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Faded Photographs…….

Family Time, Household DIY, Royal Ramblings!, Serious Shit, The Queen's Castle- DIY, Uncategorized

Out With “The Old?”

There is no doubting that in our lives, time passes, things change, people come and go from our lives.  On my computer, my screensaver is a constantly changing round of all of the photos stored on my computer.  I have never gone in and purged photos from the years past, so, undoubtedly, photos from past relationships show up, my children’s past relationships, sometimes family or friends who are no longer with us, or aren’t any longer a part of my life.  My daughter has expressed shock that a picture of an old boyfriend of hers will pop up on my screen. “Mom, why do you still have THAT on your computer?”  I’m sure there has been the occasional time my man has walked past my computer to see a picture pop up of me with one of my ex’s.

You may wonder why I don’t “purge” those photos from my computer.  Time. Or lack of it may be one reason.  However, even if I had the time to go through dozens of files of photos to take out those from past relationships, I probably wouldn’t do it.

This silly picture is me, my daughters, Alyse and KT. We went up to Long Beach, to see my sister who was visiting from Illinois. This was New Years Eve Day, and who could resist these glasses? (I still have 2 pairs!) It’s one of those memories of a great family day, filled with silliness!

Memories of Days Gone By

Each and every one of those photos are a part of me.  Although a breakup happened, those photos typically represent a small snapshot of time, a time that I was enjoying the day, the person, the event.  To purge those photos would be purging a happy memory.  While a relationship, in “the whole” might not have worked, the day at the beach was a good one.  The family trip may have been a special one.  The wedding we attended was a beautiful day for the couple involved, even if that couple’s relationship- or mine- may not still be intact.

Seeing those pictures from years past often give me a brief spark of memory of what redeeming quality  I did see in that person at the time, and make the “mistake” of the relationship a little less piercing.

And if you know me, you know I’m a bit vain, so seeing myself as I looked a few years back is a fun kick in the pants too!  “Damn, I looked pretty darned good at that family party, I must say!” “What was I thinking wearing that Christmas sweater?”  “Look how young the kids were there!”  “That was such a fun vacation! I remember that we did (this or that) on that trip!”

Traces of Love… And Friends No Longer With Us

If you are old enough, you may remember the song, “Traces of Love”, which had the lines, “faded photographs, covered now with lines and creases, tickets torn in half, memories in bits and pieces…traces of love, long ago, that didn’t work out right….. traces of love with me, tonight.”  Our digital photos no longer fade and crease, but our memories often do.  The constant replaying of those photos helps me to remember those days, those moments and those memories.

I love the feeling of looking at my computer, and chuckling over a particularly silly time, or feeling that little “tug” on my heartstrings when a photo of a friend who is no longer with us pops up.

My lovely friend, Sharon Freed. So gorgeous, so much fun! When we worked together, we would laugh so hard our stomachs would hurt. Gone too fast, and too young. When this picture pops up, although I look like a complete DORK in this picture, seeing my friend makes me smile every time! Yes, it’s bittersweet, but memories of our times together are nothing BUT sweet!

Life’s “Before” and “Afters”

I have photos of the first home I purchased as a single woman, about 5 years ago.  At the time, I had recently come out of a marriage to a financially reckless man who left my finances devastated, my credit score well below 500, and no credit cards to my name.  The ability to purchase this home was totally unexpected- kind of kismet, you might say.  So, as I remodeled this home, doing vast amounts of the work with my own two (manicured) hands,  not only did I build myself a new “home”- I was in the process of building a new life. Reinventing myself, and reinventing this dated mobile home into something I was proud of.  I can remember the nights I worked at that house until 2 or 3 am getting it ready to move into. I loved that home, I shared it with numerous friends, having many events there. The sweat equity I built into that home became  a springboard to purchase my second home as a single woman, the home I currently live in.

This was the “before” of my bedroom at the home I redecorated.

Here is the same bedroom after I worked on the house.

Looking at those photos when they randomly pop up- whether it is one of the “before” photos of a dated, worn out kitchen, or the unpainted 1970’s dingy, dark paneling, or the “after” pictures of the fabulous 1940’s style black, white and crystal bathroom I created, I feel a great sense of accomplishment for having made my way through what could have been a dark time.

Here was the kitchen when I took possession of the house. Yes, all of this junk was left for me!

Here is the after on the same kitchen. I LOVED that kitchen! I did it on a shoestring- pulling out the old cabinets myself, re-using the stove, and getting a refrigerator free from a friend! This picture wasn’t taken ‘staged’- so ignore the stuff on the countertops!  You’ve got to remember, many of these photos were taken for “memory’s sake.” I had no idea I’d have a blog where I was sharing them!

There is no rhyme or reason to the order my photos from my past show up.  Some pictures will have rotated 20 times through my screen, when others don’t seem to appear for months, but whatever is on my screen, there is ALWAYS a memory sparked.  Often a smile.  Sometimes a shake of the head and an eye roll, along with “What the hell was I thinking.”  But no matter what the reaction, I know that what I am seeing is a snapshot of my past. And every one of them add up to having made me the woman I am today. The unique me that I am.  Every one of them is a treasure to me, and to my ever fading memories of my past.  Will I clear out those photos of my ex, my daughter’s ex, even the “friend” who might have turned out NOT to be such a great friend?  Probably not.  Because every one of the memories that pop up before my eyes are there for a reason.

My darling grand daughter Nell and me at Disneyland. We were attending the “Princess Lunch” and you can see she was thrilled! (So was I, obviously, because I was wearing a tiara….. Once the Queen, always the Queen, and don’t you forget it!) Nell is 10 now, and she was only 4 here!

Black & White Bathroom on a Budget!

Household DIY, The Queen's Castle- DIY, Uncategorized

Do you have a floor you hate, but can’t afford new flooring? Maybe tile or a counter-top that just doesn’t work for you? Just paint it! I have painted just about every type of flooring you can think of in my day, and it has always worked out beautifully! I’ve painted counter-tops, tile, furniture, glass! My feeling is that if it doesn’t work out as planned, or doesn’t hold up as planned, I can then go ahead and invest the big bucks in new flooring, but so far, it’s always worked out for the best.

My first flooring experience was a home with my ex. Filthy drug dealers had lived in the home we were buying through a lease-to-own contract. The carpets looked like they had poured used motor oil on them, they were so filthy. We couldn’t afford to redo the flooring throughout the whole house. What to do? We decided to carpet the upper floor of the house, and I decided to paint the foundation of the main floor. I had just seen it done in some Hoity-toity homes in Fairbanks Ranch, so I figured, if it was good enough for the millionaires, it was good enough for me. This was a few years back, before you really had you-tube to tell you how to do things. So, I just winged it, and made it up as I went. I used Home Depot’s “oops paint” because I really couldn’t afford to do the whole thing with floor paint. I made the floor look like it was 24″ travertine tile. I guess it worked pretty damned well, because when we had the house appraised a few years later, the appraiser described the flooring as “beautiful 24” travertine marble. Damned good for my first attempt! Was it perfect? No. The paint in the kitchen would show wear occasionally, so I’d just go in and repaint a few of the “tiles” as needed to freshen it up. It lasted us for the 5 years or so we were in the house!

Long before it was fashionable, I painted the counter-tops in that same house. They were original Formica 30+ year old counter-tops, which the drug dealers had burned with cigarettes here and there. Again, I didn’t know if it would hold up, and no one I knew had ever heard of painting your bathroom counters, but I figured, why not? When I drip paint on the suckers it doesn’t want to come off, so why not try? I “marbled” the counter-tops, again, using leftover and “oops” paint, and they lasted the whole time we lived there!

So- hence, upon moving into my current home, the kitchen and baths had linoleum which I HATE, but I didn’t want to invest in new flooring in those rooms until I could afford to redo the whole kit-and-kibootle, so I decided to just go ahead and paint them to tide me over.

This shows the bathroom when I bought the house. The tile trim and the linoleum were both the only color. Both looked like crap! The linoleum seemed to have no “finish” to it, and the dirt just stuck to it like crazy!

As you’ll see from the “before” pictures of my bathroom, it was pretty boring. The only hint of color when I purchased the house was the dated trim around the tub, which was kind of “mauvy”…… not what I wanted. Therefore, I decided to paint the tile and trim around the tub at the same time, giving my whole bathroom a black and white “marble” theme. I didn’t take time to read or research anything, figuring it would probably work out. And again, if it didn’t, worse case scenario, I’d have to redo the bathroom sooner than originally planned. A few years later, it’s still all working out!

This shows the bathroom as it was when I purchased my home…… the kind of “mauve” trim on the tile, and the ugly, worn out linoleum.

Here’s what I did- For the floor I gave it a REALLY good cleaning, making sure to really get down and scrub it, and get all of the corners uber clean. Then I gave the whole floor a really good base of two coats of floor paint. I used white, since that was one of my 2 main colors. Once I gave the floor the base coat, I let it dry for about a day, so it had time to really “set” before I started the design process.

In the past when I painted my other floor in a travertine pattern I had used pinstriping tape to make my “grout lines.” This time, since my linoleum had previously had a tile pattern, and you could still see the shape of the “tile”, I just free handed my painting, and didn’t actually even leave a “grout line” of paint. My “tile squares just butt right up to one another.

I went from the back of the bathroom, to the front, adding a bit of marbling to every other tile, to become my “carerra marble”. You’ll see it in the following picture. Please excuse that the photo is blurry. When I took the picture, I had no idea I’d be doing a blog- I just took the photo to show a friend what I was doing!

Sorry about the blurry-ness! I didn’t know I’d be doing a blog when I snapped this picture!

Then, once that all had time to dry, I went back and filled in the remaining squares with solid black, to look like black marble. I had thought I might add a bit of white marbling to those when I was finished, but decided I really liked the solid black, so I just left it at that point.

This shows the floor right after I finished it. Everything was still piled in the tub at that point! You can see that I even “marbled” my plastic trash can to match the bathroom!

After doing a bit of touch up here and there, adding a bit more marbling on the white spaces where I thought it might need it, I then went over the floor with a few coats of Polycrylic by Minwax, in a semi-gloss. It runs about $17.00 for a quart. It gave the floor a nice gloss finish. The floor also cleans up REALLY well with just a quick mopping. I’ve had the floor done now just exactly 2 years and it has held up really well! My one tip for using the Polycrylic is make sure not to glob it on, or allow drips to dry. You will end up with a yellowed area when that happens. Better to do a few thinner coats!


This shows the bathroom after it was finished. You can see the vanity, which I repainted, and the tile and marbling around the tub. I stenciled some of the tiles, so it gave a bit more “interest” than just plain white tiles. It has all held up really well, using the same gloss finish on all surfaces! With this little project, you’ll see that, as I mentioned, I also painted the tile trim, the bathtub surround, my little vanity table and my mirror which I brought over from another house. It pulled the whole bathroom together for a dramatic look.

My vanity table was a table I picked up from a store going out of business about 12 years ago or so. Remember Bombay Company? This was supposed to be a little hall table, and was marked down to $15.00 at the very end of the store’s run. It has been my vanity in a number of homes over those years. Since it was cherry, I decided to paint it black with a marble top, and changed out the handle. Turned out pretty well, and again, is still holding up FABULOUSLY! I also painted the natural finished wood chair black to go with the theme. Thank God for paint!

You can also see in the back of the room, next to the toilet a “towel holder” I created. This was originally supposed to be a planter I got at Home Goods about 3 houses ago. I never seem to have a bathroom with adequate storage for towels, so I use this. It was a green for my original home, so I painted it black, with the silver “wash”, and added the crystals on the front to go with my last black and white bathroom. It fit right in here when I did this bathroom! I love it when you can re-purpose items for various homes!

This bathroom “make-over”, including the new blinds I put up, the new handle for my vanity and the paint was all done for under $175.00.  Looks pretty good, all things considered, huh?

If you have something in your home you really don’t care for, why not try and give it a coat of paint? After all, what’s the worst that can happen? Paint is so inexpensive and it’s easy to use to switch things up! It’s worth a try, rather than having to put out the big bucks for a complete replacement, right?

From Trash to Treasure!

Household DIY, The Queen's Castle- DIY, Uncategorized
Trash to Treasure

This is how it looks in my guest bath. BTW- I hand painted the linoleum last year.

A Rusty Mess!

My guest bath trash can was a rusty, ugly mess.  I have no idea how it got this ugly, this fast.  It was expensive when I purchased it, and it’s only about 4 years old. Shouldn’t look this bad- but it did! Evidently, living near the beach was it’s downfall. I didn’t really want to buy a new one, as I’m thinking of moving fairly soon, so I decided to “update” it’s look with a bit of decopage.  Easy and inexpensive to do.  All it required was a few pieces of scrapbook paper, a bit of Modge Podge, and a brush!  The last two items I had on hand, and the paper cost was 10 pieces for $2.00.  I only used 5 pieces total, so my “re-do” cost is a bit of time and $1.00!  Hard to beat!  Take a look at my before and after photos!

Trash can before glamming it up!

This is the rusty gross trash can before I covered it.

Before starting on the Decoupage stage, I simply scrubbed the trash can down with the scrubby side of a kitchen sponge.  I didn’t sand or scrape it, because I knew that with layers of paper it wouldn’t show anyway if it was a bit irregular. At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to paint the foot opener and trim or what, but I ended up just covering everything with the paper in the end!

Rusted trash can

Top of trashcan before “glamming i up!”

I just purchased “scrapbooking paper” from JoAnn Fabrics. It was on sale 10 pieces for $2.00.  Total time of working on the trash can was probably about an hour to perhaps 90 minutes, however, I had to do it in stages, because I needed to let each step dry in between working on it. I did the whole project in one evening, with the waiting for it to dry.  I think it looks great in my guest room!  I’m now keeping my eye peeled for other trash cans now at garage and estate sales! This looks way better than any trash can I could find in a home decor store, don’t you think?

Not a bad redo for just $1.00! What do you think?

Trash to Treasure Trash Can

Trash can in my guest bath. Check out my hand painted floor too! I hand painted the linoleum last year. (I’ll share how to do that in a future blog!)