Thursday, December 27, 2012

2013 Home Goals

 I've been working on some goals for 2013. Other than the perennial lose weight, that is. But that's another post. Here are my home goals for next year.
  • Finish the living room: paint the closet, ceiling and black dressers, upholster the oak chair, teak oil the teak, make some decorative accents, replace couch, replace coffee table
  • Finish my son's room: make/purchase drapes, make some pillows, complete some artwork, replace the ceiling fan and have the water damaged window sill replaced.
  • Finish the bathroom: repair the door, hang towel racks, seal grout over sink.
  • Finish the dining room: paper back the china cabinet, find new chairs & reupholster them, set up the bar cart, make a gallery wall with shelves and leaning black frames.
  • Misc: hide the cable tv cable, paint all the trim white, paint all the doors black, wash all windows & screens inside and out.
I'd love to throw kitchen and master bedroom projects on the list, but those rooms are barely started and I don't realistically think I can get it all done. I would prefer to finish the rooms that are almost complete and finally be done with them. I don't know if I'll have a focus room for the month and work on projects for that room only for the month or if I'll jump around and do projects that sound interesting. I really want to get the rooms finished so I might focus one at a time and really wrap them up.

I do know that with these house goals and the personal goals I'll share later I need to be more productive. Less sitting on my butt, more doing. All the projects sound so easy on paper. I have a whole year. How can I NOT get these done?  Everything takes longer than I anticipate. I also overestimate the amount of time, energy and patience I actually DO have.

How about you? Do you make goals for the year?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Thank You Google

I've owned two Starbuck's Barista Espresso machines in the last 15 (?) years or so. My first was a Christmas gift and was a pretty forest green. It matched my kitchen at the time (remember the 90's colors of forest green, navy blue and burgundy? They are making a come back except more of a kelly green this time.) Anyway. My first one died in my last move 5.5 years ago. I purchased a used one on eBay. Well that one has been brewing slower and slower. Like drip..... drip.....drip. Over 15 minutes to make a latte. I thought it was slowly dying.

I turned to Google to see if there was anything I could do to fix the problem. After a little reading I realized I had never descaled the machine (which is recommended every 3-4 months). Oops. I ordered the recommended descaler from Amazon (and got a couple more things I really didn't need just to get the free shipping. Do you do that too?)

I also read to use a pin to clean out the holes in the porta-filter. I ran water through it and watched as it just sat there. Hmmm.... maybe that's the problem! Well I found a pin and poked and poked. I used a little vinegar (even though they say not to clean the machine with vinegar but I thought the filter would be OK) and scrubbed and let it sit and poked some more. Then I rinsed for a couple minutes to get the vinegar taste/smell off, put it back together and pulled a shot. It took just seconds (instead of minutes) and had a great creama on top. Success! Thank you Google!

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Christmas is kind of a bust for me this year. I've run out of time and haven't even brought the decorations up from the basement yet. I haven't done any baking. I didn't send out cards. I had plans of making some food type gifts that were scraped. I'm even taking store bought appetizers to my family's party. I'm pretty lame - although I did manage to get gifts for the 4 people/couples I buy for. It just seemed like there was no time and I wasn't in the mood. Now it's too late and I've given myself permission to just forget all of it and let it go. Maybe next year will be better.

I did manage to make two gifts. Well with some help.

I purchased a pretty lucite tray from The Container Store for $11.99. My son made a chevron liner with a monogram in Photoshop. We went to Office Depot and had it printed and then laminated for $2.50. Voila - a personalized tray. One is with red chevrons and the other has orange chevrons to coordinate with my sister's-in-laws houses. I hope they like it.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Trumpets are blaring, a lone sunbeam shines down upon it and the clouds part and behold there is a TV.

 Ha ha. I have a new TV. It is really kind of a big deal for me. I haven't owned a TV  for about 8 or 9 years. As in no TV in the house at all. I watch a couple shows (Hoarders, Project Runway, Top Chef, Chopped) on the internet but that's about it.

Then why the new purchase you might ask? Well I find that I'm behind on everyday common culture. That might sound stupid. But I have no idea when most people talk about minor/local news stories, TV shows, commercials/new products, movies, celebrities on TV. I've lost a common frame of reference with many people. What started years ago as a respite from the constant bombardment of commercialism and sensationalized news has turned into being out of step. I feel like my 94 year old Great Aunt Helen, living in a technology free bubble, not even aware of what's going on around her. OK. I'm not that bad - I read the national news online. But you get the idea.

So when my internet/cable provider forcibly upgraded my internet service, offered free cable installation, a great rate, free DRV and $200 cash back all for one decent price I took the plunge and signed up for cable TV, all 200+ glorious channels. Bonus - my internet speeds quadrupled!

Here's hoping I don't overdose on HGTV and the Food Channel.

Monday, December 17, 2012


I've been doing well selling items on Craigs List or eBay lately. I've sold my old living room rug, my mid-century modern credenza, my mid-century modern bar cabinet, my mid-century modern sewing cabinet, my Ikea platform bed frame, two bamboo chairs, a Lucite chandelier and an old Minolta camera.

I'm so happy to free up some space in the condo and get these extra pieces out of here. To sell I still have a teak rocking chair, a mid-century modern day bed without cushions (that I hauled out of someones trash - but in excellent condition!), an extra mid-century modern coffee table with some water damage (I was going to refinish it) and two Lucite chandeliers (purchased to resell) and two crystal lighting fixtures (also purchased to resell).  Although I might save the chandeliers and update the dining room and my bedroom. I also purchased to resell some designer clothes and a Prada handbag found while out thrifting. Some items didn't sell and I donated them - most notably my mid-century modern china set and some large canvases.

Things I'm still looking for / want to purchase: a new mattress and box spring, bedside tables, new dining room chairs, couch with chaise, possibly new drapes for the dining room, and possibly a new coffee table and end tables by the couch and finally possibly changing out the abstract art in the dining room for a gallery wall.

 In the upcoming months I want to tackle these projects: paint all the interior doors black, repaint all the trim white, paint my bedroom (still undecided on the color but with black and white accents), repaint the kitchen aqua plus about two dozen smaller projects. I'll probably give it some more thought and come up with a dozen home goals for 2013 so I have some focus and organization.

Writing things down like this helps me see that I am making progress in my home. Sometimes it feels like I'm standing still. Of course I will never "finish" because I'm constantly changing things like the credenza and bar cabinets in the living room, drapes, etc - things that are perfectly fine the way they are but I just want a change.

What about you? Sell any stuff lately? Make any purchases you've been planning for your house?

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I just had a fun discussion about 80's music with my sister-in-law. We were talking about Erasure but neither of us could come up with the songs they were famous for. I turned to Youtube to refresh my memory (after all it's been ~ 25 years) and found these from the 1988 album The Innocents. Boy the memories they brings back. Makes me want to have big hair, wear neon and dance around. When these came out I had graduated high school, was in my first year of college (studying to be a secretary!) while still living at home and was contemplating marrying my sweetheart. I hope you listen and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Cactus

Sorry for the radio silence the last couple weeks. My son is home from college for the holidays and I've been working a lot. Busy, busy, busy. I haven't even decorated yet for Christmas! Although I do have a pine scented candle burning so the house smells nice and festive.

I am so excited! This is the first time my Christmas Cactus plant has blossomed! While maybe not a big deal to most, I'm kind of a plant person and am very excited by this development. My African violets are also in bloom. All during the summer they are dormant. I have the large trees shading my condo so they don't get enough sun to do anything. But come fall - yippie! I give them a dose of fertilizer and watch them take off. I'll have lovely white, pink and purple blossoms for months. Now all I have to do is figure out why my orchids aren't blooming.

I just love having healthy, colorful plants around me.