Also known as the best way to deal with sass.
It might just be me but I’m thinking you don’t want to see another picture of a white fireplace being painted…white. That thrill-a-minute will be saved for later in the week.
Instead, I thought I would share another Grandpa story. We love our Grandpa and he had some very formative years in the Boy Scouts. Actually Grandpa was an Eagle Scout so he more than rocked the Scouts.
A few years ago my brother made a stew and over-did the salt. He’s generally a really good cook (much better than me) but this time, he said, it was really pretty awful. Grandpa happened to be staying with him and when Grandpa tried to eat the stew, it was clear he wasn’t going to be able to eat it.
As this was during his lean, college years, my brother was broke at the time and wasn’t inclined to waste anything so when he saw Grandpa take the bowl of stew away from the table my brother said, “I’ll eat that Grandpa, don’t throw it away.”
Grandpa, clutching the bowl to his chest, said, “No no, it’s mine” and proceeded to take the bowl out the front door, into the empty, woodsy lot next door, and buried the stew in the ground. Clearly, Grandpa felt it was so awful, it had to be laid to rest.
He did return the bowl. So there’s that.
Continuing our conversation about painting a room; first I talked about the prep work and today I’m talking about priming. Not every wall needs to be primed before you paint it. If you are covering something like a dark color or even painting over a wallpaper, you’ll need primer. I had to prime some of my walls when the contractor fixed the walls and sprayed new texture on it. The new texture soaked up paint like crazy and primer is cheaper than paint so I primed the kitchen walls and have kept it up since the kitchen shares walls with this room.
I also have some big blocks of color on the walls from when I was trying to choose a color. Primer just seemed like a good precaution to take to possibly make my life easier down the road. Even with primer my walls are needing two coats of gray.
The nice thing about the primer on this project is that I don’t have to be too careful with the cutting in (edging). I’m careful along the ceiling but since the baseboard will have to be painted and the fireplace will have to be painted, it’s OK if my line isn’t perfect.
I like to cut-in first with a short paintbrush. I love to use this large handled cup. I can get plastic inserts and just throw them away when I’m done. Don’t fill it with paint though. It’s a lot easier to just put a bit in it and put more in as needed. It’s a big cup so if you fill it, it’s too heavy to hold for a long time. Or at least too heavy for someone who might not be keeping up with her strength training. Oops.
Cut in pretty far. You don’t want to have to put your roller too high up on the wall. It’s too easy to accidentally touch the ceiling. Also, if you have two outlets near each other on the wall or an outlet close to the corner, it is so much easier to use the paint brush for the space between. The roller is too big and clumpy to navigate well between them. You just end up getting paint on cords and other walls.
Also, if you have textured walls, like me, coverage is a pain. You’ll have to brush on the paint in more than one direction to ensure you get full coverage. I grabbed a quick shot of my cutting in when I’ve only brushed up and down. Ridiculous, right? I’m really starting to hate textured walls.
When all the cutting in is done, I dump what is left in my cup into a paint tray and roll the rest of the paint on the wall. Don’t overload the roller, it will just drip and put creases on the wall. They are really easy to miss while you are in the middle of painting. It is much easier to just do more thin layers than try to coat heavily once.
When your roller is loaded with paint, make a big W on the wall. This evenly distributes the paint. Then you go back and roll over the W spreading the paint. Don’t work the paint too much. Once it’s covered, move on. If you start playing with the paint too much, it begins to dry and now you are going to create “curdles” of paint that clump on your wall and roller.
I put a couple of coats on the mantle also. It is the same brown trim that I’m replacing all through the house. I have some ideas for making this mantle pop more but for now, I’m painting it white. This brown stained wood takes at least two coats of primer though and then it will take three coats of paint. At least things are primed and ready for some color.
I am painting the fireplace itself next. This will probably take me a few evenings because it just takes a lot of going over to cover the rough surface. I think it will extend beyond the short amount of time I have after work and before bed. I’m doing the fireplace next because I don’t have to be very careful along the edges. If I wander onto the wall a little, the wall color shouldn’t be impacted. The fireplace is white and the wall will be gray.
It would be fantastic if I could finish this during the week. Has anyone else noticed that this might be a diversionary project to distract me from the home office?
I’m so predictable.
My family room has remained half painted for a few months now. Part of the reason is just being busy with the day job and part of the reason is that I was dreading tackling the fireplace. It isn’t that much of a big chore, I just dreaded some of the prep work.
Last weekend I was watching a TV program and an actress in the background was playing a “painter.” I couldn’t even focus on the primary content of the scene because she picked up a brush and started randomly painting in the middle of the wall. No. Just. No.
So I thought that some common painting rules may not be as widely known as I thought they were.
The most work in painting is by far the prep. If painting your walls was a meal, the actual painting color part would only be dessert.
Painting my wall with the fireplace is actually a good project example because it has a lot of prep.
The first thing you need to do is take off all the electrical and light plates as well as take out all the nails or screws you have in the wall. Patch up all the holes. I find it is a lot easier, and more effective to put a little spackle on my finger and even patch up small nail holes. I’ve tried just painting over the hole and sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn’t. While you have the spackle out, might as well just give the hole a swipe and do it right.
The next step is important and I think a lot of people miss it. I’ve tried skipping it, because I’m lazy, but you are often sorry when you see what gets mixed up in the paint. You want to clean the area you are painting really well. Not just the wall but the floors all around it. You don’t want to get crumbs or dog hair up in the wet paint at the bottom of the wall. This means vacuum the floor well and vacuum the walls and whatever else you are painting. At least, that is what I needed to do because my fireplace is made up of bricks that are lumpy/bumpy and my walls are textured so there are a lot of surfaces to collect dust. Also, I make sure the top of the baseboard is well vacuumed too. Lots of vacuuming going on.
Then everything gets a good wiping down. I wipe down the walls with Simple Green. There are a lot of good products out there for this and you should ask your paint store what they recommend. The kind of paint already on the wall and the room itself can dictate what you use to clean the walls. When I’ve taken off wallpaper I wipe down the walls with TSP but for a fairly simple job like this, Simple Green does the job.
Do not underestimate this step. I vacuum my fireplace once a week with the brush attachment on my vacuum and when I wiped it down, the cloth came away filthy. If you are blessed with a 70s house like mine, they built them with as much texture as possible which really just means a lot of hidden dust. I’m not a neat freak but it even skeeves me out.
The room is given a nice finished look when you’ve done a good job with the caulking. It is the kind of thing that you may not always miss, but always looks a lot better when you’ve done it proper. It should be done along the baseboard for sure.
Compare it to a baseboard that is not caulked.
I often find other areas that need caulking. The corners of the baseboard, along the edge of the fireplace and when I put a coat of primer on the fireplace mantle, I thought it would look better if I went back and caulked along that also.
With cleaning and caulking done, you can start taping things off. I like to put a piece of tape down along the edge and then come back and tape down some paper on top of that first layer of tape. I like to start with just a strip of tape because it is easier to carefully follow the baseboard and corners with tape rather than wrestle with the paper too.
It was quite a challenge around the fireplace with all the texture. I go back with smaller pieces and just make sure the floor is all covered.
A trick I use when painting indoors is to paint barefoot. It is easier for me to tell when I’ve stepped in paint so I’m less inclined to track it all over my new floor.
If all the spackle and caulk has had adequate time to dry, you are finally ready to paint! In my case, it was only the primer which is still very boring but I’m saving it up for tomorrow.
The secret weapon to getting all the boring bits done is to entertain yourself. TV is a bit too distracting because you want to turn to watch it. I listen to podcasts but audio books would work just as well. I have the Nerdist to thank for most of the work done in my kitchen and all the painting in the living room.
This whole process can be done in as little as three hours. Some of that time is to allow the caulk and spackle to dry. It takes me longer because I still have to get regular chores done so I’ll get a little bit done, empty the dishwasher, do a bit more, clean the catbox, etc. Regular life doesn’t take care of itself. Darn it. Although Scarlet would like to help.
It’s been a really busy week and I seem to just be dragging myself home, wolfing down food, falling asleep, waking up and dragging myself to work. So you get the equivalent of grunts from me. I’m like that grumpy teenager you have stomping through your house only I’m old and do my own laundry.
I can’t craft anything more than random snippets so prepare for wordy whiplash…
I’ve been so tired when I drag myself home that I’ve only had the energy to make hotdogs for dinner. Every night this week. I eat terrible when I get busy and by terrible I mean I eat the same thing for every meal. I finally grabbed some ground turkey from the freezer so I can throw a chili together before I go to work tomorrow. Then I’ll eat that for every meal this weekend. I need to marry a chef. Anyone know any funny, tall chefs in the Portland area that like curvy red heads?
I’ve gotten nothing done on the home office project. I had hoped to at least empty out the closet but I’ve worked late and early with about an hour of “leisure” time before I go to sleep. Disappointing. I had hoped to pull up carpet this weekend.
I actually only had one early meeting this week. Today. Which I showed up for yesterday. Yay. At least I got a great parking space two days in a row. Because no one else was there.
My birthday was Monday. I was totally in the mood for birthday shenanigans a couple weeks ago but not so much on Monday. I reserve the right to start up shenanigans later though. I’m a big believer in stretching the birthday as long as needed until it feels thoroughly celebrated. I did take my annual birthday selfie. 47 doesn’t look so bad.
My wireless router was acting up so my cable company talked me into using the wireless signal that comes with their modem. Turns out it isn’t powerful enough to boost a signal to the other end of the house. My smallish ranch house. When I called them, they said I would need to buy a signal booster. They are running a bunch of national commercials right now trying to show that they are so technically advanced that the Star Trek crew is impressed. I’m thinking…no. I’ll be going back to my 7-year-old router thankyouverymuch.
I need shoes and I hate buying shoes. I’ve never understood the myth that women love shoes more than life itself. Shoe shopping is a horror. I like to find my one pair and wear them until they fall apart. It annoys me that I have to have a brown and a black pair. Why? Why can’t I just wear shoes and not match stuff like my purse. Oh wait, you match your purse to stuff too? Oh god.
I don’t think Liam Neeson should be doing action films anymore. He just looks so darn tired in them. Can’t we get him a nice rom com or something? He seems like such a nice man. I wonder if he can cook…
I saw my Grandpa the other weekend. He is worried about my brother who just moved to the Oregon area. He’s afraid that Doug will make friends with people who will talk him into dealing drugs. My middle-aged brother who has never done or been around anyone like that. He’s an IT geek who gets crazy by buying computer components and building electronic things. His friends do the same thing. Their idea of partying is a multi-player video game. But it’s sweet my Grandpa worries.
Man that sweet and sour shrimp sure looks better than hot dogs.
I’ve written a bit about organizing and paring down possessions before and when people ask me about organizing a space, they always give me a funny look when I say that the key to organizing is to get rid of as much stuff as possible. I know they would like to hear about some magical solution that enables them to keep all their stuff but, honestly, you have to just constantly get rid of some of your stuff.
My goal for my home office is to get rid of at least 50% of what is in there. It does seem like a lot but it has been really neglected for a long time. I haven’t stayed on top of getting rid of stuff as I accumulated more stuff. If I haven’t been able to access much of what was stored in there (and I haven’t) then I won’t miss what is eliminated.
For example, things that are easily thrown in a drawer and just ignored for years. I’m fairly certain, that if I haven’t needed it in all this time, I won’t need it now.
The technology can be kind of hard to get rid of because it was expensive when we got it but if we are honest with ourselves, we probably won’t go back on the technology scale; we’ll only go forward. As much as I love this, the smart phone is better.
When I really need to make sure I do a good job reducing the crap, I set goals like that for myself. “I want to get rid of at least a quarter of the shoes” or “I want to get rid of half the books on the shelf.” It helps keep you motivated to eliminate as much as possible. If you just try to “get rid of as much as possible” you have left an option open you may not really want.
So far I’m on target. I cleaned out the plastic drawers in the closet (because I didn’t want to try to move the full ones) and easily got rid of over 50%. The yarn will be interesting. I will probably end up getting rid of way over 50% because I’m restricting it to fitting on a single book case. I’m actually pretty excited to be getting rid of so much stuff because the room has been overwhelming and not even a place I wanted to be anymore. I used to hang out in there knitting and watching web shows.
I can’t wait to get the clean out done because I’m getting excited about the fun stuff. I have visions of painted bookshelves in surprising places and a whole desk makeover. The things I have planned for this desk…
Every weekend I intend to get a bunch of projects done and then be able to share them here. I’m not doing the projects for the blog, I’m doing them because they need to be done but it’s nice to reflect on the projects and get some photographs. It really helps me keep track of what I’ve done, how much I’ve managed to finish and not just focus on only the To Dos that are left.
So every weekend feels like it is full of possibility and I’m excited to work on things. But it seems like so many weekends end up just like this weekend.
Let me share. My office has suffered greatly this year. It really became a dumping ground as the rest of the house was chaotic. It is quite a small space and quickly became an ugly mess. Then, one of the bookshelves started falling apart so two shelves came crashing down and left me with this:
I was all wedged up in a small clearing at my desk trying to get things done but the space was just unworkable. It’s sad really. Plus, I need to get my taxes done but I’m afraid half the paperwork I need is mixed up in the piles.
The closet in the office has long been due for a major overhaul. Not only is it chock-a-block full of stuff, Scarlet Kitty loves to crawl around in there knocking things down and making it generally impossible to even get things out.
I lucked out Sunday and a friend was over who worked like a trojan and got most everything cleared out of the room while I lay under the desk trying to untangle cords. Seriously, what do they all go to?
I really would like to empty everything out and pull up the carpet though. It’s gross and I was so happy to get the other rooms carpet-free. I’m turning this project into a much bigger project than it should be which means it won’t be finished in forever. How long can I delay my taxes?
This was disappointing when I knew I had to write something up so I tried to finish up my red box. I sanded off the sloppy damask on the lid, sanded down some spots and put a few new coats of red on. I did find a proper plastic stencil,
I even got the proper stencil brush thinking everything would help.
Sadly, none of this helped. I have another wonky damask.
Stick around for more thrilling adventures of a closet with less stuff in it and malformed crafts.
I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth. I’m swamped at work and have no energy for home stuff. To make up for it, I took this terrible video of Oscar playing with his beloved treat ball. I broke out the Kongs and the treat ball today so I’d have a few minutes of peace for all the conference calls I had.
And yes, I did commit the cardinal sin of shooting the video vertically instead of horizontally but I was trying to keep my feet out of the shot. I could have just moved them but…c’mon.
For those that don’t have dogs, a treat ball is a knobbly hollow ball that has a hole at one end. The hole is the end of a tube that goes down in the ball. I put kibble (or treats) in the ball and because of the tube, kibble only comes out once in a while when the ball is rolled around. Oscar loves rolling it around to get bits of kibble.
I’m feeling a little sorry for myself because this is my birthday weekend but I’m going to have to work and I HAVE to do something about my office. It is un-workable and I need to do my taxes this weekend but everything is in a heap on the floor. It’s awful.
If you are going to make things, you are going to fail at it now and then. For some of us, more often than not.
Most everything I share here is a failure or at least had phases of failure before I recovered. I’m OK with sharing them because I think most of us fail at this stuff most of the time. At least until we finally get it right. Or get it less wrong.
The rock stars, the people that don’t fail that much publicly, are either not sharing all their failures or they have vastly more experience, time, or resources to help fend off failure. That’s fine. I fully support filtering that information out. It’s often more helpful to have the blueprint on how to do something rather than how things got screwed up.
I tend to think my role is the latter. My “talent” is that I’m unafraid of failure. I embrace my failures because they tend to be how I find my way. I prefer trying something I’m not comfortable with or have little experience in. That is what is fun for me but because of that, I generally have a learning curve and if I can show that messing up isn’t too bad and that the result is often worth it, I’m comfortable in that role.
A lot of people are genuinely afraid to try something because they are afraid they will fail. I’m here to show them that they probably will, and it’s OK. Not a lot of bad things happen when you fail and most of the time, you end up with something you do want.
When I was 18, my best friend and I went to England to
marry members of Duran Duran. join a band and become famous. travel the world.
I have red hair and am very tall which garnered me a fair amount of attention. I’m sure being 18 had nothing to do with it. Men across the world are gentlemen. They’d never be gross about a young woman, right?
While in France and waiting for a ferry to England, we met a funny, awkward, but very charming Englishman. He was only about a year or two older than us but he was traveling alone so we chatted while we waited for the ferry.
We went our separate ways when we boarded the ferry and my friend and I scored seats which was a lucky break as we were traveling overnight so we wanted a place to snooze. Unfortunately, some strange little gentleman was fascinated by my hair. He was sitting in a seat across the aisle from me and every time I would finally nod off, he would reach over and stroke my hair. I’d wave him away angrily and he would gesture for me to lay down in the aisle.
Yes, this was a big education for me on skeevy men.
Finally, after about the fourth time when I angrily yelled, “Stop touching me!” my friend and I gave up and left. We quickly saw our new English buddy sleeping in another part of the boat under his coat. We took refuge with him and I think he was pleased to play the part of rescuer.
Later, as we were getting off the boat I pointed out Skeevy McSkeeversons to my UK hero who decided he should step up and do something. When he came back, he seemed quite pleased with himself.
“I gave him a really stern look” he said, “but I don’t think it really worked as the man was cross-eyed and I don’t think I had eye contact.” I simply nodded and he continued, “so then I decided I would spit at his feet but I missed and hit his pant leg.”
That forged a friendship with our Englishman that endured for years. The funny young man that tried so hard to be chivalrous (and let’s face it, it still counts even if he couldn’t get eye contact or spit accurately) is now a very respectable councilman in London. He is even more awesome today than he was at 19 or 20. If that is even possible.
And thinking about him trying to give a really stern look to someone who behaved inappropriately still makes me smile.