Weekend Projects – Successes & Failures

It never fails. I go to the project stores and get super stoked about getting projects completed from my to do list yet, alas, something that I’ve bought doesn’t work out. For example, the sliding back door lock decided it was going to break. I’d worked on it before and the latch was sticking and I managed to fix that but this time it wasn’t to be fixed. So I bought a new kit. Who would have thought that the stupid holes wouldn’t have matched up with the steel door? Figures. That’ll have to go back. Strike 1.

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The door with off-center holes.

I know it’s February but I hadn’t turned on the two gas fireplaces yet. The upstairs one worked fine once I figured out how to turn on the pilot light again. The downstairs one has an issue with the pilot light and the flames seeping out in the wrong direction. Not good as this will require a visit from a technician. That will have to wait now. Strike 2. Bummer, as we really needed the extra heat downstairs. And my Dad has a blower that will fit in ours after they redid their fireplace!

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At least one works!

Next up, ceiling fan. One weekend it randomly decided to drop from the ceiling. Upon further inspection, the entire METAL bracket had split and it was hanging by 3 of the 4 wires.  Yikes! The rest of the fan worked just fine and I really didn’t want to have to replace the entire thing. Luckily, I found just the bracket for $4.97 at Menard’s (11% rebate, too! Score!) It’s been driving me batty walking through the living room with loose wires and a gaping hole. . . Figuring out the wires with the 2 circuits was a new experience but I learned something new and the fan and light now works again. Yippee!

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This is what our 13 year-old fan decided to do one Sunday morning.

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The new bracket.

Our gable vent has had several mishaps over the years with children.  Who would have thought that a baseball could get lodged in it?  Or a lacrosse ball could wipe out an entire piece?  I finally bought a new one ($45 at Menard’s with 11% rebate) and used some left-over house paint that the builders must have left many, many years ago.  Now all I have to do is climb in the attic and get it attached. Hate the way it looks at the front of the house with the gaping, missing sections. The new one will look so much better!

  20160130_092302           20160205_175606.jpg                                                    Painting the new vent.  Our old vent, with missing slats. 😦

So I managed to get some projects worked on last weekend, which makes me happy. I also managed to do 2 short runs, help my son buy a car, watch a church service, clean the house, grocery shop, and clean the garage. The one thing I didn’t do this weekend? School work! A successful weekend, if I do say so myself, regardless of a couple of setbacks with the projects!

Gaping Holes & Popcorn Ceilings

WOW – I found this in my draft box from last summer! I’m still working on many, many other projects around the house but thought I’d go ahead and post this one since I had it ready.  Just keep in mind it was from 2014!

Yeah, these two don’t mix.  Back in November of 2012 we had a leak from our upstairs bathroom into the downstairs bathroom. It started with a drip from the ceiling.  Then, it was GUSHING through the air vent and even the fan.  My Dad helped us out by cutting out a part of the ceiling to locate the leak (from the shower) but unfortunately the fix required a plumber, pronto.

Several hundred dollars later, we were left with an even bigger hole.  It was patched up with extra sheet rock and left.  I had originally planned on having someone come in and either fix it or take down the horrible popcorn ceiling and make it nice and smooth but not only was this repair expensive but other stuff came up that just made financially impossible. Besides, I wanted to try and fix it myself without a huge cost. This may or may not be a big mistake but you don’t learn if you don’t try, right?

Yucky ceiling.

Can you picture this wide open showing the pipes? Yucky ceiling!

I had planned on fixing it that summer when I was off from school but lo and behold, I spent my summer recuperating from surgery on my broken foot instead. Soooo . . . it made my summer chore list this summer as well.  I did my research online on how to fix a popcorn ceiling by yourself and the feedback wasn’t very positive.  Mainly it said to use the spray can but it’s terribly messy, takes a looooonnnnngggggg time and really, it’s better to leave it to the professionals.  Yeah, right.  After all, this was a teenage bathroom. Out of sight, out of mind and he certainly didn’t care if the ceiling matched or not.

I bought something new from Lowe’s this last  summer to try.  It was less than $5 with my Lowe’s card so I figured if it works, great, if not, it was only $5. Earlier in the summer when I was doing another paint job I primed the area and yesterday I finally got around to getting on the ladder and attacking the job.  It seemed easy enough.  Stir and apply with a soft-bristled brush from the outside in. It looked like a grayish cottage cheese. Yuck.

Will this work?

Will this work?

I started with the smallest section in case it didn’t work and I gave up, starting outside and working in per the directions. You could definitely see a difference in the color but the texture seemed to match quite well. I used a knife to get in the cracks between the added sheet rock and the existing ceiling. I had to laugh, though, when my son came in and asked what I was doing.  When I replied “Fixing the ceiling” he said, “Why? What’s wrong with it?”.  Seriously?!  Hmmmm, refer back to what I said about him not caring or noticing . . .

Here goes nothing!

Here goes nothing!

First section complete!

First section complete!

All done!

All done!

It didn’t take me long at all to do – maybe 30 minutes – and the application was incredibly easy. Now I’m waiting for it to dry and I already have some touch-up spray ceiling paint if need be. I’ll be painting and thoroughly cleaning this bathroom next week when the teenage son is at camp. Cross fingers!

I checked it throughout the evening to see how it was drying. Fortunately the color went lighter but it still didn’t seem to match the rest of the ceiling with some patches on it.  I applied a second coat.  Did I mention that it’s hard on your neck and arm to be reaching up for so long? Well, it does!  I know I’ll have to paint over it but overall it looks like it’s going to work well enough to not have to redo the entire ceiling. Whew! (Update 2015 – I was very pleased with this product and it blended in very nicely with little color difference after it was really, truly dry!)

 

DIY Photo Canvas = Gorgeous Pic!

I am fortunate that there is talent in our family for photography. When I first saw this picture of my children and one of our dogs, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I had originally posted something similar to my Facebook wall but then, alas, I took my whole account down. Boy was I glad to find something on Pinterest! I checked out this post here to learn how to do it “professionally”. I didn’t have much luck with that part of it, but that’s okay.

So, some black paint ($0.60), a 2-pack of canvases (>$3.00 on sale) and some Mod Podge later (already had), I was all done. It didn’t take very much time at all although I spread it across a couple of days to be sure the mod podge was adequately dried. I added some chevron ribbon that came on a gift ($0) and since I couldn’t find the glue for my hot glue gun, I used my staple gun to attach it. The 5×7 print was approximately $0.78 Site to Store from Walmart so this entire project cost less than $5 (I used my Michael’s coupon as well as my teacher discount.). I then hung it on my bedroom wall. Love, love, love it!! Can’t wait to do it again with another print!

My three children and Cooper.

My three children and Cooper.

Take 3? Or 4?

I’ve lost count how many times my daughter has redone her room. Hers was the first room we painted when we moved in, a soft pastel pink (she WAS 3!)  Since then we’ve done white with purple, and white again, not to mention how many times we’ve changed out the bedding and accessories. This past year she’s been itching for a loft bed to give herself more room but she didn’t want to downsize her full size bed. Her birthday was at the end of November so she got yet another redo!

Before - She'd gotten a little excited and already taken her box spring and frame out of her room before I could take the proper "before" picture. But you get the idea!

Before – She’d gotten a little excited and already taken her box spring and frame out of her room before I could take the proper “before” picture. But you get the idea!

After searching around town, we ended up using Site to Store from Walmart to get her bed. She specifically wanted a metal one and the only ones we could find in town were the clunky wooden ones with huge drawers and extra beds or even a slide(?!).  She chose one that had a desk already built in underneath. Very streamlined and open underneath, as long as she doesn’t bonk her head on the ceiling fan! Her walls needed a fresh coat of white paint (which we already had) and we had already replaced the curtains with the black, room-darkening, insulated ones, also from Walmart for less than $10 each  (much better for west-facing when it’s summer!). Even better, when we ordered the bed through the website, I was able to use a 5% cashback reward through my credit union. Woo hoo!

Building the bed!

Building the bed!

We ordered a cool bead curtain from ebay in black that she liked so much, we decided to order another one. It gives a little partition between the main door and her space under the bed. It had to be trimmed because it was so long and we used an existing tension rod that we had to make it fit nicely.

Next up, she got the idea that she wanted to splatter paint one wall for an impact and add some shelving. So in early July we did just that, taped off the adjoining walls, stirred a bit of water into a free sample of paint that we’d already used to paint a shelf for her bed (gotta love Lowe’s Valspar coupons for sample paint!) and let her go to town! (Personal Note: yes, this freaked me out a bit and I wondered if I should let her do it. But really, what harm can it do? I did the prep work with her help and it’s just paint – something that can be repainted if necessary. In the end she got a few dots on the white popcorn ceiling and that was the only damage. Whew!)

We purchased the interlocking shelves at Ross and she had a specific idea of what she was going to put on them – pop bottles with flowers (maybe painted, maybe not) and candle holders (warned that she can’t light them on the shelf – eek! fire hazard!) She also lined up all of her cologne sprays from Bath & Body Works on them as well. She had a wall mirror before but somehow managed to crack it so we got a new one (less than $5 from Walmart). She wanted a table of some sort to put all of her make-up and stuff in it that didn’t jut out too far and settled on a rolling cart that we got from Menard’s ($19.99 but I used a rebate that took $5.99 off it from a previous purchase).

Before with walls taped off.

Before with walls taped off.

Working on the splattering part . . .

Working on the splattering part . . .

These sample jars from Valspar at Lowe's are only $0.99 but I had a coupon for mine. Perfect for testing colors or using them for accents.

These sample jars from Valspar at Lowe’s are only $0.99 but I had a coupon for mine. Perfect for testing colors or using them for accents.

AFTER: splattered wall with shelves, new mirror and rolling cart.

AFTER: splattered wall with shelves, new mirror and rolling cart.

Did I mention that my daughter is sewing her own quilt to go with her room?  Well, she is, and I’ll say that she’s doing a wonderful job of it as well. My mother has taught her how to do it and this isn’t her first attempt. Now that we’re really getting a roll on putting the finishing touches on things, she’s been working hard on her quilt, too.

Here's a part of her quilt so you can see the colors.

Here’s a part of her quilt so you can see the colors.

Sewing away!

Sewing away!

Jocelyn originally had a foldable purple chair in her room but since it’s molded plastic and probably hard to paint, she wanted something different, preferable a stool.  That can also be tucked under her desk area much easily. When I was cleaning out the storage area this summer, I discovered a short stool that had a padded but torn seat. The legs will need to be trimmed and painted and then we’re going to use some leftover fabric from her quilt to make a cover.

The stool - BEFORE

The stool – BEFORE

She also wanted a plush chair of some sort to go underneath her loft bed to lounge in instead of up on her bed.  She decided on one from Target that was $44 but I used my red card to get a discount. She said it was her “human sushi roll”.  Say what?! She looks very comfy in it, though! She also spends more time under her loft instead of in bed!

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Other than finishing her quilt and covering the stool, there’s just one more thing to make the room complete – a rug. Unless I get the urge to rip out the carpet and I doubt that’s going to happen.  We have yet to decide on the color and size so we’ll hold off on that for awhile.  We have one very happy gal with her fancy room!  Hopefully this will keep her happy for awhile so we won’t have to redecorate it again!

Summer School Projects

I looked at the calendar today and realized that I have less than 2 weeks left of my summer vacation.  2 weeks!  Where did the time go?  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time off this summer and have been reflecting on my teaching from last year, writing down ideas, pinning more ideas on Pinterest, filing and tidying out files, and making some new projects.

Last year I had my crayons, colored pencils and markers in labeled, colorful bins. I hated the way they were thrown back in there or put in the wrong bin so I made something new using what I had on hand with existing drawers, scrapbook paper and stickers.

My new drawers for student supplies.

My new drawers for student supplies.

Last year I also made a really cool game called “Flip It” using lids that my students really enjoyed, thanks to Pinterest!  The object of the game is to roll 2 dice and flip the cap with the sum.  The first one to flip all of them over in their row wins!  I made some more sets with the milk and water lids that I’ve been collecting all summer, labeled them, and put them into sets.  I then put the sets into baggies which were put into a Party Pail ice cream bucket (recycle, right?!) with a label made of out an index card with multi-colored letters.

Flip-It Math Game

Flip-It Math Game

I have wires that run across my entire room above the desks and across my beautiful windows.  I tried large paperclips last year to keep the papers attached and it worked for a short time until I needed to close the blinds or open a window.  Clothespins work way better!  I had some that I used for a behavior chart last year that had students’ names on them so I painted over them to use on the wires. I bought a small bottle of paint from Walmart for $0.50 in Admiral Blue to match my primary colored classroom.

My freshly painted clothespins/paper holders.

My freshly painted clothespins/paper holders.

A teacher who was leaving our school left a bunch of these yellow paper pads in the teacher’s lounge before the end of school last year.  These have so many uses!  They’re more like a card stock so I thought I’d turn them into notes.  I could use these for thank you notes to the students or notes home for parents. In the past I sent home what I would call “sunshine notes” as they were positive notes on a sunshine paper. I used my existing stamps and ink to make several of these.

My "Sunshine Notes"

My “Sunshine Notes”

At the end of the school year I received a huge packet of new math vocabulary for the classroom.  I guess with the new Common Core Standards things like wording in definitions and pictures to go with them change, so I recycled all of my old ones and have spent many hours highlighting and coloring in the new ones.  I could’ve left them black and white but that’s boring. Besides, having some color attached to them can aid with students’ learning.  They do look cool! And I’m grateful for my daughter helping me with them, too. They took FOREVER! (In case you didn’t know, coloring is a good stress reliever!)

My thick stack of new math vocabulary. I need more wall space in my classroom!

My thick stack of new math vocabulary. I need more wall space in my classroom!

I used another idea from Pinterest for random sticks last year.  One end of the stick is painted (or colored) a different color.  Once you’ve drawn the stick, turn it over so you don’t choose that student again.  They’re none the wiser that you’ve flipped it so they’re still on their toes thinking they may be called on again.  I bought a small bottle of red from Walmart for $0.50.  I have an apple green already but I wanted something different for this year. I’m sure I could have gotten them cheaper at Michael’s with my teacher discount but I was already at Walmart and is it really worth the few cents it would have taken to go to yet another store.  Probably not.

Red Random Sticks

Red Random Sticks

I believe I’ve had a busy yet balanced summer. I feel good that I’ve gotten these things done as a head start to the new year. I’m sure once I get back into my classroom I’ll find more to do before the year officially starts with students on August 12th. For now, I’ve at least done these things!

Where Did Spring Break Go?

Here it is a Saturday after having an entire week off for spring break and I can’t help but wonder, where did the time go?  I was really looking forward to the time off from teaching. The time change threw me for a loop and we’re getting ready for state testing which is stressful enough so a full week off was very much welcomed.

I always have a to-do list going for time off and I did get quite a bit done. I was extremely unmotivated to workout this week so it was a good thing it was an “easy” week, per Hal Higdon’s training schedule. I managed to log a few miles outdoors as well as at the Y. I also sold some things to Book-A-Holic, Play It Again Sports and Trendy Tots as well as sorted through some more stuff for the garage sale. I painted the primer coat of paint on the Adirondack chairs but have yet to paint them (couldn’t find the paint!). I cleaned out the flower beds, weeded my veggie garden and raked leaves.  I took the kids ice skating, too, (Tuesdays are $2 days!) as well as visiting with my parents and taking Buddy for play dates with Lillie, their Lab. Oh, and we saw a cool Cops vs. Fire and Thunder hockey games.

We usually go to Keystone over spring break but I was so fed up of the winter weather that the thought of seeing shoulder-high snow drifts just did not appeal to me. I wanted to work out in the yard and see some greenery for a change! So we stayed home, piddled around and took a day trip to OK to see some friends. This was probably, by far, my favorite day of spring break!  We went to Pops, hiked a part of Arcadia Lake, lunch at Flatire Burgers (yuuuuummmmy!), bowling, and then headed to the park before we headed home to watch the Shocker basketball game (Go Shockers! They won!) Maybe I should have planned more little outings like that. Oh well. We had fun anyway!

Our children have been friends their entire lives! Owen, Wesley, Harrison, Taylor, Audrey & Jocelyn at the Round Barn in Arcadia, OK.

Our children have been friends their entire lives! Owen, Wesley, Harrison, Taylor, Audrey & Jocelyn at the Round Barn in Arcadia, OK.

Silly girls! They wanted their picture taken by this "dead" bush (there were blooms on it, you just can't see them here.)

Silly girls! They wanted their picture taken by this “dead” bush (there were blooms on it, you just can’t see them here.)

Malena and I by the Round Barn. Love her! We always have such fun when we get together!

Malena and I by the Round Barn. Love her! We always have such fun when we get together!

Owen and Wesley at Arcadia Lake.

Owen and Wesley at Arcadia Lake.

Taylor and Harrison at Arcadia Lake.

Taylor and Harrison at Arcadia Lake.

Me and my girl. Love her!

Me and my girl. Love her!

Malena and I at Arcadia Lake. It was very windy!

Malena and I at Arcadia Lake. It was very windy!

Bonus – Snow Days!

A partial view of the front steps of my house. You can't see the bottom step at all due to the snow!

A partial view of the front and steps to my house. It didn’t accumulate on the bench but you can’t see the bottom step at all due to the snow!

What would you do if you were given the gift of extra days off from work due to the weather? I was hoping for one – yes, just one – but ended up with three.  I had a great time catching up on my to-do list. The children? Not so much. They didn’t want to go outside (too cold and actually the wind chill the 2nd day was not safe) and electronics dominated their days.

Day 1:

  • a minimum of 3 hours catching up on grading with several cups of hot green tea. That was rewarding enough- just getting caught up!
  • made 2 wheat beer breads from Tastefully Simple mixes and a double batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for the children.
  • went through younger son’s closet to find clothes that he didn’t like/wear any more for either a consignment sale or for the garage sale this spring
  • did son’s taxes so he could get his refund – still need to do the state 😦
  • organized basement and cleared off one bookshelf for oldest son who was voluntarily cleaning and reorganizing his room.
  • shoveled the driveway – 6″ minimum of it with some drifting. At least we can get the cars out now!
  • organized the laundry room cabinet, wiped down the units, made new dust rags from old t-shirts.
  • read an old Eating Clean magazine looking for ideas for new recipes

Day 2:

  • slept in – yay!
  • made a batch of banana muffins with the last 2 bananas I had in my freezer (a first for me – usually I clean them out during summer!)
  • made a from scratch brownie recipe for the children
  • taped off and primed the vanity in the upstairs bath
  • posted 3 items on Ebay
  • painted the first coat on the vanity in the upstairs bath
  • did some touch up painting in the same bathroom
  • painted the master bath door to get ride of the scratched off paint from my parents’ dog that passed away 2 years ago (yeah, I know that should have been done a loooonnnnggg time ago. . . )
  • ran 4 1/2 miles on the basement treadmill
  • watched one of my favorite shows, Modern Family, while knitting a new scarf project
  • read my new Runner’s World magazine before bed

Day 3:

  • slept in again! I could definitely get used to getting up at 8 am as opposed to 5:45 am!
  • painted second coat on the vanity in the upstairs bath
  • organized linen closet and added more things to the sale pile
My wonderfully organized linen closet!

My wonderfully organized linen closet!

  • completed 2 loads of laundry (washed, dried AND put away)
  • ventured out on the roads to go to Lowe’s so I can get the towel rack for the bathroom as well as knobs for the painted vanity
  • also went to Michael’s for more yarn for my knitting projects
  • also went to Walmart for a photo I had delivered there to go in my new Keystone frame as well as pick up some more fruit
  • painted the vanity AGAIN including the doors AGAIN
  • lined the vanity and the drawers with new liner – love the red!
  • took Buddy to Lillie’s house to play in the snow. He loves play dates with my Mum & Dad’s dog!
  • went to a Girl Scout cookie meeting – yes! Cookies!! We can start selling Saturday, February 8th!
The painted vanity without the doors. Can you see the red liner? Still have to put up the towel holder and knobs. VERY pleased!

The painted vanity without the doors. Can you see the red liner? Still have to put up the towel holder and knobs. VERY pleased!

I have accomplished a lot these past few days while the snow was a-blowin’ and the temperatures droppin’. It feels good to have gotten something accomplished and I’m more than ready to go back to work again . . . even if it is just for a day before the weekend!!