Saturday, May 29

get color, give color giveaway- free paint samples!

So with all that talk of inspiration and things we're awesome at, I thought I might share something that I found on one of my favorite blogs, Southern Hospitality.
southern hospitality
Recently painting has been the name of the game here and choosing a paint color was an experience in itself.  I relied heavily on the mini paint samples from our local Home Depot and Lowe's (remember my lucky 13?)

We ended up choosing a Glidden color (Antique Silver) from a tester I picked up on a whim one afternoon. I can't wait to see it on the walls.  One of the things that drew me to Glidden were their cute all-in-one samples: a little jar of paint in your favorite color with a brush built in. You don't even have to wait for the paint counter-person to mix it.  Just pick it up and go! How perfect is this?  It's great for testing a wall color, but also seems awesome for a mini project.

Rhoda posted this amazing deal from an e-mail she received from Glidden and I had to follow suit: 
"With a brush attached to the lid and enough paint to cover 3 square feet, Glidden ready-to-go paint testers make it easy to get going on your next paint project. And we’re now giving you the chance to paint it forward with our Get Color Give Color giveaway. Starting June 1, log on to for your chance to get 2 free testers for yourself and give 2 free testers to a friend. June 1 – 7 while supplies last"
So log on and get some free paint! While you're at it, click around their site.  I found it really helpful when I was trying to compare greys and they even have an online paint-visualization tool which you know this nerdy bird loves. 

I mean, what could be better than free stuff and paint?  Okay.. so free stuff, paint and cupcakes...  that could be better..

(As a quick note: I was not compensated for this post, nor do I believe that Glidden is the only option for paint out there... however, they are giving away free samples and I wanted to share the love.  Besides, if Mr. Corporate from Glidden decided he wanted to thank me for a little free-paint shout out, I'd love some cash..or more free paint.... or even cupcakes. That would be cool Mr. Corporate, I'm just sayin')

Thursday, May 27

finding inspiration

Recently I've been thinking a lot about what inspires me. In my last post I mentioned how inspiring it was to see a swatch of Antique Silver on the wall in the great room. With that in mind, I began to think about how our kitchen is one step close to coming together. But I wanted more. I wanted to take what I had visualized and actually see it. (Part of me was second guessing myself and I wanted to put everything together to make sure I didn't hate it all.) Sometimes I find it difficult to convey my ideas or really step back and visualize everything without seeing it all put together. So I created an inspiration board with all my design decisions/dreams for the kitchen.
After doing that, I kept going back to the idea of inspiration. What am I inspired by? What do I usually get inspired to do?

For example, last Sunday I did a little cleaning. And once I pulled the bed linens from their Clorox-soaked wash I was inspired to get the whole house a little cleaner. All week it has been soothing for me to still smell the traces of Clorox clean on our sheets, and I've been doing better about maintaining the clean and knocking out daily chores. I'm still not back to where I should be, but the dishes and laundry aren't piled up like they were.

Blogs are a huge source of inspiration for me. I'm an avid blog reader and can even sometimes get overwhelmed by the amount of great ideas in the"blogosphere."They not only inspire my decorating choices, but also how to live frugally and generally make my live and home better in every way.

But I also have to recognize the line between inspiration and execution. I would love to be able to buy groceries and only pay $2, or eat organic veggies from the farmer's market, or even more easily see the potential in a goodwill find. However, I have to work on realizing what is within reach and what changes will be beneficial to our home and family. Finding the balance between the lovely things that inspire and what we actually pursue is key.

I think a lot of blog readers, or women in any creative community, experience a bit of Inspiration Overload. It happens when great ideas turn into guilt makers, when coupon hunting becomes a chore, when a thrift store transformation becomes regret over an item passed by, or when the blog author becomes nearly superhuman and the desire for perfection trumps the inspiration for creativity.

I feel like many women suffer, like I do, from Stewart Syndrome, this overwhelming desire to be like Martha, this compulsion towards the should haves: I should clean with all natural products, I should root my own herbs, I should write thank you notes on handmade letterpress cards made out of recycled newspapers from the year the recipient was born.

Sometimes it's a daily battle to overcome my Inspiration Overload and symptoms of Stewart Syndrome (how do you like that alliteration there? Nice right?). Most of the time, I just have to remind myself that I'm human.

Yes, I'm an insanely nerdy human-- but human nonetheless. And sometimes I forget, and theexpectations get high and my should list grows.And I begin to contemplate just how I can budget my time in the evenings to
"get more accomplished"
(because there just isn't enough time!! EVER!!)

And then the Man asks me if I want another Popsicle, turns on another Deadliest Catch, and I'm piled up on the couch, a defeated so-very-un-Martha human again.

 I'm flawed. I'm not perfect (just in case you didn't know). I don't eat healthy at all, nor do I buy local. I don't finish projects in a timely manner. I almost always lose my keys or my cell phone. I curse a lot and at inappropriate times. My car is a mess, my plants are about to die, and I can't remember the last time I got a pedicure.

I don't even remember how this post went from being about inspiration and turned into this rant on women and guilt (er.. me and guilt?) I'm going to blame Dear Mother and Moe's for the turn of topics. I love you both, though. Especially you, Moe's.. for that amazing queso covered goodness you call a Billy Barou, and don't forget double pico de gallo.

Where was I? Oh, right. Blogs inspire me, my friends inspire me, sales papers from Lowe's and Home Depot inspire me, for me inspiration on life and home and how to make it better is practically everywhere! But inspiration is just that, it's meant to inspire. The blog world is just amish-mash of women (and men) sharing bits of their daily life just like I am, we're all pathetic at dusting orgardening or something. But we are also pretty damn good at quite a few other things.

So, since I can't think of a better way to close this out without rambling on, and since I love the fact that people actually read this and occasionally comment on here:
What is something that inspires you?
What are some of the things you are awesome/kick ass/are undoubtedly the best at?

There's no prize or giveaway. But if you comment, I can guarantee you two things:
  1.  You'll make me as happy as I get when buying new school supplies (which is pretty happy)
  2. If you come by to visit (in a non-stalker way) I'm sure I can convince the Man to give you a Popsicle and we can all watch Deadliest Catch, because it's about as awesome as you are.
So let me know you're out there.  Let's talk inspiration and how much we kick ass-- because who doesn't need a little online ego boost!?

Thursday, May 20

a slight case of chromatophobia

The Man accused me the other day of being afraid of color.

I'm not afraid of color. I can do color. I love bright, colorful fabrics and spaces. I think painted furniture can be really pretty in the right shade. I am always drawn to images of homes with bold, fresh colors on the walls. As I sputtered to defend myself, I realized that it's the commitment to color that scares me.

Let me clarify. I'm not scared of commitment either. Okay, well maybe a little. (I've been burned before.. but we all have.) But when I commit-- I'm totally, completely, whole-heartedly committed. I'm as loyal as a hound-dog. The idea of massive commitment doesn't scare me either. Take, for example the fact that suprises many folks: the Man and I are not married. Nor are we engaged. We seemed to have defied many people's idea of logic by committing to each other in the form of a 30 year mortgage.

We know we're not going anywhere, and as I lovingly joke- at least I've got him locked in for a good 30 years (just like our awesome interest rate.)

So if I'm not scared of color and I'm not scared of commitment-- what is the big hold up when it comes to deciding what color to paint our kitchen?
Meet 1/10th of my sea of paint chips

I think I have issues with color commitment. Yes. That's what it is. I'm a color-commitment-phobe.
I'm suffering from chromatophobia.

I knew I wanted a lovely, warm but fresh neutral for our living space (we'll be painting both the kitchen and great room.) So I went for tans, and some greige. Then I tried a more grey color. Then this nerdy girl just went crazy buying paint samples.
Again, only a few of our options

Seriously, I went just a little overboard.
Here they are, the thirteen samples purchased over a span of two weekends.  You heard me, THIRTEEN!

Then we had to do the "paint-a-section-of-your-wall-and-see-if-you-still-like-it-or-not-so-much" test.
First by the fireplace- to see if it clashes with the stone. (Can things clash with stone? Is that even possible? I'm neurotic.)

I finally found a color that the Man and I both liked. But it was a little more blue than my color-shy self could imagine. I wanted something versitile and to me that was a "neutral". I wanted to be able to change fabrics and accessories as the mood struck and not worry about if things coordinated/clashed with the wall color. But I was still undecided.  I wasn't sure.  I wasn't quite ready to go for it and buy a gallon of the stuff.
And then the Man said those words that he knew would spark my defiant, stubborn and somewhat wiley self:

I think you're just afraid of color and that's why you don't want to get it.

My response: a purchase of two gallons of Antique Silver. 
Antique Silver by Glidden
We had it lightened by 50%. Yes, it's pale. But to me, it's lovely and grey-ish but with enough blue to seem fresh and inviting. We'll add in 100% Antique Silver for the adjoining greatroom and hallways.  I really do think I'll love it. 

That's one of the many things that rocks about the Man.  He can tell when I love/want/covet something and even though I'm scared/unsure/trying to be logical or frugal, he'll trick me into doing what I really wanted in the first place (except for when it comes to "plain" crab rangoon). 

For example, when we were first going into this renovation I was very concerned about money.  I didn't want to get overwhelmed with reno expenses or with the time and effort it could take.  We've had an eventful year and I didn't want to add any more stress or strain and I knew the renovation could do just that.  But, oh, how badly I wanted to customize our house and make it into our home

So one night, after a long discussion I decided we'd write out our priorities as individuals for planning our rebate.  I gave the Man his piece of paper, I took mine and (in my sometimes bossy fashion) declared that we were to write out our top three ways to spend our money between paying off bills, building our savings, or working on the kitchen.  Then we'd look at the ones that match and go from there.

I wrote mine, and did so honestly.  The Man apparently did too:  1. A Hayabusa (reaally fancy, extreeeemly fast, expensive motorcycle) 2. Whatever Eva wants.

Yes, I know how lucky I am.  Yes, he's awesome. And yes, he's taken (see paragraph three, section one of this post for further evidence.)

It was through having to write out what it was that I truly wanted, that I realized how important it was to me for us to work on our house.  The Man knew that long before I figured it out. Although we haven't quite gotten to buying him his new bike, it's on my list. More importantly, we worked together to come up with the decision (the paper swap was one night of many) and we've been tackling this project bit by bit ever since.

So as the bits and pieces begin to come together, I can't help but feel inspired everytime I see that splash of lovely Antique Silver on our wall. It only took me two months, 500+ paint chips, two weekends at the paint counter and 13 paint samples to figure it out. 

We still have a long way to go, but we'll get there and it will be perfect, and cozy, and ours.

Damn, I'm such a sap.

Wednesday, May 19

catching up: workday one

Last time we left the renovation, we were tearing out the cabinets and stacking them in the far end of the kitchen in preparation for our first real workday. I was excited to get everything started and couldn't wait to see our nest with a few new additions.

After we got all the cabinets out, it was time to call in Uncle Contractor. He made quick work of our walls and within a few hours I came home to this beauty. Granted, he had to call in an electrician for some surprise wiring that we hadn't planned on (cords were crisscrossed all over the area we were planning on placing a giant hole). The electrician was there and gone before I had finished calculating the extra cost into our budget. And then we were one step closer to our goal: an open kitchen. In the meantime, Uncle Contractor was working on opening up a doorway and adding his custom touch that he incorporates into all of his houses, lovingly called "Vinson Arches" by the Man and I. I was a little concerned about how the curved arches would look against the angles of our vaulted ceiling. But I loved it, and that was just the bare frame.

Keep in mind that it is during this time that our central heat and air died. So not only were there folks knocking holes in our walls, but we also had a fleet of HVAC crews bidding to sell us our replacement A/C (and take away our precious earmarked reno money).

I took a quick break from meeting with the work crews to run an errand or two. When I returned, I found that Uncle Contractor wasn't kidding when he talked about making quick work of our project. Not only had they finished tearing out the wall, but Uncle Contractor included a surprise for us. We had not planned on having an arch on the opening between the kitchen and great room. But after seeing the finished (up to this point) product, I couldn't have imagined it looking any better. I was actually on the phone with the Man when I walked in and saw our surprise and I think I almost hurt his ears with my shrill squeals of joy.

Poor thing, I was still dancing and jumping around when he got home. Imagine the most excited 4 year old you can grabbing your hand and dragging you all over a construction zone while insisting on doing happy dances and talking non-stop in near gibberish out of excitement. Yup, that's what the Man came home to that day. As he calmly pointed out while patiently enduring my explosion of effervescence, even the entryway was finished! Who would have thought everything would have come together so fast after all the chaos of the previous days?

I couldn't help feeling relieved when I realized that we weren't crazy for having a giant hole torn in our wall and all of those times doubting myself (so far) were finally being proven wrong. It felt great and completely changed the look of our house. Uncle Contractor still had some work to do, a few "finishing touches" as he said, and we still had the drywall crew coming in but I am still amazed by how quickly it all went.

If only the rest of the remodel could be done in a flash...

Tuesday, May 18

no more mess for mom

After about three days of work, we finally got things put back together around Dear Mother's nest. Granted, we didn't finish organizing the whole house but we did make some vast improvements.
Remember this:

Meet her new dining room:

As for the wall of bins:

It's now bin-free and much better:

Overall, her home feels much tidier and cozy with the things she loves and uses within reach.

That's what I love about an organized home... fewer frantic moments spent searching for that one thing in a pile of many.

Now I just need to get back to work reigning in the chaos that is festering in our nerdy nest. It's gotten a little out of control.

Anyone feel up for a workday?



Just me?

Oh well, you can't say I didn't try.

Friday, May 14

a quick confession

I'm a bit of a clutter bug... I have always had a bad tendency to revert to my pack rat heritage and "collect" things like baskets, bed linens, picture frames, great yard sale finds, and as the Man can attest-- furniture (that is usually too big for the room, or to fit through the door.)

In recent years, I've grown more and more in the opposite direction. I found that a tidy home makes me happy and a messy home makes me, well honestly, a little crazy. Granted, I'm no Martha and I don't fuss too much over a spotless house. In my opinion, I don't have the time or the energy to stress over whether or not I've washed the windowsills or the last time I cloroxed the inside of the fridge.

I do try to keep clutter at bay and give the nest a deep cleaning as time permits. I've been able to find balance through purging regularly, but there is a constant battle between my clutter bug self and my longing for a tidy home.

All this is to show that I get my trials with being a pack rat "honest." The Dad is known for his pack rat stance and recently upon bringing Dear Mother home from the hospital we encountered her clutter head first:
Meet her dining room table, Mom hearts plastic bins.

Let me backtrack, Dear Mother had knee replacement surgery last Tuesday. We spent an eventful and entertaining few days staying around the clock at the hospital and she was able to return home on Friday. She had mentioned to me that she wanted some help organizing during her time off for recovery and being the nerd that I am (who looves organization) I agreed.
More bins!

I wasn't quite so agreeable when I realized that I would be spending the weekend weeding and wading through her conglomeration of containers.
The dining room from another angle, note the desk and snake pit of cables.

I can get a little fussy when I'm feeling trapped in a messy house.
The kitchen.
So I can't say that I was the cheeriest of chicks for the first little while.. but when we started to see some progress, Dear Mother and I both began to see the labeled light at the end of the tunnel.

And we kept going.. her in the recliner, and me pulling things out of the deathtrap, ahem, closet under the stairs and her pantry/storage closet. And we purged and it was amazing. We ended up with a couch full of things to donate. But I was tired, and didn't really feel like hauling things through the house, into the car, driving to Goodwill and unloading again. So my lazy butt posted an ad on Craigslist.

Within the first thirty minutes, we had three phone calls, four e-mails and a text asking about our free stuff. If you ever need to get rid of anything, call me first. If I don't want it, then post it as free on CL.. it works wonders!

It only took an hour and everything was gone. And then we got back to work, or rather Dear Mother went back to doing her knee exercises and drinking ice tea and I dove back into categorizing, packing, shuffling, hauling, and organizing the mess out of her... well, mess.

Wednesday, May 5

catching up: cabinet collection

You may be wondering where we put all those cabinets we tore out, or where this nerdy nester plans to prepare meals while our kitchen is in pieces. Well, our cabinets intially found a temporary home in the corner of our kitchen opposing their initial wall:We stacked them up and called it a day. It seemed pretty daunting at the time to have this wall of cabinetry (and stove) right where my kitchen table used to be. "Oh, but Eva-- if the cabinets are where the table used to be, wherever did the table go?"

Well, dear friend/follower/fellowblogger/random person from google, the kitchen table is now home to our temporary kitchen of chaos in the corner of our living room.I had hoped to be an inventive chick and create some marvelous meals in this chaotic nook but life, dust, and general laziness got in the way. Instead this table has become the catchall for mail, motorcycle gear, reciepts, paint samples, and the occassional location of reheating leftovers and preparing gourmet bowls of cereal (Fruity Pebbles and Smores with organic milk to be exact.)

And yes, those are two identical baskets in the picture above. I heart them. They are a great size, pretty color and can hold just about anything and make it look pulled together-- even leftover Valentine's candy. They also make perfect Easter baskets (the one on the table is part of my Easter goodies from the Man's folks.)

And just like pulling a rabbit from a hat, we have one wall of cabinets out and are ready for Uncle Contractor and his buddies to work their magic.

catching up: the cabinets

We last left our renovation adventure in a sea of plastic. After we covered everything it was time to start the fun of demolition. Or, rather, attempting to carefully remove our contractor grade cabinets from the wall without causing too much harm to ourselves, the wall, or the cabinets-- especially since it is not part of our plan to buy new cabinets just yet.
So here's where we started:

Our little closed-in kitchen of days gone by

Then with our cordless drill, box cutter, and a few choice curse words we got to work. First the Man turned off the power to the stove and vents. After that, while he wrangled the stove away from the wall and worked with the Dad to safely remove the light and vent over the stove, I took to the caulking along the countertops with a boxcutter. It seemed as if the previous owners decided to caulk everything in place.. or maybe we can blame the intial contractor for that.

Nonetheless, after uncaulking, the Man crawled in the cabinets and got to unscrewing every last stripped screw to be found. From there, we just had to peel up some of our awesome flooring and give the cabinets a good tug.

Forgive me for not taking better step by step pictures. The Man and I just dove into tearing everything out and I didn't think about it until afterwards.

The upper cabinets came out pretty much in the same manner: the Man with a drill/screwdriver and me attempting to support the cabinets with the Dad supervising and stepping in when cabinets were too high for my 4'11" self to reach.

Do you see what I see? Is that a shred of the 1990's peeking through? Let's look closer...

Once the cabinets were out, we had some lovely leftovers staring back at us. I'm not sure who chose this, when, why, or even how it ended up behind the countertops (where the previous owners had not painted.)All I really knew or could think at that moment was wallpaper. We have wallpaper.

There she is, in all her ivy and mauve glory....

It's not so bad, and really it could work in some of the cute cottage style homes I've seen. But I've heard the horror stories about wallpaper, though it does seem to be making a comeback.

I think for now I'll be doing good if I can just pick a wall color.

Sunday, May 2

shot heard round the neighborhood?

Dear Mother had surgery today. It was elective and she's in her hospital room and doing fine, so no worries there. However, Dear Mother doesn't do well with pain/discomfort/etc. With this in mind, she's regularly requested whatever pain medicine the doctors will give her. Currently she has an epidural, and has recently recieved morphine, toradol and a dose of benadryl.

She is out like a light-- except for the flickers of randomness that she'll interject into the clinical quiet of the room. I've spent the past hour logging some of my favorites and trying to stifle giggle after giggle..some of the best so far:

  • "Eva Elizabeth..lisbeth Lastname.. in my purse.. shot heard round the world, no, shot heard round the neighborhood! That's it!"

  • -reaching out and grasping at air- "This is the kind of tray someone had.. at the IT exhibit..where you do this -guesturing- and in 5 days, you have to wait 5 days"

  • "What's your name and initials? Initials.."

  • -fidgeting with hands- "Take this off, take it.. oh, you did it" -waking up, alarmed- "There's nothing there!"

  • "I'm trying to put the packet of gum in the basket... tisket tasket.. it's there"

  • "Prom, earrings.. you need to wear earrings to prom."

  • "a smaller inhibition means.. smaller inhibits.."

*EDIT: The latest and greatest so far-- after abruptly waking up and putting her hand out to me "Can you give me your F? Give me your F. So when you like to use that word, you can't spell it. You can only spell _UCK... That's not medicine, that's real intelligence."*

All of this makes me think of Sleep Talkin' Man, a hilarious blog that chronicles the nightly ramblings of a kind hearted sleeptalker with a bit of a potty mouth. It's totally worth adding to your reader/feed/blogroll; it will crack you up on a daily basis. I can't wait to share these with Dear Mother when she's coherent again.

In the meantime, I'm going to try and take advantage of my down time between being at Dear Mother's and Clella's (my fiesty grandma) beck and call over the next few days. I hope to update you on the changes in our nerdy nest, finish writing my final paper for the semester, and try to catch up on some of the things I haven't really had time for recently between work, school and the reno --like taking a closer look at our budget, organizing photos on my computer, uploading a few videos from my awesome iPod (an Easter gift from the Man, he even got it in pink-- he spoils me!), and generally being productive.

Who am I kidding? That should really read: "try to catch up on some of the things I haven't really had time for recently between work, school and the reno--" like a little nerdtastic online gaming, reading cheesy chick lit, and stalking my friends on facebook.

Don't lie, you facebook-stalk too.. you're probably doing it now and that's where you found the link to this post. I'm just sayin'.