Thursday, April 29, 2010

A sticky situation

Do you have drawers that stick?  We do.  Most of the built-in drawers in our house are all wood on wood, no runners, no 'tracks'.  Our built-in dresser in the closet was a pain because the drawers were massive and when they stuck, they stuck hard.  So, I was trolling the web for a quick fix after everything was painted and before I put them back into the frame.  And I came upon a thrifty tip...
Candle wax!  You may recall that I am psycho over the 'Fresh Balsam' candles from Bath and Body Works and want to douse my body with the home fragrance oil.  Well, when the candles dwindled down to nothing after burning them every night, I couldn't bear to just throw them away.  So, I would pop them in the freezer overnight and then go all Sharon-Stone-in-Basic-Instinct on the wax until it was all chopped up.  And into a baggie the wax would go, to later be used in this wax warmer thingy....what the heck are these things called, anyway? 
This way I still get to enjoy the fragrance of the wax, even though the candle itself is long gone.  Oh, and of course I use the leftover glass jar for other things, like holding our acrylics in the art room:
Anyway, this is not the point of my post. The POINT is that the wax, while deliciously scented, is also a practical way to help your drawers slide more freely.  I grabbed my baggie, took out the largest wax pieces, and started giving the wood drawer supports inside the frame a rubdown they would not soon forget.  Boom chicka bow wow!  I also rubbed some on the bottom of the drawers themselves. 
Then I put the drawers in and opened and closed them a few times.  Do not be alarmed if they seem to stick even worse, once the wax is 'rubbed smooth' over a few days, those drawers will slide like a knife through butta!
Problem solved!  And that is why I love to chop up candles.  It has nothing to do with my repressed aggression. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My 6th picture

My soul-sister Meg at House Notes tagged me to share my 6th post earlier this week...or weekend?  I can't keep track of days anymore!  Because Meg invited me to participate, I couldn't refuse.  Actually, this originated as a 'share your sixth blog picture' party from Londen at Sixty Fifth Avenue, so I went back to August 31, 2009 to find the 6th (extremely undersized) picture I ever shared on this site.  It was this one:
The post was all about the hundreds of flagstones that were buried all over our yard.  Boozie Susie alert!!  I heard from a neighbor that the back yard had a custom-built flagstone planting bed that probably cost $$$.   Well, it was demolished and all the stones were conveniently placed on the ground, then covered with dirt and grass seed.  Wha?  Why?  Why?  Why?  Imagine creating a planting bed (where you thought there was none) and every time you put the shovel down, you hear a CLINK of stone.  That sound is forever ingrained in my memory and causes my blood to boil just thinking about it.  Planting one shrub turned into an hour-long ordeal complete with sweat, swears, mutiple tools, and lots of beer.  NOT COOL, BOOZIE!  At least some of them she was too lazy to bury...
Either way, we had the last laugh because we used all those stones to create a new, curvy planting bed that goes the entire length of the back yard - which you can see in my header.  And the 'after' to the 6th picture above?  Well, we dug up that entire side yard, moved 11 tons of dirt, and created a 300 sq foot paver patio ourselves. 
It is fantastic, and surprisingly still intact from last summer! Check out the how-to post here.  And please share your 6th blog picture with us!  It's too funny to see how much your writing and blogger skills have improved since the beginning. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

I'm one project closer

Last week I had the pleasant surprise of being asked to be part of One Project Closer's Community Blogs list.  One Project Closer is a site run by four friends (two married couples, isn't that awesome?) that features tips, advice, products, reviews, how-tos, tools and amazing projects.  They have a large following and mostly link to blogs that contain impressive DIY projects.  Me?  Impressive?  I'll take it! 

I'm thrilled to be linked on this site, these DIY couples tackle all kinds of things from installing replacement windows to framing with steel studs.  And as a 'community blogger', I'm in good company with some familiar (and ever-inspiring) blogs:

Not to mention all the other DIY and Home Improvement sites I have been perusing.  I hope you will check out One Project Closer and their Community Blogs page to see all the great sites that they link to!

PS - The community blogs are on their home page, but only the first four (newest) entries are visible, older entries can be seen here.  

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

On the flip side

While my last post was all about the most wonderful primer on earth, this one is about not using any primer.  Or, using paint with primer in it.  I was very skeptical about the performance of Behr Premium Plus 'paint and primer in one' when they first came out with it.  But the guy who painted our new Marvin windows used it, and left us the remainder of the gallon.  I figured if it worked for him, it must be pretty good, right?   So I sanded and painted an upstairs window with it - and it was pretty decent!  But I put it to the ultimate test last week.  The stain and poly-splattered baseboards in our closet... 
All of the trim had been sanded pretty well before we refinished the floors, only the shoe molding (that we didn't remove before refinishing) was splashed with stain and poly and left unsanded.  I put down some painters tape and got to work. 
It was going on very nicely, this is just one coat on the right side.  I was impressed with the way it covered the dark oil-based stain and poly in one coat!  We didn't fix the notched-out trim yet.  It's on the Boozie Fix-List! 
After two coats, it looked almost as good as the trim that I prepped with B-I-N.  And there was no messy clean up!  So the bottom line is, for peeling paint and lots of uneven layers, B-I-N is King.  For coverup of relatively sound surfaces, even over small amounts of oil-based finishes, the Behr Premium Plus works well!  I'm interested to see how it holds up over time, as I also used it on all the door trim without separate primer.  I will update on the durability after a few months of use.  I sure hope I'm not disappointed! 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Primer power

Yes, this is another post about my unnatural obsession with B-I-N Primer, my go-to product for all woodwork.
I love it so much it's really not normal.  This stuff works miracles!  It can stick to any surface without sanding (like laminate, metal, hardwood, etc) and any topcoat can go over it.  While I was redoing the master closet, I had the fun task of priming and painting all the trim and door.  The door to the hallway was in sad shape because BOOZIE painted over oil-based paint with latex throughout the entire house.  Thanks, Boozie!  I'm sure you all know what happens when you put latex over oil...that latex paint just flakes right off. 
The biggest problem is that any normal sanding you do has the potential to rip entire strips of the latex coat off.  And if you want to scrape off old paint drips or blemishes, you're pretty much done for.  Let's just say my newly finished floors had piles of latex strips laying on them.  And my door was splotchy because I don't have time to scrape the latex off the entire thing.
BIN saved the day, making my door smooth and ready for paint in no time!
It made all those lines where the top layer of paint came off invisible.  No other primer can do this as well!  BIN is extremely thin, yet covering, so the primer doesn't sit in those ridges like a thicker one would.  It also sands like a dream if there are any ridges or brush strokes.  I was so happy with the outcome that I did another bedroom door.  Ok, I just had primer left in my paint tray, but whatever.
This door used to have bright blue paint on the panels, like this closet door inside that particular bedroom:
GAH!  At least it was neatly painted....I had primed over the hallway door long ago with some inferior primer (can't remember which one) and never finished up what I started.  BIN made the hallway door look like this...
No trace of blue peeking through, and totally smooth!  If you haven't tried BIN yet, you really owe it to yourself to do so.  Here are my tips for success with this unique product:

~  BIN is shellac-based, so you need to use denatured alcohol to clean up, NOT mineral spirits.  You can buy it everywhere in the same section, though. 
~  Put down thick drop cloths because this primer is thin and will SPLATTER EVERYWHERE.  Trust me, even if you are a 'painting ninja' like me, you will splatter and there is no water clean-up!
~  You must mix this stuff with a drill attachment, a wooden stick just will not cut it.  The shellac separates from the pigment and will not go back together without a power mixing.  I love the Squirrel Mixer available at Home Depot for around 7 bucks... 
~  Be sure to use the DA (denatured alcohol) to clean off the squirrel right after using or it will build up and build up until your cage isn't very, uh, cagey anymore.   And don't get too fast with the mixing on a brand new can, because it will spill over the side!
~  While you are painting, give the primer in the can a little swirl with the brush periodically because it will develop a skin if you leave it alone for too long.  It dries SO FAST, which is a good and bad thing. 
~  I apply it with a foam roller and regular paint brush and have great success with those applicators.  I just make sure to swirl the brush really well in a cup of DA and then rinse until all the water runs clear.  It is sometimes tricky to know when it's clean, so don't use your favorite Purdy brush!

So, that's my ode to BIN.  Have you used it, and do you love it like I do?

Disclaimer - I wasn't paid by Zinsser to say all these lovely things about BIN, but I would love to be!  Zinsser people, email me!  Let's do a giveaway!  Or just give a can to me, that works too!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Master Closet Redo

Since I have a closet the size of an entire bedroom for my clothes, our master closet is mostly Shaun's. Knowing this, I went for an understated, somewhat masculine feel for the paint and finishes. 
HAHAHA just kidding, that was not gonna happen!  This closet looks like a Tiffany box, and I don't care that all his man clothes are drowning in aqua and crystals. 
Okay, okay, I have some tops in here too...
I reconfigured some shelves and rods, but I have a couple shelves I need to cut down.  I'm not sure the best way to cut melamine without chipping it all up.  Everyone online suggests this $100 saw blade, but that is not happening!  I'm have to figure it out because we need more shelves, and less hanging storage. 
I'm not the only one in the house that loves brightly colored clothes!  And he looks so good wearing them, too...
He graciously allowed me to hang some of my summer tops in this closet because the hanging bar is too low for his shirts, anyway. 
I am thrilled with the way the new hardware on the dresser turned out!
What we had before was ok, but the handles were a thin and they were bronze.  I wanted to bring more nickel and chrome into the space to match the bedroom chandy and lamps.  These bin pulls not only look great, but they cover up the 3.5 inch center holes that were drilled.  Have you ever tried to find 3.5 inch center pulls?  Maddening!  These are long enough to cover the old holes, so I just drilled new 2.5 inch center holes inside them and I was in business.  Of course the entire thing had to be primed and painted with two coats of semigloss first. 
I saw these amazing crystal hooks at Home Depot, and I just have to splurge on them!  They replaced the silly plastic hooks that were here before.  There are two on either side, but Shaun's shirts cover one up.  So Fab!
Ah, the light fixture.  This thing is ridiculous in the best way possible.  Each of the tiny crystals had to be put on  the chrome 'cage' by hand, there were ~250 of them.  Shaun did it for me while I was at work!  Gotta love that man.  And Overstock!   This is actually a long pendant that I hacked to make a semi-flush fixture.  LOVE it. 
For a rug, I wanted something plush and orange to tie in the pops of orange in our bedroom.   After perusing Ebay, the same rug from my dressing room (Pottery Barn Moorish Tile rug) in the Clementine color was the obvious choice!  I love it so much that I really want to buy the 8x10 version for our room, but I think Shaun might strangle me.  How about a gift for my birthday?  Hmm?  Anyone?  Bueller? 
I especially love how it relates to the PB tile print duvet (also from ebay) that I got for the bed a few months ago.  Lucius was all up in my business for this photo shoot, obviously. 
See, here he is showing his privates...
Hey, at least he was looking at the camera!  So, there's my closet in all it's glory.  I'm super happy with the result, and Shaun has no opinion and thinks I was crazy to do anything at all. Well, he did say he likes the new dresser hardware.  Guess you have to actually work on a project to appreciate it!  Oooo, burn!  Deadbeat homeowner alert!  Ok, he assembled the light and then held it up while I installed it.  Interesting fact, even when men go to the gym every day and lift, it still hurts their arms to hold a light fixture over their head for more than a minute.  How about that!       
Here's the cost breakdown (this wasn't a cheap makeover):

Crystal hooks from Home Depot: $30 ($7.50 x 4)
Drawer pulls from Home Depot:  $32 ($4 x 8)
Crystal Pendant from Overstock:  $80 (sorry, I got the last one again!)
3x5 Moorish Tile Rug in Clementine from Ebay:  $100 (and totally worth it for protecting the floors and muffling the loud squeak right in the middle of the closet) 

I used leftover bedroom wall (Behr Aqua Smoke) and trim (Behr Ultra Pure White) paint in the closet. 
I added extra shelves the previous owners left in storage, spraying the gross ones with Rustoleum Universal spray in White Gloss from my stash. 
stained the regular wood clothing rods with leftover floor stain and sprayed them with a gloss top coat I already had in my arsenal of supplies.   

Total: $242 - good thing we got a nice tax return this year...which I submitted YESTERDAY, holy last minute!  Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Winner winner!

I am tickled pink purple (what? I'm wearing a ruffly purple short sleeve top because it's 80 degrees in WI!!!) to announce the winner of the totally rad starburst mirror from CSN!   Using, I got lucky number 30 as the winner.  Lucky because that is my age, and if you must know, I don't think that I look even close to it!  Now excuse me while I go photoshop all the wrinkles out of my profile pic.... 
Moving right along, comment number 30 was posted by Ashley from Ashley's Antics, one of my newest blog friends!  Congrats, Ashley!  I'm so jealous of you!
I want to thank CSN Stores for sponsoring this giveaway, and also thank everyone that entered.  For my new commenters (and the familiar ones for that matter), I'm going to be stalking each and every one of your blogs this weekend.  Tomorrow I'll share the outcome of my master closet overhaul!  

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Delightful dowels

My deepest apologies for the super cheesy title.  But I do think that my clothes rods are much more delightful now than they were before!  Our master closet, and three other closets in the house, have these wood dowel clothes rods with lovely plastic sheathing on them:
Try not to be blinded by our disgusting basement floor, okay?  The covers of said dowels were filthy and cheap-looking.  I decided the best way to handle this problem was to remove the silly plastic and just stain the dowels to match the floor.  After all, they ARE wood....and any wood can look nice stained, in my opinion.  So, I gathered my supplies in the basement:
Floor stain and foam brush
Gloves (no more Zombie Manicures for me, thanks!)
And possibly the most important supply
Anylovemesomecabernet, now I was in business!  I removed the covers and sanded down the dowels with a fine-grit sandpaper.  The first sheet I grabbed out of the sandpaperbox (heh) was 220, so I just went with it.  It doesn't really matter that much anyway, they are only clothes rods after all!
When they were relatively smooth (but isn't everything smooth when you're drinking a fine wine?) I got on my glovies and used that foam brush to apply the stain from the bottom up, holding it up like so:
I let it rest for about a minute, and then wiped it all off with that unfortunate hand towel there.  It used to match my downstairs bath wall paint perfectly, then **men** got their hands on it and somehow it got bleached.  So now it is a stain rag.  Curses!  Once all of the dowels were stained, I laid them on this here cardboard to dry.
Then I took the easy way out and sprayed them several times with this wonderful stuff instead of using regular floor poly and a brush.  Cause I'm lazy.  Sue me.
They were looking mighty glossy in the basement...
But after they dried and I got them up in the closet, I was super happy with the result! 
How's that for a $0 makeover? 

ps - Thank you to all who entered my giveaway!  If you didn't already, you have until midnight on Wednesday, April 14th!

Monday, April 12, 2010

100th Follower Giveaway!

It's official, I'm one of those annoying happy people this Monday!  I'm happy because Mondays are my 'Starbucks Treat Days' I'm giving something cool to my readers!  Back when I posted about reaching 400 subscribers, I was also very close to 100 followers.  I reached 100 followers a couple weeks ago, in just over 6 months of blogging.  To thank all of my readers for checking out my lunchtime demos and zombie manicures, I'm doing a giveaway!  The sponsor is CSN Stores, and they want to hook up one lucky reader with a sweet item from their many stores.

We've all seen the other CSN giveaways in the blogosphere.  Heck, I just entered Karrie's giveaway at The Brick Cottage, and Ann Marie's giveaway at White House Black Shutters, head over there and do the same!  You probably already know that they have over 200 speciality stores (,,, etc) where you can see endless (and I mean endless) quantities of goodies. They have everything from Pottery Barn-esqe corner TV stands like this one:
to sexy mercury lamps like this one:
to functional (and solid wood!) storage cubes like these babies:
I spent hours going through all the sites until I found the perfect item to put up for grabs.  Something I would want myself.  Something that I haven't seen in a giveaway before.  Something that could make it's home above some lucky reader's bed, fireplace, TV or sofa......I'm talking about the Ashton Sutton Starburst Mirror!
This mirror is 2 feet in diameter, so it can hold it's own above larger items.  Don't let the photo fool you, this mirror is silvertoned and stunning!  I'm quite jealous that I can't snag it myself and put it above my tv in the future den I'm working on. 


~  This giveaway is available to U.S. and Canadian residents only.

~  You must be a follower to enter! 

~  To enter, leave a comment on this post by Wednesday April 14th at midnight CST telling me where you would put this mirror in your home.  Please include your email if it is not available on your blog.

~  For an added entry, you can post about this giveaway on your blog.  Please add a second comment, too!  

~  The winning reader will be announced by the end of the week.