; I'm not above dumpster diving) so this could be a secondary family room. It's so cold in the basement I have to put on a sweater in the middle of the summer, which is perfect for the 100-degree days we've been having lately.

I still need to paint the hallway (it's currently green), but it doesn't look horrible and I've been enjoying the break from painting. So it'll get done... eventually.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Household hints

Years ago I came upon the book 1003 Household Hints and Work Savers: A Treasury of Household Hints to help you beat the high cost of living at my grandpa's house. It was published in 1948, and has many ingenious hints that could help all you ladies during these tough economic times:

85: To put attractive scalloped edges on thin cucumber slices, just run the tines of a fork lengthwise over the peeled cucumber, and then slice.

[My cucumber slices just have regular edges. I feel like such a failure.]

192: When it's necessary to cut marshmallows, use a pair of thoroughly clean scissors dipped in hot water to prevent the marshmallows from sticking together.

[I don't know about you, but sometimes I find that a whole marshmallow is just too much.]

216: If you drive a car, get in on the side nearest the wheel, instead of scraping along the whole seat until you worm your way into position, thus wearing out the seat of your fur coat.

[Well thanks. NOW you tell me, after the seat of my fur coat has already been worn out.]

225: Pack turbans (several to a box) with tissue paper. They'll keep their shape better.

[I have been having a problem with flat turbans lately.]

511: Freshen up your wax flowers by dipping them in alcohol and swabbing them off with a soft, small paint brush.

[Just what I needed! My wax flowers have been looking awfully tired lately.]

693: Cut out interesting illustrations from magazines or wallpaper, chintz or cretonne, paste them on the screen and shellac the whole thing for "tricky" and colorful designs.

[I'm bringing "tricky" back.]

751: When making long-distance telephone calls, place an "hourglass" egg-timer near your phone. It operates on a three-minute schedule and will warn you exactly when your three minutes are up.

[My frequent 4-minute long-distance phone calls have been a subject of strife in my marriage lately.]

That dream home of your own - here are a few ways to tell whether it's the house you want
: 988: Is there enough lumber in the construction? Go up to the attic and measure the rafters, beams and studding. They should be close enough to make the frame substantial.

[Oh no! I forgot to measure the rafters before we bought our house!]

1002: You can tell whether or not the phone has been ringing in your absence by placing a piece of thin paper and carbon paper between the clapper and the bell. If that important call came in while you were out, the carbon marks on the paper will tell you so.

[I prefer the "missed call" icon, but this works well too.]

Monday, July 05, 2010

Finished: No-Purl Monkeys

It's supposed to be 99 degrees today - perfect for some wool socks! I know you just want to look at the pictures, so here are the details: Wullenstudio yarn (75% merino wool, 25% nylon; color "Lipstick On Your Collar"); pattern No Purl Monkeys (just Cookie A's Monkey pattern, but knitting the purls instead of, well, purling the purls); shoes are Semira by Doc Martens.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Surfing for Inspiration

[I first starting drafting this post in July 2009; it's time to finish!]

In a comment to something I posted last year, Charley asked about my inspiration file. (If I see an interesting picture online, I save it to a file on my computer.) She asked where I got my images from and if there were particular sites I visited.

Why, yes! Most of my pictures are decorating ideas, and a few are knitting & sewing ideas. I'm pretty sure all you crafty types know the usual suspects (Whip Up, Etsy, The Purl Bee), so I'll share a few of the decorating sites I frequent:
For a snarky take on decorating, check out Catalog Living.

If you love color as much as I do, check out Holly Dyment Design:

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