time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life - brian andreas

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Ever since we moved into our new apartment, the downstairs living room wall has been bothering me.  It's large and currently houses my green credenza, arc lamp, and sunburst mirrors.  Even though all those things are large, they only fill about 1/2 the wall. 
And since I'm not a minimalist (although I wish I was), I've been searching for something I could put in the remaining space. 
I was discussing the problem with my creative and generous aunt Kim.  She always has unique decorating ideas and is the BEST at repurposing items/space.  She offered to gift me a HUGE black frame that she had...
I accepted.
She delivered.
She's the best.

I'm pretty sure she found it in a dumpster. 
I said she is awesome.
Point proven.

It is 26" high and 55" long (inside the frame, which is another 6" or so). 
Because my house is like a giant kalaidescope- full of random colors and patters going every which way- I decided that I needed to fill the frame with something neutral.
At one point I even considered leaving in empty.  Which I did for about 2 weeks. 
But it was boring.
And tragic.

So I set out on the hunt for a tan/white chevron print fabric.
I decided that a chevron print would add some visual interest, while not competing with this (which shares the same wall):

That picture sucks, but that's because the lighting is awful.
And I was croutching on the back of the couch to get it...my apartment really IS that small.

I began my search for the perfect fabric.  I looked high and low...it became an obsession of sorts...
I COULD NOT find a chevron print fabric for less than $20/yard (plus shipping).  I was going to have to order it online...because I live in the middle of nowhere and we have no stores here.
Except JoAnns, which had a shockingly horrible selection.
Also tragic.

I needed 2 yards of fabric, and decided that the $40 + shipping was too much to spend...especially since I change my mind every 5 seconds month about the decor in my living room.
And by living room, I mean entire house.

Since I couldn't find what I wanted for the price I wanted, I decided to attempt making it.
2 words:
bad. idea.
Unless you love spending hours and hours trying to get straight lines.
And then freak out over and over and over when they look crooked.
And waste this much tape:

That was only part of it. 
Additionally, I wasted this:

For the project, I started with a tan flat sheet and tape.  All of these things also proved useful:

Tan flat sheet, masking (or painters) tape, tape measure (isn't that one cute?!  It's from my 'do it herself'' tool kit, which I inherited when my Grandma Dorothy passed away), rotary board, rotary cutter (you could use scissors...I found the cutter much easier though...and I found out the hard way.  So just trust me and use a rotary cutter...if you're dumb cheap desperate brave enough to try this project), iron if your material is wrinkled....which mine was because it was wadded in a Wal Mart bag for 2 days.
I'm organized like that.

Here's what I did:
Iron the material.
Lay it on a flat surface...again, not wadded in a bag.
Decide width of chevron stripe.
Cut lengths of tape.
Use a ruler (if you're smart.  if you're stubborn and controlling like I am, then just eyeball it and waste tons of time...and tape...see the above pictures).
Attach tape in chevron pattern.
For 4 hours...
Seriously, that's how long it took me.  Luckily Millionaire Matchmaker was on Bravo...so the time went quickly. 
Sort of.

my chevron stripes after the tape was secured.

Don't worry if you make 8,000 mistakes.  And end up frustrated.  And eat an entire bag of Spicy Nacho Doritos whilst you try to get those wretched stripes straight.

After the Doritos stripes were done, it was time to spray paint.  And since I don't have a designated spot to do this, I took my material out to the porch and anchored the corners with cans of beans.
I used kidney and pinto.
Any variety will do.

Prime the fabric stripes with Kilz Original primer (or your favorite primer)...this step is important!  I tried to do it without, and the material just soaked up the paint.
Make sure to let it dry thoroughly.
I chose Krylon Ivory gloss.
And applied 2 coats to be sure it was all covered.
Mine was not totally even, but I wanted it to look more like a screenprint....not perfect.
Or maybe that's just what I'm tellingh myself so I don't get so depressed that it's not perfect.

After I let it dry (overnight), I removed the tape.
It was so exciting...it was like childbirth...
Work, wait, work, wait, work, wait.
And then at the end you get to see the fruit of your labors...
Get it?  Labor. 
I know, I'm witty.

It is exciting though:

Now that it's up on the wall, I think a tone-on-tone ivory might have been better.
But it is staying as is...for now.

And when I get sick of having it downstairs, I would love it above my bed as a headboard of sorts.
Overall, I feel like the time, money, and effort spent was worth it.

Because it cost me less than $10 and fills a significant space on the wall.
fabric (flat sheet)-$2.99, clearance at Wal Mart
primer-free (I had some from another project)
total: $9.85

Oh, and today at the Goodwill I found this AWESOME clock:

I love how it hangs on the diagonal.
And brings some subtle orange into the room.
It's perfect.


Monday, August 8, 2011

it's official...i. heart. spray. paint.

..I am crazy.
In life, but also for spray paint.
These last few days I have been spraying everything in sight.
Because I haven't had many projects lately.
In fact, last night I got so desperate to work on something that I put on a headlamp and was outside on the porch spray painting until 11pm.
I looked awesome.
And my neighbors now have one more reason to think I'm insane...
the other reason being that last week I walked all the way around my complex with my skirt tucked up into the WAIST of my underwear.
Anyway, it's been so fun...I love projects. 
Even when they are small and seemingly unimportant.
Like this one:

I got this vase at the Goodwill bins last week for $.95...glass at the bins is $.39/lb so that tells you how lightweight it is.  It's from Z Gallerie, so it was probably a nice vase at some point in it's life.  However, the finish on it was a really thin layer of olive green and it had scratches all over it. 
I have been looking for a large vase for my bedroom and instantly fell in love with the simple shape of this one.  I didn't want to spend a lot of money, so decided to use some leftover gray paint I had from the boys dresser I refinished last year.  I also didn't want to waste primer if it wasn't going to look good, so I didn't even prime it:

It's the perfect shade of gray and I can't believe how smooth it is.
I was really pleasantly surprised at how good it looks. 
Now I'm on the hunt for bamboo that I can spray black and place it on my retro-inspired cedar chest, at the foot of my bed.
Cost of the vase: free spray paint + $.95 for vase = $.95

I picked up this mirror at a yard sale last week for $1 and loved the fun shape.  I knew it would be ideal for glazing, which is (one of) my current obsession:

I was being lazy and decided to take out the mirror out so I didn't have to tape it all off. 
It is an old mirror. 
And old = well built.
Well built = 100 screws holding the mirror in place.

I chose Krylon Ivory for the mirror:

And then glazed it so it would show up on our bland, stark, boring white walls:

Harper loved it, of course.
Because she is my daughter, and shares my love for all things old and gaudy.
So I gifted it to her. 

It's above her dresser.
Which is my next project.
I'm thinking of leaving it white and doing something fun on the drawer fronts.
Maybe a chevron print stencil?
Cost of the mirror: $3.24 for Krylon ivory spray paint + $1 for the mirror = $4.24

And this bad boy isn't done yet, but it's on it's way.  I found it in the trash on the side of the road:

it's rectangle shape and has a removable cushion...which i removed  and promptly threw in the dumpster.
i love trash, but cushion + trash = fleas. or bed bugs. plus it smelled like urine.
how wt am i??

when the cushion is removed, there are handles on each side so it's like a small tray table.

I used Kilz primer, to neutralize/clean it and make it easier to paint:

I painted it with Krylon glossy black (leftover) but felt like it was boring.
Partly because I am sewing challenged, so couldn't make a cushion for the top.
So while I wait for my friend Lyndsie to help me make one, I painted the top.
I used leftover Dutch Boy Retro Avocado paint from my credenza:

The kids love it as a platform to jump onto the couch.
And to play with their toys in.
And use as a seat.
So I'd say it's a hit at our house.
Cost of the tray/side table: free paint/primer + free table = free.

And free is the best kind of project.
Even if it's from the trash.


ps: Are you working on any projects right now??

Sunday, August 7, 2011


This is guaranteed to be a long drawn-out post, full of wordiness and no pictures until the very end...if you make it that far and are still awake.
Sorry in advance.
For those of you who don't frequent my blog and catch my incessant whining, let me recap:
Our family of 5 is living in Forest Grove, Oregon while my husband Dylan attends optometry school at Pacific University.  It is a never ending 4 year program, and we just passed the 1/2 way mark (insert applause and cheering).  And yes, I do mean WE.  It is a group effort.
Oh, and it rains nonstop.
And we're poor.
The end.
See what I mean about the whining?

The 4th year of school is dedicated to clinic...but it would be FAR too easy to have the clinic in one set place.  So instead, the students (and families, if applicable) move every 3 months for the entire year.
I've broken it down:
12 months + 4 moves + 3 children under the age of 5 = crazy.

Last week was the lottery for the rotations.  That's the other fun part...we lottery for the spots we want.
So there is no way to plan, no guarantee, and they are worldwide sites.
Double awesome.

We decided to move out of Forest Grove and operate out of Boise.  So we would move to Boise in May of 2012 and be at the Boise site first, then Utah 2nd and 3rd, and Idaho Falls 4th.
Wishful thinking.
The first night of the lottery I was huddled next to my cell phone waiting for Dylan's call/text.
We LOST the lottery for our 2nd rotation.
Instead of Utah, we were assigned to be in Forest Grove.  This changed our entire plan for the year.  The thought of moving the kids to 4 different schools, living out of suitcases, and paying double rent were all things that made us feel...uncomfortable?  Violated?  Ghetto?
We decided that we would operate out of Forest Grove instead of Boise, and secured the following sites:
Boise, May-August
Forest Grove, August-November
Tacoma, Washington, November-May

The last rotation is a 6 month rotation.  Dylan can live in Tacoma on base where he'll be working and I will stay in Forest Grove with the kids.  Alone.  Eeeeek. 
I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.
We feel good about it.
It's exciting really.

Because whenever we start a new phase of our schooling, it's one step closer to being done.
And a normal life.
Not that I'm complaining (again). 
Or thinking about the life we left behind.
Or our families who are far away.
Or counting the 6 years of schooling we've already done.
Or the 2 we have left.

All I know is:
I must really love this guy....

...and even though this is one of the hardest things I've ever done, it certainly is no cake walk for him....
because he's made a LOT of sacrifices for our little family:

signing for his commitment to the air force.

first day of clinic...have some equipment.

white coat ceremony.
I'm gratful for such a hard working, dedicated man who has given up everything to provide a secure life for our family in the years to come.

And that our rotations are ironed out. 
So we can finally relax. 
And plan. 

I'm also grateful for cute children...
and a beach that is close.


Friday, August 5, 2011


I've had a run of good luck at yard sales lately.
And by lately, I mean only the last 2 weeks.
Because I really haven't been able to go every week.  Sales started late this year due to rain, then we were out of town, Dylan had clinic, blah blah blah.
Truth be told, I don't really need anything new (to me) so shouldn't even be going.  But truth be told again...it pains me to drive by a yard sale and not stop.
I know, my life is sad.
Anyway, I picked up this FABULOUS '70s mirror at a yard sale last week. 
It weighs 50 lbs at least and is 4.5'x2.5'. 
I paid $10...which was a total steal.
I actually feel guilty because the mirror was marked at $15, but after thinking about it all morning I decided I wasn't willing to pay more than $10 for it.  The sale was being run by a young boy, who was probably watching over things for his mother.  And he probably got chewed out for selling an antique family heirloom to some tightwad for $10.
When I bought it, I thought I wanted it for above my bed.  Right now I have a black platform bed, charcoal gray comforter, 11 (or so) throw pillows...and these sit above it:

...the picture is totally crooked.
But in real life they are perfect straight.
Anyway, I really love the canvases and I need to enjoy them for the next 127 years to feel like they are worth what I paid for them.  But I thought I might want like to change it up a bit with the mirror.
Once I hauled it upstairs and put it up there, I decided it didn't look right.  Too ornate for the style of my bedroom.
So now I have a ginormous mirror sitting in my hallway and I need to incorporate it into my already-total-hodge-podge-of-a-space living room.
Oh, and my entire house is only 900 square feet, so keep that in mind.
I am trying to decide on a color...it needs to pop or will look very shabby chic, which I don't want.
I'm thinking emerald green.  Or maybe tangerine orange.  Neither of which I have in my house right now.
But I'd love your opinion (the 6 of you reading this).  Because I am not feeling creative in any way right now.
And here it is:

And several people have told me they can't comment on my blog, so email me suggestions too...because that's how desperate I am to get another opinion and finish start this thing.

ps:  I'm watching Nick and Vanessas Dream Wedding (Lachey and Minnillo)...they keep calling each other 'baby' and making out on camera...it's like a train wreck that I can't look away from.  Embarrassing, right?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


As I type this I am sitting on my couch, watching Flipping Out and thinking about how lovely it feels to have a sunburn.
We've been outside so much lately....I'm pretty sure my children think we live at the park. 
I like it that way.
'Tis the season after all...and by season I mean the 2 months it lasts in Oregon.
Since we've been outside so much, I haven't been thrifting much.  It's sad really.
But I have had a few noteworthy finds lately...the meaning of 'noteworthy' being:
1. clean or new condition
2. either: trendy/inexpensive or classic/expensive
3. totally awesome
4. oh, and cheap
Now that we're all on the same page, here are the things I'm excited about lately:

lisa lill diaper bag. retail: $149...i am saving this for a special someone to get pregnant...
not me. 
i paid $7.99.

isn't it cute???  brand new.

david kahn jeans. retail: $165.
new with tags.
i paid $9.99.
...and I was SO excited when I found these...I think I screeched in the store:

biviel black leather mary jane pumps. retail: $79.
new with tags.
i paid $6.99.

i love the zipper detail on the toe.

i wore then with a skirt and it was cutesie.
Here's a link since you can't really tell JUST how perfect they are: prepare yourself for cuteness.
That's all...well, all the noteworthy things. 
Don't worry, there have been lots of other purchases, just nothing worth mentioning. 
If you don't believe me, ask Dylan.  I'm pretty sure he thinks I'm a crazy hoarder. 
And I am.  A little.
Oh, and remember my above list?? 
#2 refers to classic.
And I think stripes are classic.
Don't you?
I need a few more stripes in my closet...: