Curtain Call

Wow… where to start?  Perhaps with a “where have you been?!” update.  Well, for the last 5 weeks I have been on location helping out the rest of the visual effects team at my company to supervise a movie we’ve been working on.  It’s been long hours on set, plus I still have to be at the office whenever I’m not on set to catch up on all of the work I missed throughout the rest of the week.  So, lots of 6-day weeks, 70 hours a week, and it hasn’t left me with a whole lot of “blog updating” time.  I appreciate you guys being ever so patient with me, as usual.  After a month of writing nothing sometimes I’m shocked I still have readers at all!

Secondly, today is my one-year blogiversary, so Happy Birthday, OPD!  About 150,000 views and 60 posts later, I’m still here, and I appreciate all of the support, the comments, the encouragement, and everything else that you guys provide that keeps me going.  I’ve gone through some serious ups and downs with the blog… sometimes updating 3 times a week, sometimes updating once a month, all depending on time and inspiration.  I’ve made the decision that I’m not going to write anything unless I’m really inspired about it.  Quality vs. quantity.  I’d rather give you guys one really cool project plan rather than 10 iffy project plans.  And, since I’m doing this for fun, because I enjoy it, I’d like to keep it that way.  Fun.  If I stress myself out about getting another 20 posts out a month, it’s not fun for me anymore, and I’m sure you guys could read it in my tone if I’m not really feeling it in the post.

Last words before I actually get going on my post… a few updates on things that I promised I’d keep you updated on.  The plants in the backyard are now totally dead.  Experiment failed.  The plants in the front yard, however, are still thriving.  I’m starting to think that the backyard is a soil issue rather than a me-being-awful-at-taking-care-of-plants issue.  Although, I’m sure my negligence doesn’t help.  I’m still loving our red door, Gaby and Andres are talking about coming over for another build after we finished their awesome kitchen island, and I’ve managed to go down another size.  (Hooray size 2!)  Meeting with my trainer is the only thing in the entire world that de-stresses me, so at least my weight is on track, even when the rest of my life seems a bit insane!

Okay… back to business.  I totally splurged the other day, and I must share because I love them.  We have had some house guests over the past few weeks, and we were looking into getting new sheets for one of our guest beds at Crate and Barrel.  As we’re poking around, sheets are very conveniently located right next to window treatments and hardware, and I spotted these.  Finally, the perfect curtains for our bedroom!  I was looking for a pattern that I absolutely loved with grommets, and these fit the bill.  The grey is very slightly darker than our walls, so they blend in yet still add a bit of soft texture. They took a few weeks to arrive at our house, but I was finally able to get them up.

We’ve been having a serious sun issue in our bedroom.  I can’t sleep in at all, and I think that’s partially due to the fact that the sun streams in super bright every morning.  We have the light shades over the windows that we installed a while ago, and they help, but it’s really not enough.  Plus, when we have house guests, anyone standing in the kitchen can look straight through the atrium window into our bedroom.  As much as we enjoy having our family and friends stay with us… we don’t like them that much.

On a quick side note, I’m not totally sure how people install curtain rods without a ton of tools.  On the instructions, it said that all you needed was a screwdriver and drill, but I call shenanigans.  I had out my drill, hammer, bit set, level, measuring tape… I had serious gear.  Then again, I like things to be precise.  (I don’t want un-level curtains after all!)  So, after about an hour of futzing, they were up!


Perfection.  They don’t block out all of the sun, but they definitely make a serious dent, and I’m sleeping much better.  (Perhaps partially due to the exhaustion of coming home from set at 6:30AM after working all night, but I won’t account that into the awesomeness of our new curtains.)

My other splurge of that day was the curtain hardware.  I really liked that this style didn’t have any super fancy finals.  It’s very streamlined and contemporary, which I think goes really nicely in our soft grey bedroom.  We like to keep our bedroom very minimal, and this fits into that.

Also, here’s a quick close-up at how our shades and curtains fit together.

I’m kind of in love.  After looking for the perfect curtains for months, I’m so thrilled with these.  I’m even going to say they were totally worth the splurge.  (My sleep is priceless, after all.)

On a totally different note, I also bought myself a little present that arrived on Friday:

Does anyone else have one?  I’m pretty excited to play….


Filed under Renovation Realities

A New “Bed” for our Plants

The great curb appeal upgrade continues!  For those of you who are my “facebook fans“, you already know that Friday was a 2-cart kind of day.  (Also known as the day that you stand in the loading zone looking at the Toyota Matrix asking yourself “will all of this fit?”).

Spoiler alert: it did fit!  It was kind of a miracle.  We’ve actually had much more difficult times getting plywood to fit in there, so the plants were kind of easy by comparison.

Anyway, we have had this ugly patch of dirt/grass on the right side of our walkway that’s sat untouched for quite some time.

We did have “The Great Daisy Incident of 2010″ when we first moved in.  We tried planting a bunch of gerber daisies out front.  They lived for 2 days.  The nice man who mows our lawn and takes care of our grass said that we probably “shocked” the plants.  Oops.  So, since said “incident”, we haven’t even tried planting anything over there.

But, since we now have the pretty red door to welcome us every time we come home, and we’ve kept the backyard plants alive for over a month, we thought we’d give it another try.  This time, with drought resistant succulents and a raised bed with new soil.  Sounds a lot easier for people with black thumbs, right?

I started out by purchasing 5 cedar pickets, which are naturally rot resistant, and cutting off the “dog ear” top.  Then, I basically created a perimeter using the pickets, screwing them together using my Kreg Jig.  I thought that I would need to screw them into stakes them into the ground, but since the area was a a bit of a box anyway it seemed to stand by itself just fine.  Since the area by the house was just the concrete foundation, I didn’t need to add any wood back there as there was no wood siding that would need protecting from rot.

Once the boards were in surrounding the area, I put down some landscape fabric to keep out existing weeds and also to hopefully kill all of the grass and whatever else was growing down there.

They sell these pretty sweet little metal pieces that look a lot like giant staples to keep the landscape fabric in place.  You just poke them through the fabric and pound them into the ground with a hammer.

Once the fabric was down, it was already time for plants!  Brad joined me at this point and helped me put the plants where we thought they should go.  We wanted to make sure we had a “plan” before we begun planting.  We bought 20 succulents, 10 larger and 10 smaller, and alternated between sizes all the way down the row.

Then, we started pouring in the soil and planting.  We used a special soil that was specially made for cactus and succulents.  I guess it drains quicker and therefore is less likely to kill your plants?  Somehow?  I think?  Anything that could keep them alive with zero maintenance is worth purchasing in my mind.  I’m the only person I know that can easily kill a cactus.

I realized as I was taking final pictures that there was no good angle to really see the whole finished product, but here are some partial images that you can put together.  It looks WAY better than the original patch of grass/weed/dirt.

The framing of this picture feels mildly awkward, but at least you can see our new plants in relation to the scale of the front of the house:

Slowly but surely we’re getting a more “welcoming” entrance!  Some of the succulents even kind of look like flowers.  Which makes me feel like I’m growing something a little more fancy than a cactus.

The best part about this project was that it only took about 2 1/2 hours start to finish.  And, I was going pretty slow.  There was lots of futzing with where the plants were going to go and recalculating how much soil I overbought.  (The answer is: TONS.  Like, I bought 20 bags of soil and only needed 10.  I totally underestimated how much space the plant would take in the soil.  The husband got a good “I told you so” in for that one.)  So, after I returned a LOT of soil, the whole project turned out to be about $250 for all of the plants, soil, fabric, staple-like things, and pickets.  But, since the pickets in total were only $10, those are hardly even worth mentioning.

Any of you guys doing anything exciting to up the curb appeal of your house?  Or, is there anyone else out there that’s gotten bitten by the planting bug?


Filed under Backyard Bliss

Paint it Red!

I’ve been in a bit of a creative funk lately.  Do you guys ever get that way?  Where you’re just feeling uninspired?  That’s how I’ve felt for about a month.  Work has slowed down a bit, and even though we’ve still been incredibly busy with a ton of family coming into town and a quick Disney vacation (I’ll share more about that in a later post), I just haven’t felt inspired to create anything.  Very unlike me, and very weird.

Then, Saturday morning, I just woke up, rolled over and said to Brad, “I want to paint the front door.”  By now he knows better than to challenge any of my crazy ideas, so I think I got a sleepy “mmmhmm” in response, which I took as a “sure, whatever makes you happy”.

Just like I’ve felt a bit uninspired, the front of our house has felt a bit uninspired as well.

So much… beige.  And brown.  And white.  And non-colors.

Walking into the entry didn’t exactly feel like a warm welcome, either.  Between the lack of plants we can’t grow on the right side of the walkway and the beige on white on brown color scheme, there’s just no “pop”.

After a quick jaunt to Lowes, we picked up a can of Allen and Roth’s Front Door Red (perfect name, huh?).  I already have a ton of paint brushes on hand and several foam rollers left over from Tubby, so the only real expense to this project was the $10 of paint.

The original plan was to remove all of the hardware on the door to make painting super easy, but it was a bit trickier to take off than originally assumed.  When we tried to remove the handle part, we realized that from the inside there was a stopper that had been pounded in.  No screws to remove it easily.  So, I decided to just leave it on and paint around it.  It didn’t end up being that big of a pain in the end, but it would’ve been way easier to have just completely removed it.

Once I started painting, I realized that I’m too short to be able to see the top of the door well enough to cut in.  So, I did a quick tape job around the glass.  The edges were super easy, and then when I got to the curved top I simply ripped up smaller pieces and then traced around the trim with a small box cutter to remove all of the excess tape.

As I was painting, I remembered Young House Love‘s paint mantra “thin and even layers”.  Well, some layers were a bit more even than others, but I kept it super thin so there weren’t any splotches as I went.

Speaking of thin and even layers, Brad initially tried to help me on this project.  I gave him the roller thinking that would be easier than the “cutting in” portion.  As he held up a goopy roller filled with paint ready to attack the door, I thanked him for his assistance and suggested that this was not the project for him.  I heard him go back in the house and say to Piper: “pup, we’ve been fired”.  Poor husband.  He’s really great at jobs that require brute force, like hole digging and demo, but things that require patience and exactness are maybe not his forte.  I’m also a bit bossy.  A bit.  Just saying.

First coat of paint and it was looking like a lovely splotchy mess.

That was when I realized that I probably wasn’t going to finish this project in three coats.  In fact, it took seven.  Seven coats of red paint with the primer baked in.  I was about red-painted out by the end.  Here’s a quick progression of the more noticeable coats so you can see how the additional coats made a huge difference.

Pretty crazy, huh?  SOOOOO many coats of paint.  Thank goodness it was only one side of one door.  But, it definitely adds that “pop” of color that the front of the house needed.  Not so beige anymore!

While there’s still quite a bit of work to do in the front yard, like actually planting something near that walkway and replacing the gate in between those ugly concrete posts, we really love the red.  Such a big difference for $10!

Have you guys had an inspiring summer?  What gets you guys in the mood to be creative?  Whatever it is, share it with me, please!  I could use some creative energy!


Filed under General How-Tos

The Great Plant Experiment of 2012

For once, this was not my idea.  It was Brad’s idea.  I take no blame for the outcome of whatever happens to these poor, helpless beings.

Since 4th of July was on a Wednesday this year, it seemed as though no one really had plans.  Even as I’m back at work today, asking everyone what they did on their 4th of July has seemed pretty lackluster.  It was almost like having an additional Sunday in the middle of the week.  (Are you guys finding this as well?)  Not that I’m complaining, I love Sundays in the middle of the week.  And, you know what I like to do on Sundays?  Home improvement things!  Yay!

We have a tiny area in our atrium that’s a mound of dirt right now, but I have big plans for it.  The first part of the plan is to put some sod in the mound of dirt so that Piper can come in and out and use it as a restroom if we’re gone for the day.  She’s so little that she can sneak under both of our side gates, so we can’t put in a doggie door to the outside.  Plus, I just don’t feel good about having a doggie door.  Too many people can get in through them.  It freaks me out.

Anyway, we went to Lowes to buy sod, and they didn’t have any.  Apparently their shipment comes in on Fridays.  Lame sauce.  But, we’re standing in the garden department.  With all of the pretty, green, easily killable things around us.  And then we had a conversation that kind of sounded like this:

Brad: We should get some plants for the side yard.
Me: No. No plants. You remember what happened last time. (Reference to the Daisy Incident of 2011 where they lived for less than 5 days after planting.)
Brad: But, we can get different plants. Desert plants.
Me: We’re going to kill them.
Brad: But, look at this one.  Isn’t it nice?
Me: Ooh, I like that one…

And that’s how I got shanghaied into buying more plants that we will probably kill.  And, in no time, our cart looked like this:

I can just see them quivering with fear.

We made sure that the plants were “tolerant”, which I took to mean “tolerant of our negligence”, so we shall see what happens.  But, anything is an improvement to our current side yard.  When people come over, I hope they don’t look out our living room windows and see it.  It is an abyss of dead weeds and home to the ugliest retaining wall ever.

Believe it or not, this is after we “cleaned out” the side yard.  We had some 6 foot weeds in there.  (At least we can keep those alive easily!)  The other problem is that we previously threw a ton of wildflower seeds back there hoping they would grow.  It looked like a flowery mess for about a month, but then they all died, leaving us with a hoard of dead plants.  We filled up our green trash can with weeds and dead plants no problem last Sunday.  This is the only (half) living plant left from that endeavor about a year ago:

So, in went the Kangaroo Paw (our personal favorite and the one with the most chance for survival due to its desert, low maintenance nature).  We also put in some “ground cover”, hoping that it will slowly take over.  Once again, not sure if that’ll work or not, but, hey, worth a try.

We also planted a Dwarf Lime Tree.  (Skinny Margaritas at my place in a few summers?)

And this fancy tropical plant that was a total impulse buy.  It was 50% off and just looked sad.  So, I decided to take it home.  It is probably the most likely to die first.

And, here’s what they all looked like planted so far:

Still looks pretty terrible, I’m not going to lie.  But, this is more of an experiment than anything.  We’ve vowed that if they stay alive for 2-3 weeks we can buy a few more and slowly fill up the space.  We also have to put rocks down on the ground to get rid of that miserable space below the retaining wall.  I also have thoughts of painting the shorter retaining wall.  Maybe something fun and colorful and crazy.  Red?  Yellow?  Grellow?  Thoughts are happening.

In the meantime, I woke up this morning and they were all still alive.  They have survived the first 24 hours, so that’s a good sign.

How did you guys spend your 4th?  Any BBQs?  Poolside lounging?  Or, is anyone else crazy like us and took on an unexpected project?


Filed under A Very Strickman Holiday

Gaby Kitchen Island

Hello busy busy busy summer!  So much has happened this month.  Between us going to Tucson to visit my Dad for Father’s Day, working, training, having birthday parties, planning bridal showers, and being the most dutiful matron of honor to my best friend Brina that I can be, there hasn’t been a whole lot of time for building.  But, with some very special new building friends, I am so proud of this new kitchen island we built!

Gaby and Andres, two of the kindest people I’ve ever met, needed an island to add storage and functionality to their kitchen.  Gaby loves all things Restoration Hardware (which automatically means that we are soul mates) and really liked the look of Restoration’s Salvaged Wood Kitchen Island.  There were three problems with the island: 1. It’s $3000.  Holy crap.  2. It was way too big.  3. They really wanted drawers for additional storage.  So, together we came up with this project plan.

One of the best parts of building this island was that Gaby was able to find this stunning reclaimed wood.  We used a mixture of pine and oak for a  ”patchwork” look.  We wanted it to feel like someone really took whatever they had to piece it together.

Check out this detail on the top from the milling.  You can’t fake that!

Here’s another angle so that you can see how the drawers seamlessly fit in:

On a side note, we also had a very helpful assistant, their pup, Africa.  Poor thing pooped out about 5 minutes in.

I had so much fun building with Gaby and her husband, Andres.  Even though this was their first build, within about an hour it felt like we had been building together forever.  I can’t wait to have them back to build something else!  (There are talks of a bed in our future…)  But, man, they’ve gotta whip that dog into shape!  Then again, this is about how much fun Piper has in the garage:

Yeah.  That’s a yawn.  She is clearly her father’s daughter.

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Filed under Building Plans

Getting Started: Miter Saw Basics

As promised, here is the start to OPD’s new “Getting Started” series.  (Yay!)  Believe it or not, this video has been done for a few months.  (I know, I know…)  I’m just now getting around to posting it.  It’s kind of weird looking back, actually.  I’m a lot thinner now… and my hair is now blonde… and shorter… and I’m wearing a sweatshirt, which would not be a good idea right now at the end of May.  Anyway, yes.  A long time ago.  My apologies.  Please don’t judge me.  Or my really terrible acting abilities.  I am much more comfortable behind the camera.

I meet so many people, particularly women, who get so excited and intrigued by the idea of building but have no idea where to start.  I don’t know about you guys, but I took dance and film classes as my electives in high school, not Woodworking 101.  So, I’m hoping that these videos can show you exactly how easy it is to use tools and make beautiful furniture for less.  (And maybe make using a saw a little less scary.)

The first tool we’re starting with is the Miter Saw, mostly because it’s the safest and most easy to use.  It ensures exact, straight cuts on dimensional lumber and is probably the quickest method of cutting.  I’ve built several pieces of furniture using only a miter saw, and it’s a great one to start with if you’ve never used a saw before.


Filed under Getting Started

Simple Sink Console

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!  I hope you all are having a wonderful day, celebrating with family and friends and remembering what is important.  It is also my mom and step-father’s anniversary, so Happy Anniversary, you crazy kids.

I love sink consoles.  I think they add so much character to a bathroom while getting rid of that “builder grade” feeling of the built-in.  As with most furniture items from Pottery Barn, I always look at their sink consoles and go: “Wow!  That is so cute!  And, that would be SO easy to build!  Why are they charging $2,000 for that?!”  You guys may remember when I hacked Napoleon a few months back, and since I’m very busy planning our VERY near future bath remodel, I was in a bathroom kind of mood.  So, here you go!  Here are the plans for Pottery Barn’s Classic Single Sink Console.

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Filed under Building Plans

Size 4

I know that you guys come here for building plans and home improvement reading, but today I’m taking a slightly off course topic due to a momentous occasion that happened over the weekend.  For the first time (possibly ever), I went jeans shopping and fit into a size 4.  I’m pretty sure confetti dropped from the ceiling when I was able to easily button them up.  (Ladies, especially, you know what I’m talking about.)  So, for today, instead of home improvement, I’m talking about SELF improvement.

After I got married, I put on some “love” weight.  When I was coming up on my one year anniversary, I realized that I had put on 10 lbs since my wedding day.  That was my reality check moment that it was time to start taking better care of myself.  If I kept gaining 10 lbs a year for a few more years I would be in some serious trouble.  Especially since diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and being overweight naturally runs in the women’s side of my family.  I want to live long enough to renovate quite a few more houses.

So, last October, I signed up to get a trainer at my gym, 24 hour fitness.  She taught me how to eat and what to do, and I realized that I had been doing everything completely wrong.  Yes, I was eating a salad, but with all of the cheese that I had on it I may as well have ordered a Big Mac.

My first question to anyone who has successfully lost weight has been “how did you do it?”.  So, for today’s post, I’m going to share how I did it.

BTW, as my dear friend Stacy says, everyone loves a good before and after.  So, as embarassing as this is, here is my “before” and “after”:

Ugh, just looking at my chubby picture makes me cringe.  And, yes, I change my hair color probably about as often as I change my socks.  As a side note, neither one of these pictures has been photoshopped, other than to format them.  Anyway, lets get to it, shall we?

Step 1: I Changed My Mindset

Here’s the industry secret that no one in Hollywood talks about.  Everyone knows that magazine and promotional photos of celebrities are photoshopped.  Yes, every single picture.  I even photoshop all of my furniture pictures to give them a little extra “pop”.  (Adjust the brightness here, color correct there… you get the gist.)  What they don’t tell you, is that all of the actors and actresses have beauty work done in picture, too.  I can’t tell you how many “digital facelifts” the companies that I’ve worked for have done.  We’ve cleaned up acne, made people thinner, removed “turkey necks”… the point is, even the people who are paid to be perfect, well… aren’t.

So, instead of focusing on being “skinny”, I focused on being “healthy”.  I will never be a size 0.  It’s not in my genes.  I can only be the best, healthiest ME.  I stopped focusing on the scale and the numbers and started focusing on what I was able to do.  When I started working out again, after not going to the gym for about a year, doing 15 squats was hard.  Now I’m doing 15 squats, 3 reps, while holding a 45 lb bar.  I’m stronger and faster than I’ve ever been, and the more I keep at it, the better I’ll be.

The other thing to keep in mind, is that between my “before” and “after” picture, it’s only a difference of about 7 lbs.  I’ve replaced muscle with fat, and since muscle weighs more, it makes the weight loss seem minor.  I weigh more than I did when I got married, but I’m a size smaller.  Bottom line, I haven’t let the scale dictate my success.

Step 2: I Stopped Eating Crap

I’m a vegetarian, and there is a good and a bad way to be a vegetarian.  You either eat a lot of vegetables, or you eat a lot of bread and sugar.  Clearly, I used to be the “eat a lot of bread and sugar” kind.  When I wasn’t getting enough protein, I would replace protein with carbs to get energy.  This was a bad idea.  Here are the easy ways that I added more veggies to my diet:

  1. I bought a juicer and started juicing for breakfast.  It seriously changed my life.  Before I have even gotten to lunch I have already eaten multiple servings of fruits and vegetables.  My favorite juice is 4 leaves of kale, 3 handfuls of spinach, half a cucumber, 2 apples, one lemon, and one lime.  Nom nom nom.
  2. I eat one salad as a meal every day.  Usually, it’s dinner.  The favorite is a ton of spinach, half an apple, and a Gardein Chick’n Scallopini.  (It’s basically a seasoned chicken breast, but for vegetarians.)  I also make this salad dressing to go with it.  It says to put it all in a blender, but I just put it in a ziplock container and shake it all up.  Seems to work just fine and make less dishes.

The other thing that no one told me before my trainer, is that I needed to stop eating starches before bed.  Bread is okay, just don’t eat a ton of it and don’t eat it at the end of the day.

Lastly, I didn’t take away any of the things that I love to eat, I just replaced them.  I have a sweet tooth, so I eat a lot of low fat frozen yogurt.  (My personal favorite right now is Menchie’s Cake Batter swirled with Red Velvet.  OMG.)  100 calorie packs are great snacks when I need chocolate.  And, I let myself have a little bit of mac and cheese on the weekends… but instead of Velveeta, it’s Annie’s Organic Shells and Cheese, which is lower in fat.  You get the point.

Lastly, I love beer.  Give me a good Shock Top at the end of the day and I’m a happy girl.  But, clearly beer is not the best thing for you.  So, instead of living completely without it, I’ve just cut down substantially.  I still drink with my colleagues on “Friday Hooters Lunch” (yes, that’s a thing), I just don’t also have a beer when I get home from work.  (Is it weird that I’ve become a work only drinker?  It sounds very Mad Men, doesn’t it?)

Bottom line, I try to find balance in what I eat and what I do.  Which brings me to…

Step 3: I Work Out

I know that a lot of people have very little expendable income, but if there’s one thing I can recommend, it’s to get a trainer.  I still would have no idea what I was doing if it weren’t for my awesome trainer, Zabrina.  She holds me accountable, punishes me when I don’t log my food, and challenges me to constantly be better.  What a lot of people don’t know about a trainer, is that you don’t necessarily have to go three times a week every week.  Even if you go once a month, he/she will set up the rest of your work outs for you.  I have a calendar that tells me 5 days a week what my work out needs to be.  It’s awesome.  So, today, for example, I know that I have to go do 40 minutes on the bike, Alpine Pass level 9, and then i also have to do 20 minutes of elliptical at a level 6, 8, 10, 8, 7, changing the level every 4 minutes.  It takes all of the thinking out of it, and all you have to do is… well… go do it.  Bottom line… you can still get the benefit from a trainer and save a TON of money.  And, in my opinion, an investment in yourself is always a good investment.

My goal is always to work out 5 days a week.  Sometimes I only make it 4, that’s kind of the way it goes.  But, I make time for it.  I saw a pin on pinterest that quoted Gwyneth Paltrow saying: “The reason that I can be 38 and have two kids and wear a bikini is because I work my (expletive) ass off.  It’s not an accident, it’s not luck, it’s not fairy dust, it’s not good genes.  It’s killing myself for an hour and a half five days a week, but what I get out of it is relative to what I put into it.  That’s what I try to do in all areas of my life.”  Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?  We put so much into being the perfect wife/mother/employee/child/everything that it doesn’t add up not to put that much effort into our health.


Anyway, take what I say with a grain of salt.  I am not a health professional, just a girl who got fit with some great, professional advice.  But, this is what worked for me.  I’ve put in the effort in and kept a realistic attitude about my lifestyle.  That’s my big secret.

I’m also hesitant to say my picture from the weekend is an “after” picture.  I know that my health will be a work in progress forever.  Once I say I’m “done” is when I’ll let go and start sliding backwards.  But, overall, I’m happy with myself right now, and that’s what matters.

PS – thank you for listening to my off-topic post.  I realize that it’s been a while since I’ve posted plans because Tubby has taken center stage, but I promise to post new plans for you later this week :-)


Filed under Renovation Realities

Happy Birthday, Husband

A special Happy Birthday to my husband today.


The one who digs holes for me in the back yard.

And helps me install new windows.

And helps me clean up old bathtubs when he’s probably rather be doing ANYTHING else.

Thank you for everything you do… and thank you for going along with all of my crazy ideas.  I love you so much.  Happy Birthday.

PS – I promise we won’t do anything that requires work gloves or old pants today.  I will wait until tomorrow.

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Filed under A Very Strickman Holiday

Can They Even Dye My Eyes to Match My Gown? Uh huh!

Since I’ve already bored most of you with some serious scrubbing details, lets just say that the scrubbing continued for a few more hours until I was left with this:

Which is about as good as it was going to get.  Basically, we got it to the point where there was no more caulk or paint left on the tub and every crevice was smooth to the touch.  We also cleaned it super deep so that when you touched it there was no more dust/dirt/rust/disgusting grime on your hands.  It was exhausting, and I was so excited to move on to the much anticipated next step… priming!

I always prime with KILZ for all of my woodworking projects, but this time it was especially important to use since it also has a built in stain-blocker and sealer.  Don’t want any gross-ness from Tubby’s former life sneaking into its new makeover.

To apply, I used a foam roller to get a nice, even coat without brushstrokes.  For the hard to reach areas at the end I used a brush, but I found that the foam roller covered about 98% of the surface.

One quick coat of primer later and it was already looking a million times better.

The great thing about primer is that it doesn’t have to be completely even.  I’ve found that a solid, thin coat is better than multiple coats or glopping it on to try to force it to be more even.  At this step, it’s not about the look, it’s about the coverage.

Before I get into the painting part, I have to tell you guys the story about the paint, mainly because I’m sure most of you have had this experience in one form or another.  My husband and I were at a big box store to purchase the paint for the outside of the tub.  We found the perfect color based on our very thought out game plan and color palette regarding our future guest bathroom.  I get up to the place where they mix the colors for you, hand him the swatch, and I start talking to Brad about how glossy we want the finish to be.  I believe I said something like, “well, we should probably go with semi-gloss since it’s for the outside of the bathtub and it might get wet…” and the paint mixer says “wait, you’re using this paint on a bathtub?”  Oh boy.

Clearly the kid did not understand that it was a vintage, cast iron claw foot rather than an acrylic tub like they sell in store.  As I continued to try to explain to him the game plan, he brought over another associate who confirmed to me that it definitely would not work and that I needed a special kind of paint that had to be special ordered and bla bla bla.  I assured them that I was not crazy and that it would work.  (Haven’t they seen Sarah’s House Season 2?  Psh, clearly not.)  To make matters worse, somewhere in the conversation the second associate said, “Are you sure you want to go with this color?”  Burn.  So, after about 10 minutes of them insulting my color choice and general DIY knowledge and skill, I gave them both my most charming smile and said, “Okay, just mix me a quart of this paint in semi-gloss… please.”  (BTW, my husband, the nicer counterpart in our relationship, had his head buried into his hands during most of this.  I later apologized for embarrassing him in the store.  Wouldn’t be the first time.)  Usually I’m very chatty with the paint mixers… this time it was quite quiet.

Anyway, the point of that long story is that it makes me absolutely crazy when the sales people try to talk me out of things.  Don’t they want to make a sale?  I know they probably get a lot of crazies coming into their store, but I always go in with plenty of research under my belt to explain away the crazy… at least to myself.  Luckily, this isn’t as common as the sexist power tool dispute.  You know the one, ladies.  It’s when you go into a big box store and have a few questions about a power tool and they answer all of them while looking at your husband.  Ugh.

Putting this story temporarily on pause (oh yes, there’s more), lets move on with the painting.  I ended up purchasing Wishing Well in semi-gloss from Valspar.  I bought the kind that has paint in primer in one for some additional coverage, even though I had already primed.  (Better safe than sorry, right?)

I used three coats to get an even finish.  Here’s a quick progression between the first coat and the last coat so that you can see how the extra time and coat-age makes a difference:

First coat of paint

After three coats of paint

See the difference?

Once the paint was nice and dry we put the feet back on that we had prepped last weekend.  Luckily, this step was super easy since they were just held on by a nut and bolt.  We did purchase new nuts, bolts, and washers for the feet since the old ones were so rusted.  I think it cost us a grand total of $2.13.  In my mind, a totally worthwhile purchase.

Here’s a closer look so that you can see exactly how the feet are held on.

We’re very thankful that the tub doesn’t way a metric ton even though it’s cast iron.  It’s still incredibly heavy, but Brad and I were able to flip it onto its right side once the feet were on.  (Maybe it’s all that extra weight training I’ve been doing…)

Ta da!  Pretty tub.  Lemme hit you with a quick “before” picture so that you can compare.

Pretty big difference, huh?

I still have a little bit of work to do on the inside.  There’s a bit of caulk and some stains that I need to work out, but that’s just a little more cleaning.  Probably another few hours… next weekend.

But, it’s finally starting to look like a tub that I would actually bathe in.  So exciting!

To end our story with the big box paint dudes, Brad and I went back in today to pick up the nuts and bolts for the feet.  And the paint guy was there.  And I called him a hooligan under my breath to my husband.  At around the same time the paint guy said hello to me and asked me how my project was going.  Drat, he remembered me.  I can already see that having someone open the spray paint cabinet for me is going to become much more difficult.  (sigh.)

Anyway, I am very pleased with the progress and even more pleased with the fun, youthful color that we picked out for the tub.  Yes, it was risky, but I think it paid off.  It will definitely be the focal point of the bathroom, which I think is a good thing.  Even Brad, who is terrified of color, loves it.  I wish the pictures did it justice… it is SO much more fun in person.  Anyone else taking some serious risks lately?

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Filed under Renovation Realities