Archive for August, 2011

Momma’s Little Helper

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Sadly, we won’t be listing the house this week.  We tried everything and gave it our all, but mother nature gave us a smackdown.  Oliver brought home some nice little germies from his new preschool and we’ve been running a sick house all weekend.   Oliver bounced back after a couple days, but poor Evelyn is still snotty and congested.  Barry is getting run down and I’ve been sneezing my head off all day. 

We’ve kept Evelyn in a little hoodie to keep her warm.  She is too cute, even when she’s sick!

To make up for lost time, I put Oliver to work painting the shed today.  He loved it!  He was totally absorbed for 45 minutes straight and only stopped when I made him go inside for lunch.

He was very careful not to spill his paint and even let the excess drip off his brush into his cup without being told to do so.  He kept the paint off the bricks and didn’t get too much on himself.

While I finished one side, I sent Oliver to start on the next side.  He was actually painting all by himself!  I should have put him to work about 6 weeks ago…

Tonight, I finished painting the front porch ceiling, rails, floor, and steps.  I also finished the doors for the base cabinet, got 2 loads of laundry done and did the dishes.  Too bad house work won’t sell the house! 

The realtor will be out on Friday to guide us through the weekend.  We plan to list next week.   Our task list is shrinking and we are down to the little things now.  I just hope I don’t get too sick or we are sunk.  Cross your fingers everyone!

Install Tile Backsplash: Using Silicone

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

We had planned on installing a tile backsplash in our kitchen after we got the countertops in.  I asked the countertop installers what their recommendations were based upon their experience going into hundreds of homes.  Without hesitation, they said “a tumbled stone, to hide the irregularities in the wall, and silicone.”  By irregularities, he meant – the damaged wall where they tore out the old backsplash, and by silicone, he meant – no thinset or mastic – just glue them suckers right on the wall!  He said it would be a super easy do it yourself project and inexpensive.

Oh, the horrors of not following the tile installer’s bible.  Just glue them on?  Really?  Yep.  He said that the backsplash was not a high water area like the shower/bathtub.  He also said the irregularities of the tumbled stone would blend in/hide the irregularities on the wall.  If we had used a smooth tile, we would have had to use thinset as a leveling compound.  For 4 inch tiles, silicone would be fine…  After all, the tiles in his own house have been adhered for over 10 years without a problem, so it’s gotta be true!

We couldn’t find a tube of just “silicone” at Lowes so we bought an uber silicone product from Loctite called, “Tub and Tile Ultra Sealant”.  The description says it will stick to just about anything.

We prepped by patching holes, by removing last remnants of wallpaper, and by cleaning the walls.  We then laid out our first row of tiles along the countertop to test fit them before we glued them on.  I then broke a bunch of toothpicks to use as spacers for the bottom of the first row of tiles.  We only need the slightest of clearances to caulk the tiles and countertop together.  For the rest of the tiles, we used 1/8 inch spacers.  Ready, set, go!

We squeezed out a dollop of silicone in the center of each tile and pressed it on the wall.  The goo took several minutes to set, which gave us wiggle room to get the spacing just right.

Once we locked a few tiles in place to use as anchors for the first row, the rest went up very, very quickly.  When I say locked, I meant that we let those tiles dry over night so they were rock solid.

We did 2 rows of the 4 inchers and then we did 2 strips of tumbled stone cut from a mosaic tile.

Looking good so far!  Come back to see tips on how to cut tiles and how to work with mosaics.

Does It Work – Spray Paint Brass Chandelier

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

I love scrounging around at the Habitat for Humanity ReUse Center for great finds for the house.  In our home renovation project, we’ve replaced all the lights with modern brushed/satin nickel/steel/shiny silver looking stuff except for our old school brass chandelier in the dining room.  I went to the Habitat Center to see if I could find a nice used chandelier and they had on display 2 spray painted “Look What You Can Do With Brass” chandeliers.  Apparently, they have a glut of brass that no one wants, so they primed a couple and spray painted them to look like more modern.

I figured what the heck!  I taped off the light sockets and hung my lamp outside.  I used a grey metal primer and went to town on everything. 

I sprayed on a couple very light coats following the directions on the can.  Since the chain was brassy and the wire was a yellow/gold color, I even spray painted those…

After the primer thoroughly dried, I gave everything a couple of coats of a fancy hammered finish spray paint.  I have two table lamps that have a hammered finish and in comparison, things were looking promising with the chandelier.

Voila!  Here’s the final product.  I bet you can’t even recognize the original brass fixture!

Actually, here’s how the chandelier turned out – which is why we went and bought a new one from Lowe’s.  Once the paint dried it took on a matte finish, which looked really bad.  The spray painted chain and electric cord also looked strange.  When you add the weird fluted glass shades, the entire project went downhill. 

As far as technique, the spray paint adhered flawlessly.  Maybe if we had chosen a different finish and had some nice white alabaster shades it would have looked better.  If you try this, I would not suggest painting the chain.  Chain is cheap.  Go buy a length in the color that you need.

All in all, the spray paint cost us $5 (both cans were from the Habitat Center).  It was worth the gamble to see if it would work.  The new light fixture was the basic $42 model from Lowe’s.  Home Depot had a less expensive one for $37, but it looked a bit strange.

I would have to say that, technically, you can spray paint a brass chandelier.  Whether you should or not depends on the color and finish that you choose (go for something with a gloss).

First Friday Family Night Out

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

We finally made it back to Marbles for our First Friday family night out after a 2 month hiatus.  The last time we were here, Evelyn was just getting up on her knees.  Now, she crawls from one end of the baby area to another!

They have the coolest foam blocks for the kiddos to climb on.  Evelyn wouldn’t stop until she reached the top of the highest one.

That’s my cutie pie!  She had so much fun there, especially when her brother came in to play for a bit.

For the first time ever, Oliver didn’t play with the trains!  He kept going back to the telephone booth though.  He was too cute pretending to talk into the phone.

Oliver has reached the age where he doesn’t want to pose for pictures of any sort.  Getting him to sit still for 20 seconds is like trying to hold a slippery eel.  There’s too much to see and do to just sit around!

It was good getting out as a family again.  We could have worked on the house, but figured it was time for a much needed break.  The kids loved it and that’s what matters the most right now.

Snack Time is Fun Time

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

I sit with the kids when they have their afternoon snack and treat them to my one mommy vaudeville act.  I had the kids cracking up with my rendition of Itsy Bitsy Spider and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  We do the songs in sign language first with no noise.  Then we do them with gestures and humming.  Lastly, we break out into full chorus and wildly flapping hands.  The kids LoVe it!

It doesn’t hurt that they also love graham crackers too…

Happy snacking everyone!

Project 52: Glimpse Into Motherhood

Curb Appeal Always Includes Flowers

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

We met with the realtor yesterday and he did a walk through of the house to let us know what else needs to be done before we list.  He sympathized with our renovation fatigue and said this:  The bottom line is curb appeal, curb appeal, curb appeal, NO CLUTTER, and cleanliness. 

One of the best ways to amp up your curb appeal?  Flowers!

Adding flowers to your landscape seemed like a no brainer.  Here’s a lesson learned – save it for the end.  Don’t add your flowers until you are ready to sell.  Otherwise, you will have to devote too much time and effort into maintaining them and keeping them alive before you sell.  Case in point, we bought a ton of flowers at the end of May thinking that we wanted them to become well established before we listed.  I had visions of huge blooming mounds of marigolds and geraniums dancing in my head.  Two months later? Over half of those flowers are deader than a door nail.  With regular temps in the 100s, little to no rain, a crazy busy remodeling schedule, and two kids to raise the poor plants went the way of the dodo.

Our second attempt is looking good.  Lowes has hanging planters of flowers for $5 each.  The planters are stuffed with many plants and they are blooming like crazy.  I plan on planting an entire pot at a time in the ground.  For the yellow ones, the flowers are so dense I will subdivide each pot into two separate “plants”.  In the end, I actually saved more money by purchasing the hanging baskets than if I bought individual flower plants.

OMG, I have hostas in the front yard!  With all the junk we had piled on our driveway and the weeds a mile high, I was never able to tend to my front of house.

I gave all the shrubberies up front a buzz cut, pulled out the rotted fencing, weeded and mulched the flowerbed and dropped my pots in the ground.  It’s not a bad start.  I have one more layer of plants that I will add in between the bushes and flowers, but that step isn’t critical right now. 

As for my own advice about waiting to plant until the end?  You heard it here… We are 2 weeks away from listing – at least, that is what we are pushing for.  The realtor will be back next Tuesday to check on progress and the following week to hopefully post the house.  Fingers crossed!

Clearing Away the Bricks

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Now that the brick path project is winding down, we can finally start getting rid of some rubble.  I am so happy to get our driveway back after 3 years!

Oliver loves helping out, especially when it comes to his daddy.  We let Oliver help out with chores when he can.  It’s a great way to get some free exercise and he just loves feeling useful.  I know that it may take longer to teach him to do something.  He also moves slower and is sometimes in the way, but it is so worth it to watch him concentrate so hard on his task and light up like the sun when he gets it right.

The hubby said that for the first time ever, he didn’t recognize Oliver today.  He says that Oliver is all grown up and not a baby anymore.

Oliver got a good workout!  He steadily loaded the van with broken bricks in 98+ degree heat.  I’m glad the hubby finally has an enthusiastic helper for his projects.  :-)

Do your kids like to help you around the house?

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