August 31, 2011

Wake Up Wednesday

Last week's challenge was to do one thing you've been meaning to do for several months.  I am happy to report that I checked a few of those off the list.  I did a couple of blog posts I've been meaning to do and I updated and restructured the "Blogs I Love" page on my blog.  (Feel free to go check it out.)  I weeded and I trimmed bushes.  I cleaned up the craft room, too.  It felt great.  Don't worry - there are still plenty of things on my list to do.  One of these days I'll clean out our garage and rinse out the stinky gargbage cans too.

Anyhow, this week's challenge is to spread good, uplifting messages.  Let me clarify.  Have you ever read something or seen something that really meant a lot to you and you wanted to share it with others?  Maybe it was a quote or a book or a movie.  In fact, I would love it if you'd share the video Jenfolio did for us that I posted a couple of weeks ago.  I don't have anything to gain from asking you to share it.  I just want to pass on the message that we can all be heroes.  Here's the video, in case you missed it.

If you'd like to share it on your own blog here's how.  Click HERE to find the video on YouTube.  Then click "Share" and then click "Embed."  Copy the code and paste it into your blog with the "Edit Html" tab highlighted (rather than the "Compose" tab).

Now let's hear about your week.  Did you get something done that you've been putting off for a while?  I would love to hear about it.  Thank you for reading.

August 30, 2011

How to Paint Your Cabinets

After I posted my sister's kitchen makeover there were a ton of comments asking about how to paint kitchen cabinets.  We are not experts, but we have tried different things and in the meanwhile I've tried to do a TON of research since then.  While this post may not be a fascinating read, I'm hoping it will be super-duper informative for any of you thinking about painting cabinets.

I'm going to tell you what we did to her cabinets (good and bad) and then I'll share some info I've learned by researching.  Hopefully in the end I will have done all your homework for you.

Here's Cassie's kitchen again.  She asked around a lot in the home improvement stores how to paint her cabinets.  The "experienced worker" said she should use a deglosser, then primer, then paint, then poly.  So, that's what we did.

In hindsight, I think we would do things a bit differently.  Here's why.  Let's break it down.

This is deglosser.  Sometimes it's called liquid sandpaper.  It used to be stinky stuff, but now it's a bit improved.  It is supposed to prepare areas with high gloss enamel and varnish on woodwork for paint.  Basically, it's supposed to be a substitute for sanding.  Here's the cold hard truth.  I don't think there's any real substitute for sanding.  This product was a real let down for us.

After reading up in some paint forums, I've heard that the following works well instead.  You wipe them down with TSP (Trisodium Phophate).  It removes grease well and it comes in a liquid and powder form.  The liquid form seems easiest to use. 

Next is primer.  I read great stuff about Sherwin Williams PrepRite ProBlock Interior/Exterior Seals and Bonds Laytex Primer.  Apparently the key is that is really BONDS.  (Make sure it says so on the label.)  The other really important key is something that's hard.  PATIENCE.  With all painting and priming it is really essential to let the primer and paint "cure."  After reading all about it I've come to the conclusion that this step is way more important than most people realize.  Even once paint or primer is dry to the touch you can still scrape it off quite easily.  It has to truly cure.  The bummer is that this makes the project a long, long one, but if you want it done well and you want it to last then you have to remember that good things come to those who wait :)

Next come the paint.  Semi-gloss or gloss is usually recommended in a high-use area because you can wipe it down easily.  Some people skip a top coat because of that.  I think I'd stick with semi-gloss rather then gloss because I don't like really like the glossy look for cabinets.  Others say oil-based paint and primer is the best for high traffic areas.  If you go the oil-based route you need to make sure your primer and paint are both oil-based.

As I mentioned, the guy told us to use poly urethane to seal them, but I am going to disagree on that one.  If you're painting your cabinets white, it yellows them a bit.  I know they say it's non-yellowing but you can still see a difference.  We stopped after a couple of drawers.  If we were painting them a darker color, I would recommend it.  It definitely makes the final finish stronger.

Jen from Tatertots and Jello just finished her kitchen makeover (which she hasn't fully posted yet, but will be worth the wait.  Stay tuned.)  She had her cabinets professionally painted and was kind enough to give me the details.  The painter used several coats of primer and paint, spraying thin coats of each.  Then he dyed poly urethane for the final finish so it ended up being like enamel.  I myself keep going back and forth on doing it myself versus hiring someone, since I want it done perfectly.  This is the home we plan on living in forever, so it might be worth the investment.

Okay, now on to the brushes/rollers.  If your cabinets have a beveled area like Cassie's, you'll need a brush for the cut away areas. 

A NICE brush is totally worth the money.  I was floored by how much better the finish was and how the brush stroke lines were minimal with a nice brush.  I liked the Purdy angled brush.  On another note, you can try a little sanding between layers to minimize brush strokes.

We tried the high density foam rollers, but in the end I liked using the brush better.  Since then I read a great tip on the foam rollers that makes me want to try it again.  They work a lot better and leave a smoother finish when you don't go over the area repeatedly.  Get the paint on with as few rolls as possible.  (If you really don't want any lines ot texture you could rented a sprayer, but then the whole project starts to get pretty pricey.)
Once you're all done it's the waiting game again.  If you can wait a week to put the doors back on then do it.  The longer the better because the paint will really cure.

So, in the end Cassie's have chipped a tiny bit in places.  I think we should have sanded and waited a lot longer for them to cure.  I'll keep you posted on what I eventually decide to do with mine.  If you read this post and think.....Yikes, that's a lot of work.  Maybe I'll hire it done, you should still do a lot of research.  My sister hired someone to spray her interior doors.  He charged a lot more than the estimate and it's peeling off in giant chunks.  It's infuriating.

In our last house we only sanded and painted and they held up well, but the brush strokes were definitely there.  We didn't fuss over the project that much because we figured we'd either move or re-do the kitchen at some point.

I hope this all answered some of your questions.  I'm still learning about the whole process myself and trying to figure out the best way to do it.  A lot of the choices are depend on how much time and money you want to spend or how well you want it to be done.

Whew!  You made it through that giant post!  Thanks for sticking with me.  Have a great day.

August 29, 2011

Vipre Antivirus and a GIVEAWAY

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sunbelt Software for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Today we're talking about something that is important to all of you - the health of your computer.  Why?  Because you're on your computer reading this right now and your computer is working.  You'd probably like to keep it that way, too.  We're talking about Antivirus software.  I equate it to a shield for your computer, which is definitely needed in this day and age.

I'm going to tell you a little about a particular software that's pretty sweet.  It's called VIPRE Antivirus software and it melds antivirus and antispyware into one.  The combination of this technology is something really smart.  The bi-product is powerful protection, but the BEST part is that it's super speedy.  It doesn't slow down your PC like most other antivirus software.

In order to feel like I could write a fair review of this product I went out and did some research.  I searched articles and reviews about VIPRE Antivirus software and I'm back to give it two thumbs up.  It's clearly one of the best antivirus programs available today.  The fact that it doesn't slow down your PC is apparently quite evident right off the bat.  I'll admit that I'm not the world's most patient person.  I like things to run smoothly, efficiently, and quickly.  This software is exactly that.  Nice, huh?  It also comes with free U.S. based technical support that's top notch.

Now it's your turn.  Hopefully, none of you are running your PC without protection, but if you are then this giveaway will be AWESOME for you.  One person will receive a free code to receive VIPRE Antivirus software.  Enter by leaving a comment here.  One comment per person.  Giveaway ends Friday.

Thanks for dropping in.
Visit Sponsor's Site

The Giant Shelf

Remember how this week's Wake Up Wednesday challenge is to do something you've put off for a while?  I' ve been tring to knock out a few things and I'm even going to post a couple of things here that I've been meaning to post for a while.  There are a few topics that you guys have requested that I'm finally going to cover.  Today I'll cover the giant shelf info and tomorrow we'll talk about painting cabinets.

So, remember the giant shelf I was so excited to have my dad build?  I've received a lot of questions about it.  Shortly after mine was completed my mom wanted one and my dad built it.  (Sorry, no picture of that one.)

Then my little sister wanted one too.  You saw hers in her house series HERE.

I have another sister that recently moved here and she wanted one too.  So, she kindly snapped some pictures of the process so you could all get a better idea of how it's made and hung.  Hers is massive and even holds her flat screen (thought it's not pictured here).

While is looks like a giant hefty beam, it's really a hollow box.  See?  (My parents also left their mark in it :)

My dad also makes a little lip on the top front edge by setting the top board a little lower so that things on the shelf can't slip off it.

So how would you attach it to the wall?  You take a cleat of wood (in this case a 2x4 because the shelf is so big) and screw it directly into the studs.  (Again, because of the massive size of this beast my dad used huge lag screws.  My shelf doesn't have screws that big.)

Then the top ledge of the shelf rests on that cleat and it's screwed directly into it as well.  (You can see how the middle supports inside the shelf are recessed so that the shelf can sit on the cleat.)

On my shelf the corbels don't really hold the shelf.  They essentially just decorative.

And that's the shelf in a nutshell.  Hopefully this will clarify any questions you might have had.  A picture is worth a thousand words, you know.  That's why blogs are so cool :)

Okay, come on back tomorrow and we'll talk about painting cabinets.  Thanks for dropping in.

August 28, 2011

Sunshine Sunday - slides and songs

Every once in a while something happens that really touches me.....something that makes me happy to know that there are truly good, kind, thoughtful people in this world.  Sometimes it's a comment from one of you. 

This time it was a sweet family in our neighborhood that called us to see if we'd like to have their old swingset.  They have one child and he's kind of old for it.  It's not new.  In fact they inherited it from someone, but it's sturdy and old school.  I was so excited and happy that they would think of us.  We don't even know them really, really well.  (They are actually the family I called to report a job well done on one of the Wake Up Wednesday challenges.)

Anyhow, here's the sweet slide that's been a hit around here.

One of my very favorite sounds is hearing my boys sing.  They haven't quite mastered pitch, but it's still the sweetest sound to me.  Baden picks up on words pretty quickly.  The other day I whipped out my phone to record him.  He's singing "I Am a Child of God," which we've sung to him every night since he was a baby.  I could listen to him sing it a billion times.  I'll write the words below, since it's hard to make them all out.

I am a child of God and He has sent me here, has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear.  Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way.  Teach me all that I must do to live with Him someday.

I am so grateful for my boys.  They are teaching me so much.

Hope you've had a great weekend.  Thanks for reading.

August 26, 2011

Luna Protein and a GIVEAWAY!!!

Thank you to LUNA Protein for providing me a LUNA Protein sample pack to review. The opinions I've expressed here are solely my own and represent my honest viewpoint.

It's 9:20am.  We're flying out the door to get my oldest to preschool.  As I get both kids buckled in I run through the checklist in my head.  Did I make him go potty before walked out the door?  Check.  Did I bring his backpack?  Check.  Did I put his homework back in the backpack?  Check.  Did I change my youngest boy's diaper when he announced it was full?  Check.  Wow, I even got in a shower!  Things are feeling pretty good.....until I realize that while I was busy doing all those things I ignored my roaring stomach.  I forgot my own breakfast and now I'm feeling it.

I'm guessing you can relate.  When you have little ones and you're on the go it's usually your own needs that get forgotten.  Well, today I have a nice solution for the rumbling tummy on the go.  Enter Luna Protein.

I was really excited to review these bars.  They come in Mint Chocolate Chip, Cookie Dough, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Cherry Almond, and Chocolate.  My favorite was the Chocolate Peanut Butter, but I actually really liked all of the others as well.

So, here's what I liked. 

- The convenience.  I can throw one in my purse and it's there when I need it.

- The flavors and taste.  I felt like I was eating a candy bar but MINUS the nasty feeling you get after eating a candy bar.  For tasting as good as they do, they have less sugar than I thought they would and they are under 200 calories.

- They were amazingly filling (due to the protein).  This is great because I must admit that I am a beast when I'm hungry.  Really.

- They are gluten free (which is a definite bonus for a lot of people).

Here's what I didn't like:

- There's still a tinge of that "protein bar" taste.  If you've ever tried a protein bar you know what I'm talking about.  However, the Luna Protein hid that protein taste far better than any other protein bar I've ever tasted.

- I had to fight my boys for them and when I say boys I mean my husband too.  Don't worry.  I won.

So, if you find yourself in the situation I described above, try a Luna Protein bar.  You'll feel like you indulged, but you'll have the benefit of feeling full and not guilty :)

AND, Luna is giving away a Luna Protein pack with a special gift to 5 of you!  Enter the giveaway by leaving a comment here.  Drawing ends in one week (Sept 2nd) and the winners will be announced then.  Please make sure you either leave you email address in your comment OR have it linked to your profile so I can contact you if you win.

Please click here to learn more about LUNA Protein. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own. #cleverLUNA

Feature Friday - spraypainted clothespins

Today's project is crazy simple and I'm pretty happy about it because I killed 3 birds with one stone. 

BIRD #1: Remember my strange obsession with wanting chip clips?  Quite a few of you mentioned that clothespins are the perfect inexpensive solution.  Duh!  Why didn't I think of that? 

BIRD #2: I have these cute glass conatiners on my kitchen counter that I've been wanting to fill with something.  I wanted it to be something bright and colorful, but not something like gumballs because I knew my kids would beg to eat them non-stop.

BIRD #3: I needed a Feature Friday post.

So, how did I kill the birds?  (We're not talking literally folks.  I like birds and there weren't any birds harmed during the preparation of this post.)  I remembered the Dana from Made spray painted some clothespins HERE, to use when displaying her sewing projects.  So, I bought a cheap bag of clothespins and whipped out my can of spray paint.

Then I filled the glass jar with them so I can pull them out when I need to. 

The chips, the bags in the freezer, and everything that opens is getting a clothespin slapped onto it now.  My kitchen will be the freshest place around.  Wahoo!  (I bet you didn't think anyone could get that excited about clothespins, huh?)

And my kitchen centerpiece is finally complete.  (Well, I still have one more glass container to fill.  Got any ideas? candy.)

And, in case you're wondering, the crate was from an antique shop, the tiered fruit stand is from Target, the glass containers were from TaiPan (in Utah) a while back.

That's it.  Thanks for your help.  You readers rock.

August 25, 2011

Homemade Pants for a Rockstar

I love finding clothing for my boys that's a little funky.  I love stuff that has some rock 'n roll flavor to it.  However, it's too hard to find cool clothing like that without a giant price tag.  So, I made Rex these pants the other day.

He likes them. I love them and I smile when I see his little bum in them.

They are made of thin corduroy.  They are green because Rex adores anything that's green and if I was going to go through the effort of making them I wanted to know that he'd wear them.  Luckily, he's a big fan.

So here's how it went.  For the pants I used Dana's pants pattern and tutorial (with the flat front option).  If you need a different size than 2-3T you can always try tracing a currently-fitting pair of pants to make your own pattern.  I also used her pocket tutorial for the pockets in front. 

For the back pockets I made my own little pattern on paper.  The paper was the exact size I wanted the pockets to be, so I cut two pieces a bit larger than the paper.

I pressed the edges inward and then topstitched around the entire pocket.

For the flaps I cut two pieces for each pocket.  (I wouldn't have been able to get the curve I wanted by folding the fabric under like I did on the main pocket.)

I put them right sides together and sewed them, leaving the top open.  I clipped the corners, inverted the flap, and folded the open area across the top in.  I pressed it and topstitched the whole flap.

I used embroidery floss to embellish the pockets.  If you aren't familiar with how to embroider, you can see my short tutorial HERE.  It's not hard, but it does always take a little longer than I think it will.

Once the pockets were finished I pinned them in place.  (It would have been easier to sew them on before sewing the pants together, but I really wanted to make sure their placement was perfect since I hadn't tried these pockets before.) 

I stitched the pockets on (three sides of the bottom pocket and just across the top of the flap.)  Before stitching I sewed on the buttons.  My little guy isn't going to be using the back pockets, so I thought it would be easiest to have them buttoned closed.  (They could easily be made useable by making a buttonhole on the flap.)

Here's his little J. Crew pose.

He's currently decided, however, that he has much better posing ideas than I do.  Here are some of his own.

Yes, he IS indeed posing with the garden hose.  Let's just say he's creative :)

That's it for today.  Thank you so much for stopping by.

August 24, 2011

Wake Up Wednesday

Last week's challenge was to place sticky notes with words of encouragement in random public places.  This challenge was pretty fun to do.  Here's the note I had the most fun with.  I giggled a bit.  I stuck it by all the potty-training products in the store.

This week's challenge is to do one thing you've been meaning to do for several months.  I hate it when I have something that keeps getting put off.  It makes me feel so bad when I stop to think about it.  It may be writing a kind note you meant to write a long time ago.  It may be returning something you borrowed a while back even though you feel stupid for still having it.  It may be paying someone back.  It may be something big or small.  I'm going to make a little list and try to check off a couple of those items.  It always feels so good to finally accomplish something you've put off.

So, did any of you leave a post it note somewhere this week?  I'd love to hear about it.  Thanks for reading.

August 23, 2011

T-shirt to Skirt

The other day I spotted some t-shirts on clearance at Target.  I bought a XL men's shirt for $1.50, with the intent to turn it into a simple summer skirt.  (What?  Summer's almost over?  Frankly, I'm in denial.)  Here's the final product.  (The skirt is the pink and green part - you'll see.)

I took the skirt, aligned the hem at the bottom, and cut off as much as I could.  The beauty of using a t-shirt is that you already have a perfect hem at the bottom.  All you have to do it gather the top and sew on a waistband.

I thought it would be fun to use a different color for the waistband, giving it a color block look.  I made the skirt the same way I made the super simple summer skirt HERE, but I didn't leave the seam exposed this time.

It can be worn folded over with a shirt out....

or unfolded with a shirt tucked in.

It's easy to make and super comfortable to wear.

Thursday I have some pants I made Rex that I'm so excited to show you and tomorrow's Wake Up Wednesday.  Is it just me or have things been quiet in blogland the last week or so?  I think everyone's busy getting kids back in school.

Thanks for dropping in.

August 22, 2011

DIY Toys from household items

Summer is coming to an end, but many of you still have a few days before your kids go back to school.  They might be a bit bored and they might be letting you know it again and again.  Today I'm going to show you a few different toys you can whip up for them to keep them entertained.  The beauty of these ideas is that they are made of things you probably have on hand.

1) Captain Hook.  If you have a pirate fan, then get out a paper/plastic cup and a sheet of aluminum foil.  Punch a small hole in the bottom of the cup and twist the end of the aluminum foil into it.  Form the foil into a hook.  Our library did this along with a cut out pirate hat a couple of weeks ago.  My boys loved wearing their hooks and watching "Jake and the Neverland Pirates."

2) Marshmallow Building.  This idea is from Make and Takes (via Skip to my Lou via Ohdeedoh).  We've also done this with mini-marshmallows and toothpicks.

3) Slotted Discs.  This idea is from Made by Joel (via Ohdeedoh).  Cut out some cardboard circles, add slits, then play and build.  You could probably use an old cereal box for this.

4) Get creative with Tape (Ohdeedoh).  If you have a car lover, just take a few minutes to map out some masking tape highways.  This could keep kids entertained for a long time.

5) Milk Jug Catch.  This is one I posted HERE.  Just rinse out an empty milk jug.  Cut off the bottom and it becomes a ball catcher.

I hope you're enjoying the last bits of summer.  If you have any great toys from house items feel free to share them with us in the comment section.

Thanks for reading.


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