Monday, July 30, 2012

time for an outing

My mum ended up not coming last week as she came down with a very bad cold-flu.  We apparently did not want to be left out and came down with little colds of our own.

So what does one do when you are missing your mum and out with a cold and the house is an Epic mess? You go out antiquing, of course.

Now, I can take no responsibility for the notion - it was entirely my sweetheart's idea.  But I do believe it was a very good idea indeed.  Here's the collection of treasures I brought home. Also featured in these pictures, our exceedingly chippy front porch. 

So glad for this extra-tall turquoise jar - it will be just the thing for big bouquets.

I adore this little box.  It was just three dollars and I can think of at least four places I want to use it.

Nice little stack of jadeite saucers.  Yes, they are saucers, but I think they will make perfect cookie plates.  And just look at those shades of green.

Final find are these two cola crates. I've been wanting some of these for a good bit, esp to use for setting up outdoor parties, but kept finding them at least $25-$30 on Craigslist and antique stores.  So glad I held out as these were just $10 a piece.  hoo-ray.

So that's the nonsense we've been up to.  How about you?

resolved to be very industrious from now on,
and with love,

Friday, July 27, 2012


I finally took a bath in this little claw foot.   I've never been much of a bather, are you?
I never took one in our old home - but I think I've been converted.  
It was quite lovely.  

Sweetly accompanied by this decadent body cream just sent by a 
dear friend with instructions to pamper myself.

 I closed my eyes and (almost) successfully blocked out the fact that the bathroom -
still looks like this.


 I think I'll be desperate ready to tackle this space in the next week or so.  As with the kitchen, we hope to redo the whole thing someday...but in the meantime the challenge is to make what's already here work to it's best advantage.   Including the ivory linoleum, coffee colored sinks,

and these shutters.

 At least these knobs are cute.

Here's a few of my favorite bathrooms that I hope to use for inspiration now...and for that someday bathroom redo.

 source unknown


Alright, enough daydreaming - time to get back to work!
At least there's a bath to look forward to at the end of the day.  ; )  Perhaps you'll pamper yourself a little this weekend, too?  I do hope so.

love, cailan

Sunday, July 22, 2012

a peek at paint and progress

Last week was monumental.  I decided on kitchen paint colors!
Benjamin Moore Snowfall White on the top cabinets and Forest Moss on the bottom.  

I know, you might wonder at me for not going all white.  But while I LOVE the look of an all-white kitchen, I realized that with mustard counter tops, a mustard stove and a black dishwasher I simply wasn't going to achieve that fresh all-white look.  

{the Before}

 So I went for the green and white mix I'd kinda always had in my head, and really do love the result.....such as it is at this point. ; )   Bravely letting you peak in on the progress and hoping that you can look past the crazy mess and see the potential in progress.   (Got my light fixture hung :)

I can't even believe how much work this kitchen has been, but never in a bazillion years could I have accomplished this much without Sister.  We started Monday night and worked until she left Thurs afternoon and from morning till night did absolutely nothing but remove wallpaper, caulk, putty and paint, paint, paint in that kitchen.

Okay, we also ate chocolate.  And took one break to have a 30 minute cake date in all our sweaty, paint be-speckled glory.   But seriously that was the only thirty minutes of technical "fun" we had.   Thankfully, any time with Sister is the best good times and we got pretty much every single Very Important Topic talked about and sorted out as we worked away.

It was so, so great having her here.  I can't believe how blessed I am to have such a Sister. 
Her positive attitude is absolutely unshakeable.  We were messy, tired and achey but the happy note in her voice never gave out.   She's just pretty darn amazing that way.

We were much sad to see her go, but I'm so thankful we both have iphones. : )   Happy news is that my mum in coming in this week!! so I hope to finish up the kitchen and share many-many pics and tips on that soon.  Also on the "to-do" list,  paint that Master Bedroom already!  And seriously considering painting some floors, am I nuts?


Sunday, July 15, 2012

inside the house

It's been exactly two weeks now since we opened the door to our new home and our new lives in Northwest Iowa.  Twelve days since this moving truck arrived.   

Last week I showed you the serene-like exterior of our new abode.  Now to lift the veil.

Be forewarned, my friends: this is that last pretty picture you will see!

We had two days between closing and when the moving truck was to arrive so we tried like mad to make the most of that time without all our goods in the way.   The priority was to get the messy work done in the upstairs bedrooms, and in two days we did get all the popcorn ceiling off, wallpaper off, and carpets out of the three bedrooms upstairs as well as flooring out of the Entry.  It was crazy.
 First the Master Bedroom.

Peeled off a little wallpaper and revealed some very crumbly plaster beneath.   
Who would have thought purple?


 The first focus was getting the popcorn ceiling off.  I only attempted this project because the popcorn was unpainted and thus much easier to scrap off, but nevertheless BE WARNED.  This is the most gigantic mess ever.   We used a garden pump sprayer to wet it (but not too much as to soak the drywall) and then scraped it off with a wide flat edge putty knife.  The stuff scrapes off pretty well but then you have clumps of messy gooey and then dusty white EVERYWHERE.

 This is the kiddos room:  Wallpaper came off somewhat easily here, with a few trouble spots.   My dear mother-in-law let me borrow her steamer and that helped so much - would never try wallpaper removal again without one.  Also took up the carpet...floors are in tough shape.

Surprise! Underneath the curtain, the window pane is a little worse for wear.  

Took up carpet and linoleum in the Entry.  Here's the fun residue the linoleum left.

 Within the first few hours I developed severe CWRD - Compulsive Wallpaper Removal Disorder.
 There is wallpaper in EVERY room of this home,  and it was impossible resist picking at it here and there and see what would come off without a fight.  But there is nothing like strips of wallpaper hanging off every wall to make a house feel like a dilapidated crazy zone.   oops.

Underneath the wallpaper in the entry we found this unbelievable fake wood paneling - how could this ever be a good idea right next to real oak??


 Now, I wish we had left it up and filled the paneling lines and just painted it.  But I didn't think of that.  Instead I tore it down and found out why someone thought the paneling was a "good" idea - they were covering a Door In The Wall.  We found this the morning the movers arrived so we just put the bookcase in front of it like so, and are presently trying to pretend it isn't there figuring out what to do next.

Insert lots of sweat and stress.

Growing up, my family moved a lot and went thru a number of home reno projects, doing about all the work ourselves.  That's to say I'm somewhat used to this kind of chaos.   So pair me with my sweetheart Professor man who lived in the same house that his mother grew up in and loves,loves, LOVES cleanliness and order.  Yeah, not the best combo. 
Praise God, my in-laws came and took care of the children mon-thurs, so they were spared most of the trauma.  Don't know how we would have managed otherwise. 

Now, for some pictures of where we are today. 

Here are where our offspring sleep.  Gotta say it feels a little ghetto in here with the plaster falling off the walls and the patchy paint.

But you get the vision with the three yellow beds, right? right??

The hardwoods under the carpet are a mess.  Waterspots and paint everywhere.  
My oldest said, "It's a MESS in here.  You need to clean this up, Mama." 
I'll get right on that cutie-pie. 

The Master Bedroom has been quite the saga.  Here she is today.  Because of the plaster chinking off we had to have someone come in and trowel the walls.  Cha-ching$$

 After the nice guy skimmed and sanded I swept and mopped my heart out, trying to get that blasted drywall dust cleaned out of there.  I also caulked the seams and sanded again and swept again.

 But even after doing a lot of touch up work myself, when I went to paint I was still finding so many trouble spots like this.  So I finally called the nice guy up and asked him to come take a look.  So he did and said it did need to be gone over again...which meant more sanding and drywall dust clean-up.


Remembering the "BEFORE".

Look at that wondrous popcorn-free ceiling - so worth it.

In the darling and I are sleeping here in the third room.  Yikers.
  I have to climb over my darling to get to my side of the bed.  Pretty sure that's his favorite part of the arrangement.

 So it's a mess.  And here's further proof of my CWRD.  
I did this most of this while "brushing" my teeth.  It's irresistible, I tell you.

 And here in the hallway.  Oh little stencils, how I long to paint over thee.

So everything in our home is still in the works...not one box has been unpacked except the Professor's books in his basement lair.   But though every project is in a way Current, my main focus right now is the Kitchen as we're starting to feel desperate to have that space functional.   Here she is with her first coat of primer.  Already feels so much better, fresher, all together more promising.  I'll post details on the project when it is (hopefully) finished.

Whew!  How's that for an update.  I do so hope to get to post some nice, under-control "After" pictures soon.  It's felt so not nice or under-control for a good bit now.
BUT Best News Ever is Sister's flying in to lend her helpful hands tomorrow!!!
So yes, there is hope for us after all.

Thank you much for sticking with me, friends.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

We've Landed

No, we haven't fallen off the face of the earth, though it feels a bit like it in some ways.  It's been a week now since we landed in this quiet little town.  Given all that has happened in the last seven days, that's hard to believe. 

It has been a whirlwind - a whirlwind of popcorn ceiling crud, wallpaper strips, crumbling plaster, shaggy carpet and linoleum.  Not at all in that order, but rather in every combination of disorder we could manage.

Do not be deceived, my friends, all may look serene in the picture below, but inside is something quite akin to chaos.

But it is our chaos, our home.  And we are whole, and healthy.  And albeit a little unsettled-feeling and a bit harried, we are managing some happiness, too.

I'll share about what's been going on inside of the house later this week, but just wanted to check in quick-quick like and let you know we're still kicking. ; )

with love,