Whomp, Whomp. My Wall Art FAIL

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It’s no secret I like love coffee. And Hubby does too. In fact, we spend a couple hours every weekend at our favorite local coffee house. For us, the coffee is great but it’s also about the people. We’ve been going to the same coffee shop for nearly 10 years. Until a couple of years ago, we lived around the corner and went each morning before work. This place and the people there are a big part of our lives. Many of them have attended our baby shower, mentored us on business and family, and even exchange Christmas cards and gifts with us.

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Now that you understand how important all things coffee actually are… Hopefully it will make sense how much I love these burlap coffee sacks. I saw them at coffee shop and asked if they had any empty ones I could have. I was given two sacks right on the spot. Now I need to find a way to incorporate this quirky tidbit into our decor. Until I found the coffee bags I had considered painting a still life if a mug or a coffee bean for the gallery wall but those were just too literal.

So I attempted to hang one directly on the half bath wall. Like- I NAILED IT TO THE WALL.

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Something’s not right. I hung it sideways so it would be more graphic and abstract. I was disappointed at how it looked so I sent out a pic to a few friends. The responses were hilarious! Hubby said it was too homeless beach hobo style for him. Molly said it dominated the small bathroom. Another friend asked if I had purposely hung it horizontally. And my sister was disgusted that I hung what would otherwise be “trash” on a wall. Tell me how ya really feel! The point is that it’s not working. I still want to use this in a fun way somewhere in the house. This half bath just isn’t where it belongs. Back to the drawing board. I need to find a use for the sack and wall art for the bathroom.

Tell me I’m not the only one! What have you tried in your projects or decor that failed miserably? What did you learn and how did you fix it?

Half Bath Redo (part 1)- Paint

For months I have been plotting revenge on our teeny tiny cave of a half bath. It is the only room in the house I haven’t painted (except the kitchen… more on that another day).

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I’ve been putting this project off for a few reasons. The first is time. I never have a span of time long enough to knock it all out. The second is that choosing a color proved to be a huge hurtle. Hubby pulled the “I don’t care. Surprise me.” card… I was torn over “Zen” green left over from the guest room or the soft “Glass Slipper” left over from the master bedroom. Anything but that brown paper bag color that haunts this entire place. Third issue: this tiny room is riddled with problems. Although it has all new fixtures as well as new tile and vanity, the walls are poorly mudded (result of s speedy/sloppy drywall job by previous owner… like most of his paint jobs around here. If I ever see him in Home Depot so help me…). And with the poorly treated walls comes gapped trim work. It is still only the store primer white- you can see the nails in it and they aren’t flush with the walls. Nobody took the time to paint it. I’ll likely be caulking around the entire baseboard trim, filling the nail holes and painting all the trim soon. Also, This bathroom sits under the ventilation soffit that divides the lower level of the house. The soffit is a foot deep and brings the ceiling to a whopping 7 feet above you. Now you see how tiny this thing is… from side to side AND top to bottom. The last problem and biggest challenge is that the vanity sits a convenient 3.5 inches from its adjoining wall. You can kind of see in the photo below. Just enough room for my hand… but not a roller.

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As for color, I went with the Glass Slipper by Benjamin Moore left over from the master bedroom. It really brightened up the dull walls and feels much fresher and cleaner. Bonus: this project had no cost. There is still quite a bit to do to accessorize but for now I’ve tossed the quote canvas on the main wall and added a basket on the toilet.

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The plant already lived on the top of the tank, but I placed it in a basket, added a box of tissues, some monogrammed hand towels and a roll of toilet paper. You know, just in case. This is the only accessible counter space in the bathroom therefore it is the only place for tissues etc to go. I’ve been playing with the idea of a wall shelf or two above the toilet but the basket is doing the job for now. The vanity and mirror both have minimal storage for soaps and such though.

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Everything feels lighter and brighter. Hubby and I were both pleasantly surprised. Interestingly enough, the lighter color in a satin finish actually disguises the imperfect walls. I think the white of the sink looks cleaner and newer too.

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Amazing what a coat of paint can do. Next: wall art (boy do I have a surprise up my sleeve on that one), potential storage and hospitality items.

Hanging ‘Round (Downtown by Myself)

Is anyone else singing a nineties classic?

Over my stay-cation a while back I had time to catch up on a few things that have been on my to do list for a while. I had quite a few art pieces and photographs that I have been meaning to hang around the house.

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Rainboots – Once upon a time I painted this. Don’t ask me when because I don’t remember at all. It was in my arsenal of canvas paintings. I had forgotten all about it until I had the pleasure of cleaning out the under the stairs storage space and organizing my art supplies and collection. I feel like its somewhat unfinished so I think I will be adding some bright red rain boots. My other husband (the gay one… I don’t actually have 2 hubbies. One is just enough, thanks.) calls it “Katrina”… as in the hurricane. And he’s not far off- that looks like one hellacious rainstorm! I almost hung this in our yellow bathroom but something just wasn’t right so I tried this spot at the end of the hall. I’m surprised I like it here so much since I had expected to use a much smaller piece of art here.

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Ceramic Art Piece – I made this in a ceramics class in college. I was inspired by a similar shaped sculpture that hung in my parents’ home for as long as I remember. I fired it in maybe 2003 or 2004… but ever since its been in a box. Surprisingly, it survived at least 2 moves and a garage flood. I don’t know why I’ve never hung it but I’m happy I found the perfect little wall for it.

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Hyde Park Photography – The bathroom was a little naked (pun intended) so I dug up some photography I had in my portfolio. These are a couple favorites of the amazing architecture in Hyde Park Square, Cincinnati. We lived there for 5ish years before moving to the burbs and it is one of my favorite places on earth. We still drive back on the weekends for coffee with our coffee shop family. These trumped the rainboot painting. I usually hang small pairs like this next to each other instead of vertically. The vertical look is really working for me here though.

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So those are a few of the little updates I made. I have so many more on my to do list and a few still to post about.

Dirty Little Secrets – Part II

Hopefully you found my first set of Dirty Little Secrets to be helpful. My second installment concentrates on my least favorite place to clean: the bathroom (dun dun dunnn!). However, I promise that these secrets are better than any store bought anything EVER. Seriously. I’m now strangely satisfied when I’m through scrubbing away soap scum. I may need help, and possibly medication. Who gets this excited about cleaning?

Below is a repeated section of the first round of dirty little secrets. I thought it may be helpful to have it all in one place (again).

I make all of my household solutions with the following:

Baking soda. Mine is used so much that I keep a giant jar of it right next to my flour, sugar and coffee containers on the counter. I go through maybe 12 pounds of it per year. And it’s almost always generic brand. Baking soda is baking soda.

White Vinegar. I often can make it a whole year on about 2 gallons. Another product that is satisfactory when purchased as a generic brand.

White ammonia. Again, generic is perfect. The white part is very important.

Rubbing alcohol. Generic! I only go through a pint each year.

Peroxide. You guessed it- generic! Maybe 2 pints per year for cleaning.

Dawn dish washing liquid. My personal preference and I’ve found to be best smelling. Here, brand can matter. And the blue colored kind is just fine.

Suave hair conditioner. I swear. I but about 4 of these a year. At less than $1 at the grocery its an amazing value! Its almost always just used for scent – I like waterfall. But if coconut or something is your thing, go for it!

Lemon juice, sometimes actual lemons. Lemon juice is naturally antiseptic, acidic and nicely scented. All perfect for my purposes. Actual lemons are only a preference when I make a few of these things. Lemon juice keeps longer in the pantry and fridge.

Essential oils: Tea Tree Oil and Peppermint are best.

I bought all of these AND my homemade laundry detergent supplies in one swoop at Walmart for less than $50!

**Important to note** 

– I always purchase new spray bottles and storage containers for my cleaning supplies. As nice as recycling is… the chemical reaction, burn and explosion risk of splashing new chemicals into old chemical containers FAR out weighs the benefits. Just don’t do it.

Mixing anything is always dangerous. Lots of my cleaners rely on small chemical reactions between acids and bases. Use gloves, glasses operate in a well ventilated area ( I use my back deck). I always take a thorough shower after my mixing to ensure nothing lingers on my skin or runs the risk of getting my eyes or mouth.

-It may be a good idea to test some of these solutions on the surfaces of your home first. For instance, I have Corean countertops. If you have granite or something else you may want to check with your care manual or test a spot yourself before using all over. The same goes for carpet, clothing, tiles, tubs, sinks, flooring, appliances, etc.

-Always store these and all chemicals away from the reach children and pets. Be smart.

One more secret weapon: Lemon Infused Vinegar

Place the peels of 2 lemons in a wine bottle (or any bottle you can reseal well), fill with vinegar. Allow to sit/ferment for 2-4 weeks. Shake the bottle once a week. When ready, strain lemon and debris from vinegar into a new clean container. You can use this vinegar wherever any of my recipes call for vinegar. It takes the funky scent from vinegar and adds to its cleaning power!

Ok… now for those fantastic bathroom solutions:

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

1/2 cup baking soda

1 cup vinegar

Pour vinegar into toilet bowl. Allow to sit for 30 minutes (while you clean the rest of the bathroom). When you return to this task, swoosh your toilet brush around and scrub quickly under the rim. Then sprinkle baking soda onto the wet brush and scrub the toilet bowl all over, repeating until the baking soda is gone (2 or 3 sprinkles). Flush t one or two times. Good as new … and bleach free!

Soap Scum Remover

1 cup warm vinegar *(microwave 1-2 minutes- if you allow it to sit in the microwave for a minute after it is finished, the vapors break down the gook on the walls/door of microwave and they simply wipe away. two birds – one stone. You’re welcome.)

1 cup Dawn

Mix ingredients in spray bottle. Shake well. Spray on stream setting (if possible) onto walls of the shower, tub or sink. Allow to soak and “scrub” on its own for a few minutes. This works like scrubbing bubbles- Spray on, rinse off with hot water. Occasionally, wiping is necessary on the tough build-up spots. This amount is usually enough for my two full bathrooms. Perk: it also dissolves soap scum on glass shower doors and enclosures. Miracles, I tell you!

Tub Scrub

1 cup baking soda

1 TBSP Dawn

Few drops of your favorite essential oil (I heart peppermint)

Mix ingredients into a paste in a small mixing bowl with a metal cereal spoon. Wood spoons stick too much and the cereal spoon is a manageable size. Use a plastic bristled scrub brush or shower scrubber to scrub into tub sides, bottom and around drain. Rinse away well with hot water. Also works on tiled shower floors. It may take a little elbow grease to get great results, but its cheaper, better for you and better smelling than foaming cleaners!

Hardware 

Clean stainless steel faucets and handles with all-purpose vinegar solution. Then shine them up (and prevent water marks with baby oil or olive oil on a rag.

Floors

I use my same mopping solution for the bathroom floors. For stubborn mildew or mold (especially in grout) try the soap scum remover to spot clean.

Counters, doors, cabinets and moulding/trim

I use the all-purpose vinegar cleaning solution. I dissolves hairspray, makeup residue, toothpaste gunk and so on from most any non-porous surface.

Windows and mirrors

Use “I wish I were Windex” and wipe away!

Happy Cleaning! And always remember what my mom says to carry with you while you clean!