Tuesday, November 29, 2011

DIViji: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Please Stay There

This is was the nook by Viji's front door.  Not quite the welcoming cove she wanted her guests to see when they first arrived.

Her desire was for a big striking mirror.  We pined over styles similar to this hottie at Pier 1, this Mr. Handsome at Neimans and Momma Mia Mother of Pearl at Lamps Plus.  None of the lookers at the stores fit quite right into the space or the budget.

Something I learned about myself is that I am physically incapable of visualizing a mirror priced over $800 in any space.  Yep, I just see eight $100 bills stapled on the wall in its place.  Eight Ben Franklins staring back at me laughing.  I need to work on that.

So, we decided to make our own.  We bought two packs of six each 12-inch beveled mirrors, one plank, some wood glue, mirror mastic, hanging brackets and a giant can of awesome sauce to dump all over ourselves.

Mr. Schatze cut wood chunks for us so we could make the mirrors different depths.  He did the cutting himself because I am still hesitant to ask to use the miter saw after that incident a couple months ago when I didn't clamp some wood down and sent the saw blade spinning into the machine itself.  I'm pretty sure that I could have lost some body parts, not like the ladder on the table deal which I consider over reacting.

We glued together wood backs of one, two and three layers.

Back at Viji's we attached the hanging brackets with the pee-wee baby nails that were included in the bracket packets.  They were so puny we had trouble holding them in order to nail them in.  Yeah, it was a sign.  We measured everything out so each of the nine mirrors we were using were consistent, shmeared on some mirror mastic and stuck wood to mirrors.

Oh yeah, we also got those little rubber bumper things so that they would hang evenly on the wall and not get all shifty.

The first drilled hole and drywall screw was kind of a big deal.  We chuckled with excitement and nervousness.  I may have clapped a few times too.

Row one done!  The center mirror is out three layers while the top and bottom are one wood layer.  Now for some on-the-money measuring to make sure we get the other six mirrors exact.

Um, yeah, we weren't as exact as we were hoping.  What's that saying that Mr. Schatze always tells me?  Measure once, drill twice?

No biggie.  We got it corrected.  We couldn't have been more thrilled with the outcome.  Viji asked if they were secure for if her kids threw a ball in the house.  It was a sign.  I ignored it.

You can see the different levels better in the photo below.  All that reflection for only about $65.  If only self reflection came that cheap.  

The next day when I cam back over to Viji's the bottom mirror was balanced on the shelf below, kept upright only by the love and support from the mirrors on each side holding it back and screaming, "No, don't do it!"  No breaks, no chips, no damage.  Just a bracket dangling off the back of the mirror held by one tiny nail.

I saw the sign.  Today I pull out the brackets and put in longer nails at a slant.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Go Shawty, It's Your Birtday!

Come to find out, teachers at some schools celebrate milestone birthdays like nerds at Intel celebrate returns from sabbatical, by sprucing the honoree's space in the most obnoxiously creative way possible. My teacher friend Jen turned 30 on Thanksgiving, which meant that my Monday before Thanksgiving was spent with 400 sheets of vibrant tissue paper and a bottle of Trader Joe's finest $5 merlot in giddy preparation.

Decoration ideas previously tossed around were: 

~ cover everything in post it notes 
~ wrap everything in tin foil 
~ and (my personal favorite) fill her room with turkeys.  Not real ones, just all the foul varieties that are available this time of year.  Sadly, that project would have required an extra month of planning and six more jugs-o-merlot, resources that I did not have available to me.  

We settled on making poofs/pom poms/tissue flowers for her ceiling with the theme, "Poof...You're 30!"  The adorable crew of laborers I brought in off the street folded, cut and fluffed their hearts out to prep the room for her Wednesday morning arrival.

Wait, just listen.  Before you accuse me of going too cutesy and not enough obnoxious on this project, let me fill you in a little more about the birthday girl.  Yes, she is a petite, perky elementary school teacher, but mixed in with that bag of sunshine is a Boston street girl, full of snark, who is the only person I know that has personally keyed a car. She knows that her theoretical ballz are so huge that two Halloweens ago when she dressed up as a male flasher scientist, she made me sew on not one, but three beef whistles. (No joke. I'll send you a picture if you ask.) Add into the mix her recent puke-a-thon sickness and that she had visitors arriving on Thursday.

Nope, not a chance.  I wasn't going to be the one to wrap her comfy teacher chair in tin.  Fun, festive and easy clean-up won out. For my own safety.

Our poof instruction came from SupaFlowaPowa on YouTube.  Her tutelage is exceptional...in a video that makes you want to stick your face through the screen and tell her friends to, "Shut the hell up."

We even arranged the desks in celebration, a detail that went unnoticed due to that petiteness I mentioned earlier.

I penciled out a quick sign and the youngsters helping added in the color, followed by a barrage of verbal spelling wisecracks.  Smart little bastards.  We left it, and no one even brought it up the next day at school.

 Jen requested Special K bars for her birthday cake, so I made her this individual 3-tiered number.

When I gave it to her she said, "Aww cute!  Where is the rest of the pan?"  I had them in my car at the time, but forgot to give them to her.  This morning I woke up in a cold sweat, gasping for air from the nightmarish image of her standing on the hood of my car.  Her shiny car key twinkling in her right hand and the freshly carved middle finger sketch gleaming next to the "Birtday This!" scraped by her feet.

She isn't savage like that in real life, only if you mess with her family and friends.  Or her dogs.  Or that one time earlier this year when a bartender cut her off, not believing that she was really over 21.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

DIViji: It's Hard(ware) Out Here for a Pimp

I was just trying to rinse out my wine glass when I heard them.  The cupboards. Pleading.  "Psst, what's a cabinet have to do to get some bling up in this kitch?"  Viji heard them too, so we headed to Home Depot for the shiniest knobs and handles we could find.

The process of installing hardware on your kitchen cabinets seems pretty straightforward.  However, there are some serious pointers that they don't take the time to tell you at the Home Depot.  Don't worry.  Viji and I have your back, Twinkles.  

#1.  If you have young kids let them do the measuring and marking.  No need to check their work.  A cockeyed drawer pull can be a beautiful beacon of disappointment for years to come.  The boy wants a new bike?  Deep sigh and stare sadly at the severely off center drawer pull that he was in charge of.  The girl is begging for a $500 prom dress?  Stick your face in the container of onions, put a hand on each of the crooked cabinet handles that she marked, and sob with your face towards the countertop, "Why!  Why!"  

#2.  Don't bother to check if there is anything behind the door or drawers before you drill.  It ruins the game if you do.  One point for hitting the frame of the cabinetry.  Two points for knocking over a glass.  Five points for penetrating a food item.  If you can make that violated food item spin on the end of the drill bit then it is an instant win.  Pour yourself a glass and let the loser finish the job.

#3.  It is always best to install the hardware late in the evening when you are exhausted or inebriated.  Even better if you are both.   How else would you stumble across the fact that the handles look just as exquisite inside the cabinets as they do outside?  Gorgeous. You have to pull the doors shut too, right?

#4.  When drilling the holes, switch off the drilling duties when you are working as a team.  Drill a hole and pass it on.  Then, the next morning you can try and guess who drilled what holes.  It works best if there is a good height difference between drillers, so that some holes are obviously drilled 'in' while other holes are noticeably drilled 'up.'

Are you anxious to see the finished product?!  Don't be.  We didn't have any obvious 'beacons of disappointment' and switched the inside handle back to the outside.

There really is that one set of handles that is a little off though.  I asked that cupboard if he was pissed about it.  "Beezy, please...Why you all up in my grill?  How about you make that badunkadunk useful and put some of that Jack Daniels on the second shelf for your homie."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

D to the I...Distraction

My head is swimming with DIY projects and we have a pile-up forming at the intersection of 'finish a complete thought' and 'concentrate on not accidentally staple gunning yourself.'  Time for a break with one of mis favoritos, Take On Me: Literal Video.

Just what I need to keep kickin' ass with my pipe wrench, I mean staple gun.

Monday, November 21, 2011

DIViji: Whoomp, Chair It Is!

Everyone knows that a good chair is like a welcome home hug for your butt cheeks.  Combine that southern sensation with a seat that wallops your eyes with panache and you've got the fixins' for a chair ride that will make your toes curl.  That's what we were shooting for with Viji's living room accent chair.

We picked up this ho hum number at Home Goods in the clearance section.  It isn't horrible, just not Viji.

I started ripping off the layers one at a time.  Each layer came with its own set of loathsome staples that I pulled out with the needle-nose pliers.

Just me and the angry bird pulling out motha lovin staples.

Thankfully, Viji tapped in for the seat staples.  She earned her staple removal badge too.

The blog-o-sphere is abuzz with the awesomeness of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint so we decided to try it for ourselves on the chair frame.  Part of the paint's magic is that you can paint directly onto finished items and it will stick perfectly.  No sanding.  Dreamy.  We ordered it from 'round the coop in Orange County because no one in Arizona carries it yet.  Alabama has it.  I guess Backwoods Bob's need to freshen up the color on his garage sale taxidermy is greater than my need to paint a chair.

courtesy of 'round the coop

No offense Bob, I am just jealous.  Your stuffed squirrel really is lovely and I truly appreciate that skunk jerky you sent.  So thoughtful, Peaches.

Viji brought her spray paint tenacity to the staple gun.  So fierce in fact that she was shooting out two staples at a time.  That woman doesn't mess around.

We reused the piping from the seat and back sections because that's how we roll.  Resourceful, reliant and really trying to have extra money at the end for mojitos.

Building the layers back up gave us a merry motivation that we feared had been lost in staple pulling...and only a few glue burns from hot gluing the piping back into place.

We stapled the black panel with the multilingual caution message back onto the bottom.  Caution: This chair will rock your world.

Now if this doesn't make you want to crawl through your computer screen and go for a ride, nothing will.  I have fanny quiver just looking at it.  Bob, something like this would look great out on your front lawn in between that truck and the picnic table that Bubba passed out on before his wedding.

Friday, November 18, 2011

DIViji: It's Curtains For Me...and Charlie.

I hear you.  Two curtain posts in one week?  I threw some nipple leakage in the middle.  Get off my back.

I've made a fair amount of curtains in my lifetime.  Tab-top and grommet.  Lined and unlined.  I'm comfortable with curtains.  Until I got bitch-slapped by Viji's curtains.  Read on.

These are her old curtains.  I really love the red fabric, but the cream panel in the middle threw things off for me.  The living room and dining room windows get a lot of sunlight so it is essential to have the curtains shut all the way.  We wanted them to shut via two panels though, not a creamy three.

We looked at a lot of fabric, almost getting blisters from trekking around JoAnns so much.  After taping fabric samples to the wall and couch to make sure everything blended, we had a winner.  Viji and her kiddos fell in love with the turquoise brocade fabric and we got the gold for accent.  Turquoise and gold is winning for Viji as hookers and blow is winning for Charlie Sheen.

What caught me off guard was the hugeness of Viji's windows.  The 'small' panels needed to be about 12 feet.  How, you ask, did I not completely see the giant ass windows in the room?  That's just how I roll, Sister Friend.  If there is a speeding train to Margaritaville, I jump on and get about half way before I ask how long, how much or where do we stop.

It was exhausting throwing around 5 yards of curtain panel and then intricately pinning and ironing.  Halfway into the first one I kind of just wanted to smother myself with all the fabric and die.  I kept focused on Maragritaville though and somehow sweaty motivation started oozing out of my pores.  It helped that Viji has a very open floor plan so I could spread everything out and double check the length against the old curtains.

Hanging them was blood pumping as well.  Mr. Schatze came by on his lunch break to hold the ladder for me.  I promised about a year ago to always let him know when I am doing a climb after a little 'setting the ladder on the kitchen table to change the light bulb' indecent.  No one got hurt so I don't know what the big deal was, but anyway.  While I was at the top holding on to the monster panel simultaneously trying to balance and clip, I pretended that I was on The Amazing Race going for the big cash prize.  Hey, it works for me.  "Heidi, you are the first team to arrive!"  I know, Phil.

Viji loves the curtains and most of all, I love the fact that they are done.  I was worried for a few seconds that these curtains might actually be the end of me.  There is just too much DIViji tiger blood pumping in my veins I guess.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Baby Got Back, No, Just Belly

Recently I had the pleasure of helping plan a 'Baby Kewley Extravaganza' for the beautiful Leah, shown below.  She is expecting a baby girl, Bunny, in January.  No, she isn't actually going to give her precious daughter a stripper name, the name is secret, so I gave her a stripper name. Bunny Biguns.

Kelly, Kristi and I teamed up to take the event from sweet to spectacular.  They contributed the gourmet delicacies, heavenly sangria, class and sophistication.  I contributed crafts, baby games, huss and intoxication.  

The three of us met weeks in advance to whip up a diaper cake under the direction of Real Moms DIY instructions.  We took it to the next level with four tiers, a handmade 'baby Kewley' cake topper and coordinating fabrics.  The Real Moms instructions say to build the core of the diaper cake around a bottle of baby powder and a baby bottle.  I'm no mom, but I can safely say that if my baby just shit through the 175 diapers on my diaper cake I wouldn't give a rat's about a bottle of powder.  At risk of spoiling it for Leah, I will just say that we put something in the center for mama's needs.  Take care of your friends, Puddin'.

During planning I became obsessed with this pink green floral fabric.  You saw it on the cake.

Now you see it spray adhesive and Modge Podged onto mini clipboards.  We used them for games.  Also good for balancing two more glasses of sangria to your seat so you only have to get up once.

So obsessed in fact that I also fashioned the game sheets to match the fabric.

Game #1:  Memory Game.

Kristi carried a tray full of baby items around the room, giving each attendee a second or two to take a gander before carrying it away.  Then, they had to write down everything that they could remember.  Since mom-to-be gets to keep all the tray items add some huss with a vibrator, edible undies or pasties.  It's never too early to be thinking about baby number two right?  Leah's tray wasn't nearly as hot as I was hoping.  Who knew Phoenix sex shops weren't 24 hours?

Game #2: Name That Tune

After fleshing out my favorite songs containing the word 'baby,' I drug them all into a playlist on Itunes and turned them into 20 second-ish clips.  I may have let the clips run over 20 seconds for 'Baby Got Back', 'Push It' and Justin Bieber.  There may have been dancing too.

Game #3: BINGO

While Leah opened gifts, guests took turns drawing out squares for the BINGO game.  

We included the standards like onesie and bottle.  
We personalized it with the due date and "it's a girl!"  
We crossed the line with nipple leakage and vagina photos.  Just keepin' it real.

We're not done with the matchy matchy.  I made matching Thank You notes for Leah too.  And by 'for Leah' I mean one pack for her and two packs for me.

Someone recommended we have each guest address their thank you envelope so it is one less thing Belly McGee had to worry about.  So smart!

I just about made Leah little sticky inserts to peel off and put in the thank you notes that said:

Dear _______,
Thank you so much for the __________!  I can't wait to use it in the __________.  It was ___________ having you at the shower and I hope to see you again ___________.

I decided not to let her off that easy.

We even matchy martchied the cupcake flowers, baby clothes decorations and take home monster cookies. Reliving all this color coordination kind of makes me want to throw up...or eat a cupcake.  I can't quite tell.  OK, eat a cupcake.


It was a great day and Leah is going to be a fantastic mom.  I can't wait to babysit Bunny soon, gently rocking her to sleep, singing softly:

So ladies, if the butt is round,
And you want a triple X throw down,
Dial 1-900-MIXALOT
And kick them nasty thoughts
Baby got back.