CarmenJF's Profile

Display Name: CarmenJF
Member Since: 1/7/11

Latest Comments...

How much you can do depends on 1) your budget and 2) your DIY skills/guts :)

This bathroom has a lot going for it in the fact that it is HUGE...but it's dark and all the broken-up-ness of it distracts from that.

1) Paint it all white (except trim and cabinet base). Yes, all that tile. In the long run it's not THAT expensive compared to other options and less work than pulling it all down. A white bathroom is hard to argue with...the color of the tile is dating... Check around for prices of professionals to do it with their epoxy stuff. Usually, very reasonable. I'd do EVERYTHING white except the trim, and paint the cabinet base a nice dark woody color. You want that to be the focus.

2) Remove the glass shower doors and put up a nice, white, waffle-weave shower curtain...something with substance but not frilly white.

3) Replace the floor (which appears to be cheap vinyl) with white small or subway tiles. Yes, this will be some money, but ups the quality factor by a LOT. Put one long, wide runner rug in there instead of little rugs.

4) Get rid of the 3 mirrors and replace with one loooooooooooooooooooong mirror, OR just leave the two mirrors over the sinks (not one in the middle too).

5) Replace countertops/sinks with something that doesn't look like faux marble even though we know it's not.

6) Get lightbults that fit.

7) Ditch the venetian blinds for a roman shade in white. There's a DIY on here somewhere for how to make a roman shade out of an old set of blinds...

8) If toilet is blue, make it white!

9) Nothing on the vanity except a pretty apothecary jar/pump of clear hand soap and a maybe an old pottery pitcher or blue/white china vase (not clear so people can see when the water gets cloudy) vase of flowers in a pop of color...bright pink, red, peachy, purple-y etc. - all one color at a time, not mixed.

These changes should make this bathroom seem HUGE and bright. I'd stalk craigslist for deals...sometimes you can find perfectly great countertops and the like, and if your house sells before then, great! Then you didn't have to do anything :)

Some photos for inspiration...

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1/10/12 09:21 PM

While I don't think I'd use this as a rug in my main living area, I think this is a super adorable idea for baby room rug...or something my dog would TOTALLY hog if laid on the has cozy for the tosies written all over it!!!! ;)

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3/16/11 02:22 PM

So far, I've had nothing but good things to say about my Etsy dealings!

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2/26/11 11:51 AM

'k Tamara, you asked for creative...and dust free... :)

Dust free leaves you with pictures or prints or wall mural. Not, of course, that frames are dust free...but if you have a swiffer with a long enough handle 5 min would do the dusting trick.

I think something fun and creative would be like an evolution or a story's such a long space but not too high that it could look real cluttered real fast if not careful...and judging by the few things I see you do seem like a modern-ish, anti-clutter person...but you could almost tell a story along there.

You know, run off the standard "evolution of man" could go all in one direction all the way up or down, like so:

Make it personal, and have the "end result" be something you love or want to be, like a great dancer, or great chef, or great writer, or great sax player...give it that personal touch. Or make it the evolution of horses, or dogs, or cats, if you're an animal person...and if you ARE and have a pet, you could make the "end result" your pet with a crown or something...

Or make it a love story between you and your partner (you said we, but didn't specify if you have kids or pets...)...and have it be a "story board" of your relationship and have the two of you together in the end, or together with your kids or pets if you have them...some inspirations:

Or if you ARE a dancer, or have some kind of sport you, running, basketball, surfing, could do different poses of that same so:

But then just line them up in a row....

Or maybe you could do a line of silhouettes of you and your family (pets too!)...or if i's just you and your partner, do ones of your "growing up" and them meeting or smoochin in the middle :)

Or do a row of silouhettes of just you, and then top each one of wearing a different, crazy colorful hat or hairstyle...

I would avoid framed pictures, because you already have a lot of squares going on...just paint it right on the wall. If you're scared to do it yourself, shop around for a hungry art student or local struggling artist that may give it a go on the cheap... :)


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2/26/11 11:28 AM

I currently have one dog, 108lb malamute/shar pei mix. He sleeps on the bed by invitation only, whether I am in it alone or not...and has been for the 12 years I've had him. There are a lot of invitations in the winter ;) He prefers the floor or his bed next to mine when it's warm. When I'm working with a foster or if I watch my friend's dog it's the same thing...and my fosters do not get that privilege until they've earned it. My bedroom is almost all white...bedding included, and I keep a special "blankie" for when there's going to be pets on the under the covers. Nobody's allowed on any other furniture.

As someone who works in a hospital, I soooooooooooo don't have time to worry about what germs my dog and I might share...I'm too busy worrying about the germ-a-palooza I work in 9 hours a day, let alone what's going on in a subway or trolley - ICK.

Anyhoo, I love my dog madly, and he is (from all accounts) extremely well behaved. I was told when I let him on the bed he'd think he was "same level" as me in a "pack" - but I think that's horsepuckey. As long as YOU decide when and how they come up, you're still in charge. If I want him off, I snap and point...there is no drama about it.

Plus, it's reassuring for me to know that if someone were to be dumb enough to break into my place (living in a university section of the city we are rife with weirdos and rapists every year), and my mom spent the last few months in a tizzy because of some "strangler" business nearby...I just smile and remind her that my guy would probaby try to rip their face off if he thought I was in trouble. Having had a few incidents in our time with which to refer to, she stops freaking, breathes deep, and tells me to "give our boy a hug". I sleep much more soundly with him next to me :)

P.S. to all those that battle pet hair as I do (because I can't stand it when it sticks to me, skin or clothes, and my dog has this crazy, pointy, sticky, sharp mutant hair that WILL NOT BE REMOVED except by tweezers if it gets on certain fabrics) GET A ROOMBA. These things are no joke. I run mine every day when we go for a walk, and have been for almost 3 years. I have hardwood and area rugs, and I still vaccum and mop every week...but the Roomba is SUCH a help just keeping the dust/hair situation manageable. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Furry Bedfellows: Do You Sleep with Your Pet?
NY Times

2/19/11 07:51 PM

GORGEOUS!!!!! When can I come visit...? ;)~

Seriously though, great job...I know VERY WELL what it is to remove layer upon layer upon layer upon layer upon LAYER of paneling and vinyl from helping restore a 100+ year old house in Philly...that, it seems, had a new layer added about every decade or so. Kudos ;)

Before & After: A Serene Guest Room on a Budget
2/16/11 08:43 AM

And, perhaps not "brand" with hot iron...but certainly mark or scar; and having gotten more than a few animal-induced injuries and scars in my time, I can assure they are not without some pain and suffering.

But, again, my apologies for wasting your time.

What Is the Best Way To Tell People I'm Now a Vegetarian?
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2/13/11 06:41 PM

My apologies pharaoh, I believe it was your comments here:

"...clip their beaks and toes, castrate them without anesthetic, brand them, steal their babies, and generally prevent them from engaging in their natural behavior, than you and i have very different definitions of the term "abuse." we also disagree on whether or not it is abusive to kill animals for food, and given this vast chasm between our understanding of the world, i can't imagine that i have any other reason to talk with you about this," that made me attempt to share wisdom with you.

Because all these behaviors you list by your own hand (unless your keyboard is being held hostage...?) are NATURAL behaviors that animals visit upon their own species and others.

If you are going to argue a philosophy so zealously, I thought it only fair that you have correct information with which to do so in order that whatever arguments you come up with are not able to be knocked down.

My apologies for wasting your time.

No matter, perhaps some others may find it of value!

What Is the Best Way To Tell People I'm Now a Vegetarian?
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2/13/11 06:37 PM

Another point about animals and their "natural" behaviors...please be informed as to their "natural" behaviors. Example: most herd animals have a lead male and a lead female. The herd is usually made up of breeding females and not sexually immature young. The male will breed with the females of his herd. The males, once reaching sexual maturity, are pushed out by the lead male into "bachelor herds" WITHOUT females and thus have no right to breed. They are pushed out WITH FORCE...scarring, and sometimes deadly. Then some brave young male will try to steal females and start their own herd, but again, there is always fighting (and thus a winner and a loser) when that happens. Many wild canids do not allow any except the alpha to breed to the beta...again, all other "attempts" are stopped by force. Is that not castration...? So how is castration "not natural" when many species, when left to their own devices, do not allow all members of the herd or pack or whatever to breed...? By brutal force...?

Am I saying that it's right to cause pain when there are clearly painless alternatives to be had? Absolutely not. If I were to meet the person that shoved a pipe down the throat of my puppy mill foster dog and kept her in a cage in the dark that was filled with waste, probably I would be hard pressed not to shove a pipe down his/her throat and throw them in a basement crate for a couple of weeks if given the opportunity.

SENSELESS cruelty for the sake of cruelty's sake or profit makes my blood boil like almost nothing else.

BUT, don't act like animals in their "natural" wild have it sooooooooooo freakin' cushy all the time either. I defy you to show me the feral cat, stray dog, or wild horse that DOESN'T have their fair share of battle scars. Survival can be brutal and horrifying - WITH cause - to survive and maintain balance.

What Is the Best Way To Tell People I'm Now a Vegetarian?
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2/12/11 12:45 AM

Who is Pantone...? And why do they have a say in my place..?

Totally Turquoise: All Over The House
2/11/11 10:17 PM

Kerry, you make an excellent point here...

We are ALL connected, people. To everything. So if you THINK you are being perfect to the earth because you are completely vegan-locavores...think again.

Any time you flush the toilet, brush your teeth, wear clothes, walk on a paved street or sidewalk, take transportation, personal or public...EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH AND THAT TOUCHES YOU HAS IMPACTED SOMETHING OR SOMEONE SOMEWHERE. Period. So get off your high horses.

My childhood to early teens was lived in a VERY rural (they got their second traffic light two years ago...yay!!!!) town in Fl. My family (extendeds were all mostly very close by or in Wisconsin, where hunting and fishing was done more than raising of pigs and cows as in Fl) was, to put it delicately, the other end of the spectrum from well-to-do. Meat was put on the table because it was raised or hunted or netted or trapped. One of my earliest "jobs" as a kid was to carry the empty blood buckets to the butchering tree for the adults.

Now, when I told my parents I was going vegetarian a couple years ago, you can imagine that I could've announced that I was going to have a sex change operation in order to become a terrorist in some crazy religious cult so that I could blow things up all willy nilly and gotten less reaction.

Don't get me wrong, they were and are's just that the "nature" of things is no shock to those who've lived with it - and yes, respected it.

Now, personally, I was under the impression that meat in the store had the same beginning, middle, and end as meat that was on the table when I was a kid. I.e, lots of room to roam naturally, with fresh water, treatment if necessary, and a quick, drama-less end. I cannot say that all small time farmers are like this, but I know my buppa (who was, truth be told, considered a little "strange" in his ways to most of the neighbors because he was raised on a reservation and had some "ideas" regarding land and animals that was different from most aroud us) would NEVER mistreat an animal - "pet" or livestock - out of cruelty or carelessness. We were raised and expected to be respectful and appreciative for what animals gave us.

So, yes, I was shocked, horrified, and appalled to learn of commercial productions impact on animals and environment (thank you, Skinny Bitch, for not giving a girl a headsup in the synopsis!!!)

Now, if my parents friends bring down a deer, I am all over that!!!!! And I still do seafood and dairy, and try to make the most informed decisions regarding that, as well as the eggs from my mom's chickens (who live in a "rolling" coop that is moved every day onto new grass and bundled up like feathered divas under sunlamps in winter - FYI for those that actually believe eggs are "baby birds"...chickens can lay an egg a day WITHOUT EVER BEING FERTILIZED - anyway, they are living the good life safe from predators and never lack for food, shelter, or fresh water)

But this whole, la-dee-da, there would be no pain and suffering in the world if only humans would stop wearing and eating their "friends"...? SERIOUSLY??? Have you even spent more than an hour in "the wilds" beyond your safe, cozy bed...?

Let me explain something to you about the fantasy you've created for yourself...

There are predators, and there are prey. That dog or cat or rodent or bird or whatever it is you might, as an "animal lover", have as a pet, is most likely a carnivore (if a dog or cat or fish) or omnivore (if rodent or some birds and fish) that would just LOVE to rip the innards out of something else every day. Because it is NATURAL. It is the WAY OF NATURE.

So this whole idea of "ooohhh, all the animals would all get along without us humans" is a load of horsepucky. Would there be outright torture for the sake of torturing? Probably not...but if you ever watch a bobcat teach her kittens how to catch prey TO SURVIVE...she lames them, then lets the kittens "play" for a while before they finally get the whole killing thing under control.

Ever seen a pack of canids pull down a deer or a goat or something else...? I'm pretty sure the prey is not too happy getting eaten alive and ripped apart after being chased to exhaustion.

Ever seen a pissed off cow wreck a dog because it got too close to her calf at the water trough? So the dog is basically squashed like a bug and it wasn't doing anything but trying to get water.

Let's not even get INTO what pissed off hogs can do...

Any number of examples from "sweet mother nature", my dears. She is merciless. Not cruel for crueltie's sake (which, yes, humans have the franchise on that), but certainly merciless.

So stop deluding yourself that there would be no pain and suffering in the world. And just by LIVING you have an impact. The streets you walk, the clothes you wear in the building you live in (or, at least the building that houses your online connection, in case you live naked in a tree and only use the library to sign on and spew out your own bitter toxicity), the toilets you flush (unless you are wasting in the woods), the money you spend...

Be aware of your connectedness, make the most informed decisions you can, give thanks for that which you have been provided, and respect those that give it to you - and, yes, this includes plants and animals. Share wisdom (not rhetoric, WISDOM) when you can, and know and respect that we do not all walk the same path...but we do all walk under the same sky.

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2/11/11 10:07 PM

OH....AND they condense HOURS or DAYS into a half hour or hour show!!!!!!!! VERY misleading if you don't think about it...

Do You Suffer from DIY Envy?

2/11/11 09:03 PM

Oh, and I do agree Fairydogmother...on the personality of DIY stuff...all my friends and fam say my place is "so YOU!" ;)~

Whatever that means!!!

Do You Suffer from DIY Envy?

2/11/11 09:02 PM

I agree Fairydogmother...the good feeling is a high :)

I find fabric pretty cheap...there's quite a few good wholesale places around here and Delaware that sell "irregular" stuff...slightly different color than other batch, or some areas that look a little weird...but depending on the project can use around those areas. Plus I always try to hit the clearance racks first and foremost. This past weekend I got 2 West Elm drape panels that were usually $60 a piece, but were on clearance for $9!!!!!!!!!!!! Soooooo excited...I don't need drapes but the fabric is just what I need for new dining chairs/banquette cushions.

Anyway, have you tried checking around for wholesale places...? There's good places online, but I'm leery of buying fabric's good to see in person, I think.

I don't sew, but my mom does (my last great frontier...learned how to cook, garden, do minor-to-moderate house renovation stuff...this is last on the domestic list) and we were just talking at work about how it's a lost art.

I think skills come with learning from those that know and practice - almost nothing is easy the first 10 times you do it. Even just a class in basic design principles is a start. They see all these great things but don't know the basic fundamentals of color and design and scale (which, is a LEARNED skill like reading or writing). If you went to a design class and took the final without having taken the class and done your homework, building on concept after concept...probably most wouldn't do so hot.

I also have a pet peeve about those Home Depot classes and the DIY budget shows. Yes, they make FANTASTIC things out of trash, but they have a LIMITLESS supply of tools!!!!! All the cool lamps out of branches and custom made headboard/shelving thing looks like a breeze because the tv peeps have the big guns in the tool business. Plus there is always a TEAM effort (never less than 4-5 minimum)...whereas most DIY projects are usually you and the possibly-quite-probably grumbling SO you've dragged into the process :)

The big money's in the tools. And HD is trying to sell or rent them to you with their's an excellent business endeavor...take the money away from the contractor for yourself by selling to the customer...and still have contractors available for backup in case said customer gets in a jam or frustrated.

And the big progress is in team effort...some of those "weekend makeovers" have the whole BLOCK pitching in.

Whew...ok...those are my DIY pet peeves!! :)

Do You Suffer from DIY Envy?

2/11/11 08:58 PM

Ilya, you are soooooooooooooo right. I will ABSOLUTELY BE NOSY!!!!! When I was still a naive little rosy-colored-glasses-wearing innocent, I thought it was simply "fair" for me to NOT be nosy. After a couple of real doozies (honestly, at one point I was considering making fingerprints, a photo ID, credit report, and FBI/CIA/Interpol checks going back 3 generations on both sides a requirement for potential suitors) I learned that 1. PEOPLE LIE and 2. people can hide CRAZY for a loooooooong time.

Now, I'm not sneaky about looking...I always jokingly ask to get the dime tour and will say "What's in there?" and point to closet doors and medicine cabinets and the like. I don't have anything to hide, so why should you? If we're getting to the level where there's going to be touching without contact precautions (hey, I work in a hospital!) I have a right to see any red flags.

And not in a judgemental way...we all have issues...but if it's clear my issues aren't compatible with yours (I am a spastic freak about having clean kitchens and bathrooms, but will let books and magazines breed like bunnies and don't have to have every hat or single pair of shoes put away but my closets and drawers have to be organized) then that's good to know.

Plus, again, I want to see any personal red flags. Like, a shrine to your mother. In your bedroom closet. Or the "just for fun" knives and swords and "dead grenades" you get from Soldier of Fortune monthly that could easily arm a small island under attack. Or the Valtrex behind your Nyquil. Or the pictures of your wife and children and their lovely crayon and macaroni artwork all over your closed-door office. Etc, etc.

Just a few examples that, had seen early on, could give the "Danger Will Robinson, DANGER!!!!" signal to abort mission.

So, I reserve the right openly investigate ;)

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2/11/11 08:23 PM

WOW!!!! Sorry for the uber-long wonder these come with a warning...

Anyway to Susan: My dad did carpentry and furniture making on the side for a long time...he's now graduation to steel/metal stuff for his "play". He never had training as a carpenter or went to school or anything...just read books and asked questions when he could and whatnot.

But I will say it's all in the tools and practice...if you don't have the tools all the time you can't practice or redo if you mess up the first few times like when you're having to rent them and are under the gun to get them back.

But if you are really interested there's tons of resources out there. It's like anything else really...once you have a solid knowledge base of the the fundamental principles, and the right tools, the sky's the limit. The better the tool, the cleaner the job, at least when it comes to making things "furniture pretty".

Oh, and my dad also used to help with "demolition" so he could see how things were put together...he said it's the best way to do so :)


Do You Suffer from DIY Envy?

2/11/11 07:19 PM

I agree with Susan in Austin...I feel my life has always been a DIY...and by that I mean that I feel like I've always been the lover of "diamonds in the rough"...loved taking old, sad, neglected things, polishing them up and making them lovely again. I have a past liberally checkered with strays (bloodied puppies thrown in dumpsters, half drowned cats, emaciated horses missing most of their hair from skin fungus, and the occasional other fish or small furry) and various wildlife rescues and rehabs (in particular do not mention "baby skunk" or "Canadian goose" to my mother), I populate gardens almost entirely with revived "kill cart" know those 10 for a $1 or the normally $30 perennial that's now $3 deals at some home centers (luv ya Lowe's!!! Home Dep mulches all their "un-sellable" stuff and won't sell at a lower price...booooo), and positively drool over old, sad, wasting away houses with FABULOUS architectural details that are just BEGGING for a little lovin'. Even though I can't sew (yet), my mom and nana made or altered almost all of our clothes (due to lack of funds for the new stuff) that were used in my early childhood, and my nana and her sisters were ruling queens of flea markets.

SO, in my case, I know the craziness comes from those places inside and from my past...and even when I was a kid I loved "nesting". Some people don't give a hoot what their environment is - but I was not born one of those people!! :)

But I think a lot of people are attracted to the creativeness of's a way to express yourself without doing "art", per se...and I think more of the population is less creative as a whole in their off time. I know I read an article about kids who don't "play" as much as we did when we were kids...and that humans evolved from "playing"...i.e., creating silly games or whatever...whereas a lot of entertainment is created by someone else and then offered and available because we have the money to spend on it as a society.

Anyway, I've come to the realization that I don't HAVE to hold onto everything forever...constantly changing, constantly evolving. And I genuinely LIKE making something more beautiful and sending it back out into the world to be loved again (there is a reason I am in the fostering dogs thing) when I want to start a new project I "give back" by selling or giving away stuff to make room for the new and other people can enjoy the old. Plus I live in a university area of Philadelphia that is CONSTANTLY changing population, so every other week I see something potentially FABULOUS that somebody threw out and I cry "WHY?!?!" So I'm lucky that a lot of my DIY's are trashpicks and can be recycled often. You would be AMAZED at what people throw away around here...

Sounds probably a little crazy, I know, and if I wasn't on pain meds for a minor dental surgery maybe I wouldn't be QUITE so loopy ;)~

I will say that I keep an "inspiration file", both on the computer and in a file folder where I tear out things I love and can refer back. THat way I don't feel like I have to do the new things RIGHT NOW because I can check back with it later and see if I still love it and want to do it. Then I periodically purge the I keep my friends and fam in projects that I can help with too ;)~

Anyway, I'm sure everybody has diff personal reasons for why they can overload on DIY stuff... ;)

Do You Suffer from DIY Envy?

2/11/11 07:10 PM

As someone who can never pick a fave color (both ways were/are lovely), I love how THIS pink room makes me want to run through my flamenco/bellydance playlist and throw a hooka party!! Love it!! ;)~

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Cherish Toronto

1/22/11 12:04 PM

Also, I appreciate that it appears you both were trying to be truly helpful with some of your comments...but that way of helping is like stomping on somebody's bare foot with a steel toe boot while trying to help them up.

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1/14/11 12:13 PM

Arroyo - Certainly I can grasp the distinction. Do you grasp the distinction that this space is not "done" by any means? Hence, I hardly would call it a "failure", as it is not a finished product - or even a 1/3 or 1/2 finished product. It's a person who just moved in and is looking to go from there. Notice that this is not on a "Gee, here's my beautiful, finished space" area but rather a "I know something's not right here, this is what I like, this is what I don't like, please help!" area.

Melinda is absolutely certain about two things in her post (if you read it) - that she likes the wall colors and a modern look. So how to make the area work with those wall colors and set up a modern scheme is what she's looking for - so if you lack the imagination or skill to successfully help with that particular situation... <shrugs> But there's no need to belittle people's tastes.

And HongKonger, FYI - calling a color someone else likes as "nasty" - as in "if you insist on those nasty yellow walls", etc etc. - HARDLY falls under "appreciating different styles done well", and is certainly not helpful, as well as completely uncalled for. Surely there are some people who think the colors YOU like are "nasty".

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1/14/11 12:07 PM