When the cat’s away, the mouse paints everything

In CategoryAdventures in Decorating, Navel Gazing

Jim was gone AGAIN all last week, making the 4th week out of the last 8 he hasn’t been here. This is very trying. I would complain about this more, but a lot of my friends have endured year-long deployments and I am a sissy in comparison. How you guys did it, I don’t know. It’s only been a few weeks and I already feel myself becoming sullen and resentful – “what’s it to YOU, you don’t even LIVE here!” and so on. I am such an awesome wife.

While he was away on the most recent trip (apparently a horrible one which afforded me the chance to crow about making the best pot roast ever while poor Jim endured awful group take out from the cheapest place the company could find (see also: Awesome Wife)), some things happened.

First, in the week he was home, he managed to catch a cold and infect us all. Naturally, the minute I realized Little was sick was the very instant stories of this new virus hospitalizing hundreds of kids started making the news the very week we were scheduled to start a class at the local museum where there would be a whole bunch of germ-riddled kids.

Second, I managed to lock the three of us out of the house. Why do these things always happen to me? At least this time I had clothes on. In any event, it wasn’t too bad, since we had access to the garage – where there are like, 47 keys on a hook which open exactly zero of the doors in this house – and Big was only too excited to go find his pocketknife so we could pry off a screen and shove him through the window. They couldn’t wait to rat me out to their dad that night when he called.

Third, since he wasn’t here to stop me, I did this –




I realize these pictures are pretty bad. I will apparently never be a Lifestyle Blogger who is featured in Domino Magazine. How does she get the top of the picture straight but the bottom stays crooked? I don’t knoooowwwww.

I am going to paint the inside with some black high-heat paint and also probably do something to those hideous tiles. And maybe get something for the big, stupid, inoperable black hole of a firebox. Dried hydrangeas? Pottery Barn says Yes.

I’d show you the whole room, but it’s basically covered in blankets and stuffed animals and used tissues. Fancy!

** The wall color is Sherwin Williams Quietude, which is a fantastic blue-green that manages to look different on every wall in every room. You can see way better examples of it on Pinterest.

Oh, right – I owe you an announcement

In CategoryAdventures in Decorating, Navel Gazing

Sorry I didn’t post on Monday, I’ve been so busy packing I haven’t had a minute.


Jim told me the other day that I should start packing and I burst into tears and cried, “Hormonal Things Are Happening and if you want SOMEbody to do something USEFUL, I suggest you go to the store and get me some chocolate!” and then I ran away.

Not really, but sort of.


Jim’s no fool. He’s not necessarily a saint, either, because he had a pile just as big for his own snack drawer.

I packed two boxes today,* though. Go me! And then we had to take a break and go to Chick fil A. Because obviously.

In any event, we closed on the house a week ago, and it all went very smoothly (thankfully), and the title company closing facilitator person commented that she hadn’t seen an interest rate that low in a while, which was very gratifying indeed. It could have been a lie, but I’ll take it.

The sellers still haven’t turned over possession to us, though (hopefully this weekend), so I’ve been using the MakeRoom thingy at Urban Barn and creating all kinds of idea boards at Polyvore. I am nothing if not an efficient manager of my time.

In other news, one of my knitting pals, Crafty Friend, had this fun idea to rent a space in an antique booth together and see if we could support our thrift store habit. So we did.**




All the cute stuff is mine, and all the OH MY GOSH I MUST HAVE THAT IMMEDIATELY stuff is hers (like that super adorable chicken painting that I probably need).

She makes her own funky jewelry, too, and is starting an etsy store. I’ll let you know when it’s up and running.

In the meantime, come over and buy a turquoise table. No pressure.

*this is not the announcement

**this is the announcement

The $20 Desk

In CategoryAdventures in Decorating

When we moved into this house, you may recall that we had pretty much zero furniture, and a budget of about four dollars to rectify that situation.

I planned to get a kitchen table and have the kids do schoolwork on that. They did not like that idea. They were too far away from me.

So I let them work on the dining room table I am currently using as a desk. That way they were right beside me, I could still kvetch on Twitter, and it was mostly okay.

But then their crap was all over my desk; Big complained endlessly and bitterly about the uneven table top; and they blew erasures all over my arm.

So I started trolling Craig’s List for a desk. Just a small student desk with three drawers. We found one that looked perfect online and went to pick it up.

It reeked of cigarette smoke. REEKED. Jim apparently could not say No to the old, nicotine encrusted couple and stuffed it in the back of the car while I looked on doubtfully.

And then we had to drive home with all the windows rolled down because DUDE. It was BAD. The whole way home I asked, “do you want to just donate this to Goodwill and cut our losses?” But the more I asked, the more stubborn he got.

Obviously, the minute we got home, we chucked the desk into the garage to air out and headed to Home Depot.

We bought TSP and Kilz and some turquoise paint.

Here is Jim, going to war with the desk –


I had my doubts about this whole thing, for reals. I cannot abide the smell of cigarette smoke and I was not going to have even a whiff of it in my house. The TSP worked wonders, and the Kilz (three cans!) put a stop to any residual odor.

After –



The kids picked the paint color, and Controlly Mom was surprisingly relaxed about it. It’s their desk after all. What’s the worst that could happen? I put chalkboard paint on the table top (Controlly Mom is not planning on letting them chalk on it, though. Do you know what kind of mess that makes? I have enough stuff to clean, plus also I suck). The turquoise is my standard homemade chalk paint. Not be be confused with chalkboard paint.

I know. It’s confusing.

There is not even the faintest reminder that it was coated in nicotine – and believe me, I have a super sniffer and wouldn’t have let it in the house if it smelled. The three drawers are perfect for the kids, and the mid-century legs appeal to me.

So there you go. I probably would not got through that again, but it worked out great and we are very happy with the results.

Of course it cost significantly more than $20 by the time it was all over, between the TSP, the rubber gloves, the twenty-seven kinds of paint (chalkboard spray paint, regular chalkboard paint, Kilz spray paint, Kilz roll-on paint, the turquoise paint….), but we don’t focus on that.

Once again, Other People’s Crap makes me happy.

Other People’s Crap in Mah House

In CategoryAdventures in Decorating

Continuing along in the Deb Decorates Series, aka Other People’s Crap in My House, here is more of the Living Room –

This chair was a Craig’s List find.

It’s a virtually unused chair from Pottery Barn. Apparently it was in the guest room of the man who owned it, and it did not get a lot of traffic. That could be the furniture equivalent of buying a car from an old lady who never drove except to go to church, but work with me here.


The guy would not budge from his price of $280. I’d rather have paid $250, but I am still very happy with the deal.

Next to the chair is the television credenza, which I bought years ago on a thrifting trip with my sister. I got it for FIFTY BUCKS, believe it or not, and I am pretty sure it’s actually worth more like several hundred.

I don’t know why it looks so dusty. It wasn’t, I promise.

The top used to have white marble slabs inlaid into it, but they, um, broke during transport. I went to a granite place and picked out a remnant, which they cut to the exact right measurements and beveled for me.

It holds all the wires and stuff for the television.

I detest wires. I cannot stand to see wires. They are sloppy and icky. Since the back of this piece was way too nice to go drilling a hole into, we drilled into the bottom of the cabinet. Clever, yes? I maintained the integrity of the piece all the way around, but still modernized it to hold all the dreaded wires. Probably at some point in the future, I will wax it to brighten up the wood a little.

My favorite table in the house is this old fashioned school desk, and it’s the side table by the sofa. Yet another antique mall find.

that lamp came from the thrift store. eight bucks.
the basket holds Us Weekly the Rainbow Resource Catalog.

So there you have it. The Living Room. Full of Other People’s Crap.