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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Shine on.....

Well - groove is rolling for a bit.  After work today I have gotten the first 4 coats of varathane on and sandings in between on the lower treads.  I cannot say enough good about this product!!
It was pricy - about $50 for the gallon.  And they only sell it in the gallon size.  I chose this brand because of the ratings I found online.  Even though it was $9 more per gallon I chose the water base over  the oil base.  For 2 reason - the smell and the dry time.  The dry time on the oil was 4 hours - this one is 2.  But it has been dry enough to sand much quicker than 2 hours.  I am doing this inside with the A/C on so that may help with dry time.  I have sanded between each coat, but honestly it does not look like you need to.  Brush strokes disappear!! Woo hoo.  And it is very true when it says low odor.  There is basically no smell what so ever.  You have to get within inches of  the can and really "sniff" to smell anything at all.  And also - it sands beautifully.  Makes just the smallest amount of  chalky dust.  My Honey decided this must be what the professionals use because the finish is so perfect.  I had to remind him it was probably just my incredible DIY skill.  Of course, he immediately agreed.  I chose the satin finish because normally I do not like shiny.  I really, really like the finish on this.  Just the perfect shine.  I will take pics when they are not spread all over the living room.  Yep - the living room. 

And before I go I thought I would share a pic of some of the hairbows sis and I made.  These are really different than what my girls ever wore.  So I am jealous, cause they are really cute!!
Ahhh - to have a little girl again.  I am holding out for a granddaughter one of these years!!

Tomorrow I will not get anything done as it is oldest daughter's 23rd birthday.

Hey - do you think she would like one of these bows!!!!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I'm baaaaack.......

Well I am back and starting to recover from my long week-end with my sister.  However I have not got my "groove" back.  The only DIYing I got done today was sanding the treads for the lower half of the stairs sanded with 320 paper so that I can get the varathane started tomorrow.  Hopefully I will have causght up on rest by then!!

Well - our trip to Homegoods was not overly successful.  And it was not a true Homegoods.  It was a large TJ Maxx.  I did find a nice white pitcher that I had been looking for. My biggest score was that I was able to get serving dishes and dessert plates for one of my friends upcoming birthday.  She has a hard to find dish pattern so I was able to get my gift for her, her daughter's gift for her, and her husband's gift for her.  She will be sooo tickled!

My sis and I got some serious retail therapy in!!  I got all my Christmas shopping done for her family and sent with her.  Woo hooo!!!  We also went for the first time to The Container Store.  Wowza - that was so much fun that it was overwhelming.  Where do you start!!  But I sense a return trip.  We also made a hige trip to Hobby Lobby and Michael's.

Then we spent the majority of the remaining time crafting in our room and catching up.  It was wonderful.  She has granddaughters so we made lots of hairbows and little items for their American Girl dolls.  It has been a long time since I got to do that since my baby is 18 and my grandson would not appreciate bows or doll stuff!!

I was not a good blogger though.  I forgot to get my camera out until the very end.

I hope this finds all of you well - and I hope that I get my groove back.  Stairs are waiting!!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Gone for the weekend

So I am taking off from blogging and DIYing for the weekend.  I am really excited, too.  I live in Oklahoma, my sis in Mississippi.  We are meeting half way in Little Rock for a Sister only 3 day week-end!!  Woo Hoo!!  We have been trying to plan this for almost 2 years and this is the first weekend we have both had free!!!

My sis is 21 years older than me, so by the time I came along - she had her own family.  But we have always been incredibly close.  And as adults we are very good friends.  We get together fairly often considering the distance - but it always all of us - our hubbies, kids, and grandkids.  (Her boys and I went all the way from elementary through high school with each other - yeah,awkward!!)  Never much just sister time.  In fact our last sister's only weekend was in October.....1985.  I was still in high school!! 

We are doing the girly stuff - mani's and pedi's, etc.  We got a suite so that we have a room to craft if we want to.  But guess what is right outside Little Rock


Neither of us have ever been to one - but after reading all the bloggy love, we cannot wait!!!

As a new blogger - I am prepared, camera is charged and ready!!

So I will not post again until Monday. 

So everyone have a blessed week-end and say a little prayer for my hubbie and brother - in - law once my sis and I hit Homegoods!!



That is the sound of a very well intended  DIY project hitting the brakes.  I ran into a bit of a snag on the project that I wanted to do all by myself, now Honey has to step in and help.  And it is going to prolong the project. 

I had finished sanding the first section and was ready to stain when I noticed several nails in the baserail. Hmmm - what do these do.  Oh oh - they are nailed all the way through the baserail,and into each tread.  Augh.

 That means switch gears.  I need to now put the varathane on the treads and rip out the old ones, replace them - all before I stain the base rail.  Ok - well time to do some demo!!!!  Or not

Uhmmm - oh oh..   This is after several attempts with a hammer and pry bar.  The treads are nailed, glued and screwed to the stringer.  Oh My Gosh!!!!  Of course this was not discovered until after this little corner was demolished.  Now we need to unbury and remove 6 screws per tread.  Oh joy  - Sarcasm in the highest.
And hope that we can then remove the treads without destroying the stringer.  Gulp.

Does anyone have a great secret for removing liquid nails???????

And to top it off - our stringer was not made correctly.  The top 2 stairs on the first half of the stair way are going to have to be "re-engineered"  oh happy,happy,joy,joy!!!

Wish me luck!!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Inching along

This is going to be quite the project, but I am steadily knocking it out a little at a time. 

The first round of spindles are ready for paint
To get them ready for paint I followed instructions from Miss Mustard Seed.  First I wiped them down twice with

I was quite impressed with this product!!  It really knocked alot of the shine off the shellac/varnish that is torturing me.  I followed the directions carefully, keeping the rag satuated and then wiping it off with another one before it dried. Then I primed with
This is what Miss Mustard Seed suggested for painting over a shimy surface.  So far, so good.  It does not "feel" like I painted over shellac.  It feels like it had adhered well.  Only time will tell.  I then tried to fill all the scrapes and nail holes with elmer's wood putty.  It worked great unless the scrapes were too small and then I kept sanding it all out.

Now I just have to decide on paint.  All of the trim that I have painted I have used Behr Ultra in artist canvas.  But I was considering using the pro-namel by Sherwin Williams in as close a match as I can get because it is self-leveling.  But I have heard mixed reviews as some say it is really hard to work with and easy to overbrush.

Anyone tried it?  Recomendations?

And on the actual stairwell I have finished stripping section 1, sanded with 60,120, and 220.  Now just to clean it again and one quick coat with the 320 and it should be ready for conditioner and stain.  Yippee!!!

Also - any thoughts on satin or gloss poly?

I plan on using wipe-on poly. 



Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Light Bulb Moment

Well I am much more optimistic about my project.  I had an "Ah-ha" moment today.  I had been using the water based stripper just like I used the stronger outdoor only stripper.  Then in a moment of clarity I realized my problem.  When using the harsher stripper I poor a huge amount in my tray and paint it on as I need it.  As in it may sit in the tray for up to an hour before I use it.  No problem, it never seemed to dry out.  Now the ah-ha moment.  This is water based - as in evaporation.  So today I would only put a little small amount in the tray and use it all quickly.  And I also rinsed out my chippy brush in between each coat.  What a difference!!

My New BFF
 I am putting way more than 3 coats ( and scrapings) per area.  But it is getting ALL of the shellac/varnish off!!!
So today after stripping multiple times the outside of the first portion of the handrail looked like this

Then after about 30 minutes of sanding with 60 grit it looked like this

Happy Happy Joy Joy!!!!  I am so excited to have figured this out.

And you may have noticed that the first section of spindles have been removed.  I sanded out any dings the best I could, now they are ready for their make-over.  Finally feels like I am getting somewhere.

Oh and Sandra was so good today - she barely made a mess at all.

Hope you all had a wonderful Father's Day filled with those you love!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

One step forward......

Well there is a little progress on the stairs - but it is very sloooooww.  First of all noone can figure out what type of topcoat the builder put on this.  I think that it might be clear cement.  Honey says he thinks it is some type of shellac that was blown on  - many times.  But whatever it is - it is very, very hard to get off.  I first tried sanding with 60 grit sandpaper.  HAHAHA.  So I bought a stripper that was safe for indoor use.  With it being over 100 each day, I really did not want to open doors and windows to use my normal stripper.  So I got this
And after 3 coats and scrapings I got this

AUGHH.  But at least this would come off with sanding - lots of sanding.
As you can see I worked in sections.  It is very slow going.

So after 6 days of sanding in my spare time.(and unfortunately there was not much of that) I have one side of the hand rail on the newel post pretty much done

Woo hooo!!  And if that weren't bad enough, meet Sandy

Sandy has been my friend through all my DIY projects.  She has been Honey's friend for over 17 years.  She has been a good friend, but Friday night when I went to finally start sanding at about 9:45 - you know the time right before all the stores close for the day - Sandy kicked the bucket.  Really???  Right in the middle of my project.  So I did what any good DIY'er would do.  I made a bubble bath and read a book.  Then I got on line and researched.  I know everything seems to be shifting to the 1/4 sheet sander.  But here is where my cheepness frugality kicks in.  I have a ton of 1/3 sheet sandpaper that I have bought.  Like pieces from about 30 packages.  I just could not bring myself to disregard that.  Of the none professional grade sanders this had the best reviews

Hello Sandra!!!  Oh dust collection bag where have you been all my life!!  I looove this new sander.  My old one did not have a dust collector.  Many of the reviews on the one I got complained about the collector not working well.  Having never used one, this did not bother me.  Uhm - it is a- may-zing.  You do have to use the paper punch on each piece of paper for it to work (I have used over 20 pieces of 60 grit already on this project).  But Honey and I have been so impressed.  Of course it does not get all the dust.  But it gets alot of it.  I do not look like Linus from Charlie Brown any more when I am sanding.  I can actually sand now while Honey is downstairs.  Before the noise (new one is much quiter) and the unholy amount of dust made being around while I was sanding unbearable for anyone else.  Thank you Sandra!!!

And while I was at Sears meeting Sandra, they had a great father's day sell and i picked up something else I have been wanting

We played around with it a bit, and so far it is very impressive for the price.  It is a 10 inch sliding compund miter saw.  I will let you know how it handles my projects.  Happy Father's Day to me!!

Oh and someone else really liked the saw, too.  So my first 12 pictures of the saw resemble this

Meet Ginger - our 16 year old furbaby.  She was fascinated by the saw, as long as it was off

I hope you all have a blessed Father's Day.  We celebrated with dinner at our house from 2;30 this afternoon until 9:30 tonight with oldest daughter, her hubby, grandson, youngest daughter, and her boyfriend.   What a wonderful day!! 

And I must say that I am in awe of all of you who can update your blog everyday - and with so many awesome projects.  I do not know how you do it!!  So I will just keep trying and maybe one day get to that point, too.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Oh Hail!!!

Well I got absolutely nothing done today.  But I have an excuse.  Youngest daughter got back from her senior trip to Disney today!  Yippee!!!  So oldest daughter and her hubby came to dinner to welcome her home.  We had just sat down to eat when we heard a noise.  Oh oh.  It was this, out of no where

Which soon became this

Which lasted longer than any hail storm we had ever had.  Then it stopped for a few minutes.  But came back with a vengence.

Yikes!!!  oh course we lost power during this.  And the wind was blowing like crazy. Ok - so we thought it was wind.  There was a tornado about 1/4 mile from our house!!  We did not even know it until we started getting texts!!!  Too close!!!

Hail storm number 2 finally slacked off .  And then hail storm number 3

Oh Hail!!!!

We do not know about roof damage yet - but did lose alot of fence.  Yippee - another project!!(sarcasm)

There is a funny story.  There were no cars in the garage because that is where I was working on the stair treads.  So oldest daughter and I thought we could move the stuff really fast and pull in some cars.  I open the garage door and hail actually hits us in the back of the garage!!  Owwww.  Needless to say - the cars suffered outside.  But  the few minutes the door was up soaked my treads!  Agony!!  So while the guys are looking for damage to cars - the girls and I are drying off the treads and searching them for damage.  Priorities!!

Right now we have power, but 35,000 people do not.  Yikes!!

This was nothing like the Joplin or  Piedmont tornados, not even in the ball park.  So we are truly blessed and thankful!!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Tiny Steps

Well after work and around cooking supper I was not able to accomplish much on the stairs.

I spent waaaay longer than I ever thought I would have to using these
Trying to remove over 100 of these
From these

I decided that to properly refinish the spindles and hand rails I needed to remove the spindles.  All that was holding them on are 2 screws on each one covered by those caps.  I found ones that will sit flush when I put them back on.  I never really liked these.  But my goodness this took forever  Like over 2 hours!!

I also numbered the spindles - thank you blog land!!!

I would have never thought of that without you.

I have been following along with some of the organizing and "decrapification" blogs, too.  Tomorrow there is a pick up so I got a couple of bags ready to go.  I quickly started cleaning out the under the stairs closet.  Uhhh - definately no pics yet!!  Since youngest daughter just graduated high school I donated all the old school supplies.(not used ones - just all the stuff you buy just in case)  That cleared out alot of space.  I have also been paring down on decor items after reading so many" less is more" on decorating blogs and why keep it if you do not love it.  Wow - should have thought of that years ago.  Those were in there,too. So I donated what oldest daughter did not re-purpose.  Between those 2 categories I filled up 2 large bags- woo hoo.  And I was able to semi - organize what was left.  I do need to go get some containers, but stairs come first!!

But I aslo added one more question to the usual - do I love it, have I used it,etc.  Now I also ask - if I spray paint it will I love it!!


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Could this be my problem - DIYADHD

And now as to why everything takes me so long - typical DIY time for me.

Start laundry, then start ripping out carpet.  Get the first strip of carpet and pad out that covers 3 stairs -ooohhhh gross - there is alot of dirt under 20+ year old carpet.  Go to get vaccuum - washer beeps.  Start another load.  Get out vaccuum - realize the hall is not looking too great - vaccuum hall.  Oh yeah - stairs.

  Vaccuum first 3 stairs twice.  All the dust makes me thirsty.  Go to kitchen to get water.  realize hubby left water pitcher out.  Fill water pitcher and put in fridge.  Realize there are alot of leftovers in fridge.  Clean out fridge, load dishwahser. hmmm...dishwasher almost full.  Look for other dishes, start dishwasher.  Clean kitchen counters because that is what I always do when I start the dishwasher.  Oh yeah - Stairs!

 Remove carpet and padding off next three stairs, vaccuum them.  Doorbell - neighbor to look at door.  Ahhh smile!!! Visit with neighbor - dryer buzzes.  Switch laundry - start new load.  Find receipt in pocket of laundry.  Go to file receipt - see bills.  Get online pay bills.  Look at blogs - Oh my gosh - Stairs!!!

  Go rip carpet off landing - vaccuum.  Look outside and see rain.  Run outside to roll up windows on all 3 vehicles.  Come inside and go to bathroom to dry off.  Bathroom looks a little sad - clean counters and toilet.  Oh my gosh - STAIRS!!!

 Rip carpet off 2nd landing - laundry is buzzing - ignore laundry.  Finish all the ripping off of carpet and pad - yippeeeee!!!  Go switch laundry - start another load.  Fold first 3 loads.  Look outside and realize glass door is really dirty.  Clean glass door - check out back door - yep - clean back door.  Hmmm..  Oh for goodness sake - STAIRS!!!

 Vaccuum rest of stairs - twice.  May I say ewwww gross again.  Start ripping out tack strips and staples - laundry buzzes. Switch laundry - start new load.  Go to get drink - realize time.  Start supper.  AUGH _ STAIRS - how do I keep doing this.

  Back to tack strips and staples.  Almost done, ignoring fanatical beeping laundry, what is that smell.  Oh my gosh - run back to kitchen just in time to save supper.  Get honey started on supper - oh yeah - STAIRS!!  Could I have really gotten this distracted again.

 Finish tack strips and staples.  vaccuum again.  Eat supper.  Clean kitchen- again.  Return phone calls that I ignored while working on stairs.  Doorbell - again.  Visit with friend for a sec.  Jiminy - STAIRS!!

Out to the garage - thank goodness it has cooled down - sand treads.  Clean treads.  Start staining treads and realize that of all the things I went and got today it never dawned onme that I might almost be out of stain.  So at 11:00 I run out of stain - with 2 unstained treads.  Oh my!!!

So does any one else suffer from DIYADHD   -   or is it just me!!


What I am up to....

Well i have decided that if I am going to maintain this blog, I have to update it as I am working on projects.  I am way too slow to wait until I finish.  So here is what I am up to.  On Friday my stairs looked like this:

Now today - Sunday - they look like this:


This is going to be a job!!!

There are obviously no bull nose treads hidden here!!!  And what looks like filler is actually the top of the wall - yep sheet rock.  I do believe that I have my work cut out for me!!!

I did find what I think is a really good deal on solid oak treads - special purchase at lowe's for $19.98 each.  Score  (if this is not a good deal please don't burst my bubble).  So those are now sanded, and have their 2nd coat of minwax dark walnut on them

OK - they look better than this - I am still struggling with my picture taking.

Unfortunately other than gathering supplies from quite a few stores all I got done was - removing carpet and padding, removing tack strips and staples. Staining new treads - no top coat yet.  Even though we are getting rid of the treads I wanted to remove all the tacks and staples because we have to use them until the new ones go up.

Oh and thank you to everyone who has responded to my questions about redoing their stairs!!!  There is so much valuable info here in blogland!!!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ahhhh... It's the little things...........

..............that take a ridiculous amount of time!!!  Like those little bitty window sills. 

First - I must go back a few months to November.  We decided to take advantage of last year's tax break and replace all our windows.  Great decision, our utility bills dropped and we lost alot of draftiness in the house.  However - what a mess.  The walls are dinged up beyond belief and the caulking - oh my goodness - the messiest caulking job I have ever seen.  And the kicker, it was supposed to be paintable caulk - and of course it wasn't. 

In addition, because the old windows had major condensation problems and the drafts, the actual sills were in really bad shape.  So I thought quick fix and then I will feel sooo much better about these areas.  Uhm - wrong!!  I have been working on 4 window sills for days now.  AUGH!!!!!!

Here is the before
Notice the huge amounts - or rather globs - of caulk.  And how damaged the wood is. 

And then there is the oh so special one that my grandson clobbered with a toy elephant.

 Yep - hundreds of tiny little elephant hoove prints.  And of course this was right beside the front door.

So the first day was spent on 2 living room windows that I decided to paint instead of leave stained.  I sanded them a little first to smooth them out some.  (If you have never sanded inside the house you are missing a special kind of cleaning).  Next I painted them.  This is when I discovered it was not paintable caulk.  Oh joy.  So resanding - note, let the paint cure first.  Then I took paintable caulk and covered the old caulk.  Failure number 2.  Then I lightly, carefully sand the caulk.  Reapply paintable caulk, let it dry - again.  And paint.  Finally success.  So then I turn my attention to the wall by the window.  Sand the caulk, tape it off and apply new caulk.  Yep - should have waited for the paint on the sill to cure.  You guessed it.  Plucked that paint off - again.  Light sanding, touch up, and finally 3 days later - 2 painted window sills.

Since I had the paint out to paint inside the window I touched up all the walls that needed it.  Took forever, but looks much better.

After painting these 2 I decided to stain the ones by the front door.  This went much better.  I took an exacto knife and cut off a bunch of the caulk on the sill.  However I discovered that for me these little projects drive me up the wall.  Stain for about 2 minutes - then wait 4 to 6 hours to sand and recoat.  Which takes another whopping 5 minutes.  I am way too impatient for that!!  So of course I get distracted and the 4 hours turns into....  Well you know.  So now here we are on day 3 of the entry windows and

Finally - hoove prints are gone and last coat of poly is on, but I still have to paint the inside and deal with all the caulk - again.  So that will be 4 windows down and 13 to go.  I have got to find a better system for this!!

It's the little things...that will drive you zonkers!!!


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Laundry is for the birds!!!

Have you seen the incredible laundry rooms in blogland.  WOW!! 

Like this one

cg laundry room after
And of course this incredible one

Wowza!!!  If one of these were mine I would do everyone's laundry on our block.  Well maybe I would just invite them in to do thier laundry and bask in the beauty!!

So I decided that I should tackle my laundry room.  I cannot find the before pics.  But needless to say it was contractor grade white flat paint.  You know the type that is impossible to clean!  The cabinets were 1980's with icky stain - that reddish brown that seemed to dominate in the 80's  .  The floor was white and green linoleum.  The one thing in there the prior owner had done was to hang wall paper border.  Sail boats with laundry lines strung in between them.  Quit laughing - I am serious.  No seriously - stop laughing!

I took FOREVER deciding what I wanted to do in there.  I just knew that I wanted it to be cheerful and bright.  I finally found my inspiration piece.  A sweet little plate:

First I sanded, primed, and painted the cabinets.  After I pulled all the doors off, I found the blog that suggested numbering the cabinet doors with painter's tape so that you know which ones came from where.  That would have saved ALOT of time putting them back on.  Honey replaced all the hinges with brushed nickel - they were 80's brass.
(Notice the cute little clearance Easter basket  garbage can)

Then I painted the walls - Behr Marmalade Glaze.  The poor walls were so in need of good quality paint that all I had to do was hold the roller near the wall and the wall would suck the paint right off.  Just kidding - but the walls did absorb alot of paint.

Next on to the floor.  I knew I was not quite ready to tackle the wet saw, tile, and grout route.  So I bought peel and stick tile.  I did go with the thickest I could find with quite a nice warranty.

Now to accessorize:
On the wall facing the door my oldest daughter bought the sweetest little canvases for my birthday
Below that I hung an apron that my mom made when I was a little girl.  I had a matching little bitty one that was mine when I was about 3 - but I cannot find it (sadness)

On the wall with the folding area I hung a plaque - just added a brown ribbon

Same wall but behind the door
Tissue paper puffs - there are lots of tutorials in blogland for these and they are fun to make.  I also cut out several pieces of scrapbooking paper and threw them in a frame.

On the corner of the folding counter I put the inspiration plate, some little bird figures I found, and a pre-scentsy wax/oil burner that I have had for years.  But every room in my house must have a burner and I have not found one that goes well in here
On the washer and dryer wall I found another plaque that went with the room

And along the lines of the above picture - I scrubbed all the wood work down with TSP and then restained it.  That was a HUGE improvement.  The baseboards were in really bad shape.  I also replaced the doorknob with brushed nickel.

Now I have this pic of my grandson we snapped at the zoo to frame and hang somewhere on that wall:

I think it is perfect for this room!!
(Oh - and everyone can gaze at his adorableness!!)

I even switched out the light fixture myself.  Honey stood and watched to make sure I did not electricute myself.  But I did it all by myself-woo hoo.  And went from a one bulb, contractor fixture - brass with frosted glass to 180 watts of pure light:

On the floor is a stool that my mom and I made when I was about 6.  We painted it yellow and decopauged owls and morning glories on it.  After all these years of use - and I use stools alot - the designs were all but gone.  So I scraped the remaining decoupage off and sanded it down.  I painted it with the wall color, modge podge on a couple of birds that I cut out off scrapbooking paper, painted on tree branches, antiqued it, and then sealed it with clear matte spray paint.  I am so glad to keep it!

So there you have my cheerful new laundry room.  It makes me smile!
But no matter how cute the room is - Laundry is for the Birds!!!!

Thanks for looking!!


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