Tag Archives: goals

We Both Need a Fresh Start: 80’s Jewelry Cabinet Rescue & Blogiversary Recap

One year ago today (happy blogiversary to me), I started this blog with the best of intentions.  Little did I know how much WORK this blogging thing required.  Especially for a girl with a full-time job and full-time life.  Some weeks, especially when I was inspired by the holidays (Easter and Cinco de Mayo, woot woot!), I blogged daily.  Below are some of awesome highlights during these up moments.  I can’t even begin to describe the glee I felt every time another blogger or site featured one of my posts, and I give a big, fat ♥ every time I see one of my posts pinned on Pinterest.  GRINNING EAR-TO-EAR SMILEY FACE.

Hand-Painted Tribal Print Ottoman -- annumography.wordpress

Hand-Painted Tribal Print Ottoman

Take5 Layer Cake -- annumography.wordpress

Take 5 Layer Cake

Boozy Blueberry-Sage Sherbet -- annumography.wordpress

Boozy Blueberry-Sage Sherbet

Copycat Roslyn Spumoni Cake -- annumography.wordpress

Copycat Roslyn Spumoni Whip Cream Cake

Gluten-Free Enchilada Casserole -- annumography.wordpress

Gluten-Free Chorizo Enchilada Breakfast Casserole

Cookbook Bird House -- annumography.wordpress

Catalog Hack Cookbook Bird House

Hand-Painted Otomi Canvas Shoes

Hand-Painted Otomi Canvas Shoes

Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream -- annumography.wordpress

Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream

Kate Spade-Inspired Painted Nightstands -- annumography.wordpress

Kate Spade-Inspired Painted Nightstands

Eggplant in Spicy Garlic Sauce -- annumography.wordpress

Eggplant in Spicy Garlic Sauce

Bluth's Original Frozen Banana Cocktail -- annumography.wordpress

Bluth’s Original Frozen Banana Cocktail

Low Carb Mini German Apple Pancake - annumography

Low Carb Mini German Apple Pancakes

And then there were the weeks…and weeks…okay, maybe months…where it was radio silence around here.  Heck, I couldn’t even manage a daily Instagram post.  SAD FACE.

Let us look at the reasons, shall we?  Not that I’m making excuses.  But, dang it, if I don’t identify my problems, how am I going to fix them?

  1. Photography (i.e. the eye candy that keeps blog readers coming back for more) – I mentioned early on my photography shortcomings.  Then WordPress changed the interface to Instagram, and my blog’s whole concept took a nosedive.  Honestly, though, this turned out to be a good thing.  I am now re-learning photo editing, and the quality of my photos should dramatically improve (no more relying on Instagram filters).  And I’ve promised myself a new camera if I show more commitment to the blog this year.
  2. Not measuring up – Every influential blogger tells you not to compare your blog to others.  Well, I didn’t listen.  Or at least not consistently.  So I tried to Keep Up with The Bloggers, and I failed.  This isn’t my full-time job…or even full-time hobby…so I need to cut myself some slack.  I know that my blog quality will improve.  But if not, I’m happy that I’m back to blogging for me.
  3. And then…bam, boom, wham…major life change – With the news I received about my health this year, my diet has dramatically changed.  With my diet change,my after-work evenings have also changed.  Time formerly spent blogging is now spent in the kitchen planning, prepping, and cooking.  Sadly, I can no longer eat any of the recipes that I posted above.  It feels like I’m learning to cook all over again, and sometimes it feels like I have more failures than successes.

So.  It’s a new year with new opportunities.  I’m going to commit again to daily Instagram posts for my 365 Project.  But my blog content is going to be (even) more real, true-to-life Karen.  I’m going to be less concerned about themes and what the other bloggers are doing and more focused on my interests.  I hope this results in more interesting and dynamic reading, because my heart will be in every post.

Take this jewelry cabinet.  Yes, it is so 1980’s.  But I see potential.  In fact, I’ve been seeing its potential for about a decade now.  I just can’t seem to make a decision about how I want to rescue this baby.  Heck, the style may come back again, if I wait long enough.  Or not.

80s Jewelry Box Rescue Before1 -- annumography.wordpress

I found the perfect place for this curved-line, potential beauty between my two closet doors.  I hate the golden oak stain, but then again I don’t hate how it ties to the clock on the wall above.  And I totally dig the rose pink velvet lining.  Over the next couple of days, I will be mulling over my options.  But no more procrastinating and unfinished projects!  I promise both myself and this Material Girl that her makeover will be complete by the end of January.  Maybe before…CONFIDENT SMILEY.

80s Jewelry Box Rescue Before4 -- annumography.wordpress

What are your ideas?  How would you rescue this stuck-in-the-80’s babe?



The O.G. (Old Guest Room): Prepping the Walls and Woodwork

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sanding #seekarenfix

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After a long weekend of work, most of it completed by my husband, this is how every surface of the guest room looks.  (I provided lots of moral support, and then left to attend my little sister’s bridal shower.  Thanks honey!)  It is mudded, spackled, puttied, and ready for sanding.  Did you know that these were three different things?  I do…now.

The woodwork in this room is probably the worst in the house.  When we first purchased the home, we had dreams of fully restoring the Craftsman-influenced trim moldings to their former glory.  Unfortunately, the wood is in worse shape than we realized.  Not wanting to replace +100-year-old, solid walnut trim and doors, we have reached a compromise.  We are fully restoring the doors, but we will paint the trim.

I know, I know.  In a perfect world it would all be gleaming, stained woodwork.  But a perfect world it ain’t.  On some of the trim, there is more putty than wood.  Not exactly pretty when it’s stained.  The previous owner painted the base molding white in this room, and removing that paint may — based on previous experience — cause even more harm.  And having trim custom-milled to replace it?  Not in our budget and not reasonable for a home that we might like to sell for-profit in the next decade.

Do I sound a little defensive?  Sorry!  It’s just that I’ve defended explained our decision to folks so many times, it’s automatic.  We have painted the living room and foyer trim moldings so far and love it.  And we won’t be featured on This Old House any time soon.  Walk a mile in our shoes.  Moving on.

So speaking of previous owners, the picture above is the closet door.  The holes were left from a padlock hasp that was installed on the door.  Twice.  What on earth?

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103/365 putty #365project

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Hubby filled the holes.

And then gave it some time to dry.  Because there is so much to be sanded in this room (seriously), we are going to do it all at once.  But that, my friends, is a job for another weekend.

In the meantime, we are attempting to rebuild a large hunk of missing wood from the bedroom door frame with wood putty.  If I had to guess, I would say that it was damaged from another padlock-gone-bad.  Crossing our fingers and toes that this fix works like it does on the You-Tube video.

So let’s check out where we are on the list:

  1. Move everything back out of the room
  2. Fix the plate for the light fixture/ceiling fan
  3. Repair and sand the plaster on the ceiling and walls
  4. Putty and sand the trim moldings
  5. Paint the trim and walls
  6. Install the custom closet
  7. Sand and stain the floors
  8. Hang the ceiling fan
  9. Hang the curtains and blinds
  10. Move everything back into the room

Next weekend, we probably won’t have as many items crossed-off.  Sanding is a big job.  Picture us in haz-mat suits standing in the middle of a dust storm, and you would be close to envisioning the misery fun that awaits us.  At least we have a week between then and now to get motivated.  To quote the Beach Boys, “Help me, Rhonda!”

The O.G. (Old Guest Room): Making a List and Knocking It Out

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sampling #seekarenproject

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This post could be sub-titled the get off our butts and get the guest room finished project.

Do you have those rooms in your home that you intend to renovate/decorate/rejuvenate, but that end up becoming the room where all your out-of-sight-out-of-mind junk is “stored”?  We have (ahem) at least a couple of those rooms.  I blame a too-big house for a married couple with no kids except the two dogs in our case.  I’m like that.

Since Spring is (finally) here, I am more motivated to get back to some of our started-but-not-finished projects.  First up, the guest bedroom.  When renovated our master bedroom last Fall, the guest room took a beating.  It was already a bit of a dumping ground, so (maybe) you can imagine just how bad it was.  Too embarrassed to take a picture, let me describe instead  what filled the room: a queen-sized bed, a dresser, an armoire, a cocktail-table-turned-blanket-chest, two night stands, a wicker chair, a jewelry armoire, a sewing machine, a drop-leaf kitchen table and two stools, three shot guns, three lamps, assorted throw pillows, extra bedding, a vacuum, an old television, a DVD player still in the box, a desk, tools, paint, painting supplies, new curtains still in their packages, new curtain rods still in their boxes, old curtain rods leaning against the wall, clothes that need to be mended, and assorted “stuff” that sat on the surfaces of all of these items.  Did I mention that this 12’x14′ room was completely empty just eight months ago?

  1. Move everything back out of the room
  2. Fix the plate for the light fixture/ceiling fan
  3. Repair and sand the plaster on the ceiling and walls
  4. Putty and sand the trim moldings
  5. Paint the trim and walls
  6. Install the custom closet
  7. Sand and stain the floors
  8. Hang the ceiling fan
  9. Hang the curtains and blinds
  10. Move everything back into the room

There will be some fun projects along the way.  I mean, I can’t complete a room without painting some piece of furniture, can I?  But this our master list.

And speaking of knocking it out, we already completed part of #1 and all of #2.  (Sometimes we aren’t so good at doing things in order.  Excitement to get started = jumping into the middle of the list.)

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97/365 fan #365project #seekarenfix

A post shared by Karen Collins (@annumography) on

Let me get a little closer, so that you can see the problem.  The ceiling fan is not mounted flush with the ceiling, even though it should be.  We inherited this problem when we bought the house, but we hadn’t corrected it yet.

And here is the reason why.  The mounting plate was installed on top of the plaster ceiling instead of being recessed.  Not hard to fix, but a little messy.  (And aren’t I the lucky one that dust photographs so well?)

The hubby removed the fan.  There are some great online tutorials available with how-to instructions.  If you don’t have experience working with wiring, I recommend contacting a licensed electrician…especially in an older home like ours.

Next he removed the bracket and the mounting plate.  Before removing he plate, he traced a line around the outside, so that he had a guide for the amount of plaster that would need to be removed.  Using a chisel, he chipped away at the plaster being careful around the wiring.  (The power to this outlet was just off at the electrical box, but it is important to check and double-check before working.)

After the plaster is removed, he simply screwed the mounting plate through the lathe boards and into the ceiling joists.  Here is the finished product.  It may not be the sexiest before-and-after project, but it will make a big impact in the room — both in looks and in safety.

As you can see from the list above, it will be a little while before I have after shots of the re-installed fixture.  Ahhh, the waiting!  In the meantime I will have to distract myself with moving the rest of the junk out of the room.  And dusting.

SeeKarenFollow: This Week

Maybe these posts should be sub-titled ‘What I Do When I’m Not Blogging’, since I seem to be on Instagram all the time lately.

I started the week with some thrift store and antique mall shopping.  Every time I look at the shot of this brass trunk, I want to jump in my car and go buy it.  Sigh.

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A post shared by Karen Collins (@annumography) on

I’m not going to buy this baby, though.  I’m going to hack it and put it in my kitchen.  I think it will be a pretty easy project, and I get to use power tools.  Bonus.

There were also a few pictures of furniture made from wagon wheels.  I share these for my husband, because we have a running joke about wagon wheels a la When Harry Met Sally.  We even have a wagon wheel, which I will make into a table.  Someday.

This is a my Goodwill haul.  I am Madison Avenue’s dream, because marketing TOTALLY works on me.  Example: I buy more at Goodwill to get the discount with my rewards card.  But this $50 worth of junk will give me hours of joy.

Play along: Do you see the bunny in the picture above?

I ate all of this Aussie Burger: lettuce, onion, pickled beets, grilled pineapple, local fried egg, Smoking Goose bacon, ketchup and mayo.  And then I had a tummy ached from eating the bun.  Dear Punch Burger, will you still serve me if I B.Y.O.B. (bring my own bun)?

I made Cocoa Puff muffins to celebrate my boss’ birthday.  But he took an unannounced vacation day, so we ate them in his honor.  In front of his closed office door.  What?

Speaking of work, I have my own little plant nursery going on in my cubicle.  I didn’t think I would have much success with the little forget-me-not seeds that I received during the 14 Days of Valentines, but those little suckers are GROWING under the flourescent lights.  Good thing something flourishes there.

Last week I watched Contagion for the first time.  I know.  I’m a little behind.  But now I think of Dr. Ian Sussman every time I write a post.  “Blogging is not writing; it’s graffiti with punctuation.”  That’s me alright.

Now on to what I am pinning this week.

  1. 29 Rue House is inspiring me to pimp my own spider-back chair.
  2. Man…now I have to add vintage light globes to my list of things to hunt for in thrift shops.
  3. I absolutely need a couple of these granny square pillows in my life.
  4. I’m always looking for a way to dress up a t-shirt and wear it to work.  Now I just need to decided on which one I will add leather shoulder trim.
  5. I’m a little scared, because I haven’t had the best luck in the past, but I may try making some jewelry this weekend.  This chevron necklace inspires me.
  6. I love bubble tea, and it’s not easy to find in Indy.  Maybe I need to make my own and add this coffee version to the mix.
  7. Poaching an egg in olive oil?  Love it!
  8. This cookie stamping technique is giving me soooo many ideas.
  9. Cross-stitch?  Yes.  Foxes?  Yes!  I’m so excited about the faux-stitch pattern on these bags.
  10. You may find me on the couch this Sunday night watching The Ten Commandments and crafting these plastic lace woven hangers.  Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner just do it for me, what can I say?

Here’s wishing you all a happy, sunny, blessed Easter weekend!

Not Every Idea Works

This evening I started craving a burger.  But not only a burger; I wanted a burger topped with cottage cheese.  I mean, why not cottage cheese instead of Cheddar or Swiss?  The more I thought about it, the better the idea sounded.

But what do I eat with this burger?  Oooh!  I have some crimini mushrooms that I need to cook soon, and there are some grape tomatoes that should be used too.  Why not roast these and serve them over the cottage-cheese-topped-burger?

So I roasted the mushrooms and tomatoes, fried up some bison burgers, put it all together with a side of pickles, and took my first bite.  Hmm.  Another bite.  Nothing like I had imagined it would be.  The cottage cheese was too bland, the mushrooms too tough…and the whole thing just didn’t work together like it did in my mind.  It was about as blah as my food photography skills.  (Still working toward that goal.)

So why waste your time and mine with a post about a failed meal attempt?  Because if I didn’t try new things, then life would be stale.  If I didn’t try, I wouldn’t know what works and what doesn’t.  Since I was a little kid experimenting with the spices in my mama’s cabinet, I have played with food.  And when something new works, IT’S AWESOME!  So much more rewarding than the same-old-same.  And when it doesn’t work, I move on with the knowledge that next time will be better.

So what life experiment have you tried lately?

Goal: Take Better Pictures

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7/365 eclectic #365project

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I started this blog with the idea of using Instagram to edit and store my photos.  Usually I’m please with the results, but there are times where the darker corners of my house make this a less than desirable choice.  I’m off to explore alternative/additional options.  Any ideas?