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Home Remodel – detour along the way

20140928_133230 I need to add a couple side projects on this home project. Remember in the bathroom, I was unhappy with the old sink base hardware, but the new hardware came with screws that didn’t fit? This weekend I got the new hardware anyway and found my dad’s bolt cutters in the garage. Result? Screws that fit! I am adding $25 in cost to this room. I can sit back and call it done, thanks to many of the great construction and safety products at SafetyGirl, Discount Safety Gear, and Construction Gear.

20140927_185952Additionally, in preparing to start work on the New Room (I’m not sure if I will change the room’s name, or not), I had to get rid of all the furniture I didn’t want. Andy claimed one of the bookcases, and while the gross carpet was still down, I deglossed it and slapped 3 coats of black paint on it for him. 20140927_074223He came and got it yesterday and I hope it was dry enough that it didn’t ruin the upholstery in his van. I used the disposable coveralls and gloves that I’ve been using, for this, too. I am finding disposable gloves are indispensable for pretty much everything in the house.

Laundry Room Scrubdown

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20140921_163659This weekend was a continuation of the last in the laundry room, so I won’t bore you with details. My goal was to scrub the whole thing down and paint it, and the reassemble it in a more organized version.  I did the floor the same way I did the bathroom. I cleaned it with TSP, then I took 50 gallons of rainwater from my dad’s rainwater collectors, dumped it on the floor and squeegeed it off. Then I used TSP in hot water again and deglossed. Then I primed, painted, and sealed. When I painted, I wore gloves and a whole-body-with-hood disposable coverall, which made for a really sweet cleanup of me. Here are the before and after shots.

Sunday my mom came out and reupholstered four occasional chairs while I deglossed the laundry room. I am including a photo because they look so nice and I am glad she did this for me.

I talked to Lucy about the possibility of us painting a mural on the wall, including Grace if she wishes. If that happens, I will follow up with the design. Next week I am going to take a break on the home repair and give the whole house a cleaning. Then I will start looking at the New Room. It has always been an afterthought kind of room, in my life, though my parents used it quiet a bit after we left home. I am going to turn it into a crafty, musicy, artsy type of den. Some comfortable chairs, the piano, a table for beadwork or scrapbooking. The view out the window is wonderful for morning coffee. 20140928_092308Thanks to Andy and the circus (see that blog here), I have the carpet on order and waiting for my call. For that room I will be stripping wall paper, painting both the plain walls and the paneling with chair rail, recarpeting, and maybe working on one light (ugh). I will be featuring the leather work gloves (for the carpeting), knee pads (carpeting) and the typical painting gear from SafetyGirl, Construction Gear, and Discount Safety Gear.

Pink Power!

Needle nose pliers – the bane of my existence! I need the pliers, but they keep walking away from where I hid them. I can never seem to find them even when I hid them so no one else can find them!

I’m almost sure, in a houseful of men, my tools would be safe if they were pink and had a dark pink tool beltdark belt. That’s the power of pink, in this case – PINK PROTECTION!  You gotta love the dark pink color, heavy-duty suede leather and adjustable waist (fits waists 30″ – 42″) with hammer loop. There are 9 utility pockets to make a place for just about anything you’re carrying around.

toolkitThis has to be a bigger problem than just at our house. I have a sneaky feeling that it’s more about convenience – as in, I know where this is because the person-who-puts-stuff-up put it here, than ANYTHING else!  I’m not totally sure that PINK has the POWER to keep the tools safe, but I’ll keep you posted!  It’s certainly worth a try if I can find the secret is PINK POWER!

~AH

Industrial Cleaning: A Day at the Circus

During the week, I moved the hoosier from the laundry room to the kitchen. It feels very good to get things out of the house; I used four garbage bags during just a precursory cleaning and started a scrap metal box. We used two boxes for giving away. All week, the thought of how much gunk there is in this room, set me on edge. Even when my dad repainted the floor every ten years, he didn’t move the washer and dryer and give that area a good cleaning or paint under them. The blessing here, however, is that they got new appliances about 3 years ago and I am pretty sure all that was cleaned well when they units were swapped out.

20140913_101531This was going to be a short weekend at home, and while I typically start my weekend work Thursday night, by the time I got home, my new stove (another story for another day) was being delivered and when that was done, I went straight to bed. I spent Friday night feeling overwhelmed a
nd didn’t do anything on the house. Andy came over at 7:30 Saturday morning with a big smile and coffee mug out. We walked around the kitchen a little and he gave me suggestions and vision. He really is good at thinking outside the box. He left to take Grace to Lucy’s track meet and I got to work. I took the remaining items off the shelves and wiped it all down lightly. Then I donned the disposable rubber gloves and a disposable coverall, mixed the TSP to industrial strength, and started scrubbing the ceiling and walls.

Because these walls need serious coverage, I decided to use the thicker ceiling paint on them. This will wipe out the can of paint. So far, the cost on this room is zero. I am using leftovers. Because of the cheap budget here, Andy took me to a local bi-annual warehouse sale to look for carpeting for the next room, the New Room. It was a big tent sale with free hot dogs and popcorn, and a local radio station with a wheel of prizes. While Andy went to look for his favorite saleswoman, I got food. “Want some popcorn?” I asked when he came back out. “nah.” “Hold mine, please, while I eat.” After my hot dog was gone and I reached for the bag of buttery goodness, there were but a few kernels left. Hmm. I also spun the prize wheel while Andy’s impatience very quietly peeked out from around the corner. The guy manning the booth said I won whatever I wanted from the table. After a weekend of festivities, there wasn’t much from which to choose. “Would the girls want clown noses?” “No.” “What’s on this CD?” “If I were you, I’d just take a T-shirt.” “Do you want to spin the wheel?” “No. I want to get home sometime today.” So I grabbed a T-shirt and the DJ gave me four clown noses anyway. I was going to write that they are still in my purse, but they are not. I have no clue where they went but someone is going to have a fun day when they find them!

We ended up looking at the remnants because if you find one that works, you get more bang for your buck. After rooms of cheap-looking and cheap-priced carpet, and gorgeous offerings in sizes that would not work, we happened upon the perfect shade of taupe in a subdued pattern, in a size that would work, and a price that was about 1/3 of retail. “I’d take it if I were you.” He stood guard on the roll while I finished looking and when I got back, he again insisted on finding his favorite saleswoman. She wrote me up while he flirted and stepped on my foot. I did something I don’t ever do – paid for delivery. But there was no way a 12’x20’ rug was going to fit in Andy’s sensible white minivan, much less my Miata.

20140913_131811When we got back, the girls were busy with their friends in the kitchen. I thanked Andy for the date (“hey – it was like a carnival, complete with a meal, right?”) and went back to finish my cleaning.20140913_131841

By the end of the weekend I had scrubbed, patched, and painted the easy half of the laundry room. You can see by the photo on the right, that the ceiling is done but the walls here are cleaned/organized but not painted. This room is going to take another week or two. When I dropped my paintbrush behind the dryer, I noticed that my parents did not, in fact, clean the flooring when they got new appliances.

So I will leave you with a big “to be continued.”

~BS

Best Jogging Buddy

I ordered this20140915_080355 for Grace, who enjoys jogging. The days are getting much shorter now and dusk comes early. There’s a light, a pedometer, and alarm in one. The pedometer counts calories and steps as well as distance in miles and kilometers; and when activated, screeches a high-decibel siren. Before I gave it to her, I asked Andy whether she’d like it. He wasn’t sure if she would remember to clip it on. “Anything to keep her safe, though.” I will report back later on this one!

Perfect Sweet 16 Gift: Safety Girl Roadside Emergency Kit

20140915_08045520140915_080205I ordered this for Lucy, who JUST TURNED 16!!! I was so excited to see the goodies in the box.  There are a couple cards showing you how to change a flat and what to do in case of an accident. The rest of the stuff is really useful for any situation – snack bar and water in case you have to walk, disposable blanket to keep warm, glow stick, bandage strips, you name it! There is even pain reliever, all tucked away in the coolest metal lunchbox that will fit perfectly in the back of Andy’s minivan. Since we couldn’t afford to give her a car for sweet 16, we figured keeping her prepared no matter what she drives, is the next best thing.

I have to add to this. Lucy was surprisingly (and happily for us!) excited to get this. She and Gracie both looked through the contents – Grace wanted the lip balm and snack bar. Lucy was most impressed with the thermal blanket and really liked the SafetyGirl-branded water. Andy told her he’d give her $5 if she took her lunch in the box to school. I’m not holding my breath on that one! But if you have a new driver and can’t afford a car, get her the next best thing – the SafetyGirl Roadside Emergency Kit!

Speed Cleaning the Laundry Room

20140906_18322220140906_183425The laundry room is at the back of the house but because the driveway dumps out to this entry, this is where every single visitor arrives. It is a quaint room with bright light but currently, too much chipped paint on the floors and walls. Over the years, the storage capacity for cleaning supplies and gardening tools have far exceeded a safe limit. Shelves were added as needed and white paint was added every few years. Spider webs prevail. There are more boxes of rose fertilizer than I could use in a lifetime, even if I grew roses. The birds outside would probably appreciate it if I could get their plastic tub of food out somewhere that I could actually feed them. Right now a hoosier cabinet waits in one corner for someone to put it back where it belongs in the kitchen. It was moved the day the EMTs had to get the stretcher into the house to pick up Daddy’s body.

This room will be light and bright and cheery. I will sand down the paint that is on too thick on woodwork (hmm. Should I strip the woodwork?), repaint the ceiling and walls (they definitely need it), and prime/paint/seal the cement floor. First is a good cleaning, and a good cleaning out. It is here that I started.

Much of the shelving is overhead, so I will be wearing the hard hat. I will definitely be wearing the disposable coveralls and poly gloves, with the amount of gunk and goo in this room. I will be wearing the respirator, too, as there are some chemicals.

20140719_132847 20140831_181323As I mentioned earlier, hockey season has started. Last weekend, Andy took Lucy and Gracie and I to get Lucy new gear. When we got back, she and Kay were trying it on and she grabbed my phone to take a selfie. With Andy’s permission, the photo is here. That’s Lucy, Grace, and Kay from left to right. Aren’t they beautiful girls? Anyway, this weekend he took them to Toronto for a showcase, which means recruiters will get to “shop” prospective scholarship-bound players. In today’s economy, a scholarship is necessary if both girls are to attend college.

Since he was gone, my mom and I spent a good portion of the weekend visiting with each other and going through the laundry room: a box to give away, a box to keep, and a box to throw away. Rather, some of the compostable garbage bags on our Construction Gear site. The bags were thick but brittle so I wouldn’t put anything sharp in them. Barring that, they were easy to open and tie, and were very durable. Plus I felt good knowing they are eco-friendly! This is my mom putting on the gloves.20140906_115803

After cleaning off the shelves, I disassembled the perimeter homemade shelving to open up the room. Next week I will be using the TSP cleanser at industrial strength to start scrubbing the room down, and replacing some of the removed wooden shelves with more delicate glass ones.

Pack Rat

mess100 years in the same house + 3 generations + the flotsam of life = 3 stories + 3 outbuildings gorged with stuff!  Some is treasure – buried to be sure! Much is trash. The buildings are headed for demolition so two cousins are spending hours and days sorting it out. It’s a nasty job but someone has to do it to retrieve the treasure – silver coins and much more!

Online Stores‘ Construction GearSafety Girl, and Discount Safety Gear can help:

Hours of kneeling pulling from the piles – CHECK!  We’ve got you covered with knee pads.

Disp RespiratorDust, dust, dust – breathe in, breathe out! CHECK! We’ve got you covered with disposable face masks.

Danger – hazardous to clothing – CHECK! We’ve got you covered with disposable coveralls to protect your clothes.

coverallsHeads-up – Hard hats must be standard gear! CHECK! We’ve got you covered with our construction grade hard hats! They even come in snazzy colors for fashionistas!

hard hatSorting, trashing, treasuring, saving – It’s all in a day’s work. No, make that MANY days! You’re on your own! We don’t make house calls!

~AH

Fixtures and Finishing Touches

This blog’s focus, two little words: install. lighting. Cost: $50. Total cost for the bathroom: slightly under $200 with some leftover materials for the next room.

20140824_161002My weekend started early; Thursday night Andy was busy with the girls and a friend chatted me to see if I was ok. JD was in our circle of friends in high school and we reconnected right when my slide down the slope of divorce, death, and job changing started. He checks in every once in awhile via text just to see if I am alright. I told him I was, but he insisted on stopping over just to make sure. At that point I was in my PJs and had found a leak in the bathroom plumbing. I tried to deter him but I suppose when some people care about you, it’s a good thing. I changed back into clothes and let Andy know I’d be visiting for awhile during our regular phone time. JD and I decided the marine sealant I used on the flooring was good for the leak – it was in the sink drain and all parts were secure except one soldered vertical piece. We sat in the midst of my disastrous house and caught each other up on the last few months.

Even a surprise visit from an old friend can’t stop the inevitable. The bathroom called. I was lucky enough to find some brushed nickel wall sconces at a reasonable price at BigBox but finding the help during daylight hours was the challenge, thus they are last. I am decent at wiring; once you recognize that the wiring either works or it doesn’t, and as long as you don’t use your body as a conductor, it is safe. Andy came over Saturday with tools and equipment, to knock it out with me.

20140824_171619If you know my dad, you know that no project is standard. He loved to create from found objects and scrap, and for the bathroom wiring, apparently he used salvaged industrial wire that had four strands. So not only did we have an extra strand to cap off, but what was coming from the wall was as unmoving as the rock of Gibraltar and barely fit in the box. Additionally, he somehow tied the ceiling fixture in to the left sconce wiring, so there were an extra full set of wires. We did not get the lights up Saturday.

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Left, Before

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Left, After

Andy came back Sunday with more tools and equipment, and after another 2 ½ hours, roll of electrical tape, and 17 different types of pliers, we got them up. Something is loose somewhere in the wall that if the lights aren’t a certain way, they don’t work. Or one of them does. They look beautiful, however, and Sunday night I finally got, and left them, positioned to both work. Monday morning, neither of them turned on. At least I got up early enough to spend 15 minutes wiggling them around so I could light my morning. I finally got them positioned properly and hope no well-intended OCD guest tries to helpfully straighten them that last millimeter.

I am including before and after pics just because it’s so satisfying!

Coming up will be my “gimme” week. I will sit back, enjoy a more open flow in this tiny space, and add the fun stuff: roll the towels and add the accoutrements. When we talk again, you will find me starting to tackle the laundry room, which is the most disgusting room in the house. It is next because it is how all of the visitors enter the house and I really need to be glad when people arrive, rather than cringe. Even though this room is also small and has no wallpaper, I know better than to call this job “easy.” I will be cleaning it out, cleaning it, and repainting ceiling, walls, and floor. Sounds simple, right? Hah! Five tasks, five weeks. I suspect that my one-year deadline for the whole house will not be met.

I will be featuring the pink hard hat but using the disposable gloves, knee pads, and coveralls, as well.

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Right, Before

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Right, After

~BS

Painting a Vinyl Floor

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This is another segment in my farmhouse refresh series. I am still in the bathroom, forever in the bathroom. Over the last week I debated painting the floor, or laying a river stone floor. I decided I would paint the floor and see how it held up. Even knowing the vinyl is a step away from dead and I have a contingency plan, it made me nervous. Everything I read said painting it can turn out great, or a disaster. I read four or five different sets of directions on doing this, as if you don’t paint it properly, you regret the project. I was painstakingly careful with each step. I understand the finish won’t last forever but until I can afford reflooring, I wanted it to look nice.

I got a late start to the weekend, as Friday evening was a celebration for Andy’s parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary! I am so in awe of being able to put up with one person, day in and day out, for that long. Kudos to them. They are a beautiful couple, and the meal was a lovely family dinner at one of the nicer restaurants in their town. I had the lasagna – divine! Gracie went with us but Lucy had to work. I wore a boho dress Andy brought back from a cruise earlier in the year. You know, one of those long things with handcrafted lace at the neckline that makes you feel like a princess and is extremely comfortable all at  the same time? A table full of relatives, some who had traveled from out of state, everyone sharing and laughing. The word I’d use to describe the meal is exuberant.

We weren’t back late and Andy was asleep as soon as his butt hit the leather sofa, so I left and got an early start Saturday. I had already glued down the popped up tiles, and filled in chipped corners, with a marine sealant/epoxy.

20140823_065639If you decide to paint vinyl floors, I will pass on what I read were the important bits: sand it to scuff it and scrape any odd globs off of it, clean thoroughly (I used Trisodium Phosphate at household strength), let every step dry before starting the next, and make sure your sealant is clear. Take the time to tape your edges off carefully, and spend the extra money to get the better masking tape. Be sure every product is made for high traffic, and porch/patio or exterior use to ensure durability. That’s IF you decide to paint your vinyl tile floor.

I followed the directions on dry time but it still flaked off when walking on it after the allotted time. I touched it up and allowed it to cure for a few days before sealing. I used a high-traffic high-gloss clear polyurethane, three coats, with about 72 hours between coats, and then a full week before I put the floor into service. Maneuvering from the hallway to the tub, standing on sink and toilet was interesting but kept me off the floor – and limber! Until I added the sealer, I was not sure on the floor. The sealer, though expensive, really made the difference.

Cost for this project was $30 for high-traffic porch and patio paint, $10 for the cleaner and deglosser, and $40 for the clear gloss sealant (the primer was costed in a prior post).

20140823_132805The disposable gloves were an absolute necessity for the floor project. The TSP cleanser is not to be used on skin, so I wore the gloves when I was scrubbing. I used them also to wash and rinse the floor and hung them to dry, so they were ready to go with the deglosser and painting steps. And again I used the disposable coveralls. I think I may need to get a new package. A side note on those – in the heat of the summer, they were very warm. They are breathable, but it was definitely an extra layer of insulation.  Because of the gloves and overalls, I was able to go right from working, to the store, just by removing those.

I toyed with the idea of using the respirator when I sanded the floor, but as I didn’t use a power sander, it seemed like overkill. I gently scuffed and then scrubbed. There wasn’t much dust. I did, however, need it on the fumes from the polyurethane.

Next week I must tackle the lighting, which I have been putting off. I don’t like to do that alone, at least without anyone in the house to call 911 if I zap myself. I’ve wired an addition before, but it’s been decades.

~BS