Thursday, June 30, 2016

Annual stay-cation!

Now that the school year is over, I've finally been able to take some much needed time off. I usually take the week after graduation off because let's face it - I'm pretty tired from photographing all of the end of year events at my school.

When I was young, my family would pile into the car and drive to Florida. While I'd LOVE to go down to Florida and visit my family, it's just not something that's in the cards right now (I did manage to squeeze in a much-needed spa day though!). However, I am using the time to be productive around the house (which, after looking back at my Facebook posts over the years, is apparently what I do whenever I take time off) and so far I've been able to complete a good amount of tasks.

I finally painted over the stenciling on the bathroom walls and installed the trim around the vanity mirror. I still need to putty the miter joints, but it's looking better all the time.

Yesterday I managed a good scrubbing and polish of the living room hardwood floors. Despite being scratched nearly to oblivion (thanks to my two dogs, three cats and two people) the floor looks a lot better than it did. I use the Holloway House floor finisher for high traffic floors and it looks lovely. Because I have a lot of furniture, it took nearly two hours to do the whole room as I had to move the furniture to one side of the room, do two coats, then move it to the other side, and do the two coats on that side. Lesson learned - it would have been a good idea to have the hubs move the very heavy and solid furniture (sofa bed and large, heavy dining table) because I'm quite sore today.

One of my favorite things to do when on stay-cation is to paint. I've fallen head-over-heels in love with chalk paint and I'm thankful that my local arts and crafts supply stores carry a wide variety for me to try. I've had very good luck with the Folk Art brand and am very fond of the castle grey color. It's a nice warmish-greige and looks lovely when antiqued. (I used this color on my two cane-back chairs and plan to use it on my French provincial dresser that I'm using at my television stand)

I haven't tried Annie Sloan, mostly because I don't know of a distributor close to me, and secondly, it's pretty expensive stuff. Since I'm working on multiple house projects, I'm trying to keep costs relatively down. Plus, the Folk Art chalk paint has worn fairly well so far. I've also used Americana Decor and I like it okay, but it's definitely a lot thicker than the Folk Art brand. I find it works a lot better if you have a damp brush, otherwise it can be a bit cakey.

Speaking of Americana Decor - I'm using their "vintage" color for my next chair project.

I think it's a lovely color - very similar to the Palladian Blue color I have on the walls, which makes it a nice color for my dining chairs. My grey cane back chairs have cushions the same color, so it all ties in nicely. 

I think I will keep it simple for these chairs and just distress them a little and add clear wax and be done with it. I'm still on the fence about adding a design or not to the chairs. They're fairly simple, but I don't want to "over-do" it with them.  

As you can see in the photo - I've used these chairs in many many many painting projects. There are paint splatters all over them. I found the easiest and fastest way to get the paint off of these chairs (mind you, these are cheap-o chairs I got with a dining set at Walmart 7 years ago, so I wasn't worried about anything happening to them) is to use Goo-gone and a putty knife. This combo gets the paint off really quickly without having to sand the globs down. (It also got paint, dried putty and even dried mortar off of my floors). After I wiped up all the dried paint, I gave it a good clean with an all-purpose cleaner and let it dry. 

I applied two coats, and like I said, with the Americana Decor paint, a damp brush works a lot better for a thin, even coat. I applied two coats to the chair, letting it dry completely between coats. 

The next step depends on a few things. If I want to add a design, I'd go ahead and do that. I have a few ideas in mind - maybe something with stripes, or something like Miss Mustard Seed's designs (I seriously love everything she does - especially the adorable hand-painted dressers) or even use my stencil on the seat. Again, still on the fence. 

Once a design is painted, then you can distress and clear wax. I I don't decide to do a design, I'll just distress and clear wax. After clear wax you'd antique if you wanted to, but I'm not planning on antiquing these chairs. 

I'm hoping to finish two of the chairs today, two tomorrow, and then possibly start the dresser on Saturday. So. much. paint. I may even get around to doing the molding for and painting another door. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

More trim work and pallet hoarding

Now that I have one door down, I decided to start working on some other trim-related projects around the house. A while back I took the trim off of our first-floor bathroom vanity and now I'm finally getting around to replacing it.

Took a quick couple of measurements and went out to my miter saw and cut the trim. One thing I've learned about cutting with the miter saw, is that you need to make the cut just outside of the line otherwise things won't line up correctly and you end up with gaps in the trim.

So, I cut the pieces, sanded the cut ends and made sure they fit around the medicine cabinet. After feeling good about the fit, I decided to paint the trim first before attaching it to the wall.

While I was thinking about it, a while back I decided to try stenciling my bathroom wall. While that wasn't the worst idea I've ever had, I found out that I wasn't terribly good at stenciling around corners.

You can see that for whatever reason I didn't continue the pattern into the corner. Oh well. I still really like the navy blue above the white bead board so I'll just paint over the stenciling. I really do love this stencil though! I bought it from Cutting Edge Stencils and it's their Oceana Damask one. I think it will be lovely on my antique dressers that need to be redone (I have a neat idea I want to do with them over the summer.)

Like most of my projects, I realized I couldn't paint the walls over unless I sanded them smooth, There were also a few spots that when I was doing the stenciling, the tape to hold the stencil to the wall ended up peeling the paint a bit, so I needed to sand and putty those spots too.

Now that those areas are puttied and dried, I need to sand them smooth and I can paint over the stenciling and then add the trim. It's much easier, if at all possible, to add trim work after painting so you don't have to worry about cutting in carefully or taping - especially when using a relatively dark wall color.

As far as the rest of the bathroom goes - there's still quite a bit of work to be done. I'm hoping to find someone that can re-glaze my tub. I plan on also redoing the floor and shower surround, and getting a new top and faucet for my vanity.

I'm also working on another project that I'm sure many of you have seen on Pinterest. Yes, I'm talking about the infamous pallet wood wall. I really love how they add a bit of warmth and texture to a room. I've had the light wood paneling for quite some time now, and I don't think there was ever really a moment that I was totally in love with it.

The walls in our house are plaster and when we pulled the Wall of Mirrors off, there were a few spots on the wall where the plaster was ruined. I tried a few things to fix it - mostly trying to patch the plaster, and then again try to re-texture it - both of which failed miserably - so paneling was the next option that wasn't going to cost me whatever it would cost to have someone come out and try and fix it.

At this point, the amount of damage done would require redoing the drywall and plaster on that entire wall. Ugh.

When I saw the pallet wall I thought that would be a fun idea. I like rustic style things, and with Fixer Upper type styles being very popular, it's certainly easy to find tutorials and ideas on how to make it work in a variety of spaces. I'm also not that concerned about resale as it is a really popular style now (and probably for a few more years at least) so it's another very inexpensive way to upgrade a wall and add some personality.

I know a lot of folks will say that you want to make your house as "bland" as possible for people to walk through, but I don't necessarily agree with that. I think by styling your house intentionally so people can see how you can live there and do it in a way that's up-to-trend, you will have a higher chance of selling quickly. Granted, I'm not a real-estate agent, but that's how I would feel walking into a home. (To be fair - I can "see" what to do to a house that needs some TLC when walking into it, but if it's already done, I'd be more excited about buying it - that's what happened with the first house we put an offer on).

The wall is 8x14 and so far I have 5 pallets saved up. Luckily I can get them for free from my work and another office on my way to work. I recently bought a sawzall so I can rip them apart hopefully pretty easily. It will probably take some time to collect enough wood to create my wall, but it would be great if I could do so by the end of the summer.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Operation Florida!

I've taken what can be considered an extended hiatus from blogging. Work got pretty intense, as well as helping run my school's drama club, and generally just forgetting that I had a blog in the first place.
Sure, I had grand plans that by blogging I'd be oozing creativity and come up with adorable weekly projects that I'd take a million artistic photographs of and loads of people would "ooh" and "aah" over every detail.
Yeah, no.
I mean, I've done projects. I just haven't photographed or written about them.
But, we do have a possible major project in the works.
The hubs and I have talked extensively about relocating over 1,000 miles to Florida to be closer to my family. With having a kid becoming more of a central focus for us, the thought of "well, who is going to help us?" has been raised more often than not. We're also thinking that the cost of living down there is so much less than where we live now - that we could afford to buy a decent house and fix it up to our liking without nearly as much trouble. It helps also that I could take the time away from working to raise a kid. Lastly, my fibromyalgia has not gotten much better over the last few years. I feel awful during the cold/damp parts of the year, which where we are lasts around 7 months. That's a long time to feel crappy.
Which, of course, when planning a major move, there are major projects that need to be completed first.
A few updates first:

  • We did get most of the attic finished. We moved our bedroom to the attic in September even though it's not completely finished. We still need to do some trim work, add doors to the bathroom and closet, and have the tub properly plumbed. 
  • I attempted to stencil paint the bathroom downstairs. Bad plan. I'll be repainting that. 
  • The most recent accomplishment was finishing the pantry. I repainted the inside and the shelves and made the door all pretty. I just put the final coat of paint on the pantry door and will hopefully hang it tomorrow.
All of our doors are plain, flat panel doors that are stained an orangey-oak color to match our floors. Blech. After 60 or so years, the finish has worn and restaining it would just be a pain (not to mention... yuck... orange!) So, I decided to paint it. I figured it would either be white or grey - as I'm trying to keep everything relatively neutral. Since the door is just a flat panel, I decided that I'd try to add some interest by adding some trim.
Now the hubs is on the road for his new job a lot, so most of the projects I'm trying to get finished will need to be by my own power. While this is a bit scary, it's quite empowering too. Knowing that I can take my time is helpful, and this pantry project has spanned over the course of a month or more while I worked on it a little at a time on weekends.
Here's the sad, flat panel door:

So, in order to add the trim, I needed to learn how to use our miter saw. I figured that I'd just try and figure it out and luckily it's pretty straight forward. I managed to get the trim cut and glued to the door panel in an afternoon.

For my first go at cutting trim, I think I did pretty well. My joints weren't perfectly tight, but they were close enough that a dab of wood putty fixed it.

I decided to go with grey paint since my trim is already a bright white. I used Valspar Door and Trim paint since it's specifically designed to withstand the everyday wear of a door. We'll see how it holds up. I'm debating on painting the trim I cut white as that would make it stand out, but I think I'll live with it a while first before painting it. It looks pretty awesome as is though!

Of course I had to text the photos to my parents. Dad was proud. He said I must've "held the light" as a kid. :) I added that I still had all my fingers too.

I'm hoping to start on the trim around the main floor bath next (and repaint the bathroom after my stencil mishap).