The List

I’ve been running things through my head over the past week that we need to still do.

Life toppled over soon after we moved in and there are little things that never got completed.

  • Putting on a different doorknob to our back yard (there is an interesting story behind this).
  • Painting the doors.
  • Finding and printing photos for a shelf.
  • Making drawer dividers.
  • Verifying that all outlets have a cover.
  • Changing out a couple light fixtures.
  • Painting some trim.
  • Destroying all of the sticks our tree gives us.
  • Finish adding gutter protection.

Then there are the bigger projects…

  • Building bookshelves and display shelves in the living room.
  • Covering windows that used to face the backyard and now overlook our built-on laundry/mud room.
  • Pulling up plastic liners from the flower beds near the house and planting things we like.
  • Other landscaping like adding some flower beds around our trees, pulling out an old stump, moving some large plants, and adding a garden area.
  • Building a pantry area in the basement.
  • Possibly tiling our bathroom.
  • Adding a patio in back.

Some of them more dire than others, and none are the big, far out projects like redecorating the kitchen from bottom to top or finishing the basement, including adding a nice bathroom (instead of the minimalist/utilitarian one there now).

My goal is to have two “work” weekends per month now that the weather is better, where we knock out one or two things on the list.



I knit.

I crochet.

I desperately want a loom so I can weave.

I love color.

And soft yarn.

On a good day, my workplace is pandemonium. There are a million moving parts and I drive most of them. I love it. It changes every day and I am never bored. I am reminded constantly of how hard the world and so many of the people in it can be.

When I come home, I want soft and nice and quiet.

Rhythmic clicking of needles. Soothing motion of hands. Feeling of fiber slipping through fingers. It comforts me.

I am sure I will post about projects in the future, but I want to share one of my favorite features of our house.

The moment I saw it, I knew what it would be.

Our house has an original built-in cabinet in the dining room. It’s likely designed to hold dishes or fancy trinkets. In my house, though, it holds the yarn.




It didn’t latch when we moved in. My husband took his drill and added an indention to hold a small magnet. He hammered a couple tiny nails into the facing. And voila! It holds nicely until we have earthquakes. I added some pretty shelf liner I picked up at Dollar Tree (it’s in my kitchen cabinets and drawers as well).


Love Affair

This is a story about a love affair.

I love the tree in our back yard. It’s a sycamore and I would guess it is about 90 feet (27m) tall. It is gorgeous.

And as with most things we love, they sometimes give us problems.

This tree drops sticks like 3 year olds drop their pants in public when their parents aren’t watching them.

My dog is short, so he trips on the sticks when he chases his ball. We have piles and piles for kindling for fires we rarely build. I step on then when I leave for work in the morning (in the dark) and more than once have barely avoided death by falling. My husband takes forever to mow because he has to pick up all the sticks first.

But, oh, the beauty. I take pictures of it frequently because I’m awed every time I look up.

And she keeps the house cooler and I can enjoy my yard more often than I could otherwise. I remember a 100+ degree day when I was miserable from work and I came home, sat in the swing underneath for an hour and pet my dog and wasn’t the least bit uncomfortable. In the summer when it’s raining softly, I can stay dry under this tree.


It isn’t about perfection, it’s about loving something despite the troubles. And I do.





More Paint

One of the things I least liked about our house was the fireplace. Or, more specifically, the hearth.

We can’t afford to tear out the old, ugly-ass tile just yet. But every time I was in the room I remembered how very much I loathed the look of it.

The previous owner says it is original to the house. Usually, I like old stuff. I do not like this.


I hate the colors. I hate the design (if you can even call it that). I hate that it doesn’t go with anything else in the house. I hate that it looks dirty (the fireplace is not functional any longer).

So, one day when I could no longer stand to look at it, I painted it.

I used the same Dutch Boy Cabinet and Trim paint I mentioned in a previous post in the color Waimea White for the hearth and brick. I used Rustoleum Metallic Accents that was left over from painting an accent wall in the kid’s room for the firebox.

I added a silver tray and white candles from IKEA to dress it up a bit. I plan to add more candles on my next trip to IKEA (they were out of the largest ones when I visited).


It needs a bit of touch up, but otherwise, I love it. I can live with this for a long while until we can have the hearth re-done in a gorgeous tile (I’m leaning toward mother-of-pearl tile).

Bonus pic: Since I mentioned the accent wall… Our offspring likes to make art. She wanted a “gallery wall” in her room where she can display her varied paintings, drawings, and other works of art and craft. A couple coats of the Rustoleum Metallic Accent did quite nicely. She loves it.


Spray for Change

One of the first little projects I completed was to paint the cement planters on the stoop.

They’re not really my style to begin with, and seemed dull. Especially given that our house is white with pale trim… Adding more dull

I used some Rustoleum Universal Hammered  in Copper and sprayed them down. It took a couple coats as the cement soaked up the paint. Added some new flowers and done!

The little geranium was a gift from our new neighbors.

Next, I worked on updating some light switch plates and a light fixture.

Mostly we used basic white switch plates. A couple we got nicer ones for. For our laundry/mud room though, we had a gold light fixture which had yellow paint on it from when the ceiling was painted.

So, we used the leftover Rustoleum in copper to paint both.

While we were spray painting, we went ahead and painted a couple other items.

I had a small storage bench I’d bought a few years back at a second-hand market in Kansas City. I liked its functionality, but never cared for the color. And I had the perfect place for it in my room.

I picked up a large mirror at a Goodwill a long while back. It used to hang in a bathroom and hadn’t been used in two moves. I wanted to hang it in my bedroom, over my dresser.

My work moved buildings over last summer. We swapped buildings with another department. They left behind a lot of random belongings which were out on a table for anyone to take. I found a small desk-top bookshelf that I thought had potential. I imagined it going on top of my dresser to hold the books I cycle through.

A friend had given me a small side table. I thought it was cute. But, again, a bit dated in color. I thought it would work well by the current sofa to hold a lamp until we get around to updating the living room furniture.

We primed with Rustoleum Self-Etching Primer. Then used the Ace brand white spray paint on top that we had from other past projects. No sanding required.

(After photos pending.)

I am mystified how a little can of spray paint can make such big changes. I love when things match, or at least “go together”. It makes me happy. While I like the shape of all of these things, none of them matched. It would have made me irritated to see them all in the same room. Painted… I kind of feel like I have my life together.


This is our house.

Our House

It has been well-maintained and well-loved by it’s previous owners.

However… Previous owner, lovely as she is, had much different taste in paint colors than I did.

I work in chaos. I want to come home to serenity and peacefulness. You know, as much as is possible when raising a teenager and a bossy corgi.

Here is a composite of the original colors.

  • Living Room: Purple-ish grey with darker grey-ish purple trim (extremely had to photograph – trust me, it was purple).
  • Laundry/Mud Room: Bright yellow. The longer you looked at it the, yellower it got.
  • Hall: Flat white.
  • Bedroom: Brown.
  • Kitchen: Glow-worm. Electric, radioactive glow-worm.
  • Bathroom: PURPLE.
  • Master Bedroom: Also brown.
  • Dining Room: Light yellow.

Fun fact: I hate purple and brown. I don’t like yellow very much. And while Kelly Green is my favorite color ever, I rarely like other shades of green. So… We had to paint the whole of the upstairs.

Thankfully, I had some help picking paint samples.

There is one color in the photo that we didn’t use (upper left corner) as we later decided to use the same trim color in all of the rooms. They’re laid out  like the house.

  • Top Row
    • Kitchen: Dutch Boy Grey-cious and Dutch Boy Waimea White (trim)
  • Second Row
    • Front Door: Dutch Boy Lapis Enamel (the small patch of dark blue to the left – we haven’t painted it yet, sadly.)
    • Living Room: Dutch Boy Fantasy Grey
    • Dining Room: Dutch Boy Silk Lace
    • Laundry/Mud Room: Dutch Boy Peach Froth
  • Third Row
    • Bedroom: Dutch Boy Fanciful Blue
    • Hall: Dutch Boy Bay Fog
    • Master Bedroom: Dutch Boy Edge of Night
  • Bottom Row
    • Bathroom: Dutch Boy Edge of Night

You can probably guess which one is the kid’s room.

We used Dutch Boy Platinum for all of the walls and Dutch Boy Cabinet and Trim for the trim (and someday for the kitchen cabinets). I also used the Cabinet and Trim to cover some tile in our fireplace, which I will show in a future post.

This paint was wonderful. Nearly always done in one coat. Big transitions, of course, were the ones that needed some touching up (seriously – that glow-worm  did not want to die). I looked at paint samples/chips from a large number of brands. I didn’t even realize until making this post that ALL of the colors we chose were from Dutch Boy.

We bought our paint at Menard’s when they had an 11% rebate going on. We used the rebates to buy things we wanted but didn’t really need, like a chainsaw.

Here are photos of our rooms after painting.

  • Living Room
  • Dining Rom
  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom
  • Hallway
  • Master Bedroom
  • Bedroom
  • Laundry/Mud Room

Much better!

Edit: I just realized that we did use a Valspar color on the ceiling of the Laundry/Mud Room. Basically, we just needed to paint it and I was tired and didn’t want to drive far, so I went to our local Ace (which is amazing) and picked a color they had. It is called Moonbeam and it went on wonderfully as well. We’ve also used this color to paint a cabinet and legs of a countertop/table we built for the room.

Belated Update

It’s been a year since I last posted.

We closed on our house at the end of April.

We painted every room over the next three weeks.

We moved in mid-May, and it rained the entire month. It was the wettest month on record for the 48 continuous US states (2nd wettest ever for our Kansas). We managed to get all of our belongings out of the basement only a few hours before it flooded for the first time since we lived in that house. I think I’m still a bit damp.

Two weeks later, a friend of mine was murdered. And before I could really grieve and process another good friend died of complications from MD. And the next month, another friend completed suicide. I deal with sadness, depression, grief, homicidal and suicidal ideation all-day-every-day at work.

It goes without saying that I didn’t feel like doing much. I was just barely keeping my head above water. I’m still not quite sure how I made it through. Actually, that’s not exactly true. My husband and daughter were phenomenal. My co-workers were there for me every minute and took over when I couldn’t handle a client. I went to therapy. I snuggled my dog. I cried. I’m still grieving but committed to taking each day as it comes.

Blogging was the last thing on my mind. I thought about it from time to time and have even kept taking photos of the changes we’ve been making.

Life is leveling out. The days come, and close, and come again. It’s Spring. A time for growth.

I’m hoping to start posting some updates. And we’ve got a lot of projects planned now that the sun is warming us once again.