Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Keep it Clean, Sister.

Recently,  I surprised one of my sisters.
My other sister and I showed up unannounced to help clean for a large gathering.
  We were happy to do it and she was happy to have us. 

Why it is so much more fun to clean someone else's house?
 Is it that their stuff seems so much cooler than our own?
 For me, it was like an adventure to see how clean things could be. 
 It inspired me to be a more thorough cleaner in my own house.

 It got me thinking. 
If someone came to help me clean, would I be readyNo, I wouldn't.
So, I assessed my cleaning supplies and where I keep them.
I'm usually going to at least 4 different rooms.
Upstairs, downstairs and cabinet hunting. And so are the kids.   
If everything was in one place and looked decent, not all crappy and gunky,
 maybe cleaning actually would be easier and a bit more fun.
And if I can get even a tiny bit more help from my 4 kids, I'm game to try.

Of course, I couldn't do it the normal way with a plastic basket thingy.
Here's what I came up with:

I used the enamelware bucket I bought this summer at a garage sale for $3.
The super fabulous "cleaning" is a vintage flash card I bought at Junk Bonanza for $1.50.
I am hoping the obvious wording gives the kids a subliminal message.........

I put in only the products I use the most.
 A sponge, Comet, floor cleaner, my handy dandy Scrubbing Bubbles, Windex,
 toilet bowl cleaner and brush. 
At any given moment, I can pull it out
 or the kids can grab it themselves and not have to ask me where it all is. 
The cuteness factor is a distraction from the actual work.
This is the goal.

Peek-a-boo. Please clean the toity.
(I now deem my cleaning supplies worthy.)

Oh happy day.
xo Jeanne.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sign Me Up.

On my trip back to my hometown in July,
I noticed that the street signs had been replaced.
 The old ones were metal and cool 
 I wondered what had been done with them. 

 I spotted a sign in a front yard garden.  So I knew there had to be a way to find one.
  Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to research it before
our vacation was over and I left California without one.

But then, unexpectedly going back a few weeks ago (dad's funeral),
 I had a second chance to do sign research. 
I headed to City Hall, where indeed I found out they were for sale. $78 each. 
I wanted, needed, must have...the street I grew up on.
 "Grandview Ave." 

I chose the one I wanted, then went back 2 days later.
It had to be picked from storage and brought to City Hall. 
I went back and happily collected it with my nieces. (they're cute too!)

I wrapped it McGyver style, then shipped it to myself in MN.
I thought shipping was going to be super expensive,
due to it's weight and odd shape. But it was decent at $14. Yay!
It arrived nearly unscathed. It was my mini-Christmas.

Here it is.
From years and years in Sierra Madre to my very own wall.
It's metal, porcelain, rusty and just the right amount of chippy.
Very cool.

To make this story even sweeter...
 So I'd be able to purchase the sign and not incur unexpected costs,
At dinner one night a dear friend slipped $80 in my purse. 
 So very kind, bringing tears to my eyes.
(she knows who she is and she's getting a necklace. smile and hugs.)

So you see, it really is a gift from Home.
Grandview Ave.
Right in my living room.
xo Jeanne

**awesome projects found here today @ coastal charm. enjoy!**

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jewels In The Garage.

Whew knew? 
The jewels were there all along.  
I just had to dig for them.
They were just disguised as metal washers, tiny pulleys and extra belt buckles.

Recently I was able to go through my dad's garage.
His tool bench. His precious tools that were always off limits to us as kids.
What looked like junk, I knew was not.
It was well organized, categorized and labeled.

I took what I could send home. Bits and pieces.
Washers, springs, little pulleys that were in bins, perfectly sorted.

I saw them as jewelry I could make for my mom and my sisters.
A little piece of my dad that I can send to them.
I hope they like these sweet little gifts.

I'm just about done with each one.  
Now wish me luck that I can get them to the post office before the next ice age.

On that note, I really hope....
Each necklace, for the one intended, will melt their heart.
They know who they are.  (surprise! smile. kleenex.)
 xo Jeanne.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Wedding Suit

In 1949, my parents were married.
My mom was 21. She traveled on her own to marry my dad.

She did not have a wedding dress.
She wore a sensible wedding suit.
She still has it and it's in perfect condition.
While I was there for my "impromptu visit"
(insert -my dad's funeral- here), she pulled it out. 

 It is darling, totally vintage, and tiny. 
My niece Kristen was there too, she is equally tiny and darling.
 She had no choice but to put it on to see how it fit.
Once we saw that tiny waistline...and the collar...and the buttons...
we drug her outside for some pics.

We drug (dragged?!)my mom outside  too.
We couldn't help ourselves. Me and my other nieces.
It was a wedding suit photo frenzy.
We told Kristen that her hair or flip flops didn't matter.
It was the fun of the moment that did.
My mom explained how her hat was and about her wedding shoes.
It was all pretty adorable.

Love is good.
xo Jeanne.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Junk Bonanza - Jeanne & Linda Style.

 We went. We shopped. We conquered.
Once again, the blue bug took Linda and I to Shakopee to Junk Bonanza.
It's like nirvana for anyone who lives and breathes junk.
A love for anything old, chippy, rusty or made of metal.
 You walk in and come across booths where you swear you are just plain at home.

There was everything eclectic you could think of.

Lookee here!
We went especially nuts when we saw all these porcelain clock faces
From old pocket watches....
They were $3 each and by far the best prices we've seen them anywhere this summer.
The same vendor also had the tray of rusty toy guns. Hmmm...

  While doing my laundry room, I looked and looked  for carts on wheels.
Here they were.

 We liked this idea of Silver on pipes for the garden. This vendor did it well.
Also, we love the cash register numbers. 
But we can never find any we can actually afford!

The show was actually very artsy. This year it was packed with jewelry.
Many vendors were very creative people who put time and effort into awesome displays.
This chandelier was strewn with necklaces and the dress form was for sale in it's entirety.

I loved this tractor engine grate as a jewelry display.
Frames, I can't get enough.  The chalkboard says it all.

Our stash.  As with last year, we walk out of there with everything we bought in tiny bags.
We always wonder where our money went.  We scope pretty good for jewelry making supplies.
Also, things we know we won't see anywhere else.

Decorating co-captain Linda nabbed the 'Prague' letters.
They are chipboard from the 1930's.
Plus, jewelry making fabulousity and other fun stuff.

I walked outta there with 'estate wagon'...
I have yet to find a home for it, but at $3 I couldn't resist
I too went bobble crazy.  
We both bought the adorable 'good luck' vintage card. $1.
We also both bought a cool 'public phones' sign for $10 ea.

I was on the lookout for some vintage reading cards.
I got a little, um... raw with my humor.

I ran into fellow blogger, Linda from Itsy Bits and Pieces.
She was a vendor and had a terrific booth. In fact, it is where we found 'Prague.'
She was exhausted after 3 days of junk-itis. 
 I would post the pic, but she looks ready to fall over
and my lipstick looks like it could reach out and touch someone.  
Sorry Linda!! I hope you are in recovery mode and had a great sale.

Linda and I got there at about 9:30 am.......
and walked out at 3:00 pm.  Crazyness.

Happy Monday Everyone!
xo Jeanne.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Laundry Room - The Details.

 I dashed away to Cali. right after I posted the laundry room. 
I left some loose ends as to how we did it.

It was 'The really messy project that turned out fabulous' project. 
Basically everything needed to be washed down, wiped off, swept, moved and removed, then swept again. Then measured, painted, repainted, retouched, then swept - again. 
 This went on for a good two weeks.  Thank goodness it was in the basement away from sight.  We could turn off the light and go upstairs to regain sanity.

First, the room itself.
Dingy, musty. Total drag. The before pics aren't that great. 
 At this point,  I was hoping for a miracle.
 I only snapped a few mercy pics of the poor room.

Here's a before and after of the same corner:
The wall turned out to be only a flimsy wall put up for storage - it came down.

And along the same wall, we cut out a section that was hiding the stairs.
It's hard to believe that's the same space. SO much more open.
Once the weird paneled walls were down, I painted the concrete block a pale aqua.

Now for the super messy part, but worth it.
The painting of the ceiling.  The ceiling is merely the open floor joists from the kitchen above.
The house is old-ish (1950) and the heat/air ducts are crazy down there. It is also a low ceiling so closing it in would make it even lower.  We opted to paint it with a sprayer.
The 'we' here is The Cabinet Maker - who took on the job himself. 
Ick. Have it man. He did two coats.
The dust from it traveled upstairs and all though the house..................(not fun).

It was finally time to do the floor, which I really wanted done.
The pressure was on because we REALLY needed the washer and dryer back in.
I told you in an earlier post here, how we stained the concrete.
After the initial solid stain, the squares became The Cabinet Maker's project.

To begin the squares,  he measured the middle of the room and used a chalk line to make the pattern. The squares are 2 ft. in diameter. He measured outward using the middle mark as his guide.  He then snapped each chalk line moving toward the ends of the room. This made 72 squares.  Our 12 year old son helped him snap the lines.

He REALLY wanted to tape it off, 36 squares. Which he did. 
(If you do this, remember you are actually taping the 'white' or lighter square.) 
 To give you a time-frame of when this went down - he painted the dark grey while I was off with Linda at the fabulous Oronoco sale.  When he pulled up the tape, because the cement floor is dimpled and airy - there were run marks. I about had a heart attack. But,once I got busy correcting it and hand painting in the sharp edge, it really wasn't too bad of a fix.
Whew. AND.. it DID turn out GREAT!

The doll house. 
 I saw this on Pinterest. I loved the idea. I knew it when I saw it, I'd do it.
The house was given to us by a dear aunt a few years ago. It is 80 yrs. old.
 It was hers when she was a child, made by her father.
It is heavy.
The Cabinet Maker made a special jig/shelf to hold it onto the cement wall.
He used 'Tap Con' screws, which can hold the weight. This is important. 
He tried a few other methods, none of which worked - the Tap Con screws did the trick.

He screwed holes in the concrete first, then added the boards.
Because of the roof on the doll house, it needed distance from the wall.
That is the reason for the boards.  Plus the shelf lip for support.
Then he painted them because he is Mr. Thorough.

I painted the outside cream. I left the original green trim alone.
I did paint two of the rooms because the walls needed it. I left the rest alone.

The Red Dresser.
It is the one Linda made me buy for $25. I'm obviously glad she did.
I painted it with Behr's 'ladybug' red. I replaced the knobs with vintage cookie cutters.
Yes, I still need to replace the top two... (they look like giant nipples!)
It holds my vintage cotton table cloths. Yay! Now in one place!

The exposed wall, Now closed in!

This was a huge improvement. The door has been removed.
A big challenge was all the exposed piping.
Cabinet Maker had to make a special board with all the pipe dimension cut out at the top.
It's hard to see her, but it is a complicated thing.
This is what he does best.....again, Mr. Thorough.

I found the font on It is one of the Retro fonts.
I printed out 'launderette', then enlarged it to fill at 81/2 x11 sheet.
The edges were blurred,  so I went over them with a thin black Sharpie to get a crisp line. 
I took my sheet to a print shop and had it enlarged to 48" long.
It cost $4.  At home, I traced onto the wall using transfer paper, then painted it.

The Extras.
The little white locker was in mangy condition.
I picked it up for free at a garage sale. (thanks Dianne!)
It has sat in my garage for about 2 years.
I gave it a fresh coat of paint and a '2'.  It's now a fab storage space for towels.

The cool washboard (glass!), Decorating co-captain Linda picked up for me at a g. sale.
The dress potholder I found in Oronoco for $2.
Linda dontated the little clothes pins to the cause.

The ladder was free and given to me by a friend. :)
I took it apart, painted it white and shabbied it.

The laundry basket is a step stool.  Found at an occasional sale for $15.
I painted the steps red and attached a big wire basket I already had.

The Light Fixtures.
The Cabinet Maker did tons of rewiring.
The colander and mason jar lights are explained  in further detail here.
I love those lights. They are fantastic and give plenty of light.
Before, there was only one single fluorescent fixture.

Whew. If you got through all that, you're a saint!
I just couldn't move on to my next posts until I got all that out.
See, somewhere in me is an organized person....proof!

I still have to find a good product to clean up the cement sink.
It's in rough shape.  The good news that room remains clean.
 It is bright and cheerful.
Plus, spider free.

Here's the original 'all done' post.

Take care of you and do your laundry.

xo Jeanne.

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