The Countdown Has Begun

Have you ever had those days (weeks) when life is a whirlwind that leaves you dizzy and unable to recall exactly what you’ve done?

Last week I shared what I’ve been up to. Aside from admitting my lack of cake decorating skills for the Han Solo cake,  it was all about the office space.

I have a confession to make. Well, two actually.

  1. Next time we are having ‘stormtroopers in a snow storm cake ‘ aka chocolate cake with white frosting.  It tasted good but black frosting  stains teeth and everything else.
  2. I have to shift my efforts for the office space to clearing my stuff out of my daughter’s room.


The ZenDen  is still  going to happen,  unfortunately  though I have hit a snag.  A snag in the form of a time crunch. My plan was to get everything completed downstairs and then move stuff. After several days of clearing, moving, bagging, tossing, head shaking, fighting off the overwhelmed panic, my back  said that  it had enough. I’ve scheduled a visit to the chiropractor out of my normal sequence,  but it isn’t for another few days.

So, . . . we move our daughter back Thursday night. This Thursday night. Like . . . 2 days from now. The ZenDen still looks like this:


Wait,  I did move a couple of those boxes out of the area. The one in the foreground,  the ones on the little rocking chair, and  the box in the wire frame cart. Also,


all of those books have been moved, as well as the stuff on top of the shelf.

That’s the point when my back said, Whoa Nelly! This was about the same time that the hubs and I had a discussion about the area.   You see, I get these ideas, I get excited, and I’ m off and running. I worked up my color scheme,  decided on the flooring that I wanted,  had my little floor plan designed. It was all good!


It doesn’t show up well on this photo, but the main color  is this Bermuda Bay  (It says Big Surf on the photo, but I found the exact color I want and it’s called Bermuda Bay – a different brand) on the left. The sand color on the bottom will be the wall where the  map of the Caribbean is currently. The navy blue and red in the sails will be accent colors as will the black and of course, sail white.   He looked at me with  an expression that said,  Have you lost your mind?  

Look, I know  not everyone will get my color scheme. I know not everyone would choose this.  It’s my space – my office/craft room/private retreat. I selected my flooring choice, a plank vinyl that will go down right over the concrete floor. It looks like gray weathered wood, kind of a cross between the weathered pier and driftwood. I thought it was perfect.

My husband? Not so much.

Then there were the light fixtures. I found one that was perfect. It looked like something that would be on the Nautilus. Then I looked at the price.  Ummmmm, no.  I will need 4 lights after evaluating the area. I thought we could do two but I think 4 would be better.

Then we had a disagreement about  the dimensions of the space I was carving out.  He had  in mind something along a 5′ x 5′ space.  I don’t think so. I was livid.

After several minutes of discussing function and space issues, he  realized that I was including my craft stuff which is currently located on the other end of the basement.  We came to some semblance of an agreement. My dimensions are more along the lines of 14′ x 8′.  By then I was  tired and we needed to address our daughter’s room.

Most of my notebooks, pens, files, and all office related items were in her room on the writing desk that I was planning to use. My  belongings are now in a box . . . in the basement . . .   along with the rest of the  stuff down there. This evening  vacuuming, stripping the bed, and cleaning out the closet are the  items on my checklist.

I need to take some more items to our resale booth, but  getting her room in a welcoming state has to come first. If you want  to check out my previous posts on this, read –

Once we get this addressed, my attention will return to my office. Then I can begin organizing and clearing out the years of accumulated stuff. I have to admit, at this point minimalism looks pretty appealing.

Sometimes it takes a spark of inspiration to ignite the fires. We’ve been stagnated, overwhelmed with the years of accumulated stuff.  His Grandmother passed away, we got stuff. His uncle passed away, we got more stuff. His great-aunt passed away, we got even more stuff. My father and mother passed away and we got still more stuff. I have to admit, I’ve been stagnated with this inundation of stuff. As if it wasn’t enough to have to deal with our own stuff, we have stuff given to us to add to the mountain of stuff.

Yes, we really do suffer from stuffitis. It can be paralyzing. It is also stifling. There is a psychology to clutter, and it’s not pretty.

If you want  to check out my previous posts on this, read – Space Revisions and Personal Space,  about creating my own zen den, my home office/craft studio/retreat/paradise.





By the way, the kitty litter thing is working. The musty smell has diminished in the basement. We’ve also increased the intervals at which the dehumidifier runs. The decor theme and reveal will be postponed, sorry.

My oldest daughter announced to the world that she is not planning to return to college after her junior year by posting a picture of her first tattoo, a compass to signify the new direction of her life. I have misgivings about this new direction. But, she’s 21 and has to make her own decisions. (This is the one that is moving back home.)





These were her words: “As a symbol of my changing courses in life, I got my first tattoo today. It’s a compass that will be a constant reminder of where I’ve been, and where I’m going. Even if I’m not sure where that may be.”

I still have a ton of work to do before we  make the drive to  get her on Thursday. 2 days. 47.23 hours from now.  25 of those hours are already scheduled. I suppose if I forfeit sleep I could get it all done. If I did, then I would  be in a foul mood akin to a badger. Bear would be too kind.  It is what it is.

On the bright side, I have  8 topics on which I can blog about – all briefly mentioned in this post. Those should serve for inspirational fodder for a while. You know,  just in case my well runs dry sometime in the year 2024.

Write on my friends, write on!



Space Revisions

Happy Star Was Day! May the 4th be with you!  We are celebrating with a Carbonite Han Solo cake. Well, I envisioned it looking like on Pinterest, but . . . not even close. Chocolate cake, ganache between the layers, white buttercream frosting tinted grey, black details. Umm, the general shape is right. Maybe I should have just bought that Darth Vader cake pan. Never the less, we are eating it.

Continuing on yesterday’s post-Personal Space, I’m sharing about creating my own zen den, my home office/craft studio/retreat/paradise.

That’s a lot of pressure to put on  a room design, don’t you think?

NOPE! I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I can get lost for hours on HGTV. I love to watch the shows where they redefine their space, carve out a more functional usage, and  make it scream my personal space. I guess you can say this has been a long time in coming, fueled by my obsession with the Property Brothers, Chip and Joanna Gaines, and my Pinterest boards for home designs and DIY crafts. That combined with the need for my own space.

Like most of our friends, we live on a limited budget. In order to have funds to do home projects, sacrifices have to be made in other areas. The food budget has been tightened. I make a weekly menu with nutritious meals, plan my shopping accordingly, and don’t buy junk food. We average $125 a week for a family of four adults. (My kids are no longer kids,  but adults –  eek!)  The weekly amount of 25 to 30 dollars saved has added up over months, so now we can buy supplies to renovate. We are not going to take on debt in order to do this,  so we use the limited funds that we have.

Where do we begin?

With a plan of course.

20160502_090310It’s crude, I’m not an architect. It’s a place to start.  A brief key: outside walls marked with bolder grey. Rectangles in outer line –  basement windows. Yellow highlighter – light fixtures; x-ed out is existing that will be changed. Areas marked with hashed lines are storage – either closets or shelves. Currently, the bolded grey lines are the only existing walls.  The exterior concrete walls, the office space that my husband enclosed when he was finishing his degree, and  the wall against the stairwell.  I went through five plans before arriving at this one.

We start with a general open concrete space, filled with 20 years of accumulated  stuff, poorly or not at all organised.  The washer and dryer will stay where they are,  the water heater will need to be moved and secured to an exterior wall because of potential earthquakes, where currently it sits a foot from the furnace/central air unit. The four dark dots down the center are support posts, which are immovable.  They are bigger around than a standard 2 x 4 wall, so  they will be incorporated into  a wider space  the width of a bookshelf, or storage shelves.

As you may notice, I don’t have measurements. We’ll address those as we get there. You know, when we can actually start  improving the area.

On the exterior of the  existing office is our current pantry area, aside from the shelves against the wall, it’s disorganised.

His office is going to become our private den area. We have a lovely leather love seat, antique table, and bookshelf (of course) for this area.   Our adult oasis.

Eventually, we’ll get the rest of the area claimed,  but for now, it’s a 3 step process:

  1. My office
  2. The private den
  3. functional and tidy laundry area


This is the current state of my office space.  I’ve moved  the equivalent of a truckload of  fabric, craft stuff, seasonal clothes, and various things that will probably end up at Goodwill.  The file cabinet is full and the bookshelf needs to be emptied. The cabinet area below the books is also filled with books.

The shelf above the freezer will be emptied and moved, and the freezer will be moved to the pantry area. The storage behind the stairs will remain as it is for now. OK, maybe I’ll replace the  animal print with something to match my envisioned decor theme.


The remaining items that need to be moved – more tubs of seasonal and kids clothing; craft stuff, a child’s rocker, the grow light – once upon a time we had plant starts for our garden. I’m considering keeping it and adding some greenery to the area, but still undecided.  I’ll take down my map,  but I think I’m still going to use them. I have maps of Hawaii, Bahamas, Caribbean,  Puerto Rico, Isreal, and Europe. OH, and I have a framed old world map with the  sea monsters and Greek gods on it! I am considering aging the other maps,  tearing  and burning the edges, then having them framed. I also have a topographic map of the ocean floor, I just need to find it in all this junk. My degree is in cartography, and yes I like old maps, new maps, astrolabes, and compasses.

The single light fixture will be replaced with two. I know on my little sketch that I have four (indicated with yellow highlighter) but I think 2 in this area will be sufficient. Funny story –  while looking online for light fixtures, the first one that I came with looked like light fixtures that might have been inside the Titanic so I’m like oh yes , these! Until I saw the price. $159. a piece. I wouldn’t get very far into this if I selected those.  Maybe down the road, but not now. Instead, I found some for $19.99 a piece so even if we go with four, it’s affordable.

Outlets and light switches will need to be added to the walls. The back section of the office will be shelves for storage, and a table for crafting/sewing/sorting.

I’m pretty stoked about this project and have been working every day on clearing out the area. I have come across a couple of problems. First one,  which resulted in the five revisions of floor plans was that  in order to put a bathroom in the basement, we’d have to cut through the floor and add a clean out. We decided that was a bigger and more costly problem than we wanted to address.  Scratch the  original plan with the bar, kitchenette, and spa/resort deluxe bathroom.

Second issue –  the musty basement smell.  I have checked every area that I possibly can. There is no visible evidence of leaking. We have a dehumidifier, but there is a noticeable musty smell. There is a floor drain next to the furnace, which I sprayed a bleach solution on then scrubbed. Other than that, I see no mold anywhere either. Never the less, the smell. . . .so I researched online how to remove the smell. Aside from spraying any known leaks with a bleach solution,  there were two other suggestions. Place open containers of regular charcoal around the space. The second one was to place shallow bowls of cat litter around the area.

I’m doing both today. I’ll let you know if it works. Hopefully,  it will help. I’m thinking that some fans for circulation might help, as well as green plants. While  hubby plays handyman with the electrical and drywall, I am plotting my paint and decor scheme.

I get easily overwhelmed with the amount of work. It has taken me a full week of moving stuff to get it to this point, and there is more to do before we can do any real construction.  I have spent probably an equal amount of time moving stuff as I have standing and staring at the monumental task before me.

I need a sense of order, an organised and dedicated space of my own.

Stay tuned  as we continue to carve out personal space. I’ll share some in progress as well as the big reveal when it’s all finished!

Coming soon –  home decor theme/decor reveal! 

Write on my friends, write on!