Friday, August 23, 2019

Another Small Home Improvement Project - Main Bathroom Vanity

Our forty year old bathroom vanity was very much in need of a total makeover.  Some would argue a total replacement, but I could see some potential still left in her.  The vanity itself is still strong and sturdy.  It just lacked some luster and was showing the signs of daily wear and tear.

The finish was worn and these brass knobs had to go

Too much crap!

Although the vanity was clean underneath, the wood had some staining and looked pretty yucky.  The bare wood is also difficult to clean and keep clean so I opted to give it the same treatment I gave our kitchen sink cabinet.  We cleared everything out and I got right to work.

Removing the drawers, doors and hardware

Sorry this is so blurry, but you get the jist
Not sure what that stain is from, it has been here as long as we have

All of the drawer fronts and the cabinet doors were removed.  After a light sanding I washed everything inside and out.  Once that was dry I taped it all off along the walls and the countertop.  Then I used a sponge brush and some paint I had leftover from the downstairs bathroom vanity makeover and gave it two good coats of paint.  I can't believe this paint sample was enough to completely paint both of our vanities.
I can't believe how much this little sample of paint covered

Vinyl peel & stick floor tiles for the base of the vanity

First one in and already an improvement

This looks great!
The difference is like night & day

The inside of the vanity, other than the floor of it, was in really good shape.  I had already cleaned it so the next thing to do was to use vinyl peel & stick floor tiles and cover the bottom of the vanity.  The ones I chose matched the paint nicely and really made it look so much better under there.  Not to mention, it will be so much easier to keep it clean as well.

Time to clean these out!

All clean and ready for some Howard's

The finish was pretty much nil here

The drawers were looking pretty ratty and the finish inside them was rather worn.  I scrubbed them clean and then used some of my Howard's Restor-A-Finish and a piece of fine steel wool to give them a once over.  I wasn't sure if it would work, but it did!  I was able to put a nice finish back onto the drawers, inside and out, and minimize the worn spots as well.  I'm extremely happy with how they turned out.

The one on the left is before
The one on the right is after!

Once again Howard's did not disappoint
These drawers turned out amazing

With everything nice and dry I added new knobs to the drawer fronts and reattached them to the drawers.  I added new knobs to the cabinet doors as well.  The hinges got a bath and allowed to dry overnight before I got after them with some Rustoleum Metallic Aluminum spray paint.

I splurged at Dollar tree on a roll of shelf liner
and a couple drawer organizers to keep things nice

New knobs!  Love!

I didn't want to risk the drawers and cabinet doors sticking to the face frame of the vanity so I allowed the paint to cure a good 48 hours before I reassembled everything.  Much as I wanted to hurry and put it all back together and re-organize our things I patiently waited.  Nothing is more upsetting then to work really hard on something and then ruin it because you got impatient.
Doors back on with their "new" hinges

Not to worry though because while I was waiting for the paint on the vanity to cure I was able to get other things done in there as well.  Plenty of things to keep me busy.  No need to just sit and watch paint dry!

This mama is soooo happy with this makeover!

Even the sides of the drawers are pretty with their new finish

The vanity looks amazing, if I do say so myself.  It matches the one in our downstairs bathroom so we have a nice cohesive look going on.  I'm excited to share the rest of our bathroom renovations with you so be sure to check back.  Those details and the big reveal are coming up soon!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

How Much Did The Master Bedroom Project Cost?

I am really proud of this project for a number of reasons.  It was quite easily the room that had been overlooked the most so it was in need of some much needed love and affection.  With this project however, I had very little time available to work on it and even less money to spend.  So I got really creative with both my time and how I managed the renovation costs.

Everything out of the closet

I completely gutted this room right down to the ratty plywood subflooring.  It was a blank canvas I had to work with which made it really nice actually.  I wanted to really dress it up to go along with our downstairs improvements.  Once I got home from work each evening I changed into my grubbies and got myself busy spending about 2 to 2 1/2 hours each night.  After 8 evenings and one Saturday morning I was able to wrap it all up and move in.

I had gone through our garage and pulled out all the items I had leftover from the work we did downstairs.  I had some leftover trim pieces plus the trim I had removed from our living room door, some finish nails, screws, caulk, 3/4 of a gallon of paint, 1/2 a gallon of Oops! paint, some brushes and a roller, paint trays, painters tape and some spackle.  I had also collected several gift cards in the past year to use to buy the things I didn't have.

Two coats of paint made a tremendous difference

A trip to Lowes for a couple contractor's packs of moulding, some trim pieces for the corners, a tube of adhesive, another tube of painter's caulk (I wasn't sure if I had enough) and a few more paint supplies were paid for with a Visa gift card I had received from my employer at Christmas.  I used it again at Home Depot to purchase two gallons of wall paint and a couple cans of spray paint.

The closet is like brand new and carpeted with
leftover scraps from our living room carpet

The room sucked up the better part of three gallons of paint which did surprise me, but at the same time I knew it had been so long since everything had been painted.  I was just glad I had enough funds to pay for all the paint that I needed and give it a really good paint job.

Even the old baseboard heater got a much needed facelift

The entire closet was a no cost renovation.  I used the can of leftover paint in the garage to paint the walls and ceiling (the Oops! paint on the floor), trimmed it out with the leftover trim pieces I had in the garage, mostly by reusing what had been around the living room door (I love that I was able to reuse it and not let it go to waste) and then I carpeted it with leftover pieces from our living room and downstairs hallway carpet.  The closet was really the biggest part of this project and it ended up being basically a freebie simply by using up what we already had on hand.  Who doesn't love that?

Originally our house didn't have any trim along the ceilings

I used one contractors pack of the new trim I bought at Lowes to trim around the floors and ceiling and I used a tube of painter's caulk I already had to finish it all off and fill the nail holes.  The other tube of caulk I bought and the rest of the trim will be used in other areas of the house.

The new carpet goes in!

Once all the painting was done I was ready for the carpet.  I ordered the same carpet I used downstairs because I absolutely love it.  It looks beautiful, is easy to install and is really nice.  I ordered the carpet from Home Depot online and used my PayPal account to make the purchase.  I do have the money in savings to cover this expense, however since I have six months to pay this off before I'll be charged any interest I'm going to pay a little each month until it is paid.  If for some reason I can't do that within the six months I'll take the balance left out of savings so I don't have any interest due.

Moving in!

The carpet and the $11.00 dump fees are the only things I'm actually paying out of pocket.  Everything else I had gift cards to use to cover those expenses.  This ended up being a very affordable and manageable project and the end results are amazing.  I really love this room and since I've moved in I'm sleeping like a baby.  😃

Even with not a lot of time and a super small budget I was able to make a huge improvement to our home and my quality of life.  It feels so nice to walk into this room and see how pretty it is.  I am so very happy I decided to tackle this project.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

I'm Not Perfect

Far from it.  In fact, I make a lot of mistakes.  I don't always make the right decisions or say the right things.  But I try, really, really hard.  I do my best every day to be a good person and to have a full and productive day.  Most nights I go to bed satisfied that I've done just that.  Some nights not so much.  Every morning on my way to work I pray for patience, guidance if I've got something I'm struggling with and I thank God for the wonderful day he has given me and for all that I have been blessed with.  I do feel that I am truly, truly blessed and I am extremely grateful for all that I have and all that will have.

I love my children so very much and I am so proud of the young ladies my girls are becoming and all that they have accomplished so far.  I hope and pray they have bright and healthy futures ahead for them.  That I have done enough to give them a good start in their adult lives and taught them well, not only how to take care of themselves, but how to treat others as well.  I pray for my son that he will be able to heal inside and some day will decide to return to his family, but have also had to accept that it may never happen.  It has been a long time and unfortunately I just can't fix everything.

I don't expect perfection from my children.  I don't expect it from anybody, but what I do expect and (admittedly) demand is courtesy and respect.  Like anyone, I too want to be treated well by my family, my friends, my co-workers, even complete strangers.  So every day I work on being kind, courteous, respectful to everyone I encounter as I move through my day.  Some days it is harder than others, but I still try.  Even if I don't feel like it.  I do believe you need to give it in order to receive it.

I confess I don't like everybody, but I really do like most of the people I encounter.  I never like to give up on a person and will try for a long time to make a relationship work regardless of how small or large. insignificant or important.  I know I am guilty of giving some people far too many chances to redeem themselves only to take on more hurt or anguish until I cannot do it anymore.  But when I've had enough, I've had enough and I am done.  My biggest flaw may very well be that once I've hit that point I will no longer allow them into my life and I completely shut them out.  Friend or family member, it doesn't matter.  The walls are up and you don't get back in.  The only exception to that I think would be with my children.  There are no walls.  I love them unconditionally, no matter what.

The other day the guys at work told me they know I have a tough as nails exterior but inside I am all "warm and squishy".  They love to tease me that I'm just "a big softie" and constantly threaten to hug me.  I'm not a hugger.  I'll hug my kids and my pets all day long, but that's about it.  My friends know this about me too.  They like to push the issue and I hate it, but I forgive them.  Those that know me best know I'll always go the extra mile, lend a helping hand if I am able, I'm not afraid of hard work, will stand up for myself and others, I love and I am loyal to a fault.  They also know I'm not the person you want to piss off and I have my limits.

It has taken me a long time to be willing and able to set boundaries.  Figuring out what you are willing to put up with and what you are not is difficult.  In the past decade I've been able to do
that and while my boundaries haven't pleased some people I have no regrets about setting them and maintaining them.  Sadly, some of the people in my life have not been able to handle that, but I recognize that isn't a reflection of me, but rather a reflection of them.  Boundaries are really hard for some people.

I don't know it all, I don't understand everything, I make mistakes, I screw stuff up, I say it wrong, I lose my temper, I'm slow to forgive and even slower to forget.  I am far from perfect.  But every morning I get up and start my life again.  Every day is a new beginning and a reason to try harder, to do better and be better.  

Every day.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Another Small Home Improvement Project - Master Bedroom Carpet & Reveal

I am super proud of this project.  I didn't have a lot of time or a lot of budget and I still managed to pull it off in only nine days.  And the end results are everything I was hoping for.

I sealed up the rough old plywood subfloor with a good
coat of latex paint purchased from the Home Depot Ooops! shelf

Once the paint had dried the only thing left for me to do was lay the carpet.  Nothing fancy here just a basically square room so I was able to complete this task in under two hours and I absolutely love it!  This carpet is clean, pretty and oh so very soft on my little bare feet.  Installation was easy and straightforward too.


My blank canvas

When I was done I vacuumed the floor and then it was time to move in!

I love this bed set!

I wanted to keep it pretty minimalist in here.  Simple, clean and uncluttered, but also pretty.  I think I accomplished that rather well.

I've had the wicker chair for several years

I brought up my queen sized bed, my nightstand and lamp, my wicker armchair and added my great grandmother's antique table after giving it a quick spruce up.  My clothes and shoes went into the closet and all the stuff that was being stored on our bathroom floor was put away in the linen closet.

I re-used items I already had to organize and furnish this room.  I did splurge and purchase a new set of light blocking thermal curtains for the bedroom window.  They were $9.98 per panel and I got two.  I reused my curtain rod and hardware though so I didn't need to buy another one.

The A/C unit isn't the most attractive thing
in the room but when it is over 100 I sure do appreciate it

Our cat wasted no time moving in

What do you think?

Linen closet put back in order

I love it!  It is clean, new, fresh, quiet, calm and serene.  And I've had several really good night's sleep in here since I moved back in.  I am so happy I was able to make this home improvement happen this summer.

Our main bathroom complete with saw

So, where do you think I'm off to next?

Monday, August 19, 2019

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

Sunday morning I sneaked out of the house while everyone was sleeping and went to Dollar Tree.  I had a short list of things to pick up there and then I headed over to Albertsons to get some boneless skinless chicken that was on for $1.47 a pound.  I picked up ten pounds.  By the time I got home the girls were starting to rally.  I got the groceries all put away, finished up a small project and then we all got busy working on the larger one that we've got going on.  As usual, it is has been crazy busy around this place!

Monday I came home from work and didn't do a darn thing.  Tuesday I stopped by Bed Bath & Beyond armed with a $10OFF coupon to pick myself up an early birthday present.  I decided to add a new shower head, actually a dual head shower setup to our upstairs bathroom.  I'm super excited about it too.  It was on sale for $39.99 and the coupon brought it down to $29.99.  That saved me quite a bit over purchasing the same one at Home Depot.

On the way home from work Wednesday I stopped in at a nearby thrift store.  I needed a crock or something similar to hold the toilet brush in for the upstairs bathroom. I didn't find anything that fit the bill and left empty handed.  Later that evening we went to Wal-Mart for a few grocery items.  First I popped into Goodwill next door and was able to find exactly what I was looking for.  A white ceramic Farberware utensil crock and it was tagged with the color of the day so it was half off!  You will love this.  A very similar setup like what I have in my bathrooms was on sale for $19.99 in plastic at Bed Bath & Beyond.  I paid a $1 for my toilet brush at Dollar Tree (I'm hard pressed to tell the difference between it and the one at BB&B) and the pot was only $1.99 at Goodwill.  I also found a brand new Candle Lite jar candle for 99¢.

Thursday I puttered around the house doing little odds and ends of things that needed to be done.  Friday as well.

Pallet wood!

Saturday morning the girls and I got up early and took the truck over to the FREE WOOD pile near where I work to pick up some pallets for yet another project on my ever expanding "to-do" list.  When we got home we unloaded what we had and went back to get the rest of it.  Yes, there was that much!  After load two we got busy and pulled out all of the nails and staples in the wood and stacked it.  It took us about two hours to complete the job including both trips and loading up.  We figured out how much it would've cost us to purchase all of the 2"X4"s and OSB plywood we had in the stack and it came in at $138!  I don't make those kind of wages at my job so I am super grateful to have this lumber.

It was the final week of summer break, school started back up today for my youngest (sniff).  We managed to completely outfit her for back-to-school with supplies from our stash, her backpack and lunchbox from last year and with the exception of a pair of jeans I bought her a few weeks ago she is good to go with the clothes she already has.  We may get her a new pair of shoes in the next few weeks, but that is pretty much it for any back-to-school shopping.  I got off pretty easy this year.

The weather had cooled down a fair bit.  We used our A/C units very little and kept our home comfortable enough by setting a box fan at the back door to bring in the cooler outdoor air each morning and at night once the sun went down.  We prefer that anyway so it has been very nice to be able to do that this time of year.

I worked a small amount of overtime last week.

We washed out a couple Ziploc bags to reuse.

Some of the 15 Minute Chores I accomplished to keep my home in order:

Laundry Room & Half Bathroom - vacuumed floor.  Daily swish & swipe.

Dining Room - vacuumed floor, dusted shelves, windowsill & chair rail.

Kitchen -  vacuumed floor, cleaned microwave and appliances.

Bedrooms & Main Bathroom - vacuumed & dusted.  I super scrubbed the tiles, cleaned the floor, cleaned the mirror, washed the shower curtain & liner, washed decorative towels in the upstairs bathroom.  Daily swish & swipe.

Other - three loads of laundry, vacuumed & dusted living room, hallway & entry, washed the living room window inside/out, washed living room mirror.  Swept front porch.

How was your thrifty week?

Friday, August 16, 2019

Another Small Home Improvement Project - Master Bedroom Details

When it comes to the success of any project, whatever it happens to be, the details matter.  For me there were a lot of things in the master bedroom that I knew if I didn't address them it would affect the overall result and I wouldn't be happy.  And we all know if mama ain't happy...  LOL.

I scrubbed every bit of this closet system before reinstalling
It looks and feels like it is brand new

It was important that everything be really clean.  So I cleaned a lot and made sure I got every nook and cranny.  I swept, vacuumed, got out a few buckets of soapy water and the Fabulosa all purpose cleaner and I washed down every surface.  I even used a magic eraser to remove any stains and black marks.

I filled the nail holes and caulked all the seams
and edges for a flawless finish

I didn't stop with simply putting up trim.  I went back and filled all of my nail holes and caulked all of my seams and along the edges so once it was painted it would look the best it could.  Taking the time to caulk and fill nail holes made all the difference in the final result.


I also removed it from the wall so I could paint the wall behind it

I knew the 1970s tan baseboard heater would stick out like a sore thumb, but I didn't have the budget to buy a replacement.  Especially as we don't really use the heat upstairs.  We prefer a cooler room to sleep in so by simply allowing the heat to rise from downstairs keeps the upstairs at the perfect temperature for us.  Therefore, replacing the heaters wouldn't make a whole lot of sense financially, plus there really isn't anything wrong with how they function.  They are just ugly.  I researched paint options and decided to simply paint the heater instead.  Now it looks brand new and I'm really happy with the final result.

You can always expect to find a dirt ring
Plus you are much less apt to get paint on the fixture

Quick & easy process to remove these first before painting

For best paint results, even in the closet, I removed as much as I possibly could first.  I filled all the nail holes and gouges in the drywall with spackle and sanded it once it was all dry.  I removed the light fixture and all of the switch and outlet covers rather than to paint around them.  After the first coat of paint dried overnight I gave it a second coat for best coverage and durability.  The final result of the paint job is really pleasing and looks quite professional.

Take the time to tape off what you don't want painted

I carefully cleaned all of the switches, outlets and the light fixture to remove all of the accumulated dirt and dust.  I also washed all of the switch and outlet covers.  I painted one that was rather worn and dingy looking including the little screws as the white paint had chipped off of them.  Now all the outlets and the switch look fresh and new.


Even the thermostat cover got a little bit of a face lift.  I masked off the label and gave it a couple coats of metallic paint to update it from 1979 as well.  I still think it looks kind of ugly, but better.  A new thermostat may be something I'll consider in the future when I have the budget for one.  For now this will do.

I took the time to scrape the entire floor including inside the closet once the carpet was removed.  I was able to get up a lot of spackle globs, texture spray, paint and other things that had been left behind by the original construction team.  I went around the entire room with a hammer to pound down any nails that had popped up too.  Then I gave the entire floor a coat of paint to seal up the old plywood and give us a nice clean smooth surface for the new carpet.

Painted & sealed

By the time I got this far I felt really, really good about how things were turning out in here.  I inspected the room to make sure I didn't miss anything and was quite satisfied that I hadn't.  Ready to proceed.  Next up, carpet!  And then I get to move in!!!

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