Thursday, September 29, 2011

Three Weeks and Counting

I have three weeks and counting to get my house ready for the "TX Visitor's Extravaganza"! That's right, we are prepping for lots of guests to come. First, will be my mom and dad Oct. 19-24. Then Landon's mom arrives Oct. 25, with his dad following close behind. They leave Oct. 31, but Landon's sister and brother-in-law join us Nov. 3-7! So, we are going to have a full house for nearly three weeks!

I am looking forward to every one of their visits. This will be the first time any of them have seen our home and our new neighborhood. I'm also excited because:

  1. For three whole weeks during their visits, my house will be clean! This rarely happens, but I will make it a point since we have guests.
  2. This gives me an excuse to try out some new recipes for dinner and eat at some of my favorite places around town.
  3. And most of all ... this gives me great motivation to finish some projects on which I've been dragging my feet. 

So, here's the list of "must-do's" over the next few weeks:

  1. Paint and recover my dining room chairs. Seriously ... how long have I been talking about doing this? Well, I'm procrastinating no more. The temps are supposed to drop over the weekend into the 80s (yes, it's currently still in the high 90s) so it will be a perfect time to get in the garage and get this done. Plus, we're going to need a table to eat at with all our guests!
  2. Buy a shower curtain. Since I think everyone will want to shower while they are here and I removed the glass shower doors, this is really a necessity. I have found "the one" at Bed Bath & Beyond but the two stores I went to this week are both out of it. I'll hit up one more near my house (yes, we have one on every corner; that's the advantage of living in a large city). If they don't have it, I'll get the store to order it.
  3. Paint my bedroom. The hideous "cotton candy blue" with various other "sample" colors on top is just not doing it for me. I have three more samples to throw on the wall tonight and then we are making a decision!
And, if there is time, I have a few other things on the "wish list" of to-do's including spray painting the entry way chandelier and painting a few other walls but we'll see if I get that done.

So, the next few weeks are going to be busy for me. What's on your to-do list?

P.S. I know that all my future guests read my blog, and I expect they will all say, "You don't need to do anything for me!" but please know I want to do this. All these things are tasks that need to be done. Consider yourself good motivation! :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Goodbye Glass

If you paid attention closely, you might have seen a pair of glass doors in the yard sale items in my last post.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, these were firmly secured to my guest bathroom tub/shower, but I decided they needed to go. 

I never really liked them, since the moment we bought the house. Plus, in addition to the look, this is also the tub used for the dogs' baths (we thoroughly clean before our guests come), and the doors were simply in the way.

I read several websites that told how to remove them and had seen some success stories, so I decided this was something I could do on my own. 

Knowing this was a project on my list, Landon surprised me one Friday while I was at work and did the difficult (or heavy) part of removing the glass part. All that was left for me was removing the frame.

I wasn't sure if removing this was going to be easy or difficult. In some of the online forums I had read stories about people needing crow bars to get the job done but that seemed extreme. Also, a couple of people mentioned chipping the tile during this process. All of this made me a little nervous.

First things first, I removed all the screws and took the top bar off.

Next, I ran a metal putty knife down the caulk along the frame to "cut" it. Then, I slowly started pulling. To my surprise, once the caulk was "cut," the rest was a snap. That was, until I got about halfway down. As much as I pulled, it just wouldn't budge. Then, I realized there were two screws we had not seen to remove. They were hidden behind a little black rubber piece. Once these came out, it was easy peasy.

I was so proud when I got the first bar off. Matter of fact, I ran into the living room where Landon was and yelled, "The first part is off! Woohoo!"

It left quite a bit of caulk residue, but nothing a good scraping couldn't remove.

I think the worst part was removing the bottom bar, which sat against the tub. It was absolutely disgusting from years of mold and mildew.


It took a LOT of scraping to get the remainder of the caulk off, so much so that my fingers hurt the next day. 

But, it was completely worth it, because now I have a beautiful, shower-door free tub!

Now I'm on the hunt for a shower curtain. I've had really bad luck with picking curtains in the past. Matter of fact, I sold three different ones that I no longer liked in the yard sale. I have my eye on a few so hopefully I'll have this dilemma fixed soon.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Smell of Sweet Success

I am happy to announce that our yard sale was a HUGE success. Seriously, I don't think we'll ever be able to have another sale because we will NEVER be able to do as well as we did at this one!

Here is what we started with on Friday morning ... (actually this pic was taken about 30 minutes in because we are already missing a few items on the table)

Even though you can't tell from this pic, the two six-foot tables were stuffed full of stuff, and there is actually another card table full of curtains, a desk, two end tables and a small entertainment center of which I forgot to take a picture.

Also, you might have noticed Landon sitting bundled up on the couch. It was actually a beautiful morning but because our driveway is in the shade, it was quite cool.

We put out our signs the night before and set all the "merchandise" out around 7:30 a.m. As we were moving it out from the garage, our first early bird arrived. The others followed shortly after. Within an hour, we had already sold a huge chunk of our items. Then we had a small lull and  that's about the time Landon got bored.

But, then he started counting our profit and once he realized he was making money, he quickly changed his tune. (This was his favorite part of the sale and even motivated him to look for more items on Friday night to sell Saturday.)

Our friends Ernie and Susan also brought over some items to add to the sale around mid-morning, which helped restock our supply.

We had steady traffic until about 10 a.m. and probably sold about half of our items. Then, it got pretty quiet. What we realized later is that is about that time our signs were taken down. 

Yep, I didn't quite read the city's "rules" to realize that despite the fact I had gotten my "garage sale" permit, I had placed my signs on city property which is a "no no." As a result, the city took them. Grrrr.

So, that meant Friday night I had to go back out and buy supplies to make new ones. I decided to be nice and knock on the door of all the houses on the corner to ask if I could place my sign in their yard. I did this twice with no answer, so I decided to take my chances and hope they didn't care.

For Saturday, the signs made all the difference. We had steady traffic from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. We were amazed that the big items like our couch and chair didn't sell until 11 a.m. on Saturday. They were both very reasonably priced. Matter of fact, several people told us that, though they didn't need them. We had several "low ball" offers, but luckily, a man who was furnishing his twin daughters' apartment for college bought them for our full asking price.

We had a few people offer us way below what we wanted on a few items, but overall, we got what we wanted. And, I'm happy to say, when all was said and done, we had several hundred dollars profit and only a few items left.

I've already put the chair on Craig's List in an attempt to get rid of it. Everything else will either be stuffed somewhere is a closet or given to Goodwill.

As I said, I don't think we'll ever be able to have this successful of a yard sale ever again. I had no idea we would do this well, considering the stories I had heard from others. But, I think we had two things on our side:

  1. Weather. This past weekend was probably the nicest we have had in Texas since summer. There were lots of people out and about and it made perfect "yard sale" conditions.
  2. Location. Our street connects two main roads. Because of that, we were able to put a sign on either end and draw traffic from both.
I can say, it was an exhausting experience. It was a lot of work and wore me out. I'm just glad it was also a good experience!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Yard Sale Time

I've decided to have my very first yard sale. I've heard from several people how much trouble yard sales are, but we need to get rid of our old couch and a few other items, so I thought it is worth a try. Plus, I figure if I can make a few extra bucks, I can buy a few extra items (particularly a coffee table, which we now need to go with our couch).

So, I've been reading up on the Yard Sale Queen about tips and tricks for having a sale. I've already posted the information, with pics, on several free websites. 

I feel like I've priced my items pretty reasonable, but I guess we will see. We decided to price to sell, because even a small amount is better than nothing.

Here are a few items that we hope to get rid of ...

Add to this a microwave, speaker system, picture frames, tons of curtains and various other items. I'm hoping it's enough to draw some interest.

Have you had a yard sale? If so, give me your tips! The sale will be Friday and Saturday. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Assembly Required

So, we finally took the plunge and bought a new couch! Our old couch came from the Rooms to Go Outlet and was very poorly made. We bought it less than five years ago and already it was broken. The beam in the middle was split and so the center of the couch caved in. It was not comfortable.

Plus, several rounds of moving had been hard on it. Do you notice the wood in the bottom left corner? Yea. Not cool.

So, we have had our eye on a new sectional from IKEA for some time but were being responsible adults and waiting until we could save up for it. And, finally, the day arrived!

We took a trip to the store sure that it would fit in our car ... that was a stupid assumption. As we went down to get the boxes, it became evident that there were too many to fit. Facing a challenging situation, we decided to load up as much as possible, which Landon would take home  and unload while I waited on the curb with the remainder of the boxes.

Thankfully, it was a beautiful evening and only about 75 degrees. Plus, because it took about 30 minutes for Landon to make it back, I had a good amount of time to call my parents!

After we finally got everything home, it was time to put the couch together. I think I may have underestimated how long this would take. Have you ever put together a couch? Me, either. 

Here's the before.

And after a lot of this.

And two hours, we finally ended up with this.

So far, we love it! It's very comfortable. And, Landon and I can each spread out no problem. Plus, five days later, we learned how great it is to be able to take off the cushions for cleaning, since Bug decided to throw up on it. Yep. But, our amazing dry cleaner was able to get the stain out with no problem (which is good since Bug did it again a few days later ... not sure what is going on with him or why he can't just throw up on the floor. Ugh.).

While I'm sure some of you are thinking, "A couch you put together yourself can't be any more well made than your last couch," well,  the great thing about this couch is it actually has a 10-year warranty. I'll keep you up to date on how it holds up.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Scrumptious Birthday

Happy birthday, Joseph Armstrong! Thanks to Joseph, I got to make a scrumptious cake this week!

See, at Landon's work, they each draw names to determine who brings the cake on an individual's birthday. And, Landon drew Joseph's name. So, earlier this year, I asked Joseph what his favorite cake was to which he replied Texas De Brazil's Chocolate Mousse Cake.

I thought I could find a "copy cat" recipe online, but had no success. Luckily, I noticed my "America's Test Kitchen" cookbook had a recipe for a Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake. So, I marked it on my calendar to make on Sept. 15.

Well, I took on the challenge Sunday evening so Landon could take it to work on Monday.

The cake wasn't hard to make. The bottom consists of a flour-less chocolate cake, followed by a layer of decadent chocolate mousse and topped off with a light, creamy white chocolate mousse. Is your mouth watering yet? Let's just say total, there are 20 ounces of chocolate in the cake. It's amazing.

And, it was a crowd pleaser.

If you want a copy of the recipe, you can find it here. Trust me, it's worth it!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Travel Table

I decided the only way my guest bedroom would be complete would be with a suitcase nightstand.  I saw so many cute ones on Pinterest. 

Source: None via Kristin on Pinterest

I knew I needed one, so I went on the hunt for some vintage suitcases. 

I actually first inquired about a few on Craig's List, which brings me to my pet peeve. If you post somethng on the site and someone emails you about it, you should respond, even if it's just a "I sold it." Really ... what's up with all the Craig's List sellers not answering emails? It bothers me.

So, giving up on Craig's List, I thought I would try the Antique Mall down the road. And, guess what? They had three that were perfect! 

After a little cleaning, I stacked them to create my table.

What do you think?

This now means that my original nightstand is going to have to go somewhere else. I'm not sure where right now, but I'll find somewhere for it!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Creative Topper

I didn't get my dining room chairs painted last weekend, BUT I did get them all fixed. You might remember that when I bought them, they were a bit rickety and we have been slowly gluing them back together. 

Well, we finally fixed the last one over the weekend.

Also, one of the chairs was missing the "topper." I looked everywhere for something similar with which to replace it. 

Well, after thinking and thinking, it finally came to me! So, I took a trip to Hobby Lobby and purchased these little wooden pieces - a toy wheel and a ball.

And when put together, it looks like a perfect fit!

I think once it's painted, you'll hardly be able to tell the difference!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Huge Paint Fail

Remember all that talk about me reading up on design rules in an effort to make myself have a better eye? Well, it obviously failed.

I have been looking for the perfect paint color for my bedroom for over two months now. I started first with placing various paint chips on the wall. After going through every brand of paint and tons of chips, I finally decided to try out Valspar's La Fonda Mirage.

Knowing that colors shouldn't be judged by their paint chips, I bought a sample and put it on my wall only to realize that it was more sea foam green than beautiful, relaxing spa-like green. It was not what I wanted. 

So, I decided to switch from green to blues, thinking that would be a safer bet. This time I grabbed three paint samples and slapped them on the wall.

After living with these for a week, Landon and I finally decided that we liked the bottom color best - Martha Stewart's "Heavenly Blue." And, we spent several hours on Labor Day painting on our Heavenly Blue. Two gallons of it, to be exact. 

Well, all I can say is that it is anything but "heavenly." It looked so great on the little 8 x 12 swatch I painted on the wall, but in mass quantity, it is just too much.

At first, I thought it would look better when all the furniture was moved back in place. When that didn't make me feel better about it, I thought perhaps a good night's sleep would help. Not so much. 

I will say, when I got home from work Tuesday, I realized I might be making it worse in my head than it actually is, but it still hasn't grown on me. I don't expect it will. 

Before I show you a pic, let me paint you a word picture. Think blue cotton candy. Landon said it reminds him of baby blue. Regardless, it's got to go.

Here's the before.

It's amazing what lighting can do, because in this first picture I took, I didn't think it looked too bad.

But then I took some others and this "Heavenly Blue" showed its true colors ...

It's funny, because when I first started looking at paint colors, I told Landon I wanted something "lighter" than our original green. Well, what I got was something brighter. Lighter does not mean brighter. Also, I went from a warm color to a cool color, and I determined that is one of the reasons I don't like this color.

I can't believe I made such a huge mistake. I know everyone always says that painting is the easiest way to update a room, but I do not believe painting is easy. I think it's a lot of work, and it's not something I enjoy. But, I guess if I'm going to make a major mistake, this is the one to make because it is, at least, fixable.

So, I'm back on the hunt for the perfect paint color, and I'm open to any suggestions you might have. I am most drawn to warm blues and greens. I've been searching on Favorite Paint Colors for a few ideas. I'd like to make a decision by the weekend so I can remedy this mistake quickly. But, if I can't make it by Saturday, then I'll have to wait two weeks because I'm out of town for work next weekend. I really don't think I can live with "Heavenly Blue" for that long, but we'll see.