The flurry of blog activity yesterday will be in stark contrast to the next couples weeks in which I don’t think I’ll be posting at all. I will try to keep going on Instagram if cell service allows. I do have more to post about how I’ve packed foods for the trip, but it will have to wait until I get back. Woot!
Another home project down! Sneaking this one in before vacation. Part of me is really, really happy about this project and another part is disappointed. I’ll break it down: I love the paint, love the wall stuffs rearranging and love that we finished (the bulk of) it before vacation. I’m disappointed that I rushed a bit (therefore didn’t stick to my “non-consumer” values) and bought some crappy rush materials. But did I mention the bathroom is beautiful and (99%) functional for us both right before and upon return from our vacation? Cause that really is the best part.
Our sad little bathroom has been in need of an update. It’s our only bathroom and it was so boring – all white with no excitement. The previous owner had updated this bathroom in 2001 (we have the receipts – she kept great records!) and added a great vanity and the cute white wall cabinet, but the room needs our own personality added to it. Plus it lacks a bit of function. The vanity is great for storing toilet paper and small appliances, but the wall cabinets, while cute, don’t give us tall enough shelves for what we need.
Here are some before pictures of our tiny white bathroom:
We got colorful towels when we moved in to try to give something interesting to the room, but this weekend I finally reached my breaking point and decided it was time to get it a makeover. Redecorating presents an unique set of challenges now that I’m trying to reduce consumption. When it comes to supplies needed and accessories wanted to finish the room, I can’t just go out and get everything I want if I’m going to stay true to my new mantra. But this bathroom really needed new paint and something to make it feel more functional in the small space. There’s got to be a happy medium between consumption and doing nothing!
There is a happy medium and I think it is just called being more resourceful. Here’s how I approached all the things I needed in order to pull off this “new” room:
- Wall Paint: Did you know you can remix paint? You can take paint back to the store and have them mix it into another color for you! There are limitations, though. I didn’t know about the limits before this project, so I didn’t get to recycle my old paint, but I know the limits now so I can next time! The color you are remixing has to be similar to the color you want, both in terms of hue and saturation. I think this would be really helpful if you had a whole lot of different “beige” tones and you combined them into one consistent color with the help of a little new tint and the mixing machine. I tried to take one gallon of leftover blue paint from a project and turn it into one gallon of dark purple paint for this project. You can’t go that far apparently! The guy at the store said he’s not a magician. BUT he did give me a discount on a new gallon of a paint! I hate having leftover paint because I do get the no-VOC line of whatever I can. My go-to brand is Yolo Colorhouse (local to the Pacific NW!) but they have limited colors, so I have used Benjamin Moore’s Natura line in our master (Paladian blue) and now our bathroom (Fire and Ice purple).
- Total cost: $48 and a contribution to a corporate paint company who may have questionable morals.
- Score on this one: consumed.
- Ceiling Paint: reused from another project. I really wanted a high gloss finish for the bathroom ceiling, but we already had white flat paint so… I’m probably the only one who notices anyway!
- Total cost: $0
- Score: balanced.
- Paint supplies: I had all the supplies I needed to paint the room since we had painted almost the whole house already. I had rollers, brushes, etc. I didn’t have a paint tray, though. I substituted a pieces of aluminum foil for the tray. It worked out pretty well! I had to add more paint every half dozen rolls or so, since it didn’t have much capacity, but at least I could use my roller!
- Total cost: $6 (I did buy a new roller and paint tape)
- Score: balanced.
- Mirror: Reused from another place in the house (was stored in the garage).
- Total cost: $0
- Score: not consumed!
- Mirror frame (phase 2): I’ll make a frame out of pieces of lath or model wood, we’ll see when we get to phase two (probably later in July). For now, no cost or score.
- Shelves: Ugh, here’s my mega disappointment.So, I was all set to make some shelves out of scrap wood. I have a miter saw to cut the wood and I even bought a new blade with more teeth for better cuts. But then I totally broke the saw in the process of changing the blade. I’m sure it is fine, but someone with better expertise than mine is going to have to put that thing back together if the safety guard is ever going to work properly again. Bummer. This was right before July 4th and we were having friends over, plus we’re about to leave for vacation and this is the last thing I want lingering (why did I start this again?). So I gave in – I ordered crappy shelves from Home Depot and installed them quickly. Now they totally suck and I’m going to have to buy shelf brackets to make them functional (they’re floating shelves but gravity is making an attempt at shaming their namesake). Sigh. At least they do hold minimal supplies for now, so the upgrade can wait until our return. Double sigh.
- Total cost: $46 and a bit of my dignity, plus whatever the cost is going to be for brackets to hold up these sad, cheap Home Depot shelves (why do I keep buying stuff from there?!?)
- Score: consumed
- Towel Hooks: cheap single hooks from Amazon. ‘Course we already had the colorful towels. Part of me wants to go back to all white towels now, but I kind of like all the color against the purple walls!
- Total cost: $12
- Score: consumed (but I bought them a couple months ago so that counts for a middle ground somehow, right?)
- Picture frames: frames I had impulse purchased a couple months ago from IKEA. I had to print the pictures.
- Total cost: I don’t remember… $10 a frame? IKEA prices, you know.
- Score: ugh, yes, I consumed again! But again, I bought these a few months ago too so they don’t count, right?
- Jars: I’ve been keeping the glass jars that some of our food comes in – tomato sauce, honey, applesauce, etc. I used extra paint from another project to paint the inside of some of the jars. Other jars I collected from around the house. I put some paint in a couple jars to make them look Pinterest cool. An old honey jar now stores our toothbrushes. And I still have so many random jars to use!
- Total cost: Free, with the purchase of food
- Score: not consumed!
That’s two solid consumes, two balanced, two sorta forced balanced because I bought things months ago and abandoned them but eventually used them, and two not consumed. Hey, that’s not as bad as I thought! I’m now going to call this a quasi-success in my first attempt to redecorate without consumption. I bet I’ll get a lot better at this as time goes on!
Everything goes wrong the day before vacation, right? So far today:
- Realized I don’t have everything I need to make some things I MUST freeze this morning, so I need to go to the store again.
- The car battery died 40 minutes before my son’s doctor’s appointment (with a new doctor, who I really wanted to see before vacation).
- The computer charger stopped working, so our only personal computer is out of commission.
- The meat for the stew I want to make is still frozen (ironic, considering I need to half cook it and get it frozen solid again before we leave).
- There was a shooting across the street from my son’s school (where he’s in a morning “hang out” camp) and he was on “lock down” for two hours.
Due to that last one it’s now mid-afternoon and I am super behind! (The kids in the school are okay. There was an incident in a house across the street from the school so the building went into lock down. I was following the details in order to gauge when the authorities might let us have our children, but once I found out they were evacuating I stopped caring about the story. I grabbed my child and got out of there! I’m sure Mr. Handsome will keep me posted on any details of the event, should they be released.)
But, I think, maybe, I need to slow down a bit. I’m trying to be super prepared for this vacation so everyone is happy and nothing goes wrong… but I have to remind myself that things will probably go wrong, and there will probably be times of “emergency” like if we don’t have buns for hot dogs or something. I have to remind myself along the way that these are not true emergencies.
If I don’t finish making these last couple things, there will always be food along the way. It may not be perfect food, but it will not be the end of the world. I’m going to try to scale back these last few hours of prep time and remember why we do these family vacations in the first place: to be with our family and have fun.
More on the adventures in our garden! Things have been recovering nicely since the wicked hail storm a couple weeks ago.
Seeds that I had planted before the storm are sprouting nicely. These pictures I took are awful but I’m out of light now! Anyway, lots of alfalfa:
The tomatoes are flowering and there are tons of little green tomatoes coming out! I see the speckled trucks, though, and I wonder if they’re lacking nutrients. Last week I sprinkled crushed egg shells into the soil all around the garden (although I’ve read that it takes a really long time – a season? – for the shells to get much calcium into the soil) and today I gave them some epsom salts. Hopefully that will nutrient them up.
The broccoli is also flowering, unfortunately. We’ve had a couple hot days and of course I planted it too late in the season so it is bolting. I want some of it to bolt because I really want to get into seed saving… but I’m not sure if I’m ready! I need to do more research on it but when is there time? I’m trying to do too much right now as it is!
Other things going on in the garden…. the green caterpillars who were eating my kale, romaine, and chard that I wrote about last time haven’t been spotted in awhile. Although today I was watering the chard and spotted a dead white moth. It didn’t look like it was green caterpillar because I didn’t see a green body, but it still freaked me out a little. I haven’t been as diligent with my daily inspections for bugs, so I need to stop rushing through the morning garden chores!
We’ve had other bugs – red shouldered or box elder bugs. Apparently they are harmless but they love to annoy us when we’re outside. I have looked for ways to move them along without killing them, but I didn’t have much luck. Mr. Handsome just got a play structure for the kiddos, which the bugs seem to love, so we really don’t have much choice but to spray these guys out of our yard.
Of course I don’t want to use chemicals, though, because we use the yard a lot! I found a solution – water and a bit of dish soap (I use Seventh Generation right now, but I thought about using Castille soap). Yesterday I sprayed their favorite spots a few times throughout the day, and today their numbers are vastly reduced. Apparently these guys are suseptable to drowning, so you have to get them pretty wet. If the water doesn’t kill them, the soap will deteriorate their exoskeleton and get them eventually. Poor little guys. Just move out of my yard!
Baby2 enjoyed helping in the garden last night while I pulled weeds and took pictures. Such a good helper!