Dec 31, 2010

Half Bath Half done...

It is here - the final day of my Countdown to New Years "finish er' up" quest.  Today the long awaited end to the half done guest's all in the details, baby!  I mean, the bathroom is fully functional - it just looks a little scrappy. 

Day Four - Finish caulking, patching, and painting the 1/2 bathroom.

We rarely used this bathroom after the remodel once the cold whether came around.  Why, you ask?  Because there is no heat source in there!  It freezes your toush off every time said toush touches the seat.  We have since bought a little space heater which works great besides the fact you have to remember to plug it in and unplug it everyday.  Anywho, now that it is functional I am also reminded on a daily basis that it is not finished.  That, me lads, ends today.

Here it is as of this morning:

Here I am in patch and Caulk mode:

And here it is after a little caulky doodle do and patchy poo:

Here is the finished product.

OK OK - I still have to paint that tiny bit of trim near the ceiling but it got a little too dark by the time the ceiling paint was dry.  I PROMISE that will be done first thing tomorrow.  This case is officially closed and the Countdown to New Years is complete.  With all I got done this week I feel energized to start the new year off right!  I have decided to finish painting the trim which I primed earlier this week as seen here.

See you next year for final goodbyes to the red trim and a glimpse into resolutions we will try our best to keep up with!  So long 2010!!


Dec 30, 2010

Prime Time!

New Years Countdown continues with the third day of half done projects to be finished.

Day Three - Prime all blood red paint trim.

I started this a few weeks ago when I had a bit of leftover primer in my trim cup from a different project.  I swear that was a bottomless cup as I kept going and going with what I had.  I got about half the way done with our living room which now looks like this:

The other half of our living room still looks like this:

Today I broke out the trim cup again and went at it.  After the primer I will be needing a few coats of semi gloss white to finish it up but for now we will just focus on step at a time, folks!

Some simple steps to get started:

1.Remove any drapes or window hardware that will otherwise be painted.

2. Fill any holes from the removed hardware unless you plan to use them again.  In my case I will use these crappy old blinds again until we grab some more fashionable window treatments so they will be going right back where they came from.  :(

3. Vacuum, dust, and wipe down anything you will be painting.  Because I have Bubba as my assistant,  I have to wipe things down a few times throughout my painting time as she tends to like to pace the room and check out my progress which generates a constant stream of black fur where my white paint is supposed to be going.  See!

4. Once I have my primer all mixed up and ready to go I grab any old Tupperware that has long since lost its lid and fill er' up!  I have a trim bucket and all sorts of paint pans but for trim work I always thought this worked good and was a nice way to recycle junk I could no longer use.

5. I do not use a drop cloth as my hand is pretty steady from all the painting that I have done, however, if yours is not then you will definitely want to use one.  If not for the baseboards then at least for the trim on the ceiling so it doesn't fall to the ground and splatter.  Since our floors are hardwood, little paint droppings tend to pop right off if you scratch them.  Regardless, keep a damp spare towel near you so you can just wipe it up - why not clean as you go?  If you have carpet then USE A DROP CLOTH!

6. Slow and steady now.  You want a nice thin coat all across the board.  Don't worry that the ugly red (or whatever weird color yours may be) is showing through - that will be covered with one of the 3 coats of white semi gloss later.

    Here is the long anticipated after:

    That's it!  When you're all done go clean your brush and rinse your cup...unless you have extra primer in which case you should go start a project you wont soon finish!  Now take a moment to marvel at how purrtty it looks with just a bit of primer.  Then wait a few months to get around to the painting - it may be next years countdown to New Years when I decide to tackle the rest...

    What will I conquer tomorrow?  Stay tuned!


    Has anyone else had horrible paint trim or wall paint they have had to cover?  How many coats did it take you??

    Dec 29, 2010

    Caulk Talk

    When we did our big Kitchen reno (which I have yet to share with you but will in good time) we learned many things one of which was how un-level our walls and ceilings were.  That became much more apparent when we put up the cabinets.  Though they were all leveled with each other the rest of the room was a bit off.  Once we put the moldings on the top of the cabinets there were some pretty big gaps to cover.  Thanks goodness for caulk!  I started this project awhile back but never quite got around to finishing.  Yes - it is part of my theme week...

    Day Two - Caulk the kitchen...and while I have it out, the 1/2 bath doorway too.

    Here some pictures of what it looks like now as well as a few of the bathroom door jamb which we actually paid someone to install for us but it came out looking like we did it anyway.  Cheap labor does NOT always equal a good return - in fact, it almost always needs to be fixed later.  Thankfully my Uncle came out and fixed the other guys work but there was no fixing the damage to the wood he had done so I am forced to use a bit of wood filler and caulk in the repair process.  If you have the tools and the time, save yourself some money and frustration and start Googling.  There isn't much you cant figure out when you have You Tube at your disposal!  On to the pics:

    And now back to business.  When caulking I like to have a dry paper towel or kitchen towel on hand to clean up my fingers or any blobs of caulk that go rogue.  I usually like to put a small bead of caulk on the item needing said caulking and then lick my pointer finger and smooth it out.  Ok - maybe not the most professional way of doing things but it works none the less.  There are many devices and gadgets out there for you to smooth your caulk but, in my opinion, the best one is your finger.  It is free and easy to clean...similar to my paint swatch tactics seen here.  However, since I am doing such a big space it will require multiple licking of the fingers and that isnt good for anybody.  Dont lick, caulk, and relick.  Not good!!  Instead I use a little cup of water - like a shot glass - and dip my finger in.  I know I could use that method all the time but as I have said many times before I am often lazy and not willing to go to the kitchen and get the glass and water.  In this case I shall succumb to the idea as I am already in my kitchen and really have no excuse to be lazy. 

    I am inserting a little pic of the caulk bead process from another project but the idea is just the same:

    Something to that effect.  Either way here is the end result. 

    So, you see, nothing is perfect but pretty darn close. As for the doors - I still need to paint the trim and the doors themselves. That, Amigos, is a project I shall finish another day. Tomorrow I am breaking out the primer for the latest and final addition of "Conquer the Red". Stay tuned!


    Got a caulking horror story?  Feel free to click the comment button and share it here!

    Dec 28, 2010

    I'm Dreaming of a White Ceiling

    Hello to all - I hope you are enjoying your holiday season and hopefully many days off from work or school.  My husband is home all week which means any project that is half finished will be pointed out to me on a daily basis...sometimes multiple times a day.  It is time for me to kick it into gear and finish a few projects that I have been too lazy to get to.  I am vowing to complete 1 "almost finished" project a day until new years.

    Day one - Finish painting the ceiling in our Bedroom!

    When we decided to stain the floors we moved everything to the Kitchen/Family room (as seen here) we also decided since everything was out of the bedroom it was time to purchase our much longed for (and currently on sale!!) PAX wardrobes.  This pic does not show our doors as they are now discontinued but more on those in a future post.
    Hello, Lovaa!

    Once we bought them we realized they would have to be built in our bedroom or they would never fit through our crazy 6 doored hallway. I put them together in the room and called E to help me stand them up - you need 2 people for this task or they will break!!  I am a true DIY'er and I never want any help but TRUST ME on this one.  Of course, once they were up I realized if I didn't paint behind them now I would never do it.  I realize no one would ever see the wall but I also knew I would not be able to sleep knowing what dirty little secret hid behind our wardrobe.  So the painting began.  Oh - and why put together the wardrobes and THEN paint?  That is a question we will never be able to answer but we vow to NEVER do it again!

    I started with the trim, top and bottom in Freshaire (which is NO VOC) semi gloss available at Home Depot. and quickly realized how dingy the ceiling looked next to my freshly painted trim.  The good news is I already had bought the ceiling paint, also Freshaire from HD, as it was on sale for $8/gallon!  The bad news is - when you are painting a ceiling with 2 huge wardrobes in the room and a ceiling fan still attached you are bound to have a few problems maneuvering.  I decided I would put the wardrobes in the middle of the room and then paint the rest once I moved them to the wall.  By the time I finished painting everything (as seen here)  it was too dark to even see the ceiling so I decided to wait until morning.  By morning I was so sore from painting the ceiling - anyone who has painted a ceiling knows exactly what I am talking about - so I decided to wait till the next day. Then the next day came and I was too lazy to get all the paint stuff out again...then the next day and the next.  It is now over a month later and I still haven't painted the leftover patch on the ceiling...until today!

    Before - Dingy Beige :(

    After - Nice and White!

    I realize the pictures came out a little dark but with the flash on it was a mess so this is the closest I could get to the true color tone.  I am so delighted to tell you that all it took was 5 minutes of prep mainly to cover the bed with plastic, 5 minutes of painting, and 5 minutes of clean up to finish the long awaited completion of this project!  15 minutes and $0.  I am checking this off the list and off to hunt out tomorrows project...


    PS - Any ideas of what type of lighting I should put in the bedroom?  We had a fan there but it was loud so we never used it.  Also, E is VERY sensitive to drafts (kind of like an old lady :) ) so we were thinking of skipping the fan all together.  Let me know what you think!!

    Dec 27, 2010

    Bedroom Paint Color...the friendly confines of an Olive the Afternoon Shade?

    When deciding to paint the bedroom I consulted my all time go to guide - The Pottery Barn Catalog  - which is where I stumbled across the photo to the left and the Benjamin Moore paint called Olive Branch. I fell in love. It was a beaut! I put all types of swatches up on the wall but kept coming back to that color...not on a swatch but on my computer screen. It was the ONLY color I didn't have an actual swatch for. I did a little research and found a coupon for 30% off at Sherwin Williams which just happened to be right down the street in our new hood. Off I went with my top 3 color swatches and Olive Branch still stuck in my head. It had taken me the better part of the day to pick a color in my house and once I was there I pondered for another hour. Yes, an hour. I finally decided, sans swatch, to go for it! Olive Branch was my match meant to be. My mate, my partner in crime, the Clyde to my Bonnie.

    I know, I know. I could have had the guy make me a little tiny tester color. I know I could have gotten off my arse and made it to Benjamin Moore a mere 20 minutes away. I know I could have done a lot of things including considering the nice rich Olive Branch color in a small room with a lot of furnishings. I did none of those things, my friends. Instead I went all out and grabbed myself a gallon of expensive (though not too expensive with 30% off) No Voc paint in Olive Branch which they specially mixed for me. Ho Ho Home I it too late for a Santa reference? most can imagine things did not turn out as planned. The paint was too dark in our little room - especially at the end of the day since I took so much time to decide. I finger painted it up on the wall straight from the gallon and tried out every wall with a little dabble. Yes - I am too cheap to use a brush for just a tester spot. My fingers are available - I have 10! - and easy to clean. They are also FREEE! So finger painting works goood for me. I am a professional people! Once it was up I quickly realized this was not the way to go. It was like an army barracks in there. It did not look as warm and inviting as the nice Pottery Barn bedroom above. I am VERY grateful I did not waste the whole gallon of paint to figure this one out! So back to Sherwin Williams I get paint choice number 2 - Afternoon Shade. I cant find a swatch online but it is available at Home Depot or you can have another paint store mix it which is what I did...I had another 30% off coupon people!!

    Back with paint color #2 I can say I have now found the Peanut Butter to my Jelly! She is gorgeous and spa like. Just the right tint of blue with the right mix of green. Here is a pic of it quite literally in the afternoon shade...

    Though that isn't the best quality or lighting for a really good shot it was the best I could do at the time since I had no lighting in there...we can talk about that in the next post! Looks pretty good with our newly stained floors!

    Lessons learned....

    -Everything looks better in a Pottery Barn catalog!!

    -When you have a small room or even if you have too much furniture in a big room you should always choose a lighter color.

    -Spring for the little test colors if you can afford them. It will save you time and money if you decide the gallon you just bought is not going to work for the space! The only way to REALLY tell is when it is on YOUR wall and on EVERY wall in the room. Colors change with lighting and when you have windows on some walls and not others it will make a difference from every angle.

    Ta ta for now - off to work on the office...still...


    Top photo courtesy of Pottery Barn Catalog - the rest are mine, I swear!

    Dec 26, 2010

    Stain these floors, Baby!

    So we have been tossing and turning, literally, itching to get back into our master bedroom. Let me explain. Since we bought the house I have been dying to rip out the salmon colored cheapest grade possible wall to wall carpeting in our house. This delicious textile wove its way throughout most of our main floor - it was there to greet you at the front door, crept with you through our crazy 6 doored hallway, and sprawled out in each of the bedrooms. To make matters worse, our living room/dining room is adorned in a horrible blood red trim - both top and bottom + the windows! Red and Salmon are not friends on the color wheel - they will NEVER be friends...under no circumstances.

    A couple months back, after peeling back a corner to find hardwood beneath, I decided to rip out the portion of carpet in one of the bedrooms which currently houses my office. At the crack of dawn I was rolling it up and tossing it downstairs to use as a temporary carpet in E's new office...he was not so happy to see it or the mess I had made of my office in the wee small hours of the morning. But it was done and could not be undone so on we went! The floors that lie beneath were not good...very very not good. Many pet stains and a weird rotton potato type funk that got my office to reek for weeks. I do you a solid by not attaching a picture of the wood floors beneath. To be honest I was so disgusted I could not even take the picture! So - when we were leaving for our honeymoon I decided it would be the best time to get these carpets out and the floors stained. Thankfully we had hardwood flooring under the carpet - it had seen better days but upon inspection from our floor guy, Tim, he assured us he could handle it. I was sold! Lets do it - where do I sign!

    In order to do this job I would have to move all of our earthly belongings (ok - just the ones on the main floor of the house) to the newly finished family room/kitchen. Needless to say my hubs was not thrilled. We had JUST gotten rid of the construction crew and all the leftover random construction paraphernalia and now I wanted to move everything we own onto the living room? Including the bed? After I cleverly explained that this would be our only shot at it in the near future since we would be out of town and the dog would have a sitter since we were leaving for our honeymoon he agreed - with some reservation. So I pushed even further and said I would move ALL the furniture myself and he wouldn't have to do a single thing. That clinched it! We made our deal so I called Tim and made that deal too. I was on a roll!

    We had a great time in Jamaica NOT thinking about the floors. See?

    The moment we got home and I put the key in the door - even before opening the door - I could smell the stain and poly. STINKY! Add that to the mess of our house - wish I had a pic but we were too exhausted to take the cameras out - we decided to open all windows, turn on space heaters, and stay in our kitchen/living room/bedroom until the next day. Here are a few shots of what it looks like now:

    Dont mind the mess...we are a work in progress!
    A little closer you say?

    The next day we moved into the guest bedroom so I could begin painting our future MB. Of course - that was not as straight forward as it sounded and took a little more time than expected. More on the MB remodel later...Im off to paint!!


    Dec 24, 2010

    Welcome to our Home Sweet (sometimes salty!!) Home!

    Please allow me to introduce myself I'm a man...oh wait...I'm a woman of not so great wealth and a little bit of taste! Rolling Stones lyrics anyone??

    Ok - so if you didn't get my cheesy first intro let me try again. My name is Bianca and I am many things but so far not yet a Blogger. I am wife to E, Mommy to Bubba (our dog), Daughter, Sister, Realtor, Flight Attendant, Gardener, Nanny, and anything else you need me to be today. Again, what I am not is a Blogger. I figured why not throw my hat into the ring and see what I can do - if I can help anyone (if I can help myself!) then it will all be worth the effort!

    Here is a little back story on us...My boyfriend (now husband), E, and I moved into our 1950's brick ranch at the beginning of this year. See the pic still has the for sale sign up! A LOT has happened in this crazy year - I will spare you the mundane details - but the basic gist goes something like this:
    • Bought our house in the burbs but oh so close to the city...hmmmm, the city.
    • Got engaged - YES! Engaged!
    • Built an office in the basement for my dear husband-first changes to new house!
    • Began major construction on a tiny addition with big results which I will share more about later
    • Started my first organic vegetable garden - Much more about that later when I attempt to do it again this year
    • Began to plan wedding
    • Called wedding off after a large rainfall that flooded parts of basement and seeped in through brand new drywalled ceiling...oh the travesty...
    • Moved wedding out of town to Wisconsin and we were back on track with the planning
    • Finished construction of addition...mostly
    • Fostered 2 puppies that Bubba hated then began to love
    • Went to Bosnia to visit his family - him for the first time in 10 years me for the first time EVER
    • Had floors refinished while in Jamaica for Honeymoon
    • Painted Painted Painted
    • Began office remodel which is still still waiting to be moved into as I type this little post from my kitchen counter...move in day Sunday! Unless my husband kicks me out of here before then...arghh

    So, as you can see, it has been a very very crazy year for us. The moving, construction, and wedding alone would kill most people but add on top of that a couple puppies, water issues in our house, and the fact that I try to work from home...well, it makes for a crazy life but it is OUR life and I am not sure we would have it any other way!

    From this blog I hope to learn a few things of my own and maybe even teach a few things. As I said earlier - I do many things but bloggin isn't one of them. This year I am hoping to change that. It is not really a new years resolution (though I have a few) so much as it is a cataloging of our everyday events so we can learn from our triumphs (mostly by making mistakes) and maybe help a few people do the same!

    So here is to 2011...a little early. Wearing thin on patience and with a shoestring budget I ask myself, "What can we sink our teeth into next??"

    So long till next Post!
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