Saturday, January 25, 2014

Suspended ceilings aren't sexy.

I've been on a ceiling kick lately.  I've repainted all but two rooms in this house since we moved in, but I haven't touched a ceiling.  If they ever do get done, it will be by a pro as I have absolutely no interest in killing my neck.  Though, I did ask for opinions on planked ceilings on my Facebook page recently - I think it would look fab in my living room. (**quietly begging for you to follow!**)

Yes, I've completely neglected every fifth wall.  Until now.

Last weekend, on a complete whim, I decided to tackle a project I've been wanting to do for a while. You see, we recently replaced our old wood stove with this little beauty.

Our old stove was way oversized for our home so it heated us OUT of the house (we almost always had a window cracked.) It wasn't efficient at all, and burped out smoke pretty regularly.  Every now and then, you'd open the damper, do everything right, and in an instant, the whole basement would be filled with smoke.  That smoke left a nasty layer of soot all over everything, including the tiles in the suspended ceiling in the neighboring laundry/mud room.  I spent so much time redoing that room last year, but hadn't yet decided on what to do with the ceiling.  

I would have loved to have hung a regular drywall ceiling, but with the water pipes and such, the suspended ceiling really did make sense as we've already had to access the pipes a few times to find the source of small leaks (which turned out not to be the pipes at all, but that I had filled the bathtub just a bit too much sending water out the overflow holes that are in the drain pull - oops.)  I wanted some nice, flat tiles but those had to be ordered, or some "pretty" tiles (as pretty as ceiling tiles can be), but then you have to figure out how to deal with the edges, and with more edges than full tiles, that just didn't appeal to me. So, after much research, I threw all of the research out the window and just bought what they had in stock at Home Depot. 

So back to the soot... here's a shot just to show how bad the old tiles had gotten...

Pretty gross, right?  Now you understand why this has been nagging away at my head.  I thought of painting the existing tiles, but that just seemed silly for a project that was fairly inexpensive at $149 for the three cases I needed.  Before I share some "after" shots - I should throw a couple of suggestions out there just in case you're thinking of ever doing this.

This is a messy, messy job.  Any of the pieces that needed to be cut, I took outside.  Even then, getting them to fit into the grid that wasn't quite square still left a dusty, nasty mess behind.  I was happy I bought an extra case because I also wasn't aware that these things are as delicate as tissue paper.  

You should probably also take the time to clear out the room before you start so that you don't have to take your rug to the dry cleaner and rewash several loads of laundry that you didn't take out of the room first. And I should point out that you can only see the bigger pieces in this picture.  There's a fine, white dust all over everything.  Oh yeah, I probably should have worn goggles and a mask too.

It really didn't take that long to finish, and cutting the pieces down was super easy with a sharp utility knife.  I numbered all the pieces as I took them down and just laid the ones that needed cut down on top of the new ones to get the cuts right.  Then, I started to just put them back up in order.  That didn't really work out all that well, though.  I often needed to maneuver around the light fixtures, the wires that hung the grid system and such, so there was quite a bit of removing what had just been placed to fit the next piece in which resulted in some damaged edges that got touched up with craft paint. Yep, you read that right.  

In the end, though, it's so worth it.  My laundry room is now 100% complete, except for all of the laundry that refuses to end.  Seriously, there are only two of us.

I'm also considering ordering these little guys to try to give an even more finished look and because even after cleaning, the metal grid itself looks pretty grungy against those new bright tiles. I'm going to sleep on this one for a few more nights since the grid is not at all square and I think it might all be more frustration and money than it's really worth.  And no, I'm not taking all of those tiles back down to paint it.

Do you have a great solution for a suspended ceiling?  Let me know down there in the comments!!

Shared at DIY Showoff

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Music and dancing.

This is one of those "human" posts that we see from time to time. Yes, this is a creativity blog, and I don't write or play music, but I feel the need to write and this is what's in my head right now.

I had to go to the doctor yesterday because I've been having some pretty substantial back pain for a while and I was starting to worry that maybe it was more than just muscle pain.  It wasn't, and the good doc sent me straight to a chiropractor.  Do not pass go, go straight there.  By the way, I love that I have a doctor who believes in real, natural body healing.

Anyway, as part of this appointment, I had to step on the big, scary scale.  You know the one - they slide the little weight over the "big" number and then have to slide the little scale to the smaller number to add to it. Let's just say that both had to slide over too far to come to a sum that is very unsatisfactory.  I eat well, though yeah, just like everyone else, I probably ate more than I should from November - December.  Going to the doctor in January is just mean.

So I finish up there, head to the chiro who was AMAZING.  He found the spot that was causing the issues, worked it out, showed me some stretches to do at home, told me that I need to move around more, and we set an appointment for next week. 

See, I had chalked this up to walking around NYC for a couple of days in heels.  But when I explained that I am in my car, A LOT, for my job and that often, when I'm not, I'm at a computer, he said the issue was likely just exacerbated by the torture of walking many city blocks in those evil shoes, and told me to find some flats that I can fit in my computer bag so that I never do it again.  There's a reason you see Manhattanites in suits and sneakers.

So with both appointments, it was quite obvious to me that  truly need to get off my ass.  I've never been much of an exerciser.  I've always loved hiking because it's fantastic exercise that didn't feel like exercise.  I hate gyms. However, Winter doesn't really lend itself well to long walks or hiking in the woods - my two chosen remedies many years ago when I still tried.  I LOVE to dance.  Even when I didn't drink, I used to go out every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday night just to dance.  I've always loved to dance.  So... even though I don't like resolutions, it's late enough in January that this doesn't have to really be called a resolution. Starting today, I promise to dance more.  It's great cardio and stress relief, I love music, and if I lose a couple of pounds as a result - even better.  

The best part - it's not just all about an iPod, CD, or recorded music.  I get to see these guys live tomorrow night and dance for a couple of hours straight!  

If you don't know who they are, I don't know if we can be friends.  Just kidding, but seriously, if you don't know, check them out.  You'll be dancing in no time!

Just call me Meredith or Christina.  It's time to dance it out.  Dancing makes you brave, and I could use a little of that, too.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

It's a blogiversary! No photos, here folks, just a bit of a read!

In two more days, it's been a whole year since I started this thing!  I had wanted to start a blog for quite some time... I was the girl who always had a journal going growing up - I LOVED to write (and I still have most of them - they should probably be burned!)

When I first thought about it, though, I didn't know what, exactly, I wanted to share with the world. Then I decided to take down some wallpaper and an idea was born... what a way to share my projects with my friends and family all over the country as though I was sitting at the kitchen table with them! I know my mom follows, because that what moms do, but as I mentioned in my last post, when my aunt told me she also reads on Christmas, I knew I was still on track.  Friends and family will never let you down!

I've found a ton of amazing bloggers that I follow now, too - all for different reasons.  Some because I love their projects, some because I love their humor and wit - some both!  This is a strange little world - Blogland! You have the vets who are happy to stop and and leave a little comment love for newbies like me (and just FYI - nothing makes someone's day like that will!  Shout out, especially, to Kelly at View Along the Way and KariAnne at Thistlewood Farms - you ladies inspire me!) You have the people who found you through a link party or Pinterest and they let you know they like something - again, amazing!  And yep - in Blogland, you even have mean girls - the ones who "talk" to you like you're less than them - I can't figure that one out... maybe it's because you DON'T blog full time yet you're apparently taking up bandwidth and readers from them, even though that's not happening in a million years.

I didn't set out here to find readers and make this a full time gig, but I still find myself checking stats more often than I should - how many views? Any new comments?  Where's the traffic coming from?  I love each and every new person that comes along and lets me know that something I've said has gotten their attention - thank you!

One thing I can say for sure is that I definitely stuck to the tagline I came up with at the start - experiments in creative randomness!  I love to dig into a project and really do nothing but focus on it until it's done. I've always been that way - something about Type A according to my mom.

I don't plan projects, usually, and I've never done a project just to have something to post about. every now and then, though, as I'm doing something, I'll decide that it would make a great post and grab the camera.  What you see here is real, folks.  I hope I can keep it interesting and keep you coming back - who knows what I'll come up with in 2014!  Again, thank you for reading, and nothing better than comments to a blogger - even if they are only part timers!  Happy New Year!!
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