Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Sanctuary - Wrap Up

It was a whirlwind of a month. I am thrilled that I now have a home that better reflects me, and a home where I have tackled so many of those little projects that I had always meant to do. The intensity of the challenge was extremely motivating. The rapid succession of projects kept me focused. I will fully admit that this consumed my month, which I think I had expected, but I am looking forward to having more balance in future monthly goals. I didn't work out nearly as often and certainly wasn't eating as healthy as I usually do.

Some highlights:
~ Using a belt sander and a handsaw for the first time felt liberating and empowering.
~ I loved the learning. Most days, I spent a fair amount of time researching online and learning new things.
~ Preparation was key. Most days, I spent a signiciant part of my time planning for upcoming projects (learning, ordering supplies, researching, etc.)
~ It helped to have a vision of an ocean/beach inspired home to drive all the creative decisions.
~ I'm thankful that I documented everything, because each day passed by so quickly.
~ I loved calling my parents for advice on certain projects.
~ Most projects were easier than I imagined.

I love knowing that without this month-long intense challenge, my home wouldn't have changed at all. And, now, here I am one month later with change and progress, and new inspiration.

Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need.
Sarah Ban Breathnach

Thursday, January 26, 2012

January Sanctuary - Day Twenty Six


After with my new sofa and loveseat!

So, I've averaged two projects a day, so technically, I'm done with doing a project every day for a month! I have a few things to wrap up, but I have a friend coming into town, so I'm setting this all aside for now. So exhilerating to finish so much within a month's time!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January Sanctuary - Day Twenty Five

1. Picked up a new lampshade. White with a wave texture.
2. Created a custom matte using paint samples which will match the coffee tables. 
3. Picked up the house - so many project supplies that the house still feels upside down.
4. Anxiously counting down the hours until my sofas arrive tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

January Sanctuary - Day Twenty Four

Almost there! Today, I was able to give away my old sofa and loveseat, making room for the new sofas coming on Thursday. I'm so thankful to have new sofas coming, but it was hard to part with my old ones.... I'm not sure I understand the emotional ties I had to the furniture... but it feels cathartic to let go.

My home is a mess with all the project supplies, tools, and rearranging, so the rest of the night was spent putting things back in place.

The daily rigor of this month is producing great results, but I've had to sacrifice time usually spent working out and eating healthy. I'm looking forward to yoga next month, along with a return to healthy eating and running.

Monday, January 23, 2012

January Sanctuary - Day Twenty Three

Finally! Finished cleaning and organizing my walk-in closet. I've organized it before, but I finally let go of boxes worth of things that I really don't need. *sigh of relief*

Also, finally switched out some of my whale and joshua tree photos into a good frame. 

That's it folks...until tomorrow.

"In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves … self discipline with all of them came first."
        - Harry S Truman

Sunday, January 22, 2012

January Sanctuary - Day Twenty Two

1. Yard Sale - A total financial bust, but a successful way to get rid of a ton of stuff. As I write this, there are still boxes of stuff on my front lawn - all marked free. Let's hope it's all gone by morning.
2. Painted another frame matte white.
3. Cleaned out another shelf of my closet.

As a side note, a significant amount of time each day is dedicating to planning, purchasing supplies, and preparing for the following day's (or week's) projects....I suppose that serves as a reminder that planning is just as important as the execution (if not more).

Approaching the home stretch...(pun not intended)

Nature knows no pause in progress and development, and attaches her curse on all inaction.
       - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Saturday, January 21, 2012

January Sanctuary - Day Twenty One

You can't tell from the lighting, but the "before" chair is beige (not white) and in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint.

After the first coat of paint (also painting the matte of a frame from yellow to white):


Took some monster waves from the book "The Wave" by Susan Casey and placed them in a frame that I had tucked away for ages without any photos in it.

Then spent the rest of my day just picking up the house, clearing out my closet, and preparing for the yard sale tomorrow morning. (Oh, and worked this morning, and went to dinner and the symphony tonight.... I think I need sleep, lots of sleep)

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land, there is no other life but this.” 
       - Henry David Thoreau

Friday, January 20, 2012

January Sanctuary - Day Twenty

Do I have to show the before?? It's ridiculous! Crazy cables, random speakers, chaotic cords.

So, I ordered a black bookcase from World Market that arrived today. Assembly required, of course:

The after! My Bose has a home. My Harman Kardon has a home. My laptop has a home.

The cables are all organized, grouped, and secured using twist ties and electrical tape.

"In order to seek one's own direction, one must simplify the mechanics of ordinary, everyday life."

 I wonder what Plato organized? What belongings cluttered an ordinary life in 400 b.c.?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

January Sanctuary - Day Nineteen

It took all my willpower to work on a project tonight, but once I started I was glad I did. I cleared out 2 more drawers in my closet and cleared a back corner. There is no way I'm going to post pictures since it's still a mess. Chaotic. But I'm letting go. A majority of the closet is ending up in the yard sale on Sunday. Do I really need a hole puncher in the shape of a leaf? Do I really need 20 pencils - when is the last time I even picked up a pencil? Letting go...

"The more you have, the more you are occupied. The less you have, the more free you are."
             - Mother Teresa

"Clutter is a physical manifestation of fear that cripples our ability to grow."

              - H.G. Chissell

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January Sanctuary - Day Eighteen

Amidst all these projects, I still have to focus on my lovely day job. Today was another 11 hour work day, and tomorrow will be 12, and I'm headed into another 2 week stretch without any days off. But I do love my job, thankfully!

So today's project was light. I cleaned out 3 drawers in my walk-in closet. Not as fun as my other projects, but definitely a good step towards simplifying. Most of the contents will be sold at a yard sale or donated.

Signing off for a bit of American Idol, then sleep!

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience."
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

January Sanctuary - Day Seventeen

I'm thrilled. I'm starting to see my home, corner by corner, inch by inch, cabinet by cabinet, transforming into a space that I love.

I opted to use a glass top over my refurbished white coffee tables. This way, I can change the colors and designs whenever I want rather than permanently affix the paint chips. I ordered the custom glass from "Fast Glass" and they were seriously fast - ready in one hour!

The lighting isn't perfect, but here is a sneak peak at my new coffee tables. See the originals here.

I also finished the last two panels on the screen. See the original here

It feels good to see my home better reflect how I feel - happy, bright, cheerful, and full of ocean colors.

"Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? no. Just as one can never learn how to paint."
      - Pablo Picasso  

Monday, January 16, 2012

January Sanctuary - Day Sixteen

Big project today. With the shift to a beach theme, I needed to rethink my coffee table. I had a traditional cherry wood coffee table with glass inserts. Not quite my style anymore. I needed some inspiration, and came across this table online. I loved the bold color, the unexpected use of paint chips, and that it's made of re-used pieces.

paint chip coffee table
My inspiration from this page.

The before. Two traditional cherry wood end tables.

Supplies including the best toffee decaf latte ever.

I cut 6 inches from each leg using a handsaw. The end tables were too high to serve as a coffee table.
Left: After cut and sand. Right: The before.
I used a power sander to roughen up all the surfaces then vacuumed and cleaned each table.

I painted in the park just steps from home.
This is after the first coat of primer. Looks terrible, doesn't it?

After the first coat of white semi-gloss spray paint.

The advantage to painting in my nearby park - seeing the sunset against palm trees.

5 hours later, the tables are on their final dry phase.

Fast recap. It took me:
  • 5 hours
  • 2 cans of primer
  • 4 cans of white semi-gloss
  • 2 calls to my Dad in Illinois (thanks Dad!)
  • 5 trips to the hardware store (thankfully it's just two short blocks away)
Later this week, I'll add the paint chips and mod podge to seal the tops. This was a major project and spontaneous given I just found the inspiration photo last night. I hope it all comes together the way I'm envisioning.

Park Perk: It was fun to talk with neighbors that stopped by and people walking their dogs. Everyone was so nice, helpful and encouraging! One neighbor who I just met helped me carry the tables back home - how nice!

"I am always doing things I can't do, that's how I get to do them.”
                                                                                               - Picasso

Click here for an update showing the addition of the paint samples.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

January Sanctuary - Day Fifteen

I'm guilty. I like to buy new things. I'm an over-consumer, even if I do aspire to a minimalist approach. So it's been nice to shift toward re-purposing and re-using during this month's projects.

Instead of new lamps, I repaired the ones I had and painted them white. And, I transformed some vases, a mail sorter, and some dogwood branches from my mom's garden from red to white.

The lamp before:

I forgot to take a before picture, but the vases and branches were a deep red prior to the primer. After one coat of primer:

See the red topiary. 
Apparently red roses don't like to be turned white. 
I gave up on the topiary after a few coats. 

 After first coat of white glossy paint:

Red dogwood branches from Elgin, Illinois re-imagined in white:

Lessons learned:
1. Primer is essential, as are having friends that recommend primer (Thanks Em & Shannon!)
2. Lightly apply each coat and expect to apply many coats of both primer and color.
3. Glossy looks best on the vases.
4. Walking over to the nearby park was worth the trouble - it was a beautiful day to paint in the park.
5. When in doubt, apply another coat.
6. Seriously, apply another coat. 
7. I love living in Seal Beach. Thankful that Main Street Hardware Store is just a two minute walk from my house.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

January Sanctuary - Day Fourteen

This screen came with the apartment and stood to block the back of the fridge which faces towards the living room. But, it's red. And, it's old. And, begging to be made pretty again.

The before...

 The almost after....I finished the first panel but ran out of tacks. To be continued tomorrow...


Update 1/15/12. Here is the final photo: 

Friday, January 13, 2012

January Sanctuary - Day Thirteen

The magic of super glue! Fixed two lamps tonight that were wobbly in several places.

 Lamp base - I'll be spray painting it white this weekend.

I love these new single use super glue applications.
Also, organized one more kitchen cabinet. I have a tiny kitchen, yet I keep finding more cabinets to clean....

Thursday, January 12, 2012

January Sanctuary - Day Twelve

Fitting in a home improvement project every day during a busy work week is challenging, but rewarding. I'm already approaching the half-way point for this month and I am loving the progress. The pace is a bit relentless, but the payoff is immediate. Little by little, tiny segments of my home are transforming.

Tonight, all these parts....

Turned into this... 

Not only did I finally get a nightstand (to replace the end table that I had been using in the meantime), but I also switched all my electrical to the other side of the bedroom, closer to the door. At about 15 steps, I think I might save myself 5,040 steps a month. I love efficiency.

"The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time" --- although as a vegetarian, I'm not sure I really like that example. 

January Sanctuary - Day Eleven

Finished painting birdhouse tonight. Pictures to come soon.

Busy week. Fulfilling. Colorful. Eventful. Sleep beckons...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

January Sanctuary - Day Ten

Quick recap for today:
1. My canisters arrived so I transferred my flour, sugar, brown sugar, and flaxseed to airtight containers.
2. Cleared one more kitchen drawer.
3. Cleaned up my old spice jars so I can reuse them for next year's holiday gifts.

Sleep. Need sleep.

Monday, January 9, 2012

January Sanctuary - Day Nine

Tonight was a shopping night (fun!)

The quotes for the re-upholstery came in higher than what I originally paid for my sofas, so I switched gears to buy new. I researched for a few days then ended up at Macy's - lucky for me it was their semi-annual furniture sale so I bought a full size sofa and a love seat in vintage gray. I'm thrilled! Even better, the delivery date is January 25, so my January Sanctuary will end with a major improvement!

I stopped at Marshalls and found some great ocean/beach themed accessories.

Generally, I feel like I'm making steady progress, but there is still so much more to do by month-end. I'm glad I'm completing more than one project a day...

And, now on to adding blue paint to my birdhouse. Then sleep.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

January Santuary - Day Eight

Kitchen shelf above the stove before (unfinished wood):

View 2 of Kitchen shelf above the stove before (unfinished wood):

After first coat of paint:

This is a sentimental birdhouse that belonged to a dear friend of mine. I'm giving it a second life with sanding and a new coat of paint. Here is the before picture:

Here is after the first coat. I'll add blue tomorrow (or tonight if the paint dries quickly):

I also purchased glue and white spray paint to update and fix my lamps this week.
“Everyone wants to understand painting. Why is there no attempt to understand the song of the birds?”
        - Pablo Picasso 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

January Sanctuary - Day Seven

Why are closets so impossible? Why is it hard to part with clothes and shoes? Some that still have the original tags on but I tell myself I might wear them someday. Others that are tied to memories, experiences, moments that I want to hold on to.

Definitely a first world problem *hangs her head in shame*. There are more important things to think about than my closet, so I'm happy to get this done and move forward. 

simplify. ruthlessly edit. keep only your favorites.

Managed to set aside 14 pairs of shoes to donate and one full bag of clothes (and this is only from one side of one of my closets). I need to read the mnmlst blog again (see link on right) and go through a second time tomorrow morning, bright and early.

"Knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world, and not in a closet"
- Lord Chesterfield

Friday, January 6, 2012

January Sanctuary - Day Six

My spice rack is done and I love it! Not only did I regain a kitchen cabinet by moving the spices, but I love how I can see all the beautiful colors of the spices. It makes me want to cook something good!

Spices finished! Off to clean another drawer.

"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another."
                                                                                                - Walter Elliott

Thursday, January 5, 2012

January Sanctuary - Day Five

I'm looking forward to the weekend for my bigger projects. But in the meantime, here is today's recap:

1. Ordered a white nightstand to replace the end table I've been using (which was never intended to be a permanent placement)

2. My new tins arrived for my spice rack! Applied all the magnets. Created the labels, but I think I need to switch from white labels to clear - should have thought of that beforehand. Waiting 24 hours for magnets to stick before placing on fridge. Hope it's cute!

That's it folks... more projects to come!