Everything else can wait until I finish this row…

Off Topic: Peeling Wallpaper, Painting, Pulling Carpets and Putting Down Bamboo

It’s been a busy week here at the Ugly Duckling Ranch, but that’s to be expected with the kind of transformation we’re making here.

My war with wallpaper continues. In my excitement to start Operation Beautiful Swan, I made the rookie mistake of peeling a little bit here, a little bit there, a little bit in that corner, a little bit back at the beginning. It’s like when you’re in between manicures and you’re chipping away at your nail polish. You notice a little bit of the nail showing in one finger and then the cuticle is more noticeable on the other hand, and before you know it the beautiful manicure you had gotten over the weekend has been damaged in every single one of your fingers. And it just looks messy. That’s the status of my house right now. All the walls that have wallpaper on it have a little bit of it ripped up and it looks really messy.

I had finished removing the wallpaper border that was in the Master bedroom a while ago and decided to focus my efforts on the dining room next. But I called for reinforcements and was happy when a friend of mine came through with her promise to come and help. When you ask for a guy friend to help you move, you offer beer and a pizza. When you ask a girl friend to help you remove wallpaper, you offer a homemade tempura dinner. My hubby, prepared a wonderful meal to get us energized and my friend stayed until image



There is still wallpaper to remove in the dining room, but relative to the kitchen, it’s not much since it only has three walls, three doorways, a window and the wallpaper is all above theimage


rail. I had hoped to get it painted before our bamboo floors get installed tomorrow, because I don’t care much about dripping paint on this hideously filthy carpet, but that’s just not going to happen. Hopefully, it will be done by the end of the month, but if you’ve read some of my previous posts you know me and deadlines don’t mix very well.

What did get painted was the master bedroom aimage

nd bath!

We painted Soybean’s room ourselves and all I can say is that the couple that paints a room together … …. … is lucky to come out alive! Seriously, I am NOT a happy painter. For whatever reason, I become a Type A personality when painting, I can see all the brushstrokes, all the heavy globs dripping down, all the white marks that weren’t properly blended, all the spots on the ceiling, and many imaginary iimage


Props to my hubby for dealing with this unexpected side of me and coming through with his promise to have our bedroom professionally painted. Since it’s summer the painter we hired could only come on a rainy day since all of his current projects are outdoors, lucky for us, it rained four days after we reached this arrangement. Yay for rainy days! And a bigger YAY for hiring professional painters!

Once the room was painted and the smell of it aired out, I turned my attention to the closet. The same filthy carpet was in there covering the floor of my closet – the beautiful hardwood that runs down the hallway and the two smaller bedrooms. Sadly, that wood is not in my bedroom, that will have to be another day’s work of installation. So while Soybean took his morning nap I got busy pulling up the carpet, nails and staples. For that I needed some specialty tools including: a doohickey, a thingamabob, and a whatchamacallit image

The doohickey was to pry the staples from the floor, the thinkamabob was to actually pull it out, and the whatchamacallit was to pull up the nailed down trim. Pretty soon my closet had it’s beautiful floor and fresh coat of paint, all that is left to do is fill it up!

Now it’s late and I too excited about the prospect of having new floors in my living, dining and sun rooms! I cannot wait to be rid of all this carpet for good and actually start getting settled in our home. But before anything happens I have to navigate through breakfast tomorrow morning with a train table in front of the stove.

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Off Topic: Super Mario Changing Table

Here is a post that has been sitting in my draft folder for a few months, if I don’t publish it now, it might stay there forever.  It’s not as detailed of a tutorial as I had originally intended, but life got busy once the baby was born, so use it as a guideline and get creative! 🙂

Once we were done with our move from Virginia to Connecticut, the baby’s nursery proved to be a good source of inspiration especially because we chose Nintendo’s Super Mario Brothers as our theme.  Well, we are renting an apartment so I couldn’t do anything permanent to the walls and (unlike Disney) Nintendo hasn’t really cashed in all things baby products, so I’ve had to get creative.  The result is converting our old tv stand into our diaper changing station, here is how it turned out:

Now I’m not a great painter, but I can give you some tips on how to make something similar to this by using some basic things.  And yes, all you die-hard Nintendo geeks, I know that the backgrounds I painted are from the old school Mario Brothers game, not the ones to which you would find the Wii representation of the characters I used.  I’m crafty, not artistic – there is no way I could replicate more than an 8-bit pixilated image.

First things first are your materials:

  1. You need an old piece of furniture – we got our old tv stand years ago for free from a friend of a friend.  Check your local Craigslist or start frequenting yard sales and flea markets for something suitable.
  2. The characters are wall decals that you can find on or some other specialty website (i.e., order them from one in which you feel comfortable shopping
  3. Paint –  The two main colors I used were the blue and the green for the background.  Because I knew those would be the colors I used the most, we went to Lowes and bought them in the sample size from the paint department.  You absolutely don’t need a full can of paint unless your doing a much larger project with it.  I still have plenty of paint left over just from the small tubs of paint.  For the other items in the background I went with small tubes of acrylic paint from a major craft store which were less than $2 each.
  4. Brushes – While at Lowes I got a brush used for door trims and window sills, and while at the craft store I bought a variety pack of different sized brushes.
  5. Empty Egg Carton – this is helpful to mix your paints
  6. Scrap Cardboard – this is helpful for cutting out templates, which is what I did for the hills
  7. Plastic tarp or a LOT of newspaper – unless you have outdoor space in which to paint and to leave your piece of furniture outside while the paint dries, you’ll want something to protect your floor
  8. Small fan – you’ll want to have a fan blowing all of the paint fumes out of the room, especially if you’re pregnant like me
  9. Painting mask – another good protection against the smell of paint
  10. Ruler or straight edge – if you’re a perfectionist or just become obsessive about the details like I did
  11. Question Mark Candy Tins – used for the knobs on the drawer, found on Amazon

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Off Topic: The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers

TiggerHere is another random little craft project I’ve made, this one is for my friend’s Winnie the Pooh themed nursery.  I am loving Pinterest more and more everyday; I found the tutorial for this project there from another blogger: This Lil Piglet.  It was very easy and a lot of fun to make, but I should not pick up painting as a hobby, I have a weird tendency to obsess over the details which is very uncharacteristic for me.

I got the image of Tigger (my personal favorite character) from a book I bought at Goodwill.  The other materials I bought from a major craft store: small canvas, two bottles of acrylic paint, and some paint brushes.  I did not buy a bottle of mod podge as recommended by the tutorial.  Instead I made my own because it was for just one quick project.  Doing a quick web search and all you need to make your own mod podge is some white glue and half the amount of water – easy.  I diluted the orange paint in order to give it a water color feel to it, I didn’t want straight edges.  For the black stripes I just winged it as best I could.  And though you can’t see it from the photo the  sides of the canvas are also painted with the orange and the black of each stripe so as not to stay white.

I hope my friend likes this gift for her little girl because Tiggers are wonderful things! 🙂

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