Archive for the 'homemaking' Category

when bad things happen to good husbands

i know, i said it was smooth sailing and all that.  but i can’t be good all the time.  or three days in a row even.  i had to paint something.  my husband walked in the kitchen door (he didn’t even make it to the living room) and the first thing out of his mouth was, “woman!”

it’s true, i painted the living room yellow.  and not even the mellow yellow i was shooting for.  but then again, i can’t be counted on to pick a neutral paint color.  the heart is wicked above all things, who can know it?

that and i still have to paint the piano.  i am going to glue some decorative scroll work on the front and paint it white.  the legs of the coffee table also need painted.  if that would redeem anything, i’m not sure.

at least it will be a cheery winter.  and at least it only takes me one afternoon to paint the living room, if i need to do it again.  still, not as easy as those virtual paint programs online…oh, they make those, don’t they?  go figure.

if it’s any consolation i also made cake.  and bread.  it hardly makes up for the chemical asphyxiation, but i do my best.

i’m still open for design advice.  people took me up on this, came over to my house and told me what was up.  but really, they just need to stick around longer because apparently i can’t be trusted.

i’m like that.

a theology of bedrooms

i like to think of the bedroom as the veritable “holy of holies” in a house.  “let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled.”  our pastor was once pointing out the unique relationship a husband has with his wife.  the privilege god has given us of knowing and relating to someone so well.  how it is something you can’t share with anyone else.  in fact, the moment you do so it becomes cheap and tawdry.  holiness always requires some degree of separation.

which is why i think satan is so eager to litter the master bedroom with laundry, porn, and netflix.  “come on in folks, we’re having a party!”  the glory of marriage is easily overlooked, easily smudged, easily vandalized.  but done right, it means business.  it shows the glory of the gospel, the way of christ with his church, the mystery of the trinity, and is the very savor of life (or death) in your home.  everything else is downstream.

so i say all the more reason to do it up right.  (like i need any excuses, but i still take ’em.)  anyways, when i started outfitting my room i noticed that i automatically gravitated towards light.  you know, the opposite of a bar: where there are no windows, the tv’s are droning football, no one’s swept under the booths in years, and the place smells like sweaty socks.  and don’t get me wrong, i know dark walls and black-out shades help you sleep, but really, it’s just immoral.  (sorry.)  just like i know you have to fold laundry somewhere, but the marriage bed simply isn’t the place.  and while watching tv helps you relax, i imagine your wife doesn’t really need you ignoring her in your doped out, espn stupor.  i say kick it all out and make some babies.  or you could even talk to each other and stuff.  you know, if you were desperate.

but enough of that, who likes my marimekko sheets?   the downside of having an unjustifiably fabulous bed is that i can’t get out of it.  i really can’t.  which is what happens when you go through sears and buy the mattress you sink into the deepest when you flop on it.  “i’ll take it!”  and things were never the same again.  especially after i got the down pillows and comforter.  i plan on throwing in the towel entirely someday and getting a down mattress topper.  the kids can make their own breakfast and teach themselves math.

here is the hutch i finally painted white.  it took me months to get around to it.  and when i was finished i walked back into the bedroom and saw the nightstand.  gah!  way to go mavis.  in another month or so i remembered to paint the nightstand as well.

i’ve also been collecting bits of milk glass when i find them cheap at yard sales.  my husband wasn’t exactly impressed, but those could be precious moments figurines and porcelain dolls up there.  or worse, giant gold filigree candle holders in the shape of birds….

seriously, those are awesome.

another hurdle was framing this oil pastel i made in college when i first met my husband.  (which, once you think about it, should have triggered at least a few warning signals in his sadly vulnerable brain.  but it didn’t.)

framing something this big is either quite impossible or $200, which is really one and the same.  so i bought pre-framed ugly art, gutted it, and spray painted the whole tuscany business white for a total of $35.  it looks like $35, but at least it’s on the wall.

my other novelty is my vanity.  that i use as such.  a woman should have a certain mystery about her production.  dressing tables are naturally glamorous and wickedly enchanting to little girls who like to eat lipstick and crush eye-shadow.  what is not glamorous are slimy and molding beauty products littering every flat surface in the bathroom.  plus, who wants to get done-up while standing next to the commode?  where is the dignity in that?

what was funny is that i still left my blow dryer in my husband’s bathroom.  because, as you know, blow dryers are ugly and hard to decorate with.  he didn’t care.  he kept saying things about me electrocuting the children while they tried to brush their teeth and such nonsense.  so i finally sat down in a huff to blow dry my hair at my vanity.  two seconds later i was like, “hey…this is niiiiice.”  and now she can never go back.

now that’s what a toy room is supposed to look like

i just did the obvious and got rid of all the toys.  it’s what i call a one-sided downside.  good for me, good for me, and bad for them.  i don’t know why i didn’t think of it sooner.

after i heartlessly sold a good $300 of the kids’ stuff on craigslist i was able to buy paint, cube storage, furniture refinishing supplies, and (my favorite) all matching light bulbs.  all while reassuring the children that they would thank me later.

the next step was painting, which was the worst.  i’m talking caulking all the baseboards, re-painting all the trim, painting the ceiling, doors, and a record three coats on the walls to cover the orange and get a deep enough blue where i went over white.  all while very, very fat.  then, after sinking $175 into new cube storage, i had to buy cubes.  which, get this, cost $147.  right.  it’s that little sucker punch at the end that gets you.  not to be had, i ordered double-wall, corrugate boxes off the internet for $30 instead.  and half of that was shipping.  but as they start to wear, i’m hoping to have found them locally, and be able to replace them at the proper 80 cents a piece.  i still need to find a hole punch thick enough to put some finger holes in the fronts, but i’m calling it good.

wait, did i say painting was the worst?  i recant.  spending a week stripping this table in the front driveway, 8 months pregnant, was the worst.  every time my husband would pull up from work he would find me guiltily sanding and would give me his standard dirty hairy.  “don’t you have something better to do with your time?  like, don’t you have children?”  yes, but they’re all going to thank me later.  (any time now.)

of course, after i got the table sanded, i had to strip/re-sand/stain it three more times, because i bought water-based stain that was spawn of the very devil.  let’s speak no more of it and just call it my $100, 30 man hour table.  that even had the nerve to turn out blue, instead of the charcoal gray it promised.  we are not on speaking terms.

on a lighter note, meet my anthro knobs.  they’re my friends.  that and i don’t have to look at books no more.  you just mush the doors shut and say, “hey, look at that.  isn’t that nice?”

the new map is finally up.  i bought this for my husband a few years ago for his birthday.  neglecting to account for the fact that it would cost another $60 to mount it to foam core, laminate, and frame it.  which means it sat for two years in the laundry room while i built up my nerve.  also, you can see the gray in this picture that’s on the rest of the walls.  only two walls are blue.  after looking at a bazillion blue/gray paint sample combinations that left me feeling drab, i finally hit a combo that seemed to light up.  i’m loving it.

anyways, as we get around to it we’re accenting with orange.  i think i want some tintin prints and some orange polka dots.  but next on the line-up i plan on crafting some black corduroy bean bags.  because someone gave me piles of black corduroy.  and if you haven’t got this impression already, if i spend anymore money i might get divorced.  although really, at the end of the day, i think i only spent $20 of my husband’s money.  the rest was magic money.  magic money and girl math and there’s no saying what you can’t do.  😉

it’s a closet and i can paint it berry and sherbet if i want to

(no one will ever know.)  if you’ve missed me it’s because i’ve been on crazy lady vacation.  between thinking about my father, thinking about having a baby, nesting, and trying to start a new school year i’ve been quite m.i.a.  but i did paint the coat closet.  i have my priorities.  my husband came by at 10:00 at night and said, “are you doing this because you’re nesting, or because you’re crazy?”

because i can.  actually, i scored free paint at a yard sale and it couldn’t be helped.  changing out all the light bulbs in the basement so they were all the same spectrum would be more relevant to his question.  the answer to both being “yes.”

anyways, the closet used to be an absolute pile.  i kicked out the lot of it.  will probably return a few strategic coats, install a second shelf, and use it mostly for homeschool supplies instead of dirty shoes.  one battle won.  battle number two however, has me pinned to the ground and is rubbing my nose in a cow patty.  i’ll let you know how it goes.  *m

that should keep her busy

i only wish it was comprehensive.  but really i just need a bigger white board.

there’s only one thing for it, i’m going to have to go cross something off.  who votes we tackle the “buy” column first?

no, i will not give you a drink

you know that verse in  bible about giving cups of water to the least of these and all that?  well it gets old fast.  especially considering how little humans are 60% water and can’t reach the faucet.  i remember sitting down at the dinner table the other night, after retrieving the first and second child glasses of water, when the third child asked for some water.  i looked at them all and said, with the greatest parental love, “no, i will not get any of you a drink of water, ever again!”  i was a little premature, of course.  but i made good of it the next day.  hello craigslist.

now, i imagine most people must have those handy dispensers in their refrigerators.  i do not.  i was kind of loathing the idea of an office water cooler hanging out in the dining room, but i was prepared to do what it takes.  after surfing online for alternatives i found this water crock.  it was perfect.  and well over $100 with shipping.  i sighed and returned to craigslist and it’s wealth of abandoned culligans.  when lo and behold, there it was, the very one i wanted.  and for only $30.  hooray!  however, there are a few drawbacks.  well, actually only one.  and you’re looking at her.  we filled the water the night before, with some reverse osmosis from fred meyer.  it’s not full right now, because i’m pretty sure the other three gallons are busy oozing through the floorboards, gearing up to drip through the basement ceiling.

the abode

is starting to look a bit like a turkish hot house.  and i’m not really keen on it.  but i’m not really worried either.  i know the living room slowly moves through a series of metamorphoses and it’s nothing to have hot flashes over.

but that wasn’t why i was posting pictures, to show you the dissatisfied state of my living room.  i just wanted to share my new arm covers, a.k.a. “couch armor.”  …embellished with my private reserve of beaded, tangerine ball fringe.  which i like to keep handy.

but while we’re in my decidedly garish living room i thought i would show you around anyways, and then you could tell me what to do about it.

for instance, i was just granted this handy piano.  which means i am going to slap some wood scroll-work on the front and paint it.  so far i’m leaning towards white, but i am more than willing to up the ante if anyone has a better idea.

also, just had to show your our budding puffin classic collection.  six more to go and it will be the prettiest row of books you ever saw.  that is, until i round up the jane austen collection to go with.

i also have my eye to switching out the lamp, painting the piano (like i said), and hanging another print.  you can see the frame lurking along the floor, still empty thanks to the fine upstanding folks at staples who frown on copyright infringement.  that and i’m just waiting for pottery barn to send me my “coupons of temptation,” so i can change out my throw pillow covers.  and who knows, maybe i will find another cool throw for the couch before yard sale season is over.  that thing is like a chameleon.  you never know what it’s going to do next.

the tablecloth

a friend was by the other day and when she sat down at my table she remarked, “i wish i would use my tablecloths more.”  which prompted me to confess that i was mostly in the same boat.  however, i have developed a plan.  (if you didn’t know that about me, i’m always hatching plans.)

personally, i could never find the right time to put on a tablecloth.  it always seemed a shame to throw one on before dinner, so people could defile it.  or, more pointedly, so i could wash it.  that and they always seemed like they needed ironed at the most inopportune moments.  and besides that, they were too pretty.  one thing led to another and i was quite certain my life would be over before i ever used them at all.  i would die and you would find piles of tablecloths at my posthumous estate sale.

well i won’t let it happen.  so here’s a simple trick: throw one on the table after lunch. genius, i know.  okay, for one thing, it makes me feel more excited about cleaning the kitchen after lunch (when i would rather be passed out dead).  second, i have all afternoon to enjoy it before it heads, with all due futility, to the laundry.  but lest that’s too easy, here is my second trick: put it on while the table is wet.  then you can smooth it down with your fingers.  it sucks down marvelously and dries nice and flat.  this tablecloth was line dried, crispy and wrinkled as all get-out, and you would never know.  anyways, the little things that keep me keeping on.  enjoy.  *m

kid storage

did you ever notice how kids’ rooms are the messiest, nastiest things ever?  well not any more.  it’s been a slow road, but i’ve landed on a few ideas on the subject.  number one, don’t give them stuff.  of course, you would think that if they didn’t have stuff in their rooms they couldn’t mess them up.  but that is wrong.  kids can mess up anything.

my next step was to take away their blankets and their sheets.  they can’t keep them on their beds anyways.  every morning it looked like a bomb went off.  not to mention, none of them can make a bed to save their lives.  so i got sneaky.  i took away their rainbow assortment of blankets and gave them each one comforter.  i tucked it into a washable duvet cover made of the same fabric as their bottom sheet and pillow case.  so even when the bed isn’t made, it still looks pretty much the same…well, exactly the same, as if they did make it.  it all kind of blends together.  what can you do, really?

anyways, i finally feel like i’m winning the war.  i pulled everything out of the room i didn’t want, put a fresh coat of paint on the trim, door, walls and ceiling, washed all the bedding, windexed everything, caulked the molding, and then concluded by saying, “if anyone wipes another booger on the ceiling you’re going to die.”

but i figure with a little routine morning maintenance their rooms should stay clean; brush your teeth, pick up your clothes, make your bed, put away all your strewn about goodnight books… no more excuses.  that’s why we have toy rooms.  make your mess in there, at least we can all sleep like civilized little humans.

my favorite is the suave cd player that i got gideon for his birthday one year.  i try to keep audiobooks on hand for when they go to bed.  the earlier they are in bed, the easier they fall asleep by their actual bed time.  yes?

here is the skinned rabbit jehu just got in the mail from his grandma.  what boy doesn’t love a good animal pelt?  and the dresser is a story in itself.

tonight daddy boy finally hung up the prints i bought for the kids ages ago.  “the way of a lady” on the left and “the word of a gentleman” on the right.  i always remember the story of a pastor visiting a woman who was bemoaning the fact that her sons had gone off to join the navy.  the man noticed a prominent picture of a clipper ship in the living room and asked her how long it had been there.  the answer was always.  the moral?  make it count.  (not that my kids would join the navy.  they’re probably going to be librarians and “artists.”  but it’s worth a shot.)

jehu’s bible on the bottom, gideon’s on top.  i like the storybook bible because it picks up on some overarching themes and weaves a tapestry of god’s love and sovereignty.  most children’s bibles seem to be more of a compilation of watered down stories with bad illustrations.  this one makes for a good “big picture” before sending them over to the real thing.  also, the nice thing about tricking your kids into going to bed on time is that you don’t feel guilty when you drag them out at 6:30 to read.

a vintage print i found at a yard sale.  it tied in so well with the colors i picked years ago; blacks, teals, and goldenrod.  not very girly, but i hope the ladies won’t mind.  someday rahab will get to bunk in here as well.  what i like about the room is that while it looks “nice” enough, it’s really an exercise in strategy.  me against them.  i’ll let you know how it goes.  😉

memorial day

if no one else has to go to work, i guess neither do i.  it’s only fair.  i spent the whole day in the driveway painting instead. four antique folding chairs, a hutch, cabinet base, kids’ table, two stools, and a hanging shelf.  making for 27 coats of paint all together.  excluding cutting in the bigger pieces between coats and the precursory sanding.  which might be why i am finishing the day with shin splints and a limp.  not to mention a messy kitchen.

however, i love salvage work.  the antique chairs i found alongside the road.  i had to glue and clamp them some as they were starting to delaminate, but they are good as new now.  i had to beat off a half dozen people wanting to buy them.  random cars would pull over, “can i have that?”

“uh, no.”

i found them on the street first, they’re mine.  the aqua paint was a find bequested on me by my mother.  the hutch will go in my all white room and was a generous gift from a friend.  the kids table was $15 on craigslist and i painted it with leftover orange from jael’s dollhouse project.  and the shelf i found at the youth ranch surplus center for a dime, painted leftover green to match the rest of the nursery furniture.  and that my friends, is how you do “eclectic.”  the people on home and garden tv do “gay and obnoxious.”  because, frankly, you can’t buy love.  i actually tried last week – i saw something in a store and bought it.  talk about bad juju.  it went back the next day, now if only i could cleanse my conscience.  moral of the story, never let being “strapped for cash” be an excuse to not make your house your home.  because it is quite the other way around.  money is the root of all evil as well as soulless decorating.

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