Thursday, May 9, 2013

Now that it's spring, we're busy at the clinic

I've been waiting for the weather to warm up to get some outdoor stuff done at the clinic; I have an elaborate garden planned - of course it will take years to get it to the state I want it to be in - all lush and gorgeous - but you have to start somewhere, right?

First, we marked the area for the garden and had someone dig it up and add good topsoil. We then started putting in the wine bottle border - we had been collecting bottles all winter - and NO, we did not drink them all - some of them were "donated" by local bars! Well, they told us that we were welcome to go through their recycle bins and take what we wanted... LOL



Next, my fabulous girls tore down the decrepit rotting fence that was behind the garden plot - it really was an eyesore - rusted and interwoven with vines, not to mention falling INTO the garden area...


what a nasty mess that was!!

I made a trip to Lowe's for plants... check out that gorgeous Sago!!


B put in a little picket fence as a decorative back drop - WHAT an improvement in and of itself!! We planted a crepe myrtle and a bunch of elephant ears, marked the end of the garden with that GORGEOUS sago palm, and placed a leaf shaped bird bath surrounded by lambs' ears today.... we also got an iron bench and placed it under a tree up front where it would be in some shade, in case any of our clients had the notion to take a seat outdoors on a beautiful day - and this is what we currently have going on - still lots to do, but I'm loving it so far!!




Up front, we've also done some sprucing... the painted tire planters in front of my parking space are awesome now that they actually contain flowers, and I also added a large hibiscus tree to fill an empty space... we replenished the concrete planters that go across the front of the building but I don't have any good pictures of those right now.



I brought my large metal dog from home to "guard" the front door and made an outdoor ashtray out of a copper pot - the rocks are now covered with course sand and there is an instructive sign to help guide our clients as to the appropriate actions should they approach my front door with cigarette in hand... I got tired of them just flicking them to the ground beside my front door! Nasty!




And, last, but certainly not least is the paver patio we've installed for our potted plants, featuring my little clay pot man that I love SOOOOOO much...



with his "hair" -



and, finally, on the patio with the other plants - still have a low basket to add tomorrow, but it looks pretty darn good so far!!



Ooooh.... almost forgot the sign.... I bought a 12 x 15 wooden plaque at Michaels and painted it in an irregular pattern of colors - the girls though I'd gone nuts - then added vinyl letters (just WHAT did I do before I got my Cricut?!?)



Spray painted it black - now they REALLY thought I was crazy, but when I peeled off the vinyl letters, this is what I got -



Cool, huh?? We had these horrible concrete squirrels left at the clinic by the previous owner and I was determined to throw them into the trash when one of the girls suggested that they might work to hold a sign... so we used liquid nails and - voila! - I LOVE it!!



FAB-U-LOUS! I am blessed with creative and innovative employees!!

There's actually more than we've done, but I'm too tired to post any more, besides I need more pics....

Still Crafting

Despite the hiatus, I am still at work; there has been a LOT going on here on the home front and that has taken precedence, slowing down my crafting and remodeling and definitely getting in the way of my desire to blog... damn life...

I was totally negligent and never got the March wreath done for the clinic - that was when all hell broke loose at home and I truthfullly didn't care. However, I did get April's done - fairly simple, though I like the way it turned out. I'll add a picture of it in it's final state tomorrow; apparently I forgot to take one, LOL

I started out with a plain green foam wreath that I got from Hobby Lobby and wrapped it in green yarn - not the least bit exciting...


And then I overwrapped the yarn with one of my favorite fun things -- eyelash yarn!
It kinda looks like grass...



I added silk flowers staked into the wreath with pink pearl headed pins and added a ribbon for hanging; forgot to take a picture of the finished product, of course; I will add that later this week.

But, the end result was a fresh spring wreath that I just love :)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

My recent wreath addiction...

When I purchased the clinic, it came with some boxes of decorations for the holidays... most of it was ticky-tacky, definitely NOT my style, and went into the trash. I managed to salvage a little to spruce up the lobby at the appropriate times and I have added to the stash for the last 2 years, and will keep buying items that strike my fancy - usually at the killer after-the-holiday-sales events.

This year, we began the "festivities" by decorating for Halloween. I found an old straw broom in the attic - the kind meant as a decoration, not one to actually sweep the floor with - I have NO idea where it came from; don't remember if being up there when I bought the place, but neither do I remember purchasing it. Oh, well... At any rate, I made a fancy, appropriately colored bow for it, added a couple of huge hairy spiders, and hung it diagonally across the strange short window in the clinic lobby. I was so in love with the look (I hate that window) that I decided to keep something hung there at all times - thus my recent wreath addiction. I have decided to make a wreath for each month - if there is a holiday in the month, I use that as the theme - not sure what I'll do when I hit a month without a holiday.... I started with November, but of course, I didn't take any pictures of that one, or the one that I made for December, before I wrapped them up and stored them in the attic - you'll have to wait until the end of 2013 to see them (unless I get the wild hair to unwrap and photograph them beforehand... not likely).

I "discovered" deco mesh and absolutely LOVE it for making wreaths. I love it so much, that I used it for November, December AND January's wreaths. THIS is the wreath I made for January, in honor of New Year's, of course -

Love the way it blocks most of that wretched window... LOL



And a close-up



I used 10" black deco mesh with silver threads, and a 6" silver deco mesh for the main body of the wreath, then added silver and black ribbon; the accents are wonderful, glitter-covered plant-like pieces that my daughter picked out at Michaels one day.

Not be stuck in a deco mesh rut, I decided to change materials for February. I found this nifty wreath on Pinterest -



Details on construction of the wreath can be found on this blog - Sew Much Ado. Seemed fairly straight-forward and simple, and I was hooked. I did decide to make a double heart wreath, just for variety - I ordered 2 extruded styrofoam heart wreaths online; I notched out one of them, then overlapped them, securing the 2 hearts together with hot glue. This is where things went awry...

Maybe my heart forms were much larger than those in the original blog... maybe I rolled my roses tighter.... maybe I packed them closer together on the wreath... I'm not sure. What I can say is this - the original instruction estimate the need for 1 yard each of 2 different fabrics. I decided to use 4 colors - 2 on each heart - so I started with 1 yard of each color thinking that would be sufficient. Not so. I got an additional 1/2 yard of each color. Still not enough, so I went back and got ANOTHER yard of each color... that makes a total of 10 yards of fabric that I used for the wreath!! (The finished project weights 3-1/2 lbs. - that might not seem very heavy, but keep in mind this is a WREATH we're talking about!!).

I absolutely LOVE the wreath, but would NEVER make another one! Each piece of fabric had to cut into 2" strips (Thank GOD for rotary cutters!! Don't think I could have done this without mine!); each strip was then folded in half and ironed, sewn and gathered, then rolled and glued into a rosette. I did take a picture of the individual rosettes -



Finally, the rosettes were glued onto the wreath form. A client asked me how much I would charge to make one for her... I said $600, because I don't think I'd do another one for less than that! Materials cost about $65 ($22 for the wreath forms, and about $30 in fabric, $4 for the ribbon, and over 100 glue sticks) but it took weeks and weeks of my efforts, in addition to the assistance of my employees who rolled and glued the rosettes for me when it was slow at work!

I'm not going to detail the construction of the wreath - if you want to make one, check it out on Sew Much Ado's blog - she provides excellent instructions and pictures to walk you through it step by step. I see no need to reinvent the wheel and believe in giving credit where credit is due - this definitely wasn't MY creation. But, here is MY final product -



And now it's the end of February, and while I have my idea for the March wreath, it just occurred to me today that I haven't even purchased the materials to make it! Thankfully it's a relatively simple one, at least compared to February's wreath, so I should be able to get it finished next week!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Success is measured in baby steps in this house...

It's hard to be motivated to work on the house when I get home from a long day at the clinic, but if I don't persevere, it won't get done. I can get the hubster to do simple, focused tasks, like removing the carpet or putting up a ceiling fan, and, hopefully at some point, building a platform bed for baby girl, but the decorative stuff just isn't up his alley, or even in his neighborhood. He has NO vision, and no patience. I asked him to touch up the ceiling around the fan base where we had to remove the medallion... he grabbed a can of paint out of the garage without, apparently, reading the label OR the handwriting on the top of the can (it was CLEARLY labeled "Office" and the office ISN'T white), and painted quite a bit of GREEN before he noticed that it wasn't flat white. Needless to say, I now have to repaint the entire ceiling, since I can't find anything to match what's already up there (seems like it should be simple, huh? but white isn't necessarily white when it comes to paint) Anyway, I don't really WANT him to help me any more than HE wants to. So, I try to accomplish at least a little bit each day. I'm working on repainting the walls, but today I'm flaunting the new ceiling fan / light which is actually up and running.

This was the fan that I fell in love with and wanted desperately - the Casa Deville Pretty in Pink


Oh, how this gorgeous item made me drool... at least until the $370 price tag nearly stopped my heart. On my "pay as you go", bare minimum, DIY budget, I just couldn't justify the extravagance... So, I settled for this one - the Hunter Dreamland

Luckily the blades were reversible to a solid pink - I couldn't stomach those tacky daisies. It's not as bright a pepto pink as it appears in the picture; it actually matches the pink wall (Glidden Peony Pink) quite nicely. It just needed a little blinging. I took the crystals off the old (new) chandelier and repurposed them to give the fan a little sparkle. It's not quite as fancy as my original drool-worthy find, but it's cute and feminine and with a price tag of less than $85, definitely easier to stomach!! So, here she is.... (excuse the pics; it's very hard to take pictures of a lit light fixture in an otherwise darkened room; I may have to attempt new pics in the daytime!)




Now I just need to find some uber sweet fan pulls to replace the basic metal ones, and we'll be set! Now, back to painting...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My primary home project...

I sometimes feel like I have 30 different things going on, and sometimes I do, LOL. Certainly I have projects working concurrently at both home and at the clinic. Always something to keep me busy (theoretically) - I can sleep when I'm dead, right?

Anyway, I am trying to focus on just one or two (or possibly three) projects at one time so that I can actually get something accomplished. My primary focus at home - re-doing Baby Girl's room... again.

This is what the room looked like when we toured the house prior to purchasing it -

**Note the bland WHITE walls and the lovely RED carpet...


**...a fabulous BROWN chandelier...

**...and the predictable boring closet...


**After the initial re-do, her walls were two-toned, aqua and blue...

**...much less boring...

**...I upcycled the chandelier - removed the tacky brown beads and crystals (BROWN crystals, really?!?), painted the base a coordinating color, added clear crystals and Murano glass sea creatures...

**...and the closet was transformed into something much more functional (and, yes, I do always paint the insides of closets in coordinating colors)...


So, the question might be -- having re-done this room less than a year ago, why is it in line for a SECOND remodeling already?? Good question...

Recently Baby Girl was diagnosed with an inflammatory respiratory condition. I am refusing, at this time, to have her tested to find out specifically what she is reacting to. The symptoms are mild to moderate, and she's only 4... I don't like the idea of them poking her repeatedly in the back with those little pointy things, and then watching the welts develop on her sensitive skin. It was unpleasant enough when we did that with Little Man and he was 12! The best we can do for now, without the specific testing, is to try to reduce the volume of allergenic material in her environment.

So..... that wonderful red carpet HAS TO GO! (Not that I'll shed a tear as it passes out the front door.) As we already knew, and as the pediatrician pointed out, carpet is a disgusting medium, trapping dander, hair, dust and God knows what else. Baby Girl's square of nastiness is currently sitting at the local dump.

I figured this was as good a time as any to turn her toddler room into a "big girl room" - and hopefully convince her that she should actually sleep in THERE (yes, she's been sleeping with us for over a year now; we've been too lazy to successfully transition her back - I work 6 to 7 days a week and haven't felt much like carrying her back to her own bed when I wake up at 3am to her kicking me in the head...). Trying to interest her in leaving OUR bed for her own - an idea she has been extremely resistant to - I promised to re-paint, buy a new bed, new bedding, just about ANYTHING to make the transition easier. And, here we go...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I suppose that the start of 2013 is as good a time as any to restart this blog in its new direction...

I have a "new to me" house which was built in 1994; it is wonderfully laid out and structurally sound, but horribly esthetically challenged. I just purchased my veterinary clinic which operates out of a 50+ year old building that once was a barn, then became a garage, and finally morphed into a vet clinic. It's fairly large (more than 3000 square feet) but it seems that each subsequent room was added on individually, so the transitions can be awkward, and overall, the use of available space is very poor.

I have big, big plans for both my house and the clinic, though I will be doing most of the work myself, so it's going to take some time. This new birth will transition my blog away from simply recording the mundane events of my life (well, for the most part, at least; can't promise that nothing will ever be mentioned...) to detailing my remodeling victories (or fails), and crafting attemtps, which is bound to be MUCH more interesting... so, stick around; check it out... maybe you'll learn something (or maybe I will).