Three Often-Overlooked Repairs To Make Before Selling A House

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Selling your home can be an emotional and stressful experience. Not only are you leaving somewhere you spent years making memories, but you’ll have to deal with countless potential buyers and more. Then there’s getting your house into sellable shape.

If you’ve lived in your home for a long time, chances are that you are no longer seeing it through impartial eyes. You might be overlooking small flaws that others may notice. It’s sometimes a good idea to get a home inspection so you can get unbiased input on the repairs your home might need. And then you can decide which of those repairs are within your budget and worth making.  

Below are three common repairs that are easily overlooked by homeowners but make an impression on potential buyers.

1. Floors

Damaged floors are quite the turn off for potential buyers. And it’s one of the first things they’ll notice, which is why you need to focus on it and fix any damage before putting your house up for sale. 

Scratched-up wood flooring could need to be polished while worn down carpeting may need to be replaced, and a concrete floor could need a facelift. While these repairs might be relatively expensive to address, they will make your home more appealing – which could lead to a higher selling price.

2. Ceilings

While you might not pay too much attention to your ceiling, potential buyers will. Damage to ceilings could be a symptom of a bigger problem.  So if potential buyers find stains, mold, or similar issues on ceilings, they may decide to move on to the next house. Or, if they do make an offer, it could be lower than you’d expect.

Avoid this by getting any needed ceiling repair done before you list your home. The cost of this will vary depending on what the specific problem is.

3. Grout

Grout is one of the most overlooked aspects of a property when you’re living in it. When you’re considering buying it, however, it gets a lot of attention. 

So, updating the grout could be one of the most important repairs you’ll need to do before selling your home. If your grout is stained, yellowing, or starting to crack, then consider having it updated.

That’s much easier to do than you’d expect, and you might even be able do it yourself with a few hours of work.

Figuring out which repairs you need to do before selling your home doesn’t need to complicated. 

And, once you make those repairs, you should find that you’ll sell your home much faster and for more money.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

 

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Styling A Caterpillar Vase

Recently, a thoughtful relative gave me a cute little caterpillar vase.  I have always wanted one of these.

Caterpillar vase
Caterpillar vase

I was planning to host a small brunch for Mother’s Day, so the timing of this gift could not have been better.  I used it in my table decor, and I even stumbled upon a simple way to double its impact.

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The Vase

Measuring at only about 10 inches wide, the vase has six little connected chambers.  It is very similar to this vase.

 

Doubling Its Impact

I often use a vintage etched glass mirror as a hot plate on my dining table.  I hadn’t intended to use it in my brunch decor but, when I placed the caterpillar vase on it, something fun happened.

Six flower chambers became twelve.

I couldn’t wait to see how it would look filled with flowers.

The Flowers

I learned quickly that the flower stems really do need to be short to work right in this vase.  And the flower heads themselves need to be fairly lightweight.  Even bleeding hearts on short stems were too top-heavy to work.

I ended up using violets and pansies from the garden.  For the greens, I used the foliage from a bleeding heart plant.

 

The Look

This fun little look was very simple to put together.

Caterpillar vase

We have a small dining table, and I often wind up removing the centerpiece when I host a meal.  But, with the low profile of this centerpiece, we could pass food around without worrying about knocking it over.

Caterpillar vase

 

Vintage glass trivet

 

Brunch table setting

 

I have a chronic tablecloth addiction that I’ve been trying to keep in check.  But I couldn’t resist this cheerful lace-trimmed tablecloth, so it was another new addition to my Mother’s Day table decor.

Brunch table setting

The napkins are simply batik fat quarters that I double-hemmed.  Each napkin is different, and I love that they add an eclectic contrast to the formal china.

You may have noticed there are no coffee cups in this place setting.  That is because I made lattes before the brunch began.

 

The Menu

I am not a natural at cooking. For me, it takes some planning and advance prep for things to turn out right.  So I kept it simple.  We had:

  • Salmon quiche with leeks, yellow peppers, and spinach (my adaptation of this recipe, in which I substituted the bacon and onion for the cooked salmon, leeks, peppers, and spinach)
  • Maple sausage links
  • Mango salad
  • Assorted fruit and yogurt
  • Lemon berry mini tarts (a slight variation of these lemon blackberry mini tarts)
  • Orange juice and mimosas

 

The Mirror

I can’t remember where I got my vintage etched glass mirror trivet, but I’m learning that they are not easy to come by.  Right now I am finding only a few similar mirrors on Etsy, like this one and this one (although both are a bit larger than mine).

 

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

 

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Pampering Plants In The Greenhouse

If you need me, I’ll be in my greenhouse avoiding responsibility.  I might say that I’m in there “gardening,” and I might even believe it myself.  But in reality, I’m just there to delay having to do any actual work in the garden.  The greenhouse is my adult version of a playhouse – my cozy and cheerful domain.

So come on in and see what I’ve been playing with.  I’ll also show you some of the practical ways that I use my small greenhouse.

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Uses For A Greenhouse

Having a greenhouse is very helpful, but don’t despair if you don’t have one.  Often an indoor space with adequate light can serve as a mini-greenhouse if you’re willing to devote the space to that purpose (and as long as you don’t mind the possibility of a random insect or two occasionally coming in on a plant ride-along).  One of the best tomato gardeners I’ve ever known grew his tomatoes from seeds inside his house.  And, before I had a greenhouse, I sometimes used my mudroom to overwinter plants.

Anyway, on to our practical uses for a greenhouse.  We’ll start with . . .

Coddling Summer Annuals and Tomatoes

My tiny greenhouse is bursting at the seams right now with the summer annuals that I bought in pony packs from garden centers.  Pony packs usually have four to six small plants per pack.

Once in the greenhouse, I take each plant out of the pack and move it into its own 4-inch (or larger) pot.  And there they stay until I’m ready to plant them outdoors.

It takes a little time to repot them from their pony packs, but there are some advantages to the plant, including:

  • Plants moved to larger pots are less likely to become rootbound;
  • Plants don’t dry out as quickly in larger pots; and
  • Once in larger pots, the plants grow very rapidly without crowding one another.

And, of course, the advantage to me is that I save money by buying plants in small starter packs instead of buying larger versions of the same plants at higher prices.

If I’d simply taken the plants from these pony packs and planted them directly outside a few weeks ago, when I bought them, they probably would have been stunted by the cold. They would have suffered a setback instead of the head start that they are receiving by being pampered in the greenhouse until the weather is warmer.

This year I assembled another hanging garden sphere for my front porch.  I just put it together yesterday, so it’s currently in the greenhouse sink draining excess water and soaking up a little heat before it goes outside.

Impatiens, moss, and a small maidenhair fern make up this year’s hanging garden sphere.

 

I ran out of counter space, so the impatiens that will go in our shed window box are on the greenhouse floor.  I’ve already transplanted them into pots that fit inside the window box, so all I have to do once it’s warm enough outside is just plop them into the window box.

 

I also keep my tomato starts in the greenhouse.  Like the annuals, I move them to larger pots so they have room to grow.

Oregon Spring Tomato and Yellow Cherry Tomato "Blondkopfchen"
And Oregon Spring Tomato and a Yellow Cherry Tomato “Blondkopfchen”

These two will be moved to even larger pots when they’re placed outside. The “Blondkopfchen” yellow cherry tomato will need a huge container, so this year I’m going to try a large fabric grow bag.

 

Cherry tomato "Oregon Cherry"
Cherry tomato “Oregon Cherry”

Here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s commonly said that tomatoes can be placed outdoors in May.  But to me that seems too early.  I keep mine in the greenhouse until at least June.  For more tips on growing tomatoes in the Pacific Northwest, check out my post Tomato Tips From Mr. B.

Starting Bulbs

I love big showy begonias.  But rather than buying established plants, I go the thrifty route and buy bulbs (usually in March or April).  I start them in pots in the greenhouse.

They don’t look like much yet, but hopefully they will grow quickly now that they have emerged.

Starting them in the greenhouse is also a good way to make sure that a bulb is actually viable before planting it outside.

Begonia bulbs emerging
Begonia bulbs emerging

Around the holidays, I also use the greenhouse for starting paperwhites.

Starting Seeds

I hadn’t intended to do very much growing from seeds this year, but my adorable kindergartner nephew visited me recently, and he brought along several seed packets.

So we started planting.

zinnia seedlings
Zinnia seedlings

While we were working, he found my garden journal, which I hadn’t used for a long time, and he made a list of everything that we were planting that day.

(I especially like the “All dun” he added to end after we’d finished planting.)

We used stickers to create a coding system so that we could keep track of which variety of seed we’d planted in each flat.

It was a nice little exercise in writing, planting, teamwork, and organizing, and it just goes to show that gardening is fun at any age.

 

Overwintering Tender Plants

The greenhouse is also a good place to shelter plants that would not survive the winter outdoors.

Late last fall, I brought in a few succulents that wouldn’t have survived the winter.  I also brought in a myrtle topiary that I’ve been cultivating for a few years.  The myrtle may have been okay outside but, with all the work I’ve put into training it to be a topiary (albeit a short topiary), I wasn’t going to take that chance.

It’s back outside now.

Myrtle topiary
Myrtle topiary

 

Until recently, a golden Boston fern also had refuge in the greenhouse.  Now it is still somewhat protected in its new spot on the front porch.

Golden Boston fern

Small Improvements

Lately we made just a couple of small improvements to the greenhouse.

A Simple Shelf

Chris cut and finished a piece of plywood to serve as a shelf over the back of the soil basin.

Wooden shelf at the back of the soil basin

In this small greenhouse, it’s nice to have a bit of extra storage right where I’m likely to use it.

 

A Door Screen

If it’s not too cold, I keep the greenhouse door open during the day.  I recently installed this door screen to keep our mason bees and other small critters from getting trapped inside the greenhouse.

It was very easy to install, and I should have done it years ago.

Sunglo greenhouse with after market door screen
Sunglo greenhouse with after-market door screen

I also keep unwanted insects, especially ants, out of the greenhouse by spritzing the threshold and the floors with organic peppermint essential oil.  A few drops of the oil mixed with water in a spray bottle usually does a fairly good job.  Since the flooring is concrete pavers, I don’t worry too much about spritzing it with a little essential oil.

Thanks for coming along on this short tour of my greenhouse.  You’ve really helped me out since another way I avoid the responsibility of actual gardening is by writing about it.  But now I have no more excuses.  It’s time to close my laptop and put on the gardening gloves.  Right after another cup of coffee.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

 

Want to see more? Check out my photo gallery, where you can browse my posts by category.

 

 

 

 

Three SoCal Adventures Plus Budget-Friendly Travel Tips

For a while now, friends have been asking us to visit them in Southern California.  Something always seemed to get in the way, but recently I had a chance, at last, to plan the trip.  Since neither I nor my husband Chris had ever spent much time in SoCal, we decided take in a few sights while we were there.  We allowed ourselves a week for both visiting and exploring.

Even with our tight timeframe, we returned home feeling relaxed – and like we’d seen and done a lot.  So today I’m sharing the three unique little adventures that made up the highlights of our trip.

I will also be sharing some of the budget-friendly travel tips that I used to keep this trip affordable.

But first, let’s talk about . . .

The Home Base:  Newport Beach

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We’d reserved a small studio apartment near one of our friends.  It was on the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach.  After picking up the rental car at the airport, we stopped by a grocery store for all the essentials we would need for our five days in that rental (we would be staying somewhere else on the last two days).

Budget-Friendly Tip:  This small studio apartment, which I’d found on VRBO after a ridiculous amount of searching and obsessing, was more reasonably priced than most mid-level hotels in the area.  It was a block from the beach, it had a cute outdoor patio for alfresco dining, and there was free street parking.  And, because it had a full kitchen, we didn’t need to dine in restaurants for every meal, which went a long way towards keeping this trip on budget.

With the vast golden sand beach only a block away, we did a lot of walking, relaxing, and people watching.

Newport Beach, California

We were located right between the Newport Beach Pier and the Balboa Pier. Both offered spectacular sunsets.

Sunset behind the Newport Beach Pier

 

Almost sunset at the Balboa Pier Beach

 

But now that we were settled in, it was time for a little adventure.

 

Catalina Island

Ferries to Catalina Island run from the mainland from several locations.  One of those locations was only about a mile from where we were staying.  The crossing took about an hour and half – including a brief impromptu stop to watch dolphins.

Catalina Island is one of California’s Channel Islands, and it is said to have a Mediterranean climate.  Arriving in its port city of Avalon on a sunny day, I almost felt like I was entering a small village on the French Riviera (not that I’ve actually been to the French Riviera). There were a few cars there, but mostly folks were getting around via golf cart or e-bike.  So, although the town was bustling, there wasn’t much traffic noise.

Avalon is very charming and walkable, and it has many shops and restaurants – probably enough to keep almost anyone entertained for the day. But we’d rented e-bikes, and we picked them up immediately upon arrival.

Our first destination was the Wrigley Botanical Garden And Memorial. It was built in the early 1930s to honor chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr., who  played a major role in the development and conservation of Catalina Island.

This arid garden has some show-stopping mature plants.

A dragon tree at Wrigley Memorial Garden

And quiet beauty everywhere.

 

The garden leads up to the Wrigley Memorial.

We wandered through the bronze door.

Wrigley Memorial bronze doors

To the top of the memorial.

Wrigley Memorial

Back on the road, we found a well-marked scenic route up into the hills north of downtown Avalon.

Avalon
Avalon

Tooling around these steep, scenic hills on an e-bike was glorious – and definitely the highlight of my day.

 

Avalon
Boats in the harbor and the Catalina Casino on the left

 

Biking Catalina Island

Back in town, we stopped to marvel at the art deco architecture of the Catalina Casino.

Catalina Casino

And then enjoyed waterfront refreshments at a nearby beach club before returning our bikes and boarding the ferry back.

I left feeling slightly envious of the travelers who had brought luggage and were planning to stay on the island longer.

 

Budget-Friendly Tips:

      • Before we left for our trip, I found a Groupon discount on our ferry tickets.  It saved us about $20 per person.
      • We’d also researched e-bike vendors on Catalina Island in advance of our trip. Because we reserved the bikes online and in advance from a specific vendor, we paid about half of what some other folks were paying for their e-bike rentals. The vendor we used does not allow their e-bikes out in the rain so, before reserving our bikes, we did make sure to check the weather forecast for the day we wanted to rent.

 

Mission San Juan Capistrano

The following day, a short drive took us to a place of history, architecture, and a stunning walled garden:  Mission San Juan Capistrano.

Mission San Juan Capistrano

 

Mission San Juan Capistrano

 

Mission San Juan Capistrano

It is also a place of returning swallows and monarch butterflies.  Neither were apparent in numbers while we were there, but we did catch sight of a few swallows and one monarch.

Monarch Butterfly at Mission San Juan Capistrano

The mission was founded in 1776.  But its great stone church collapsed in an 1812 earthquake that occurred during mass.

Mission San Juan Capistrano

The stone church was never rebuilt.  Its ruins stand today as a monument to the 40 people who perished there in the quake.

Mission San Juan Capistrano

 

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Today, the mission is a peaceful and scenic place to learn about the history of the area.  Most of the history is tragic, to say the least, but I was grateful for the information and for the way it was presented.

Historic buildings surrounding the central courtyard housed interesting museum rooms.

Mission San Juan Capistrano
Central courtyard architecture

The mission is actually a large complex of courtyards, historic buildings, sacred sites, and gardens.  Soaking it all in takes some time.

Budget-friendly tip:  Tucked away in the back, behind the west garden, there is a picturesque and serene picnic area – the perfect spot to enjoy the lunch we’d packed along.

After our time in the mission, we went for afternoon coffee and browsed the stops in San Juan Capistrano’s historic Los Rios district.

 

Joshua Tree National Park

So we’d had our marine adventure and our stroll through history.  Now it was time for the desert.  We pulled up stakes at Newport Beach and drove a couple of hours inland to Joshua Tree.

We’d rented a cabin with huge windows and a sweeping desert view close to the town of Joshua Tree.  After the urban density of Newport Beach, it was a treat to feel fully immersed in our vast desert surroundings.

We even spotted a small desert coyote on the dirt road leading to the cabin.

Coyote

Joshua Tree National Park is more rustic than some other national parks.  You won’t find running water or flush toilets.  Visitors are encouraged to bring their own water – and lots of it.

Needless to say, there are also no grand historic lodges.  But in this park, Mother Nature is the architect.

Joshua Tree National Park

And fun photos ops are everywhere.

Joshua Tree National Park

 

The park’s namesake Joshua Trees dot the landscape.  Some are quite tall.

Joshua Tree National Park

But, the closer I looked at them, the more  I began to wonder if these zany trees were really trees at all – or something else.  As it turns out, they are actually succulents.  They are in the agave family.

And they bloom, although the blossoms are said to have an odd smell.

Joshua Tree blossoms
Joshua tree blossoms

A unique and impressive “tree” for sure.

Joshua Tree National Park
Note the balancing rock on the top left and the raven in the Joshua tree. Also note the pit toilet. It is as fancy as facilities get in the park.

Beauty thrives in this harsh desert landscape.

Desert blooms

 

desert blooms

 

Budget-Friendly and Time-Friendly Tip:  Joshua Tree National Park can get very crowded.  We wanted to go out for a hardy breakfast before exploring it, but that would have put us at the park during peak hours.  Instead, we got up early and had a quick bite before we left the cabin.  This got us to the park ahead of the crowds.

It’s funny how a place with so few man-made features drew us in so completely. We were living the moment, fully immersed in the beauty of our desert surroundings. All the troubles of the world and the noise of social media were momentarily forgotten.

I’ll leave you with just a few more travel tips we employed on this trip.

Time-Friendly Tip:  For our flights, we planned what is called an “open jaw itinerary.”  We flew into Santa Ana, but we flew back home out of Palm Springs.  Our rental car company charged a small fee for us to drop the car off at a different airport than the one in which we’d picked it up, but the time saved not having to drive all the way back to Santa Ana from Joshua Tree was well worth it.

Budget-Friendly Tip:  I can’t remember the last time we paid the rack price for a flight.  I belong to an airline mileage club.  For this trip, I used miles, so our flights were almost free.  This particular airline also offers an annual companion ticket at a heavy discount.

Budget Friendly Tip:  We like to check out the happy hours offered by local restaurants.  It’s a great way to get acquainted with the atmosphere and the quality of the cuisine without having to commit to a full dinner.  If we’re impressed, we can still stay for dinner, although sometimes happy hour offerings are hardy enough to satisfy us.

Budget-Friendly Tip:  I brought a soft-sided cooler with a strap as one of my carry-on luggage pieces.  I packed it with things I’d need for the trip but, once we arrived, I emptied it.  With an added ice pack, we had a nice little cooler for packing lunches and snacks along on our excursions.

Bringing the cooler as carry-on luggage got me thinking about other well-designed coolers that could serve as carry-on luggage.  Of course, different airlines have different size limitations for carry-on luggage, but these coolers look like possibilities.

 

Canway Cooler

 

Jumbo insulated cooler bag

 

 

Coleman backpack cooler

 

If you are planning a trip to the Sedona area, check out my post Three Small Towns Near Sedona.  At the end of that post, I include my tips for traveling with carry-on luggage only.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

 

Exploring

 

 

 

 

 

Gifts For Gardeners

With gardening season upon us and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day quickly approaching, this is an excellent time to think about gifts for the gardeners in our lives.

Below is a little round up of gifts, from practical to fun, that gardeners might enjoy.

This post contains affiliate links.  For more on my affiliate links, please see this page.

Keeping Tools Sharp

Cutting tools like shears and clippers are very important in gardening.  A dull cutting tool can make a project much harder than it needs to be.  That is where a good blade sharpener can come in handy.

 

SHARPAL multi sharpener

A Lightweight Blower

Keeping walkways and patios clean can be a big job with just a broom.  But some blowers can be heavy and cumbersome to use.  I was gifted this lightweight Ryobi One cordless leaf blower a few years ago, and now I don’t know what I’d do without it.

 

Fabric Grow Bags

Recently, I’ve become intrigued with fabric grow bags. They are available in varying sizes, and I plan to try out a couple of large grow bags this summer for tomatoes and pumpkins. They aren’t much to look at, but they are said to help plants grow healthy root systems.  And they store flat when not in use.

Oppolite 20-gallon grow bag

A Tool To Keep Gardening

For the gardener who has a few aches and pains but doesn’t want that to limit their time in the garden, a garden kneeler and stool can be exactly what they need to keep doing what they love.

 

Outdoor Entertaining

When it’s time to host those summer garden gatherings, a practical and well-appointed bar cart can be very useful.

EROMMY outdoor wicker bar cart

Herb Garden

Herb gardens can be as attractive as they are practical.  And they get bonus points if they are easy to use or if they work in small spaces.  This FOYUEE Raised Planter Box hits all those marks.

Animal Succulent Pots

Recently I bought these adorable Ceramic Animal Succulent Plant Pots for my neighbors.

And I’ve had so much fun finding just the right little plants to dress them up.  They didn’t come with saucers, so I added those too.

Self-Care For The Gardener

Gardening can take its toll on hands and feet.  This gift set by Burt’s Bees brings healing to hands, feet, and lips.  Best of all, the products are climate pledge friendly – which is something many gardeners care about.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

 

Exploring

 

Three Tips For A Successful Home Remodel

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Are you planning to remodel your home? Taking on a renovation project to get your home looking exactly as you would like is exciting and allows you to put your personal stamp on the property.  But, in most home remodel projects, there is some stress involved in achieving that dream property. To ensure your remodel is a success, it is essential to put some preparations in place before any work begins. The more planning you can do in advance, the more likely the project will turn out exactly as you had hoped. 

Here are three tips for helping keep the stress to a minimum during your remodel:

1.  Have A Clear Picture Of What You Want To Achieve

Without a firm idea of how the project will look once completed, you may waste money and be left with a remodel that does not provide all the benefits you were hoping for. Taking time to think about the remodel and decide precisely what you want from it will help to ensure its success. 

2.  Create A Realistic Timeframe

One common problem that occurs during remodel projects is failing to meet the original timeframe. Some projects can drag on for months or even years beyond the original timeframe – leaving homes unfinished and stuck with escalating costs. You need to avoid this situation, as it is bad for your finances and your health to endure the prolonged disruption and stress of a home renovation project that shows no signs of completion.

To keep your project on track, it is helpful to discuss your timeframe with the contractors before work begins. Ensuring everyone is comfortable with the timeframe and that it is realistic will help you keep driving the project forward toward that date.

A lack of available materials and supplies can sometimes be to blame for building delays. So, ensuring that all materials from metal deck to window frames are ordered in plenty of time is essential to keeping the project on track.

3.  Set A Realistic Budget And Prepare For Contingencies

Setting a realistic budget for the remodel is a must to ensure that your costs do not spiral out of control. However, even with careful planning, the price of a home renovation can escalate. To ensure that you are not left trying to raise funds to complete your project, it is helpful to put a contingency fund in place. Having a contingency fund provides the peace of mind that you have money ready and waiting if needed to cover any unexpected costs that arise during the remodeling.

These three tips should help you to enjoy a home remodel that runs smoothly and leaves you with your dream home at the end of the project.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

 

Exploring

Revamping An Old Folding Table

Recently I shared the makeover of the basement craft and sewing area that Chris and I worked on.

As part of that makeover, I revamped a large, bland folding table to use as my craft table.  I love how that table turned out, so today I’m sharing the details of this simple project.

The Table

I got this 3′ X 6′ faux wood laminate folding table years ago from an office where I used to work.  It took some doing to smuggle it out of the building unnoticed.  (Actually the office was closing and they sold it to me.)

 

It had been used for years in document rooms.  At home, we used it for things like parties and yard sales and, most recently, in my basement craft and sewing area. It was great to have such a large table to work on, but the laminate top was scuffed and worn.

I wanted something more cheerful than the tired faux wood look.  But that something had to be durable and easy to clean.

So this is what I did.

Sanding The Table

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I started by hand sanding the table with 220-grit sandpaper.

The purpose was to scuff the laminate just enough to make the primer adhere.  With the fine, 220-grit sandpaper, there would be no obvious sanding marks.

 

Vacuuming and Wiping

Then I vacuumed the table and wiped it with a damp cloth to make sure all sanding residue was gone.

Masking The Edges

The rim of the tabletop is some sort of rubber.  I doubt any paint would adhere to that very well, so I masked it off with one-inch blue painter’s tape and left it alone.

As you can see from the photo above, the table was literally rough around the edges.  I thought about sanding the edges more, but that could have led to more chipping.  Maybe there was something else I could have done with that, but it was so minor that I chose to just let it be.

Applying Primer

I wanted a smooth finish and I didn’t trust a paint brush to give me that.  So, I used a paint edger similar to this one (in light, broad strokes) to apply three coats of Kilz Premium Primer.

Was three coats of primer overkill?  Not when painting over laminate.  And not when the paint I wanted to use next was a much lighter color than the faux wood.

I let the primer dry thoroughly between coats.

Applying Paint

I went through our paint stash and came up with the paint left over from my master bedroom refreshBenjamin Moore “Galt Blue.”  It was exactly the clean, airy color that I was looking for in my craft room.

Again using the paint edger, I applied two coats.

 

Applying Finish

Since this was to be a worktable, applying finish would be a very important step in protecting the table – and hopefully keeping the paint from chipping and exposing the laminate underneath.

With my trusty paint edger, I applied two coats of Verathane Ultimate Polyurethane in Satin.

This entire process was very similar to the process I used to create the stenciled floor in my dressing room.

I’m happy to report that the floor has held up well, so I’m hoping to have the same result with this table.

The last step was to remove the masking tape.

The Result

This cheerful, smooth-surfaced table works well in my craft area.

revamping old table

When we first thought about hanging the pegboard, I wanted to paint it.  But, after painting the table, and with the colorful pegboard accessories I used, it turned out that painting the pegboard wasn’t necessary.

basement craft area

It’s early days but, so far, the table finish is holding up well and it is very easy to keep clean.

Not too bad for an old document table.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

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8 Ways To Increase Energy Efficiency In An Old House

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

If you are lucky enough to have an older home with original vintage charm, there are probably many things about the space that you wouldn’t dream of changing. Just like having a garden that evokes natural beauty, you want to keep your vintage home in pristine condition. But what if your older home is so original that it’s not energy-efficient – and you find that your budget is hemorrhaging money because of this? How do you prioritize energy efficiency in an older home without compromising its original style?  Here are a few tips.

1.  Draft-Proof Your Windows and Doors

 

An important aspect of saving money on your heating bill is to draft-proof doors and windows. One simple but effective improvement is to caulk the windows. Or you can use weatherstripping.  It is also a good idea to make sure that the windows themselves are energy-efficient.  How do you do this without compromising the vintage charm of your home?  Casement windows can be a great way to ensure that you are keeping an energy-efficient home and a timeless sense of style. Renewal by Andersen casement windows are stylish and can make a big difference to the energy efficiency of your property.

2.  Change Your Energy Supplier

Depending on where you live, you may have the option of choosing a different electricity supplier. You can get in contact with the distribution utility in your state or the utility regulatory commission and they can show if you are able to switch energy suppliers to save a significant amount of money. The fact is that many people don’t think they can change energy suppliers, but it’s always worth getting in contact with your utility provider to see if this is possible.

3.  Have An Energy Audit

You can call a professional to find out how to save energy in your home, but you can always do it yourself. An energy audit involves you looking for leaks, checking insulation, and also inspecting the heating and cooling equipment, which should be checked at least once a year. Conducting home energy assessments is actually very straightforward because there are plenty of guides online.

4.  Upgrade To LED Lighting

Another way to save energy and your utility bills is to swap your traditional lights for LED ones. Because your lighting will be approximately 10% of your electric bill, when you start to upgrade your light fittings to LEDs, this will make a big difference. LED lamps can be an investment but because they can shave a lot off your electric bills and can last a lot longer than many other bulbs this is worth your finances.

5.  Fill The Gaps Between Floorboards

 

This is another amazing way to save energy in an older home. Because your floorboards add a lot of character to the space, you wouldn’t want to compromise by installing new floor over them. But so much heat can be lost through the gaps. It’s important to remember that when we talk about losing heat, a little heat loss here and there can add up to a lot. Even if the gaps are small, when you think about how much heat you lose through the little gaps, it could be the equivalent of a small window being left open constantly, which will impact your energy bill. There are simple ways to add extra insulation to your floorboards; one of the simplest things you can do is to lay down a large, attractive area rug.  It will stay in keeping with the style of your space yet cover the gaps in the floorboards beneath it. 

6.  Look At Your Heating and Cooling System

Your heating and cooling systems are crucial. You need to make sure that you check them every year, but you need to call a professional rather than do this yourself. If your heaters aren’t working effectively, there are always things that you can do. For example, if your radiators are cold at the top, there could be trapped air in the system, so you will need to bleed the radiator. Additionally, there could be sludge in the system that needs to be flushed out. You should also change the filters of your air furnace on a regular basis. If you’ve got an older unit, it might be more cost-effective to replace it with a new one for the sake of energy conservation.

7.  Install Smart Heating Controls

You may very well not want to compromise the style of the property, but many homes are now becoming smart ones while still remaining stylish. A smart thermostat can help you to save a huge amount of energy annually. Smart thermostat technology allows you to regulate the temperature of your home from a Wi-Fi device and there are so many great smart thermostats available. Additionally, many smart heating providers show you monthly reports which gives you an insight into how much you are spending every month. You can also invest in a smart lighting system. If you are switching to more energy-efficient bulbs, upgrading your home so that it is smart in every sense of the word can make a massive difference.

8.  Add A Chimney Balloon

A beautiful wood-burning fireplace is, unfortunately, one of the quickest ways for you to lose heat. If you don’t use the fireplace, you can install an inflatable chimney balloon to seal it. If you don’t use the fireplace at all, you can also seal the chimney.

As you have seen, it’s easy to save money on energy bills without compromising the charm of your older home.  

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

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How To Keep Your Home Dry During The Rainy Season

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Nothing can ruin a cozy rainy day at home faster than discovering a water leak in a wall, window or ceiling.  That is why ensuring that your family home is watertight is absolutely essential during the wet months. Kept unchecked, rain, sleet and snow can easily make their way inside of your house.  This could lead to leaks, damp, mold, musty smells and, in some cases, a loss of structural integrity.

The good news is that ensuring your property is watertight can be simple.  Here are a  few tips and ideas to help get you started.

Install Top Quality Windows

For a watertight house, it is essential to have top quality windows. Windows are often the weakest aspect of a home’s line of defense against outside dampness. The slightest bit of damage could cause severe issues inside your home, and cracks are all too common in older windows.  A compromised seal between the window and its casing can also be a place for leaks to creep in.  Making the decision to upgrade to something more sturdy such as triple glazing or even stormproof windows is the ideal way to put an end to your window woes, allowing you to feel safe, secure and contained inside your home without the risk of cold winds and rain seeping through inside. 

Check Your Roof Regularly

It is also important to check your roof regularly. You need to be able to view and assess the current quality and standard of your roof to better identify the need for fixes and improvements, as things like dislodged, broken or missing roof tiles can wreak havoc for your home. It can be dangerous to climb onto your roof without the proper safety equipment, and it can be tough to know what you’re actually looking for, so it is a good idea to source a new roof contractor that has proven experience and a good range of skills to take over this responsibility for you. 

Clear Your Gutters

It is essential to keeping your gutters and downspouts clear, as gutters clogged by leaves and other natural debris can lead to damp, flooding and worse. Your gutters are there to transport excess water away from your property and into the most appropriate area, so failing to keep them clean will mean they cannot perform to their expected capacity. A build up of debris will halt the excess water in its tracks, forcing it to pool up behind the debris until the water starts spilling over the sides of the gutter and possibly seeping through your exterior walls.  Gutter cleaning can be dangerous because it requires ladders and/or accessing your roof.  So it’s prudent to hire a professional for this task.

Keeping your home watertight in the rainy season can be simple if you start with the ideas described above! 

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

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Gardening Basics That Will Help Keep Your Garden Green

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Many of us daydream about having the perfect garden.  But a beautiful garden always starts with the basics.  In this post, we cover some of the basic garden tasks that will help you keep your garden green.

1. Mulch your garden beds.

Mulching is the process of adding a layer of organic or inorganic material to the top of the soil. Not only does mulching help retain moisture in the earth, but it also helps suppress weed growth. There are many different types of mulch available, but consider using an organic variety that will decompose over time so that it can continue to feed your plants. If you have a lot of trees in your yard, consider using tree leaves as mulch. They make a great addition to compost piles too!

2. Water your plants regularly.

It’s essential to water your plants regularly, especially during the summer months when temperatures are high, and rainfall is low. Be sure to water your plants early in the morning or in the evening so that the moisture can soak into the soil instead of being evaporated by the hot summer sun. You can use a garden hose or sprinkler system to water your plants, or you can purchase a drip irrigation system that delivers water directly from slimline water tanks to the roots of your plants. Consider using a moisture meter (a device that measures the amount of moisture in the soil) if you’re looking for an easy way to keep track of when you last watered your plants. 

3. Fertilize your plants regularly.

Fertilizing your plants is an essential part of keeping them healthy and green. There are many different types of fertilizer available, so be sure to choose one suited for the kind of plants you have in your garden. Depending on the season, fertilizer may need be applied monthly – and sometimes more often if growing vegetables or fruits. If you’re unsure how to fertilize your plants, ask your local garden center for advice. They will recommend a specific fertilizer product and tell you how much to apply per square foot.

4. Prune your plants regularly.

Pruning your plants is another important way to keep them healthy and green. Pruning helps remove dead or diseased branches, which can help prevent the spread of disease. It also helps to improve air circulation and allows for better sunlight penetration. Be sure to prune your plants at least once a year, but more often if they grow rapidly. Also, remember to prune plants immediately after they finish blooming to encourage new growth.

Following these simple tips will help you keep your garden looking good all year round! 

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

 

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