Thursday, July 19, 2018

Prepping A Floor

If you've spent any time at all reading this blog you know that we rented our home out for just over a year and that we moved back in over Labor Day weekend nearly four years ago.  You may also remember that our tenants left some significant damage after their stay and that we've been steadily working to repair that damage ever since.  The hardest hit was our carpet and although we made a valiant effort to remove the stains and the over abundant amount of shampoo they used to try and clean it up, the carpet was beyond saving and was disintegrating.

Friday we removed said carpet, all of the padding and the tack strip along the wall uncovering the sub floor in all its original glory plus the water stains from all of the shampooing.  To say it was gross and disgusting would be an understatement.

Total grossness!

We cut the carpet into manageable sized sections, rolled it up and hauled it out.  Then we did the same with the pad.  Our neighbor was kind enough to lend us her two trash cans to put the carpet in and set at the curb for collection.  If the garbage man doesn't take it we'll be doing a dump run.  If he does we'll set out the padding next week.  Fingers crossed he hauls it off for us.

Next up was to remove the tack strip along the wall which I did quickly with a hammer and my pry bar.  Love that tool!  I hauled it out and put it in our trash can.  Then I joined the girls and we pulled up all of the staples.  Not my favorite part of the job, theirs either, but it had to be done.

Pulling up all of the staples is the worst!

Saturday morning I scraped the entire floor.  That was a job!  But in doing so I was able to remove all of the drywall mud and texture that had been left behind by the contractors 40 years ago, some construction adhesive, and all of the staples we missed the night before.  I was also able to smack down all of the nails that were popping up from the subfloor while I was at it.

My daughter doing summer school classes after we finished scraping the floor
Much improved!

We swept and scraped, and swept and scraped and scraped some more.  After a final sweeping I ran the vacuum cleaner over the entire floor and used the wand tool to get along all of the trim and corners.  We sucked up a bunch of stuff.

Next I grabbed my drill and a box of deck screws and ran around putting screws along the joists in between all the nails.  Doing this not only secured the subfloor better, but it also eliminated a bunch of squeaks.  Bonus!

The floor looked a whole ton better, but it still felt gross and dirty to me.  I knew I had to do something else.  So we picked up some cheap paint at Home Depot from the discount bin where they sell the paint that the customers didn't like and we painted the entire floor.  Not only did it look a whole lot better, but it smelled and looked clean.  Having that wood floor all sealed up with a good coat of paint should help it last longer too.

Now that we got the floor all stripped, cleaned and prepped we are ready to move onto the next project on the list.  For now it will stay painted while we work on other things, but it feels really good to be rid of the nasty carpet and all the dirt that had collected underneath.

On to the next project!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


I posted this on my other blog, but I felt it was important enough to share with all of you.

The average American consumes more sugar in their daily diet than ever before in the history of human kind.  Sugar in our diet is becoming a serious problem, but not the only problem.  Corn syrup and sweeteners are added to foods you wouldn't expect and as a result we are consuming more of that sweet stuff than we even realize.

Sugars affect our bodies in ways most people don't even know about.  Most of us know that diabetes is linked to the overconsumption of sugar, but did you know it is also linked to heart disease and cancer?  Did you know that sugar actually feeds cancer cells?  It also causes inflammation, triggering migraines and auto immune issues.  There are so many things that consuming sugars does to the body, it is mind boggling.  And don't think that by consuming sugar substitutes that you are out of the woods, because you're not.  Our bodies can't always tell the difference.

As a nation we are the fattest and unhealthiest we have ever been and it is getting worse.  80% of the population is overweight.  Don't believe me?  Just look around.  And despite all that we know and all that we can do for healthcare we continue to get fatter and unhealthier.  Why is that?  Why aren't we healthier?  Why are so many health issues and diseases running rampant!

Simply because we don't eat right and we don't take care of ourselves.  And until we do it won't matter how many doctors, clinics or hospitals we have.  It won't matter what kind of medications we come up with.  We, as a nation, need to become responsible and stop eating all of the garbage, get off of our butts and start doing the right thing.

Want to know more about how sugar affects your body?  Research it!  You can start right here.  And in the meantime pledge to stop eating the stuff.  Read those food labels.  Quit going after the sweet stuff.  Really pay attention to what you put in your mouth.  And start getting healthier.

Being sick and unhealthy really sucks.  And it doesn't get any easier as we get older.  But fortunately it isn't too late to change and start doing better.  You can turn things around.  You just have to do it.

Here's to a healthier life!  Cutting back on the amount of sugar you consume will dramatically improve your life.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Another Small Home Improvement - Our Dining Room

Our dining room got a BIG facelift and I am IN LOVE with this room.  I've wanted to do this for years and years and finally I got it done.  I am absolutely thrilled with how it turned out.  Before it was pretty Plain Jane with basic white walls.  Over the years I'd added trim to the ceilings, around the doorway and replaced what was along the floor.  It has had a few paint jobs as well.  About ten years ago I put in the china cabinet and some trim around the window.

I picked up a new baseboard heater to replace the forty year old one

I removed the old heater and no surprise the wall was disgusting behind it

First wall where I put up the bead board wallpaper

I had helpers!
Chair rail added

Last week during my "staycation" I was able to update the dining room.  I used paintable bead board wallpaper leftover from my entryway project to add wainscoting to the dining room walls.  The chair rail was added to the top and cost me nothing because I'd pulled it out of the FREE WOOD bin near where I work last summer with the idea that I'd use it for some project later down the road.

Trim above the window

I also finished the window trim, don't even ask me why I hadn't done that sooner than now, I have no excuses.  I also added this decorative wood piece I had rattling around in the garage.  After caulking and priming the new chair rail and caulking around the window trim it was ready for paint.

The old ceiling fan comes down

More grossness

Painting trim and the ceiling

Checking out the new paint color - nice!

I painted the wainscoting and all of the trim with Pure White by Behr and then had to wait for three days for all of the paint to dry and cure enough to tape it off.  That was tough, because I really wanted to finish painting those walls, but I knew that if I rushed it I'd be sorry.

Taped off and ready for paint

Oh mama!

Now that's what I'm talking about

Finally I got to tape off the trim and paint the upper section of the walls with a beautiful shade of gray called High Speed Access also by Behr.  And wow did that pop against the white!  So pretty!!

Now the details of the  trim really stands out

I carefully touched up any spots with an artist brush along the trim and corners for a clean finish.  Yes, I'm that ridiculously anal retentive.  But if it isn't perfect it will drive me nuts.  I even took the old tan 1970s phone jack cover outside and gave it a shot of my favorite metallic spray paint to spruce it up.  While it dried I started putting the room back together.

The old heater had been painted over by previous owner and it was in rough shape

So much better!

The youngest and I replaced the old baseboard heater with a new one that is clean, white (not covered in a zillion coats of paint) and much more energy efficient.  This is the last one that I needed to replace too.  The new ones don't streak the walls like the old ones do.


I washed the switch plates and put them on the wall along with the freshly painted phone jack cover.  I put the mini blind back up on the window and the table and chairs back in place.  Surprisingly we were only without our dining room for five days.  I think that was a pretty good turnaround.  

I still need to pick out the perfect dining room light fixture and I have a few ideas in mind, but in the meantime on to the next project!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

Sunday morning I was up at 7:30.  I got dressed and headed out to do my weekly grocery shop coming in at just under $20.  I got everything on my list and a couple extra items as well so I was quite pleased.

We took a break from our home improvement projects to tackle a job that was on the list for the beginning of June.  That was the big annual purge of the girl's bedrooms and school stuff.  We put an almost two foot stack of paper into the recycle bin by the time all was said and done, plus a lot of other items too.  We also filled up a couple bags of clothes and other items to donate to the thrift store.  I was really proud of my girls as they went through everything they owned and made sound decisions about their stuff.

Here is a sneak peek

Monday morning I was back to work after a five day break.  I really enjoyed my time at home working on my various projects, but I was also kind of glad to get back to my new job.  I think I needed the rest, ha, ha!  I don't think I truly know the meaning of a vacation.

Tuesday morning I was up and at it getting my chores done first thing, packing my lunch and watering the lawn before I headed out.  When I got home I worked a bit on one of my projects I had in the works and I'm happy to report I got it finished!  Stay tuned for a post tomorrow all about that.  Eeeeeee!

Wednesday morning I redeemed some rewards points I'd accumulated for another $25 Home Depot gift card.  It should arrive in about a week or so.  In the meantime I have another gift card to use that was given to me for Christmas about two years ago.  I've been saving it for something big and in the next few weeks you'll find out what I mean by that.

Friday the youngest and I got started on the next "small" home improvement project as soon as I got home from work.  We were joined by the oldest when she got home from work.  She quickly changed clothes and got right to it, giving us a hand.  We made some serious progress on some demolition work.  What, you say?  ...   You heard me.

You have to know that Saturday we were back at it with our latest project.  I ordered some supplies online and then we headed to Home Depot with a list and that Christmas gift card to pick up our largest supply haul yet.  Along the way we stopped off at Albertson's to drop off our glass recycling at the big collection bin and then the thrift store to drop off the donations from purging the girl's rooms on Sunday.  We made that trip count!

I did much better grocery shopping last week.  I went to Fred Meyer with a list and some digital coupons and skated out of there at just $18.50 for the week.  Yessss!

I added a bit of water to an empty fabric softener bottle, gave it a good shake and had enough softener to use for another load.  I also stuck a soap sliver to a new bar in the shower so we will easily be able to use it all up without it slipping down the drain.

I composted coffee grounds, egg shells, onion skins and celery trimmings.

I repaired my youngest daughter's dresser drawer.

I trimmed my oldest daughter's bangs.

How was your thrifty week?

Friday, July 13, 2018

Some Tips For Getting Projects Done

I thought I'd share some of the tips I've learned over the years for successfully completing projects.  It always seems like I have one going and for the most part I do.  Sometimes more than one, but the key is to get them completed and have the end result meet my expectations.  Here are some of the ways I make that happen:

Devise A Plan

I plan out my projects - what I'm going to do and how I'm going to do, it step by step.  I write it out and then I mull it over for several days, sometimes longer, until I feel sure about what I'm going to do.  If I have helpers (usually my girls) I also make sure and run the plan past them so they know what to expect.  It makes them better helpers.

Make It Scaleable

This one was a biggie for me to learn, but in planning out the process it is important to make sure it is scaleable.  Setting reasonable goals and timelines with which to complete a project is vital to a successful outcome.  Having too much to do and not enough time makes it stressful and leads to poor results.

Do Some Research

If I'm about to embark on something I've never done before I do my research.  I'll check online, watch videos (YouTube is awesome), check out books from the library, speak to a professional, or tap someone who has done the exact same project I have planned.  Asking advice at the hardware store is a good idea too.

Set A Budget

No matter what project I take on it has to be affordable.  For me there is no point in going overboard or into debt in order to get a project done.  If it is a big project then I start planning well ahead of time and that includes saving up for the cost of that project.  Gathering supplies little bit by little bit or finding ways to get those supplies for little or no money.  Let people know what you have planned and they may be able to kick in and help you out by giving you a gift card for your birthday or giving you their leftover supplies from their own projects.  Every little bit helps.  And don't forget to return the favor.

Get Ready

I make a thorough list of all the supplies, tools, etc. that I will need for a project.  I take measurements, draw it out, to be certain I have enough supplies.  I go through and collect all of those items ahead of time to make sure I have everything I need.  Anything I don't already have on hand goes onto a separate shopping list.  Then I do an online order online or head to the store to pick up those items.  I do this well ahead of project day and try to avoid any shopping on project day so I don't waste time or feel rushed to get the job done.

Take Your Time

If I've learned anything it is to take my time and work methodically.  When painting I take the time to prepare first by repairing, sanding, priming and taping off before I ever crack open the paint can.  And then I take my time to do the actual painting.  Remember things like glue, paint, putty, spackle all need time to dry and cure.  Don't be tempted to rush ahead.  Be sure to take breaks and rest if you feel tired.  Drink plenty of water and take time to eat too.

I may not get things done as quickly as I'd like but that has to be okay.  Because when I do complete a project I am usually quite happy with the results and that is what truly matters most to me.  Coming in under budget is a bonus too!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Another Small Home Improvement - Our Entry Way

Our entryway was seriously in need of some love.  The wallpaper was close to twenty years old.  It had some damage on it, the walls were a bit dingy and there were some paint chips here and there.  I have really been wanting to spruce it up a bit, make it a little more stylish.  And finally I was able to get to do exactly that.

Looking good!

One of my awesome helpers!

For starters, I needed to do something about that wallpaper and I really didn't want to put up any new stuff.  Mainly because one - I'm totally over it, and two - well, to be honest, I'm not very good at putting wallpaper up on the wall.  However, after much thought, I decided to give it another shot, only this time I wanted to try a paintable textured wallpaper.  I ordered some that looks like beadboard and up it went.  I have to give thanks to Tania over at Little Vintage Cottage for giving me the idea.  And as it turned out this stuff is really amazing.  It went up surprisingly easy and it looks fantastic!

See that spot above the door.  Yeah, that was how far
the first roll made it.  So we opened up a second roll just for that spot.

We used our Pampered Chef pizza dough roller to roll the paper onto the wall

I removed the baseboard heater so we could paper behind it.

Of course when I measured the wall I planned to install this on it came just shy of a full roll so I had to buy two rolls ($25 each on Amazon) in order to cover it.  Isn't that always the way?  But no worries because I have a great idea for how to use the rest of that roll, or at least a good chunk of it.  But in the meantime the girls and I got the paper up and let it dry overnight.  Then the next day I painted it Pure White by Behr, the same paint I used in my kitchen.  In fact, it was the half gallon I had leftover from said kitchen.  In addition to the wallpaper I also painted the ceiling, all of the trim, the wall where the pantry is as well as the pantry door and our front door.  It was the perfect amount to complete the job.

Two coats of paint

I took the light off the ceiling so I could paint under it

A new doorknob for the pantry door ($5.98)

Clean, crisp, white and bright that paint made it look so good.  All shiny and new.  But I wasn't done.  I left the remaining wall, the one you see when you walk into the house and after a few days of drying time I taped off the trim and floor so I could paint it an actual color.  I've never been one to do color on the walls, but I decided it was time to venture out a bit.  I painted it a gorgeous shade of gray called High Speed Access by Behr.  And I LOVE it!  Especially once I hung Dracula back up on the wall.  Looks fantastic!


After - love!

The painted wall is a bit lighter but complimentary to the kitchen cabinets.  It is a warm gray too, because I didn't want it to look cold and sterile.  It really adds a touch of class to our entryway.  I have almost a full gallon of paint left along with the almost full roll of wallpaper.  And I have big plans for what I'm going to do with it.  I'm super excited about it too.

And this little putty loves the new entryway too

Soooooo......  on to the next project!

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