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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Tackling the Double Decker Stairwell of Doom

Double Decker
Stairwell of Doom

One of the major adjustments of moving to San Diego is getting used to all of the PEOPLE.  So. Many. People.

In Indiana I could look out the window and see NATURE.  In San Diego, I look out the window and see PEOPLE.  Before you begin to think that I am anti-social, let me tell you that I LOVE people- just not people yelling at their kids, or arguing at all times of the night, etc. Every time I would look outside, I would see people.  Most often it was the same woman- often in a bathrobe- sitting on the steps to her apartment complex, smoking a cigarette.  It didn’t seem to matter what time I looked outside, THERE SHE WAS!   (We are talking about a serious nicotine addiction here!)  Each time I saw her, I felt my spirits dip a bit further.  My mind was racing… “I just don’t know if I can DO this.  I miss my quiet house on the hill.”

During this time, my new husband probably wondered what HE had gotten into as well!  Previously not much of a cry-baby, I could now let loose at just the mention of my kids..or when I got a ticket for parking in a ‘boat trailer space’ at the bay (Hey, we don’t HAVE those spaces in Indiana!)…or talking about holiday plans…. Heaven forbid he ask me how I was doing!  He was so sweet and patient with me.

Once my crying jags lessened, I decided to creatively block my view of ‘smoker chick’.  My friend Peggy, who is also my partner in crime when it comes to stained glass, came out to visit and while she was here she helped me organize work space in the garage.  I had drawn a design idea for stained glass windows for the stairwell so, with Peggy cracking the whip helping, we got them started.

No more ‘bathrobed smoker chick’!

This solution really was perfect for allowing light into the stairwell but blocking the less-than-desirable view.

One down…one to go!

I spent many weeks trying to figure out how to tackle painting the 20+ ft high walls in our stairwell.  Fortunately we own a sixteen foot extension ladder.  Unfortunately it was not tall enough to reach the top of those towering walls.  I think I could have paid a painter with the amount of money I spent at Home Depot buying extension poles!

Huge Walls, Huge Project!


I finally found a solution!  I built a platform that extended the horizontal surface of the stairs.  Then I was able to turn the ladder sideways in the narrow stairwell and get a bit closer to the top of those monster walls.  I still had to use a paintbrush attached to the end of a long extension pole to cut in a few areas.  Uh, yeah…don’t look too closely.

Home-made Ladder Extender


Painting Done! Now to hang some photos!

Please forgive the bad photos…It seems there is always a glare when I try to take get a shot of the windows.

I am really glad to have that painting job over with!  If I had to do it again, I might hire it done.  It was a beast! One great thing that I discovered during this project is the LAMBS WOOL paint roller cover.  (Insert the heavens opening and a choir of angels singing.)  This roller cover holds at least twice as much paint as a regular cover- and that is a BIG deal when you are climing an extension ladder!

Lambswool Roller Cover = AMAZING!!!


The Most Awesome Way to Eat Spinach

I know what you are thinking…”Kim-posting a recipe?”  Scary, I know!  I thought I could share my fool-proof ( Kim-proof ) recipes, in case anyone else is cooking-challenged like me!

Peggy Livingston, who I was so blessed to know, was an AMAZING hostess.  She served this salad and it is my very favorite.

Summer Spinach Salad

Spinach Salad

with Strawberries and Cashews


1 pound spinach leaves, stems removed

3 green onions, chopped

2 cups whole strawberries

1 small can mandarin oranges, drained

1/4 cup cashews, coursely chopped


3 TBL honey

2 TBL vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp celery seed

1/2 cup Wesson Oil

In a large bowl, combine spinach, onions, berries, oranges and nuts.

Combine all dressing ingredients and beat together with fork.

Just before serving, pour dressing over salad and toss.

Serves 6.

The dressing is easy to make with ingredients that you can keep on hand.
And it is DELICIOUS!!!

With Rounded Corners, Where Can I Stop??? Living Room Paint Project

After painting a few smaller spaces, I decided it was time to tackle the LIVING ROOM.

When the husband leaves on a business trip the condo goes from organized space to


Living Room Chaos!

I found a soft, neutral yellow color that I love for our condo.

Behr Sand Pearl
from Home Depot

Behr Sand Pearl
Paint and Primer in one!

I am using it in the living room, dining and kitchen areas, and stairwells. There is A LOT of it, so I am glad that I really like it!!!  =)  It is hard to see the difference in photos but it has really softened up the feel of the space.

Remember before?

Living Room Before

Awkward space for TV


Here are a few “After”…or should I say “In Transition”?

Living Room After

It’s still a gaping hole…but at least it’s not WHITE!

I found this woven chair at the resale shop. I also love the compass rose (from Pier One) on the wall behind it.

I am still wrestling with what to do about the sofa, love seat and gargantuan recliner.  =)  The sofa and love seat are extremely faded but still VERY comfortable – kinda like the ratty jeans that look hideous but are your favorite.   If money were no object, they would be outta here.  Unfortunately the decorating budget is about ZILCH.  So they stay.  I have debated recovering them or maybe trying out some RIT dye.  Both options scare me at this point.  So we have our well-worn furniture.

(Hubby, stop reading now.)

The recliner is huge and velour…and also blue.  We are talking blue furniture overload here!  The sad thing for me, ladies, is that my husband actually USES this chair!  I call it the Napping Chair.

So, what’s a newly wed wife gonna do?  She is gonna keep it…at least until she has the funds to find him another chair that he will love just as much.

(Ok, it’s safe to look.)

I ended up putting mirrors on the wall over the sofa because there was so much glare on any artwork or photos that would hang there.  The mirrors help to brighten up the space.

Believe me, rooms with rounded corners are no fun to paint because there is literally no place to stop!!!  I was on a painting ‘roll’ and went down the stairs from the living room and completed the first floor hallway.  I would have kept going UP the second stairway to the third floor but was forced to reckon with the 20+ ft. tall stairwell.

Double Decker
Stairwell of Doom

More on that monster later.

When I am in the middle of a paint project, I often wonder “What-in-the-heck was I thinking???”  However, once the project is finished, I realize that I actually ENJOY working with a limited budget.  I think the limited money factor adds to the CREATIVITY that is involved in making a space your own.  (Although if someone gave me free rein at Pottery Barn, I certainly wouldn’t turn them down. LOL!) It may not be the latest decorator style but it says ‘Home’ to me.

For ME?? =)

Inspiring / Gabriela Fernandez.

Porch Envy

Mom’s Porch…Isn’t it inviting?

There is nothing more relaxing that sitting on a front porch watching the world go by!

Grab a glass of iced tea and a good friend and have a relaxing Saturday!

Organization: The Key to Happiness?

My friend Julie reminded me that when I was filling out the About Me page I forgot to mention my addiction to organizational paraphenalia.  And she’s right!  When we were young(er) and our homes were full of little boys that could make messes faster than we could clean up, I would frequently state that I was SURE that organization was the key to happiness.  Not in a ‘What is the meaning of life?’ kind of way, but in a ‘How can I possibly lose my vaccuum in this small house?’ kind of way.  Now that the boys are grown, I don’t say it in such a desperate way but I still stand by the idea that having an organized space can be good for the soul.

I am a defeated perfectionist.  If I can’t get things done perfectly, I tend to not get anything done.  Bad, I know.  This trait leads to times of chaos in my house!  I have all kinds of plastic bins and containers but all of my stuff sits arranged in PILES all over the floor.  UGH!

So, it is wonderful to have super-organized people in my life!  My sister and my friend Peggy come to mind.  =)

Here is a bit of magic that Peggy performed in my Indiana home.  She was cracking the whip, getting me organized, and it was AWESOME!!

I used the room for laundry and crafts.  In the corner you can see my stained glass organized into shoe caddies.  These worked perfectly for smaller pieces of glass.  On the bottom, shelving (meant for shoes) were turned on end and used to separate larger sheets of glass.  The old metal table was perfect for cutting fabric or folding laundry.

The white cabinets are perfect for hiding LOTS of craft supplies and the long countertop gives plenty of space for both cutting and putting together stained glass projects.

The cheerful yellow walls and Mary Engelbreit theme made the room a very happy place!

Going Bold

The next victims of my “No More White Walls” Project were the kitchen and dining area.

Here are a few photos of the kitchen from before:

Great space!  But a lot of boring white walls and builder grade cabinets.

So, I decided to embrace the beachy color palette and go with a bold blue in the kitchen.  This color choice was inspired by my Hadley Pottery that I used as ‘art’ in the space.

LOVE the beachy styles from Hadley Pottery!

Here is the kitchen with its new nautical feel!

A touch of ‘Lost Atlantis’

The dining area was a dilemma because as much as I LOVE the blue color, I was worried that painting the whole room blue would really close it in.  Instead I used the blue as an accent wall in that room.  Overall I am happy with the look but I want to carry some of the blue around the room with accessories and art… which I will now be able to do because I just got THIS in the mail today!!!

My birthday present is here!!

I am so excited!!  (Be jealous!!!  LOL)  I am also a little scared because the directions look complicated.  And I don’t know where to PUT the beast!  It is bigger than I expected.  But I can’t wait to try it out!!  I want to make some Subway Art for different areas of the condo.  Safe to say that it should keep me off the streets for awhile.  =)

Ok, calming down now…back to the dining area…

Here are the lovely white walls.  And a photo of special people brave enough to eat the first Thanksgiving dinner that I ever had to cook on my own.

Justin, Clark, Ryan, and Janel in the very white dining room

And here we have the space with some COLOR!

Yikes! No blue shows up this this photo!

I found this great piece at a shop called The Estate Sale- an awesome second-hand store in San Diego.

 Here are the paint colors that I used in the kitchen and dining room update.

Both are Behr Premium Interior Satin (Paint and Primer in one)

Behr Lost Atlantis

Behr Sand Pearl


I really love having fresh flowers on the table but since they keep dying on me (and I am too cheap to keep buying them every week) I decided to put together this easy centerpiece idea that I saw on Pinterest.  A large glass bowl, a candle in a holder, sand and shells…Throw them together and you have a great beachy touch for the table that doesn’t have to be replaced weekly.

Easy Beachy Centerpiece

I am really happy with the new color in the kitchen…Now if I would just learn to love to cook!

I linked my post to this awesome site!  There are SO many fun ideas over there…Check it out!