Personal Guest Room Touches

I seem to be slowing down on this room. I still need to paint the ceiling, but Andy and I had a twice-a-year weekend without the girls and we wanted to make the most of it. A snow storm kind of sealed the deal that once I got to his place, I wasn’t going anywhere. We went out for sushi Friday night, we celebrated Mass together, we watched some movies, we did some cleaning, we shoveled driveways together. I was to have my friend Gale come in to play with me at my church’s service but the snow canceled our plans, leaving me to play alone. We were also to get together for Andy’s mom’s birthday, but the snow stopped our travel to his hometown. My family shut itself in for an afternoon game and pizza day.  It was a great weekend. When I found out back in 2013 that Andy had children, I was ecstatic. They add so much to life, even when things don’t run smoothly. I miss them after awhile of not seeing them. But a few days a year being adults is, well, great.

20150219_195842Even though Gale didn’t make it, I prepared the guest room as I am working on it, for her. I tried to consolidate paint cans and ladders to one corner of the room. While I was taking a break from painting, I added two homey touches to the room: a WiFi password welcome sign on the nightstand with some amenities, and a slate painting.

The welcome sign is simple. There are a number of free templates available on Pinterest20150219_200406 or you can create your own – add your home’s WiFi password, frame it, and put it on the nightstand. I also added some lotion and an alarm clock.

The slate painting was borne from a large piece of slate I found cleaning out my dad’s room. 20150219_182325I am uncertain what he intended to paint on it, but it is the right size and shape for something, with holes for hanging. I used a long, strong leather thong and knotted the ends so they don’t slip through. Before I painting it, I hung this on a nail close to the floor for a week to make sure the leather would hold the heavy slate. I found a template for one of my favorite sayings and modified it to be a bit more “artsy.” Using the light gray for the walls, I painted this freehand with several Q-Tips for paint brushes. To hang I simply made sure I was on a stud with my nail. I like it!

Life Hacks – Deglossing vs. Stripping

20150131_154204You’ve heard me say, on every room, that I degloss the trim before painting it. Why? You have a couple options for good adhesion of the new paint over the old: cleaning and sanding, stripping and cleaning, or scraping and cleaning. If the old paint is in reasonably good condition, a light sanding will do. If it’s pretty built up, you most likely will want to strip it. And if it’s beyond those things, you will need to scrape the flaking paint to provide a seam-free surface for your new paint. Either way, you have to clean it too. The deglosser will do the cleaning and the job of either the sanding, stripping, or scraping. Because it’s a harsh solution, you must wear gloves. But because it’s a harsh solution, it provides a lot of elbow grease of its own.

20150131_154223I’m not sure what on earth my dad was thinking when he painted this room. My guess is, he was getting tired of maintaining the home and just slapped some latex paint over the old stuff without doing any of the above. Bad idea. Because of this, the top coats were removing the bottom coats and the whole thing was chipping off. I didn’t want to remove all the old paint due to time and the reasonable condition of the rest of the trim. So I scraped a little with just a plastic scraper, to remove only the loose edges, then cleaned and smoothed it all down with my trusty deglosser. It penetrates and bonds the paint layers as well as provides a “toothier” surface for new paint.

New Year’s Eve Safety Tips – Timeless

New Year’s Eve is a great time to celebrate with friends, but it’s also a time of increased risk for your personal safety. If you’re going out on the town or to another friend or family member’s house to party the night away, follow these simple tips to ensure that you and other guests stay safe and enjoy the evening.

  1. Appoint a designated driver. Having a designated driver probably the most important New Year’s Eve safety tip. Make sure you appoint a designated driver who will be reliable and drive safely on New Year’s Eve. As a back-up plan, take a phone number for a taxi company with you or, if you live in a big city, have a plan to use reliable transportation (but don’t forget about potentially reduced holiday hours).
  2. Take a friend with you. Everyone, but especially women, is more vulnerable when alone, so go out on the town or to a party with a friend you can trust. Having a friend you can trust to go out with means both you and your friend will be safer.
  3. Don’t drink too much and watch your drink. If you’re not the designated driver in your group, don’t forget to monitor your own alcohol consumption. New Year’s Eve can be a long night and too much alcohol can be deadly. Also remember to keep your eyes on your drink at all times to avoid the risk of someone slipping illegal drugs into it.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings. If you’re going out, don’t walk through potentially dangerous areas and don’t walk alone. Travel with a friend, don’t talk on your cell phone while walking or driving, and keep an eye out for potentially dangerous situations.
  5. Take care of your own home and pets. If you’re going out on New Year’s Eve, be sure to care for your pets before you go, leaving enough food and water. Also be sure to lock your doors (use an alarm system, if you have one) and don’t leave potentially dangerous household objects, such as candles, unattended.
  6. Many businesses offer free or reduced-cost services to help with your safe travel, from free cab rides to free coffee. Call ahead when in doubt.

Cleaning Brushes

20141018_10314220141018_103238This was to be an easy week, finishing the painting in the New Room but I spent about 10 hours on the trim and woodwork, and the color washes on the walls, and they are still not done! I used the brush and rollers from Construction Gear for everything, and they still look good as new. Plug for the brush: for a 4” brush, it is sure precise. I did not need masking tape on many areas. I mentioned that last week but you can see in the photo to the left what I mean!

To keep the brush and rollers fresh, when I was in the middle of a project and had to take a break, I wrapped them in a plastic shopping bag to keep them moist – if it was more than a few hours, into the fridge they went. When I was done with each color, I rinsed them thoroughly in just rain water (I love my dad’s rain barrel system!! But since you don’t have it, you can use regular water). When the project was done, I rinsed them and then ran them through the dishwasher. If you don’t have a dishwasher, just put a dab of dish liquid in the palm of one hand and swirl the brush in it to lather or run along the roller, then rinse until the water runs clear.  They held up fine and I will be using them again. So nice to have supplies that you don’t have to throw away at the end of a project – or even after one color! Well worth the cost.

Sunday I boycotted all restoration work and spent the morning in church, and the afternoon baking bread, then bruschetta. Andy and I had an Italian feast in the half hour from the time he brought the girls home from Lucy’s hockey game, to the time he needed to drop her off at work. Pasta, ravioli, cacciatore, and my offerings. Mmm. He dumped an entire pilsner glass of water in my lap and there was spaghetti on the table when he and Lucy rushed out the door. 20141019_133848Grace went upstairs, leaving me sitting in stunned silence. Andy returned 10 minutes later to finish the meal as adults. You know it’s good when you both have sauce on your face! Unfortunately, he neglected to tell me of mine until we got back from running to get pumpkin for Lucy’s baking. That’s ok. It was worth it to have one of the pumpkin vanilla snickerdoodles hand-delivered right from the oven.

Next weekend we are going to tackle laying carpet. Yes, I have informed Andy it will be “we.”

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