Subtle Changes

The gallery wall in our office is charming enough on it’s own as it is an eclectic collection of original pieces from various artists and friends … and/or friends who are artists.  Why “Yes” that IS a needlepoint of Chris Cornell stitched in chartreuse thread.

BeforeI, however, recently stumbled across this Etsy Shop and figured why not make that gallery wall even more fabulous…which I did with the purchase of a series of ornate frames and an equally ornate clock.  Taking the fab gallery wall to nothing short of uber-fab.

After

After

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1987 Called – It Wants its Bathroom Carpet Back

We LOVE our home, but it’s a rental, and with rentals come compromises.  For example, white walls, and, often times, carpeting.  I personally cannot stand carpet.  I just KNOW dust bunnies are constantly having a keg party in a carpet.  And while our entire upstairs is wall-to-wall berber carpet, I’ll give my awesome landlord credit where credit is due…it’s high quality.  That being said, however, the berber carpeting extends into the upstairs bathroom.

As evidenced by this post, https://janellerene.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/bathroom-before-n-after/, when we first looked at this place, my immediate reaction to the upstairs bathroom was “Meh, I can live with this…”  Several years, and a refinish of the built-ins later, I was able to “live with” the carpeting in the bathroom less and less.

Our landlord, undoubtedly slightly reluctantly, gave me permission to pull up the carpet.  Actually, I’d already pulled up a corner, (praying the whole time there was some old terrazzo, or even laminate under that carpet), only to find your typical plywood subflooring under there.  I came up with a pitch, approached my landlord in a detailed email, and waited.  I knew he was going to be apprehensive, but my pitch explained that the floor would be properly water sealed, and thoroughly prepped so that he could do anything he wanted to the floor in the future, OR I would recarpet the area in the event we moved out.  He contemplated it for seemingly months.  When he finally gave me the ok, I didn’t have any time to actually execute my plan.

With the thanksgiving holiday, I finally had the gift of time to refinish the floor.  My guy was like “how do you know how to do this?!” … I responded: “the interwebs of course.”

While there are a myriad of tutorials online, I’ll spare you the details.  It took longer for the paint to dry than it did to actually complete this project.  Subtracting out those wait times, I suspect it only took me about 4 hours of actual work time.  It’s not perfect, but perfectly imperfect and we are quite pleased with the results!!

Carpeted Floor

Carpeted Floor

Carpet Removed

Carpet Removed

Tack Strips

Tack Strips Removed

Filled seams with wood filler and sanded

Filled seams with wood filler and sanded

Primed - covering water stains and sealing the floor

Primed – covering water stains and sealing the floor

Sand colored base coat applied

Sand colored base coat applied

Stencil Bitches! The detailed stencil hides a multitude of sins (i.e., the imperfections that remain in the floor)

Stencil Bitches! The detailed stencil hides a multitude of sins (i.e., the imperfections that remain in the floor)

Back to Business (so to speak)

 

Facebook Etiquette

Just Enough:  Facebook, what can I say, I’m a slave to it just like apparently 1.06 billion other “active monthly users” – and that was an estimate in January, 2013 – I suspect the numbers have increased since then exponentially.  It’s really been a pleasure reconnecting with people I haven’t known a thing about in over 20 (25ish) years, establishing new connections with people I barely remember, and connecting with new people I meet in all walks of life every day.  I’ve found long lost friends that I’ve thought of over the years and couldn’t be happier to have reconnected with, and I’ve fostered all kinds of fantastic new friendships.

I know some of you have really embraced religion.  Some of you like to share your opinions on politics.  Others like to rant about conspiracy theories.  I know when you’ve had babies, shakeups in your relationships and when your loved ones have passed on.  I’ve shared plenty of those moments myself.

I spend countless total hours – (emphasis on “total” as I don’t even get on Facebook everyday – and I’m fucking proud of it – go outside – bask in the sunshine)  – scrolling through your status updates, vacation pics, checking out videos you’ve shared, listening to music you’ve written, reading your blog posts, etc.  I’m moved by your accomplishments, your triumphs, and your milestones.  I’m happy to be a part of my friends’ lives and my “friends’” lives.

Too Much: Facebook makes us voyeuristic and at times I see way too much.  Why?  Because you reveal way too much!  This is not a smackdown on anyone in particular but I suspect that a large percentage of 1.06 billion people could use a Facebook tutorial or just some common sense etiquette lessons.

It is not necessary to post the minutiae of every single moment of your day, every meme you read so that a string of 40 of them show up in a row, everything you ate, and every weather or news update, and the minute-by-minute recap of the TV show you’re watching.  I only say this because, it’s not that I don’t enjoy what you share, it’s just that when you share TOO MUCH you run the risk of people hiding ALL your status updates which can only result in you getting mad when nobody knows what’s going on in your life…at which point you start posting passive aggressive “I know nobody cares, but” status updates.

We all hate Mondays and we’re all excited when Friday arrives (unless you have a job that has you working on the weekends then, who knows, maybe you hate Wednesdays).  We all hate when it’s too hot and equally hate it when it’s too cold.  We all hate to be bored.  We all hate to be sick (and sharing your surgery is one thing – I think many of us are genuinely concerned – but your common cold – c’mon).  We all share very similar opinions on a lot of mundane things.

And I have absolutely no problem with you sharing your beliefs on whatever you want to talk about.  Just because I don’t weigh in, doesn’t mean I’m not watching.  But essentially everyone is watching you.  Do you realize that?  Every friend you have (unless they’ve thrown their hands in the air and blocked you) is watching you.  When you actually end up with something important to share, you’ll be overlooked (unless you’ve already been hidden) because believe it or not, we’re tired of seeing your avatar in our feed and would sorta like to know what’s going on in other people’s lives.

Knock it off: Now all the aforementioned is just Facebook 101.  What I’m going to say next comes from a personal place.  You may agree, you may not agree.  It doesn’t matter.  I’m simply sharing it because it’s my blog and it’s what I feel like spewing at this very moment.  Charitable Causes.  I am all for them.  I applaud you for running the extra mile, walking the long walk and standing up for things that matter to you.  I do, I absolutely do – I commend you all.  I’ve voted on your various things, donated time, money and support to many of your causes, and I’ve shared your causes with others.  I’ve donated countless hours of my own personal time playing benefit concerts, feeding the homeless, and crisis counseling disaster victims.  But it is my right to choose who and what I support and you do not have the right to question that and/or be offended by it.  Your fights are your fights, your paths are yours to follow – and equally fair is I have a right to believe in and support whatever it is I choose to.

I may choose to share a cause someone else is interested in because maybe I know them personally or maybe I’ve been touched by something similar in my life.  Again, it doesn’t matter, it’s my choice and just like I don’t ask you to weigh in what I should have for dinner, I don’t need your opinion on what or who I choose to support.  And when it comes to my money, I definitely am the only one with the right to proportion my hard earned cash.

Don’t Stop:  Many of you reach out personally and I encourage you to continue to do so.  Again, it’s not that I don’t care or that I’m not concerned about your well being or that of your loved ones.  But please, please, please do not be offended if I don’t respond.  The bottom line is, if I had a dime for everybody that asked me to donate to their charitable causes,  … I’d have a lot more money to donate to charitable causes.

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Día de los Muertos

I didn’t know much about Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) till I moved to Southern California. Primarily a Mexican tradition, (although celebrated around the world in other cultures), the holiday focuses on family and friends gathering to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died.

Sugar skulls are one of the most popular figures in the Día de los Muertos celebrations. I was always rather fond of them, but I didn’t really know why. I was hired by a gal through my Etsy shop to make plates for her annual party.  I think the 12″ chargers I created for her adorned her table quite nicely!!   She and I are already working together to create something for her party next year!

Interested in something Sugar Skull(esque) … visit my ETSY shop!

Merry Christmas!

Yes premature … I know … but let’s face it – it’s November 1 and there has been Xmas decor in the stores seemingly since like mid-September. I start to get a little panicky this time of year with all the holiday prep … making travel plans, buying a myriad of gifts for family all over the country, wrapping, shipping, making copious amounts of THESE … and that just complicates my already completely erratic, hectic lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, I love the hollydayz, but let’s face it – it’s a lot of work.  I also tend to like to make my Xmas presents like THESE and THESE … you know, cuz I really like to jack up my free time.

I’m asked every year by my family to put together a “Wish List”. This is mayhaps one of the most difficult assignments I have all year.  I don’t want for much … I already have a tremendous amount of everything … do you have any idea how many vintage neckties I have?!  …that’s a story for another day…  I’m also very different in that I don’t want the same things that most people (more particularly women at Xmas) want.  Which is why I receive “Dexter” bobble heads instead of designer handbags as gifts.  In fact I had someone buy me a designer handbag once.  I still have it because I know it was expensive.  I carried it (obligatorily) literally once.  When I opened it, no doubt the look on my face was “do you not know me at all?!”  I wonder if this makes me super easy to shop for – or impossible?!!

So perhaps you wonder what to get your friends and loved ones for Xmas?  In that regard I thought I’d compile a list of places to shop.  These are all my friend’s shops and various other places I like to procure my gifts.

FOR YOUR ARTISTIC FRIENDS:

Check out My artistic friends from the interwebs for many years…

Paul Moschell’s new skins:


PAUL MOSCHELL

and my friend Jason Driscoll’s amazeball creations:

Kill Taupe

FOR DA’ BABIES:

My friend Dharia has recently opened a delightful Etsy shop:

DHARIA’S DELIGHTS

FOR DA’ KIDDOS:

Something special:

Dizzy Little Dottie

Something silly:

Howards Home

FOR DA’ BOYS:

My virtual friend Zaidat’s shop:

THE BEER SOAP COMPANY

FOR DA’ GIRLS THAT ROCK:

My Brother Jamie’s Zazzle Shop

For your gal friends, mom, or co-workers:

My friend Shannon’s shop: um it’s awesomely called “ScentsNtheCity” – ScentsNtheCity

For the music lover:

My friend Amy’s amazing bluegrass band:

Dead Men’s Hollow

FOR ME!

Chateau Three Fork

The Doll City Rocker

Your Organ Grinder

FROM ME!

In the Southeastern Connecticut area and want to get rid of all the
Xmas junk of years past??????

Call my old pal Tony Lowe at Lowe Carting & Recycling – 860-442-LOWE

Brian, why don’t you just make the minimum 37 pieces of flair?

Because my home pays homage to Halloween 365 days a year, I don’t take time to decorate for the “holiday”. I have, however, still managed to make some small changes here n’ there recently. It’s like adding flair to your environment.

BEFORE

AFTER – A quick table makeover…

A Nice Lil Pop of Turquoise

Vintage Gumball Machine gets some Eyeballs

Eyyyeeeeebaaaaallllsss

A Vintage Penguin Vase I bought from my mom’s Etsy shop gets some flowers

A formerly Black frame also gets a pop of blue

Mums the Word

Thrill of the Thrift-Know When to Hold ‘Em & Know When to Fold ‘Em

Thrifting can really be hit or miss.  There are some days I leave a thrift shop with an overwhelming amount of stuff and others a somewhat underwhelming amount of stuff – or nothing at all for that matter.  I can scan a yard sale from the street and know if it’s worth stopping at and I can breeze through a thrift store and sense there’s something awesome hidden in the store somewhere … or just know “today is not the day”.

These bad boys I found buried under a stack of crappy metallic and plastic frames at a local Salvation Army.  They were taped together with the backs facing outward, so really it was anybody’s guess what they were.  I was drawn to the red color of the frames as they peeked out from the pile.  Only a small gamble to remove the tape only to turn them over and find hand embroidered tea towels.  At 67 cents for the 2 of them I’d call that a Win!

It’s Not a Real Estate Transaction

I found myself in Marshalls or TJ Maxx (or both) the other day.  I was looking for a birthday gift for a friend.  Having no real plan, I started combing the aisles and quickly stumbled across this!

Holy Hell!  It’s Betsey Johnson, it’s a backpack,  it’s hot pink, it’s covered in skulls.  Into my shopping basket it went.  I perused around a bit more trying to find the gift I’d went in there for to begin with when I started a “do I really NEED this” conversation in my head. I literally debated the Pros n’ Cons as I walked about the store.  I pictured myself at 70 years old – with spikey hair, covered in hidden tattoos still carrying this bag.  It actually seemed reasonable to me that I will end up being THAT old lady.  The one that’s closer to Betsey Johnson then Betty White…ok, that was a bad comparison because Betty White is amazing and saucy and she’s like 90+ yrs old…but you probably get my point.  I’ll probably end up some sorta hybrid Betsey White sort of character.  I wondered if and when I would ever grow out of hot pink, skulled anything.  Then I began lamenting over the price tag.  Not at all steep at $39.99 – since it originally retailed for $168.00 – but not at all the kind of coin I drop on a purse … even a big one I can travel with.  …I do have a trip coming up afterall…  The final point that sealed the deal was not my own voice in my head, but my twin brother’s voice … if he had been with me, he would have been standing next to me heavy sighing whilst exclaiming “it’s 40 bucks – it’s not a real estate transaction – just buy it.”  And so I did…

When Pigs Fly

I recall my Aunt Diane being smitten with pigs as decor. And while I have nothing against pigs, (in fact I used to own two pot bellied pigs – Hamlet and Virginia Ham – yup true story),  I never really gravitated towards pigs in my own decor. My dear friend Bill has a plethora of pigs around his home … so many, in fact, that his wife, Alicia, has put the kibosh on him getting any more.

As evidenced HERE and HERE, I already have a couple of pigs in my home.  This little piggy, however, I fashioned up myself.  I had seen in various places a Golden Winged Piggy Bank pop up in design.  And let me tell you at $175, I refuse to fork over pennies in my piggy bank for such a purchase.

And then this happened…I stumbled across a white ceramic winged piggy at “Michaels” craft store.  It wasn’t a bank, but it generally looked very similar.  It was also on the clearance rack for $4.00.  I promptly brought it home and spray painted it with metallic gold spray paint I had on hand, leaving me with $171 and my owned golden winged piggy.

THEIRS (at $175.00)

MINE (at $4.00)

What’s in Your Wallet?!

I’m always tickled by the Capital One Vikings running around procuring things with their Visa cards when they should be carrying around little velvet bags with random coinage to make their purchases … and/or lopping off the heads of the merchants and taking what they want.

I’m also interested when other bloggers share what’s in their bags. Mostly because I’m amazed at what people lug around everyday and what they carry it in. Leading me to share what’s in my bag…

Hilariously, I don’t even carry a purse, per se, (I would never make a good fashion blogger).  I am currently carrying my dailies in a medic bag I scored from the Army Navy store for $9.00.  I like it because it resembles the Cambridge Satchel I covet but refuse to buy at $200 – it also suits my edgier style.

Inside my bag I keep handy at all times …

  •  a scarf / shawl thing of some sort (because I’m always cold)
  •  a wallet covered in octopi (for obvious reasons)
  •  the little green sack holds grocery bags (yep, I’ve been carrying my own grocery bags with me since 1995 – I do my part)
  • my iPhone (which was a gift from my twin brother, Jamie, and may be the best gadget ever)
  • whatever $5 sunglasses I’m wearing these days (I’m too fickle for expensive sunglasses)
  • and of course my Nikon Coolpix camera because you never wanna miss a photo op in Los Angeles (not in the picture – for obvious reasons)
  • a little makeup case made by my lovely friend Jenny

inside the makeup case is…
a lip ointment
lipstick
an herbal breath spray (fresh breath is a priority in my life – I learned that from the Geek in “16 Candles”)
band aids
a jump drive, and
the little square to the left is a tape measurer that I possibly use more than anything else in that pouch

What starts the most conversations with people I encounter though is my Dexter lanyard that I got free at Comic Con several years ago.