Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Life is a Little Crazy

Hi all. I've been noticeably sparse with my posts lately, and it's no small wonder. Life has been stockpiling on "crazy" and just dumped it all on us recently. Long story short, another failed house offer (our third), damaged finished furniture from a nasty gust of wind, and no car for a week were the bad kind of crazy. But a good crazy also fell out of nowhere and has had me, and will continue to have me very busy for a number of weeks. It's an amazing film gig, and it's very likely that both spare time and inspiration will not magically coincide for writing posts until after late-July.

So although that means that this blog will be on a short hiatus, I'm stoked to be on this project (if you don't know already, filmmaking is my first love - just type "film" into this site's search box and you'll see what I mean, hehe). I'll still be sharing what I'm doing both in life and on set on Instagram @dravenmade, so follow me there so I can continue to interact with y'all!

previous short film worked on
[Speaking of Instagram, go and check out my two latest thrift finds and custom-color painting project]

I hope all of you are having great summers so far - I'll see y'all back here the end of July! :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Save Money While Mowing Your Grass - Fiskars Staysharp Max Reel 18-inch Review

Mowing season is upon us, folks! I know some people enjoy it.

I'm not one of those people.

Growing up, my folks had 5 acres. As myself and each of my siblings got old enough, we would mow it all.

I'm done with big yards.

Karl is too.

Which is why we want a small plot of land in our first home.

In preparation for (hopefully) moving soon, Karl has been researching mowers for a long time, but was inspired by one of his fave blogs, Art of Manliness to look into push mowers [the article is called "In Praise of the Push Reel Mower" for those interested in reading it].

Why a push mower?

For starters, it's quiet. The first time Karl used the Fiskar, he came back smiling and saying how peaceful it had been, and promptly showed me a picture he'd taken of a bee on a nearby flower that he had been mowing near. I've been in the yard with him while he's mowing and we can chat - kind of crazy sounding, right?

It's a pleasurable experience to mow, something neither of us can recall mowing ever being before.

It's a money-saver. Psssh, buying fuel or charging with electric to simply mow our lawn? Our ancestors would be shaking their heads at us.

The push mower itself is inexpensive as well - the best price I've found for it is on Amazon for $190, free s/h. [note: affiliate link] Or do what we did: good 'ol Craigslist! I found a nearby seller who had used it only twice whom we bought it from for $150. Nice!

Bonus: Want exercise and muscles? Buy this instead of exercise equipment.

There. You just saved money in three ways already.

Push mowers are like taking snipping shears across your lawn, allowing the grass to grow in a healthy manner, and also giving your lawn a nice manicured look.

Lastly, push mowers are much safer. Ever catch a rock and the mower chucks it at major league baseball speeds? We've had siding from 50 ft away get punctured by such a scenario. Imagine if someone had been standing there? Yikes. Then add in the hot motor to burn yourself on and the continuously spinning blades even when you're standing still.

No motor on a push mower, and the blades stop when you stop. You would have to run right over a person to actually catch them with the blades with a push mower.

Why the Fiskar mower?

adjustable height, from 1-4"

It trims very well and has different settings for how high or low you want to cut your grass. Unlike a lot of push mowers, it also allows you to cut right up against edges of walls.

Is a push mower for everybody?

To put it simply: no.

If you have a yard that's more than half an acre, you'll probably want to get a bigger mower.

Is your yard crazily uneven or rocky? Then a push mower may not be your best bet. You'll have a harder time moving it across your lawn, especially if you like cutting your grass very short. See the video here for a little demo of cutting it very short on uneven ground:

Although, if you ever wanted an excuse to redo your lawn so that it is flattened and smooth, this would be a good excuse.

Overall we're glad we have a push mower. I'd say to really look into them if you're interested and go for it!

Shared On: fromdreamtoreality, hitmewithyourbestshot

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Yardsale Haul - May 2015

This past weekend I got to have one of those yardsale experiences of finding one amazing bargain piece after another, including specific items I'd been looking for.

Using my go-to resources for finding good yardsales, I geekily mapped out an itinerary days before so I could hit-up 6 big multi-sale and moving sales all in one morning. Two especially stood out: a retirement village, and the other a multi-vendor sale in a park.

My cash budget was a wee $30 from a recent selling of my ancient Gameboy, so it was a lot of fun to put my wheelin' and dealin' skills to use again! In fact they allowed me to walk away from the retirement village with a hand truck (we've been looking for one awhile now!) and these two awesome large glass jars for a total of $5! Goodness did I have a big grin on my face as I stowed it all in my car! A good hand-truck alone can run $50 and upwards, so this was a steal!

Later at the park I hadn't walked by many booths before I saw IT.

The Federal Style of furniture has always appealed to me. No, that's an understatement. I LOVE it. I'd also been on the lookout for such a piece to be in our entryway or as a TV stand. So I immediately bee-lined it to the dresser and checked for a price. Not seeing one, I asked the gal how much.

"That? Asking $40, but make an offer."

Ooo. Now I was definitely tempted. But there was still one problem...

...I was driving my Mini. It can fit a lot more than most would believe, but a dresser...

"Hm, maybe if I can find a way to get it back to my house I can consider it. I'll make a call and see."

"Oh! Do you live far? We could probably just drop it off for you."

Oh heavens, not have to lift it myself or commandeer a vehicle? She was singing my tune.

As it turned out, I happened to be just down the road from the sale, so I told her as much and then added that I wanted to look at the rest of the vendors and then I'd come back with a decision. She kindly said she'd hold it for me.

I probably took no more than 10 minutes to see the rest of the vendors. I also double-checked what cash I still had on me. Only $25.

It was time to get my negotiation skills to work again.

Coming back to the Federal dresser, I gave it a closer inspection - opening drawers, the "sniff test", etc. Satisfied, I approached the lady again and offered $25.

She countered with $30, citing the delivery being included. It was truly a good deal, so I showed her my cash remnant and said that $25 was all I had, but that I could pay the final $5 when it was delivered to the house. We shook hands and that was that!

Her father immediately went to work getting it in his truck, and no more than 10 minutes later it was sitting in my driveway as I had a nice chat with the father (he had a story about one of our annoying neighbors that had me laughing) and handed over the $5.

So, here it is, all for $30!

It's sitting in my garage for now because it has some missing veneer on the sides and drawers, so I'm going to be restoring it (this will be my first time trying to restore veneer, so if you have tips please send them in!).

Y'all have any awesome finds or deal-making this past weekend? Do tell! :)

Shared On: fromdreamtoreality

Friday, May 8, 2015

Island-Blue Side Tables

Oh my goodness, these tables have fulfilled a wish of mine that I've had for months of wanting to go bold and bright with a color, so I could not turn down the opportunity when I had these small side tables in my possession!

Here's what they looked like before I got to work on them:

These tables have been a handful, but they were worth it! Now look at these daring darlings:

General Finishes is once again the winner behind this phenomenal color of milk paint called Patina Green. It has a Jade quality to it, and reminds me of the beautiful and clear turquoise ocean waters you find in tropical areas.

The bold color especially works with these two pieces in a room because they are small and therefore not overpowering, but will still make a statement.

I kept the original fixtures and used good ol' gold Rub n' Buff to shine them up and add even more glam.

Just like those pure island waters that beckon your gaze to linger, you can't peel your eyes away from them!

Very much in love with how these babes turned out!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Low Hutch Makeover

Hi all! I finally kicked that awful cold's butt and am back to full health again. Huzzah! Better still, I have not just one, but 2 furniture makeovers to (at last) show y'all this week!

Today's makeover was my mom's low credenza that she keeps in her dining room. It was stained a very redish-brown back-in-the-day, and she wanted to bring it some life again.

Also in her dining room is a buffet table, and the plan was to try to have the credenza match it ...and I just realized I forgot to get a pic of the buffet table - do'h! Basically the whole top and the trim at the bottom are both black, and the middle is some kind of tuscan...antiqued-white...thing...? (I'm really great at this whole describing thing)

Anywho, going by that color scheme, I used General Finishes milk paint in Lamp Black on the top and bottom (you can see it in-progress here on my Instagram). Then came two coats of GF's Linen in the middle, and then topped off the middle with GF's Van Dyke brown glaze.

The fixtures and hinges were also painted black with the milk paint, which my ma did herself (she's actually starting to get the furniture painting fever and did a side table the other week! Another one joining the dark side, mwhaha).

In the end it turned out looking very close to the buffet table, so they do actually look like a set now. Very cool.

Looks much better than that ruddy red hue it had before!

Once again, GF products ftw!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Two-Story Entry Hall, Goodwill Haul, and a Realtor with Gall

Woo, what a week. Things looked promising at the beginning, and even though we now know that it wasn't meant to be, it's still frustrating and disappointing.

Shall I explain?

As many of you know, we've been house-hunting for 9+ months. Our first home we made an offer on was a short sale, which took 2 months to hear anything from, and then the bank was unreasonable and we had to walk away from it. The dead of winter brought no new homes on the market, so it wasn't until last week that we stumbled across a foreclosure we liked.

It was a 1940 cape that had almost everything we had been looking for and then more besides, such as this amazing foyer!

We were smitten. We learned on the same day that we were making an offer that another offer had just come in, but as long as we also sent our offer that day, they'd consider both.

The only pitfall with the house was that the SDS revealed it had not been hooked up to the public sewer, which was necessary in order for any new owners to possess the house. The selling realtor told us that the bank was aware of it and already getting estimates.

Since it sounded like the bank was already acting on it, we added a contingency that the bank hook the house up and with fingers crossed and a prayer, we made our best offer and waited.

The selling realtor came back two days later saying that our offer was the strongest, but that the other offer hadn't mentioned the sewer hookup. Therefore, they would only accept our offer if we assumed responsibility for the sewer to be hooked up. They said they'd been quoted $7,800 for the job, but as many know, you can never trust an estimate - unforeseen issues can crop up. Not to mention we had already given our very best offer manageable, because there were many other updates needed in the house (such as a water-damaged and falling-down ceiling in the garage).

When we asked how they'd even be able to (legally) sell it to the other buyers without proper hookup, he flippantly said, "it's only illegal if it's caught".

Cue me wanting to give that realtor a good swift kick in the you-know-where. These are people's lives you're messing with here, buddy.

It was an underhanded move of the bank and realtor in our book. Neither our realtor or we felt comfortable with their idea, so we stood by our original offer and basically said to take it or leave it.

They left it and went with the other.

I can only imagine the terrible surprise those new homeowners are going to get now. I truly wish I had a way of contacting them before they accepted the bank's offer.

Alas, another home we fell in love with bites the dust. We're taking comfort in the fact that our house is still out there somewhere, and I'm trying to not be impatient and tell it to hurry up and show itself. It's a struggle sometimes, especially as the market still hasn't really picked up.

Going back to house hunting, I just had to share these two...unique...features of some homes we recently found during one day of touring several before finding the 1940 cape, such as this pendant lamp complete with gingham patterned wallpaper on the ceiling:

...and this coat closet that was also turned into a partial bathroom...gross (can't say I've ever seen that before).

We're still getting rid of stuff by the bagful in preparation of decluttering before moving. Here was my most recent trip to Goodwill, with stuff in the backseat and front seat not pictured. We've probably donated 40-something grocery-sized bags to Goodwill in the last few months. Feels so good.

Oh, and despite the bad headcold I've had the last 48 hours, progress has been made on the piano bench!

Hopefully I can knock off this cold over the weekend and be good to finally reveal those side tables next week that I've been forever working on.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Piano Bench Project

Hi guys! This will be a very quick post, but wanted to share this piano bench that I came across this past weekend.  

Look at those legs!

I have some delicious plans for this stylin' piece. I definitely want to make it a tufted bench. It's been almost a year since I've done my headboard tufting project, and a first for trying a bench, so it'll be a good learning curve. 

However, there is one hangup with it:

...it's a storage bench. Which is awesome. But I had to now come up with a way to cover it with fabric without messing with the hinges or the gap necessary for opening and closing the lid. Hmmm....yeah....Not sure how to do that whatsoever...

I tried to find tutorials for doing a tufted storage bench on google and pinterest, but didn't have much luck. ...and this is why I love Instagram so much. I posted a pic of the bench with an S.O.S. on my profile for how to do a project like this, and in no time with the help of a great gal who wanted to do a similar project, we both got answers. Huzzah! 

With that hurdle out of the way, it was on to design! For fabric color, I'm thinking jewel tones, specifically a rich emerald green such as the pic below: 

So pretty!

As for the legs, I briefly debated a regency look with gold, but I'm leaning towards a white-washed or reclaimed wood style. 

I have a few more projects in the wings that need their finishing touches, and then I'll be free to get started on this bench! Can't wait!


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