Friday, February 20, 2015

books, boxes and booze

I've been packing up my mom's house all week and its a lot of work.  I find myself throwing out at least one contractor garbage bag full of trash every day.  There are about 30 boxes full of stuff that I still have to go through with my brother, which I put in the basement.  Then there are the 30 donate/sell boxes, things that are not trash but that my mom doesn't want to move or my brother and I don't want to keep. Of course my mom has about 20 boxes so far of things she is moving to her new apartment. Its a lot of boxes.

There are a lot of books.  Books are really heavy.  I would love to donate them to a charity book fair, but they don't provide a pick up service and I am not lugging 8 boxes of books in and out of my car.

I've found a lot of cool things in mom's house.  First of all my dad kept a lot of records.  I now know exactly what the household expenses were in 1979, 1980. 1981.... you get the picture.  And this was all before computers.  I also have every card and letter I ever wrote to my parents as well as all the report cards. I think these things are only cool to me and my brother, but we should have a good laugh this summer when we go through them.

And then there are the bottles.  My parent's liquor cabinet contained all sorts of strange libations which were so old that that bottles where still sealed with those tax stamps they used to use in Missouri.  Mom still had three unopened bottles of scotch and whiskey which we gave away.  The rest of the booze was undrinkable.

Well, I'm off to Council Shop to drop off eight bags of clothes for donation.  Then to the dry cleaner to give them two shopping bags full of wire hangers. Finally to the grocery store's change machine to convert my mom's giant bag of change into paper money. I'm thinking its about $200 worth and she will be donating it to charity!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

so many decisions, so little time

This week was a stressful one.  I spent three and a half hours at Home Depot ordering tile, vanities, countertops, sinks and faucets. I had sourced everything in person and through the website.  My contractor Bob gave me all my measurements. I had my samples and my computer printouts of everything I wanted to order and with the help of Jason, the awesome design consultant at the Home Depot everything got ordered.  Still, it took three and a half hours. 

What did I learn?  Home Depot has awesome stuff, but most of the awesome stuff is not in the store. You have to look on the website.  The stuff in the store  is builders grade and good for a fast remodel.  I want something a little more custom, but not too crazy expensive.  Bob suggested I check out bathroom vanities that included sinks and tops and I was able to find a couple that fit perfectly in my two remodeled bathrooms.  I got lucky with the tile and was able to find floor tile for the kitchen in store.  I went for Carrera marble in one bathroom and white subway tile in the other.  I ordered all metal Kohler faucets for all the sinks and showers.

Then I was off to Appliance Discounter in Ballwin.  OK, here is my shameless endorsement, Joe was awesome and gave me a great price on new appliances for my kitchen redo. I got my Bosch Dishwasher, a Samsung pantry door refrigerator, an LG wall oven and an Electrolux gas cooktop.  Yes they all match. And the cooktop and oven were from open boxes so I got a super great price.  I have to tell you that I researched brands, reviews and prices before I bought and I did good!

So I'm pretty much done shopping.  There are a couple of light fixtures to get, and they are the "jewelry" of the home so I better not go overboard.   I also have to decide on the type of fireplace I want for the Den.  I'm thinking ethanol.....any comments?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

exciting news

There are a lot of changes going on around here.  Some make me scared, some nervous, and some excited.  But I think that for the most part change is good for me.  It makes we more active and more creative and even if it the change is something I didn't necessarily want or plan for, it can be a good thing.

Case in point, my mom, who is 88, fell and broke her arm.  Its a bad break and she was in a cast for 8 weeks and is slow to heal.  It was, of course, her right arm.  So she could use it to do anything.  I think that the fall made her see how difficult living alone had become.  So after a few weeks she made a decision to move into an independent living apartment in a senior residence.  My brother and I had been urging her to move out of her single family home for many years now.  But I am glad that the decision to move finally came from her.  And once she had made it she was excited about it.

Then she and my brother came to me with an idea.  Why don't I move into my mom's home when she moves.  I can renovate it to my liking, sell the home I have now and be able to live without the burden of a big mortgage.  I presently live about a mile away from my mother, in a slightly larger house, decorated to my liking.  I have lived here with my two daughters since my divorce 9 years ago.  I love my house and so do my kids.  But they are getting older and one is about to leave for college, I have to think about what was going to be better for me financially in the long run. Now that I have decided to move back into the home where I grew up, I am super excited!  This is a fantastic opportunity for me to design and create a space that is totally my own. The skies the limit, well maybe not, I do have a budget.

I invite you to join me in this journey as I pack up my mom, renovate the home, sell my present home and then move in and decorate, all while running a business and parenting my girls. 

My Mother and daughters at her home, taken before the Homecoming Dance 2014

Friday, February 6, 2015

Wish you were There

I missed seeing so many of my customers at the NY NOW show last week.  I know the weather in New York was horrible.  It seems it always is during the show.  But I had hoped that many more of my gift shops would have made it out to the city to stop by. 
Still I got some great new accounts, including the Skirball Museum in Los Angeles and The Tenement Museum in New York City.  I am proud to have my work available in both those places.

If you did not come to the show than you missed seeing my new Tab Necklaces!  They are silver ( of course) and feature popular sayings in English on one side and in Hebrew on the other!

The first day of the show my small chapel locket was stolen
Perhaps I should consider that a compliment?