I rocked through some seriously satisfying projects around the house in the last few weeks.
Some were fixes to new items, most were things that I should have taken care of years ago. I’ve never claimed to be totally on top of all of the small things, like remembering to empty the dishwasher or dusting the blinds regularly, and I guess this really proves it.
1. 32 months after moving in, removed the last of the curtain rod hardware.
A seriously pathetic thing to be pointing out, there’s been curtain rod hardware from the previous owners on the window in the stairwell since the day I walked in the door, even though I had quickly removed all signs of curtains from every other window in the house. Even more pathetic, I had tried to remove them (probably in the summer of 2009), but stripped one screw in each of the brackets and left them dangling in the breeze until just last week.
In my defense, if you’ll accept it, they fall in such a place in the stairwell that most people never really noticed them going up the stairs or down the stairs, but they were there. And I noticed them each of the 50 times I walked up and down the stairs every day.
Stripped screws or not, the brackets really weren’t that hard to get out, so shame on me. I used a simple piece of pliers, wham bam, twist-twist, they were free.
A little lightweight spackle, patch-patch, and a dab of paint, and you’d never know that they were there. Success, a long time coming.
2. I mended scratched veneer.
Before the holidays, something happened to the living room TV stand. I can’t exactly remember how it happened, but it was my fault (a screw was beneath a book that I slid across the surface or something innocent enough).
The table is a veneered piece from Target, so it’s not an exceptionally made piece of furniture, but I do like it and hoped to patch it until I can afford something different.
Bring in the Rust-Oleum Ultimate in Kona. I dipped the corner of a piece of paper towel into the can of stain (that I already owned, $0), and then gently rubbed the oil into the scratch, wiping off excess as I went along.
It was successful (absorbed right in and was a good color match too); not perfect, but it definitely lessened the noticeability and will keep me cool for awhile.
3. I busted my zipper.
I broke a zipper tooth off my favorite pair of jeans, which immediately caused the zipper to come off the track. Devastation.
I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel and put them to the curb (too new, too nice, great color, great fit) so I decided to try and replace the zipper myself. My zipper installation experience is limited to four pillows and a bear/anteater, but it still seemed like something I could do (and if it didn’t work, I had nothing to lose). I could always still take it to a seamstress.
For $2, I picked up the shortest zipper I could buy that seemed like it could fly as a… fly. I removed the old one thread by thread with a sharp utility knife (a seam ripper would have been more appropriate, but I don’t own one), and then installed the new zipper with the sewing machine. It still was a little longer in length than what was originally on the jeans, but I lined up the top of the zipper with where it needed to align on the denim, and tucked the 1-2″ excess down into the pants so that I didn’t have to try and shorten it (although I hear that can be done, but I’m no sewing prodigy, I was more focused on not destroying the denim).
Worked quite well. And having already worn them publicly with no one pointing at it or staring awkwardly at that, um, area, I’m happy to say that they have a new lease on life. Saved the denim day.
4. Grew a tulip.
It’s nothing short of a miracle that superglue applied in 2003 held strong until January 2nd, 2012. A hand-carved tulip that I bought almost a decade ago is quite fragile, and I’d really expect to have to mend it more often than I’ve had to because 1) hello, it’s top-heavy, 2) I’m generally clumsy around fragile things and 3) It tips over in its vase almost every time I dust around it. It’s traveled with me from dorms-to-apartments-to-house as one of my favorite little pieces of simple decor (originally bought at Kazoo 2 in Ellicottville, NY, with the belief that would probably last a year and no longer), but just this month, one good swish of a furry dog tail broke it again.
Luckily, a little patience, clamping, and more superglue cured the situation. I’m always amazed that such a small point of contact will hold the tulip together.
Twa-la. (P.S. If anyone knows where I can find these, I’d love to buy a whole bouquet, since I couldn’t afford more than a couple back in the day).
5. Really finished the filing cabinets.
I meant to poke a little hole in the back of the filing cabinets when I originally posted about finishing them. The double-decker cabinet holds the shredder, and the electrical cord needed a way to freely escape and access the outlet that sits nearby. I employed the 2″ hole saw. And no, turns out I didn’t paint the back of the cabinet. I did finish the back of the other one, so this was a surprise to me.
Drill, drill, thread the cord through, done-zo. And the solitary cord is now free to access the outlet.