July 8, 2014

Design Project: Dresser and Shelf Stand - Gumball's Bedroom

I understand the concept of carrying basic elements of a particular home design through every room of the house. I'd love to hold to that principle, but with six kids of varying ages and fanatic interests under one roof, we've simply chosen to follow each individual's inspiration. Who knows. Maybe it'll work out.

Gumball's bedroom was previously a little boy's room. I aim to transform it into a sweet, feminine space suitable for toddler girl.

Her namesake aunt has always collected carousel horses. That theme was not only fitting but absolutely brilliant as I adore the Victorian era and the dusty roses that invariably accompany a carousel horse.
The accent wall is currently blue. I have the paint I need to replace the blue with pink and white stripes.

Fortunately, we already have Gumball's main pieces of furniture. Unfortunately, every piece requires new paint. We began with her dresser which belonged to a different aunt.
Years ago, we bought a three-drawer bread stand. It was a cheap piece and the cabinets broke after a year, but the shelves were handy so we kept it.

I removed the plastic fasteners. Miner stained it dark walnut ($5 in the oops paint section). It turned out to be such a beautiful little unit. Now I need to find some pretty light-colored baskets.

July 7, 2014

House Honeymooning & Hornets

We've been in our new house for nearly a week now. Still honeymooning -- the rooms still smell like fresh paint, are still echoing because of the lack of furniture and rugs.

When we arrived, the yards and flowerbeds were overgrown and weedy. We didn't connect with the lawn pro in time to have him tend the acreage during his most recent visit to the neighborhood, so Miner bought a big, bad push mower so he could at least tame the wilderness a bit before he leaves tomorrow.

He got 3/4 of the front yard done. He might've finished except he unwittingly discovered a ground hornets' nest when he passed over it. They swarmed out and got him three times on the back of his left calf.

Miner's not allergic to stings, but ground hornets don't play. The pain was severe and lasted through the evening. He said the venom gave him an all-over, achy, flu-like feeling, too. Fortunately, his body fought off the toxins by morning. I'm just glad one of the little ones weren't near him when it happened. The closest ER is 10 minutes away (a subject for another time).

Boxes still line the walls of every room, but we've been tackling them a bit each day. All the major pieces of furniture (minus the pieces still in Lafayette (next trip) are in place, but the windows and walls are bare.

The budget is just about sapped this pay period, so my immediate goals are endeavors that require no purchases.

The current focus is Gumball's bedroom and the two pieces of furniture we have for her right now: a dresser (mirror is in Lafayette) and a small shelf unit/nightstand. Refinishing details in the next post.

July 4, 2014

DIY Craft: Laundry Tip Jar

I spent a couple hours setting up and organizing the laundry room last night. I was happy to get it clean and tidy, but there was nothing pretty about it. That's par for the course of moving into a new house, though.

This morning, after washing a load of kids' clothes, I found a full 31 cents in change! My coin jar from the old house didn't make the move, and I didn't have any pockets, so I made up my mind right then to craft a pretty tip jar for the new laundry room. It wouldn't transform the space, but it would be my very first lovingly created project for the new house.

I didn't buy a single item to make this. I used what I had around the house.

lined paper
clear clipboard, or any clear surface
clear packing tape
permanent marker, fine point
cloth napkin

1. Find a font. I looked up "antique type" and found dozens of samples.

2. Put lined paper inside clipboard so the lines are visible through the plastic. Put a stack of other papers or maybe a folded towel beneath the lined paper to stabilize it.

3. Tear off a piece of tape long enough to wrap around the jar. Place the tape on the clipboard.

4. Using the lined paper as a guide, draw the letters on the tape. Be careful not to smudge. In case of smudges, use the corner of a twisted paper towel to remove any unwanted ink. To start over completely, simply wipe off or use a new piece of tape.
5. Tear off another strip of tape and place over the first piece to seal. Smooth out any air bubbles. The ink will feather between the layers of tape. This is a good thing -- the feathering is what gives the letters a true antiqued quality. Remove handmade decal and carefully tape to jar.
6. Fold a cloth napkin, right sides together,  lining up two corners. Cut the pieces for the pouch in the shape shown. Be sure pouch pattern pieces are large enough to fill the jar.

7. Right sides together, handstitch or machine sew along the edges.
8. Cut a rectangle along the edge of the leftover napkin piece.
9. Wrap the rectangle around the sewn pouch to conceal raw seams. Stuff both pieces into the jar.

10. Fold the corners over the lip of the jar. Secure with a bow, twine, raffia, or any other cord of choice.

11. Wash clothes and collect! $$$

July 3, 2014

The Reality of an Anticlimactic Goodbye

Closing on Saturday was rather uneventful, despite the dramatic build-up and anticipation the night before. It was an hour of "sign here, print name here, initial there." We were looking at one form, signed the next, and suddenly, the paralegal announced, "That's it."

Our realtor gave us the keys on a pretty pink ribbon, I hugged her as if she'd just pulled me from a rushing river current (which, in a manner of speaking, she did), and the house was OURS!!!

We drove straight to the property to see the house in the new light of ownership (only the second time ever that we stepped foot inside). And I would've been blown away by its beauty if I weren't so physically and emotionally exhausted from the early morning trip to Leesville and the draining expectation. All the waiting, and when the moment finally arrived, I was too burned out to fully enjoy it.

But we did get a family picture. The best we could do in 95° heat.
On the flip-side of the coin, I was too wired and exhausted to fully process our final hours in the old house. We thought a 26'-truck would suffice -- it was the largest truck Uhaul offered -- but it became clear pretty early on we'd have to triage our belongings. Among the items left behind until the next trip: the chaise lounge (third in the sofa set), all books, two bookcases, the computer desk, all of Miner's power tools and yard equipment, all shelf organizers, everything in the attic.

We tried our hardest to load the fridge. We took the front door off its hinges, pulled the Uhaul all the way up to the edge of the porch, and ran the ramp clear to the threshold. We tried to move the fridge with the wide dolly, tried hoisting it onto the flat furniture dolly (which has no handles), but the only thing all those efforts accomplished was to give me a sense of impending crushing death by refrigerator. We left it behind.

My vision of driving tearfully away from the house proved false. As a matter of fact, I didn't even really say goodbye at all. Instead, I loaded the kids into the van around midnight while Miner worked to put the front door back in its frame, and I said, "Okay. I'm gonna find a place to get some food for everybody before we hit the road. I'll meet you at the gas station." And that was how I left our home.

June 26, 2014

The Terror of Saying Goodbye

We grossly underestimated the possibilities of change. Closing will not happen on Friday. The attorney will meet us in his office on Saturday instead. Not 50 days until we move. Only 5. On Wednesday morning, we will relinquish our full-time Lafayette Parish residency and begin our permanent citizenship of the City of Leesville.

We are not prepared. Virtually nothing is boxed or labeled, and yet, the truck is reserved for Tuesday morning.

I'm not ready. Dislodging ourselves from this house will be pressured and painful. I'm not ready to take apart the scenes that have surrounded me for a quarter of my lifetime. Once the images are deconstructed, they won't be seen again. The full force of permanence is crushing.

I'm scared. Moving is indeed a form of loss, and the summation of this season is an impact I'm not quite postured to absorb.

Truthfully, these are simply a series of moments of weakness, and intellectually, I know I'm strong enough to see it through. I'm just terrified of feeling the sharp cracking of my heart as we pull out of the driveway and down the street with our abandoned home shrinking in the rear-view mirror.