Thursday, February 28, 2013

We Really Need To Do Something About Those Cracked Tiles…

This was mentioned more than once to my husband.  We are both to blame.  I noticed them because I’m the one who generally cleans in there.  I think we both knew what we find-it was just a matter of willpower and budget.  Before that happened or any before pictures were taken-the peeling two layers of wallpaper had to go.
Upstairs bathroom, the one used mainly by our kids-cracked tiles  around the toilet.  It doesn’t take any imagination to know we were facing some rotten subfloor.  We just didn’t expect to find that the joist had been cut into for the toilet… or to be playing name those pipes Jeopardy Edition.

I had cajoled my husband into this project by promising to do all of the wallpaper stripping and painting on my own.  He took a day off to make a three day weekend to tackle the floor with my help.  Not that I could do much other than help with handing him tools and fetching other needed items-that and making him a sandwich.  We had already figured out our needed budget and ditched the idea of replacing the countertop and sink.  I know he could have tackled this on his own, but the cut joist made us both nervous.  I encouraged him to call our handyman.  He stopped by and gave us a price to deal with the remaining rotted subfloor, bracing the joist and laying down some luan and top of all of it.  It came out lower than what we had considered for a new countertop and sink.  Sold!

Once again I got out my trusty wallpaper removing tools.  Sadly my husband couldn’t find any more Piranha Wallpaper Remover and bought me the DEP gel.  I don’t think I saved anytime with him picking me up some supplies.  I just work better with the Piranha.  The layers around the tub and vanity light came off just fine.  All other areas took jumping back and forth from steaming and the DEP.  The first layer of wallpaper was stuck on plain drywall just like the kitchen.  It was the same baby blue and light pink pattern with flowers and butterflies on a white background.  It had to have been cheaper than paint with the original owners putting it up in all three bathrooms and kitchen.  They certainly did not want to waste time or money on primer.  Three rooms down and one very tiny bathroom to  go.  I will try and remember to  take a picture of this hated wallpaper-not because I ever had to live with it, just that I am so intimate with it by now.  A lot of patching and priming later and I was off and running.  I was so excited to be done with the stripping get started with painting the cabinets I had to stop in the middle of wiping the wallpaper mess off and taking doors down so I could take before pictures of the cabinets.

I wiped them down with Krud Kutter and rinsed with vinegar.  One coat of Zinsser Gardz and I was ready to paint on some homemade chalk paint.  My kitchen cabinets have held up well, and they go through a lot of abuse from my kids.  Fingers crossed these will also.
I wasn’t choosy about the paint color-really just rushed through and found something that looked like it would work.  Serendipitously the color is a match to the countertop.  I’m not sure that I would have planned it that way if I had taken my time, but I am happy with the result.

By the time the handyman showed up a few days later the walls were painted, the subfloor had been scraped, new faucet, vanity lights, frame around mirror, cabinets were done.  I wasn’t worried about a second coat of paint on the cabinets at this stage-I figured I would get it after the floor and wall were repaired.

He performed his magic in a couple of hours.  I was thrilled and I know my hubby was as well.

For flooring we choose Traffic Master from Allure.  We had originally intended to put tile down again, but after adding up the cost of installing just the waterproofing underlayment this was less expensive…and less work involved.  I really liked the feel and look of it.  It looks like nice wood flooring.  It’s basically a big vinyl mat that is sealed to itself.  A no brainer to get it installed, although we did have a slight learning curve-there would be a few things I would approach differently.  If it doesn’t work out, or we want a change all we will have to do is pull the toilet and quarter round and lift it out.  A much nicer option all things considered and especially after chiseling out tile and the condition of my hands at the moment.

The gray area is the lower ‘grout’ line.  There are similar ‘grout’ lines on opposite sides underneath the flooring so that the two ‘grout’ lines stick to each other.  For runs next to walls or other surfaces you simply cut off the ‘grout’ lines so the flooring will be the same thickness throughout.  The directions say to place it at a 45 degree angle-I found that it needed a rolling motion with pressure put on the run you are joining the piece to-similar to putting contact paper on.  Done that way your join is tight and seamless.  I think in hindsight I would have removed the molding and finished the walls lower-put the molding back on flush with the flooring with caulk underneath the molding.  That was the trickiest and most frustrating job of all.  There is a slight grain on this flooring that catches caulk and can cause profanity to ensue.  I overcame this best I could-neither one of us likes this job to begin with.  I used tape to help control the mess.  I’m  still not thrilled with the job I did-I was hopeful for a crisp transition and failed.  That’s why I would skip the quarter round and just put a bead of caulk under the molding and then installing the molding.  Ah well live and learn.

I’m still very happy with the semi finished product.  I had three oriental paintings my mother gave me with sweet little birds sitting on branches.  I tried them out after I got my towel rods hung up and was happy with how they look in there.  I was even happier with my shower curtain and rug that I found in target with the birds sitting on the branches.  Another serendipitous moment.  I wasn’t thinking about a bird theme, or any ‘theme’ for that matter, but I am happy it turned out that way. 
Another bonus was that my youngest son was the first to try out the new bathroom.  I had run out to buy dinner and when I got home he was in the shower-a miracle in itself.  On top of that he actually cleaned up after himself including hanging up his towel.  Good stuff all around.
Now I just need my new light fixture from Amazon to come in.  I might leave it for my husband to put up when he gets home.

A bargain for $23!  It was being sold as used because the box was damaged.  Normal price is $111.  Happy dance…at least until I get it and make sure it’s whole.

With a little help from my kids and some great advice from my mom we got it up! A nice surprise for hubby when he gets home.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Curbside Gem

A few years ago I spotted a lovely, old coffee table put on the curbside for trash pickup.  It was too heavy for me to pick up and put into my car trunk so I had to call my husband to hurry up and come pick it up for me. 

It sat in our garage for months.  I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do with it.  I had wanted to paint it white, but it seemed a shame to cover solid oak with paint.  Eventually my husband started to sand it down (I think in an attempt to save it from a white paint job).  He partially finished the job and hauled it upstairs into our storage area to get it out of his way.
I came across an interesting method to transfer toner ink images with heat on to wood from Pinterest. I was sold.  I flipped through images I had gathered from the Graphics Fairy and came up with what I wanted.  I was a bit nervous about it because the only images I came across that successfully transferred were black and one of my images had some color in it.  I tested a small area on the table that would not be seen with an intricate image just to see how fine the detail would come out and how long to heat the area.

I used my Creative Hotmarks tool and  a laser image.  I taped one side of my paper so I could lift and check out how the image was being transferred without losing my placement.  I learned a couple of things.  If you let the paper cool down it will stick.  The hotter the tool is the quicker the image is transferred and the less pressure is needed to get a good transfer.  I ended up working in small areas so I could lift the paper to check the transfer and insure it did not stick to the wood.  A very quick process and satisfying as well.  An important reminder is to make sure your image is reversed!

I am very happy with the results and even more please with the faded colors on the bird-I think it adds to the vintage look that I was hoping for.

I left the stain choice to my husband.  He was more than willing to let me experiment on this little gem of a table.  He was a little territorial with the piece-I guess the sanding he did on the table added to his interest in what I did with it.  He headed out and picked out his stain and was more than happy to let me finish up this project.

heat transfer laser copy wood oak table
I was a little nervous about the image being lifted up or smudged when I applied the stain and seal.  There were no problems and I think it turned out very nice.

It would have been nice if I had remembered to erase my pencil mark I drew in to center my image.  I honestly did not notice it until I took the final pictures.  I guess my attention was on whether or not the image looked right.  Ah well live and learn.  I got a thumbs up from my youngest son-he is happy with the results and I believe he thinks the table will be his at some point.  He finished up the final sanding his dad left and I think the ownership he has is justified.
heat transfer laser copy wood oak table

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

It Feels Like Springtime here!

It is hard to get busy with indoor projects with this glorious weather.  I find myself wanting to plant summer flowers and start on outdoor chores.  The days have reminded me to be very thankful for where I live.  It’s hard to beat this kind of weather in February.
The squirrels have been romping to excess all over our yard and munching on my spring bulbs.  I found a product new to me-a bungee cord feeder for squirrels.  It had directions on how to use it so the squirrels could gradually get used to how it works. I just hung it up where I could see it from our dining table in the kitchen.  It only took 30 minutes for them to bravely jump on it and start feasting.

bungee feederbungee feeder
I’m hoping they will stay busy enough to give what bulbs I have left a chance to bloom.  I have a few in bloom already-I think they are white bluebells and they generally come up this time of year for me.
spring flowers
I will be sad to see my poppies die out.  They have been a hardy winter weather flower for this area and it was nice to see a show of color this past year.  I’m hoping they will hang on through the summer, but I have a feeling that when the heat hits it will be time to find a hot weather flower to plant in it’s place.
orange flower
I was thrilled to find a couple of PURPLE roses at Wal-Mart.  I needed to fill the areas where the squirrels had been munching and I was very happy to pay $8 a plant.
purple flowers
Everywhere in my yard flowers are in bloom or plants are hanging with buds.  I really love this time of year.
red flower
flower buds
We even had fun putting our grandbaby to work in the yard!
spring clean up
springtime cleanup