Saturday, June 18, 2016

Let this be a lesson

We had another major storm blow through our region Wednesday night. Several thousand people experienced power loss, including us. Ours was due to downed power lines. We think lightening struck a tree, caught it on fire and the limbs fell on the lines.  

This time we were prepared to deal with the power outage---or so we thought. Once the torrential downpour subsided, the hubbs wheeled out our generator that we purchased 4 years ago after the epic storm which resulted in a total loss of all of our perishable foods.  Gas generators are incredibly noisy. We have a Troybilt 8250/6000. We decided to enjoy the peace and quiet after the storm before cranking on the generator.
We had unfettered access to the sights and sounds of nature, normally masked by the visual and auditory pollution of modern civilization.We stood in back yard and breathed deep the smell of damp soil and rain. Did you know, there is a term for this specific smell? It is called Petrichor. We admired the beauty of a double rainbow. And we smiled as we watched the antics of wildlife spraying arcs of water droplets in their wake of hopping to and fro from wet branches.

Our sojourn into nature ended much too soon and the demands of modern life beckoned. So we set about running the lines to various appliances and fired up the generator. We cycled running both refrigerators, the chest freezer and charging our small electronics (phones, tablet and laptop). We didn't run our generator all night because it is very loud, smelly and honestly there was enough of a cool breeze we  thought we would enjoy having the windows open overnight.

What really happened... one of our neighbors ran their generator ALL night.  The echoing roar of a combustion engine several yards from our house. So that was lovely-not! By 4:15 am the power had not been restored, so I grudgingly forced myself out of bed. After getting ready to work, I went to the garage to wheel out the generator and quite nearly suffocated from the smell of gas fumes. I had to run outside to breathe from coughing and gagging. It took me several minutes and a few deep breaths then I ran into the big bay of the garage and flung open the garage door. I made such a clatter the hubbs really did look to see what was the matter. Hahaha, not the night before Christmas.

The hubbs in his hastiness (and fatigue) FAILED to shut the valve to the gas on the generator.

All night, while we slept, the gas leaked out of the tank puddling into a pool on the concrete and built up fumes in the garage. Think about that for a minute. IF the cat been in the garage he would have been asphyxiated.  IF the power surged back on, a spark could have detonated our garage into a explosive fireball.   

Oh.My. God!!!  

We are truly lucky, blessed and perhaps even charmed to have averted such a PREVENTABLE, POTENTIAL tragedy.

Always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, be careful and think about your sequence of actions.

 Safety is of the utmost importance.

Once we managed to get over our shock of WHAT MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED, we sprang into action. The hubbs poured kitty litter on the gas puddle. Not sawdust,  because no additional combustible materials were needed. I made a quick trip to Kroger's and bought lots and lots of ice (and a new coleman cooler).

Upon returning home, I used the principles of thermal mass--err... I shoved all the frozen junk into the chest freezer and placed bags of ice on top. All the refrigerated items were sorted into the ice filled coolers to keep and things deemed not necessary were pitched. I had one 22 bag of ice remaining, I placed the non perishable beverages in the now empty refrigerator freezer with the bag of ice, utilizing it as a cooler.

Power was restored midday Thursday and life is "normal" again. We didn't lose our food supply, a pet didn't die, and our garage didn't explode. But we most definitely learned a very, VERY important lesson in safety.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

$32 bathroom spruce up

I have been complaining about the downstairs bathroom for quite some time. It is still on the list to remodel but as life goes, things happen and priorities shift. Soooo...I put on "my creative, let's thinks outside the box and make this work on the cheap" hat. I couldn't change the the walls right now, but I did make a few inexpensive changes.

AFTER--btw I know the toe kick isn't painted. that is going get wrapped with baseboard. i didn't want to lay on the floor to paint it :)
I removed the rusty old medicine cabinet. The previous owners notched the window frame so the medicine cabinet would fit. I have installed a less obtrusive mirror. The mirror was stashed in the garage and just needed cleaned up a bit.

Since I lost some storage I bought a small plastic drawer system ($14) that fit neatly under the colorful metal table which I already had as part of a nesting trio of tables. I am debating about skirting this table with fabric in the same color scheme as the shower and window curtains (using industrial velcro) to make it easy to remove for cleaning.

We installed sheet vinyl remnants that were pieced together, which were free from my sister! It is not an exact match to my kitchen vinyl floor but it is the same color even if the blocks are bigger than the kitchen vinyl. I still have a 4ft by 5ft piece we can use for patching if needed.  We had the adhesive leftover from installing our kitchen sheet vinyl. There are a few minor imperfections from piecing the the vinyl and a few less than perfect cuts on my part. I truly don't mind because it is leaps and bounds better than what we had. Since the flooring was free, it is temporary until we gut this room. I spent $5 on aluminum threshold to cover the sheet vinyl seem between the kitchen and bathroom. (I still need to paint the door and trim white)

I also painted the the old sink vanity. I used a brush technique to make it look aged/ worn. It turned out pretty nice. I still may go back and hit it with a little sandpaper to mimic worn areas due to constant use (corners and by the handles).  The old hardware was rusty and a little gross but I just hit it with a wire brush to knock the worst of the rust, wiped it down and reinstalled. It goes with the whole aged patina thing.

Here's a helpful hint. When painting flat surface items and if there is a side edge which also requires painting, do NOT paint the edge when lying directly on newspaper. ASK ME HOW I KNOW THIS! I tried to move the cabinet doors after priming and the newspaper came with the doors. DOH! Once I scraped of the newspaper--which looked like a preschool art project--I placed the cabinets on bamboo skewers. That was kind of cool with the rolling action that went along with it, haha. I finally used another bamboo skewer stuck in the cabinet pull hole to hold it in place while painting and I didn't need to touch a wet edge. Ingenuity at it's finest.

I had a 1 yard remnant of fabric and sewed a new curtain panel. Surprisingly the colors are an exact match to my existing shower curtain. I fashioned the tie back from ribbon remnant. This swag also hides the notched out frame.
This a dual purpose bathroom and laundry room.  The water lines and drain are awkwardly placed and visible. I spent $13 at Lowes for melamine laminated shelving. I simply drilled pilot holes, screwed the pieces together and made a 3 sided box to cover the water lines and drain. It makes a great plant stand!  If we need to access the water valves or drain, we can simply move the box frame.

Overall I feel pretty pleased with the outcome. It freshened up the look of the room, at minimal cost

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Mad Hatter Tea Party

“I'm not strange, weird, off, nor crazy, my reality is just different from yours.” 
― Lewis Carroll

Follow the arrows to the tea party. The sign was printed offline from a Google search and the frame was from the Dollar Tree. The tassel's were purchased at Target (Dollar Spot bins) and the glittery hearts was a 4 pack purchased from Old Time Pottery.

Which key? I have a "thing" for keys. Especially those which look old fashioned. I have amassed a collection over the years. Purchased from various locations (thrift stores, yard sales, Dollar stores and craft stores)

A glimpse of Wonderland. The door knobs were from Michael's and Old Time Pottery (as was the oversized hand mirror).

A few images printed offline (Thank You Google and Pinterest) and the mismatched gold frames are from my very organized hoard stash of decorative accessories totes.

Through the Looking Glass--The center mirror is an antique plaster of mirror with the most amazing smoked glass patina. The remaining mirrors were found at Goodwill and The Family Dollar store.

"It's Always Tea Time" using a variety of mismatched mugs. The mugs were monogrammed with each guest's initial(purchased from Old Time Pottery and Big Lot's). Continuing the wonky theme using mismatched dishes (purchased at my local Krogers), tablecloths (Target) and chairs (mine).

Teapots and other decorative accessories. Most of which I pulled from my hoard stash. I am an organized hoarder, haha

Not a white rabbit, but a cute wire rabbit from Target, and a nod to to the Queen of Hearts

I may have gone a little bonkers with the tissue pom-poms. Many of these were purchased at the dollar stores, Walmart, Target and even a couple I diy-ed.

Here is my favorite DIY-ed tissue pom. I flipped it over, stuck it in a vase and it looks like a giant polka dot flower. How very Alice in Wonderland, haha
Don't be late for the Wonky Photo Booth. The clocks are stopwatches instead of pocket watches and a little Andy Warholish, but I liked it. The canvas is from Old Time Pottery.  A variety of lanterns add to the festive feel.

Plenty of Wonky Photo props.The Cheshire grin was a super easy DIY. I printed the image found online, cardboard was cut to the shape, secured with tape and a bamboo skewer was used for the stick.

What's tea party without sweets?

And fun was had by all...

“IN THE END… We only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.” 
― Lewis Carroll

6/06/16 edited to correct grammar mistakes and expand descriptions on a few of the photos.