Picture Makeover

A few weeks ago I had a chance to visit a few thrift stores.  I found a few new toys for my grandchildren, a cd, a journal and I found the picture I’ve been looking for to place on a wall above my desk at work.  There was a connection when I saw the picture.  It reminds me of one of Jeff’s and my favorite moments when we visit Oceanside.  We check the time for sunset, then head down to the beach and sit on a wall about 15 minutes beforehand watching the sun disappear slowly into the ocean.

I’m going to tell you the story of the picture and its makeover.  Please excuse my reflection in the pictures.

I purchased at a Goodwill.  Price $3.99.  It had a wood-colored frame that was peeling in a few places.  I came home and took all the pieces apart, carefully handling the glass.  I wet a soft towel and wiped down the frame and glass.  

I used Goo Gone to remove the sticker and glue residue and a glass cleaner on both sides .

I went through my paint supplies and held them up to the print deciding on a combination of two blues I had.  I laid down a shower curtain from the Dollar Store to protect my rug.  I mixed up the paint and begun to apply the blue letting it dry between coats which doesn’t take too long in Arizona.  I usually put a layer of saran wrap on the plate for easy cleanup but forgot this time.

I wanted the picture to be a constant reminder of one of my favorite verses “Be Still and Know that I am God.”  Mark 4:39, Psalm 46:10. I pulled my leftover stickers and fortunately had the letters to spell out “Be Still”  I had in mind to use one of the pieces of Oregon driftwood my friend and coworker Cindy had brought me back for her vacation last year.  

I had a little Mod Podge and placed a few layer over the self adhesive stickers.

I then took the painted frame and driftwood piece outside and gave it a good coating of sealer.

After the sealer had dried, I put the glass, print and cover back together.  Then glued the driftwood piece where I wanted it.

Here is the finished project which is now on my office wall.

 

 

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Downsizing and Our Kitchen Makeover

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It took over a year to get our house of 25 years ready to sell.  There were children’s school work, report cards, mementos that needed to be sorted through, greeting cards I had kept, hard copy photos, etc.  Then add on what is being kept in all the other rooms – dishes, appliances, furniture, books, etc.  (and most importantly what is being sold or given away) and it can cause a few gray hairs and a rise in blood pressure. 

I look forward to sharing our kitchen makeover but first a few things I learned during my downsizing/moving journey.

 To prepare, I read books (Right Size,Right Now, Essentialism:  The Disciplined Pursuit Of Less and Moving On, and A Practical Guide to Downsizing The Family Home  I listened to podcasts (Organization Station @Home and The Frugal House – Jenny Martin) and sought the advise of those that had been on the downsizing trail before me.  Here were a few of my takeaways..

  • Keep a few things to remember others by but not everything that has been handed down or given.  By the time we were emotionally and mentally ready to downsize –  I had 3 sets of china, one set was mine, one was my moms and a set my grandmother had handed down.  I couldn’t remember the last time we used any of it.  First I offered them to my my daughter and daughter-in-law.  My daughter passed; my daughter-in-law took my grandmothers set.  I packaged them up in the following storage chests…Foldable Storage Chests .. Jumbo Storage Boxes .. Quilted China Starter Kit.  I tried to consign my mom’s set – unfortunately, there is no interest in these items anymore.  I ended up donating to my favorite thrift store – Gracie’s Cottage.  I actually moved my set with us, thinking we’d keep our formal dining room and china hutch.  That didn’t happen – the furniture ended up being to0 large and we ended up donating to Goodwill along with all of my china except for 2 dessert plates.  I’ve decided that a nice set of white plates can take you anywhere and that a fold out 6-ft table and chairs will work nicely when we have holidays at our house.
  • Only keep books that mean something to you today.  Donate to someone else that can use all the others.
  • Keep only the clothes you feel good in and will fit in the space you have.  Jeff and I were going from each having a closet to sharing one.
  • When deciding what to do with an item – ask yourself if you were to see it today for the first time would you spend money on it, want to store it, have a use for it and does it delight your heart.  If the answer isn’t yes – you are basically storing something that you have no use for.
  • We keep our lives cluttered with things.  The item(s) may be in the closet, drawers and cupboards but they also take up precious space in our mind and life.

So back to our kitchen.  We went from a 2800 square foot home to a 1600 square foot home.  It’s funny when you are looking to buy a new home it doesn’t really register what you are starting with until you do the final walk-through and then move in.  Everyone has their own taste and I believe the people who owned the house before us loved their home.  But we were looking forward to giving the house a simple open decor and discovered we were going to be busy.

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Here is a picture of what the kitchen looked like when we moved in – the cabinets had seen better days and had chips that you can’t really see in the picture.  It was painted a mint green with rooster decals as a backsplash and had plaid maroon and green curtains – the small dining room area was painted blue with the same curtains.  There wasn’t a pantry and we needed to use what we considered the hall closet for our food.  After cooking scallops on the stove, we soon discovered there wasn’t any venting from stove to outside for cooking.  The garbage disposal could inhale a bowl when turned on because all the rubber in the sink drain was nonexistent.  The features we liked:  hardwood floors, decent wooden shades on all the windows, gas stove, and kitchen window.

When you first move in – the first step is to make the space functional so our time was spent unpacking boxes, buying groceries (because eating out soon loses it’s luster).  Then the dreaming starts and the realization that kitchens aren’t inexpensive.   The appliances were delivered and I want to share one the best things we spent money on was a new Kitchen-Aid dishwasher.  The family room is very close to the kitchen and the dishwasher that came with the house was LOUD.  Our new dishwasher is so quiet we sometimes have to check to make sure we turned it on.

I took all the curtains down from the windows and Jeff removed the rooster decals.  He also fixed the oven venting problem.   We then headed to Superior Stone and Cabinets and began planning.  We chose a gray toned cabinet, decided to extend our island by 18 inches to include garbage bins, and add a 18″ pantry.  I have to say that I’ve been surprised how much the pantry can hold.  We were very happy with the service we received – Superior  delivered on exactly what they promised and were in and out of our home in 3 days.  First day was demolition…2nd day was cabinets…and 3rd day was the granite.  

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This was our old formica countertop.

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This is the cabinet and granite samples we chose along with our flooring and paint color for the kitchen.  We were feeling pretty bold that day and took a chance of really making the kitchen ours.

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This was the old sink with the nonexistent rubber part of the drain.  Yuk!  I was counting the days until my deep double stainless sink went in.

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Once they demo’d the kitchen,  Jeff painted with our paint color of choice Sherman Williams Analytical Gray.  We decided to paint the entire house this color to give it a continuous flow of calm throughout the house.  It also would provide the benefit of not having to store several paint cans in the garage.  The new pantry would be placed to the left of the refrigerator.

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Then it was cabinet day.  We had a trash compactor for 25 years and thought we would get another one but this has actually been a better option for us.  It encourages us to recycle.

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The third day, the granite went in, as well as the stainless steel sink.  We decided to have the backsplashes done in the granite as well. They also installed the new handles on the drawers and cupboards which we had found at Home Depot.  This was so very fun to watch go in.  Time for the dishes and cookware to go into their new home.  Because I wanted to maximize my counter space, I purchased a collapsible over the sink drain

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Here is a picture of our pantry.

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By the next day – appliances were back in, new faucet, garbage disposal, reverse osmosis system, and soap dispenser.

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Recently Jeff has added under cupboard lighting which is amazing – a very inexpensive, easy project and of course, it comes with a remote control.  Don’t get me started on how many remote controls we have..ceiling fans, sprinklers, lights…oh my.  These lights make a huge difference and have a lot of different settings.

I’d love to hear your downsizing/moving advice or experience.

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Makeover – Part 1 – The Wall

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When I look at this picture I see so many things…I see the yard my children’s birthday parties occurred in when they were growing up – Evan’s 4-year-old Winnie the Pooh Blustery Day Picnic;  Tamara’s 8-year-old western sleepover.  I remember when we first moved in over 20 years ago and the ash tree was a starter tree.  We have watched it grow year after year drop seeds in the summer that catch the wind and look like little whirly gigs spinning to the earth as we floated in the pool.  Then the season changes to fall and the leaves of the tree seem to endlessly drop in large batches until the lawn is covered in a quilt of yellow, orange and brown.  We would often wonder as we raked those leaves if they would ever stop dropping  but then one day you notice the branches are as bare as a newborn’s behind and you await new growth  that comes in the spring to bring shade back to the summer days ahead. We have celebrated anniversaries, bridal showers, holidays  and a few weeks ago we watched our son (yes, that same child who had his 4-year-old birthday party) and his sweetheart exchange their wedding vows.   

It was in February of this year that both our yard and I began to be refurbished a bit.  We were both a bit worn out.  For several years every time I saw the wall outside, it reminded me of how I felt on certain days.  It wasn’t that effort was being put into keeping us up and running but what was being tried wasn’t effective.   In the next few weeks I’ll be sharing lessons I’ve learned through this experience, share progress as we worked on getting the yard ready for the special day and a little of my continuing progress in regards to my health  journey.

Lesson 1 – Bring in the experts or at least someone who knows more than you do and knows what tools to use.

 As I said we had tried to take care of that wall by ourselves with a brush, a sprayer,  etc but nothing lasted, nothing blended well and we couldn’t patch the holes that were beginning to appear.  Looking back I wonder how many hours and dollars we spent trying to do it on our own.   What a difference when we paid someone who had a skill set we didn’t.  It felt like a miracle that in only a few days time we went from the picture above to this.  Old plants had been removed, tree roots had been shaved and oh the wall was smooth – no holes and ready for a coat of paint that would stick.

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We did paint the wall ourselves – so much blue painter tape before the sprayer could be used but worth it.

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Lesson 2 – Invest in what you want to accomplish.  My dad has a saying about having a choice to either “Work hard or Work SMART.”   When we find the right tools for the right job, it stops being so hard.  That doesn’t mean there isn’t effort but we have a plan to meet the goals on hand.  I know this proved especially true for me when it came to implementing consistent nutrition and exercise.  Purchasing a $60.00 at-home program became the catalyst of change with an on-line coach and group support.  I found the right tools for the right season.  I didn’t have to design a program; my job was to follow it to the best of my ability.  The picture on the left was taken in September and the picture on the right was when I got started on February 16th.

I am happy to say that both the wall and I are in a much better place.

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