I’m not gonna lie….

….using power tools makes me feel like a bad @$$.

This past week and I got my fill of using them.

First, I helped the Mister finish up the deck.

We’d worked out quite the system. He’d put in the first row of screws to make sure everything was square or level, and I’d come along later to put in the extra ones.

Saturday, after the storms blew through, we put up our corrugated metal ceiling on the covered patio.



I’m totally jealous of the outdoor living space for this home!

Here’s how it looked before the work began. Not a space I’d want to spend any time in.

The Mister had to cut some of the pieces so they’d go around the support posts. It made pretty sparks. 🙂 And, for the record, he doesn’t let me us that power tool. 🙁

Before we started he had this genius idea to put a brace up to rest the panels on as we slid them into place. I couldn’t get a picture of that in action because there were only two of us. But, in the one below you can see the piece of wood he used. This made it so much easier!





Here’s a closeup of the metal.

Once we finish this covered porch and get the landscaping finished I’ll post new pictures.

I also got to use the reciprocating saw to try to remove some flooring from the laundry room. That wasn’t a fun job, it was much harder than using the little cordless drill.

Gotta run, time to ice my shoulder.



Reinstalling trim after painting it can be confusing

Here’s some tips on how to reduce the stress of it all!

We got our carpet and it looks fabulous!!! I mean, it goes well with the colors on the walls and the house is starting to look like a home and you can lay down on the floor if you want and you’re not going to get up and be all dirty. And, going without shoes is a must! So cozy.

It’s awesome, until you look at the trim.

Yeah, it looks old and dated and gross. I thought the original dark wood trim would look charming. Nope, I was wrong, again.



And to reenforce how wrong I was, our awesome realtor Jill Collins (you may remember her from this post: 5 Tips for Buying a Home)  took one look into the first bedroom and said, “you’re going to paint the trim, right?”

I was like: Uhhhh.

She was like: Right?

I was like: But the carpet.

She was like: Right?

I was like: But…….yes, of course we’re going to paint the trim.

She was like: Great. 🙂

So, we thought about taping the carpet but that’s just crazy. It’s expensive. It’s risky. It’s time consuming.



The Mister said he’d take the trim off the walls and we could paint it that way. Which was fantastic because it literally took three coats each!

But then the nightmares started. We’d take it off and then not be able to figure out where the pieces went.

But alas, we devised a plan.

As he took each piece off the wall he left it laying on the floor. Then he carefully marked each piece with: which room it came out of, a number starting from the left and going clockwise, and which side of the room it was on.

This made it so much easier to remember where each piece went when it was time to put it back on.

Now our rooms look fantastic! I can’t wait to share the before and after pictures!



How to remove carpet, hillbilly style

It ain’t your daddy’s method, or maybe it is.

This is your how-to guide on how to remove carpet that is glued to a cement floor the hillbilly way.

Tools you’ll need:

  • Boxcutter
  • Tow rope
  • Chain
  • Pickup truck (any brand will do, we prefer Chevy, mama prefers Dodge-I have no idea why)

Now just watch this short, easy-to-follow video to see how it’s done.

I’d love to hear about your carpet removal ventures and which brand of pickup truck you prefer!



No hillbillies were injured in the filming of this video.

Easy Cranberry, Almond Biscotti

As promised in a previous post, here’s a step-by-step of how to make Gale’s famous Cranberry, Almond Biscotti.

This is one of my favorite go-to snacks for my family. It’s not loaded down with sugar and shortening, it lasts nearly a week and it satisfies our sweet tooth.

As with most yummy things, start with butter, 4 tablespoons this time. It’s best if it’s at room temperature.

Add one cup of sugar.





Cream the two together.

Add two teaspoons of almond extract.

And 3 eggs.

Mix it all up.

In a separate bowl dump in 3 cups of flour.





Add in 2 teaspoons of baking powder,

and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.





Mix it up with a whisk.

Then add it to the wet mixture in three batches, mixing it up in between.

Until it looks like this:

Measure out 3/4 cup of dried cranberries,

and 3/4 cup of slivered almonds.



Wait, those aren’t slivered, those are whole almonds! I know. I’m cheap, I mean frugal. So I chopped them.

Add them to your batter and mix them up.





Sprinkle a clean surface with flour.

Drop the batter on the flour.

Smooth it out and cut it into two separate halves.

Then roll each half in into a 3″ by 12″ log.

Sprinkle with sugar, decorator’s sugar, if you have it. And gently press the sugar into the mixture.

Bake at 350 on a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper.

After about 25 minutes check them to see if they are ready. Your knife should come out clean. If not, put them back in a for a few minutes and check them again.

Once they are ready, put them on a cooling rack.





Once they are completely cool, cut them in 1″ slices.

Place them back on the lined cookie sheet and pop them back in the oven for 8 minutes. Then, take them out again, turn them over and put them back in for 8 more minutes.

That’s it! Biscotti’s that easy!

 

 

 



Bet you’ve never seen this in your shower!

Just on a fluke I turned on the shower yesterday and this is what I found!

What a crazy shower head!

We have to know, have you seen one of these before?

Do you have one?

Where did you get it?

Tell us in the comment section below!

 



9 Tips for removing wallpaper

I’m going to say it. I hate wallpaper. It’s too permanent for my tastes. It’s hard to put on, it’s hard to take off. It dates a house after just a few years. The flipper house has two whole rooms of wallpaper. The dining room and family room. And the people who put it up were very good at it! Here’s my tips for removing wallpaper.

1 Buy a scoring tool. This tool is used to put tiny cuts into the paper so when you apply the water, steam, or chemical to the outside it can get between the paper and the wall to loosen the paper. We’ve had the red one, made by Zinsser, for about a dozen years. And it still works great! Now, we haven’t used it every year but we’ve used it about half a dozen times and it’s still cutting like new.

The orange one, made by WP Chomp, we bought for this job. It lasted about three swirls around. It was junk. We returned it. Spend the extra 12 cents and go with the Zinsser.

2 Buy a scraper. Previously I used a putty knife because I’m so cheap. This week the Mister went behind my back and bought a scraper. And boy am I glad he did. It had a more ergonomic handle than my old putty knife and my hands were very thankful.

3 Rent a steamer. I thought we could get by without one, remember, I’m a cheap skate. But I’m so glad we got our hands on one. It made our work go so much faster! To save on the time we had it, we used it just to get the outside layer off. Be careful with the steamer, follow all the directions carefully. It gets very HOT. I know, Mr. Obvious. 

4 Skip the chemicals and make your own remover solution. I mix hot water and cheap fabric softner together and put it in a spray bottle. I’ve seen some posts that use vinegar. Spray an area, wait about 4-5 minutes, then spray the next area and scrap the first area. Repeat. The recipe I use varies. Usually it’s 1:1 fabric softner and water. As I start to run out of softner the ratio shifts and it still works.



5 Use a drop cloth. Live and learn, you can see we didn’t. We left the tack strips in because we plan to install carpet in this room. It made a huge mess, and this picture was taken after I swept up!

6 Protect your trim. If you don’t cover it, be sure to wipe it down as you work. The water or chemicals can ruin it.

7 Protect yourself. One of my besties was over helping me and she took one look at the walls and said, “you have to wear rubber gloves.” Our walls are heavily tobacco stained. She sited a recent case of a man who was restoring a bar and ended up in the hospital with nicotine poisoning. She’s a doc so it wasn’t some fake news story she read somewhere. It was legit.

8 Speaking of besties. Ask your friends for help. It’s always more fun working with a team than alone. And believe it or not, pealing wallpaper can be somewhat soothing.




9 Gotta have the tunes playing. The old CD player filled the rooms with Michael Martin Murphey’s Cowboy Songs; Mary Mary’s The Sound; Don Henley’s Building the Perfect Beast; and a mix tape featuring old school Newsboys our son made for me. I ventured away from memory lane for a bit to treat my ears to some new AA Sound of the Saints. That’s an incredible record! Their title track features images from their trip to Haiti. It just touches my heart so much. I love and miss our Haitian family.  Perhaps I’ll more about that another time.

What tip did I leave out? I’d love to hear from you!





 

 

Ew, what’s that smell?

Pet urine, that’s what. It’s a good thing this blog isn’t Scratch ‘n’ Sniff, just sayin’.

The last family that lived in the flipper wasn’t, how do I put this politely?, um, they weren’t good about putting Rover and Spot out to do their business. Thankfully the seller ripped out most of the carpets before we bought it, but the smell still lingered.

So, first things first, cover the subfloors with Kilz. After covering the family and dining rooms with a good layer of the magical solution, the smell in the house got so much better. It was a big area, here’s a before picture.

I know what you’re thinking, we must keep that sexy wallpaper!

As you can see, it’s a big area and the house immediately smelled so much better! I was thinking, “maybe that’s the only place we have to worry about.” Um, no. When we walked into the kitchen, it smelled like we were walking into a kennel. Ugh.

We had to do something about the kitchen. Pronto! Stat! Fast! Now!

It had this fantastic laminate tile, at least I think it’s laminate, it might be vinyl, here, see for yourself.

I asked the Mister if we could do the kitchen floor next. I’d need him to help me get that tile up and out of there.

He said, “no, we have a master plan, it will have to wait.” So, wait I did, for FOUR WHOLE DAYS! Then, while the Mister was in the back of the house working on his custom-tiled, master shower, featuring Italian tile, I tossed our plan out the window. I had to get that nasty floor out of the kitchen.

Armed with my mask, a box cutter and a crowbar I pushed play on the CD player and the air filled with vintage Audio Adrenaline. Underdog was one of my first Christian records and is still one of my favorites. But I digress. Squirrel!

Anyway, while he was distracted, I went to work on that floor. Surely the smell couldn’t get any worse.




After I pulled the first two tiles up I couldn’t believe my eyes and nose. The smell got worse. The linoleum underneath was wet! Wet with pet urine! How long had that been trapped in there? Did I mention it was still wet? Ew, yuck, gag!

I was praying the urine hadn’t found a way through to the subfloor and those prayers were answered, whomever installed it did a great job! Our subfloors were safe from the damaging effects of the urine.

Removing the tiles and tearing up the linoleum was hard work but I persevered and I got most of it up. And, the Mister didn’t blink an eye when I enlisted him to help carry out the discarded floor. I think he knew I might not follow all the rules. Bless his heart.