A Bender of EPIC proportions...

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sooooo... I couldn't quite pull off the pre-holiday post or the post-holiday post, (ha) for that matter. Actually, if I'm going to be completely honest, I didn't even come close (although I thought about you often!). Since we're already well into the new year, I thought I should probably at least attempt to say something. You know, lest you all think I tumbled off the proverbial cliff, or - more likely - ran screaming into the hills to hide from the overwhelming number of unfinished Projects (excuse me for swearing ;o) towering stacks of [unpacked/unsorted] boxes, and [unfiled] paper piles hills mountains that have haunted me for the past several years. What I always find surprising [okay, annoying] is how incredibly difficult it is to get things to "line up" in a way that is conducive to any kind of serious productivity when you're finally on the upswing. [Photo inset: I varnished and added a shelf I uncovered Er, we had laying around, to the Family Room half bath with some things from my overcrowded bookshelves: A really [really-really] old prescription box and a hand-painted chair from Spain that was my grandmothers (because the colors worked). Then I printed and framed a vintage toilet water advertisement from my collection that had nicely coordinating colors (plus, it seemed apropos ;o) I found the family sign for half price at Hobby Lobby - love that store! - and put it there because it covered up the two anchors from the towel bar that hung there when it was a full bath.]

Over the past couple of years, since my health has started improving, it's seemed more likely to negotiate a succinct document out of a bunch of Louisiana lawyers - or attain complete compromise amidst a boatload of Washington politicians - than be able to find the time (and have enough energy) to get anything done on the home front. I always thought I had trouble keeping up with those things before I got sick; after? Well it just got ridiculous. And, to complete this towering challenge, we'll toss in a handful of inconsiderate individuals who were happy to compound the issue. Nobody can stick it to you quite as well as family can, right? Shockingly, however, the planets lined up, the stars sparkled, and Jen had an actual energy spurt over the Christmas holidays. I took a page out of my dad's book to make it happen (finding myself "limit up" over his constant criticism at the clean-but-cluttered state of my house), so I ignored everyone and everything in favor of my own agenda during the break. Even the evil 'Itis twins managed to toe the line for the most part (To wit: Arthur and Bursa), leaving me physically able to rise to the challenge. Though I think that was more compliments of the weirdly warm temperatures, than anything else. I'll take what I can get though, you know? ;o)

In addition to barreling through box loads and filing more papers than aforementioned attorneys, I've somehow managed to simultaneously catch the Pinterest bug and have also found myself subject to some [super simple] DIY-on-a-budget fits. Necessary? Pretty much, since we were suddenly interrupted by life before we could completely finish our remodel/redecorating (and as I mentioned, that part goes back to waaaay before I got sick *insert eyeroll here*). Fun? Definitely. Though I'm not sure I needed any more "P-words" floating around in various stages of completion. *sigh* There are an amazing number of fantastic ideas out there in cyberspace, and I've got to admit that Pinterest is probably the best bang for your buck (so to speak, anyway, since it's free to see for you and me *laugh* ;o) I'm posting some pictures of my DIY's so far (although the one at the very beginning of the post was home grown).

I have a large framed puzzle DD and I did together (which desperately needs glass) in the Family Room half bath that makes the colors all blend beautifully. The lightswitch in there, though practical, was a cheesy plastic one and I hated it. Since it was fitted inside the paneling, I couldn't easily replace it. Too bad I had no clue at the time that the electrical box could actually be brought forward to the edge of the paneling so I wouldn't have had to do it the way I did. Oh well. Enter Pinterest, and the cover your ugly switchplate with scrapbook paper idea. WOO-HOO! and Perfectomundo! It's very heavy paper and I sprayed the mess out of it with clear coat on top of the Mod Podge, so here's hoping for a long and happy life....

Below is the last puzzle DD and I put together before she left us (there are several we've done over the years in different frames scattered throughout the house). Since there was a rather annoying blank wall in the hallway-wannabee area on the way out to the tacky room, I thought this might spice it up a bit. I couldn't get a straight on shot, as there is a wall in the way. Oh! and a huge thank you to Lori, who gave me the "rustic-ready" frame instead of tossing it in the trash ;o) I had to trim the top and sides of the puzzle to make it fit - which took forever - but I love it! Do you ever decorate with puzzles?

My mom and I were working on hanging the dining room wallpaper when the first big life interruption occurred: her breast cancer diagnosis at age 65 (mom's now 80, so that should give you a pretty good idea of just how long all of this has dragged out *wince*). Things kind of spiraled (downward) from there when my grandmother came to live with us. Hopefully, I'll be able to find somebody, somewhere, who is incredibly bored and might be willing to help me finish it next summer. That's the plan anyway, but I digress. Although I already had a wide rod, I had no curtain. Can't say I care for the mini-blind look (it's very.... Meh). Found tons of good ideas for "no-sew curtains", but was ecstatic when I came across one using cloth napkins. How awesome is that? And who'd-a thunk it? (not me, that's for sure). Happily, I had some beautiful blue embroidered napkins that belonged to my grandmother tucked away in a drawer. I love the matching tablecloth [Photo inset] and use it all the time, just not the napkins which have to be washed and ironed after use (and are you kidding me?). The tablecloth is not actually shiny; I covered it with clear vinyl. It was done in self-defense (Mom spills a LOT of stuff). Check it out (please ignore the area that shouts "screeching halt" on the wallpaper above the window):

Ta Da! Like it? Unfortunately, both of the little plastic thinga-ma-bob-its broke when I put the rod up, so it's barely hanging up there (as in...nobody breathe!). Can you say marginal, defective, weak and cheap? It was brand new! *snarl* Wasn't too keen on the exposed ends though; really ugly.Took me awhile to figure out what to do about it, but I finally came up with a plan (which I will share in a future post). I've already bought the things I need to "fix" it, but now that school's back in I don't have the time I need to do it. Hmmm...isn't this exactly where we came in?!? Yeesh. *facepalm*

The one that had me turning cartwheels, however, was the switch plate frame it fix. I love, Love, LOVE, those fancy-schmancy decorative light switch covers. Unfortunately they can be extremely expensive (though if you have a Hobby Lobby anywhere near you, they do 50% off sales on switch plate covers periodically :o) I also happen to be a serious frame addict, and have picture frames of all shapes and sizes I've bought for next to nothing at flea markets and second-hand shops all over everywhere. One of my favorites? A 5" x 7" frame with a fabulous vine-like border of metal leaves and acorns. It cost me a whopping .50¢ (don'tcha just love those??). I also had an old wooden light switch cover in my "electrical stuff" box. Never would have thought of this one on my own either!

DH got into the spirit of things right along with me and cut the wooden switchplate to fit inside the frame. I re-glued the metal piece on the back, glued the seam and covered it with electrical tape, and then painted it a [rather poopy] shade of brown to match the frame:

After it dried, I took a fan brush and some antique bronze craft paint and dry brushed it (well, I tried to anyway) and... Viola!

So? What do you think? I even painted the plain mission-style cover on the other side of the living room next - it's by the fireplace - to jazz it up a bit.  I hit with Rustoleum's Hammered Copper. Looks absolutely perfect underneath the Psalm 40:2 tile my friend Lori gave me :o) My only issue with the whole switchplate cover thing has been that Joe Contractor (whoever built the house) clearly had a crick in his neck when he installed the electrical boxes; I'm guessing he opted out on the whole "Is it level" thing, too because they're all crooked. Sadly, the framing really makes it show. Raspberries!
On top of all the cleaning and DIY-ing, I've also been working on lesson plans for the farm programs (betcha everyone thinks I've forgotten all about the point and purpose of the farm, but I'm still working away on things there as well!). I think, though, I'll save the rest of what I have to share for later ('cause boy-oh-boy did this post get long - ACK!)

Have a blessed week everyone!!

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