New House-Cleaning Tip: Invite People Over!

So here’s a new house-cleaning tip I stumbled across a few years ago: Invite about 10-12 people over for a dinner party.

Suddenly, you’ll be able to do 100 basic housecleaning tasks in half the time. All those cobwebs, lingering D.I.Y. projects, messy corners, socks in the couch cushions, and more will be DONE!

I had a dinner party for eight the other night — the book club girls — and I never finished so many projects so fast in my life. It sure beat having them arrive while I still had paint brushes on the floor (D.I.Y. Project 420 — repainting the powder room), the pedestal out from under the sink (D.I.Y. Project 421 — fix the pedestal sink from having the tile raised from under it years ago), wrenches on the tile, cobwebs in the volume ceilings, dust around the tops of the kitchen cabinets, etc. I have to give Superman and family HUGE credit for helping me out, which my guest blogger Mr. Lanius so wisely pointed out here.

And now, although the party is long done, we still have a clean house, to boot!

Here’s how the dinner party table came out. I love dinner parties! Love sitting around the table and having interesting conversations with small groups of people.


How about you? Are you a dinner-party-type person or a lots-of-mingling-cocktail-party type?

When D.I.Y. Goes Horribly Wrong …


Exhibit A: Successful project

Well, we can do this the easy way, or we can do this the hard way, ya see? …

Our D.I.Y. projects are picking up speed, but — just like all D.I.Y. projects (as many of you probably know) — one leads to another. For one reason or another.

We started with an easy one recently. See Exhibit A (above) — cute, easy project: I bought a chair! I’d always wanted a “reading chair” like this, and finally got one. This is in our teeny-weeny little den, and hardly fits, but I don’t care. I love this chair. It’s right behind my writing desk, so it’s great for anyone who wants to come visit me. (!) Mostly one of the younger kids sits here with the laptop in the evenings, even though they have a full desk right next to mine.

So we were on a roll.

And that one was soooooo easy.

So maybe we were getting cocky, but we actually thought we could handle something bigger. This one would involve a hammer.

I wanted to put up a white board in the kids’ “homework/paper center.” Now, the first irony is that I took a picture of the homework/paper center earlier this week for a blog post I was doing over at Health Bistro. The post (and original photo) is right here. I was writing about how organized I was, you know, and how I was giving tips, for God’s sake, on how to be organized. Like me. [*rolls eyes*] …

But don’t take me too seriously. Because just two days later, the “homework/paper center” looked like this:


Exhibit B: Um ... fail!

It’s now become D.I.Y. project 214. …

What happened is that I bought this very cool white board that I wanted the kids to use.  With two teens, now, we’re having a harder time keeping track of everyone. (Because, you know, when they’re older they often forget to tell you there’s a dance, or there’s a thing after the football game, or there’s a Saturday football practice, or whatever. …)

Anyway, this cool white board was going to go up on the wall right among the plastic bins that hold their school stuff, so I asked Superman (God bless him) to nail it up there for me. He was being all great and honey-do-ish and did it for me while I was at work so I’d come home and be surprised. (Yay.) But I came home and … heard … water? or a whishing? … hmmm … Of course, I was mostly happy that the white board was up! The white board is up! Hoorah! We’re more organized! And I got all sidetracked being happy about the white board being up that I didn’t even investigate that weird water noise. (I guess I just thought it was a toilet running, which we can sometimes hear in our very-thin, cheap-housing, not-even-made-of-brick Southern California homes.) Continue reading

One Candlescape Away From Crazy…

DSC_0584This is my summer decor. It’s on my buffet table, which sits right behind the dining table. There are blue glass salad plates under that white lantern (you can’t really see them), and outside of the picture there’s a white sugar-and-creamer set for coffee). I get kind of corny about the seasons and decorate differently for each one. Sometimes I fear I’m one candlescape away from becoming one of those weird old ladies who has too much seasonal stuff out. But my husband and kids seem to like it, so I think as long as I don’t don a cardigan sweater with pumpkins, or wear dangly Christmas-ball earrings, I’m okay to go a little nutso with decor.

Summer stuff is about to go down, though, this week of Labor Day. It will be replaced, of course, with fall apples and leaves. [*clears throat nervously*] Just let me know when I’ve crossed the line. …

Do you do this, too? Or am I already the candlescape away???

D.I.Y. Girl

014I’m kind of a D.I.Y. girl. I’m the one who will paint her own walls, install backsplashes, sand cabinets, frame pictures, hang curtains, select valances, hammer in chair rails. I draw the line at laying carpeting and tile, but I’ve created my own topiary over a wall fountain, sponge-painted my fireplace, and sanded and stained several cabinets and bookcases.

I do a lot of this with help, of course. Superman’s really not into it, but my dad is. (That’s probably where I get all this!). My dad has spent the last 13 years coming over here and helping us install ceiling bookcases, entire sprinkler systems, brick patios (Superman and my dad laid our entire patio), fixing water pipes, and installing hallway railings.

The thing is, most of this work was done … well, about 10 to 13  years ago! When we first moved in, we spent a whirlwind three years doing everything inside the house. I painted every single room. We installed lighting and hung pictures and measured out windows for curtains everywhere. We’ve redone a few rooms over the years — mostly the kids’ bedrooms — but for the most part, it looks about the same.

And now … well, now it’s looking a little “old.” Continue reading

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