Monday, February 28, 2011

Master Bedroom Makeover

I've shown off our master bath renovation here, here, here, and here, but I never let you peek into our the bedroom.  Usually, whenever I was shooting the bathroom, I was piling all the non-photogenic items on the bed, where we had an old sleeping bag covering up the bedspread which the cat hurled on about 1 month after she moved in with us.  Not to mention the laundry and piles of reading material that both Mr. Palindrome and I hoard on our night stands.  Thankfully, a few episodes of Hoarders scared us straight and I'm ready to reveal the post-renovation shots.

Once upon a time, a young, naive and flip happy couple walked into this room:

And they put blood, sweat and tears into making this room a reality:

We replaced the carpet for the entire second floor before we moved our furniture into the house.  In the first few months of owning the house, we hired painters to brighten the trim with bright white paint. In October 2009, my brother and dad painted and tackled a few tasks in the master bath.  We hired an electrician to put in the ceiling fun and wire it to the switch.  We hung the curtains, decorated and finally this week we cleaned it for pictures.  Outside of the inclusive costs of the carpet and trim, our budget came in at a whopping $224.

Paint (Valspar's Mesa Sand) - $30
Electrical work - $50
Aspen tree painting (Home Goods) - $70
Lamp shades (Lowe's) - $20 x 2
Curtain rods (Lowe's on clearance) - $17 x 2
Furniture - Inherited
Bedding and Curtains - Wedding gift
Lamps - Inherited
Flowers - Gifted for Valentine's Day
Various other accessories - Previously owned

Outside of the amazing transformation, the other thing I'm really digging is my new wide angle lens!

How do you think we did for 224 smackeroos?  It's a little monochromatic, any suggestions for colorful additions?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Finds - Cloudy and Whales

After an amazing, sunny weekend where I was stuck inside cleaning, it has now turned gray and rainy.  Chilly rain always makes me think of Moby Dick, which in turns makes me think of whales.

TGIF! Hope you have a brighter day!
Clockwise from Top L:
conduit press - Hollow Book Safe
unitedthread - Six Whales Original Watercolor Painting
Circa Ceramics - Little Plate Whale (in Storm)
knack - Jasper

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cattle Herding

I like my posts like I like my men - photogenic and short on words.  Just kidding Mr. Palindrome.
On the serious side, way back in July, when we were visiting Mr. Palindrome's parents in Colorado, we went on a cattle drive.  Three weeks later, my mother-in-law was in the hospital recovering from a massive stroke.  While I've been wanting to blog about it, it was hard to remember a time before the stroke.  It's still hard.
This experience was hands down the best time I've had with my husband's side of the family.  We thought that we would show up and tag along trying to keep up with a crew of real cowboys while they did the hard work.  Turns out there was one cowboy and five of use city slickers.
We took off into the wild blue yonder to move a herd of wild cattle from one pasture to the next.
I pulled a Marlboro Man here and caught my horse's ears while looking towards the stray cows I was supposed to round up.  I was happy to be riding, but a little more than intimidated when our cowboy guide yelled that I was letting some cows get away and I'd better "git along and go get 'em!"  It was like a foreign language to me.  I looked at him and thought, "Huh?  He wants me to something something get a cow?"
Sometimes our quest took us up the hills.  Thank heaven above that my horse was a better mountain climber than me.
I've never seen my mother-in-law more in her element.  She studied equestrian sciences for a while back in the day and she was a natural compared to the rest of us holding on for dear life.
The day was a perfect 65-70 degrees with partial clouds.  It gave an all new meaning to "God's Country" - the air was noticeably clearer, the sky bluer - everything pointed to being closer to heaven.

I especially bought some distressed skinny jeans to tuck into my newly purchased vintage boots.  Mr. Palindrome wore a polo shirt.  That's how we city slickers roll through the Rockies.

I totally thought that working dogs were a movie myth that Disney made up to capitalize on Babe.  Well, I believe that it was a real thing back in the day, but I never would have guessed they were still being used in modern ranching.  Spike was just like the movies!  He ran along with the horses and when one of the cows would stand their ground and not want to budge, he'd run up behind them and bite their legs to get 'em movin'.  See, I even picked up a little cowboy speak!

I want to say that it was around $90 a person.  While people from the west would laugh and that silly Yankees for paying to do other cowboy's work, this silly Yankee was tickled pink to fork over the moolah and play cowboy for a morning.
For a little live action clip, we have a shot that Mr. Palindrome took while riding.  If you go on a cattle herd and you spend $90 hard earned buckaroos, and you want a video clip memoralizing the event, I highly suggest that someone take video while they're horse is standing still.  Or off the horse.  You know.  To minimize the puke inducing bounces and all.  If I was cool, I would have set this "Home on the Range."  Please imagine I'm cool and video editing savvy.

Do you think our cowboy endeavors are laughable?  Would you want to have the city slicker cowboy experience?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Finds - It feels like Spring

In honor of a high of 75 degrees, in honor of the sunshine, and in honor of my toes desperately seeking the light of day, I am giving you a collection of sunshine with a touch of lavender.

Clockwise from Top L:
Zoeken - Vintage Yellow Electric Teakettle
Maya & Ruhi - Silver Chic and Unique Hoops
Polymorphia - Mod Swirl Purple 8x10 Print
Mamita Design - 1960's Danish Swivel Chair

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sammie Supervisor

It was all down hill after the tuna fish sandwiches.  I gave our cutie pie a taste of people food after 15 years of American Science and Fancy Feast.  She went from completely uninterested in us to a beggar in .5 nanoseconds.  Even if it's when what we're doing has nothing to do with food.  Inexplicably, she also follows Mr. Palindrome around during tool time.
When we bought the ol' homestead, never in all of our greedy little house flipping dreams did we think of costs such as door knob replacement.  Our house is brassy, and not in a Glenn Miller awesome way.  When we saw it for the first time, we thought: "Coolio, a little paint, floor, new fixtures - Bam! We're in the money!"
Are you quite done laughing at us now (said in my best Mary Poppins voice)?  So right, hardware costs mucho dinero.  Since our current knobs are slathered in 3 or 4 bad paint jobs AND rusting, we needed to freshen up a bit.  If you ever want to have a heart attack, eat a Bacon Cheeseburger then look at door knob prices.  These are the beauts I wanted:
They were the cheapest bronze knobs Home Depot carried at $7.99 a pop.  Multiply that by 1 million doorknobs and it would cost us like $7.9M for doorknobs.  Sigh.  Ok, so I moved on to silver knobs like this:
Turns out the satin chrome were $10.97 a piece.  This made us start to think about just spray painting the knobs we had, but honestly, we're pretty bad at the whole panting things and making them look like we spent $1M on it.  It usually looks like we went to the carnival and bought the worst looking painted crap we could find.  

When we thought all was lost, Mr. P spotted a lot of used brass knobs on Craigslist which he snagged for $20.  While it wasn't our ideal color, it was a good, cheap way that we could replace all of the damaged knobs.  

"A little to the left.  A little to the right.  Screw it tighter! Put some elbow grease into it!"

"All done," Mr. Palindrome proudly announced.  "Give it a whirl."  So I grabbed hold and twisted the knob (brain. overwhelmed. with. Michael. Scott. jokes.).  It didn't open.  Mr. Palindrome attacked it with the screwdriver again and in a jiffy, we were the proud new owners of twice loved door knobs, all the while singing "Shiny, happy doorknobs . . . "

Have you replaced any knobs in your house?  Did you score a deal?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

So much love, such a little blog

I cheesed on Mr. Palindrome yesterday (who asked me if 135 hits on his first day was any good - any good? that was my best day all year! sheesh, people really like to read about bad customer service) before he'd even given me a Valentine's gift.  Sorry for the overload, but his sweet bestowal is totally worth two cheese posts in a row.

I usually buy myself flowers.  Mr. Palindrome is super practical and he thinks flowers just die.  He likes to give gifts that keep on giving (like dance lessons).  I love, love, love fresh flowers and think life is just easier to bear while taking in their fragrance and blooms.  So I usually throw some grocery store flowers into my cart and as long as I also throw in some treat for him we're even.

This Valentine's we invited some friends over for a mondo cheese and chocolate fondue dinner party and I bought these beauties:
Trader Joe's had an awesome deal on the dozen and they're seriously fragrant, like I can smell them from my couch.  Mr. P acted all funny about them and said that he was supposed to buy me flowers to which I retorted, "Why start now?" or maybe I said, "Eat another Organic Rice Krispie Treat and shute your pie hole."  It definitely got me thinking that just maybe he was planning on getting me flowers.

I came home from work yesterday and immediately saw these waiting for me:
"The color of love," he said.  So I smooched him.  Then I went into the kitchen to get a bagel and I saw these:
Yay! The attached card was uber cute, but uber personal so no peekies at it, but it did include a spa certificate.  Yeeeeeah Pedi!  I was all beside myself with my little garden downstairs, so I went upstairs to change into gym clothes where I was greeted by this on my dresser:
Holy petals of love and overwhelming flower infatuation!  Just when I thought I couldn't take anymore, I went into the bathroom and found these:
I think if this MBA thing doesn't work out, he has a calling in flower arrangements to answer.

I feel like I'm living in the Secret Garden.  Are you ga-ga for flowers like me?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Blogging Love Osmosis

I'd like to think that I'm solely responsible for this evolution of blogging affinity.  In an osmosis case for the ages, Mr. Palindrome has declared his honorable intentions to start a blog of  his own.  Show my lovie some lovin' by stopping by Doubt of Business.  The current post relates our story of Border's discouraging signing up for their rewards program on the same day as using their coupons.  Border's doesn't burn your britches?  Don't worry, he has a few more where that came from including Delta, Time Warner Cable, and EPM Lawn Care.
How's driving people out of business and abandoned warehouses for a little Valentine's Day cheer?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Finds - Knight in Shining Amour

On the one hand, knights are romantic.  On the other, they're nerdy.  Whether you prefer the medieval or the chess version, I hope you enjoy this masculine leaning valentine collection!

Clockwise from Top L:
Since putting this together, the knight necklace must have sold and I can't find the link to it anymore!  I tried to find it, but no luck - maybe you'll like this one?
Roberta Winnett Harrison - Nature's Strength

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Go Duke, Go!

I'm a Marylander who has shamelessly converted to Blue Devil fan.  I cut my college basketball teeth on the ACC.  In highschool, I dreamed of life wearing Carolina blue and having class with Brendan Haywood and Joseph Forte.  Little did I know then that I would marry a Dukie and wind up in Cameron, the place I had previously seen only on TV - the place where I watched Christian Laettner, Grant Hill, Shane Battier and later J.J. Reddick lay into the Tar Heels and Terps.
 We're reigning National Champs and if you forget it, I'll be happy to remind you.  I'm also going to start using "we" very loosely.
 The grad school section may not be as rowdy as the undergrad section, but we have the very important job of distracting the opponents when they try to make free throws.  It'd be interesting to compare teams' average free throw percentage versus their average in Cameron.  I'd like to know what kind of job we do.  From memory, I think we do a pretty good job.
 The true crazies are the undergrads though.  They're sleeping in tents all season.  They're painting themselves blue.  They're huddling with the masses.  They know all the chants and cheers.  AND they do them in unison.  The grad school section definitely takes a back seat to them.
 If you haven't seen Singler on television, watch him the next time you have the chance.  It's like Coach K went looking for the kid who has the most Blue Devil looking eyes.  If you think it's freaky on TV, I can tell you it's even freakier in person.
 In these two photos (above and below) you can get a sense for the intimacy of the stadium.  Cameron is notoriously small and loud.  The energy inside is electrifying.  It is by far the best sports venue I've ever been in.
Besides cheerleaders, we've got crazy towel guy, dutifully twirling his towel with every score and at the appointed time at the direction of the chants, "Crazy Towel Guy! Crazy Towel Guy!"  Here's some video we shot of him when Mr. Palindrome was planning his Halloween Costume:
This guy is serious.  He's only missed like one game in the past 30 years.  Hardcore.

 Going to games together has been the highlight of our time in Durham.  The stress of school and the house melt away on the hallowed court.
 Oh and the players aren't half bad either!  This is a shot I took from my standing room only spot of Mason dunking.
 Here Kyle flew forward after a rush to the basket and we all gasped in horror at the though that he might (knock on wood) have hurt his knee.  Don't worry, he walked it off just fine and went on to score 14 points in the game.
This guy, though, this guy deserves lots of Blue Devil love.  Nolan tears it up each game.  He's averaging over 20 points a game and just scored 34 against UNC.  Look at those ups.  He always comes off looking short compared to the others, but he's 6'2"!
 Seth has been playing more with Kyrie out and he was 5/7 from behind the arc that night.  We devils love our 3s!
 How could I forget?  The man.  The myth.  The legend.  Not much yelling at the game against Boston college, but I heard that fans could hear him from the locker room firing up the guys during half time of the UNC game last night.  It's like watching a master at work.  He paces, he sketches, he yells - and his team wins.  Must be doing something right.
That's just a little taste of the Cameron experience and why Duke basketball is so infectious.  

If you're a Tar Heel fan, I'm especially sorry for the gloating that I'll be doing over the next year.   And Mom, I'm especially sorry for all the times I've cheered, "Go to hell, Carolina, go to hell!" It's just that EVERYONE ELSE was doing it.