Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Garage Conversion to my Studio! Day 5 and then some...

I got a package! An ETSY package!

First, gotta show you the gecko that was on my window two nights ago. It caught a bug!

Yum yum! I couldn't shoot it quick enough to get it licking its' lips and then its' eyes!

Here it is! It is a Sewing Organizer from FlossieBlossoms. You can find her site here. You can find her Etsy shop here. She posted a tutorial on how to make this item but who am I kidding? With all the renovations going on here; it will be a long time before I get to really sew!!

She sent me this lovely note and some 'cat collars' in case I DO get around to making one!

This is it inside. There is so much involved here and you can refer to her sites to see what each thing is meant for. I can't wait to use mine and will need one more!!

Ok. The 'cat' is out of the bag! I chose WHITE for my Studio! The room kept getting smaller and smaller and so I figured white would work best for lighting purposes. This is the garage door that has been covered up. I still need to put the floor down! I chose it and hopefully next week I will get it! The window needs to be cleaned out still too but I am so glad that we kept it! It is just a little bit more natural light.

Here is the window where the side door of the garage used to be! Hallelujah! It is finally in. One problem, they forgot the 'net' or the screen! It is fixed on the top and on the bottom. The center opens up so I can get the lovely wintertime breeze. Yeah baby!

The additional electrical sockets went in yesterday as well as the 'skirting' or baseboard. All before the flooring got put in? Hello? Apparently, the wooden baseboards were painted black and are thick. They will look nice and serve a double purpose of hiding the wires. I got sockets put on all the walls! Yeah baby! I still need the original yucky sockets and switch plates replaced.

Since the two original entrances of the garage were on the side and the front where the big double black doors-now a wall were; the light switches were on those walls. Now, whenever I walk into my STUDIO, I have to cross the room to get to the light! I will figure that one out. I hope we can do something about that! I will probably need a nightlight in there at all times!

I still need the split unit put in for the summer. I need new furniture in there too and all my lovely schtuff!

Thanks for stopping by, even you lurkers!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Garage Conversion to my Studio! Day 4

People are starting to freak me out! So many people have told me that I'm very open on my blog and these people are just not into putting their business out there. ??? Don't worry, if you are reading my blog; you don't necessarily know me. There is a whole lot more to me than what I post here. So, moving right along as one day I hope my Momma gets someone to let her see this and read it! Lizzie, I know she gets on when I prompt her to! The rest of you keep coming back.

DAY 4:

Today I had ten men in and out all day. Friends in and out all day long and the Studio got it's final coat of paint. It is looking really good! I have so much junk, good junk, useful junk that I need to find homes for. Dar al Atta (charitable organization here) is going to get a few trips worth of stuff!

The maid's room has been my black hole. I say that lovingly! I threw everything in there that did not fit anywhere else! Well, we have been doing extensive work to that room too. We put tiles on the bathroom floor; put in a commode versus the Asian toilet that is a porcelain hole in the ground (yuuuk!). The people from this region say that it is good to squat and relieve yourself. You are sure to get rid of it all. Hey, I say, I have nooooo problem with the tried and true Western commode way, thank you very much! Let's see, we painted the room and will get new blinds, oops, I forgot to have the men measure for that! Ok. The next time they come. We yanked out the little kitchen sink and cabinet and are building a huge almost ceiling to floor cabinet but, uh-oh, they made it about as deep as my hand. Hello? Must I do everything? So, Wacker (my hubby) let them have it. So, thank God he saw it before they drilled it into place as now they took it back out and will have to start from ground zero. One day wasted there!

I also was doing a end of the day inspection and some twit broke the newly painted door from the inside of my studio. Hello? They tried to paint over it and I guess were hoping I would not notice. Way-car (my hubby) was HOT! He was so mad.

The workers have ruined two mops, a few trash cans, have blemished our beautifully and newly laid tiles. That' alright, we will clean it up, oh, I mean they will clean it up. Who am I kidding; I'll be out there on their heels cleaning up as it should be!

I have to take tomorrow, Friday, our holy day, or in other words, the only day of the week that they won't be here working, to get busy cleaning out the kid's rooms so that we can get rid of things that we don't want after all; sort of a second cleaning sweep and prepare for the new furniture to come.

Then, when these two rooms are done, hopefully this next week; they will start inside the house again! Gosh, we will be at this for weeks to come. Will you stick with me?

I'm off to check my Chocolate Chip Cheesecake that is in the oven and I am actually going to sew tonight for a little while.

Bye for now..

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Garage Conversion to my Studio! Day 3

Day 3:
Surprise, surprise! God, how important is communication and understanding of that communication?? Muy Importante!! That's what I say! Late in the afternoon today the dude shows up with a crew and they got started on the ceiling! Yay!! This is a view as I was walking up to the Studio from the side and saw through the door that they had begun working on covering up the garage doors. I managed to keep the window on the top for that added natural light! See it with the criss-cross or whatever that is called on top? They covered it up with gypsum. Pretty cool. Here though, they are putting up an aluminum frame.

Here they primed the concrete around the door frame in preparation to paint it.

There is my beautiful new ceiling!! The only thing is that it dropped down by at least 2 feet! Perhaps more! I just hope the lighting is great!

You can see the silver or aluminum frame.

I chose my color! However, I hope to keep it a surprise and let you all know once it is painted! They primed this too.

They are putting up the gypsum wall. The owner doesn't want us to change the aesthetic of the house so we had to keep the outside of the black garage doors intact. So we are covering it up to give the room more security. This is getting exciting!


The workmen did not show up yesterday and had me waiting! UGHH.

Today, there is no work being done on the studio but on the maid's room.

Until we meet again!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Garage Conversion to my Studio! Day 2

Day 2:
The kids came home from school and I just had gotten my paint samples to try on the wall. Of course, they wanted to help and it was good for them so I let them! I painted the darker pink, and Ali painted the apricot and then Amal painted the blue. I DON'T LIKE THE BLUE!

I was, 'eh', about the darker pink and when Ali painted the Apricot, I was like, 'ew'.

Here is the more secure door in place. We still need to paint and do something with the floor to cover the concrete and paint the walls white again. See where the old lock was? It left an ugly mark. I'm kinda grossed out by the fact that this door was on the outside with creepy crawlies!!

The dude left this completely open! I tried to sweep the debris to one corner so I wouldn't stumble and also so I would not track the floor crap in the main house but see this? There will be a window of sorts before long.

Standing from the new doorway, on the left you see this. The black doors are the garage double doors that will be covered up. There is a small window on the top with wordwork and I want to keep that natural light in so Waqar will build the new wall around that for me and have it cleaned out of the bird nests! The landlord doesn't want to lose the aesthetic of all his properties.

Here are the colors. Of course they don't look so clear on the computer. There is:

1. Blue
2. Dark Pink
3. Apricot
4. Light Pink

No way.

I like this one the best but would have never, I mean NEVER thought of ME having a PINK room!! The size of the room dictates that the color I choose be very light. I will be losing about 12 to 18 inches in height too as they will be putting in a ceiling with better and brighter lighting. One thing that has me very concerned is that there is only one electrical socket. I don't know enough about this subject to know if I can have more put in. Where the socket is, is on the other side of the wall from the maid's room and bed. I sew late into the night and the thought of bothering her, whomever she may be and whenever I may get one, well, it doesn't sit well with me! We'll just have to work on that one!

Apricot. Hmm.....this is Ali's favorite and my gardener's favorite! It is too bright and it would just be too much I think!

This last one is light pink. The other one has red undertones whereas this one has blue. It is the lightest of the bunch and most unassuming. However, I like the other pink as it has more va-voom! It is more me but I am still not sure about Pink.

My husband said my studio should be Pink and White. I asked why and he said, "Because pink and white are your colors!" and I said, "What?" and he said, "You look so pretty in Pink and white!" Awww...

Tomorrow, we will change the ceiling tiles in the guest bathroom and I don't know what else!

Thanks for stopping by. I have some serious finagling to do with Ali's uniform now and errands to run and a nice warm couch to crash on!

Garage Conversion to my Studio! Day 1

Today was, or yesterday was a very stressful day for me. I have never experienced any kind of remodeling. This starts the 3rd week that we are working on various upgrades to our rented, yes, RENTED, home. Today, or yesterday, we started with my studio!

DAY 1:
Here we are transferring all our junk to the newly built storage room to the left of this garage.

This little building is the newly built storage room. There are the two colors that we painted the kid's rooms. Amal got the purple and Ali got the turquoise. There is other junk not worth mentioning!

Once the garage was empty, I had a really good look. IT LOOKS SO VERY SMALL! Not complaining! Here, there is some water damage that needs to be addressed.

I'm inside looking at the wasted space for 10 years that is now interlocked and a side space to the storage room. This is the door that we will or did take out and place inside the house. Here, I will have a window. I will have the gardener clean this all up and plant some pretty flowers so I have something to look at when I need to.

Because the ironing board was in the maid's room and that room has been having some renovations done to it and the men have been using it to track through the house; we had to put the ironing board in our entrance. Right behind the mirror is where the new entrance from the house will be to my Studio!

I moved all that to make space for the door.

By this time, the cats and I were freaked out with all the hammering and noise with the drill. It was stressful for Peaches and Uki. Peaches really had a hard time settling and even let me cuddle her. I put the girls in the kitchen with food and beds but Peaches peed on my countertop. I took a picture but can't bring myself to post it. I have bleached it out. Ick.

Finally the drilling stopped and the sledgehammer started up! This went on for quite a while.

Here the door is coming to light. The black doors are my front door. There was so much concrete dust. That also upset me a great deal.

I kept checking on these men and you can see my footprints.
They have now taken the door frame out of the side entrance to the garage and are putting it in the house. The door is gross so I hope they cleaned it up. Of course, I will have to do it. I hope to remember to ask them to show me how to take the door off the hinges so I can paint if I need to.

The concrete has now been filled in. Don't know the proper terms. You can see straight through the gaping hole that is to be my glass door actually. The foreman told me he wanted to put a glass door with a grate for protection whereas Waqar told me it would be a window only. So, I told the foreman to check with the Man! I like the idea of being able to open up the room for fresh air in the winter time but don't like the idea of yet another entrance to the house!

I kept mopping and those footprints kept following me!

I had to make lunch for me and a snack for the kids for when they came home and for my lovely friend Larissa and her lovely daughter Paulina for picking up my kids in the morning and dropping them off after school. They were devoured. P likes my cookies though and dug in to those!

I freaked because I did not like the fact that the glass was not delivered yet for the outside and that it would be open. We are currently storing the gypsum ceiling tiles for the house in there so there is nothing that the feral cats can really damage but not being able to lock the inside door because the concrete is still wet and would crack unsettled me greatly as it did Amal. I did not get a picture of the door in place but only to block the hole. There is a huge hole at the top of the door where the other portion goes. For the back, they nailed in a piece of plywood and told me basically to deal with it. The cats could still get in and therefore that is why I am posting this at 3:23am. I can't sleep cuz there is a huge opening from the outside to inside my home and Waqar is in Dubai. My ear hurts as I stuck something in it again. Yes, I should know better but there, I did it and it hurts like hell. Sounds like fireworks are in there. Also, I was being eaten alive by mosquitos and gave up and came to the computer after I put out these coils to kill the little bastards. The cats are great because they sleep with us and get up with us. We are currently sleeping on the couches as the kids rooms are a mess and we are waiting for our furniture and they want me with them so we are all downstairs! It's like a huge slumber party every night!

Well, this concludes our first day. I will try to get a picture of the current solution they gave me for overnight and today they will be putting new ceiling tiles in the guest bathroom and the garage or should I say........ MY STUDIO!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I get to meet an interesting woman tonight!

With all the excitement of the house renovation and MY STUDIO being started on; I forgot that this evening is a talk that I am so lucky to get to go to regarding this remarkable New Zealander woman whom went with a friend in 1978 traveling and ended up in Petra in Jordan. She married a bedouin from the region and wrote a book about her experiences spanning 7 years living in the caves and living like the bedouin. You can find more information here. I am so excited for the talk and to meet her! I too came over to the Middle East but did not marry a bedouin and did not live in a cave; but my story is interesting none-the-less! Perhaps someday I will write a book myself!

Magic Peanut Butter Middles! Oh yeah!!

Cocoa, you have done it again! This woman over at Chocolate on My Cranium is AMAZING! She posted this post regarding these cookies that she made. OH MY WORD!! I did not feel like cooking yesterday with all the work going on in the house and all. I took yesterday off sort of!! We have huge renovations being done for two weeks now. I've never experienced this! Anyhow, the kids were really tired as this was their first week back after three weeks off and we were going to bed VERY late and I knew they would be tired and difficult. A friend needed me to take her daughter for her so we did and we had pizza delivered so I felt guilty that I did not make dinner and took the opportunity to make these WONDERFUL cookies!!

Magic Peanut Butter Middles

Chocolate Cookie Dough:

3 cups flour
1 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

Peanut Butter Filling:

1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

For the chocolate cookie dough, sift together flour, cocoa and baking soda. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream sugars with butter and peanut butter. Add vanilla and eggs. Beat well. Slowly add sifted dry ingredients until well incorporated. For peanut butter filling, in another bowl, beat together peanut butter and powdered sugar. Divide the chocolate cookie dough and the peanut butter filling into 60 portions each. Roll each portion into a ball. For each cookie, flatten a chocolate ball, and place a peanut butter ball in the middle. Bring up chocolate dough and surround peanut butter filling. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten with a glass dipped in sugar or like Cocoa and I do, use your fingers! Bake at 375*F for 7 minutes and done!

The flour, cocoa and baking soda sifted together and whisked. I learned recently that just because I sift dry ingredients together doesn't mean that they are mixed, so a whisk is brought in for the job.

I don't know why this scene makes me so happy! Here are the sugars, butter and peanut butter.

Beating the sugars and butter and peanut butter.

The vanilla and eggs have been added and the mixing has begun. Is it time to dip yet? Yes it is!

Now the flour mixture is being added slowly. It got soooo thick towards the end and my little hand mixer was HOT!!

Over in another bowl, the peanut butter and powdered sugar are being mixed by hand. This is the filling.

Roll the two doughs into balls. The chocolate balls should be larger than the PB balls. See Ali's birthday plate holding the chocolate balls?

Now you flatten a chocolate ball and place the peanut butter ball in the middle and carefully bring up the edges and surround the peanut butter. You have to work a lot with your hands. We make something similar with a savory dish of beef and yogurt filling and our sweet bread balls with cream cheese in the middle so this seemed very familiar to me. This process that is.

Bake as many as fit on your cookie sheet. They really don't expand. Break one open and try it! OMG!!

Now, take a few while holding the camera and run away with them! You can either present them to the kiddos and hope they will try them or just find your happy place and enjoy!! I did both!

Thanks Cocoa! Now, I'm off to shower and clean up the mess in our living room and figure out what to make for lunch! Took pictures of the garage as it is being removed of its contents and I am so excited that I get my very own STUDIO!! It has begun!!