Sunday, November 6, 2011

Kitchen floor time!

So we have decided to tackle the kitchen floor project this weekend so the kitchen can look somewhat better when my family comes up for thanksgiving. We just moved the refrigerator and stove into the dinning room and look how gross:
While Neill goes and rents the drum sander I am going to pull up the rest of the tiles and get the odds and ends out of there.

Time for a break. I forgot to take a picture of the cleaned kitchen (well at least the floor) pre sanding, but here is one with Neill sanding.

So far we are very impressed. We have heard a number of horror stories about drum sanders, but the thing wants to move so I don't understand how someone would fight it to hold it in one place (I really hope I didn't just jinx us). We had to go get more sandpaper with more grit because we are using it to get the concrete mortar off the wood floors. I still can't believe people tiled over wood floors. Well back to work for us. Then we have to decide if we want to stain it or paint it and what color to choose.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Drop cloth curtains

So I decided that I wanted to make curtains out of drop clothes. Taking this
and turning it into this
. Sorry about the lighting (I really should take pictures during the day). Any who I am going to show you how simple it is.

First you need to buy/round up your supplies: drop clothes (I used 2 one on each side of the window), curtain rod, grommets (I got the no tool kind which was kinda sad I didn't get to gain another tool), and thread (and sewing machine) or no-sew stuff (optional). Ok I'll wait while you gather these things.

Good you came back. Next fold the top of your future curtain over by at least 4 inches. I folded mine over 5, but feel free to do more. Then sew or no-sew it down. This gives it a more finished/ polished look so if you are wanting more college hip loft feel free to skip this step. If you do do it remember to find a thread similar to the drop cloth color and then don't worry about sewing straight it is way up high where no one can see anyways.

Next you need to figure out where to place the grommets. Because of the weight of the drop cloth you really don't want to just divide up the length. Doing this would make the top corners/ ends look all droopy and we don't want that. What I decided was to place the first grommets where I thought it should go. I decided to put the center 2.5 inches from the top (placing it in the middle of the fold over) and 2.5 inches from the side for balance. Then using the template provided I drew on the circle I would be cutting out. I went ahead and pinned the two sides of the fabric together to make cutting easier. I was totally afraid the fabric would shift and it would be ruined.

Once that is done mirror it on the other side (make sure to go across the top of your curtain and not down the length). From there measure the length between the to centers and divide by the number of grommets you have left plus one. So from my 8 pack I now have 6 left so I needed to divide 66 by 7. After measuring and marking where each grommet would go I realized my 66 measurement was slightly off and I decided to space them 9.25 inches apart instead of 9.5. Note: make sure to repeat this on the other drop cloth; mine was different :(. Once the centers are marked trace the circles and pin the fabric.
Notice my oops- it will be ok because this is going to be the backside that no one will see. Also notice (if you can see) I use a washable marker to mark my fabric.

Next step, cut out a circle (make sure to follow the instructions on your grommets packet). I chose to cut 1 then put in a grommet -so time for another picture.
After the hole is cut and the bottom part is added simply press the top on with the palm of your hand. It really didn't take much pressure.
Ta-da! Now let's finish this project!

Wahoo! It is finished and I am going to bed maybe you will get a picture tomorrow with them both hung.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Stripping Post

     I promised a post on my stripping adventure, so here it is. We have been working on our dinning room umm well since we moved in over a year ago.  We have fixed the cracks in the wall and gotten rid of the texture, and now we are wanting to paint.  Well I can't just paint over the door from the dinning room to the kitchen. It has so many cracks and places where old paint has chipped off then the next person just painted over it--yuck.
Step 1: take off the hardware
     So the first thing I did was take off the hardware and get all my supplies together.
Pretty picture.  I also covered the floor
     I started with the Citristrip, gloves (instructions say these are NOT the kind you should use, but I had them so they are what I used), tray, paint brush, and plastic scraper (instructions said plastic). What I later used: brown paper bag on the floor (then realized I didn't cover enough floor and then next day I used a garbage bag cut open), metal scraper (I had to make sure not to gouge the wood but otherwise it worked much better).
I covered part of the floor. Step 2: cover the paint area in stripper
     I have stripped paint two times before this with the stripper in the can, but had read a positive review of Citristrip, so I decided to get it a try.  Man this stuff was weird.  It is a gel, and can be difficult to spread on the paint.  If you plan on doing something like this you should probably take the door off and lay it horizontally, so the stripper isn't just curling up and falling on the floor.  The Citristrip doesn't smell near as bad as the other strippers, but it wasn't able to get all the paint on this door (at some time I thought the door was made out of paint).
Step3: Wait for it to look like this.
      The chemical stripper will peel the paint right off.  You need to let it sit long enough for it to do its job, but if you let it dry it stops working and is harder to scrap off.  I looked up some tips online and saw that some people recommended spraying it with distilled alcohol and since I didn't have any distilled alcohol, so with my indentured servant's approval I used rubbing alcohol. Well I don't know if distilled alcohol works, but rubbing alcohol really doesn't. I actually think it may have dried it quicker. 

Step 4: Scrape the paint off
     So once you see the paint curl up, test a section and if the paint is coming off keep scraping it off. It is best if you can get your indentured servant to do this.  You may also be able to trick get your husband to help by telling him how much fun it is. I will not lie, this is hard work, and I think we should have done it in two parts.  

Step 5: Keep scraping
     If you have an old house like ours (built in 1938) then don't believe that this stuff will actually strip all the layers of paint.
Step 6: Clean up the mess
     So our old house with 17,098 layers of paint, made a large mess.
     I didn't cover up our nice wood floors in the dinning room and the paint fell on it.  Because of the stripper and the old enamel oil paint it is not coming up. We refinished all of the hardwood floors in our house before we moved in, so I am not freaking out. It just means you will get a post about how to refinish hardwood floors later on.
     Here it is over a week later. I got up thinking that I would just sand what was left (maybe an hour) then prime, and paint it.  Well all the sander did was heat up the old enamel oil paint (covering the sand paper) and spread it on the door while sealing the blob of paint to a different spot. I was not happy with this so what was supposed to take an hour turned into another chemical stripping adventure. After stripping again, I decided it was good enough to prime, then paint.  It still needs another coat or two of paint, but here is what it looks like now.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The things I want to do this weekend

     The last three weekends we have been traveling. It has been great seeing all our friends and family and getting in some vacation time before school starts back for me.  The down side of all this is that all the things that normally get done on the weekend get pushed to the weekdays or pushed to the next weekend available. Well here it is, a weekend where we are not going anywhere, we can finally get to all those dreaded tasks that have been pushed off and hopefully to one of the projects that is floating around in my head.

     A little confession, I am not the best house keeper. Neill and I tried really hard to keep a clean house earlier in our marriage, but it has slipped to the way side. But at the end of last month our house looked like a tornado, earthquake, and a cat. 5 hurricane hit inside our house. That also was about the time our indentured servant moved in.  Thankfully she got to work cleaning and killing things in the kitchen which motivated me to at least move the three LARGE boxes (from our new out door patio set) out of the living room.  I think it took us another week or so to move our coffee table back to by the sofas. So we could probably spend all weekend doing normal household chores like scrubbing the bathroom, dusting, vacuuming, and sorting through piles of paper, but I doubt that is what we do.

Dinning room needs some attention
I can't believe I am posting this for all to see
     I think I want to finish stripping and sanding the dinning room/ kitchen door tonight. I think I can also move all the stuff to the middle of the room so we can get our yellow paint (that we bought two weeks ago) on to the wall this weekend. There is also the dog run area that still needs some attention--leveling out dirt and spreading out pine straw.  And then there is the project that I kept saying we would get to this weekend, the front walk way. I love starting new projects. Its the feeling that it will look amazing when it is done, before the feeling of tiredness sets in. I will try to stay focused on the projects I have already started, and resist the urges to start the walk way (or who knows what else).

     What do you have planned for the weekend?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dog Compost

     I was using StumbleUpon one day and came across a website that was talking about how to make your own dog compost. So I decided that would be our weekend project (and yes this was like a Thurs or Fri). So that evening we made a trip to the home improvement store to buy the materials: large trash can with lid and septic tank starter.  We wanted to put it in the front corner away from our house so we pulled up a straight row of bricks to get there and the bricks that were in that area leaving the rest for later (yes they are still there). From there Neill and I took turns digging a 2~2.5 feet wide, 3 feet deep (big enough for the trash can). We didn’t really think about the large tree on the property line just on the other side of the fence, so we had to adjust the location of the hole a little to work around some really big roots. We used our tree trimmer to cut some of the smaller roots. Once the hole was done, we cut off the bottom of the trash can (so the compost can drain properly), and because of the tree roots we had to cut some funky shapes for the trash can to fit around the roots. We also drilled holes in the side of the trash can for more drainage. Once we put the trash can in the hole, we added some sand at the bottom and started to fill in some around the sides. I wish we would have put some gravel and a few bigger rocks at the bottom because the sides started buckling in, so I had to stop filling in the sides.  It doesn’t look great but it seems to be working good enough.  One note in case you plan on doing this: don’t use the compost on anything you plan to eat or up stream of anything you plan to eat.  I haven’t used the compost yet. I have thought about putting it in my front flower garden, but I’m not sure if I will. Oh and the septic tank stuff gets added every time we put waste in it to help break it down. Make sure to add water to get them started.  You can add other compostable material if you don’t have a regular compost yet (like us). Ah now we can start to enjoy our backyard, if only there were grass or something other than leaves and dirt.Well, that’s just another project on our list.

Dog Run Gate

                One day probably around the end of June, I decided I wanted to price the materials that would be needed for the dog run gate.  I had used Lowes’ online calculator a while back and scratched down that information on to a random envelope that I carry in my purse (it also has info about creating a front walk way). Well we were in luck; their deck railing section was on sale for $10 (usually over $30)! You may be asking yourself “deck railing? I thought they were looking for gate materials.”  Well we decided that it would be way cheaper to get two of these deck sections and figure out later how to make a gate out of it, if all else failed we could have unassembled it for the materials.  For the life of me I can’t think of what we were there for, but we each grabbed a rail section (we had no cart because we weren’t planning on getting anything big) and headed to the check out.  That night we found out just how long something can be and still fit in Neill’s Altima with the backseats folded down—6 feet, whew.  

                The next night we went back for the rest of the materials for the gate:
  • 2 6 feet long 4x4 posts (just the right length for my RAV4)
  • Gate hardware (4 hinges, latch, cane)
  • 4 bags of Quickcrete (I later returned 2)
Because we didn’t have a post hole digger and didn’t want to shell out the money for one, these materials got to hang out in the RAV4 for a few weeks.  Thankfully Neill’s wonderful grandparents had a post hole digger that we could borrow, so the next time Neill’s brother came to visit (close to mid/ end of July) he brought it to us.
                Now we had everything we needed to get this gate built.  I had decided that because I only wanted to have to buy 2 posts instead of more we were going to have two gates, one on each side that meet in the middle.  Currently I have no classes and only have to put in 20 hours at the Navy. So one day I came home in the afternoon and decided I would start figuring out where we would dig the post holes.  Of course this meant to me start digging one of the post holes. It is really hard to dig a hole so close to your house. I only got about a foot dug out and decided to go inside and take a break. Later when Neill got home, I wanted to show him my work so I brought him outside showed him the hole and began to show him how hard it was. Yes this was tricky of me; I got us to dig another couple of inches before Neill wanted to go back inside.  Later that evening around 10ish I realized that I had left the post hole digger outside and I didn’t want it to get rusty, so I went out to put it in the garage. Of course that hole was calling my name so I decided I would dig a little more until I became tired.  Well just about the time I was tired Neill decided to join me and finished digging the 2 foot hole. Tip: Use a sharpie marker to mark your (or your in-laws’) post hole digger every foot from the bottom so you can quickly see how deep your hole is.
                 I was so surprised to hear Neill ask if I wanted him to grab the Quickcrete. I guess there was no reason not to go ahead and set that post that night. Yes it was 10:30 PM on a week night, but we decided to finish the task. The next day I dug and set the other post and marked where the deck railing needed to be cut before Neill got home.  When he got home we cut the railing and using the hinges hung them from each of the posts. We used some of my yarn to give us a guiding line.  We used two different types of hinges - a set that closes automatically and a normal set (both looking the same). We didn’t think about how the automatic ones were so much stronger than the normal ones, and when we pulled out the brick we had holding the gate while we attached the hinges to the post the gate on the normal hinges sagged a little. Oh well, we got the hardware on and called it a night. I have a few ideas of how to fix this problem, but that will be another day. We were able to get a gate up in two weekday evenings, defiantly one of the quickest projects yet.   

Neill’s adventure getting pine straw

On Thurs Neill and I decided that I would stay at the house and continue to strip paint off the door while he went to get some pine straw for the dog run. So his first stop was to the midtown Home Depot location. He went into the garden area and found an outside lawn and garden worker, and here is how their conversation went:

Neill: “Do y’all have any pine straw?”  

Worker: “What?”

Neill clearly enunciates: “PINE STRAW”

Worker: “What kind of plant is that? What does the plant look like? What is it?”

Neill explains: “There are Pine trees with pine needles and when you gather them up that is pine straw. People put it in their flower bed instead of mulch.”

The worker became confused with the mention of a Pine tree, so he called over his co-worker. The co-worker was also unaware of what pine straw was, so they then called over a manager. After Neill explained what pine straw was a third time the manager seemed to recall seeing that word on an order form, and was able to answer Neill’s question. No they did not carry pine straw.  He then went to Lowes and picked up pine straw from there.