Thursday, April 28, 2011

Count Down to Loo Loo

Tomorrow is the Feast of Saint Loo Loo. It will be without my fellow Loo Looites but I will be celebrating it with two of my favorite people, Goo and Gouda. Last year I missed it as I started pre-term labor and had to be on bed rest. You just can't Loo Loo while lying on your right or left side only.


I think I will stop by the store on my way home and grab some exotic fruit and some chicken!


Oh and stay tuned readers because we have some great things in the works. We will soon hit our 1000 site hit here on Falling Down House and when we do we will have a giveaway! I'll release details as we get closer.


Also, I stopped by my favorite Home Improvement store while on vacation last week (IKEA) and got a few great projects for the Chateau I am dying to show you.



Let me know what you did for the Feast of Saint Loo Loo!




Wednesday, April 27, 2011

We are Staging a Coup!

One of the most frustrating things about living in a townhome isn't the neighbors, it's the HOA. The Home Owners Association, always evil, they boost a aura of ill-will wrapped in the intention of providing a nice neighborhood that keeps home values high. Ours is a new level of evil because it is manned by morons that don't actually live in their units. The by-laws allow anyone that owns a unit to be on the board and they don't have to live there.


This annoys me to no end. The President of the Board has been it for 9 years despite there being a 3 year term limit on the job and has vetoed every resolution that would improve the community. He has shot down the leash resolution, turning the community into a gated one, requiring the owners that rent to get a background check before hand, and eliminating the ability to rent to registered sex offenders. In essence he has vetoed any and every bill that would make it so he couldn't rent his units to any pond scum that has money in hand.  Now I am between a guy that sells pot, and a guy that went to jail for lewdness with a minor under the age of 14! Lovely right???


So what is a girl to do? We are staging a coup! C has secured a position on the board and there are 2 new spots opening up that we along with the majority of the tenet owners have set up to get filled by like minded people. Then it's time to oust the President and start work on making our little paradise one that's found instead of a Paradise Lost.


We are working to get the following done:


1.     a playground for the kids - there was a park but the President had it taken out after he received noise complaints from his renter. As he was the only person on the board at the time there was no one to say no!

2.     lights that work around the community

3.     stricter rules on who you can rent to - i.e. no one with felonies!

4.     Gates on the backyards that don't fall off every time they are opened!


I'll let you know how it goes.



Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Standaroules Plumbarmacy

When I was a kid I had two favorite movies and I must confess they are still my favorites. Both movies were Disney one was called "Blackbeard's Ghost" and the other was "The Snowball Express". Coincidentally both movies starred Dean Jones.


Today I want to talk about the latter film. What could it have to do with home improvement probably nothing but I bet you a shinny quarter I can get there! In the movie Dean Jones' Great-Uncle Jake dies and leaves the main character Mr. Baxter his hotel. He is told that the hotel is making a great deal of money so without thinking about it he quits his job in a wonderful permanent fashion and decides to movie his family to Silver Spring, Colorado and run the hotel.



When he and his family arrive it's to find that the hotel is far from making money it has been closed for decades and is in bad need of repair. The hotel is beautiful and well worth putting the time and money into making it great again. This is exactly what the Baxter's decide to do. They turn it into a Ski Lodge. Of course it all goes wrong in the movie and they end up with a giant hole going all the way through the hotel and the guppies in the water would really suck but I'd love to have a place like this. My father was a professional Chef in Las Vegas for 40 years and the hospitality industry is in my blood so I think I could really do well with this too! Even if it wasn't in Belize.


So, what does this have to do with Le Chateau Ghetto?? Nothing other than the fact that I believe with enough love and money (hopefully more of the first than the latter) it will be great again too!!



If not maybe somewhere I have a Great-Uncle Jake and he can leave me a hotel that I can fix up and run…




Friday, April 22, 2011

Look What I found

I'm pretty new to blogging and most of the time as I look through blogland I find great ideas that make me feel stupid and inept. There is alot of great stuff out there but let's face it I'm kind of mediocre when it comes to implementation. So it takes great talent from a person to make me feel like I can actually do a project that I find on these blogs. I found one today. It's from Vivienne on the V Spot. She has taken a normal chandelier and turned it into an art form.

She makes this look easy and I'd like to try it. She has some great ideas so use the link and go check her out!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The difference between Antique and Just Old

Have you ever found a great piece of furniture at a Thrift Store or Flea Market and wondered if it was a real antique and if it would be okay to strip it down and paint it? Have you ever found out you just ruined the value on a great antique dresser by painting it blue?

There are a few rules you can use to help you out in this situation. I don't know how often I've been regaled by friends on the wonderful antique found at the thrift store, all the while looking at a 30 year old dresser that looks like someone took a hammer to it. ( I know I mention hammers a lot , cuz I like them). While these finds are nice when fixed up and repurposed it hardly makes them the same thing as a Louis XVI chair or a Chippendale Dresser. I've come to realize that most people really don't know the difference between something that is just old versus a real antique.

So here are the rules (I use that loosely as I am not an expert. I dropped out of college back in 2001!)

First let's ask ourselves what is an ANTIQUE?:

Antique - any work of art, piece of furniture, decorative object, or the like, created or produced in a former period, or, according to U.S. customs laws, 100 years before date of purchase.

1.   100 years or older - So to qualify as a "real" antique the piece really should be made before 1911. So that means the lovely mid-century modern piece you just found doesn't really work. However, it's great to paint and repurpose to your heart's content.

There are a few exceptions to the 100 year old rule of thumb such as Automobiles.

They only need to be 25 years old. Which means my van is halfway there!

However, ladies be aware… If a guy gives you what he swears is an antique engagement ring and it's a diamond chances are he isn't getting what he paid for. Engagement rings before WWII were very rarely diamonds. That's only been a recent thing. Diamonds haven't always been a girl's best friend. De Beers made them popular with very clever advertizing!
Keeping up with tradition my ring is a garnet! Not an antique but I love it! (Now if I could find it - another story there)

2.   It has to be collectable. If your piece is 175 years old but no one but you wants it then it really has no value but sentimental. I have a desk that my great-grandfather built in Denmark and brought over to Utah with him. It's plain, it's simple. I love it and it is worthless. No one wants it but me.

3.   It must be rare… Louis the 16th furniture is valuable because there aren't thousands upon thousands out there. If you find one I'll pay you $5 for it day or night!

Is it okay to paint?

Chances are it is okay to paint. However, if your piece has a patina on it well, that's often better looking than any paint you could put on it.

What is patina you ask?

Patina - a thin layer formed by corrosion on the surface of some metals and minerals, especially the green layer that covers copper and bronze and is valued for its color

a pleasing surface sheen that develops on an object with age or frequent handling. (somewhat it just means dirty)

Removing patinas from the wrong thing though can make your valuable piece something just to throw away!

So, the next time you're worried about painting that flea market find just use these rules and if you're still not certain call an expert. You can get an appraisal for usually under $100!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Feast of Saint Loo Loo

You probably don't know it but the Feast of Saint Loo Loo is coming up.
It's April 29th! Same as it has been for the last goodness 11 years!
You are right now racking your brain." What? "  you ask yourself. "Is it that time already you play along but then in the end you finally cave.

What is the Feast of Saint Loo Loo you ask? I am so disappointed. Of course you didn't know. It's made up!!!!

My family has a habit of making up our own holidays. We celebrate them with gusto and glory as though it is just as important as Easter, Christmas, The 4th of July, or Pioneer Day (We're from Utah we have to celebrate Pioneer Day). We have several of these made up holidays. A few of them have already passed this year and no one sent me a card. How sad!

We have the following hoildays and now you are warned I expect at least an e- card:

Mother Goose Day (January 1st)
Peter Piper Day (the day you get your taxes back)
Pippy Longstocking Day (whenever you feel like a holiday)
The Feast of Saint Loo Loo (April 29th)
Bob Hope's Birthday (May 29h not made up but still important to note)

I will post something about each of these holidays as they get closer.

So the Feast of Saint Loo Loo came about one night as my sister's (2 of the 7) and a friend were hanging out and watching Muppets Treasure Island. We had just gotten to the scene when Jim, Rizzo, and Gonzo go to see Squire Trewlaney about a ship. They knock on the door and are told by the butler that Squire Twelaney is in Bath for his gout and will return next month on a ship called The Feast of Saint Loo Loo. In that instant we knew we had a holiday in the making.

The next day just happened to be a friday April 29th, 2000 in fact. We gathered Polynesian music, all kinds of exotic fruit. We drank fruit punch, sang along to the music and watched Muppets Tresure Island together.

Then we did it again the next year and the next year and the next year and then they all moved away (the bastards). So here I am alone in Vegas and The Feast of Saint Loo Loo is fast approaching. This year I refuse to celebrate alone. I invite all of my readers world wide to celebrate with me.

Let's get our Loo Loo on!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Scam I Am


I came across a scary news story the other day and felt compelled to share it with my readers. I think everyone knows that Las Vegas has been hit very hard by the housing crisis as well as the rest of the United States. C and I bought our house at the same time as several of our friends and family members. We "qualified" for much more than we bought because we just didn't trust what we were being told.  I'm so glad we bought cheap. We are the only couple that we know that bought a house at the time we did that still has their house. I'm happy to say we don't have a  ceiling in the bathroom instead of the bank doesn't have a ceiling.

A few years ago C and I were able to do a Loan Modification and changed our loan to a 30 year fixed away from the ARM we like a lot of people were suckered into. The Mortgage company even "forgave" a big chunk of money on the house and we are now very close to our house being worth what we paid for it. We are VERY, VERY VERY lucky!!!!!!!!

When we did our modification our loan was sold to a new company and even if you don't do anything to your loan it's common practice for your Lien Holder to sell your mortgage at any time. We were told by the company that did our adjustment the name of who would hold the note and we waited for the paperwork and coupon book to arrive.

Well, now I've lead into my scam alert. The Nevada Attorney General is currently prosecuting a case involving a group of con men. Their scam set up a phony mortgage company with just the following items: Articles of Incorporation, an office, a bank account, a telephone number, and a post office box.  Then they sent out letters telling homeowners that their mortgage company had sold their loan to them. The note had a payment coupon and the Po box address. I suspect plenty of people sent them their mortgage payments. When the victims found out they had been scammed the checks had already been cashed and they were now behind on their real mortgage. These men are currently charged with 12 counts! I hope they get convicted.

In this day and age it's so hard to keep your house and  if you are and something like this happens I'm not sure how you can bounce back. So how do you avoid something like this happening?

1.     Be suspicious of everything you get in the mail. Think "This is a scam and I need to uncover it."
2.     Call your mortgage holder. Even if they have sold your loan they will tell you who to and how to contact them. If they haven't well then you've saved yourself a lot of heartache!
3.     If you find out about these scams report it. Call someone anyone (the attorney general's office, your local police, department of consumer affairs, the news) and keep calling until someone listens!
4.      If you fall victim to these types of scams don't feel ashamed. These are professionals and you are not!
5.     Report it and help end it so you save the next guy.

Most important don't blame the people that had this happen to them. It really could happen to anyone!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Belize, Oysters, and George Bailey

When I was a little kid my Mother sat me down to watch  "It's a Wonderful Life" with her. She had a thing for Jimmy Stewart and of course we couldn't miss Donna Reed. She played Mary Hatch and that was our last name.  George wanted desperatly to travel. He dreamed of far off places and they seemed to call his name. Life happened to George and he never got the chance to follow those voices (at least not in the movie but I like to think he did after the kids moved away).  That movie infected me and I too dream of far off places.

I dream of Belize!

 Belize is a English speaking country in Central America that is a lush tropical rainforest with a population of 200,000 people. It belongs to the British Empire but they rule themselves. I flunked Spanish in high school. I got a 12% (but I did it with style). So an exotic land that speaks my language seems like a dream come true. When I was 25 I was dating a loser and I was tired of my life. I decided I wasn't going to be George any longer. I was going to jump the tramp steamer and head off to Belize. I did research (because I'm anal) I had contacts and was setting up a job and a place to live. I decided I was going to move there and work my butt off saving money to open ….

Can you guess????

The anticipation must be killing you!!!

A Oyster Farm!!!!

Now I know what your thinking… That is so cool…. And it is…. I had it all figured out… How to lease a section of River from the Belizean government, the filtration system needed, capacity, a market, and even two side businesses of eco-tourism, and pearls!

 There would be a main house where I would live and a few casita's for the eco touritsts and maybe even an Oyster Bar for the villageres. It was going to be in a lovely spot called Orange Walk. (because Belize City has freakish amounts of crime)..

So, you ask yourself what happened?? Why isn't she there right now. It's been years.. Well…..

I meet a guy!

A wonderful guy that loved me and was willing to move for me.. A whole 270 miles but drew the line at another country. I married him and now have 2 wonderful babies and a townhouse that let's me practice building…

Because even though he wasn't willing to move to another country 7 years ago doesn’t mean he never will  and when he's ready


I still have my notes!

Friday, April 15, 2011

How to Repair Wall Damage

The Wall with the Hooks

I hang our Christmas stockings off those wall hooks that are supposed to not damage the wall when you remove them. When I began to paint I tried out a few parts of the Living Room to see how it would go. I liked the color and I decided to remove them and save them to put right back up for next years Christmas.

Wall Damage Up Close

This is so not what I was expecting. I suck at texture but I found a wonderful product that makes sucking not matter. It's Sher Proof!

It's Orange Peel spray can texture. You patch the wall and just spray it. Okay I skipped the patch part as the spots were small. I just pushed the button and then I used a diaper wipe to kind of beat it down a bit.

It only takes 30 minutes to dry and then you can paint right over it.
This is after the spray texture

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How did Le Chateau Ghetto get it's Name?

I have been asked this well a lot since I started this blog. So I guess I need to explain. When C and I first bought the townhouse we called it "The Burrows" like in Harry Potter. It looked just like J.K. Rowlings described it in her book.

The Weasley house has seven floors. It is also quite dilapidated, managing to remain standing only by magic. Despite the house's rundown appearance, Harry remarks on his first visit that it was the best house he had ever been in and it becomes his second favourite place in the world  This seemed like a good  fit for our house but it wasn't perfect and I knew I'd find the right name eventually. Then I saw a new movie.

Medea's Family Reunion:

In this movie the characters are having a wedding and the wedding planner designs a dream wedding which she calls "Spring in Paris". Later in the movie when there is a switch of bride/groom she remarks that if she knew the type of people that was coming to the wedding she would have designed it as "Chateau Ghetto". Right then and there I knew the name was perfect and Le Chateau Ghetto it has been ever since!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Rules of the Ghetto:

No I don't mean never flash your colors if you don't have homie backup. (This one I leaned in high school)!
I mean the rules I have in my house to keep me from going into a delirious state where I mumble in the corner begging for order in this place.

The Rules:

  1. No shoes upstairs - this is so I don't have to find them in the mornings.
  2. Leave shoes at the foot of the stairs when you go up for the night.
  3. No toys in Mom's room. This one I'm sure you understand.
  4. If it's open - close it
  5. If it's on the floor - pick it up
  6. If it's dirty  -clean it!
  7. No binkies in the bathtub! We haven't used this one in a long time but the rule stands!
  8. If you are going to throw a fit do it in your room. I didn't do anything wrong so why should I have to listen. This applies to kids, spouses, and house guests.
  9. Don't mock the renovation work. I will hit you with a hammer!
That's all so far but owners reserve the right to add more whenever they feel like it!

My Dad is

CANCER FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Tuesday, April 12, 2011

There's a Solar in my Eye!

The HOA is thinking about getting solar panals for the Common Areas. This sounds so cool. I'm not so sure how it will play out as it took them 6 months to repair my roof after it collapsed into the 2nd bedroom  in 2007. Oh yeah remind me to tell you guys that story. It ends with a bad texture job, a new roof, a new ceiling (without popcorn) and, new supports on the roof as they had mostly rotted!!!

Anyone out there have any experience with solar? The HOA is talking about letting the homeowners get solar panels as well and it's worht looking into right?

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Ghetto is Bringing me Down!

I hate chaos. It drive me insane but with the present state of the house chaos is all I see. I swept the floor 8 times today and I think it needs it again. Seems stupid considering I mopped sticky concrete. Well, only parts of it are sticky concrete. The rest of the living room has the foam flooring put down in anticipation of putting in the laminate flooring I bought for it well, several months ago. I now have a saw and most of the pull and stick is up but....

No it's not another case of ADD it's a case of  convincing. I am hoping to get the floor in by the end of April.

This is a huge fight between C and I. I started this blog with the intention of being 100% honest and I am in a bit of a dilema right now because I am worried that by being honest here with this Ghetto problem I may make family mad.  However, by not being honest it just makes me a hypocrite. So I guess I can take the heat and I'll go with honesty. Let the chips fall where they may...

There are two types of parents out there:

 1. The teachers - they are the ones that show you how to do things and then give you wings to try it out. Maybe you fall maybe you fly.

2. The I'll do it for you - they are the parents that don't show you and just do stuff for you.  Their kids sometimes never get an chance to fly because they are always second guessing themselves.

C had one kind I had the other. One of us has wings and one of us has doubts. You decide who is who.. I won't say.

So that is where we stand on installing the floor. It sits in the bathroom the one without a ceiling waiting for one of the two of us to convince the other one that we can handle the flooring without waiting for the I'll do it for you parent to make an appearance. I sure hope one of us wins soon because I'd like to stop mopping sticky concrete!

Friday, April 8, 2011

 The top 2 contenders for the bathroom backsplash and shower surround accent.

Which one do you like?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Outdoor Living Indoor Space

This post brought to you by Pier 1. All opinions are 100% mine.

Did you know the first day of Spring was March 20th? We did here in Las Vegas. It's already hot.

C loves outdoor furniture and because it is usually so much less expensive he was always pushed for us to buy it for our living room. The problem with this has always been durability. Sure we could pay less than the normal indoor chairs and table but what good would that do if they fell apart just a few short months later right?

Well, I stumbled upon Pier One Outdoor furniture the other day and I think I can give C his wish now. Just look at this chair!


I love it! It strong and durable. I have no doubt that this would hold up to Goo and Gouda. Plus even better it's easy to clean. Finally affordable furniture that can please C and I at the same time. I never thought that would ever happen. As I looked around the store on my lunch break yesterday I was entranced. So many possibilities and all within my price range. It's not often you find affordable, fashionable, and durable in the same store but Pier one does. I am in love with this chair. As I sat in it to give it a try I was encapsulated in comfort and didn't' even have sticker shock. I also loved the papasan chair. Normally I hate them because they can be uncomfortable but not his one. It's just feels like luxury.



I've also talked before about the reason we bought the Chateau was because of the awesome views from the French Balcony's over looking the Las Vegas Valley and Sunrise Mountain. Well, I've been searching forever for the perfect table to put out on my balcony so I can sit out on a cool night in the Summer and drink an ice cold Coke and read a book. This table is perfect and I am excited to get it.

The table is only $129.99 and will last for years. My kind of bargain.


So run don't walk down to your local Pier 1 and check out these great items.  I know I have and it's just a matter of time before I've checked off my list of outdoor and indoor desires at Pier 1.




Oh and don't forget Pier 1 is on twitter and you don't want to miss these Tweet Ups

.Pier 1 Tweetups


 . Pier 1

Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Goo's Decor

When we had Goo we were amazed, just the year before C and I had been told children for us would not be possible. When I became pregnant with Goo we were told it was a miracle and would never happen again. I was so happy with my little miracle man and C and I set out to spoil him. Le Chateau Ghetto has 2 bedrooms and I wanted Goo (by the way I really call him this it's not his name but we use it so much we almost forget his name) to have a great room. When he was about 2 he loved all things Disney so I wanted to capture that in his room. So I painted the above pictures. He loves them! However, they are a little bit Boyish for our 2nd little miracle Gouda! (PS yes Doctors do not know everything)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Oops I did it again!

I found more Oops paint! It's MAGENTA! It's going to go into the downstairs bathroom. I can't wait. Just take a look below and you can see why! This is the downstairs bathroom and yes, that is no ceiling and yes, that is Pepto Bismal Pink paint with yellow stripes. I promised C he could do whatever he wanted to this bathroom and as I am a woman of my word I ended up with this. I added the yellow just to deaden the brightness of the pink. I figure the magenta is better than this. He also want to add a shower just like the neighbors. That one I'm on board with. The rest well, I smile and keep my word because as Grandpa J said "You are only as good as your word and if your word is no good neither are you."
***SIGH*** I hope Grandpa is proud!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Keys, Keys, Where are the Keys???

Modern Key
 Growing up my mother always stressed organization. It was very important to her as she has what she likes to refer to as "Vision Problems". Our house was always spotless and you knew exactly where everything was at all times. I aspire to this. Le Chateau has been for a long time in a state of flux. A nice way of saying it's unorganized and cluttered. When you are missing ceilings and sinks, it's easy to get in the flux state. This drives me crazy and it drives C crazy too! We are constantly looking for way to combat this. One of the ways C and I do that is by our Keys! We have two of them. My Mother and Father always had one of them hung up within hours of moving and we moved around a lot. It makes where ever I am seem like home. The one on the right I actually made and it hangs by the back door. The moment I walk in I hang up my keys and I never have to look for them.
Old Fashioned Key

This key was made by my father and it hangs by the front door. He gave it to me for my wedding. He said it was so I would always have the key home if I ever needed it. His way of saying he would always be there for me. It means even more to me now as my Father struggles with Kidney Cancer. There is so much love in all the little details in this key.

You can make one to (you'll have to add your own love though).

You just need the following:
  1. A nice pine board. (Don't go cheap if you want an Heirloom plywood is for sissies!)
  2. A template for your key. You can use this one. Simply print out and blow up with a standard copier. (The old fashioned one my mother drew by hand without a template)
  3. Cut out the template and tape it to your pine board.
  4. Use a jigsaw to cut out the key.
  6. Decorate how you want.(the one I made is stained walnut and poly'ed to make it durable and shine. Dad's is stained oak and then he used a drimel tool to make the notch marks and a heat gun to scorch it a bit)
  7. Drill 2 holes on each end to attach to the wall.
  8. Add the hooks for your keys. Space them how you want and as many as you want.
  9. Hang on wall right next to the door!
If you make one let me know. I'd love to see what you come up with!

Friday, April 1, 2011

An Oops Paint Scandal!








Yesterday I went to a Home Improvement store because I ran out of my Tangerine Dream Oops paint I bought for $5.00.


***** Memo to all you Oopsers out there make sure if you are going to buy Oops paint you have enough*****


I gave the paint can to the gentleman behind the paint counter and asked for a galleon of Tangerine Dream. He quickly went to work and after the can was done shaking all about he opened the lid and shocked the crud right out of me.


"That's not even close ." I said.


"Oh, this is oops paint ." he replied. " You do know that when we put something in the Oops section we add colors to it."


"What? I didn't know that." I spouted stunned with my jaw hanging open.


"Yeah, it's a new thing we are doing company wide. We have been having so many people come up and ask for a custom paint color and they go shopping while we mix it. Then they duck out and come back the next day and get the paint on sale as an Oops for $5.00 instead of the real price. So now when people ditch out and don't come back before we put the paint on the Oops shelf we add a bunch of different colors to it and we don't change the paint dot on top. That way when they get it home they don't get the paint color they thought they were." he added with a clever grin.


"But what about the people that like the color and just want a bargain?" I asked.


"Just have the person working the counter open the can for you and see if you still like it." he countered.


"Oh, well than makes sense." I stated.


So this leads me to the end of my story. He opened the paint can I had brought, got out a bit of the old paint that turns out looks nothing like a Tangerine Dream and proceeded to color match.


It looks great. In fact we even got another galleon of Oops paint for another room. Don't worry this room is small and one galleon will do the job.