Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Weekend #12 - I Dream Of Books

Some of my books. Oh how I've missed you.

We finally started putting together our office in what was once the garage. The garage was made into a family room by the previous owner. They put in carpet and recessed lighting. It looks like they also insulated and textured the walls.

When we rented out this place four years ago, I changed out the carpet and put up another wall to seal off the garage door. We're planning to put in an access door from the living room. Right where this blue chair is.

For now, we have to walk out to the backyard to get into the office. Yup, that red door right there.

I'll share pictures of the office once I get some of my books on the bookcases. =)

A Whirlwind of Curtains

Two weekends ago, we bought a ton of curtains for the house.  You can read about that here.

First thing I did was put up the curtains in the bedroom.  I did a side by side comparison to see which one I like more.  I know a zoomed out picture would be more helpful but the bedroom is still a mess.  I couldn't decide which one I liked more.  I left it up for about a week to see if one of them would grow on me.

Then it occurred to me that I can also try the bedroom curtains from our old place.  So I navigated through the boxes we have yet to unpack in the spare room to find our old (it's really not that old) bedroom curtains. I put up one panel over the smaller window in our bedroom.  It's hard to tell with the sunlight behind it but it's a dark beige curtain with red and teal details.  

As I was standing back admiring the old curtains, it occurs to me that I should just reuse these old curtains since I'm not feeling the love for the other two options.  I love reusing old things!  Since I only have two panels of the old curtain (we only have one window in the old bedroom), I decided to flank the old curtain with two of these cream colored panels over the larger window.  I'm really digging it.  =)  

Next up, shower curtains!  I bought these shower curtain hooks even before we moved.  Up until now, I've only used either those plain metal hooks, or the inexpensive plastic rings.  So when I saw these, I had to get them. It works well with the bronze curved curtain rod we got at Ross.  

After I hung up the curtain rod (ALL BY MYSELF! - Yea, I'm weirdly proud of the smallest things), I hung up the curtain from World Market.  It turns out I like this more than I thought.  

Then I switched out the curtain with the one from Target.  This one definitely match the hooks better.  KT points out that this curtain looks crisper, which I totally agree.

It was really hard to compare so KT suggested we put both of them up side by side. Although the left one (from Target) looks crisp and clean (and who doesn't like a clean bathroom?), I couldn't help leaning towards the right one (from World Market).  The yellow/green gives it a warm tone and I like that it makes the bathroom feel warm and cozy.  Imagine candles and a hot bubble bath.  Mmm... the right one it is!    

The last place to put up new curtains is the living room.  KT's domain.  When he got around to it a few days ago, we discovered that we didn't like the length of them.  Sorry, forgot to take pictures - it was one in the morning and I haven't been getting much sleep.  I totally love the pattern but the length just wasn't cutting it.  We're back to shopping for curtains for the living room.  I'm sure we'll find something we love.  It just takes time.  

Friday, August 24, 2012

Craigslist Finds - Wooden Crates!

One of the places I love to bargain shop is Craigslist.  Over the last few days, I've been scouring craigslist in search of the perfect coffee table. 

That is when I found these wooden crates for $20!!!

I believe these are the same sellers who made this coffee table from the crates:

Pretty Awesome Right??

This coffee table won't work for our space but if only we can think of something to make with these cool crates....  Maybe a bookcase.  I have more books than I have shelves.  End tables?  Toy chest (for the furry babies)? 

Any suggestions?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Look At Our HAUL - Part 2

Over the weekend, we noticed one of our neighbors was having a moving sale.  We stopped by to take a look on our way to dinner. 

Right away, we spotted this ProMaster tripod. 

It looks really sturdy but KT double-checked to make sure. 

The seller offered it to us for ten bucks.  KT offered him five. 

I want to note that we're not really familiar with tripod brands so we had no idea how much this is worth.  I thought ten dollars was a really good deal because the mechanism of this tripod seems so much better than the one we used to own.  KT, on the other hand, is aware that he can buy a new one online for as cheap as eleven, twelve bucks so he wasn't ready to pay ten dollars for something he can buy new.  Of course we didn't have a sidebar discussion about this.  I just hung back and watched my man haggle (he doesn't do this often enough - haha!). 

The seller counteroffered with seven dollars.  Sold!

Once we got back in the car, I whipped out my smartphone and got down to business.  From a quick search on Amazon, sale prices for this brand range from sixty dollars to THREE BENJAMINS!  Holy cow.  On ebay, I see the cheapest listing for twenty bucks. 

I think we totally scored.  =)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Look At Our HAUL!

This weekend, as we were finishing up painting our living room floor, we enjoyed two hours down time between coats.  Just enough time to run some errands and do a little window shopping.

During our morning down time, we went to our local Albertsons for our semi-weekly grocery trip.  We saw this cool retro patio chair set.  It doesn't fit in our home decor but I imagine someone can do something really awesome with it in their backyard.  

During our next downtime, we decided to take a stroll through Target's home department for some decorating ideas.  What was suppose to be window shopping became a cart full at check out.  

Kt suggested we keep an eye out for clearance items at the end caps and that really got us excited about the possibility of finding something really cool at an awesome price.  

Our bedroom gets the full sun during the hottest time of the day so I needed some sun blocking curtains to keep the room cooler.  I found these in clearance and the color ties to my sitting chair in the bedroom.  It's also blocks light.  Perfect!

At Target Dollar Spot, KT found these Spam notecards and tin container.  The Spam advertisements on the notecards look really cool and the tin container is functional.  His desk at work is getting a little decor.  I like.  

This white tin is another clearance item. Half off.  =)  We've been eyeing these tin containers from various stores all summer long.  I'm going to drills some holes at the bottom and use it as a planter. Yea, we picked up some dog treats for the babies as well.  They were on sale and we get a $5 dollar Target gift card if we buy two.  Gotta love the deals.

KT has been having trouble figuring out what to do about the curtains in the living room.  These purple curtains with the white prints seem to be a good fit for a purple accent room.  We're going to try it out.  

We didn't stop at Target.  We figure since we're buying so many of these home items, we should make our next trip to Ross to see if we might find some better steals.  We have no qualms about making returns when we find something better somewhere else.  

 The curved shower curtain rod with a liner and hooks is only $19.99.  At Target, just the rod is forty dollars.  

Our highlights are the clock and three of these wooden tubs in various sizes:

We decided we have to go to Cost Plus World Market, our favorite home store.  After two shopping sprees already, we figure we're just going to look around World Market for inspirations.  However, when we walked in the door, a staff greeted us and handed us a flier for a whooping 25% off anything, one day only.  I couldn't help laughing out loud as the staff look at me quizzically.  It turned out it will be another shopping spree at a third store.  With only an hour before closing, we divide and conquer.  

Mostly we got alternatives for the curtains we'll be using in the bedroom, living room, and bathroom.  We'll see which ones we like better after we try it out in our space.  

So out of our entire haul for the day (minus the groceries)

it turns out both our favorite item is the beautiful white clock KT spotted at Ross

Best of all, everything we got was an awesome deal.  Can't wait to start putting things up.  


Weekend #11 - How to Whitewash or Pickle Wood Floors... Or not

I've been researching online how to whitewash our living room floor.  Every set of directions I came across uses whitewashing and pickling interchangably.  That is, until I came across the latest set of directions on the DIY network.  Apparently whitewashing is best suited for pine wood, whereas pickling is best used for oak wood.

It looks like our floor is oak wood.  Correct me if I'm wrong. 

So what's the difference between whitewashing and pickling?  I was trying to figure that out myself.  It sounds like when you're whitewashing, you're wiping the paint with the grain.  When you're pickling, you're wiping the paint against the grain to make sure the paint gets into the pores.  Apparently oak floors have large pores. 

It sounds like I'll be "pickling" our floor .  Whether you're whitewashing or pickling, the goal will be same - trying to stain the floor while allowing the wood grains to show through. 

If you can't tell from reading my previous posts, then let me tell you - I like making up my own set of directions.  Usually I research quite thoroughly how to do something.  I would go to forums to see if there are novel suggestions.  And if something doesn't make sense to me, I would type the question in google search and see what comes up.  From all that, I would compile my own set of directions of doing something based on the supplies we have on hand or what we can buy economically. 

Here are my compiled instructions for pickling our oak floor:
1. Clean the floor thoroughly with a mild detergent.  (If I remember correctly, someone suggested somewhere to used a mild detergent and not your typical wood floor cleaner because it wouldn't leave any residue). 
2. Sand the floor to remove any varnish.  Sanding also raise the grain so it will show through the white stain. 
3. Prepare the white stain mixture.  1 part white paint and 1 part water.  You can do more or less of this depending on the opacity you want.  You can also buy white stain made for whitewashing or pickling.  Since we have leftover white floor paint that we used on the kitchen floor, I'm just going to make my own stain rather than buying it. 
4.  Use a paint roller to apply the white stain to the floor.  Wipe the stain against the grain to get it into the pores. 
5.  Use a clean rag to wipe off excess stain. 
6.  If you noticed that the stain is uneven, lighter or darker in some areas, then you can use a dry brush to even it out.
7.  After white stain has dried, apply a coat of poly.  Repeat as necessary.  We're using the same poly we used on the kitchen floor.  The direction said to put down a minimum of four coats of poly. 

I made a schedule for us so that we can efficiently pickle our oak floor and put down all four coats of poly on a Friday night. We're basically pulling an all-nighter. Yea, we hardcore like that.

I had to wait for KT to come home before we start pickling. He has the final say on how dark or "white" he wants the stain since this is his room to decorate.

We started at 8:15PM. I rolled down the first layer of the white stain. KT wasn't totally sure he wanted the white so transparent. So we gave it a few more minutes for the paint to dry a little more so he won't be wiping off so much of the stain. Still didn't like it. Tried evening out the stain with a dry brush. KT wants it whiter still.

Finally we decided we're just going to paint the floor white. Which means we're not going to finish tonight. Silent sigh of relief. We can go to sleep tonight after the second coat of paint.

Here it is after the first coat of paint.

I know the angle is a little weird. I have to take it from the kitchen to avoid stepping on the fresh paint. We also can't use the bathroom until the paint dries enough for light foot traffic.

Second coat of paint went down around 1AM.  We have to let the paint dry "overnight" before putting down the poly.  We couldn't quite figure out how many hours "overnight" equates to, so we just waited until the paint was no longer tacky before we started on the poly.

On Saturday, our schedule basically revolves around the drying schedule of the paint and poly.  After every coat of poly, we let it dry for two hours.  We put down the third coat of poly at 2AM.  Fourth and final coat of poly went down this morning. =)  How does it look? (Yea, that's my hand print on the purple wall from when I was sanding the floor.  I'll clean it off later).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Living Room Floor Challenge - Thursday Night

Tonight, I'll be getting home a little later, and hopefully, KT will be getting home a little earlier.  It'll be more of a challenge tonight to complete the task I self-imposed. 

To Do:
1. Sand the entire floor to remove any wax, sealant, poly, etc.
2. If time permits, white stained the floors

Starting time: 7:40PM

So while I'm sanding, Sugar decided she's going to hang out right next to me rather than be a loner in another room like her usual self. Play dead Sugar!

Here it is all sanded. I used medium grit.

And here it is all vacuumed up:

Decided not to do the paint tonight since our babies will be hanging out here all day tomorrow while we're at work.

Finished 9:30PM!

Bathroom Grout

While KT was sanding away the kitchen floor, I started on the bathroom grout.  We bought a sand color grout colorant a few weeks earlier during one of our multiple trips to Home Depot and Lowes.

I had to clean off all the dirt from the floor and on the grout before I can use the colorant.  Since I was already on my hands and knees cleaning, I spent some time scraping off some paint that got on the floor.

Then I got out an old toothbrush that we've been using for cleaning and applied the colorant very generously to the grout.  I realized I shouldn't have used such an old toothbrush because the sprawled bristles got the colorant all over the place. 

The directions said to let it dry for an hour before wiping up the excess colorant on the tiles but classic me, I was too impatient to wait.  I very carefully wiped the colorant off the tiles with a towel - trying not to wipe any off the grout.

At the end, we're pretty happy with the result. 

Before & After

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Living Room Floor Challenge - Wednesday Night

My goal is to finish the living room floor by the weekend.

It is Wednesday evening 6:56pm. This is what I'm starting with. We shoved all the kitchen and bathroom things into the living room on our moving weekend and so we can do the kitchen floor.

We've been working on putting things away for the past two weeks but we still have some work to do.

Tonight, I have to clear all this out and and clean the floor with a mild detergent.

Let's see what I can do.

Done! 10:43PM. As I was taking these lovely pictures for the blog, Sugar and Monster ran out. I knew that means Daddy's home!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Weekend #9 - OC Fair!! and the Kitchen Floor.

On weekend #9, we took a break from working 7 days a week, 15+ hours a day, to enjoy our annual trip to the OC Fair.  And oh boy did we pick a scorching hot weekend to go.  =) 

So what did we do all week to allow us this short reprieve from home improvement?  The Kitchen Floor.

After work, all week before weekend #9, we've been busy unpacking.  I also have been able to carve in some time whenever I get home from my 9 to 5 grind before Kim, to work on the Kitchen Floor.

Following the instructions from, I first put down painter's tape to outline the borders.

I thought this looks pretty cool already and I wanted to throw up my hands and say DONE.  But I continued to the next step.  I painted over the tape with the same white paint on the floor.  This is important because the black paint I'm using for the border won't bleed under the blue tape.  I wish I've known this cool tip when I was painting walls. 

KT helped me remove the blue tape right after I painted the black border.  We didn't want to give the paint a chance to dry.  If it did, then removing the tape will also pull up the paint around the tape.  We, unfortunately, had a lot of experience with that as well. 

After giving the paint sufficient time to dry, I started stenciling.  It wasn't love at first sight.  I wasn't sure if I liked the stencil on our beautiful white floors with crisp black borders. So I repeated the stencil a few more times so I can get a better idea of how it looks on our floor. 

It just wasn't working for me.  I solicited KT's opinion and he wasn't excited about it either.  We thought it looked too busy for such a small space.  We much prefer the simple clean lines on the otherwise blank floor.  But here's our dilemma...  we put in so much time and effort to make this stencil, it seems like such a pity to not use it.  We decided to let it sit for a while.

Mom, Lauren, and Susan dropped by after the OC Fair on Sunday.  They all prefer the floor without the stencil.  Susan did make a great suggestion: Just stencil a small area to define the dining area.  KT and I considered it for a while, trying to figure out how big of an area that would be and whether or not we'll need to add borders, etc. 

At the end, we decided to ditch the stencil.  As consolation, we agreed to use the stencil for something else in the future so all that effort won't go to waste.  Sometimes it's hard for us to ditch an idea that we thought was brilliant.  I often find myself so caught up with an ideology that I disregard the reality.  We had a vision of how great it looks in our "mind's eyes" (HAHA - I love F*R*I*E*N*D*S) but I'm glad we were able to let it go.  In reality, our floor looks great, IMHO. 

Jumping ahead, after weekend #9, I painted over the stencil and we started painting the polyurethane over the entire floor.  We used the brand Varathane.  We went with Gloss because we wanted the shine.  One a side note, an employee in the paint department told us that this sealer is for stained wood.  I double checked the directions on the can and it is safe to say she's incorrect.  This can be used for stained or painted wood. 

The direction also said to used a paint brush or a foam roller.  We didn't have a foam roller so we went ahead and tried it with the same roller we used to apply the paint on the floor.  Not. A. Good. Idea.  It was like we were reliving the nightmare of applying the poly on the kitchen cabinet.  There were bubbles and it felt rough. 

I gave KT a break and decided to paint the floor with my nifty paint brush. Yea, I said "my nifty paint brush."  After ruining so many expensive Purdy paint brushes, I claimed two new ones that I take very very good care of.  Surprisingly, it only took me between an hour and fifteen to an hour and a half to paint a coat of poly on the entire kitchen floor with a paint brush. 

After putting down the minimum of four coats of poly, I considered myself done.  Hip hip hooray!  Big Smile.  Celebration Dance.  (We still had to give the final coat a three day cure time before we can have the kitchen back for normal use). 

Can you see the shine? =)

We can't stop staring.  We're in love.  With the floor.  And each other of course.