Archive for September, 2012

Additions and Subtractions

Hard to believe but nearly three-quarters of a year is behind us. That also means that it’s been three-quarters of a year since I made my new year’s resolutions. Just to jog your memory, in addition to my ongoing effort to declutter, my 2012 new year’s resolutions are:

1. Relearn to crochet
2. Start and finish sewing projects
3. Read all the unread books on my bookshelf
4. Start writing again

So, how am I doing at this three-quarter year mark? Well…

1. Relearn to crochet.
Haven’t touched my crocheting since June. The last thing on my mind when the weather hits 90 degrees is crocheting a blanket. I do intend to start up again when the weather gets cooler. Hopefully I’ll have the blanket done by next summer.

2. Start and finish sewing projects.
Except for sewing up a couple of holes in a shirt, I haven’t started nor finished any sewing projects.

4. Start writing again.
Back in July, while sitting on the lawn at a Michigan State University carillon concert, I scribbled a poem. As for blog posts. Those have still been few and far between.

3. Read all the unread books on my bookshelf.
If you have been following my reading list, you’ll see that I’ve read 18 books so far this year. Pretty good, huh? Well… Eight were actual books on my bookshelves (virtual or otherwise) when I made my resolution. Two were free e-books that I acquired after the resolution was made and have since regretted letting them clutter-up my Kindle (I’ll leave it to my readers to decide which two I’m talking about). Six, the Complete Peanuts books, I also acquired after; however, I’m very glad that I made the decision to buy them. I thoroughly enjoyed reading them. Can’t wait for the next set in the series to come out! The other two were library books. And, this weekend I bicycled up to the local library to check out a couple more library books: 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith (a recommendation by a colleague. Thank you, Monique. So far I like the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books better, however.) and In Cheap We Trust by Lauren Weber (this has been on my “To-Read” list for a couple of years now, even though I can’t remember where I heard about it).

So, my new year’s resolutions have mostly fallen by the wayside. The only one that I have kept (even with detours) has been the “read all the unread books on my bookshelf.” Then, what have I been doing with my time? Surely I can’t be picking up a book every free moment I get!

Ah yes, there’s that on-going resolution to declutter. Well…

I have put a few things (emphasis on few) in our “Donate” box.

I’ve put a few more things in a box for Arts & Scraps. I know I have a few more things to sort through that I can add.

I recently sent a box of unused school supplies to Develop Africa. For years I had a bunch of unused pencils and packs of notebook paper sitting around and I often wondered where I could donate them. Although the notebook paper was from my college years (I graduated back in 1996), some of these pencils are older than I am. My father saved pencils from when he worked as a meat cutter. Many of the pencils, complete with Polish flag, advertised “Kornacki’s: Manufacturers of Quality Weiners, Sausage & Luncheon Meats. Kornacki Packing Co., Hamtramck, MI, Phone Trinity 3-4830”. As you can tell from the phone number, these pencils are quite old. It’s been decades since the first two numbers in a phone number were signaled by a word. And, although Kornacki Packing Co. seems to be out of business, there is someone with the name of Kornacki running A & R Packing Co, Inc. in Livonia, Michigan. Perhaps a grandson, or great-grandson of the original. Despite sending off the pencils, I still have a cigar box-sized box of used pencils that I’ve again started to use (used to be a pen user exclusively), so hopefully, eventually, the supply of pencils in this household will reach a reasonable quantity.

Other than that, even my decluttering has fallen by the wayside.

So, what’s been keeping me busy? Earlier this summer I decided to start on some home improvement projects. Since buying this house over two years ago, I’ve wanted to repaint a few rooms and change out the hardware on cabinets in all the bathrooms (we have 2 1/2). Not as easy as the home improvement shows make it seem. I’m also not very good when it comes to choosing colors. So, I started with the master bathroom. We already had paint that nearly matched the counter top, so I decided that was the logical place to start. Taking off the old hardware was easy. Painting was fairly easy, even with having to contort my body into various positions to be able to reach the back of the cabinets to paint them. Because the specs on cabinet hardware have changed in 40+ years, all the old holes had to be filled in, sanded down, and then re-drilled. I’m becoming more of an expert at using wood filler and sandpaper. My husband has been doing the re-drilling of holes and putting on most of the new cabinet hardware. The master bath cabinet is done and it looks much better than it did before. I still haven’t picked out a wall color. All I know is that I want a shade of yellow to match the tile in the shower.

I’ve since moved on to the half-bath downstairs. For this bathroom, I’ve picked out colors for both the trim (white) and the walls (a sandy brown). The cabinets again needed refurbishing in the same way that the master bath cabinets needed refurbishing. But, there was much more I wanted done here. I didn’t much care for the gold towel bar and the once-gold toilet paper holder. The new cabinet hardware is silver and I wanted the towel bar and toilet paper holder to match. Unfortunately, I didn’t measure our old towel bar, so the new one is shorter, and because I bought it about a year ago, I can’t return it. Although I can re-use one of the brackets, the other one had to come off. Toilet paper holders don’t come in various lengths, but the new “standard” length is longer than what they were 40+ years ago. So, again. I could re-use one of the brackets, the other had to come off. Removing the brackets was easy. Then there were the wall anchors. Not so easy. What was left was a couple of holes in the drywall. My husband has since been teaching me how to patch drywall. Once the drywall is patched and sanded, it’s back to painting. Mostly. There are also a couple of old-fashioned once-gold sconces that we want removed. Luckily my husband knows how to do electrical work. We’re just going to put covers over the holes after the sconces are removed, instead of patching the drywall. I bought a framed mirror that’s wide enough to cover up the hole covers. I’m hoping to finish the project by Thanksgiving. We’ll see what my husband’s schedule looks like…

In the meantime, another detour… because my husband told me that the drywall patching compound was not going be good for too much longer, I suggested that we move on to my home office. The previous owners used it as a bedroom and had a large mirror hanging on the wall. Shortly after buying the house my husband removed the mirror, but there are various wall anchors still embedded in the wall. And the wall that was behind the mirror is painted brown. The rest of the wall is blue. There’s currently a bookcase in front of the brown patch of wall. So, for the near future, I’ll be moving the stuff off the bookshelf, moving the bookshelf into a closet (where it was going to eventually end up anyway), and then removing wall anchors and patching drywall in my office. The downstairs bathroom will have to remain in a state of disrepair for a while longer.

Perhaps by 2013 I will have moved on to the upstairs guest bathroom. Trying to pick colors for this bathroom has been an adventure. The large two-sink counter top is a brownish/mustard yellow color (Yuck!). What matches brown/mustard yellow (or in Glidden’s color palette: Homemade Butterscotch)? I decided that I wanted something like a chocolate brown for the cabinets (and possibly trim). That should set off the silver cabinet hardware nicely. After trying Glidden’s color palette online and then matching it up with color swatches in the store, I’ve decided on Cinnamon Spice for the trim and cabinets and Antique Silver for the walls. Though I’m still not 100% sure about the Antique Silver (which is actually more bluish)… The shower curtain has some of these similar colors in it, so maybe it won’t look too weird. Maybe. Like the master bathroom, I’m still weighing my options on the wall color.

With all of the detours I have taken this year, what I’ve learned so far about my resolution-making is this: Shorten the resolution list to one or two items, especially if the resolutions are long-term projects (prioritize and simplify!).

So, the newly revised resolution list contains a few subtractions and a new addition:

1. Relearn to crochet
2. Start and finish sewing projects
1. Read all the unread books on my bookshelf
4. Start writing again
2. Finish refurbishing the downstairs bathroom.

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