Fixer Upper: Finishing Touches on the House Before Selling

Move over, HGTV! WCB is here to save the day!

As I wrote a few months back, my family and I listed our house and have slowly but surely moved our stuff and ourselves into our new apartment. The downsizing has been REAL and thankfully we’ve had all this time to sort through and get rid of/donate/sell what we’re not intending on keeping.

Currently we have an offer on the table and are waiting on the bank to approve all the paperwork for the sale to be final. We really like the buyers, and they are super happy to be moving into the house. As expected, there are some things that need to be fixed here and there, and of course I’m doing whatever I can so we can call the actual handyman for only the absolutely necessary. So here are some of the home improvement projects I’ve taken on:

  • Front & garage door makeover: Our house has beautiful wooden doors that due to normal time tear as well as Florida weather and hurricanes have deteriorated pretty heavily. So I got myself lots of sanding paper, varnish, and spray polyurethane and got to work. Check out the before & after!

    Front door:

Garage door:

  • Fixed the lamp that broke during the hurricane: remember how thankfully the only physical damage we had from Hurricane Irma was a broken lamp? Aside from one glass that got completely shattered when it fell on the rock that was right under it, I managed to put back together the whole lamp structure and glue it back to the pole! Looks as if nothing had happened 😀
  • Put curtain rods and rolling curtains instead of the broken blinds in my brother’s room: a minor “side effect” of hurricane Irma was that when I was opening the windows to close the shutters, my brother’s blinds fell off (whoopsie!) and I didn’t want to replace them with the same crappy style, so I decided to add a nice touch to the room with a curtain rod and curtains that would be enjoyed by the new owners.

I did a few more things like fill and paint the holes from hangings on walls, and many other painting-related things around the house, but these were the ones that were the most noticeable issues that we wanted to fix before the owners moved in. I’m so in love with how the doors turned out and I seriously can’t explain how big of an operation it was to put the lamp together, so I’m very satisfied with my WCB handy skills!

Advertisements

Extreme Makeover: New Apartment Edition

Ok, don’t get too excited because I only have two makeovers ready for publishing, but I guess it’s a good contrast to my usual lengthy posts.

With the move and fixer upper moments behind us, it’s time to improve the things that we’re actually keeping for our new apartment!

  • Bookshelf Makeover: I bought this shelf for my brother at Walmart a few years ago for his books, and it actually made it through one move with us already. It was badly beaten and falling apart, some of the nails had gone through the wrong side and broke the wood, etc. So I took out all the splinters, fixed the positioning of the back slat and nailed it down more precisely. I filled the spaces left by the missing wood chunks with wood glue, and then spray painted the whole thing a dark brown to match our new bathroom drawers. Then, I bought a Con-Tact brand non-adhesive shelf liner from Target with a pattern similar to the marble counter top of our bathroom as well. Even though originally the shelf was meant to be thrown out, this was a cheap makeover (all I spent were the $5 on the liner, everything else I already had) and it’s proving to be super useful storage for us!
  • A Quickie Makeover For a Lazy-Eye Sun: so my mom is really obsessed with suns, and she has all kinds of sunny paraphernalia around the house. But there’s this one sun I REALLY wanted to leave behind/gift/throw out or whatever to not see it again. I really wasn’t a fan of it at all, especially because the artist kind of gave it a bit of a lazy eye when he made it. Since my mom refused to part ways with it, I compromised with her by giving it a bath of rose gold, since by now you know I live, breathe and sleep on cans of rose gold spray paint. It took the depth of the design away since it’s all one flat color, but I actually quite like the little guy now!

That’s it for now! You know there’s plenty of little projects to do when you move in to a new place and especially with reorganizing all our things, but with the day to day of work, orders, and events, I’ve had to turn down the crafting for a bit. I hope you guys like these projects and get inspired to re-purpose or makeover some stuff as well!

Why Mr. Kate is not only a healthy obsession, but actually the best role model ever

Consider this my official application to FULL STAN status to Mr. Kate, her entire brand, her life, her hair, I’m here for ALL OF IT!

Last year, I wrote about how I found her and I was sucked into her channel and began to religiously watch her videos, and by now I’ve caught up on almost all of her series AND I got her book (I asked for it as a gift, and my friend got me a signed version, yay!). A year and change later, I’m not only a fan of her work, but I genuinely admire her as a person and I wish more people got on this bandwagon, because the world would be a better place if we all were a little more like Mr. Kate. Much like BuzzFeed, I’ve actually come up with five reasons why Mr. Kate is my new religion:

  1. She is a savvy, trend-setting businesswoman: because of her family, Kate could probably pull strings to get a show on HGTV or any home improvement channel, but what she did instead was to put on a TV-quality show on YouTube, and is probably THE top interior design content creator on the platform. QUEEN. Also, she’s an author and runs a retail operation with beautiful merch on her website.
  2. Helping & giving back is important to her: lots of entrepreneurs on the rise are solely focused on succeeding and reinvesting earnings back into the business, but Kate has a strong conviction to give back to the community (or to fans) in various ways. For every 100K subscribers reached on YouTube on her way to one million, she gave 1K to charity. When she reached the million subscribers milestone, she gave away a 10K makeover to a fan. One of the charities she donates to is the LA Youth Network, which helps homeless and foster youth in the Los Angeles area find their footing in life with transitional housing. Aside from the monetary donation, she also dedicated and donated one of her makeovers to their center, to make it an even better environment for the teens.
  3. She’s unconventional, a total #CreativeWeirdo: if you’ve seen any of her content, you know she’s completely unafraid to take massive fashion risks on a daily basis (despite being bullied for it earlier in life), and I think the pink hair has brought that out in her even more. Her business name is Mr. Kate because she wanted to beat the girly image stereotype and beat down barriers. In one of her videos she spoke openly about not really being the type of girl that wanted to get married, so her and her partner Joey simply had a courthouse elopement which her accountant recommended for ease of paperwork and filing taxes. She doesn’t wear an engagement or wedding ring, yet her and Joey couldn’t possibly be more committed to each other, being partners in life and business. She is unapologetically herself and is a huge advocate for everyone expressing their individuality as well.
  4. She is confident in her work, but also extremely humble: there’s something my dad ingrained in me since I was little, and it was an admiration for humility. He is really not a fan of cocky people at all, and his disdain for overt conceit was directly funneled down to my DNA. Anyway – this is something that I really admire in Kate, she truly walks the line between confidence and humility so gracefully. You can tell she believes in herself and her vision when she does makeovers for others (which is so nerve wracking, to get someone’s taste and create an entire environment for them based on that, it’s insane!), but she also is genuinely relieved when people love the outcome of her work, because at the end of the day, creativity always comes with a dose of self-doubt.
  5. She keeps it real, for real: even though on her makeover videos she sticks to her cheery side, on other more personal videos, on her book and when it comes to social media, she is more unfiltered and open about the not so glamorous side of life – which is not common among public figures. One of the things she does that I admire the most is when she shares her creative process for designing her bullet journal (a type of more free agenda-running), and she unabashedly includes the pictures of all pages listing when she has things like therapy – which still has a huge stigma attached to it, and to someone like me that is incredibly reassuring. Seeing someone that seems to have it all figured out in life taking care of her mental health in spite of stereotypes and any backlash is absolutely inspiring and admirable.

As you can see, my love and admiration for Kate only grows with every video and I pride myself in learning from her and looking up to her as a virtual mentor. I am a proud member of the #CreativeWeirdo family and I look forward to everything she’ll continue to create and make over in the future.

I’m Moving!

Life update!

I currently live with my mom in a big house which I occupy by myself for long periods of time because she travels a lot, so I’m left to tend to the house alone and even though it’s usually not a big deal, it became apparent what a burden it truly is during last hurricane season in Miami. Having a house with 38 windows at the time a hurricane is about to hit is nerve wracking (and in my case, also caused a few minor injuries last time).

When Matthew hit in October of 2016 I didn’t really worry about it and only half closed our accordion shutters (which make life SO much easier!), and thankfully they ended up not being needed. This year, with such devastation being caused by Harvey in Houston, we were a little more concerned when Irma came heading straight for Florida. The week leading up to its arrival I spent preparing the house, safeguarding documents, running around finding water, and completely shutting close our shutters, many of which were stuck due to lack of use. My dad actually wanted me to leave to my sister’s in New York, but traveling seemed more stressful to me at the time than sitting the hurricane out, and thankfully I was right. We were incredibly lucky to not have lost power for even a second the entire time, and the only damage to our house was a broken lamp outside.

After that, I sat down with my mom and told her I thought the time to move had come, and she was totally on board. Taxes and all the expenses that come with owning a house that big are pretty hefty, so we decided that we were also going to heavily downsize and try to get rid of as many things as possible. Our house is gorgeous but also filled to the brim with things we’ve carried with us for years, (even decades!), including sentimental things we brought with us from Venezuela 15 years ago and everything we’ve acquired in between. When you have a lot of space, you tend to fill it. I for one have my bedroom and a craft room to de-clutter and downsize, and I’m not looking forward to that AT ALL.

I asked my mom to hold on putting the house on sale until after Michelle’s bridal shower since I was hosting it, and now I’m happy to report that we’ve listed our house on the market and my mom moved FAST so we already found an apartment we’re hoping to move into ASAP. We will take advantage of the time we have between now and when the house closes to start selling what we can, donating what’s in good shape, and throwing out what is no longer of use. I must confess, I also told my mom not to count on me too much for the process until after Michelle’s wedding, since I do have quite a bit to work on, but we’ll do little trips here and there so the move is less daunting.

Stay tuned, as I’m sure I’ll post some makeover projects and I also foresee some IKEA building fun in the near future for me 😉

New OBSESSION: Mr. Kate!

Oh. Em. Gee. you guys! I just found the deepest YouTube black hole I’m about to fall into head first, and possibly never come out of. Most people don’t know this about me, but I spend a good amount of time on YouTube, half as a hobby, and half as work/research. Since I work in social media, I’m always trying to study the trends and see how we can implement whatever the kids want to see these days (hello, am I 80 yet?), but I have also inadvertently gotten invested in the lives and success of many of these digital influencers, and counting. And it’s all because of Jenna Marbles.

My top YouTuber to watch for more than a year now is Lilly Singh, aka iiSuperwomanii, who has a comedy/skit based main channel, and a second daily vlog channel where she shares a lot of what goes on behind the scenes in her life and work, and aims to motivate her viewers to hustle hard as we watch her do every day. Now, because of Lilly, I’ve come across many other creators and I have gotten attached to a few of them, but none have taken my heart and eyes by storm as much as Mr. Kate. An interior design/decorator, Kate Albrecht and her partner Joey Zehr aim to transform pretty much any space they walk into within a very short amount of time, and with all the unexpected twists and turns you can’t imagine. I consider myself a pretty creative and hands-on DIYer and handyman when duty calls, but Kate is simply fearless when it comes to juxtaposing textures, colors, materials and even multiple tastes into a single space.

mr-kate-youtube

Kate and Joey, no better DIY Demolishing Duo out there!

Lilly hired Kate to style her bedroom and her home office space, and it was simply love at first sight for me. The magic of Kate – besides her super charming and electric personality, her positive disposition, and boundless creativity – is that when you see each detail she is bringing into any space, there’s almost a speck of doubt “will this actually look good/cohesive with the rest of the stuff?,” and then you get to the end clip where they show the finished work, and you just have to scold yourself for ever having doubted Kate in the first place. She is INCREDIBLE and I can’t get enough of her. I immediately started back-watching everything she had ever posted, which is a lot of content and she has it broken up into series for our convenient viewing. Some of my favorites include:

  • O.M.G. We Bought A House! – a (so far) three-season style show on YouTube, with a format that EASILY competes with anything you can find on traditional TV and the likes of HGTV, where Kate and Joey purchase their first home, and do some serious remodel of every single nook and cranny of a decades-old house.
  • O.M.G. We Are Coming Over! – also known as O.M.G. WACO, taking the original OMG to new heights and places, as Kate and Joey style or remodel the homes/rooms/work spaces of mainly “digitally famous” people who much like themselves, found an online following. This one is a dangerous series, as Kate acts as the funnel to introduce me to many other creators I had no idea existed and now how am I supposed to ever get out of bed from watching so many people?! My favorite part of this one is seeing how Kate really absorbs the personalities and preferences of each of her Creator Customers, and creates a space that they could’ve never in a million years build for themselves, because we all have our strengths, but no one decorates like Kate.
  • Breaking Beige – a shorter series that showcases Kate and Joey making over smaller spaces where regular Joes and Janes suffer at the hands of incredibly monochromatic color-schemes in their homes, and Super Mr. Kate comes to the rescue to break them out of their beige cages and bring color and life into their homes.

All the shows are so well-done, and take full advantage of the season/show format YouTube offers like little other channels do. Kate has a clear vision, and the style of the shows is undoubtedly just as good, if not solidly better than whatever you can find on TV. It’s all really, REALLY well-executed.

I thought about adding pictures to this post of a few beautiful rooms Kate has created, but I simply can’t do that to all the other rooms. You just have to see for yourself! Also, the Mr. Kate channel is just about to cross the One Million YouTube Subscribers mark, so if anyone is looking for a new channel to watch endlessly, I can’t recommend this one enough!

Basically, if anyone needs me for the next couple of months, I’ll be binge-watching Mr. Kate until I can get through all of her videos and take in every gram of the fabulousness Kate has to offer.

Roller Shutter… More Like Roller Brusher Stunter!

I don’t know if this is the correct terminology for this – I looked it up and it seems to be contradicting across the board – but do you know stores in certain cities/countries have these rugged metal gates you roll up and down to open or close the establishment? Same concept as the door of a storage unit. Well, I don’t know if this is the publicly accepted name for it, but from what I saw, I liked “roller shutter” best, so that’s the name for the rest of this blog.

At the end of my Colombia trip for my grandma’s epic 80th birthday party, my brother asked my artistic cousin Jhonathan for help in blowing up the design of his new fast food joint logo, and painting it over the roller shutters of the place. He also asked for some additional artwork on the walls that reflected the available menu items. Since this was near the end of our stays (as Jhonathan lives in Bogota and my family is in another city named Santa Marta), Jhonathan enlisted my help to try and finish quicker – or quite honestly, just finish on time.

The main design for the restaurant named “El Chamo” (a Venezuelan slang word similar to ‘dude’), is this trippy casual guy, minding his own business but also letting everyone know there’s awesome food including shawarma at this place. But before we got to him, we started off “easy” by drawing and painting stuff like chicken wings, bowls of soup, arepas, wraps, eating utensils, etc. on the walls all around the building.

As you can see, the wall they were painted on had a thick corrugation, so these weren’t easy to paint – and we didn’t have great brushes either. But creative people shine when they have to make do with what they have, so we did! We also got help from our other artsy cousins Lizette & Karen, and we got through most of the walls in a few hours.

But now, the big piece. The Chamo logo on the super-mega-corrugated, not-a-single-flat-spot roller stunter… which made it literally the roller coaster of all painting experiences. That’s why I named this “roller brusher stutter,” because not a single stoke went by without a little bump or slide. It was challenging and we had to go slow because if we went too fast we could distort the image a little too much, and so this was way more time consuming than doing the whole wall. Without any further ado, here’s live and in color, El Chamo himself!

If you’re like me, you’re also horribly focused on the fact that that zipper looks a little odd. I know. Throw us a bone. It was really hard to draw on that surface and fixing it wasn’t much of an option. Also, look at that skyline! I can’t put into words how frustrating that was to draw/paint. Did I mention we actually had to do another Chamo guy on another of the roller shutters? Oh yeah…

This one was just half of the body because it was a half gate, so I guess a little easier, but still. Doing this twice? I don’t wish it on an enemy…

After all was said and done, my brother was very happy with the end result and my cousin and I were very proud of our work. He did the bulk of the hard parts drawing almost everything in pencil, and I mostly followed his outline with the paintbrush, so I did have that to my advantage. But I did do some drawing of my own

Here we are, proud artists and our work!

Saving the Day When a Project Goes Wrong! Record Player Decoupage

Confirming once again that I was born in the wrong decade, my latest acquisition: a Record Player. While going to thrift stores to try and not break the bank while furnishing and decorating my craft room, I found a few second hand vinyl records and the nostalgia got the best of me. I wanted to know what it was like to play an acetate record and hear for myself the difference in sound that comes with a turntable needle. A trip to New Orleans and discovering the sounds of old Jazz might also have something to do with this new old obsession of mine, but I digress…

Since this record player is going in the Craft Room, I’m being extra disciplined with the color scheme as promised. I found this not-too-expensive record player on Amazon, and I bought it in pink but I planned on re-painting it because it’s not the right shade. I have a tendency to be overridden by a million ideas and then things don’t turn out as I expected because it might not have been a great idea OR I do something clumsy… And this was one of those times.

WCB RP 1

Poor innocent record player… Did not know it was about to be completely re-done

Unlike with the typewriter, I decided to paint the record player regularly. First mistake. Not really sure what would’ve happened if I had spray painted it but the point is, the whole painting thing did not work out. The material just wasn’t absorbent enough and it kept leaving tracks no matter what tool I used (brush, sponge, etc.) or how many coats I did. See Exhibit A:

WCB RP 2

Total fiasco. At this point, I felt like I had already messed up the whole thing and I couldn’t go back in time and ahhhhh why did I have to do this?! But, I had done it and I had to fix it. But how could I… LIGHT BULB – Yes I can! Decoupage! Duhhh! I could cover up the damage AND hopefully make it look cooler. Could I really make it better? I sure would try. In keeping with my weirdness and obsessions, I decided to look up newspaper images from big past events, like the fall of the Wall of Berlin, Pearl Harbor attack, iconic historical figures/artists’ deaths (Marilyn, Michael, Hitler, etc), print them out and cover the record player in them, taking the color scheme out of the equation and making it more about the nostalgia and vintage aspect.

Surprisingly and fortunately, this worked out better than I expected. It was hard to work around the edges and metal embellishments that came with the record player, but with a lot of patience and a trusty exacto knife, I not only fixed the mess I made, but I was actually happier with the alternate ending!

Give a crafter some mod podge and some paper and in the blink of an eye you won’t recognize anything around you…

WCB RP 3

 

And for the final result… Drum roll!

I LOVE it. I really do. It’s something completely unexpected, but I couldn’t be happier with the turnout. It’s funky, it’s different, it’s perfect for the vintage vibe I’m into, and most importantly, it’s unique 🙂 It even looks cool wide open –

WCB RP 7

 

People don’t tend to see me when I mess up because I craft alone 99% of the time, but actually this happens to me A LOT. At this point I try not to panic and just find a different way to make it happen and for the most part it tends to works out. Have you messed up a project and found a way to fix it? Leave a comment below!

Disclaimer: after buying the record player, I spoke to a friend who told me that unfortunately these Crosley record players have a bad rep for scratching records and messing them up, so I cannot recommend this buy. I stopped playing my records on it just in case until further notice.