My bathroom is done and it makes me want to
drink dance! It’s been the bane of my existence for about five months. A half bath should NOT have taken so long, but I get sidetracked so easily!
Author Archives: Kristen Van Loon
My bathroom is done and it makes me want to
My favorite painting technique is dry-brushing, hands down. Ever since I was little I loved the idea of painting with virtually no paint. However, I am never satisfied with a tried and true method. Of course, I must reinvent the wheel (then crash the cart, but we haven’t gotten there… yet.) When I “faux dry-brush,” essentially I treat the dry-brushed paint as though it were a faux finish. After I dry-brush, I wait for the paint to dry for 5 minutes, then I wipe across the painted surface with a paper towel just to thin the paint layer and antique the item a tad more (See? Faux finish style, just like I said.) The layering comes when I wipe off paint to reveal other previous painted layers…that’s a pretty simple concept.
Let’s see it applied…
I started with these crazy coin-ish type wall hangings which are about 7 inches in diameter. I spray painted them purple (photo not shown because I am not organized…but I digress.)
Once the purple spray paint dried I used steel wool to rub off a bit of the purple on some raised areas to reveal the previous gold color underneath.
Then the dry-brushing began (here’s a super short VIDEO, just for a visual.)
As I previously mentioned, when the dry-brushed layer had set for about 5 minutes (for satin and matte paints), I wiped hard with a paper towel to thin out some areas. The wiping removed the top layer of dark craft paint and allowed the gold and purple to peek through.
I didn’t even bother with a top layer of poly because they are wall hangings and I don’t foresee myself touching them too often.
The whole point of my layered faux dry-brushing was because I wanted to age my pieces after I spray painted them purple so they’d blend better in my bedroom.
Now they look like just another another old lady bedroom treasure.
Happy Mother’s Day!!!
Please do not be turned off by my title, mothers are the most important person in a child’s life. We do everything; give life, love, feed, nurture, wash, discipline, color, teach, play, go for days with our hair in messy buns on our heads but ensure that our children are squeaky clean every day for school. We are amazing.
However, I have a four-year-old, which means… I am not getting celebrated on this sacred day. I don’t mean to rain on your parade, you’ve earned it so live it up; gush over macaroni necklaces and flowers picked from the neighbors yard. I’ll get mine eventually
Now let’s get plumbing…
Upon removing my sink I discovered a rusted pipe that broke very easily and water lines with so much build-up that they just had to go.
So essentially, this is the bare bones.
I was able to just twist the broken metal pipe off and replace it with 1 1/2 inch PVC pipe and this nifty cuff. Easy enough. I didn’t replace the water valves because I am cheap and they still work. Also, the plumbing was originally in the wall but was moved to come up from the floor, so I knew that everything was a little less than standard. I just didn’t want to make more problems for myself.
I bought a vanity and knew I would have to drill a hole for the pipes, but I didn’t realize just how close to the wall the water valves were soooooo a simple hole wasn’t going to be enough.
I literally had to knock out the whole bottom AND take a layer of backing off just so I could fit the back of the vanity between the water lines and the wall.
I also removed the beauty rings from where the pipes meet the floor because it kept making the vanity rock; which is the same reason I chipped up chunks of uneven grout. Trust me, this SOB is sturdier than a 75-year-old Oak.
Honestly, the plumbing was easier than reconfiguring the vanity.
The hardest part was cutting through the PVC pipe with a hack saw.
At this point, the plumbing is correct but a pipe must have a crack in it (what next?) so I have caulked as a temporary fix. I will probably be ripping this apart (slightly) one final time to replace the cracked pipe that came with my faucet. Then I will cut some wood to rebuild a half-shelf… but first things first.
What can I say? A mother’s work is never done.
If freehand painting a whole mural seems a bit too daunting, start small with furniture. Tips and tricks on my latest video! ENJOY!
When you start a business, retail or service related, there comes a point (hopefully) that your venture becomes so large that you just can’t do it alone. Hiring employees can be daunting because human relations and character evaluation isn’t for everyone. Personally, I am a trusting soul and will probably have a number of missteps when I first start hiring talent. However; getting, keeping and managing good employees is worth your time and effort, and there are a few basic keys to getting started on the right foot.
Finding and Keeping Talented Employees
1) Be genuinely interested. Remember birthdays, childrens’ names and anniversaries. This doesn’t just make the people around you feel special, but it’s a push toward earning their loyalty and their family’s loyalty. After you send the Mrs. flowers on her anniversary, her allegiance may make her more likely to push her husband out the door on the days he’s considering calling in sick.
2) If you have a labor-intensive business, the scientific approach is key. Find the EXACT way an employee should perform the task and teach them EXACTLY how it should be done. This not only helps you earn money in a shorter period of time, but it keeps up the worker morale. Nothing brings a person down faster than working tirelessly without making headway because their hard work isn’t refined or efficient.
3) Feel free to delegate tasks to an employee without much instruction (if is not labor-intensive or allows for creative interpretation,) “Why don’t you and Jen take care of the seating and table settings for the investors’ lunch meeting? $300 budget, practical but somewhat formal.” Something as simple as that would give any worker a sense of pride that you trust their judgement and decisions. PLUS, that’s one less thing you have to worry about and you’re left to prepare for the lunch meeting presentation.
4) Hire motivated people. It is far too arduous for a small business to extrinsically motivate workers. Find people who like to do well because doing a good job satisfies themselves internally. That’s not to say bonuses aren’t a good thing, but they should not be used as an incentive to simply do a job well– that’s what they should be doing in the first place. Look for someone who uses words and phrases like, “self-motivated,” “hardworking,” “provide the best service,” “put forth every effort.” These are big statements that people who always need a push are unlikely use.
5) Pay well. Granted, you don’t want to go broke due to your generosity. But pay more than labor unions suggest (if you aren’t a union shop.) Don’t pay less than what you would like to be paid for doing their job. It is not a good thing to go home at night thinking, “Wow, I sure can’t believe they are willing to do all that for $xx an hour.” Feeling like you’re taking advantage of your workers will always have you checking over your shoulder, waiting for them to quit or steal from you.
6) Deal with crisis calmly. Do not ever let your employees see that you don’t know what to do in an emergency situation because chaos and doubt will soon follow, or worse– they may lose respect for you and question your leadership abilities.
7) Learn your management style and stick with it. Whether you want to be democratic or completely authoritarian, choose a style and commit. People want to know what to expect from their manager on a regular basis. Do NOT let your mood affect how you interact with your employees.
8) Communicate well. Use more than one method of message delivery– maybe mention something at a meeting then follow-up with an email. Try to make it short; you don’t need 5 examples for every touchpoint. Read your audience. If they look bored, then they are truly asleep on the inside– speak quickly so as not to lose their attention.
9) Praise in public and discipline in private. No one wants everyone knowing the mistakes they’ve made, yet we would love for our boss to advertise when we’ve done good work. Be generous with praises, it will make others want to earn them as well. Be gentle with criticism, you don’t want your employees to feel that their efforts are unappreciated or are overshadowed by their errors. Persuade and convince them to do a good job, rarely order or demand top performance.
10) Just be honest. Be honest in your words and be honest in your actions. If your business needs to eliminate a shift to save money, don’t hide that from your employees or let the rumors get to them first. I guarantee if you tell them that you need to let them go in 2 months, yet you will write them a recommendation so shining that their mothers would wish it were true, then you probably will get that last 2 months of work out of them. If you hide that fact? The rumors will have people quitting within weeks. People know when they are being lied to and they know when they are being cheated. Keeping it real and fair will foster trust and loyalty throughout the company.
I was recently commissioned to create a nursery mural for a baby boy’s room. I would love to give you a step-by-step guide on creating this, but it’s unlikely you will want this EXACT thing. Besides, creating something from scratch out of just a vague idea in your head is a lot of fun (also a lot of work, time, energy and second guessing.) But if you do decide to venture down the path of painting (as opposed to decals) then here are some hints to help along the way.
10 Mural Tips
1. Expect the process to take 60% longer than the time you have allotted for it. Straight lines are thoughtless and cruel time wasters.
2. Don’t be afraid to mark-up the wall while planning. Sketch with pencil or even tape an outline to help you visualize before your brush hits the wall.
3. Have a huge array of brushes on hand, even if you use just one. Options are the best and you never know when the oddball brush you NEVER USE will be just the thing you need.
4. Prioritize. Figure out your order of operations. I mix most of my colors so I know I have to finish those areas before my paint supply dries up (I do not have nearly good enough luck to mix that same color again.)
5. Mix craft paint with a little bit of white wall paint to get the smooth benefits of wall paint and the color of craft paint. When you are using several colors, paint can get expensive. Craft paint alone (even when it’s made for plaster or drywall) can be hard to apply and take several coats.
6. Use paper plates, newspaper or cardboard as your paint palettes when you need small amounts of several colors– it saves a lot of time at clean-up.
7. Start by painting items smaller/thinner than what you would like. It’s easy to make something bigger, but it’s a real pain to scale down.
8. For large areas of a solid color, don’t be afraid to use a roller.
9. Fill all of the color in on every part and then straighten the edges for the whole mural last. Granted it will take 5 hours to straighten them, but doing it last ensures that you’ve had an up-close look at every detail before you call it quits.
10. Don’t get discouraged when it’s not fun. There is a lot of leg work (and arm work, and back work) to get through before the creative details get added. Just soldier through the boring basics; the fun parts are worth a good foundation.
You can check out more photos of the mural progression on the Space-Lift Facebook page.
So HOPEFULLY you saw the cabinet demo video, now it’s time to show the finished product. With the weather being less than hospitable, I’m lucky I had three days to finish these before the freezing rain started…again.
Let’s check out this nonsense!
Honestly, I was sad to see them go!
Need a quick step-by-step for a reupholstery job? Or even better, need a quick laugh at my expense? Check out the latest VIDEO!
My friend saw this idea with a wood-backed cork board on one of her favorite blogs. However, I am never one to throw money away uselessly so I took a lap around the craft store and decided we can just keep that extra $20 in our pocket.
Step 1: I took a cake board and cut it into my desired shape. Heck, I liked it so much that I did it with TWO cake boards and taped them together! I’m a madwoman, I know.
Step 2: I cut batting to fit exactly on top of the shape- no wrapping, just gluing.
Step 3: Once the glue dried I took my fabric and cut it to fit around the edges of the board.
Step 4: I snipped around each corner to make sure the fabric would spread evenly. I glued the board, folded over the fabric and secured it with a tack.
Step 6: I finally pushed decorative gold nails through the cardboard. Since there are two layers of cardboard the nails were able to go in AND stay in, like freaking magic!
Step 7: I just hung the board on the wall and her jewels on the board. Now she not only has a place to store her pretties, she can admire her gems even when she’s not wearing them!
KiKi from NLTH (a blog to which I have really become attached) was just nominated for the best blog award and also passed this along to me.
I don’t want to bore you with the details and rules because I am sure you’d much rather read about projects and misadventures here at Space-Lift, but I just wanted to give a shout out to the nominator. She’s way fun and really seems to have a good eye for style. Thank you so much for the love, KiKi!
P.S. I should have a new video up soon! Whenever I am out of town I pack my days full of thrift stores, shopping, apartment upgrades and, of course, projects!!!
I’ve decided to transcend mediums! Check out my very first youtube video! Just CLICK!
One of the biggest pet peeves about my house is my outlets and light switches. They are one of those tiny details that typically fall through the cracks but are a huge giveaway as to the age of a house. I know my house was built in 1964 (every contractor that insists on ANOTHER lead test is always a reminder) but I don’t need every outlet and fixture screaming “I’m retro and I know it” when I walk into a room.
As you can see, previous owners also took a few liberties with paint (because slopping paint all over your outlet isn’t dangerous at all…that was sarcasm. Please don’t paint your outlets.)
I don’t hate the outlets enough to change the faces (yet) but I don’t exactly want to be reminded of a mess that I didn’t even have the privilege of making.
I found these awesome face plates at the Habitat for Humanity Restore, and I bought about 90 of them (before remembering that only about 50% of my house has 3-prong outlets, but who’s counting?…Obviously not me.)
See? It covers the sins of the painters that came before! In your case, this is a quick and cheap fix that will allow your mind to worry about more pressing matters, like what to have for dinner, or how your March Madness situation is panning out.
In my instance, not even sweet new face plates can cover all of the sins of previous owners…
..because every outlet in my house is upside-down. Oh But that’s a mess for another day.
Holy cow! I totally woke up to what I thought would be a ho-hum day, but KiKi from the fun and trendy blog, North Leads to Home, had other plans for me! She nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award! I’m so happy that a) someone enjoys my blog enough to pass an award along to me and b) I get to hopefully brighten a few bloggers’ days by presenting it to them. Yippeeeeee!
But with greatness comes great responsibility….just kidding. But there are A Few Rules.
1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Thank and link back to the person that nominated you.
3. State seven things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
5. Notify the bloggers of their nomination by linking to a specific post.
Seven Facts About Me
1. Some of my best friends live hundreds of miles away. Pittsburgh, California, Arizona, Chicago– it’s great because I always have a person to visit, but it gets old seeing your favorite people only once a year (OR LESS!)
2. I am super in love with Ovaltine, like in a ridiculous way.
3. I rely heavily on reverse psychology to raise my daughter and surprisingly it hasn’t backfired (yet) or scarred her for life…(yet.)
4. I wish I was organized enough to celebrate more holidays. I hate that St. Patrick’s Day and Valentine’s Day typically pass without much ado, celebration or decoration.
5. I recently (last week) got a channel on YouTube, www.youtube.com/LetsSpaceLift, however it is currently empty. But I have plans and it’s going to be awesome!
6. I have a bachelor’s degree in Film, Video and Media (with a minor in practical writing) but I work in finance.
7. I use to work as a DJ for a popular Top 40/Hot A.C. station in my area. Radio will always hold a place in my heart, but it also came with a constant drink in my hand and that isn’t really cute after 23.
My Five Nominees (and by “nominees,” I mean “winners.”)
Why didn’t I choose 15 nominees as I should have? Well, I previously got an award (thanks again) and I nominated 15 of my roughly 20 favorite blogs…and here are the rest of them. Honestly, the longer I blog the more blogs I fall in love with, so I am sure in a couple weeks I will have several more that I’ve stumbled across and obsessed over.
Thanks again so much, KiKi. I always look forward to your fun and colorful posts!
I was in the process of dolling up one of my less-than-adorable-but-with-a-little-paint-it-could-be-great thrift store finds. I bought two different silver paints (please don’t ask me why, I’m just a glutton for spray paint.)
This grayish paint that claimed to be metallic.
So I started to spray down my porcelain, pagoda-like pavilion and I noticed that even though the lid PROMISED me that I’d be able to see this sparkle from space, it was falling a little flat.
I’ve used metallic paint before and I’ve used gray paint before, I know what “silver” is suppose to look like. This looks like silver after a long night of drinking and hanging out with a seedy chick named Gil, this is not *Silver*.
I decided to outsmart that deceptive lid and I referred to my drab spray paint with hopes that I was not hallucinating during previous projects and that silver paint really can look silver.
Lo and Behold…
It shines like a new nickel straight from the U.S. Mint.
This is a 50/50 shot. As you can see the middle portion is still the misleading “metallic” paint, while the roof has a thin coat of what I understood to be “aspiring silver.” I sure was wrong.
Because Michigan is currently experiencing subarctic temperatures it will take this little puppy 8.5 weeks to dry, so I do not have a clear “before and after” yet. I just had to share my personal lesson for the day…
When in doubt (or even when NOT in doubt), buy more spray paint.
My friend Hannah Christiane over at Cozy Crooked Cottage has nominated me for the Inspiring Blog Award! Let me be the first to say– Holy expletive, that is awesome! This whole “DIY blog world” is big and it’s easy to feel like just one of the millions; I’m flabbergasted (HA! I totally said flabbergasted) that I could be one of someone’s top 15 picks. So thank you, and I hope to keep pumping out the nonsense just as fast as you can read it.
As the rules state…
Seven Facts About Me
(as if I didn’t talk about myself enough)
1. I think it’s bad luck to display candles that have never been lit or return empty Tupperware (meaning I bake something to put in the Tupperware before I return it. I’m not some crazy Tupperware hoarder…yet.)
2. I eat ice cream in an alarmingly unhealthy quantity.
3. I think cursing shows a lack of intelligence and couth, but it just feels so F%$#ing good!
4. I prefer non-fiction over fiction any day of the week.
5. I LOVE BREAKFAST.
6. I’m at my funniest in a room full of strangers. To me, there is no faster way to make friends than to forgo the mature pretense and drop a few one-liners.
7. I believe hope is the most important thing in the world and there is no such thing as a lost cause. Furniture, houses, people– anything can be redeemed.
My 15 Nominees
(in no particular order, promise.)
There are a few rules to accepting a blog award…
1. Display the award image on your blog page.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State seven facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
5. Notify your bloggers of their nomination and link to their posts.
I’m so excited that awards like this exist. Most days I’m chomping at the bit to create and post, but some days motivation takes it’s time to find me. Regardless, knowing that inspiration in the form of other blogs is really encouraging. As long as bloggers keep blogging then I will keep reading, and (hopefully) vice versa.
Are your DIY magazines (or fashion, beauty and parenting magazines) taking over your life, but you can’t seem to throw them away? HA, well I am right there with you! I can’t seem to part with my DIY mags because they were my Pinterest before the website was around…
It’s too expensive and time consuming to buy laminated sleeves and rip out every page that I love (primarily because it ends up being the whole dang magazine.)
So let’s just skip the rigamarole, cut out the middle man and clean up our offices (and floors and desks and tables and every other surface that is covered by inspirational fodder.)
1. Drill with 1/4 inch bit
4. Loose leaf paper or laminated sleeve (optional)
Step 1: Draw your holes.
You can take a laminated sleeve or loose leaf paper to trace holes onto your magazine cover. If you don’t have a sleeve you can just close the magazine in the binder rings and squeeze the rings hard to make little impressions, then put dots on the impressions.
NOTE: It’s a good idea to start with a magazine that isn’t near and dear to your heart because there is a bit of a learning curve.
Place your magazine on a surface that you’re not partial to, because it ends up looking like this ….
Drill your holes into the circles you have stenciled. Then flip over the magazine and drill into the holes from the other side.
Step 4: Stencil new holes.
Place your magazine with your newly drilled holes on top of the next magazine and use it as a stencil to plot your next drill points. Then create the holes just like you did the first set.
Step 5: Install your magazines!
You CAN place waxy sticker reinforcers on the front and back covers of the magazines to keep them from tearing, but the thickness of the whole item should prevent any page damage from the rings. Just slide your magazines into your binder and clip them shut. Depending on your binder size (I used both 1 inch and 2 inch binders), you can fit 2-4 magazines per binder, depending on the magazine thickness.
Because I am not a huge fan of labeling everything (I know, I know, that is practically sacrilege in the realm of DIY home organization. Sometimes they are useful, but is it REALLY easier to find a towel on a shelf because the shelf is marked towels? Um, no. Sometimes all it takes is common sense.) I just organized my binders by magazine (Storage with Storage, House Beautiful with House Beautiful, you get it, right?) and of course grouping the randoms in a binder by themselves.
Step 5: Put it all away.
One huge factor in my favor is that I have matching binders. This wouldn’t look as streamlined if I used two blue, one lime and one goldenrod, but if you’re not going for the streamlined look (or if you don’t care to go out and buy new binders) then the rainbow is your oyster!
My logic? I’m a color junkie, but I need muted accessories in order for the showcase items to take center stage.
Starting a business is kind of a big deal, and there is no such thing as too prepared (especially when your family’s livelihood is at stake and there is no back-up plan.) I decided I can read online until I am blue in the face, but at the end of the day I need to learn REAL BUSINESS STUFF in a REAL CLASSROOM from a REAL TEACHER who has REAL EXPERIENCE. So off to school I went.
To preface, I am a nerd. I graduated with my Bachelor’s in 2008 and have been going back to school ever since for whatever interests me; Computer programming, advanced algebra, drafting–the list goes on. I love knowledge (because I am a pain-in-the-ass know-it-all) so the more I know the more I can help myself and others around me (whether they like it or not!!!:) Going back to school wasn’t a huge deal for me, I do it all the time. But now I’m going back for something more than an interest– THIS WILL AFFECT MY LIFE IN A BIG WAY (so much so that I felt all caps were very necessary for that statement.) I plan to take more than just Business 101 after this semester, but I just needed to get my feet wet. Eventually I will lead into different levels of Accounting, Business Law and side classes that are necessary to get licensed by the state.
I already knew some of what has been covered in class because I work with small businesses at my “real job,” and I also research online. However it was really nice to get concrete information from a man that has owned small business, traded stocks successfully and has headed whole sectors of VERY LARGE corporations. I was able to stop inferring from bits and pieces of information from the internet, which is not nearly enough to start a business.
It’s only the middle of the semester, but here are some tidbits that I would like to share…
1. Partnerships and Sole Proprietorships have tax benefits that you will not get with a regular corporation. Even Small Corporations (S-Corp) have some tax benefits that regular corporations (C-Corp) do not. Choose your strategy wisely.
2. When seriously starting a business, enlist the help of two important people: a CPA with experience in your type of business, and an attorney with business law experience. Make sure both of these people are a) people you can work with, b) will return your calls no matter when or where, c) fairly priced, d) trustworthy.
3. When deciding where to open your business, consider the state’s position on Unions (and whether or not it corresponds with your position on Unions) and what kind of business taxes you’d be expected to pay in that state/city.
4. 44% of small business fail due to incompetent management. By this I mean, INCOMPETENT (really day-one stuff.) Not paying suppliers, not having enough insurance, not paying taxes. Just do the right thing and listen to your CPA and attorney.
5. Hire honest, talented people and pay them well. You’ll win their loyalty and they’ll work harder to help you succeed.
6. Advertise in peak seasons when people are likely to buy. Honestly, would you get off the couch to buy a bathing suit in December just because you saw a jazzy commercial? Yeah, me neither.
7. A successful entrepreneur makes good plans, they don’t simply react to problems. When there is a plan in place, you carry it out despite the problems. You can’t create a plan to cater to the problems at hand.
8. Create a record storage policy. Garbage over seven years old can go. Most things over 3 years are unnecessary. Keeping EVERYTHING can create a liability.– Philip-Morris had to pay out millions due to a memo written 30 years ago stating “Well, we all know smoking is bad for you.” Don’t go out of business paying for lawsuits from old emails.
9. Get enough insurance. Seriously. Cover yourself, your employees, your customers, your property, your equipment, your dog, your mother, your mother’s dog and every other known aspect of your life that could be at risk by someone making a dumb decision and blaming it on you.
10. Make people think of your business first when they are in need of services that you offer. Hire college kids for the day to survey random pedestrians to see who knows about your business and what you offer.
11. Make it easy for people to do business with you. If you sell large items, deliver. If you offer a service, make sure your time frames are accurate. Always under promise and over deliver– but don’t lose money in doing so.
If you couldn’t handle all of that, let me simplify….
1. Surround yourself with hardworking, trustworthy, talented people.
2. Choose knowledgeable partners and experienced business “planners.”
3. Plan comprehensively and in great detail.
4. Treat your employees well.
5. Treat your customers well.
6. Spend money to make money with advertising, talent, products, renting a suitable building in a good location (if customers will be visiting) and insurance.
7. Be fair, work hard and do the right thing.
Recently I visited a broker to help me figure out where I stand in terms of business capital. I have decided I’m not super excited about taking loans, so I thought stocks may be the best avenue. Well it turns out, I was wrong.
Stocks are not great short term and anything with a quick return is often extremely high risk. So we settled on a Roth IRA coupled with a mutual fund. What’s a Roth IRA…or mutual fund? Well basically, an IRA is a retirement savings account that lets you dip into it and withdrawal the funds that you have put in. You can’t take out the interest earned, but you can take out the amount of funds that you actually deposited. A mutual fund is where the earned interest (or dividends, depending) comes from. It’s a group of stocks that are managed by a company and they are buying and selling from several different companies all at once, so if the value of one drops there are 50 others making up for it. Basically, we decided on a savings account that earns money at next to no risk of losing, which I am able to withdrawal from whenever I want, as long as it’s money that I put in and not the interest.
This works for me because if my money is somewhere else then I am less likely to spend it (especially because I know interest is being earned). Then when I need funds to start up the business, I can take out some of the money that I put in without any sort of penalties or tax issues (because all deposits are made after it’s already been taxed.) I’m not going to do anything massive, just put in about $40 a paycheck and see how fast it grows.
So what am I going to do with the money that I currently have saved (and my tax refund) that I was planning to invest in stocks to make millions of dollars (that was before my dreams were dashed by my very realistic broker)? I plan to pay off personal debt. I don’t have much, but none is better than even a little.
Since I don’t know what kind of business I will be, I want to leave my options open. Some business types depend heavily on the owner’s personal finances (like a sole-proprietorship or even a partnership), while other potential types (S-Corp) rely on investors. Regardless, I want to be in the position to choose the business type that is actually best for my business, I don’t want to choose it because I am not in the financial position to choose anything better. Soon the only debt I will have on my head is my mortgage, and with luck I will be able to make some principal payments to bring down the balance– which will also bring down the amount of interest I will have to pay.
At this point, it’s all about cleaning up and making room for possibilities.
I figured it’s time to get real with you. Not that I’ve been hiding anything, but there have been plans going on in my noggin (and some even on paper) regarding opening a business. What kind of business? Well, that part hasn’t been ironed out yet. Yes, I know that’s a pretty big detail to gloss over, but I’m not opening tomorrow. All I know is I’m smart, love to design, get dirty and work hard. Boom! The world is my oyster.
I decided to include this in my blog because, well, doesn’t it make you mad when you’re blissfully reading a blog and all of the sudden see that there is a store opening or a book coming out? And you sit there thinking, “where the F did this come from?” and “why is this the first I’m hearing of this?” or even “how do I do that too?” If you love to design and play with furniture, then of course my blog is useful. But what if you want to step it up? What if YOU want to open a legit business– not an Etsy business (I am totally not bashing the validity of Etsy, but it varies greatly from a brick-and-morter, make-my-living, do-or-die business.)
This is by no means a step-by-step guide, this is just what I’ve done and am currently doing to transition from hobby to career. Wish me luck!
I finally busted out my heat gun for the first time after waiting waaaay too long. The snow has really put a damper on my furniture plans, but this little buddy is a great way to keep things trucking (at least a little bit) inside, without making a monster mess. My heat gun has two settings, 700 degrees (-ish) and 1,000 degrees (-ish.) My contractor-friend told me that I would burn my first piece of wood without a doubt, but HA! No burns here… but I’m not finished yet.
I didn’t know how it would pan out, so I grabbed one of these juuuuust in case.
As far as my desk goes, it started something like this…
This thing blisters paint in less time than any chemical stripper I have ever used. Granted, if I burn myself with this I get more than just a couple little blisters (like the chemical stripper) but I will just have to be extra careful because so far it has been totally worth the risk.
It really is an “aim-and-fire” process. I was a little nervous at first, but this tool as really grown on me.
Want to know how to use it? Check out this VIDEO!
2013, here I am. This year was to start off with a BANG, and did it? Granted we are only 15 days in, but a BANG doesn’t exactly have a delayed reaction of 15 days.
While I was on the elliptical today (one resolution I have not yet broken, but again we are only 15 days in), I did the only thing I could do–think. What did I discover?
I spend an average of 6 hours a week on Pinterest!
(Yeah, that’s the nonsense I think about.) Seriously, I think it’s a problem. I would say that I get on 2-3 times a day for 15-20 minute intervals (depending). It doesn’t sound like too horribly much, but again I’m on Pinterest, which means I am doing NOTHING productive.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Pinterest. I think it’s an amazing source for ideas and inspiration, genuinely I do! But once I find these neat ideas and inspiring photos, what do I do with them? I pin them of course, but then what? Uuuhh, some get carried out and some just sit. Obviously, not many occasions call for making my own greeting cards, and I can only plan my wedding once, but those are exceptions. The projects that require supplies that I already own will sometimes get done, but those are exceptions too.
So not only am I wasting 6 hours of my week “planning,” the things that I plan rarely come to fruition. Well, that sounds straight-up stupid. And 2013 is not about stupid, it’s about productive and meaningful activity.
Details of the Plot!
1. Intermittently (I have a 3-year-old and 40 hour/week job; I can’t commit to a timeline) I will carry out my Pinterest ideas of grandeur and I will see if my life is truly better for it (some projects may not be worth time, energy or money, and you ought to know.) It will probably boil down to 1 every 10 days, depending on the size of the project. Regardless, you’ll be the first to know the outcome.
2. I will be choosing pins from 10 of my boards
Rooms with Character, Little DIYs, Organize This!, Furniture Updates, Hidden Office, Outdoor Space, Major DIY, Experience the Holidays, Shindig Ideas and Hair, nails and everything in between.
As always you can check out my Pinterest boards to see what I am in for.
3. Here’s the kicker, although I will still be getting on Pinterest to check out my boards, I plan to cease pinning on these 10 until I have completed 30 pins.
The planning (pinning) is done, now it’s time to actually do something.
Heaven Help Me.
Check out the full story of Trae’s Dresser makeover HERE!
With a new year, of course, comes a new resolve. Some of these have to do with Space-Lift and others have to do with me, Kristen, the unbelievably flawed human being. I know I am not alone in that I can (semi) objectively look at myself and see things that I’d like to improve.
I’ve always wanted a role model. I know that makes me sound like a 4th grader, but I’m serious. Like every other working parent, I do A LOT. I don’t need a fitness role model, a scholarly role model or even a celebrity “beauty” role mode; I need a “results attainable” role model. I need to see a person…nay, a woman, who is a great parent, holds down a successful full-time career, finds time to workout, has enough self-discipline to eat right, caters to her creative side, is artistic and maybe even musical, maintains a healthy relationship with her significant other, makes her friends feel special and loved, finds time for religion and faith, takes care of chores and can still shower, put on makeup and dress somewhat fashionably. Basically, a real-life embodiment of a Pinterest board (ew, it was hard to say that because it sounds shallow and stupidly superficial. But it’s real. And I don’t think that I am alone in that aspiration, even if its just as hard for others to admit.)
Does that seem like a tall order to you? Because this is insane to me! But it’s what I want. I want to be well-rounded, take care of the people I love and make my heart happy by doing what I love. Do you think I can find a person who has all of these qualities? Absolutely not. There are several woman who embody several of them and I can of course combine them to form a Team of Role Models, but at the end of the day I want to know that it is possible for one woman to have enough energy to become this. Again, I don’t need to be perfect. I’m not trying to learn another language, get my doctorate or become a triathlete. I’m just trying to do what I feel I do already, just a lot better.
My Team of Role Models
It should make me feel better that no single woman can achieve what I hope to, but it is also very deflating because it lets me know how hard it actually is. All these woman are untouchably successful in my book, but again, none of them embody what I hope to be someday. This isn’t a flaw on their part in the least; it’s more of a reality check for the “overachiever” within me.
But they inspire me nonetheless.
On to the Resolutions
I have to put my actions where my mouth is, and you of course will be the first to know as I try to take an “always honest” approach. Which leads me to my first resolution;
1) Put more Kristen in Space-Lift. When I read a design blog, I typically go for the projects, yet stay for the people. I’ve come to the realization that maybe I need to open up and remind everyone that I really am more than just my projects.
2) I need to keep up running. I know this is lame and everyone says it, but it makes every other aspect of my life easier. It tricks my body into thinking I’m working for only 4 hours when it’s really 6…even though my brain knows the truth.
3) Become a business machine. I love to blog, but that’s not where it ends. Eventually I plan to open a furniture store and restoration center, and I need to know what I’m doing. I don’t have an MBA but gosh darn it, lack of qualifications has never stopped me before.
4) Build equity in my house. I’ve been doing this for a while, but I really hope to sell this joint in about five years and make somewhat of a profit. You know I’ll post the projects.
5) Take it easy on myself. I don’t think I came equipped with an off switch. I have a lot of energy and I find it hard to sit down. Yet mental exhaustion takes hold before physical exhaustion and I just become…well..a bitch. This is a word I hate, HATE. I hate it in others and I hate the sound of it. Admitting that I become that horrible thing, makes it a lot easier to sit down before I become a snarling, beastly b-word.
So there you have it.
A new year and a beginning. Am I setting myself up for failure with my lofty aspirations? Probably. But no matter how bad I fail, as long as I keep my 5th resolution, the failure can still be a success.
On December 30th, 1985, I was born. I know it’s hard to believe, but I am 27. At this point in time, I have no opinions about that number. Turning 23 was hard (if you can believe that nonsense) probably because I was pregnant and my hormones were way off balance, but I also knew that meant I wasn’t really a kid anymore. I was going to HAVE a child, plus I’d graduated college and gotten a corporate job. All my stats said I was no longer a kid or a “hip, wild adult.”
Well, 27 isn’t that jarring. I have no life occurrences that double as reality checks like I did when I was 23, so it’s just another number. I’m old enough to rent a car, too young to be president (because THAT’S gonna happen…) and I’m still shopping around for the right wrinkle cream.
To mark this inglorious occasion, I have compiled a list. These aren’t things that I’ve learned JUST this year, but design/style tidbits that I have collected throughout my life.
27 Things I’m glad I know
1) No matter how hard you wish, flat paint can never be turned glossy.
2) Using a temperamental product in bad conditions allows you to master a great product in perfect conditions.
4) If what you’re doing seems too easy, then you’re probably doing it wrong.
5) A stud finder will save you time and Spackle.
6) You can never have too many putty knives.
7) Case Piece: Furniture that provides interior space for storage.
8) Do what you want. No single style will be loved by all so it may as well be loved by you.
9) Research. Read. Get the right tools. Work hard. Follow these guidelines and every project/event/situation/goal will turn out better.
10) Safety glasses aren’t for wimps, they’re for people who value their eyes.
12) Tuxedo Arms: Slightly flared arms that are the same height as the back.
13) Don’t freak out over paint. It’s the easiest thing to change and has the most impact.
14) Historically a credenza resembled a low dresser and a sideboard resembled a desk, but now the terms are practically interchangeable. A buffet, however, is always on wheels.
16) Diamond Tufting: An arrangement of tufting buttons to yield a diamond shaped pattern on the back of an upholstered piece.
17) Even if it is freezing outside, open a window and get air flowing when using chemicals.
18) Fluorescent lighting- light created by stimulating radiation. Incandescent lighting- light created as a result of being heated. LED- (light emitting diode) Photons released due to electrons recombining with electron holes in the diode. Moral? Light by heat is always more romantic than light by science.
19) Nothing, new or old, will ever beat a piece of solid wood furniture. Veneers are overrated.
20) Mistints are not to be ignored. Your wallet will love you for it.
21) Less is more. And by that I mean Less Stuff is More Space. Err on the side of leg room.
23) Fiddleback: A chair back whose splat looks like a violin.
24) For furniture where wood meets wood, adhering felt pads are worth the $2 and 3 minutes.
26) If you’re messing with wires, when in doubt, shut off power to the whole house. If you can’t find the right switch then there’s no other choice. If you can’t finish the job before the milk spoils and the ice cream melts then you should’ve called an electrician in the first place.
27) Remain open to new ideas and techniques. Nothing is worse than realizing you have ignored amazing concepts for no good reason.
The new year is almost upon us so it’s that time when everyone has a mini-midlife crisis. What have I done this past year? Have I been a good mom? Did I cross anything off the bucket list?
I am not absolved from this phenomenon. I couldn’t tell you what I wanted 2012 to look like at the end of 2011; I believe I said (in regards to Space-Lift) “I am going to take it up a notch. TEN notches even!” or something along those lines. In true New Year’s Resolution form, I did an amazing job in January, a so-so job in February and went right back to being Kristen in March.
But I am not here to focus on what I DIDN’T do. That kind of sounds like the worst thing ever, “Let’s see, how did I let myself (and you) down?” So I am going to focus on what did happen. I left my “resolution” open-ended enough–I just wanted to kick it up a notch, and I did. I worked harder, thought more, cared more and ultimately, I created more and had an amazing time.
I didn’t just make awesome stuff along the way and leave sunshine in my wake, I really learned some great lessons too. Not just technical lessons (even though I can now apply lacquer in subarctic temperatures and keep it looking smooth), technique takes a close second.
All of my Top Fives (excluding my bedroom which I HAD to add because it is the calmest place in my house and I am madly in love with it) were not only created for others, but they were big projects that made me think hard and work harder. In fact, I think I declared war on every single thing on this list (that includes my bedroom) because they were bulky, irritating and didn’t work well with others. None of the pieces were what I expected them to be when I first saw them and none of them wanted to transform into my vision with any kind of ease. I cussed each of them out on more than one occasion and I believe I may have given myself an aneurism and an ulcer. But now, I love them. I’m proud of them and I want to make more of them. (Seriously, I am getting teary. This is dumb, I’m like an old lady watching a kitten video.) I think this is what they call passion. In every instance, my work was never good enough for my liking, I wanted to spend more time on everything and yet I wanted to burn all of them down at one point.
The frustration makes it really easy to quit, but the outcome, the lessons (this time I do mean technique and knowledge building) and the insight into this thing that I lamely refer to as “my hobby,” makes doing anything else feel so empty.
I hope your 2012 was something good, in whatever way you define it.
I was hoping to have 20 tips out starting from Dec. 5th and ending on Christmas. Well as you can see (judging by the titles) that I didn’t quite make it that far. Throughout the days that I skipped posting there was a little voice in the back of my head saying “Maybe you could hurry and post something…ANYTHING?!” But I don’t like to post nonsense (that may come as a shock considering how much nonsense shows up on Space-Lift.) And even on Christmas I was thinking “Maybe I could post AFTER hosting tips.” But then I thought that wasn’t my initial aim and I don’t want to make it all up on the fly and act like it was my plan all along.
So I am labeling this one tip #17-#20. Even though it is only one, it is important enough to have a title of four tips.
Without further ado– Tip #17-#20
Enjoy yourself, make your guests feel at home, ensure the necessities are completed (gifts, food, clean toilet etc.) and don’t sweat the small stuff.
At the end of the day, any event or gathering is really centered around these few things. Does a messy house detract from this? To a degree, maybe. Does a messy house ruin the day? (Depends on how messy…) but no. Will anyone be upset that your daughter’s bed wasn’t made on the day they visited? Absolutely not.
In my instance, my sister told me (on Dec. 23rd) that the knobs for a piece we’ve been working on for her stepson, Trae, finally arrived. You can bet that dresser trumped absolutely everything (including ironing the tablecloth and cleaning the entryway floors) and was completed by the 25th! (More to come on that.)
So if you take ANYTHING away from my 20 tips, I sure hope it’s #17-#20 because those are what really matter anyway.
Category: Basic Maintenance
When you pass by and grab ahold everyday, it’s so easy to overlook how grubby the area behind your door knobs and handrails become. Just attack your handrails (and doors, if they are wooden like mine) with Orange Glo and mix together a soapy bucket with whatever dish soap you have handy (or a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser if you have one available…I just love that bald man.) Typically these areas don’t need anything too heavy to get them good and clean, in fact, it may almost take you longer to mix up the suds than to actually clean each area. You will be surprised at how grungy these regularly-used spots become over time and how awesome they look when you’re finished.
Category: In-Law Proofing
Buff your kitchen sink! It’s so easy to let this fall between the cracks, but you will see a legitimate difference.
2) Rub the sink in a circular motion until it has all been scrubbed down.
Once it dries it will shine like the top of the Chrysler building! (Please tell me someone else loved Annie as much as I did….and I apologize for the random reference. It’s Christmastime, I’m feeling lawless.)
This was 100% chemical-free and only took about eight minutes.
I sure love cheap, easy and effective cleaning!
The snow/rain storm has been messing with my internet connection, so hopefully I can bust this tip out before I am left radio-silent yet again.
This is the simplest (albeit messiest) craft that looks a little more sophisticated than it actually is, (something I truly love). Plus. it’s something your older kids and grandkids can help out with. (In fact, this is something I did with the woman who taught me everything I know, when I was about 8.)
1) Gather pinecones, 5-15 is really all that I find necessary.
3) Spray a pinecone completely.
4) Sprinkle glitter on the sticky pinecone until it shines to your heart’s content. (I find that fine glitter works much better, but it all sparkles
5) Set your pinecones on wax paper or tin foil to dry.
6) Repeat process.
I don’t intend to use these pinecones as part of a centerpiece (although you could) but I think they will make a flashy addition to the drink table.
If you want a festive way to keep the unwrapping under control, wrap a large box with wrapping paper (I have one in my entryway currently holding a dollhouse that needs assembling. But once it’s empty, it will be my wrapped trash box.) Just toss all of your torn wrapping paper in it throughout the morning (or day), this way your house won’t be littered with paper OR (even worse) multiple garbage bags strewed about.
It’s quick, easy and absolutely worth the 10 minute effort!
Category: Basic Maintenance
Dust your electronics. It’s easy to want to stick to dusting the flat surfaces and move on to more important cleaning (like the bathroom, ugh) but take the time to thoroughly wipe down your cable boxes and DVD players. I mean, it’s unlikely that anyone will decide to play on the XBox in the middle of Christmas dinner, but electronics attract so much dust and they don’t help you camouflage it a bit. One little swipe with a cloth or Swiffer, and you won’t have to worry about that grey coating on the VCR (a what?) tipping anyone off that you haven’t dusted in weeks.
Category: Guest Preparation
Make a designated kid area. If you already have kids, then this may already be done with a toy room or a kid’s bedroom. However, if there will be several kids over and your little girl isn’t too jazzed to have her four boy cousins in her space (or vice versa) then this may definitely help solve your problem. (And if you don’t have kids but know they will be over ALL day, then this definitely applies to you.)
Most parents know that when you go to a relative’s house for the day with your kids then you should bring some toys. But of course this is in a perfect world where babies never spit up just as you’re leaving the house and husbands don’t nearly forget the dessert in the freezer. So where does that leave you? That leaves you hosting a group of bored kids who don’t want to watch “A Christmas Story” for the 20th time nor your scratched up copy of “The Big Lebowski.”
The simplest plan of action? Lay a blanket out in a family room and make it “the kid zone.” They don’t have to stay on the blanket all day or anything, but why would they want to leave when the best aunt/uncle/cousin just bought them a killer coloring book/Play Doh pack/Crayola set/sticker and stamp kit/puzzle/board game? Yes, I am suggesting you buy them stuff for Christmas with the sole purpose to play with it at your house so they don’t bug you. THERE! I said it, and I LIKED IT!
Of course, make the area suitable for whatever you have for them to play with. Set up a TV tray on the blanket for Play Doh, but leave the flat surfaces out when it comes to any sort of Barbie doll/Matchbox car action. Kids don’t need much, just a little consideration. And you may not even notice that they probably spilled juice under a couch cushion and ate an entire pie.
Category: Basic Maintenance
Tie up loose DIY ends. No one wants to feel as though they have just walked into a construction zone. Those holes in the wall that are patched and not sanded? Sand them (and paint them if you’re feeling ambitious.) That light switch without the plate? Replace it.
Seriously, any project that is either obvious or inconvenient needs to be done, and sooner is always better than later. This isn’t even a matter of the “in-law judgement,” but more-so that you want everyone comfortable and not concerned about upsetting your half-finished tile job in the bathroom.
Of course, you’re not alone. If you’re reading this blog then you know I love DIY, you most likely love DIY and you know sometimes DIY pukes all over the house. My kitchen has been missing tiles for 3 months. THREE MONTHS!!! And I just got the motivation to do something about it.
These stinking tiles fell off and I thoughtfully decided to store them behind the microwave for safekeeping. But just a bit of stronger-than-oak flooring glue and some duct tape as a brace, and these were back into place in no time.
The easiest part about this tip is that USUALLY the jobs aren’t big or even hard, it’s just a matter of getting to them. My tile issue was resolved in 10 minutes (well, 4 hours once the glue dried and I could take off the tape) it was just a matter of getting to it and getting it done.
Category: Basic Maintenance
Let me start by saying, my wood floors are shot. I know NOTHING short of totally refinishing them will really make them look good as new. But that isn’t (hopefully) the case for you. Mine were neglected and then covered with carpet without any sort of regard. In most cases, real wood flooring is usually under-cared for and slightly abused. If this is the truth for you then there are three steps that have always worked for me in every rental.
1) Mop with distilled vinegar. Mix 1/2 cup vinegar for every gallon of water. It disinfects like anything store-bought, plus it’s chemical free and won’t harm your floors.
2) Mop with Murphy’s Oil Soap. Again mix 1/2 cup per gallon of water. This may seem repetitious, but I guarantee you will end up dirty water the second time around.
Just to be real for a minute here, I know not everyone is craft-a-licious. It isn’t always simple turning a pinecone into a centerpiece and sometimes it’s not easy getting from point A to point B even with a detailed map. To add insult to injury, the news has reported the economy is on the upswing but you may not be feeling the bonus cash flow yet. If you happen to fit into the center of this venn diagram, then I have a solution for you.
If you’re looking around your house and wondering how to decorate and not make it look cheap then you may want to go the absolute opposite direction. Whose art is never criticized? Whose art is overdone and praised for its garishness? KIDS’!
Yes, I am seriously suggesting that if you have a shortage of cute, clever decor, then bust out the paper snowflakes and glitter!
(Please excuse the Cinderella dress, I really can’t keep her out of it.)
Personally, I don’t plan to keep ALL my “toddler-made” decorations up until Christmas for two reasons;
1) I don’t want her to have all of the fun, I want to make some decorations too!
2) I’m realistic. Not ALL of them are the most beautiful things I have ever seen (and honestly, I don’t feel like a bad mom for saying that.)
If you have older kids, you can give them direction, ideas, supplies and let them go to work while you do more important things (like chill out before the REAL holiday work starts.)
P.S. Holiday home prep tips intensify tomorrow! You may even break a sweat.
Category: In-Law Proofing
It’s hard, especially when you have kids (who have fingers that tend to be sticky) but when we make the decision to buy anything made of metal, we also make the decision to make sure it’s polished and at least semi devoid of finger prints.
So Happy Holidays, shine your stuff.
I’m usually in favor of homemade cleaning supplies (especially in the kitchen) because they’re less hazardous and don’t stink up the joint as much as store-bought items. In this instance I used a commercial product because:
1) I knew there was a bit of tarnish to hopefully remove so it had to be powerful.
2) I didn’t know how much I would need (and the thought of going into the kitchen to make a solution more than once did not sound fun in the least.
3) The item(s) I was polishing are large so I can’t just set them in a container and leave them for hours, so whatever I used had to be somewhat fast-acting.
Again, the tip is to polish your metal, you don’t need to remove every tarnished spot; removing the sticky prints will be enough work.
Brasso (a product I had never heard of, but I am not a brand snob) only cost about $3, so that was good news.
As you can see my lamp wasn’t in awful shape. In fact, these spots were the worst of it, but if I could get rid of them, that would be bonus.
I started with putting Brasso on cotton balls and rubbing it all over. I let it sit for a minute and then went over the tarnished parts with steel wool. I absolutely DO NOT recommend you use steel wool, in fact the bottle says to use a very soft cloth. It was a 0 wool so it definitely wasn’t tooooo horribly hard, but again, it could have scratched the metal (in my case scratches would only add to the many already present.)
As you can see on the base, the Brasso dried to the metal and I just rubbed it out (this time with a soft cloth) but I had to use A LOT of pressure.
It was a lot of work for the lamp (and I had to legitimately set aside time to do it), but items that are intended to be polished and sparkling are one of the little things that get noticed by
Plus, I’d rather have someone envious of my unique lamp than note how good it COULD look if it only had a little love.
Hide your junk!
There are things that I like to have on hand and readily available. Tape, hair ties and pens are
clutter just a few of the things that I like to keep out in the open (on tables or counters) that I know I can just grab when I need them (this is my attempt to avoid calling my stuff the dreaded “C” Word.). But as we all know, the holidays are a time when family comes over and may not want to see your nail clippers chillin’ on the coffee table (Hey, I don’t judge.) It’s so simple, but for all of the ugly stuff, just put it in a holiday box, close the lid and call it a day.
No one has to know what your hiding, but it’s still on hand juuuuuuuust in case.