Friday, January 28, 2011

The Exterior

I realized that, until now, I haven't really shown you all that much of the outside of the house besides the front door.  I guess you caught a glimpse in the post about the maple tree, but that's about it.  While it's going to take us forever to do the outside, we have officially begun the process.

I am beyond excited to be working with Bethany Rydmark, an extremely talented landscape designer.  She visited a while back to take measurements and photos and talk about what we want.  Last night she presented us with three different incredible ideas for the front and back yards.  We immediately fell in love with one for the front yard, and then a combination of the other two drawings for the back.  I am unbelievably impatient to get started, but it's January and we're broke.

Anyway, on to the fun stuff!
Here's a little sketch of the design for the front yard.  Please excuse my photographs of the photocopies.  They really do not do Bethany's drawings justice.

drawing provided by Bethany Rydmark Landscapes
Here's what it looks like currently:
The scraggly ornamental cherry trees are going bye-bye.  I'm sorry, but they have to.  They're all up in the wires, the cherries are nothing you'd want to eat, and they create an unbelievable mess of leaves and super-stain-creating cherries.  Plus, they totally block the house during most of the year.  Don't worry, the big tall cedar tree is staying.

A new ornamental shade tree will go in on the left, along with lots of delicious dense perennial plantings.  Pops of orange red and yellow because Bethany knows what I like ;).  I love the low horizontal fencing out front, and she's made a spot for me to have a sign for my business [or just an Orange Door Cottage sign, I haven't decided].

There will be a crushed gravel pathway leading around the right side of the house to the backyard, and - best of all - NO LAWN.  I'm sorry if you're a lawn person.  I really do appreciate some good grass to go barefoot in; but we a are child-free, pet-free couple who do not want to have to store a lawn mower.

Here's a bird's eye view:
drawing provided by Bethany Rydmark Landscapes

Then in the BACK, here is what we have currently:
There is also this thing:
And here's another angle:
Our dreams for the back include. . .
  • a back porch on which there is room to sit, eat, draw, play the ukulele etc.
  • a sweet outdoor dining space for pretty pretty garden parties
  • the ability to still having a parking space back there
  • raised beds for growing fruits and vegetables
Bethany fit all those things in.  We are probably going to combine two of her plans -- the other one has a corner for a compost bin which is important to me.  It's not shown here, but we'll work it in.  Here is the preliminary design for the backyard:
Picture all of that here:
Dense plantings all along the back of our neighbor's fence [if you were standing in the photo above, your back would be to our back neighbor's fence].

Horizontal cedar fencing all warm and yummy like THIS stuff.

The trellis spanning the gap between the car park and the dining area we'd be able to grow grapes on.  Underneath, potentially a hammock.  I love me some hammock time.  For parties, we could just move the car to the street to open up that whole area for dancing and shenanigans and what have you.

It all looks so good to me.  I want to sit on that porch right now.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

An Etsy Shop

Well this is the post where I could either intrigue you, or lose you completely.  I hope it's the former and not the latter. 

Most of you know I recently re-acquired my childhood dollhouse.  I haven't shown it to you yet -- it's going to undergo a big makeover of sorts, but having it in the house has reminded me how much I love tiny things. 

I feel like people who love tiny things get a bad rap.  Mostly because of creepy how-to videos like THIS one.  I love how you can't even understand what she's saying.  Poor thing.  I think she had strep.  Anyway. . . I find it difficult to admit in the real world how much I like miniature things without sounding like a crazy person.  But I do.  I love to make them.  It's a fantastic thing for me to be able to do to make it so I'm not working absolutely all the time at my real job.

So, in large part due to encouragement from my fellow tiny-thing-loving-not-crazy friend Rachel, she and I have opened up a little Etsy shop called Puttering to sell our wee creations.

Here is a peek.

We are screen-printing non-pink, non-cheesy bedding, and I'm making lots of other delicious little things.  The whole idea behind the Etsy shop called Puttering is to put the Orange Door Cottage style in miniature.  Hop on over and take a visit if you're interested.  I'd love to hear your thoughts!  Unless they're negative.  Then you can keep them to yourself.  I'm a sensitive miniature-thing-creating soul.

Featured on: Currency

Hey, a big thanks to Kate for giving me the link to this article featuring an image of my office again. . .
Here's the LINK to the article if you'd like to check it out.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Art Corner

So you've all seen the office side of things.
Well. . . this is what's been lurking on the other side.  Yikes.

This past weekend I was able to tackle the whole thing.  I got the chalkboard cloud made and the mess cleaned up at last.  It's nothing super fancy, but it's my happy little art corner and it makes me smile.  Now I can finally clean all my art crap off the dining table!

So here it is folks. . .
 I have the orange chair to sit in if I'm tired of sitting in my desk chair.  The little wall-mounted shelves were something I had used in a previous apartment, and I'm glad I found a spot to make use of them again.
 Hanging from the chalkboard cloud are some wee miniature felted ball garlands I just started making for my brand new Etsy shop.  Yes, I have an Etsy shop!  If you didn't know already, I love making tiny versions of big things [there will be a lot more about that later], and I just started selling them. 
Here are the clouds before I hung the lamp. . . I like the way it looks without the lamp a lot, but it's a necessity thing.  I gotta see.  The little felt heart is something my husband cut out and put on one of my Christmas presents.   Ready?  Awe.

Now the only parts of my office you haven't seen is the sewing closet - which is dark and not very exciting, and the dollhouse wall - which IS exciting but soooooo not finished.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

DIY Cloud Chalkboard

One of the advantages of taking at least an hour to get to sleep every night is it gives me lots of thinking time.  Quite a long while ago, while I was laying in bed not sleeping, I got this idea to make a little trio of clouds for the office: A chalkboard cloud, a cork-board cloud and a magnetic or dry erase cloud.

This weekend I got my act [and all my materials] together to make my clouds.  This was an extremely cheap project because a] I borrowed my dad's jigsaw, b] I used leftover scrap wood and hardware.  But even if you don't have those things, you can still make this on the cheap.


I set up this extremely high-tech cutting station in our backyard. . .
Note: if you are using chairs or something similar, be sure you don't cut the chairs.  Just sayin'.
I free-hand drew my three clouds in pencil, but if that makes you nervous I'm sure you could use a template.  There are a million different ways to draw clouds.  I myself like them light and fluffy all the way around, but flat-bottomed clouds would be cool too.

TIP: Don't work with a dull jigsaw blade like I did.  Put in a new one and things will go much smoother.  It's also helpful to have someone to help you hold the wood in place while you cut.  It also helps to choose wood that doesn't have knots in it, as those can be messy to cut through.

One broken jigsaw blade and a trip to the hardware store later. . .
I had three clouds, one large and two small.  The wood I used was already mostly primed from a previous project, but this is the time would you would lay everything out and prime everything.  If you're making a cork-board cloud, you really only need to prime and paint the edges.

Once primed, give your chalkboard cloud two coats of chalkboard paint.  Paint your magnetic or dry erase cloud with the appropriate paint.  If you're doing a cork board cloud, lay the cloud on top of your cork board, trace around it and cut it out with a utility knife.  Glue the cork to your wood cloud [I just used tacky glue].

TIP: My utility knife was having a hard time cutting through all the cork.  I broke out a serrated kitchen knife to finish, which worked really well.  You can always give the edges of the cork a light sanding to smooth it out.

One your clouds are painted and corked, you can prepare to hang them.  I wanted my big cloud to stick out further from the wall than the other two, so I marked a couple lengths of wood and cut them. . .
I pre-drilled holes and screwed in wood screws to hold my backing pieces on.  Then I hammered in a metal picture-hanger into it, and also put a picture hanger in each of the other clouds. . .
Ready to hang!

CONFESSION: My little white cloud is neither magnetic nor dry erase.  I ended up just painting it white!  Chalkboard paint is way cheaper than dry erase and magnetic paint [which has to be professionally shaken, it WILL NOT mix by hand].

Stay tuned. . . tomorrow I'll post my completed little art corner, above which the cloud trio is hanging.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bathroom Blues

As you may remember from a previous post, I painted the bathroom blue.  Granted, it's a GORGEOUS, warm, spring-time blue, but it's still blue.

I'm having second thoughts.
And third thoughts.
In fact, I've been re-thinking it ever since I painted it.

Now I'm thinking I'd like it better white.  Crisp, clean white with lots of colorful accents.  Sounds vaguely familiar. . . oh yeah, it's how I've done almost every other room in the house except the bedroom and the hobbit's [my husband's] office.  I prefer to think of it as cohesive instead of redundant.

Imagine something more like this. . .
 image via Design Sponge
but with a little more color in the accents.
And I still have to cover or remove the sliding mirror doors that hide the water-heater, and figure out how to re-do the grout and caulk for the tile tub surround.  Also all the trim needs to be replaced. .  .

Someday I'd love to get rid of the tile, put in a clawfoot tub and a wall-mounted sink and so on. . . which, of course, costs money I don't have right now!

What do you guys think?  Should the blue stay or go?
I love the black and white linoleum [same as the kitchen], but that's pretty much the only thing I'm loving in there. 

I'm not just sitting around pondering the bathroom blues though.  Yesterday and today I was hard at work on a fun project for the art corner of my office.  I'll be revealing it soon!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Easy Valentine's Day Wreath

I was going to title it "Easy Cheesy Valentine's Day Wreath," but I'm trying to cut down on my usage of cheesy this time of year.  I tend to over-use it.

Anyway, I have had this basic plain vine wreath for quite a while.  I bought it 50% off at Joann's, and then come each holiday I just stick something different on it.  It takes maybe 5 minutes and makes the orange door even happier.

So here's our Valentine's Wreath. . .
What I did was:
I took some red embroidery floss and tied on a skeleton key and an old wooden heart I had lying around [that sounds funny] and tied them onto the wreath.  Then I pinned on a little orange heart I needle-felted a couple days ago.  Easy Cheesy!  I mean easy peasy.

Ahem, yes.  I am aware that the wreath is not longer centered in the "after" picture.  Whoops.
 You could make something very similar with a little heart-shaped button [they have them at Joann's], a skeleton key, and a heart cut out of felt.  Or, if you want to try needle-felting, you can pick up a KIT and watch THIS tutorial on how to felt a heart.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Office Light

I knew I didn't want to keep this thing. . .
It's hard to tell in my crappy before picture [iPhone], but it's one of those shiny brass boob lights.  Classy, eh?  I don't even mind boob lights here and there, but if it's shiny fake brass I probably hate it.

Here's another shot after I removed the glass. . .

I know how to put new lights in all by myself like a grown-up, but this ceiling posed a problem.  It's a dropped ceiling, made of fairly thin soundboard, and the genius who put these lights in just kind of plunked the electrical boxes in where there's no real support.  I could literally just push on the box and the whole ceiling lifts up an inch.  It's so awesome.  I would get rid of the whole dropped ceiling thing, but it's hiding the furnace and that project sounds way too dusty and expensive.

So I called in the big guns.
Ahem, my dad.
My dad can fix anything that's broken with a piece of tin foil and an old piece of. . .I don't know, chewing gum or something.  And it will never ever break again.  It's a Guatemalan thing.
Anyway, he came up with an idea to give the box a little more something to grip onto.  The box we used, by the way, is the kind that has little feet and screws and literally holds itself up by the ceiling.  We just needed to give it a little more ceiling depth for a better grip.

So my dad went to the shop and cut some wood that would fit up into the ceiling, with a hole exactly the right size for the box. . . as you can see, the wood is done in halves so he could actually fit them up there. . .
He screwed the pieces in and I re-installed the electrical box.  The ceiling doesn't look awesome, but that is easily fixed.

I decided to hang the IKEA Knappa pendant lamp I had.  It's normally $30, but I got it for $12 in the as-is section.  There was nothing wrong with it, it had just been used in a display.

Here it is hung, before I've patched and repainted the ceiling. . .
And you can catch a glimpse of it here in this office photo. . .
Ahhhh. . . much better.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the pendant light comes as a plug-in type from IKEA.   I needed it to be hardwired, so I picked up a pendant kit on sale at the Home Depot and installed it with that instead of the cord and plug it came with originally.  Works like a charm.

Oh, and I finally patched and painted the ceiling so you can't see the screws or the grody old paint.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Welcome Design Sponge Readers. . .

So imagine my surprise when I went from about 60 daily readers on this little house blog to well over 2,000.  See the adorable little chipmunk above for an accurate representation of my reaction.

Shyness aside, I am pleased as punch that you're here.  I've loved hearing from you and visiting your blogs [those of you who have linked to them in your comments].  Yes, I DO read them all, and will frequently comment back.

I wish I could say I'm a complete blog stud and can keep up with daily posts here, while at the same time maintaining my business blog.  Alas, that's not so much the case.  I do know, however, that winters as a wedding photographer are quite a bit slower and I will be blogging much more frequently than I will be later in the spring.  So, do please visit.

Some exciting projects I'm looking forward to at the Orange Door Cottage. . .
1] I have a landscape designer friend who is currently drawing up some beautiful plans for our front and backyards!  We are currently broke, so it will take a long time to implement, but I will be documenting the whole process.

2] I recently was re-gifted my childhood dollhouse that my mom built for me.  It's awesome.  And yes, I still love tiny things.  I actually have a whole re-vamp planned for the dollhouse I'm super excited about.  I'll be documenting that as well.

3] I will be revealing the other side of my office in not too long.  It's my art corner, full of paint-y goodness.

4] Various little organizational projects in the kitchen and bathroom, etc.

I'm sure there's more, but those are the main ones!  Thanks so much again for reading/seeing/talking.  I will be back again soon.  Tomorrow I have a talented friend coming over to help me style the office for another photo-shoot [a magazine wants to feature it!].  Eeep.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Make a No-Maintenence Terrarium

This no-care terrarium was one of my little weekend projects.  I’d had it in my head for months upon months and finally sat down with a friend to sculpt the little mushrooms.  Aren’t they cute?  And I can’t post this without giving a shout out to the fabulous Mudpuppy and Warm Country Meadows, who I was obviously inspired by.

I love REAL terrariums, but I am not the best at keeping house plants alive.  This doesn’t require light or water!
To make your own, all you need is. . .
I sculpted the little mushrooms and house out of the sculpey clay.  You’ll want to keep them pretty small so they’ll bake evenly.  Once shaped, I inserted small finish nails into the bases to act as stakes, but you could also use a nice thick wire.  Bake according to instructions.
Once cooled, paint and lacquer as desired.  You can then put your artificial moss rocks (they have Styrofoam centers) in any fun little container, and stick your sculptures in.  DONE!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hall Closet

So remember way back when, when I said I was working on organizing the hall closet?  Yeah. . . I finally photographed it!  Once again, I love ELFA.  I've tried all manner of shelving systems, and Elfa just works.  It's totally worth saving up for, and they're incredibly sturdy and easy to use.

So here's a glimpse of what the hall closet looked like before we moved in. . . sorry for the crappy iPhone photo.
Pieces of this ridiculous shelving were missing, the whole thing was sagging and in general looked gag-worthy.  Poor little closet!  It needed some Elfa love.  My superhero friend Maricar helped me design the space, and then I waited until the shelving went on sale for 25% off to purchase.

I didn't have time to paint the inside before Maricar arrived to help me install, so we installed the top track and the broom holder first.  Isn't she adorable?

Then I patched all the holes the previous shelves had made in the walls, and painted over all the pencil lines etc. with the same fresh white I use in most of the house.

 Here's the closet, all freshly painted and shelves installed ready for STUFF.
I apologize for all the flash-lit photos [not as pretty as natural light], but the closet isn't lit.  Anyway, here's the stuff. . . 

The top shelf holds my suitcase and backpacking gear.  Next shelf is household items [like light bulbs etc.], Christmas decorations and such.  Next shelf is all our games and toys [no, we don't have kids.  We just like toys].  Next down are some of my painting supplies and tools.  And the bottom shelf is a tub for lighting supplies -- extension cords and such.

I also removed the bi-fold doors, installed a curtain rod and hung some nice [ahem, orange of course] curtains.  Done!

Office Featured on Design Sponge

Grace and her superhero team at Design Sponge were kind enough to do a little feature on my office before & after.  For those of you who didn't know, I'm a Design Sponge addict with no intentions of recovering.  Some people do crack.  I do Design Sponge.  I win!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Art Studio/Home Office

NOTE: The Orange Door Blog has moved HERE.  Click HERE to see this post on the new blog!

I am writing this on my computer.  Which is sitting on a DESK.  Which is installed on my WALL.  Which is in my finished office!  It's been a long time coming, people.  Why did it take so long?  I'm not made of money.  And Elfa shelving didn't go to 30% off until Christmas Eve.  That's why.

Okay.  Here is what the room looked like before we closed on the house [I haven't decided if I am a horrible person for posting "before" pictures with other people's stuff in them.  Is it wrong?]. . .
And here is what it looked like after we moved in. . .
 And after I painted it, but it was still a disaster. . .
And here it is now!
Big hugs to Maricar for helping me design the shelving workspace!
Details. . .
I am just showing you the office corner right now.  I have other projects brewing in the opposite corners that I'll show you later as I'm working on them.

My birdcages, and a red and white hanger that my great grandma made.
 This is my favoritest wall ever ever.  I've had it in my head for quite a while, so it was so fun to actually put it together.  I went to Seattle recently and helped my Aunt Trisha organize her art studio, and she paid me in vintage wallpapers so I finally had enough to do this. . .
 A wire basket from Goodwill and a mini chalkboard from Joann's.  The pen holder is a vintage flower frog from my great grandma.
 This is a sneak peek at one of my projects. . .

 This wallpaper makes me squeal like a girl.  This and corgi puppies.
 The closet has now become my sewing cubby [which I'll show you the inside of later].  I had this IKEA curtain from one of our old apartments and I wanted to use it for the closet.  The hanger-tabs on it were too long though, so I folded them over and sewed little white buttons on with orange thread.  Now they're just the right length, and they have buttons.  Which makes it instantly cuter.

So there you have it folks.  A real live office.  It's helping my productivity already.