+ & –

by Lara on June 5, 2012

in + & -

  • Hustlin – David got this mid-century stereo cabinet from a friend for $10. We intended to gut it for storage but unfortunately, it was too big for our space. We flipped it for $120! Pretty sure the Ulti bomb sold it.

  • A really sweet story.
  • Went to u-fab and picked out some fabric for new pillows on the new sofa! I re-used the inserts from our old ones, no zippers… just sewed em in. About $30 and I still have enough to make 2 more!

I had to wrestle with Ulti to get my squares back!

  • Busy summer weekends are making me happy. Next weekend, I hope we can finally go tubing and we’re definitely going to see Prometheus! I cannot wait for this movie. We’ve watched the Alien series for the millionth time getting all psyched up and I just heard HR Giger also did the creepy design for this movie! So stoked!

  • Redeemed my Birchbox points and decided not to renew my subscription. Just kinda over it.
  • I did another closet purge a few weeks ago and guess what my purge pile consisted of? Target clearance rack stuff. Pretty much every single thing. I think the lure of the red sticker makes me lose my mind so, I’m staying away from that shizz from now on.
  • I am no good at fixing my hair anymore. Honestly, I’m lucky if I manage to brush it in a day. I used to do curls, crazy scene hair and mouse ear buns back in the day but now… meh. I’m in a total rut – like I don’t want to be one of those women who spends an hour on her hair but then again… The blunt bangs have been my cop-out to have any semblance of style. Well, summer’s here and the bangs are gonna feel hot and get oily so I’m growing them out again… something I should’ve started a few months ago. I need to get my hair game back and I need a change. I just don’t know what to do.

Here’s my most fave haircut ever… in 2006 (Myspace pose and Delia’s tank top wut wut!):

Oh dang! That was my natural hair color!

Christ… I just want to shave it all off.


before and after

by Lara on May 7, 2012

in decor

So, I got those lockers on Wednesday April 25th and finished them on Sunday May 6th. Starting this right after finishing my last painting – I’ve got serious painting fatigue. SO glad it’s over!

After I got them, they were scrubbed down with 409 and David sanded them lightly with 180 grit  (one sheet was enough). I didn’t start priming until that Sunday.

After tightening all the screws, we laid it down in the kitchen and I got to work!

I taped around the latches (wish I hadn’t) and used a teeny 2″ dense foam roller meant for touch-ups. I got it for $2 and it came with the little paint tray too. Replacement foam rollers came in 2-packs for $2 each and I got 3 packs of those. I used a 1/2″ flat paint brush for tight areas the roller couldn’t get to, like around the vents.

For a primer, I picked Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 water-based primer. It says it’s for all surfaces with no pre-sanding needed, and for all top coats. A quart was about $8. I’m really pleased with this stuff and clean up is great. I also have a TON left for future projects!

Because I’m a maniac, I did 2 coats of primer. I chose not to do the interior of the lockers but I still had to paint the pieces that fold in, on and around the doors. Such a pain in the ass! This required the lil’ paint brush and took hours. I had 2 doors open at a time, propped on wads of paper towels and wooden dowels. Luckily the primer dries in less than an hour so, I would work and rest and work and rest. Once I started the colors, I had to do this same process again on the edges, coat after coat, only it was standing up.

For the frame and sides, I used Rust-Oleum gloss enamel in white. A half-pint is about $4. I got a quart and should’ve just gotten the half-pint. Rust-Oleum is an oil-based paint and SO nasty to clean up! The odor is pretty strong too and it takes a long time to dry. Coverage is great though. One coat over the primer and that was it. I did the Rust-Oleum white parts first since it’s easier to clean up latex messes off oil.

Rust-Oluem colors are limited so I had to get latex colors mixed. Home Depot had Behr High Gloss Enamel. Actually, they had 4 Behr gloss bases left so I had to get 2 Glidden brand ones as well. Glidden was far superior to Behr. Totally worth a little extra money! (Also, never get Valspar paint from Lowes. Crappiest crap I ever did use.)

For about $10 a quart on sale, I dropped another $60 on 6 colors. So criminal. I could’ve just done one color or 2 or 3 but I was dead set on 6, which turned into a major disappointment.

I wish they would do custom colors in pints. Oh well. If I ever need to paint anything else around my house a fun color, it’s going to be with this leftover paint I have!

(They do offer little sample tubs of paint in any color for $4 each, which would’ve been perfect, but they were only in flat finishes. So, keep that in mind if you ever need a special color for a tiny project that isn’t glossy, or just put on a gloss topcoat!)

Here are the color swatches (from the Behr site) I picked. Clockwise top left: Atomic Tangerine, Grenadine, Garden Sprout (more acid green), Solar Flare (more bright orange), Aqua Waters, Chocolate Sprinkle


After a couple days of doing other stuff and recovering from back and leg pain (squatting and bending and hunching killed me), I finally started the colors.

David had the brilliant idea to line my paint tray with plastic wrap for easy clean-up between colors! Muah! So great! I had so many lil foam rollers so I didn’t have to clean them out when I switched colors, and just kept them in ziplocks to stay wet until the 2nd coat the next day. Also, some regular printer paper was used in the cracks instead of taping taping taping.

first coats

HEY! GUESS WHAT? I HATED IT!!!! The 6 colors just didn’t work together. It may look okay in that picture but it’s totally different in real life – offensive to my senses. David was being a true diplomat and biting his tongue saying it was very “European.” I think he meant European pre-school for the colorblind.

Colors in your mind are NOT colors on swatches are NOT colors in paint buckets are NOT colors actually painted are NOT colors photographed.

Kelly, a graphic designer, also noted that when certain colors are next to each other in large expanses, it can change the way you see them, bringing out hues you wouldn’t notice if they were alone or smaller. So there’s definitely that.

So… I sucked it up and picked 3 colors instead – yellow, orange and brown – which was David’s original idea so he had the pleasure of hearing me say he was right. At least I tried my original idea first. I would’ve always wondered and you just never know until you do it… $30 and hours down the tubes. I got my wits about me and finished the sucker!

Aaaaand drum roll please!!


We’ve reorganized the kitchen and decided what would go inside the lockers, took meticulous measurements and I got wood dowels and shelves cut to by my dad to maximize storage. I cleared all my spices and cooking stuff off the mantle in the kitchen, got a 2-tier lazy susan that fits in a locker and now have all sorts of clean space on the mantle to decorate!

These two have a shelf 16″ up. The rest have 2 shelves 12″ apart.

repainted the mantle while I was at it

It was just a few days total of real work and about $200 (sigh… I wanted this to be cheaper). Still not bad for what’s on the market right now!

David thinks I should get more of these to paint and sell. Geesh… I just don’t know about that! Squatting and hunching down in my wrecked kitchen murdered my back and legs. I wish I had a workshop!



by Lara on April 26, 2012

in decor

I got the lockers!!

So, the guy who was selling them on Craigslist was super nice and communicated and cooperated well with me to pick them up at 4pm yesterday. He was located in some strange garage on Broad Street near VCU, a few minutes from my place. Oh! And turns out I knew the seller from way back. He used to own an old theater I saw punk rock shows at and he’s friends with my uncle. I love this big small town sometimes!

I was pretty sure I could get them in the trunk of my car with the seats folded down. I was less than 1/2″ off. We measured 3 times with 2 different tape measures. I started to panic and figured my dad would have to help me get them another day on his flatbed truck.

Dude offered to take them to my apartment!! Score! I helped him get them in the back of his pickup, he picked up a friend who was working close by, and they hauled them up the main stairs of my building. Awesome! Dude’s friend was acting like he was gonna die so, they just left them in the main hallway by my front door. Ugh.

When David got home from work an hour later, he and I beasted the thing into the apartment and had to resort to sliding this heavy steel mess on bath towels into the kitchen where it will live.

So, here’s the plan.

First off, it’s filthy. I’m going to clean the bejesus out of it when I get home today.

Two of the door latches are messed up. I haven’t examined how to fix them but if worse comes to worse, I will rig something up, maybe even with velcro. I don’t care.

We discovered the doors are riveted onto the hinges and then the frame. No way I can remove them and spray paint them like I had hoped. Bummer.

My dad called a friend who does sandblasting but it’s going to be crazy expensive plus, hauling this behemoth back and forth again. Sigh. Not happening.

I researched painting already painted metal and got advice from my dad. I’m going to sand the hell out of the entire exterior surface to give it some “teeth” for primer to adhere to and to remove any rust bits. I have to tape around the latches then prime it with a matte metal primer using a fine foam roller (not fluffy) for a smooth surface.

I’ll lay it on it’s back (to prevent drips) and paint the frame (color undecided) and paint the doors some funky colors with more foam rollers. This may take a few coats and I may even seal it with a clear polyurethane for extra gloss.

I’m planning on leaving the interior and back side alone. Less work. No big deal. Eff it. Maybe not though. We’ll see.

There are bolts inside each section for shelves to rest on so my dad is going to cut 1/2″ thick wood pieces for me to maximize storage.

This is going to be a killer time-consuming project but the results should be pretty fantastic!

$95 + probably $50 worth of supplies to fix up something that costs waaaaay more on the current market.

I’m stoked and terrified all at the same time!




by Lara on April 25, 2012

in decor

Do you ever buy things off of Craigslist?

People can be really jerky about getting back to you and coordinating times or just never showing up at all but don’t let that discourage you.

I go through spells of scouring the Richmond furniture listings and it’s always been good to me for buying and selling.

I got rid of a jewelry armoire that wouldn’t go with D’s and my decor to a nice teen girl, and all my rat supplies to a couple after my ratties died.

I’ve also scored a brand new rice cooker for David, a bunch of awesome free stuff (dartboard, sports balls, etc) from people who wanted to donate to soldiers when my mom and I were adopting soldiers like crazy.

Yesterday, I picked up a mirror for Carly for $10! It went on the back of a dresser but those brackets come off easily. My dad put some wood filler in a few small nicks and she’s going to paint it a bright color! It’s super heavy and great quality. What a steal!

I also inquired about these awesome awesome gym lockers to put in my kitchen. Turns out they’re all connected and there’s no way I could get them into my apartment. They were also $275.

Today I’m picking these up though! Way cheaper at $95, I can get them in my car AND I can paint them! had a company called Twenty Gauge on there a while back and they had colorful reclaimed lockers at crazy prices. Example:


They’ve been sandblasted and repainting but still. But still.

I’ve loved this look for a long time and already have the red IKEA PS cabinet in my kitchen.

David was all, “More storage means you can buy more stuff!” I couldn’t have said it better myself! ;D

Now I need a pickup truck!!!!



by Lara on April 22, 2012

in art,decor

I never thought I’d like a grouping of small framed prints, always thinking they looked cluttered, so I leaned more towards single large pieces on a wall. Well, I’ve bought 3 prints since November last year. They just spoke to me – were instant decisions where I purchased them immediately, no debate. I finally got them all framed and hanged in the hallway, above the catchall cabinet when you walk in the apartment. The wall is really long though and I think over time, I may just fill it!

David showed me this website on Friday. It’s called RedBubble and it is epic! They have prints of EVERYTHING for really cheap… as well as iPhone cases, cards, stickers, t-shirts, etc. Anything you could think of, just do a search and dig for an hour.

I have barely scratched the surface but here are a few that have caught my eye and I will probably get soon!

Energy! by Grafixcat

incredible macro shots by Sharon Johnstone

Sibling Rivalry by Helena Babic

Barbara Ingersoll’s rust shots are gorgeous

Baby Deer – Lara Allport

Age of Loneliness – Swin

Octopus Man – Lloyd Harvey

love these doll prints 1 2 3

What do you have on your walls?