The Dangers of Craigslist.

Ah Craigslist.

Craigslist Craigslist Craigslist.

Such a helpful site, right?  Great for selling stuff.  Also great for buying stuff.

Yeah, but see, that's where the danger lies, right?  The buying stuff....

Hence I try to stay away from it otherwise I know I'll go tripping over an irresistible unbeatable deal.  I will peruse the "free" section every once in a bit but even then on occasion I come across things worth good money and know a.) it won't fit in my little Rabbit, or b.) it's likely already gone, or c.) I can't scrounge up assistance fast enough.  Sigh.

So "free" is trouble too.  The whole thing....pfffft, you gotta be careful!

Like for instance, I searched tile recently for some reason utterly unbeknownst to me.  Came across a major steal of three boxes of 12x12 Daltile Octagon Dot tile for a whopping $25.  As you can see in that link, it's $2.57 a sheet regularly so the savings was piquing.

Current status.
My idea:  main floor bathroom floor.  Menards' site says it's floor or wall, and amazingly way more expensive too.  Weird.


The tile was way the heck up near the Wisconsin border which is a way the heck hike from the city so I very nicely asked my mom if she'd be willing to grab it for me and I'd pick it up from her, saving myself numerous hours worth of gas/stuck-in-traffic time plus I'd get to see her and keep up the acclimation of Finn to my parents by giving him a fun car ride.

Wow, that was all one sentence.  Go Becky.

As per Craigslist usual, this wasn't the smoothest transaction with the tile owner and some pieces are broken but it all worked out ok.  He tried to say the price was per box when my mom arrived; his ad was clearly not written that way, she pointed out.

The real danger of Craigslist lies in what follows.

See, I remember our first walk-through of this house with Pete the Rock Star Realtor clear as day.  We brought Hailey along for a car ride because she loved car rides, therefore one of us stayed in the car while the other walked through.  I went first and Pete and I were laaauugghing, laughing so hard at the staging, the paint colors, the tile, everything....I mean, Chuckle Central.  Pete is so much fun.

Ouch.  Here it was originally, staged.  Oh my eyes.  Do NOT miss that awful glass vanity.  At all.
Mike was up next and speedily, maybe within ten minutes, he was back at the car saying "let's make an offer."  Pete about passed out, dumbfounded we were even remotely interested, especially after the out of breath, uproarious laughter he and I had just shared.

But as we all know, finishes can be changed.  And that was the discussion we had, Mike and I.  After we got done laughing together as well.

But this bathroom tile has always been one of our biggest chuckles, like what the hell, what the heck is this?!  Where does one even find sh*t like this?!  I gotta admit though, in some very weird strange bizarro way it's almost, almost kinda likable in its awfulness -- the pattern in the small light brown square anyway, which you can barely barely see in the photos.

Ah, there ya go.  Now maybe you can see it.  And see?  The new tile is going to be awesome.
But this crazy a** sh*t has gotta go.  Especially since I put together that spiffy fab-a-roo vanity.

So already, note:  a project.

When I found that Craigslist tile, well, after previously purchasing other tile which I can't seem to get to work in my head as it has a rusty orange metallic sheen which is cool but orange is my least favorite color.  Other than on Mike's head.

Why did I buy it then?  Because it is cool and I thought it was going to work, ease the transition between the wood floor and the kitchen floor and the bathroom floor which in toto is four different tiles plus hardwood, five different things within inches of each other.  Eyeroll.

But then I built the vanity and it just, ehhh, it just, nope.

Telling original tile diversion story justified:  buying this new tile for the bathroom made Mike's head hurt --  "why...what happened to...no!...didn't you already buy...what is going on?!"  He wasn't as mad as that sounds.  Or I hope not.

But starting to rip out tile and put in new flooring without figuring out the rest of the room seemed imprudent, whichever any tile.

So then long weird circuitous loop around back to why Craigslist is dangerous....

For the longest time we haven't been able to figure out what to do with this bathroom.  Considering, ridiculously, there are three other full bathrooms in this house there's zero need for yet another bathtub, especially on the first floor so we've always thought yank it out.  Although, after Hailey's surgery, it is where she received a sadly-turned-out-to-be last bath so it was convenient one time.

But what to do with the former tub space?  Closet?  Shelves?  Random openness?  Um?

We'd ponder for about three minutes then change the subject and not revisit.


So finally recently outta nowhere Mike blurted out a great idea -- turn it into a walk-in shower.  Not that we need one of those either because we don't but it's a clever solution.  So bam, it will be.

Now I need to draw it up, figure it out, learn learn learn, plan plan plan, and hope to all get out I can pull off (and pull off well) this large undertaking of ripping out tub, remove toilet and vanity, take out all the tile, reconfigure into a shower, tile everything up, replace toilet and vanity.  Hopefully the floor will finally be level by the time I'm done too.

Majority of which I have never done, by the way.

Though, as we know, that has never stopped me before but yeah, it's a wee intimidating for sure.

The other weekend we were out on the deck and I said something along the lines of "well I can drill a hole in it."  That remark struck Mike awful funny and he laughed and laughed and laughed -- he said I had said it with I-just-learned-this-skill-yesterday sincerity, so obtusely, dumbly, dismissive of all I've done to and around the house...it was a most dopey simple-minded statement in contradiction to all I've accomplished, of my abilities he said.

So babe, this bathroom should be like drilling a hole then, huh?  Yikes, let's hope so.  Insert nail biting.

But ok, see?, see how Craigslist is dangerous?  I went from idea of replacing thirty square feet of floor tile to buying tile two years ago to finding a new deal on Craigslist for totally different tile resulting in a decision being made into nearly a whole bathroom redo.

So, heh, I went from saving some dough on the new tile to um, spending more dough by revamping a bathroom.

Crazy.  Craigslist = danger zone.  Ok, maybe this storyline is a smidge-y stretch but I'm blaming Craigslist and the new tile.  I'll keep buying and selling there though I'm sure.  Alas.  As we do.  Heh.

Goodness, I hope I spun all those disparate strings into one cohesive web for you!  Ha, kinda tired I am.

But ok, right on, hardware, door pulls for the kitchen cabinets have been ordered so YAY!

And hey, Happy National Dog Week (last week), says Finn yucking it up.  Silly boy!


Outdoorsy Stuff. And Product Claims, pfffttt.

Tryin' to get a smattering of things done outdoors before the show starts, before it gets too cold, because hey!!!, on a back yard roll lately yay (here and here), ya know.

Alas, so much for grand plans (I'm wiggling my fingers around in the air over "grand plans" btw) of completing bigger cooler projects.  Instead I got the east fence re-stained and a black metal chair gooped with steel weld epoxy.  

Embarrassingly small amount of check marks.  Although!  I did get three and a half weeks of dinners mapped out and that my friends is a major feat for me.  I even went so far as to pre-chop up, pre-prep a pile o' chicken for three recipes which never ever ever happens.  Who am I?!?

So, I've always been a big epoxy fan, not sure why.  Gone through many a tube in my day, yeah.  Such a great glue.  Oddly, epoxy has been awol from my life for the last several years.  Not sure why.  Sniffle, I miss it.  I need to epoxy more I think.

Two of the three black metal chairs that I looohovehovehove that Mike dislikes have a coupla' busted slats.

Broke!  Doh!
Broken welds.  Unfortunately, I am not a welder though I did try it once mmph mmph years ago and it's neat.

Oooff, broke too!
Scanning through the weekly Menards ad I saw steel weld epoxy* on sale and thought huh.  Wonder if that would work on these chairs.  It alleges all sorts of fantastical claims, as every product does (right?!), so we shall see.

Here's the one I gave a whirl.

Fascinating imagery here of an epoxy product encased in its original packaging.
A test on one of the two busted up chairs, see if it does everything it says it will.  Mike suggested rivets which actually is not such a far-fetched idea despite the less than desirable concept of drilling holes; it might only work on the middle parts though.

Just as with any other epoxy, pop it open, squeeze out a blob trying to be as even with both sides as possible, give it a healthy mix, then glop it onto your desired spot.

May not be enough overlap for rivets on the ends here.
Clamps were necessary as the floppy parts would not connect otherwise.

Smushy clampy clampy.
Of course as soon as I do that, I look up at the sky:  doom and gloom.  I check the radar....

Ack!  Oops.
Eh, it should be fine.  Instructions said it sets in four minutes, cures in four hours.  The real test will be sitting in the chair.  Or maybe just removing the clamps, I dunno.  I mean yeah, of course I'm dubious, it's epoxy not a weld.

A guaranteed update right there folks!  

Hopefully I can mete out some cash for new cushions.  Ah!  I already have fabric!  Yay, how fortuitous!  Sweet!

Also on tap was the fence, as I announced above.

Hey hey, before!  Which I didn't really mind for it's visual texture-y.
Last month I swooped through Home Depot (gasp, I know, right?!) (I must've needed something that Menards doesn't have as that does happen on a rare occasion.) (Or wait, maybe it was a paint mis-mix drop in visit.) and found a can of semi-transparent stain in a color sorta somewhat kinda similar to the existing fence color.  For nine bucks, eh, I thought hey, ok, why not.

All right, a can of stain-ish stuff!  Nice.
Plus, as this Behr semi-transparent waterproofing all in one kinda made the short list of future stain options for the deck, it gave me a great opportunity to run it through its paces.  Well, enough so.

Enough so that I won't use it for the deck.

After I got home I read reviews online and oh, oops, not flattering.  Hm.  Most said it flakes, chips, peels, wears off way faster than it claims.  Ah, see?  Again with the product claims (8 years on fences and siding!  Covers 600 sq. ft!).  I get so tired of product claims, like really, had it up to here....


Once done with the project, I ascertained several things: 

One:  semi-transparent deck stain means pretty well darn near opaque, or, not what I thought it meant.   Or at least so with this particular brand.  Good to find out now as transparent stain is what I will select for the deck instead.  I like to see the grain, the knots, the wood, that it used to be a tree ya know?

Part way done, for comparison.
Two:  this stuff, I can see why it would crack, peel, flake, etc.  It's an acrylic based "stain" meaning it essentially sits on the surface, never truly absorbing into the wood.  While these fence boards sucked it right in because they were so parched, it did not become one with the wood as a stain would.  ohmmm...

Crap, I hope I don't have to sand the whole damn fence next year.  Uuuggghhhh.  Well, on the bright side, at least I have a spiffy new sander.

Three:  the finish is, well, um, rather flat, dull, one-dimensional.  For my taste, I should qualify.  I made Mike go look at it in the daylight and he didn't say a single word about it, so, hm, maybe he's unimpressed too.

Maybe I'm just not a super fan of the color either?  I mean, I'm not entirely but I was hoping to be.  It's so...what's the word...predictable.  I do see how someone could like it though.  Maybe I'm just so used to the fence the way it was.  Change, ya know.

Alllllmost done!  It got hot in the sun.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day.
Four:  coverage listed on the can was way way way overzealous.

If anything, the boards have a product on them now so I can feel ok about them going through another winter.  Considering it's not our fence and we like our neighbors so much, it's important to help maintain it.

Done too!  As you can see at the top, I cut in the edges with a brush and it looks way different than the rolled parts.  Sigh.  Plus, if I overlapped, it got worse, really opaque.
And in the end too, it was a worthwhile nine dollar purchase because I learned.  We'll see if it was a real actual good purchase product-wise.  Yes, I just rolled my eyes and shook my head a little.

Well all right.  This is a temporary farewell as Monday is the big Start on Pilot Day.  Hopefully I can get one or two or hopefully maybe three or more interesting things accomplished in the next month, or at least have something intriguing to share with you.  

Thanks for reading this far, I truly appreciate it.  Truly.  Bear with me, my friends, and I'll see you mid-ish-October!  xo

*The steel weld epoxy link is an Amazon affiliate link.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab above for more info.



Holy cow, people!  We have plants!  Woo hoo!

The "after" from above.
I am so excited, I cannot even tell you.  SO excited.

Unbelievable!  It's almost like we have a mature garden in a flash too!  Totally unexpected as I did expect to have to slowly purchase and build this up.

As I mentioned last time, a friend of my mom, Shari, is downsizing her garden out there in the 'burbs.  And she emailed my mom saying hey, got some free plants, please come and get them.

The "before", or I should say the before with deck.  Here's the horrifying before before.
So by golly, I hopped in the lil' Rabbit (ah ha, kinda punny), zipped on out there and got me some extraordinary plants!  So generous of my mom's friend, right?!  Honestly, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world driving home.  I've noticed that about gardening people in general; they are very generous with their plants and their knowledge.

Seriously though, if I could have raised up her whole yard and plopped it down here, I would have.  It was ah.maze.ing.  There are not enough superlatives.  And I am a total idiot for not snapping a couple of photos while I was there for you to see.  I was too busy being agog.

Her backyard is unreal with a pond, two waterfalls into it, levels and layers, a "natural" area as she calls it, a "wild" area, a fantastic patio overlooking the whole thing, pathways, and that's not even the half of it.  Her entire front and side yards are planted to the hilt too.  Just stunning.  And it sure puts our pathetic yard to shame!

By the time my mom and I got to Shari's, she had already started bagging up plants for me, labeling the bags, writing out a list.  It was an odd feeling to put a shovel to someone else's garden for sure, but I did a little digging and the Rabbit filled up incredibly fast.  I bet it was entertaining for others to see on the expressway.

Once home I unloaded and could not believe the quantity of plants.  Like I've said, it's quite shocking how much fits in my sweet lil' car.  But this was definitely a shocker.

Somehow I managed to get everything planted too.  I ain't no spring chicken anymore, that's for sure so, ooooh ooooouch.

Those weeds out there man, they are in there, a death grip on the soil, wow.  And that crab grass or whatever, yeesch, roots to China and back.  The pick axe I ended up using was crying.

I portioned everything to either side of the deck, or tried to anyway.  Turns out the east side ended up with more plants, but, that's ok.

Heh, I love how this photo makes it seem like we have grass.  It's still mostly weeds.
Then it was dig and plant time!

I ended up with so many plants I had to spread out into other areas so as to not waste them.  All the Joe Pye weeds, Joe Pye ornamental weeds, a wild onion, and a few coneflowers went by the gutter downspout extension.

All those potted marigolds are from the seeds of last year's plants.  Sweet, yeah?  They didn't get as big as last year's purchased plants though.  Not that those got terribly large either.
A clump of day lilies all the way up front up front since those ferns never took off.  Sad face.

Over 'der towards the left side of the photo.  It might be too shady for them here though.  Some puny hostas ended up coming with the ferns so that's cool.
I'll dash out there and split up the clump as it looks particularly silly.  Maybe those ferns will come back next year.  They do seem to be water hogs though; I couldn't justify running the hose constantly and jack our water bill up so we'll see.

A wild onion plant in the front where some other perennials did not make it,

an itty bitty teeny weeny teensy tiny bundle of sedum under the Japanese maple. Super fingers crossed on those as they were barely-hanging-on extras that tagged along with another plant.

I wasn't kidding on itty bitty.  That nearly nonexistent green patch to the leftish of centerish.  I'll baby those for sure.
A chunk of ornamental grass up front despite Mike's objection to planting anything more out there, and two mini bunches by the patio area.

Yes, that's the five dollar lilac still clinging to life, looking good even, in that pot.

The rest went in front of the brand spanking new deck.

Yeah, all right, everything looks a little bedraggled at the moment but hey I would be too after being dug up, stuffed into a plastic bag, crammed into a tiny car, transported many miles, then replanted.  Fingers crossed that it all takes as it will be eye-poppingly breathtaking next summer!

Jumbo Finn boy is really into the deck and being outside now and we are loving that.
Lamb's ear which I will lay on the ground and pet and pet and pet all next summer.

The tallest ornamental grasses I have ever seen in my life (miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus').  Lots of coneflowers, brown eyed susans, an obedient plant sliver, a liatris I believe, wild geraniums, and several plants that made the trek but whose names didn't make it onto the list.

If you see it and can name it, do feel free to let me know as I'd love to complete the list.  Put in it the ol' Master Binder of House Info.

There are two or three small bags of plants left but I completely ran out of steam:  walking onions and chives.

Man, she had the most awe-inspiring wisteria that she wanted to give me but I have nowhere to put it, nothing for it to crawl up.  Ugh.

Yes, I still have plenty of work to do, like edge it up, yank more weeds and grass out, tidy up.  The main goal was to get the plants in the ground, watered, and started ASAP; the rest can happen any time.

Heh, Finn looks like he's howling.  He was sniffing the air.
But holy omg people, talk about achy and pooped, wow!  Do not even try to make me get up from this computer right now.

But Shari has offered me more.  If only I could convince Mike to give up his patch o' grass in front (yes the one we've worked so hard to grow from seed) and plant up the whole front yard....man, that would be sweet.

Alas, baby wants his grass, so, baby gets his grass.

I could plant up front up front but I worry I'd turn into a cartoony crotchety crabby old lady, fist in the air, yelling at the neighborhood kids playing "hey get out of the plants ya varmints" or the city would come tear it all out.  I still have a tiny spot of time left before the show starts so I'm contemplating.  Ache-ily.  It would be fabulous...ack I'm so torn!

Already sooooo looking forward to next summer, watch this new garden grow, see how it blooms and fills out and flourishes (hopefully).  Wow.  Astonishing, right?, how much changed in a month?!  I am infinitely thankful to my mom's friend Shari.

There's my baby girl tanning in the yard last summer, how the yard started this year.  I miss you sweet pea.
Gonna pry myself outta this chair so I can go admire it all again!

Is it summer 2016 yet?  Is it?  Is it?


Why People Do Stupid Things. A Lock Story.

It's true.  People do stupid things.


(And by stupid here, I'm suggesting we are intelligent beings with the capacity to know better, that due to some inane lapse, a poor calculation leads to an unwelcome consequence.  Granted, some ahem just may not have the appropriate intelligence level at all, all together, Iiiiii dunno.  But, let's be nice and concede the benefit of the doubt here.)

Heh, but still, it's confounding sometimes, right?!  Why not do things the un-stupid way?

When we first moved in, I changed the locks.  Goodness knows how many of the flipper's people had keys and ya know, we weren't too keen on having random folks just pop on by whenever, right?  Surprise!  No thanks.

It's a lot of freakin' locks, people.  Knob and deadbolt on the front door.  On the back door.  The front security door.  The back security door.  A lot.  Four sets.  It's all like Fort Knox up in here but without the gold.

Back then, time was in short supply so I got new sets for the front and back doors, moving the existing ones to the security doors.  Almost -- I think I have the front security door still left to do.  Heh.  Two years later....

Anywhooooo.....so right, little time, in a rush.

Stupid #1 (on me):  in a rush.

Stupid #2 (again, on me):  bought lesser expensive sets.  Not the cheapest but I was trying to save some pennies.  I mean, did you see how many sets we have?

Ok so bam, two reasons right there why people do dumb sh*t -- they're in a rush and they're trying to save a buck.

Stupid #3:  taking the path of least resistance, or the easy way out, or just giving up.

At the time, I struggled with all four deadbolts re-aligning with the crazy existing holes.  Never could get them lined up enough to lock in the back (don't tell my mom).  So I gave up and vowed to get back to it, oh, some day.

Stupid #4 (on flipper):  let a hack who doesn't give two you-know-what's install things.

A while back I mentioned that I thought the front and back doors were salvaged from the side of the road or dumpster or something then installed here.  They're beat up, they're filthy, like unremovable ground-in filth that just will not come out, they're dented, scratched, they're tacky, just all around sad.  Back to reason #2 above, trying to save a buck.

So whoever installed the lock sets messed up the jambs in such a special way.  They never completely worked correctly then either.  Terrible job.  I mean, total hack:  ehhhh just uh, eh, whatev's man, it locks enough, no one cares about the workmanship of the holes or if these really catch or eeehhhh, ya know, who cares, ain't my house....

Mm hmm.

Anywhooo again....flash forward to a week or two or so ago.  The skies open in a diabolical fury of thunder, lightning, and torrential rains.  Casually I meander downstairs to pull a blankie out of the dryer when what do I see?

Ah, my fave:  puddles.  Arrrgggg.

So I'm cleaning up the water when Mike gets home from work, like quarter to ten at night.  He helps scoop the water still in his dress clothes, plugs in a fan.  Bedraggled, I am.

We're dolling out dinner (nummy cashew chicken, one of Mike's faves and I had just prior been all happy excited to make him something he loves) when he says, "hey uh, um, by the way, to add insult to injury?, my key broke in the back door.  Sheered off."

Snap.  Doh.
Crap.  Stupid things coming back to haunt me.  Which is what stupid things do.  That's why they're stupid.

During dinner I perused the interwebs for tips on how to remove a sheered off broken key.  And guess what?  Not a single one that I found worked.  Not a one.  Not a single one.

Frustrated, I encouraged the door shut.  I wasn't mad at Mike, it wasn't his fault.  Frustrated and annoyed to be spending money on something I already spent money on, knowing I had made foolish choices.

I hit Menards for a new knob and deadbolt set* (omg, like half the price of Menards!  Dammit!  Sigh.) the next day.

It's like the house wine by the fancy vineyard.  A little less expensive but still quality enough to be better than what I bought originally.
Yes, I went for a whole new look, a different shape and color, almost off the reservation as I'm sure no one would expect me to pick antique brass ever.  The ubiquitous silver toned round knob look has bored me, yawn.  This new set looks mid-century vibe-ish to me -- hence, there was the draw.

By the way, as an aside, changing the locks on doors is an incredibly simple thing to do.  Mike thinks it takes a call to a locksmith.  (That's not a jab, I love him very much.)  I think it takes like no time at all.  It's a DIY done in a snap.

Start by removing the screws from the knob inside, which was tricky for me here as the wall is right darn there.

Embarrassing photo #1.  This area is SUCH the train wreck.
Yes, opening the door is what one does here but it was stuck shut, the catch frozen in lock position since I guess we futzed with it too much trying to get the key out.  I had to go out the front, down the gangway, and open the door from outside after removing the inside knob.

Stuck.  Jammed.  Refuses to budge.  Lovely photo again, embarrassing me with the filth and mess.
After confusing the dog, once back inside all the parts essentially pop right out.  A little disconcerting as a general umbrella afterthought kinda but, that's how they're made.

Then, just go in reverse,

Door catch first...
pop everything back in,

...door knob next...Nice with the chewed up door edge there, oy.
align the knobs, tighten screws,

Oh yeah, all that charming grime.  Mmm, nummy.
test, and done.

The deadbolt is faster to install into the door, but I always find it takes eons longer getting things aligned properly for some reason.

Hey look, more dirt!  I discovered yesterday that that TSP substitute works well on getting a portion of the yick off.
Now making a big giant circle back....I decided since I had available time, why not address the crappy jamb mess.  Make the deadbolt actually latch!  Gasp!  Right?!

Stupid #5:  doing all this on a super sticky humid day.  Heh.  Bleech!

Yes.  Seriously.  No joke.  Aside from the expanding foam I sprayed in there because there are crazy gaps leading to the dark pits of air leak hell, this is how they left this.  Mm hm.  Yup.  Go team!
Part of the problem is that they made a huge mess of everything, messed up holes, destroyed the wood, holes in places that don't line up with the current door, ya know...I mean...they clearly threw these pieces of junk doors on at some point therefore nothing lines up properly.  They clearly did not care.

It took for.ev.er and it's still not perfect, nor was I able to really entirely clean up the pathetic situation back there.  The only way at this point would be to redo the jamb which is too much for me' poor brain, skills, or patience to handle.  Maybe some caulk and paint to spiff it up and I'll at least feel somewhat better about it, I dunno.

It's confusing as to why but it took forever to get this new catch plate right-ish.
But!  I was able to get the deadbolt to work properly so that is a major plus!

But not after spending an eternity on it.  See those pencil marks on the side there?  Yeah, that's where the bolt was striking in comparison to how the new plate lined up in the chipped out space.  I had to use the old plate as the hole was larger and because I couldn't adjust the new plate down.  No where for the top screw to go, ya know?
The whole situation turned into a spiraling of man, I am so sick and tired of all the half-a**ed crap this dumb flipper did.  And continues to do to people!  Granted, #1 and #2 are my own doings but compounded with everything else....Two years of fixing stuff poured down upon my wee shoulders like Niagara Falls.

Ok, so...in summary, the main reasons people do stupid things?  In no particular order:  no one is watching; taking a shortcut seems "smarter"; "care" is nonexistent; knowledge of the topic at hand is lacking; someone is attempting to save some cash and/or time; laziness to a.) do it right, b.) find out how to do it right if ya don't know, and c.) general Overall Laziness Affliction.

It really is not difficult to do things right the first time, I swear.  Sure, maybe it seems like it'll take longer.  And who knows, maybe it will.  But so what?  Look what happens otherwise -- it ends up getting done a second time.  Which then means it takes twice as much time and money and effort.

I mean, sure, we all make mistakes.  Some mistakes aren't even mistakes really.  They're lessons, remember?  So, I wouldn't classify every mistake as doing a stupid thing.

Regardless, I say enough!, foot down, let's stop doing stupid things, mmk?  Take or find the time, be smart with the dollars available, do the research.  It'll make you, everyone, and the world a much happier place.

Boy, September has gotten off to a slow pace around the homestead and here!  I think my darn allergies are trying to rear their ugly head again with sneezies, headaches, and general worn-out-ness.  And I'm probably worn out from the kitchen cabinet project.

No time to get sick though as I got picked up for a pilot for Showtime, produced by Common.  So I'll be working on that starting likely the 21st for three to four weeks.  It's only one episode hence the short schedule.  Projects around the house and my visits here will be limited, sadly.  Sorry guys!  :(

In the mean time, my mom forwarded me an email she received from her friend who is downsizing her garden out in the 'burbs, offering up all sorts of amazing plants for the taking!  Oh my goodness is right, so I'll be up there next week collecting plants to dress up our new deck.

But I'll see what I can cram into the week ahead then report on during my pilot stint.

Have a great weekend y'all!

*The door knob set is an Amazon affiliate link.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


Kitchen Cabinets! Black!

Right on, the kitchen cabinets are now sportin' a snazzy new look!

I know.  Everyone is painting their cabinets these days.  What makes ours different?  I dunno, maybe not much.  But, they're ours, they're black, and they're Much much better than they were.

The lessons I learned along the way that I hadn't read elsewhere are differentiating I suppose, so this is worth a read if you're contemplating that Cabinet Transformations Kit from Rustoleum.

It took a spot of time to get to this point, the painting point, if you recall.  Here's where we started.  My first kitchen change was the faucet.  Maybe this was my first "paint the cabinets" inkling.  Here's where I swore a lot.  Turmoil percolated here.  Dumb moulding torn off, more turmoil, Mike slipped up, and then suddenly out of nowhere bam!, paint was purchased and it was time to get a move on.


Ok!  So yeah, it was a project.  Yeah, lots of work.  Yeah, effort-laden indeed.  But in the end, *ding ding* two thumbs up worth it.

To start, I watched the lil' DVD they enclose.  Those types of videos always crack me up for their cheese factor.

So all righty, the first step is to remove the doors (and drawers if you're lucky enough to have drawers unlike us) and all the hardware.  Easy peasy piece a' cake.

Next...clean.  Ok, not hard.

My cleaning set up.  Thankfully we still had the door I removed from the hall bedroom, making a faboo work table.
To clean the doors and bases I used a TSP substitute, stuff I picked up to see if it would remove the water spots from our bath vanity concrete countertop (nope).  

Turns out it was the correct cabinet cleaning choice as I discovered later while looking up something unrelated.  I went with it as it says on the package it's a heavy duty cleaner plus it's not sudsy; a soap and water mix would be a hassle.  I figured the TSP would be easier to manage, and damn, bingo, I was right!

This is the one I used.  Here* are some over on Amazon.

So.  Heh.  If you dislike cleaning, like oodles and oodles of scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing, oh and more scrubbing, dump the next task into someone else's lap.  If that's not feasible, find your scrubby Zen place because man, you're gonna be scrubbing 'til the cows come home.

Scrub.  Scrubby scrubby.  Oh and scrub s'more.
The deglosser step, yeah, the most tiring aspect of the whole process.  Figures it's the most important too.  The deglosser is what allows you to paint over whatever crappy existing crap you've got without sanding or priming.  So it's hugely critical.  And they make you super paranoid about it in the video too.

You never really know when to stop scrubbing either.  There's no indication, no color change, no time allotment suggested, no magic moment, no nothin'....After a few tries, eventually you can feel the subtle change happen in the surface, from smooth to rougher.  But they got me loony over not scrubbing enough, I just kept maniacally scrubbing.

Scrub.  Scrub scrub scrub.  Scrub scrub.  Scrub.  Oy.  I'm going to have scrubbing nightmares.

This is when I got an up close, detailed view on how cheap and crappy these cabinets are -- they're only two years in and the "finish" was wearing in multitudes of areas among other special highlights.

But ok.  Scrub scrub, done.  You're free to paint after all that settles up for an hour.

Compared to the deglosser step, painting is a mountain fresh breeze with glittery unicorns and butterflies dancing gleefully above your head.

That first brush stroke though, yeah, I hesitated.  It was the last moment I had to change my mind.  Screw that, you so loathe these cabinets, what's the hold up?  Let's coat 'em up, hot shot!

The brush dropped and off I went!

After the first coat went on and dried I admit, I was concerned.

First coat, still wet.  Yikes that looked not good.
The paint isn't terribly high-hiding.  Rather viscous and translucent in its pigment.  It's slimy to the touch...ah, it's an alkyd I suspect.  My second least favorite type of paint (acrylic latex wins the loser parade).  Hm.  Well, ok, let's see how it goes.

Thankfully the second coat was a total winner, magically taking care of all the streaks and coating evenly.

I will say hey, damn glad Mike blurted out black and not a light color.  I imagine going from dark cabinets to light would be a bitch and half, taking coats beyond the recommended two and possibly result in tears or fits of rage.

Something I ran into but could not locate any tips about....The side panels of our cabinet boxes turned out to be particle board with a shockingly thin sheet of wood-look plastic paper.  Like a barely there sticker.  Fell right off under our microwave when I cleaned it.

Bubble 'n peel.  Sad face.
Neat.  I was less than thrilled.  Damn flipper.

Look, I can understand the thought proce$$ there, getting the cheape$t po$$ible cabinet$ to maximize profit$ at $ale time but c'mon.  Have some respect for yourself and others; don't buy The Cheapest damn cabinets.  Nobody wins.  Ok, maybe he did but he's soulle$$.

Anywhooo, painting on a sticker, um, yeah.  Not ideal.  So I dialed up the Rustoleum folk and the guy attempted to assuage my concerns.  "Yeah, thin paper or thermofoil, not a problem."  He said to use the deglosser but be less firm with the scrubby then continue as directed.

Huh, ok.  I was still dubious.

Against recommendations, I picked up a paint pad like this one since the areas with the sad stickers were the largest planes.  In an effort to avoid unevenness and streaks, I did not want to hand brush vast areas nor did I want to have lots of wet brush contact with the stickers.  More peeling way bad.

Turns out the pad worked so well I imagine you could use any of them, like these* instead of a brush for flat areas.  Load it lightly, smooth it gently, and once the whole area is coated, give it a final touch up in big swooping motions.  Worked like a charm.  Better and smoother than a brush.

But!  But.  I put said pad in a plastic bag to reuse for the next day's second coat and blam, fuzzies shooting out everywhere.  So either get a total of three or try washing it.  I can't guarantee what will happen if you wash and reuse it.  I was bummed for sure as I then had to hand brush, too lazy (it was way too hot out <--- main reason) to zip to Menards for more.

Top:  yuck, ew.  Bottom:  yessssss
All right, so two coats of color and done.  Nice.  Looking great!

Makin' progress!
Optional is a glaze they enclose.  I went sans glaze as it seemed pointless on black, the glaze is brown, and my test piece resulted in very little payoff.  Hardly seemed worth any effort and it saved me a day.  A day I lost later though....

Can barely perceive the difference where it's glazed and where not, yes?  Yes.  Though I did make it easy for you to see here.  Besides, I wanted black cabinets and the glaze turned the color a brown-ish black.
It'd be cool if the kit offered the option to purchase the glaze separately, save a few bucks.  As now I have two half pints of glaze with no use, a waste.

So the seal coat, I read:  troublesome.  Many folks had issues with it due to its short "open" time so I waffled about using it or something else.  I opted to go with it as researching, pondering, and purchasing something else really kinda lacked appeal.  Plus, with all its bad press, I was kinda curious.

I'll tell ya, I was concerned.  It's true, the open time is indeed terribly short, far too short for non-painter people, like less than forty five seconds.  They advise working quick, obviously, and not going back over areas lest it clouds or goobers up.

Worry shot through that I had ruined my lovely paint job when I saw bubbles, cloudiness, streaks, foamy corners, and small runs upon initial application, especially knowing I wasn't allowed to retouch it, but the sealer did even up and settle for the most part.  Bigger bubbles?  Not so much so keep an eye out and handle those buggers quick.

Protective sealer coat dribbles.  Oy dear me, insert nail biting.
I followed the directions when it came to the doors -- put the protective coat on the back, the inside first.  Ugh did I get hosed for that.

Yes, I tried to work them out with a re-wetting of sealer.  As you can see, nope, did not work.
Drips!  Omg.  I was nearly in tears.  Drips on ten of fourteen doors!!  So much for following directions!  Man.  Ugh!!  I didn't think it was dripping.  So I started pacing.

Lookie at that purdy painted surface, marred by my drip catching ineptitude!
The paint came out so velvety and lovely and uniform and pretty on the doors and I blew the beautiful finish with drips.  Crushing, I swear.  I was kicking myself.  Be a diligent drip watcher!

Again, no online advice to be found.  I know, right?  I was shocked.  I cannot possibly be the only person who had major drippage.

I opted to peel and scrape the half wet drips off with my nails thinking that by eliminating them, it'd be less damaging, easier to sand and touch up than sanding the bulbous blobs themselves.

It always gets worse before it gets better, right?  That's what I kept repeating to myself.
And it was.  Whew.  A light sand with 220 grit...

Post sanding.
...two feathered out coats of bond color touch-up, then sealer and seriously, you'd never know.  Whhheeewww.  That's where I lost a day, fixing all the drips.  But, cha-ching, crisis averted.

In the end, yeah, the sealer is in fact tricky, even for an experienced painter type such as myself.  I'm not sure why Rustoleum hasn't tweaked the formula to be at least a wee more user friendly.  Don't be afraid, just be fastidious.

In the end too, the cabinets are not meticulously perfect.  There are a coupla' bumps, a couple spots where sawdust or whatever fell into the paint or sealer, dog fur, missed big and little bubbles, a drip or two.  So.  It is what it is.  It's paint, true vigilance unattainable, and ultimately?, it inherently can't be Perfect.  I'll try very hard not to stare only at the grumpy spots and beat myself up over them.  Try is the key word there.

So!!  Here's the before....

And after!!!

Honestly?  It looks fabulous.  I'm strikingly thrilled with how it turned out, if you wanna get right down to it.  Like stop, stand, stare several times thrilled.

Wow.  What a difference, huh?  Even if you're not a black paint fan, you gotta admit....
Here are some random notes and tips and thoughts and suggestions for you:

If you have a pet that sheds or you wear clothes, you will get fur or fuzzies stuck in the paint.  Just pay attention and smear them off as quick as you can.  I used my bare fingers, wiped them off onto my paint shirt because that's how I roll but, heh, I'm sure there's a tidier way.  I missed a few and have to resign myself.  It's fine, totally not the end of the world.

I did not do the screw drywall screws into 2x's and precariously balance the doors on the pointy tips of the screws (see the video top left, the 8:20 mark).  That was a most confounding suggestion -- those screw tips can too easily scratch or dent, well, everything.  I used whatever wood scraps I had around and covered them with clean rags.  Or the vinyl bumpers I removed from the doors.

Wood blocks and rags, way safer from scratches than screw tips.
To aid in the scrubby deglosser step, I used a scrub brush along with the enclosed pads.  It was much easier to get into constricted corners, tight edges, and thin routings that way.  Worked out great.  Plus it saved the environment from a ridonkulous pile o' trashed scrubby pads.

Works.  Promise.  Follow up with a scrub pad for a few moments, just in case.  Ya know, scrub.  Scruuubb!!
Load your paint brush lightly, meaning not a goopy ton of paint.  Less is more here, folks.  Plop your loaded brush in the middle and work outwards otherwise you get puddles of paint glopped into corners.  After an overall coating of an area, brush in long sweeping finishing strokes to even everything up.

I found using a smaller brush (a 1.5" angled synthetic*) worked better for me than what was suggested.  The 2.5"-er I bought was much too much brush, except on larger areas, but assess your situation and go with whatever you're most comfortable with.

My general go-to brush.  And it was less than $2 I think.  Oh, yeah, no need to spend your whole paycheck on a brush.  Just make sure the brush tip tapers to thin but any halfway decent synthetic will be fine.  Seriously.  Don't buy the hype and overspend; there's barely a difference most times.  Honestly. 
When tackling the cabinet boxes, paint the inside edges first then the faces.  Trust me.  Less chances for dribbles.

Keep a rag or wad of paper towels in hand, under arm, in pocket, or nearby all the while.  No one is perfect, yo.

And by the way, despite what others may say, the deglosser and bond coat paint are minorly smelly.  Not strongly overpowering or anything, but they do have a scent.  Just an FYI.  It's no big deal but I'm unsure as to why folks say they are scent-free.

If you miss a spot with the protective sealer, they advise a lil' localized touch-up.  Doesn't work -- you can see the touch-up contrasting with the original seal coat unless it's super itty bitty, in a generally unlit area.  My advice?  Lightly re-seal the whole stretch or area for an even finish.  I know, a pain, more dry time, but it's better than a contrasting blob.

Try your best not to get sealer on any other spot than where you're working.  If you do, wipe it off right that second.

Lastly if you're brush-stroke-averse, this kit is probably not for you.  While it's possible to get a rather sleek finished surface, brush strokes will still be evident especially after the sealer, no matter how hard one tries.  Again, it's paint.

So??  You're wondering the household verdict, are ya?  How Mike likes the black?

It's still the same poorly designed dysfunctional kitchen with zero drawers that only one person can be working in at a time but at least it looks better.  It fades away, haha, thereby making it look better!  Hahahahaha.  Heh, I'm so terrible, right?!

But seriously, it does look sharp and more modern.  Or, as modern as it can for too traditional-ish overly-moulded doors.

Just so's ya know though, this is just the kitchen beginning.  There's more on the docket.  Yes really.  That whole opposite wall, waving my hands in circular motions, yeah, somethin' and somethin' yet.

You're up, useless opposite wall area with not-as-unhelpful-as-I-hoped cart.
In the mean time, my favorite part about the cabinets?  That Mike likes them.  Heh, his first response:  a stare of disbelief, mouth slightly ajar, then a nodding, "OooOOooHHh."  Big pause....."I like black," he said, he actually said in real words out loud for me to hear.  (Aha!!!  Yay!!!  Yesssssss!!) "The counters, they make more sense."

"At least it's tolerable now."  Heh, yup.

Next big project?  I was hoping maybe to get into the first floor bathroom again but Mike has had it with the stair and the nasty cheap a** carpet.  Especially now that the walls are painted and the puppy paintings are up.  He gave me some thought-provoking ideas to start with sooooo.....

See ya back here real soon!

*The TSP substitute, paint pad, and angled sash brushes are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab above for more info.