Tag Archives: Gary

“Regrets, I’ve Had a Few…”

4 Jun

I am kicking myself.  I was going through some old photos on the computer and came across some that The Boy took while out at the thrift stores.  When we first bought our house, he would send me pics of furniture/household items that he spotted to see if I liked them and if he should purchase them for the house (he still does this, but it seems like we find less and less good stuff lately).  Anyway, it seems like I was a bit out of my mind and passed up some really great stuff:

I am guessing that I told him to pass on this table and chairs because of the brassy/gold legs.  I was on a chrome kick at the time.  Since then we have incorporated both chrome and gold into the abode. Too bad.

This dining set really breaks my heart.  I know that if I saw this today, I would snatch it up in a heartbeat.  I probably nixed it at the time because I was worried about too much wood in the dining room with the wood paneling and wood credenza.

I am quite certain that I said no to this chair because there was only one and I was looking for a matching pair.  Notice the previous dining room set in the background…I think all of these pictures were taken THE SAME DAY.  I will again reiterate that it seems like I hardly ever find anything good at the thrift stores these days, let alone a bunch of great stuff at the same time.  I am glad I can’t see the price tags on these pieces – I am sure they were much more affordable 5 years ago.   Now, the final stab to the heart:

Let me take a moment of silence while a single tear runs down my cheek.  I have been on the hunt for a vintage sectional for about a year now.  I really want one that has the curved middle section, but I could have made this one work with a corner table between the two sections. Those lines!  That fabric!   Please excuse me while I go and bang my head against the wall.


Kitchen Details: Roman Shade

29 May

To begin, I want to be perfectly clear that I am not usually into matchy-matchy.  Not in my clothing choices, not in my decorating.  Matchy-matchy makes me itchy-itchy.  However, I found myself in the fabric section of Ikea some months back quite certain that I had to buy this fabric and make a Roman shade for the kitchen because it “matched so perfectly.”  I originally wanted something with contrast, but how could I pass up this fabric?  The colors in my kitchen are quite unusual and the fact that it looked like it was custom made just for the kitchen seemed like fate.

Now, I have never made a Roman shade before.  I guessed on how much fabric I needed and then proceeded to go home and figure out how to go about making the shade.  I came across a website (Terrell Designs) that made it very simple to get the job done.  I highly recommend it if you need instructions or hardware for making Roman shades.  Here’s a few pics from the process:

SEX.  Ha!  Tell me that wasn’t the first thing you looked at in this picture?  After sewing the front and back fabrics together, I had to glue on plastic battens.  The magazines act as a weight while the glue dries.

The shade hangs from a mounting board with velcro.  Pretty smart idea.

I sewed on all of the little plastic lift rings by hand which was kind of a pain because the thread shows on the front side of the shade and I had to use 4 different thread colors to blend with the front fabric.

Got my cords all tied up and ready to hang.

Presto!  I must admit that I am extremely proud of the quality work I did on this one.  While this project only cost about $50, it looks expensive and feels professional.  It fits the window opening exactly with no gaps (as I pat myself on the back).


A Fine Mess

12 May

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed right now with things that I “need to do.”  I swear there just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes.  Case in point: the backyard.  I went outside yesterday and was really amazed at how bad our backyard looks.  The grass needs to be mowed.  There are weeds popping up everywhere.  I desperately want a garden and time is ticking away to get that going.  And the worst eyesore?

Um, yeah…If you will recall from one of my first posts to this blog, there was an above ground swimming pool in the backyard when we bought our home.  We had it removed right away, but what remained was a large circular sand pit with a ring of rocks.  We tried to just “go with it ” for the past few years and use it as a fire pit.  Gradually the weeds have taken over and now it looks really messy and Podunk.  It takes up most of the backyard and is making it difficult for me to find a proper place for the garden.  I think it needs to go.  The biggest problem is that all of those rocks are really difficult to remove.  They are entwined in weeds, sand, and dirt.  I reasoned that if I can devote 1 hour a day towards rock removal, I might be able to get them all out over 2 weeks.

I didn’t make much progress yesterday.  It takes quite awhile because I have to dig down into the dirt and sand and pick all the rocks out.  I really need to find something that I can use for sifting.  That would help quite a bit.

Today I did a bit better.  Go me!  Ideally I would like to remove all of the grass from the backyard and just have raised beds with gravel and paving stones, similar to this:

Isn’t that sexy?  I like everything about this photo.  I think I need to get planning (or at least back to shoveling rocks!).

Curb Appeal

12 May

Today was yet another exceptionally gorgeous day here in Miller.  I took a little drive and snapped a few pics of some exterior details on homes in the area that I think are pretty neat-o.  First up is this gate:

I like the geometric look with the interwoven rectangles.  The driveway goes straight up the dune and you can’t even see the house.  I just bet there is some great design hiding behind that gate.

Nice porch.  Clean lines.  Wood.  Yummy.

I lust after decorative cement blocks.  One of these days I think I might do an entire post dedicated to all the different styles I have seen around town.  And while we are on the subject of block walls…

This wall goes all the way around the yard.  It is huge!  Somebody once upon a time was getting all kinds of creative on this baby.  It is a mix of brick, block, and stone.  Super unusual and interesting.  I like it.

Kitchen Details: Sputnik Light

2 May

I was pretty dead-set on having a Sputnik chandelier in the kitchen right from the beginning.  The Boy was unconvinced for reasons such as 1.) worried it wouldn’t be enough light. 2.) would be difficult to keep clean in a kitchen. 3.) would cost a lot of money both in the actual light and electricity.  Well, as you can see, I did get my way, but not without a whole lot of stress.

The light pictured above is actually the 2nd Sputnik I purchased off of Ebay.  The first one arrived smashed by the post office.  It’s poor arms were sticking out from the box, all bent and broken.  It was so sad.  Luckily the seller had it insured.  I filed a report with the post office and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Turns out the seller ALSO filed a report and the post office reimbursed him and not me.  Fortunately when I found out through the post office what had happened and contacted the seller, he was honest enough to send me a check.  That brings us to Sputnik #2.

Prepping to clean the Sputnik

I also bought the 2nd Sputnik off of Ebay.  The seller was really lousy and kept telling me that he was going to send it and then wouldn’t.  I waited for 6 weeks and finally had to file a report through Paypal.  I don’t know what Paypal said to the seller, but after I filed the report, he sent it out right away through FedEx.  It was well packed and arrived safely.  Whew!

The Boy was right about one thing – I do have to clean it every 3 months to keep it looking good.  Because it is so close to the stove, it gets a greasy film on the top which then collects dust.  I also have to take out all of the bulbs and hand scrub them to keep them clear and bright.

This light came with Sputnik bulbs which look like Christmas tree lights with ornamental glass “starbursts” wrapped around the bulb, but I used these round globe bulbs instead.  They are brighter and MUCH easier to keep clean.

So pretty!

Nice Clean Edges

29 Apr

I am pretty obsessive about painting.  I love painting.  I love doing a really nice job with my painting.  I am super proud of my awesome painting skills.  I can’t stand looking at a bad paint job.  Which brings me to the point…

Some person in the past did a pretty crappy job of painting the ceiling in our living room/dining room area.  In fact, I think they got more paint on the wood trim and paneling then they actually got on the ceiling.  One of the first things that I did after we purchased our home was to come in and put a nice new coat of “ceiling white” over the semi-glossy tobacco stained yuck.  I always meant to get back to doing something about sprucing up the trim and paneling, but other projects took precedent.  Well, today was the day that I finally did something about that nasty looking trim.

See?  I somehow managed to ignore that for 4 1/2 years (it looked like that all the way around the room and on the center beam).  The Boy had talked about taking the trim down and refinishing it at one point, but I had a much easier solution – craft paint.  Yeah, you know that stuff you can buy for $0.99 at any craft or fabric store?  It’s my go-to solution for many unsightly problems.

Find a paint color that matches, get a small angled brush, and go at it.  Easy peasy.

This beam runs down the center of the room.  Here’s another angle (sorry about the poor photo quality – my camera seems to like close-ups lately and gets a bit grainy from a distance – still trying to figure out why…):

And after I did my handy touch ups:

All gone!  The brown craft paint blends in so perfectly that you can’t tell there was ever white paint on the beam.  It is a fast, easy, affordable solution for fixing paint boo-boos.

Kitchen Details: O’Keefe & Merritt Stove

28 Apr

This post is for those of you who, like me, geek out on the details of vintage stuff.  Like  most things in our house, we have a pretty good story about the acquisition of our vintage stove.

Isn’t she a beauty?  Long before we started on our kitchen renovation, we were looking for a vintage stove.  The one we had at the time was very cheap 90’s and the oven did not work.  This one showed up on Craigslist one day in the semi-nearby suburb of Oak Park, IL.  The sellers were asking $400.  We decided to go take a look.

The sellers were a young couple who had a vague interest in vintage.  They originally wanted to put this stove in their kitchen, but ended up with something more modern in the end.  Now get this – not only did the sellers have this stove, but they had a bunch of extra parts for it.  It turns out that after they purchased it, it was discovered that the girl’s grandpa had the EXACT SAME STOVE sitting in his garage.  Extra burners, knobs, drip pans, glass, griddle covers in both white enamel and chrome, plus burner parts, etc.  I pretty much knew that I NEEDED this stove, but $400 was a bit much for us at the time.  We decided to go home and “think about it.”

We got home and as we pulled into the driveway, I noticed that my car looked kind of slanted.  Turns out it had a flat tire and I ended up having to spend what little extra money I had to buy new tires.  Bye bye stove…

But wait!  I got an email the next day from the sellers telling me that they wanted to give us the stove for FREE.  What?  I guess they liked the idea of giving it to a young couple like themselves who would appreciate it and take care of it.  Boy Howdy!  We hightailed it back out there with a truck and some extra muscle (The Boy’s ever helpful Dad – thanks again Rick!) and brought that baby home.

Griddle with working temperature gauge

It is in pretty fantastic condition with just a little pitting on some of the chrome.  It also needs some electrical work to make the fluorescent bulbs in the back light up.  We once plugged it in and it started smoking.

5th burner underneath the griddle

I am an avid cook and use the heck out of this stove.  It is so amazing how well made and well thought out this stove is.  Here is a photo from the last time I gave it a good cleaning:

Prepping for a good cleaning

There is a prop rod for cleaning “under the hood.”  Everything comes apart and there are little drip pans under the burners that catch crumbs and spills.  So nice.  O’Keefe & Merritt was a high-end manufacturer and they made this sucker to last.

I am not sure of the exact year that our stove was made, but I did find this ad from November 1960 with a pink version of our stove.  It helped shed light on some of the mystery parts and gadgets that came with the stove.

I have not been able to find too much information on our particular model.  I would love to find a manual some day.   I am not quite sure how the Grillevator and rotisserie work, but I am pretty sure we have all the parts and I hope to try them out some day.