Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stupid People and a Demon Dog

This morning was ruff (you'll get the pun in a minute).

Lately, I've been going for a run in the mornings because Lobster got a new job and we had to switch our dog walking routine. So I'll work out in the mornings and walk the dog at night. It seemed like an excellent plan when we decided to make the switch. But after further consideration, I have come to conclude this was a dangerous decision. For me, anyway.

On my morning runs I have noticed a disturbing trend among the people living in my neighborhood. Evidently, NO ONE looks in their mirrors before zooming down their driveway. Moreover, it seems that everyone is in a mad hurry to get down their driveways every morning judging by the 40 MPH speed at which zoom (without looking). At least four times per run, I encounter a jackass neighbor who careens down his driveway while I'm standing at the edge of it glaring at him. As soon as he's down the driveway and halfway into the street he sees me and is always shocked.

Really, moron? You're shocked that there's a person on the SIDEWALK? You just can't believe that anyone would be, oh I don't know, traveling along the sidewalk and quite possibly at the same time that you decide to careen down your driveway without so much as a cursory glance? How have you survived this long without killing anyone or running over a child on a bike?

This type of behavior is so common in my neighborhood that I've become very cautious when I run. I will wait by the edge of the driveway until I'm certain they've seen me or until they speed past me in reverse and the coast is clear (every time with a look of shock on their face that I'm there). But this morning was different.

After waiting for three other zooming driveway idiots, I was almost done with my run when I come across the fourth idiot of the morning. This time, he's sitting in his car in the driveway. The windows are tinted so I can't see whether he sees me. But he's not moving and I'm just waiting at the edge jogging in place. After about two minutes of waiting, I decide I'm just going to go around him. So I start rushing past and the second I'm right behind his car he decides it's time to fly down the drive in reverse. I literally had to use my hand on the back of his car to launch myself around the back of the vehicle so I wouldn't get squashed. The sound my hand made on the car must have sounded to him like he hit a small animal because he screeched to a halt and I saw the shadow of his head turn and look in my general direction.

At which point I made some rude gestures and yelled, "WHAT THE F****??!!"

Generally, I would not scream the f-bomb at a perfect stranger who is also my neighbor, but I think the circumstance called for it.

Anyhoo, I have no idea what he did after that because I took off running again. If he had gotten out of the car to apologize I was fairly certain more f-bombs would fly. And I try to limit myself to one or two f-bombs a day.

If that wasn't exciting enough, three minutes later a yappy devil dog comes out of nowhere and rushes down the sidewalk yapping its head off. As I get closer, the demon won't move so I yell, "MOVE, DOG!" and try to run around it. But as I'm trying to ignore the stupid thing and continue on my run, I realize the yapper is following me and trying to bite my heels! I am literally about *thisclose* to turning and kicking it (not hard, I do love animals) when I see a man walk out of his house and start calling the thing home. He gives me a look like I'm the one who possessed his dog to come chasing after me like a rabid hellhound.

I was *thisclose* to punching him in the face.

Lucky for me, I made it home without further incident. I don't think I could have taken much more. It's pretty exhausting being almost run over and then chased by Satan's yappy spawn.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stripping Is Hard Work

(Disclaimer: If you think this post is about me taking my clothes off, you are going to be disappointed. I am not that type of girl! Shame!)


A few weekends ago I picked up a lovely little side table at the local Salvation Army. It was solid wood, very sturdy, with two drawers and a great classic shape. It was only $25! But is was UGLY. Some very misguided person had taken it upon themselves to paint it a mucus yellow color. It was awful, which is probably why it was at the Salvation Army.

But I could see its beauty through the horrid paint job, so I decided I'd take it home with me and strip it of its embarrassing coat of paint. How hard could it be, right?

Sigh. I never learn.

After googling the crap out of "how to strip paint from wood" I happily flitted on over to Home Depot and picked up some Citristrip. Why Citristrip? Because it was gel based (won't run down the legs of the table) and it smelled like oranges (still toxic, but as long as it smells good...). I also grabbed a plastic dropcloth and a plastic scraper (metal would gouge the wood) and then flitted happily back home.

This past weekend I decided I was going to tackle my stripping project. I set up my work space in the garage, donned my super sexy plastic goggles and long dishwashing gloves and started globbing the Citristrip on like a pro (or not). After waiting the obligatory half-hour, I got to work scraping.

And scraping.

And scraping.

Holy hell, did I scrape. And only the top layer of the mucus coating came I had to do it all again.

Glob, wait, scrape.

This time the second layer came off, but there was still quite a bit of paint stuck on the table. So I did it all again.

Glob (frickin') wait (frackin') scrape.

This time, most of the paint had come away but there was still some stubborn stuff left in the cracks and crevices of the wood. So I read the handy instructions on the back of the Citristrip and went and got some toothpicks to scrape out the stubborn paint.

Except that a lot of it would not scrape out. I probably went through 400 toothpicks, most of which broke in pieces after one swipe, and very little paint got removed from the crevices.

Blast and damnation!

At this point, I had been stripping for 4 hours and my back, shoulders and neck felt like I had been hit by a truck. Lobster poked his head out into the garage and very sweetly suggested that I call it a night and come in for dinner. I was tempted to say no (because I'm stubborn...I know, shocker) but he lured me with a beer. It was a very tasty beer.

So now I have a mostly stripped side table chillin' in my garage. Yesterday I googled the crap out of "how to strip paint from cracks in wood." I am going to not-so-happily flit over to Home Depot today and find a metal crack scraper thingy. I WILL get that damn stubborn paint out of that wood! I will not be defeated by a horrendous mucus yellow paint job!

I will not go down without a fight!!! (Insert fist pumping here).

Anyone else tried to strip furniture? Am I the only one who thinks it's hard? Surely, there's an easier way...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Enjoying Life

Lately, I haven't much been inspired to blog. And for a while I was feeling pretty darn guilty about it. But I saw something today that made me realize that I should be more concerned with enjoying living my life than feeling an obligation to write about it. Sure, sometimes I really want to share stuff with all you fine people, but sometimes I just want to enjoy my days without feeling the pressure of writing something relevant (not that most of what I write is relevant to begin with, but whatever).

Right now I'm loving my garden and decorating my house and hanging out with my husband and our dog. I'm loving the cool evenings and the warm, breezy spring days. I'm loving interacting with some of the great people that I work with. I'm loving writing and photography. I'm loving getting to know a new church. I'm loving garage and estate sale season! I'm loving nature and its amazing beauty.

I'm busy living my life today. I may be busy living my life tomorrow. I'll write a little in my blog when the mood strikes, but I am letting go of the guilt.

I hope you enjoy living your life today!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Scenes From My Garden

I am hopeful that Spring is on its way, despite the schizophrenic weather we've been having. My spidey senses tell me life is coming back to this frozen tundra soon. And by "spidey senses" I mean that my flowers are beginning to bloom. Putting two and two together and all that...

Welcome to my bulb garden:

I love the flowing elegance that these leaves create, don't you?
They almost look like they're dancing. If I were a baby tulip, I'd dance in the sunshine too.
Can you believe the colors of these hyacinths? I never realized how beautiful they were. God really is amazing with his colors.
And look! A baby broccoli head is forming! I'm actually growing something!!!

How does your garden grow?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

DIY Curtains and Pottery Barn Knock-Off

I can't believe that Lobster and I have been in our "new" house for almost a year now. Time flies, eh? In that year we have done our share of painting, planting and fluffing. The very first room we painted was our master bedroom. This is why:

GAH! Oh the horror! The awful memories! Who paints their bedroom bright tangerine?

We quickly repainted that hot mess with a nice neutral grey/beige. SO MUCH BETTER. But since that time, besides finally getting our bedroom furniture delivered and my wonderful bedding from Pottery Barn ordered and delivered, I haven't done much by way of decorating. One of my main pains in this room was the large window with a smallish window seat.

For the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to put curtains on this window without paying a gazillion dollars for custom curtains and a custom rod. So for almost a year now, I have lived without curtains and scoured the internet for ideas on what to do with this flippin' window.

Finally, I found it. Inspiration hit me like a brick. And like always, when I get an idea that I love, I go slap-happy crazy planning, preparing and executing the plan until I get what I want. Here's what my eureka moment turned into:

See those thingys? Yeah, they're knobs. I found them at Hobby Lobby on sale for $1.50 a piece. Score! The only problem was that the metal parts were bronze and I wanted brushed nickle. Did that stop me? Heck no! That's what spray paint is for! So I bought eight of the knobs and a can of "brushed nickle" spray paint, took the metal bits out of the knobs, went to town with the paint and replace the metal bits. Voila! White knobs with brushed nickel metal bits that I just screwed straight into the wall. Hooray!

See that finial that's holding back the curtain? Also at Hobby Lobby on sale for $1.50. It was black. I also spray painted that sucker within an inch of its life. Yay!

This fabric was a "linen look-alike" fabric I got on sale at Joanne's for $5.99 a yard. I got 6 yards and measured the panels to be 86 inches long (plus more to allow for hemming). I then hemmed the top, bottom and sides of each panel with Stitch Witchery (which I thought would be an easier, quicker process than sewing the wasn't).

I don't know about you but I kinda like it! I know they're not functional (as Lobster was quick to point out) but I wasn't going for function. I was going for style on the cheap and I think I found it! Woot!

Anyhoo, the other problem I've had is finding affordable and nice looking art for the walls. Lately, one of the Pottery Barn catalogs has featured tin tiles as art. I fell in love:

So, I decided instead of paying a billion dollars for distressed tin tiles, I'd make them myself. Take that, PB!

I found a great store in Fort Worth called The Old House Supply Company and they had plenty of ceiling tiles. After looking at all of them, old and new, I decided on a pair of new tiles. They were cheaper and I liked the pattern better. Then I went and got a primer, dark metallic and off-white spray paint and started experimenting.

First up was the primer. Do you like my mask and protective sunglasses? I look hot.

Next I put on a couple of coats of the dark metallic paint. I intended this to come through when I distressed the tiles (unpainted they were very shiny silver). This didn't work out as well as I planned but I didn't know that at the time.

It didn't look half bad with the dark paint. But I was determined to complete my experiment...

So I went ahead and sprayed a couple of coats of off-white...

And then I started sanding with fine sandpaper. WHAT HAPPENED TO MY THUMB? OMG! Just kidding. I still have my thumb.

And this is the result. I know you can't see much of the distressing from this picture. I'm thinking I might need to take an extra-fine sandpaper block and do a little more distressing. And I need to rehang them a little closer together because it looks a little wonky. But overall, I like it. And it cost me all of about $30 for the whole project. (That's my fat, devil cat, Little. She is the spawn of Satan.)

So, whatcha think? Have you done any DIY projects lately?

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