The Project Board – A Look Back

Today marks 6 years since I started my blog. I’ve found it very helpful to keep track of how I’ve done things throughout the years like how I made curtains or a certain recipe. I don’t otherwise mark a lot of this down and it’s been helpful to be able to come back and follow a recipe that I liked a few years ago. I hope you’ve also found it helpful to read some of my blog posts and be able to come back to things you liked.

My most popular posts are:

Slide1Bathroom Before and After posted on October 14, 2012 has 7,420 views, most of which come from Pinterest.  The bathroom looks exactly the same now as it did then, except it now has a shower curtain instead of glass doors. We’re talking about replacing the baseboard next year but otherwise have no plans for changes.

IMG_1826

DIY Curtains posted on December 12, 2012 with 4,369 views. I made the curtains to go in our bedroom as pictured right but they have since moved to our home office. I replaced them with black-out curtains because we got tired of our neighbor’s flood lights keeping us up at night. Our bedroom is currently going through some renovations and I will post pictures of that by the end of the year.  My 3rd most popular post has been the Bedroom Makeover Pictures that go along with the DIY curtains.


My personal favorites are:

Buffet1_wordsRefinished Buffet posted on July 14, 2015.  I still can’t quite believe my luck at finding this on the side of the road out with the trash. I worked really hard on this and it was worth it. People compliment it when they come over and are often surprised to hear that we didn’t buy it new. Actually, the only furniture in our house that we bought new is the couch, coffee table, and end tables in our living room. Everything else was either given, bought at Goodwill, or found on the side of the street like the buffet. I am getting to the point, though, that I’m willing to spend some money on new furniture, especially because I think new furniture would look great with the renovations we’ve made on the house recently.  There are two things I’d really like to have soon and that is a new dining room table and a big, comfy chair for our entry way.

Here is what our buffet looks like now –
Buffet_UpdateI made the tray at Board and Brush.  If you haven’t checked them out, you should.  They have locations all over the U.S.

Floors
DIY – Installing Hardwood Floors, posted on March 18, 2018.  As you can tell from the picture on the right (and from the post), we installed hardwood floors throughout our house and also replaced all of the trim and baseboards. The two of us (my husband and I) did all of the work. In the “after” picture, we still need to do some touch-ups on the bay window and put the shelves back on the bookcase behind the couch. But we think it looks a lot better than the early 1990s carpet we had before (no offense to 1990s carpet).

 

entryway

My Starter Story, posted on January 18, 2015.  I like this post because it bring back memories and reminds me how much progress we’ve made on the house.  After we are finished with installing the hardware floors, new baseboard, and trim, it will be fun to look at before and after pictures again.  Soon the bedrooms will have new trim, new closet doors, new interior doors, and new carpet so I’m looking forward to before and after pictures of those changes.  It’s also interesting to look back and see some of the decorative decisions we’ve made and how things have changed even since 2015.  The picture to the right is a reminder that one should always, ALWAYS spend the $3 to get a sample before deciding on a paint color.

 

IMG_1691Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, posted on December 2, 2012.  One of my co-workers gave me this recipe and it is one of my favorites.  It makes a few dozen so it’s easy to give them to family and friends, especially around the holidays.
Thank you to all who follow my blog!  I really appreciate it.

Advertisements

House Update

As a recap – my husband and I began installing hardwood floors almost a year ago.  During this time, we decided we should go ahead and install new baseboards, door and window trim, and interior doors.  The reason is because we had to remove the baseboards in order to install the hardwood floors and it seemed silly to put old, worn, and scratched baseboard and trim next to brand new, shiny floors. Exhibit A below.

IMG_5196

For contrast, we decided to go with white trim and doors.  In our opinion, it makes our house look cleaner and more modern. Additionally, it’s much easier to paint everything white than it is to try to match stain colors.

We still have to install baseboards in the bedrooms and finish installing hardwood floors in the hallway that leads to the back door.  We also need to install (and paint) new closet doors in the bedrooms and the back hallway but we are really close to being done.

Here is a sneak peek of the before and after. The closet in the hallway is not yet finished but everything else in the picture is.

Update

What house renovation projects have you done this year? After we’re done with this, I hope we get a LONG break before we have to do anything else to the house.

Painting a Built-in Bookcase

We are in the process of replacing all of our old wood trim with white trim.  I am going to write a separate post about replacing trim once we are further along but one thing we finished is a built-in bookcase in our dining room. The back of the bookcase is drywall which is why the back of it was originally the same color as the rest of the dining room walls.  Here is a before picture:

IMG_5564

I started by removing the shelves and taking them outside to sand.  I used an electric sander and 80 grit paper to remove most of the stain from all sides of the shelves.  When that was done, I applied one coat of primer.  Then I added two coats of semi gloss white paint from Behr using a roller brush for smooth surfaces.

Back inside, I removed the tracks from the sides of the bookcase. They were really flimsy so removing them was easier than I thought it was going to be. Then I filled in the holes that were created when the tracking was nailed in to the bookcase.  I used DAP DryDex for this.  After the filler dried, I sanded it smooth.  Then I sanded the wooden sides of the bookcase by hand with 80 grit paper.  I wanted to keep the amount of sanding dust to a minimum so I only did enough sanding to scuff up the wood and allow the paint to adhere better.  After sanding, I wiped the wood down with a damp cloth to remove all dust.

Next, I added a layer of primer.

IMG_5572

After the primer dried, my husband caulked the joints to make everything connected.  It made a pretty big difference as you can see below:

caulking_joints

Then I added two layers of white semi-gloss paint using a roller brush for smooth surfaces.

We decided not to install a track similar to the one we removed.  The nice thing about the track is that you can easily adjust the height of your shelves or add more shelves.  But we wanted to go for a cleaner look so my husband made small wood supports that we nailed to the sides (and then I filled the nail holes, caulked, and painted).

IMG_5721

After the wood supports were installed and everything was caulked and painted, we added the shelves back and put up new white trim (that had also been caulked and painted). Here is how it looks now:

IMG_5719

I hope you like!  We still have some old trim to remove and new trim to put up as you can tell from the above picture but we are getting there.  Thanks for reading!

Bookcase_Before_After

Refinished Desk

This past week I worked on refinishing a desk for a friend.  When I first saw the desk, I thought it was really cute and didn’t really need to be refinished but it did have quite a few scratches on the top and drawers and the finish was dull in a lot of places.  I was excited to work on a quality piece, especially since my last project was built with wood veneer and that can be a pain to work with.  Here are some before pictures:

20180514_10160520180514_101613

I started on Monday by taking out the drawers and sanding the top.  I took most of the finish off with an 80 grit and then I moved to 100, 150, and then 220.  It took about 45 minutes to get everything completed removed.

20180514_105857.jpg

Afterward, I turned the desk upside down on top of towels so the top wouldn’t get scratched and then I taped off the edges and added a layer of primer.

20180515_174856.jpg

After the primer dried, I lightly sanded it, otherwise the brush marks would be visible underneath the paint.  on Tuesday I added two coats of Undersea by Behr which looked dark when I picked it out in the store but it turned out much more blue than I wanted:

20180516_164421.jpg

 

I also thought I would like the flat finish but I didn’t.  So the next morning I went to Lowe’s and bought Corduroy Black by Valspar in a satin finish.

On Wednesday I added a layer of Early American stain by Minwax.  I also filled the holes on the small desk drawers because I wanted those to have a knob instead of a pull.  I also vacuumed out sawdust that had collected inside the desk.

On Thursday I added a 2nd layer of stain and a coat of the new paint I purchased. It was starting to look pretty good.

20180517_164345

On Friday I added 4 coats of satin polyurethane from Rust-Oleum and wiped the painted part of the desk and drawers down with a damp cloth to remove any remaining dust.  On Saturday morning, I distressed parts of the desk with 220 grit sandpaper, had my husband drill holes for the knobs in the small drawers, and then I added the knobs and drawer pull and brought it inside.

Here is how it looks now:

20180519_11210420180519_112114

I am really happy with how it turned out! If you like the hardware, you can find the knobs at Lowe’s and the drawer pull at Home Depot.

Before_After

 

Good luck with any projects you have this summer.

 

DIY Professional Looking Pedicure

Hello!  Now that the weather is getting warmer, we’ll probably all start wearing sandals more often.  I know it can be relaxing to get a professional pedicure at a salon but sometimes we don’t have the time or money.  If you are looking for tips on how to do your own pedicure at home, here are some recommendations I have.

DIY Pedicure
Purchase quality supplies
I know one purpose of doing your own pedicure is to save money so this might sound counter-intuitive but keep in mind that whatever you buy is going to last a long time.  I’ve had most of the products in the picture below for years.  Here is what I use:

  • A good cuticle softener and oil.  I currently use products by California Mango but you can use whichever brand you’d like.
  • Nail polish base coat.  Some people skip this part but it’s really important because it helps your nail polish stay on longer without chipping, it prevents your nails from being stained by your nail polish, and it also helps your nail polish dry more smoothly and evenly.  I use OPI for this.
  • For nail polish, I really like OPI and China Glaze.  I sometimes use cheaper polish like Revlon which looks fine if I use good base and clear coat nail polish.
  • A good quality clear coat.  For me, it’s important to find one that dries quickly because I want to get on with my day.  I have previously used Poshe which I recommend.  I am currently using a quick drying top coat by OPI which works just as good as Poshe but is more expensive.
  • Optional – I use OPI’s Rapidry Nail Polish Dryer spray to help the polish dry even faster.  I think it also gives a nice finished look.

20180409_181440

Prepare your nails
After you’ve cut and filed your nails, put a bit of cuticle softer on your cuticles and leave it on for a minute or so.  Then push back your cuticles using the nails on your other hand or a tool.  Wipe everything off with a cotton ball or tissue.  Then, put a small amount of cuticle oil around your nails.  Leave it on for a minute or two and then wash and dry your hands.  It’s important to hydrate everything around your nails because your pedicure won’t look as nice if it is surrounded by dry skin and cuticles.

Apply a base coat
After your nails are prepared and clean, apply a coat of base.  A thin coat is perfectly fine and it dries quickly.

Apply 1-2 coats of nail polish
A minute or two after you have applied the base coat, you can start painting. I usually have to apply 2 light coats to get an even finish.  Waiting 2-3 minutes between coats is fine.  It’s helpful to have some q-tips nearby so you can wipe off any paint that gets on your skin.  I sometimes pour some nail polish remover in the bottle cap and dip my q-tip in it to make cleaning off nail polish easier.

Apply the clear top coat
I usually let my nails dry for at least 5 minutes before applying a top coat.  You only need one layer.

Optional – Spray on nail dryer
If you have purchased spray that can help your nails dry faster, you can spritz it on soon after applying the top coat.  The OPI spray says 45 seconds but I usually wait a minute or two.

If I use the products listed above, I can go about my day pretty quickly.  Actually, I usually paint my nails at night and have no problem taking a shower and going to bed within an hour of painting my nails and everything stays in place.

Happy painting!  If anyone likes the nail polish in the picture above it is called “Rose Among Thorns” by China Glaze.

DIY – Installing Hardwood Floors

I mentioned in my previous post that my husband and I have been working on a project since September.  Back then, we decided to rip out the old carpet and replace it with hardwood floors.  Just the two of us.  With no prior experience with such things.

Now, my husband is the type of person who can really do anything he puts his mind to.  He spent months beforehand reading directions for installing hardwood floors and watching how-to videos.  So when it came time to do all of this, I just did what he told me to.

After finally agreeing on the type of hardwood we’d buy (I wanted thick, dark planks; he wanted thinner, lighter ones), we compromised and went with a 3 inch hickory plank by Bruce in the color Oxford Brown.  Honestly, at first I wasn’t thrilled with this selection because the samples we had didn’t show much character and that’s something I wanted.  But when we received our order and started looking through the boxes, I was happy with variation of color and the interesting marks on some of the planks.

After we pulled up the carpet and the carpet padding, we had to remove the baseboards and tack strips from the subfloor.  Then we had to remove any staples that held down the carpet padding.

IMG_4733

tack strip and staples

We started in the hallway that leads to the bedrooms and everything was going fine.  We then moved to the entry room and found out things were not fine. When we pulled up the carpet and padding at the front door, we found this underneath:

Slide1

The tiles came up pretty easily but we found concrete underneath.  We can’t staple wood floors to concrete so it had to come out.

IMG_4777

We bought the necessary tools, fashioned a plastic curtain, and got to work. Actually, all I did was fashion the plastic curtain. My husband did the rest while I worked on removing staples from the subfloor.

He worked on removing the concrete for 3 evenings in a row. Then we bought a sheet of plywood and used it to cover the hole.  Success!

IMG_4789

The subfloor was finally free of staples and tack strips and we went over it with the shop vac to make sure it was free of debris.  After that, we laid down a layer of rosin paper (which acts as a barrier between the subfloor and hardwood floor and minimizes squeaks that can sometimes occur with wood flooring) and we were ready to start laying our floors.

IMG_4800

We were thrilled with the first few rows we installed during the second week of the project.  My job was to pick out each wood plank to make sure we had variation with color and size.  There are also “rules” you have to follow when installing hardwood floors, for example, you should keep joints between two rows at least 6 inches apart and you should try to avoid creating patterns, like a stair-step pattern that can occur between several rows.  I also inspected each plank to make sure we weren’t installing something that was scratched or damaged in some way.  So I was in charge of the design part of the installation and my husband did the physical installation.  We made a good team.

Working mostly on the weekends, we finished the entry room, dining room, and hallway leading to the bedrooms in about a month.  I also painted the ceilings before the hardwood was installed in each room.

IMG_4781

The dining room being torn up was the biggest pain for me.  For some reason, the subfloor was really grimy despite vacuuming so we always had to put shoes on – even when getting up in the middle of the night for water.  After we pulled up the carpet, we didn’t install the hardwood for about a month because it took longer than expected to work on the entry room and hallway so we had to live with it for a few weeks.

20171016_172840

This is our sad attempt to have a normal dinner amidst the mess

When the dining room floors were finally installed, we couldn’t wait to get everything cleaned up and back to normal.

We moved on to the living room the following weekend.  We pulled up the carpet on a Tuesday so that we could have it out for trash pick-up by Thursday (yes, they will pick up old carpet as long as you follow their guidelines and give them a heads-up) and then we painted the ceiling on Saturday.  On Sunday, we started installing the floors and, because we wanted the planks to line up with what was installed in the entry room, we started with a runway sort of look.

IMG_4972

The “runway” which took forever to start laying because we had to make sure whatever we laid down was square with the walls and the rest of the house.

Here are before and after pictures of the living room

IMG_4940

Before (taken right before we pulled up the carpet)

IMG_5006

After

We are really close to being finished.  We are waiting for the weather to warm up because we need to be outside when cutting wood to the right length. We have about 2 rows left to install in the hallway leading to the back door and then we are going to install the hardwood floors in the stairway leading down to the basement.

But in the middle of all of this, we decided to give ourselves even more work by replacing all of our wood trim with white trim.  This was my husband’s idea which I was initially not on-board with but after looking at the state of both the baseboards and the trim around the doors, it’s clear it all needs replaced because they are scratched and dirty from almost 50 years of use.  We’ve barely started this but here is a picture I took today with the trim we are planning to install.

IMG_5432I think it’s going to make our house look cleaner and more modern.  I will post more before and after pictures after we are completely finished later this year.

In case you are wondering why we did this ourselves – we did it because it saved us about $5,000 in installation fees.  I am glad we did because now I have a new set of skills (want me to remove your baseboards or paint your ceilings? No problem, buddy!) and we are really appreciative of our new floors because we know how much work it took.

Thanks for reading!

3 Year Blogiversary!

I created the project board exactly 3 years ago today.  I’d like to highlight some of my favorite posts from the past year.

Click on the picture to be taken to that post.

  1. Autumn Leaves – October 3, 2014
    October2. 2015 Calendar – December 10, 2014January
    3. Coffee Chocolate Cake – January 11, 2015

    Coffee_Cake4. My Starter Story – January 18, 2015
    IMG_2432
    5. I Made Bread! – January 19, 2015
    IMG_633426.  Foggy Day – March 10, 2015
    IMG_64217. Refinished Buffet – July 14, 2015
    Buffet1_words8. Moths and Butterflies – July 25, 2015

    moth9. Morning Light – August 28, 2015
    IMG_976010. I Opened an Etsy Shop! – August 30, 2015
    CongratsDots1You can see the highlights from my first and second year of blogging are also available.

    Thanks to everyone who has followed me over the past three years!