Wednesday, August 1, 2012

a kruddy detour

Last Sunday I embarked on a bathroom shelf-papering extravaganza at mom's house. While I hung out in the hallway and waited for someone to finish using the room so I could get started, I glanced around at the walls and vents for the water heater and air conditioner. The walls are in solid shape, but need a good coat of color over the existing flat paint to get rid of the scuff marks and smudgy hand prints scattered over them. 

I hadn't really noticed the vents before, but once I did I couldn't look away. They were choked with lint and what I at first took to be spots of rust turned out to be a splatter pattern that looked like someone had dropped a cola in the hall at some point and had never bothered to wipe it down. Since the vents were so close to the floor, none of us had really consciously noticed the spots before. The area felt dingy and icky, but not for any definable reason. 

I already had the Krud Kutter literally in my hand since I was about to start work in the bathroom, but decided to sit down and try it out on the vents. I used an old dish brush to get between the vent slats and give it a good scrub. I tried it on one section of the vents and you can see the tremendous difference it made in the photos above. Then minutes later, and after cleaning the whole area, it's amazing how much lighter and less depressing the hall is. It stuns me to realize just how much a small, often overlooked thing can as air vents can have such a huge effect on the mood of a room as well as the people in it. It also makes me wonder about other rooms and other homes where people are feeling like things are dingy and ugly and don't know why.  I think too often, we live with areas we are unhappy with or that depress us, but we aren't sure why we feel that way or where to start. Maybe something as simple as a 10-minute cleaning session is all it would take to get the ball rolling or lift us out of a funk. Thoughts, anyone?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

putrid to pantry: part Deux, MexiGyver Unleashed

When we last left the pantry, it was looking much better.  The Krud had been Kut, the walls covered in a soothing coat of semi-gloss white, new shelves papered and installed, and pretty vinyl tile had been laid. The last challenge was the door. And what a challenge it would prove to be. This is a long one, so sit down, grab a snack, and hang on…

The door had two big problems, not including dirt. The first was the holes left behind when I ripped out the multiple spice racks that had been attached to the inside of the door.  I didn’t think to take photos before I yanked them out in the middle of a grime-induced hissy fit removed them, but they were old, grungy, and beyond saving, so into the trash they went. The door is a hollow core one made of particle board, so the traditional methods of patching and painting weren’t going to work this time.

We both agree that Rocky is the better at patching than I am (he says my real talent lies in making things “not there anymore”), so while I was at work he took over the project from here. This is what he faced at first.

Monday, July 30, 2012

lovely lavender

Several years ago, my step-dad and I attended the Sunset Magazine Celebration Weekend in Menlo Park.  The whole thing was fantastic –interesting vendors, informative displays, and lots of cool things to take home. One demonstration we attended was at their outdoor kitchen, where we sat near a gorgeous concrete fire pit that was surrounded by all sorts of aromatic plants and herbs. I didn’t think to take a picture of it then, which I now deeply regret. The scents of lavender, rosemary, and all kinds of other lovely things swirled around and sort of naturally infused themselves into the food.  We sampled some grilled fish and fresh hummus, and it was unlike anything I’d ever eaten.  While I don’t doubt the skill of the chef, I think it actually had a lot to do with the herbed air and how with each bite you inhaled a bit of the scent with your food. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

mucho moss: seven steps to an awesome terrarium in less than an hour

Sherry, Katie (not my sister), Kate, and Michelle are hosting the Pinterest Challenge Summer Edition today, and I'm thrilled to be joining the party. After combing through my roughly 47 million pins on Pinterest, I finally decided to make the terrariums I had wanted to work on months ago. After seeing the pretty things on The Nester's series on bringing plants into your home and Twig Terrarium's hilarious creations, I couldn't shake the idea of how much fun it would be to make these tiny environments. I'm a total Sims freak, so the idea of creating a whole little world sounded really cool.  Probably the way real stuff appeals to actual cool people, and not Sims-obsessed dorks like me.  Ahem... SO, here's my combination post, tutorial, and link party entry.

putrid to pantry: part one

When my parents first moved into their new house, it was clear that it needed a lot of work. The worst room in the whole house was the kitchen. The levels of grease and decay in there were so thick, you could practically count them like sedimentary layers. A lifesaver in the form of a professional cleaner was called in to help deal with the worst of the funk, but even after she left, no one was comfortable allowing dishes or food to touch any uncovered surface. We even went to far as to put down contact paper over the countertops until we can seal them.

It will be a while before the kitchen cabinets are ready for painting, as the unpacking and organizing of the house is still underway.  One of the biggest inconveniences to daily life, not to mention sorting through anything, was the lack of space to store dry goods and food. The pantry was too gross to store anything other than trash bins, so it was decided that it would be the first kitchen project we tackled. 

I unfortunately don't have any full pictures of how the inside was the first day we were there, but the photos below will give you some idea of what the pantry was like before we assaulted it. When I opened it and peeked inside, I saw several moth nests and a huge black widow spider dangling from the ceiling.  I'm not a wimpy girl, but spiders (especially the huge death-bringing ones) scare the you-know-what out of me, and I swear I heard her hiss something along the lines of "Come on in, little girl..." I slammed the door, yelled for Rocky to kill it before it landed on my head, and vowed not to go near it until I was properly armed with a mop, riot helmet, and a can of Raid. It was unanimously decided that the shelves were too gross to save, so my step-dad kept one in the shed for use as a template and tossed the rest. 

This is the doorknob. The funk you see before you is a combination of too much latex paint that is peeling, and years of dirty hands touching it repeatedly.

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