Archives For April 2012

This weekend I got started on tackling the $25 dresser I got for Jack’s room. Very exciting! I knew this baby would need a lot of work, so I set a manageable goal of just getting it ready for paint.

 

Step 1: Remove the drawers to see what I’m working with. I vacuumed and wiped out the inside of each drawer, then took a gander at the inside of the dresser itself.

DANG this thing was dirty. Paper and trash was shoved into the corners and a thin layer of dust covered every surface. Upon closer inspection, I noticed a little extra surprise mixed in with the trash…

OMG, feathers!!! There were BIRDS living in this dresser! I was officially disgusted. I vacuumed it all out and wiped down the whole thing, but the citrus wood cleaner I was using didn’t seem to pack the disinfecting power I was looking for. I didn’t really want to use anything stronger, so I decided right then that I would paint the inside to cover up all evidence of its former life as a bird habitat. But that’s another project for another day. Back to prep work! I gave the whole exterior a quick pass with a sanding block to rough it up and smooth any messed up areas.

I actually was able to peel the paint off of the entire top. It started with just a little bubble, then I realized that I could use a flathead screwdriver to scrape up a little bit of the edge and peel off a big ‘ol piece. It was oddly therapeutic, pulling the paint off one 6-18 inch chunk at a time.

Once the whole top was paint-free, I applied wood filler to all the spots that were dinged, scraped, or dented. I haven’t really worked with wood filler before, since I usually just slap some flat paint on a piece of furniture and chalk any imperfections up to character, but I decided to use semi-gloss paint on this piece (wipeability seemed like an important quality for something that will double as a changing table). The higher the gloss, the more imperfections stand out, so I decided to take a few extra steps for a smoother look this time.

After the wood filler dried I sanded it down. See how it filled in the dents?

The bottoms on each side were the worst. The veneer was cracked and peeling. I peeled off what seemed unsalvageable and glued down the rest, then slapped some wood filler over the whole area.

Since I’d laid it on pretty thick, I let it dry overnight, then came back the next day to sand it smooth. I propped the edge of the dresser up on a small paint can to make it easier, but it was still a weird angle for my wrists. I ended up having to add a little more and sand again, but since the touch-ups were in thinner layers I only had to wait 15-30 minutes before sanding.

Eventually I had a pretty smooth canvas to later paint. It’s not perfect, but it’s a vast improvement over the warped and cracked veneer I started with.

After all that sanding I wiped down the entire exterior with a damp cloth. I even removed the knobs and pulls so that I could thoroughly clean the drawer fronts. And with that, this baby was ready for Phase 2: Paint! I already started painting the inside and, let me tell you, I’m realizing why I was always too lazy to paint the insides before. It’s a giant pain. Once I get the second coat on I promise to show you pictures. I gotta tell ya, I’m kind of nervous about the top after seeing all that paint peel off so easily. I’m thinking of doing something I almost never do–using primer. Ugh. I hate primer. I don’t even have any on hand. I’d have to make a special trip to the store just to get it. So inconvenient! Maybe I could just slap on a coat of some old flat paint I have lying around and that would do the trick just as well?

Thank you all for your patience as I continue to tweak the new site. If you get my posts via email you likely didn’t get yesterday’s post–click here to read it!

OMG. I can’t believe I still have twelve weeks left to go. I think I’m going to die.

Now that I’m in the third trimester I oscillate between depressed and hopeful. I start thinking about the twelve interminably long weeks ahead full of discomfort and pain and feel so despondent. Then I remind myself that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and that it’s so worth it and I start getting excited to finally not be pregnant anymore and meet my little man. It’s an emotional roller coaster, I tell you.

But seriously, how can I possibly get any bigger?

In other news, I haven’t fainted in almost three weeks! Maybe all that iron and protein they’ve got me on is helping. I sure wish there was a similarly simple solution for all this pain in my ribs.

I failed the one hour glucose test so I had to take the three hour yesterday. It wasn’t as bad as I’d anticipated, but it probably helped that they let me lay down in an exam room after I mentioned I was feeling a little lightheaded. Fingers crossed I don’t have diabetes!

Pregnancy has not been easy for me, but the end is in sight!

PS Please let me know if you’re experiencing any issues with the new site so I can get it fixed!

If you’re visiting my site to read today’s post (as opposed to reading it in your inbox or via a feed reader), you’ve probably already noticed that things are looking pretty different around here! I spent this weekend moving my blog from the free wordpress.com platform to a self-hosted setup. I’ve been thinking about moving for a while, but after uploading nearly 2,000 pictures I finally reached the limit of WordPress’s free image hosting last week and that was the kick in the pants I needed!

It was a lot of work and way more technical than I expected, but thankfully the folks at my new hosting service (HostGator) were really helpful in getting me set up. I lost the look of the old blog when I moved, so I took the opportunity to give the whole thing a makeover using a pre-designed layout (Standard Theme), then teaching myself little bits and pieces of CSS to customize the appearance. If you think you have a basic working knowledge of the internet nothing will change your mind faster than delving into the logistics of hosting a website. It was a very humbling experience, indeed!

Can you believe that this is what my blog looked like on Friday? This screenshot is from my iPhone so the proportions are a little different.

And here we are today!

 

I’m still trying to tweak some more things and I’m sure there are tons of kinks to be worked out (example: I’m not sure if my email subscribers will receive posts from the new blog, fingers crossed this post got sent out). If you notice something looking awry or loading super slow, will you please please please let me know? And by all means, if the tech-savvy among you have advice or tips to offer I would be oh so grateful!

I’m super excited about the possibilities moving forward, but please bear with me as I get settled in over here. Thank you so much for your patience! Y’all are always very supportive. I have the best readers ever.

Last weekend marked two years since we moved into this little bungalow, and I could not be happier. I totally fell in love with this house the first time I saw it online and am still in love today. I know that someday we’ll move on but for now, it’s perfect. We refinanced last month and were able to lower our interest rate and monthly payment, plus–bonus! our mortgage insurance went waaaay down? Why, might you ask? Because the appraised value went waaaay up. Nick and I were both shocked to see the appraisal come back at $40,000 more than we paid two years ago. I know that most of it probably has to do with our neighborhood and the market, but I can’t help but wonder if some of the changes we’ve made had any impact. Then I started thinking about everything we’ve done in the last two years to make this place our own. Even though we are not the type of people to be renovating kitchens or ripping out walls, the things we’ve done have gone a long way towards making this place feel like our home.

The deck, for example, looked like this when we bought it.

But we took some of that 8k new homebuyers tax credit and paid a handyman about $1000 to turn it into this. (read a little bit more about it here)

We paid the same handyman to hang curtain rods throughout the house, then I sewed simple curtains out of white muslin. (read more here)

We removed the ceiling fan from the dining room and replaced it with a $10 thrift-store chandelier. This was pre-blogging so I don’t have a post about it, but the fan was centered in the room so we used an extra long chain and hook to swag the chandelier over so it hung centered above the table.

We cleared a bunch of ivy and added a sweet olive next to the porch for privacy. I’m in love with it and would love to add a few more to create a wall of green along the side of the porch.

I made a giant floorcloth rug for under $150.

Made over my front porch in a weekend.

Whipped up a makeshift mantle out of an old cypress floorboard I found on the side of the road.

Totally revamped the laundry room, replacing the cabinets with open shelving and painting the walls blue (although I’m contemplating repainting, which makes Nick crazy).

Fixed up the downstairs bath with a DIY extra-long shower curtain (later embellished with ribbon), homemade wine cork bathmat, mini gallery wall, and pretty towels.

Created a mini-foyer with a storage ottoman and a diy shelf with hooks.

Turned the unused room at the front of the house into a functional office and family room.

And finally, just recently, we added a small veggie garden and a clothesline to the backyard.

There are so many more things I want to do, like finishing up the nursery and the front room, making some more changes in the laundry room and the kitchen, and prettying up the guest bedroom a bit, all in due time. This is a season in my life for small projects done one at a time. I was thinking this morning about how Nick goes to visit friends in Texas one weekend in April every year. Last year, I tackled the front porch while he was gone (scroll up to see where I linked to that whole project). I worked the whole time and it looked completely different by the time he came back. This weekend he’s off to Texas again and I’ll be thrilled if I can just get Jack’s dresser prepped for painting (the actual painting will probably have to wait for another weekend)! The rest of my time will be spent resting and trying to soothe my aching ribs. I know from the last two years of working on this house that things turn out best when I take my time, so taking things slow for these next few months is a-okay with me.