Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Refinishing A Deck Tutorial

CAUTION: Do not expect to get this project done in one day!

Believe me, I know. It is the eye sore that you just don't want to think about. That nagging in the back of your mind about that barn red paint peeling off the deck. Do I really want to eat this elephant, you say. Come on....just take that first bite. You will find in the end that you have a full stomach that will last 2-3 years!

This was my deck 3 months ago. Lucky for you, the snow is covering the peeling paint and cracking wood that is bound to give someone a splinter someday soon. I use this picture only because it is the only before shot I have. The deck was literally that ugly. I purposefully edited it out of every shot. Too bad this makes the barn red look ok because it was the only place on the entire surface that was left intact. Not ok.

So, my wonderful husband, more for me than for himself told my brother in law that for his birthday, in lieu of presents from my siblings, he would like help with our monster deck. Sweet, kind brother in law, thinking this would be one long Saturday of hard work agreed with a smile.

And our journey (and your deck refinishing tutorial) begins...

Supplies needed:
Able bodied men
Nice weather
Pressure washer
Extension cords
Electric sanders/belt sanders
Rollers (mini and regular size)
Extending roller handle
Paint brushes

1. Start by checking the weather to choose a good date. This is important! You want a week that is neither raining or too hot. TRUST ME! We started on June 6th and didn't finish until July 18th because there was not a week dry enough in between there to stain! When does it ever rain for weeks straight in the middle of summer in drought ridden Utah? Right after we strip our deck to it's bare wood. Sweet.

2. Now that you have a date collect the first three supplies. You can rent a pressure washer at Home Depot for a half day for around $60. Get the smaller, lower pressure one. The other one can really cut in to your wood if you are not really experienced with pressure washers.
3. Clear everything off the deck and either cover the stuff with plastic or place it far enough away that it will not get wet or stained.

4. The pressure washer will do most of the cleaning and sanding for you. Just hook it up and walk along with it keeping the nozzle 8-12" from the wood. Once the deck looks mostly stripped (there can be a few spots where the tough paint remains, that is what the sanders are for) let it dry completely (for at least a day).

5. Now come in with the electric sanders/belt sanders to do the touch ups and remove any extra paint. We were really picky and sanded pretty much the entire deck so the wood would be really smooth and nice to put the stain on. Once again, check the weather! We did the following steps on a 104 degree day. Not so smart.

I saw my poor guys melting at 11 am after one hour of sanding and fashioned this makeshift canopy out of a tarp, a couple stray 2x4s, bungee cords and twine to protect them somewhat. Turns out we would not have been able to stain the deck without this because you cannot stain wood that is over 95 degrees. Yay for the DIY canopy!

6. Sweep the dust from the deck. You could use tack cloth if you want to be a perfectionist. :) We were lazy by this point.

7. Now comes the fun part! No, seriously. After hours of washing and sanding this part really is not that bad. Purchase a high quality stain (you get what you pay for!) We went with Kwal because it was recommended by our contractor friend. We chose to do translucent stain instead of paint stain because it looks more natural and does not peel. You just need to reapply every couple of years. No more sanding every time! Woohoo!

8. We applied the stain to the railings using mini foam rollers (seriously made this part so quick!) and paint brushes (use a good quality brush! We had one from Home Depot and two from the dollar store. We threw out the dollar store ones after 5 minutes) for the corners and underside. We found it worked best to fill a disposable tupperware about 1/4 full of stain so we could be totally mobile. For the floor of the deck we used a roller with an extendable handle so you did not have to kneel or hunch and poured the stain in to a roller pan. We went back along the cracks between the floor boards with a brush to be sure we got in between. Just be sure not to let the stain puddle or it sill turn out sticky! (or so warned the man at the store, I was a puddle stickler, so I cannot testify to this!)

9. Let dry for a bit and go around for touch ups. Let dry for at least 24 hours before any major traffic. Then, have a major BBQ to show off all your hard work!!

I think the name of our stain is Natural brown. It turned out darker than we thought, but once we got the stuff back on the deck I really liked it. See the puddles on the left. That's how you know we did our job. We forgot to turn off the sprinklers and the water was repelled less than 24 hours later. And now we don't have to think about our deck for another couple of years! Yay!

Sorry about the terrible pictures. My friend Quinn is going to teach me how to take good pics sometime soon. :)

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Dress Up a Brown Bag for a Gift

This is such a simple idea which is what makes it so great. All you need to make this cute bag is a brown paper sack and a scrap of scrapbook paper. My friend got this at her baby shower and I thought it was so smart. Sorry it is so hard to see, but it has a piece of cute blue baby paper the plain brown bag.

It would be so easy to have a stash of brown bags and then just personalize them with scrapbook paper based on the occasion, birthday, baby or bridal shower, etc. Love it. (Thanks Tami!)

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Feature Friday-Life at Eventually Cottage

Our Feature Friday this week is Dawn from Life at Eventually Cottage.

I found Dawn's blog a few months ago and immediately fell in love with her cookie sheet tray (don't worry, I'll share later). Dawn resides in Hudson Valley area of NY and has been transforming an 1850's carriage house in to a cozy little cottage. I will take you on a whirlwind tour of some of her budget home decor tips. The transformations are to come, but for now, let's get started with the one minute interview:
  • What is your favorite crafting tool or secret weapon? Ooh, do I really have to pick just one? Yikes, I have so many favs! I guess it would be a tie between Mod Podge and Rustoleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover 2X spray paint. I've just discovered this fabulous spray paint! It's AMAZING! It covers lickety-split and comes in some gorgeous colors!!!
  • What is your favorite piece of d├ęcor in your house? Definately my trash-to-treasure radio cabinet!!! I absolutely love that piece!
  • What is your best piece of tween/teen advice for everyone with kids entering this phase? Yikes! I've yet to figure this one out! Consistancy and sticking to your guns, I'd say. Don't let them break you!!! If anyone has any other advice on this subject, I'd gladly listen!!!
  • What is in the cup holder of your car? Some change, a gas station receipt, and an empty Dunkin Donuts coffee cup.
I love a woman who can decorate her home dollar store style. It makes the cheapo in me squeal in delight. Check out the beauties below from Dawn's Frugal Friday post. Each project cost less than $5, be still my heart!

Now for the tray that was love at first site. I mean come on, this tray was a Dollar Tree cookie sheet. If you can paint and stamp you can do this!

I love when people take the Trash to Treasure challenge and make ew things turn in to ah things! Dawn found this old radio cabinet by the side of the road and gave it a beautiful makeover.

Had enough, too bad! ;) I just had to show these before and after shots of her bathroom door and porch light re-dos. First off, the bathroom door...



I am particularly in love with the fact that she spray painted the doorknob!! Why this never crossed my mind, I don't know. I have slowly been buying new door knobs as I could afford them to replace the ugly brassy ones in the house. DUH. Why not instead buy a can of spray paint for the same price as one knob and give them all a facelift. This is why I love you guys! You give me those light bulb moments!

And the same thing with the ugly porch light. Again, we replaced out hideous lights. Why did I not think of this?!



This next bit is Dawn's room reveal. She tells you where she got each piece and some of them may surprise you or make you want to sift through other people's unwanted stuff. Bet you can't guess where that white cabinet came from. It is her cousins old hutch top. AMAZING!

Is it possible to have a crush on someone's house?

Great ideas Dawn! You are now entered in to the Hall of Fame as Tipster of the Week!

Also, just as an FYI I will be on a pioneer trek all next week and for some reason they do not get wireless in a handcart in the desert of Wyoming, so I am planning on scheduling some posts so you will not get lonely. I warn you of this fact in case for some reason the scheduling goes haywire and you don't hear from me for a week. If you don't hear for me for 2 weeks please send help! ;)

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ode to the Pioneers-Make Your Own Butter

We had a Family Home Evening on Pioneers (preparing for trek next week) the other night and as our activity made our own butter. I thought I would share this just in time for Pioneer Day the 24th! I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but it was great and it entertained my husband and nearly 20 month old son for a good 15 minutes.

All you need to make your own butter is:
  • A baby food jar (we only had the big ones, but I think the small ones would work better)
  • Whipping cream-a half pint should suffice unless you have a big family or want a lot of butter.
Just give each family member a jar (we just did one jar because I wasn't sure how the attention spans would last) and fill it 1/4 to 1/2 full of whipping cream. Then, shake, shake, shake, until it is the consistency of whipped butter. If there is liquid, just keep shaking. It will be really soft unless you put it in the fridge.

I made cornbread (from a mix) to go along with it and my boys LOVED it! We ate the whole pan.

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Sports Baby Shower-Games/Prizes

Here it is, the last post in the Sports Baby Shower series. Today we are talking games or to be more accurate, game. Since I did an open house style shower and I find most people aren't much in to games anyway I just had a couple of things to keep the guests involved.

First off, we have the basketball belly guessing game. Don't worry, I cleared this with the mommy-to-be beforehand. All they have to do is guess the circumference of the mommy to be's belly. Here is a generic basketball belly game sheet if you would like to use it. I wanted to put a pic of the mommy (she got really cute maternity pics) by this sheet, but once again my printer was out of ink. It was funny to see what people guessed.
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Click on thumbnail to view full size

The three closest guessers won one of these cute water bottles filled with candy. I found the bottles in the Target dollar section.

We also had a cute soccer ball book for all the guests to sign with their "pep talk." I got it at Hobby Lobby. I thought it would be great to turn in to a brag book later. If you do this, you may want to pull the pages out of the plastic. Some of our guests accidentally signed on the plastic not the paper. And why not put the pens in a bowl inside a baseball mitt?

That's it! You have had the full tour of our Sports Baby Shower, but how could this series be complete without a pic of our cute mommy modeling one of her baby boy's fun gifts?!

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Sports Baby Shower-Food

Continuing on with the Sports Baby Shower series with today's ideas on food. There are so many ways to go with this, but here is what we did:

I decorated the table using a red plastic tablecloth. Then I added a rectangle of All Star wrapping paper from the dollar store. Then, to tone down the crazy print, I added a red cloth napkin. I borrowed the 3 tiered plate stand from the mommy to be. :)

We had yummy fruit (Thanks Tami) and veggie trays along with some lemon frosted cookies our sweet friend (Krista) brought. We also had some chips and mango salsa in a football shaped bowl I bought for the Superbowl.

I had seen some cute football field dip like this in the fall, but wasn't sure how they did it so I kind of made this one up. It is basically 3 layers of 7 layer dip. I had people ask for the recipe (this one's for you Jenna!) so I guess it turned out good! The recipe is as follows:

Football Field Chip Dip

3 avocados
Onion Powder
Garlic Salt
1 can refried beans (I used Taco Bell Fat Free)
1/2 packet taco seasoning
1 small tub sour cream (I used Kroger reduced fat)

Spread beans in the bottom of a small rectangular pyrex dish (mine was 2.75 qt about 7 in x 9in). Then, take a scoop of sour cream and put it in a ziploc bag for later. Mix the remaining sour cream with the 1/2 packet of taco seasoning (or, to taste). Spread this over the beans. Next peel the avocados into a bowl and smash with a 2 or 3 dashes of garlic salt and a 2 or 3 dashes of onion powder (you can use garlic powder and onion salt). Spread this over the sour cream layer covering completely. This is your football field. Now, take the sour cream you put in the ziploc and snip a little hole in the corner of the bag. Grab like a frosting bag and line the field.

To make the goal posts, I used toothpicks stuck together with super glue.

I made some cupcakes with sport ball cupcake liners and printed off four different sports balls that I taped on toothpicks for the toppers.

What sporting event would be complete without a popcorn machine? I was so lucky that my neighbor, Janet, brought this fun addition!

Last, but not least, we had a crock pot for mini sloppy joes on rolls made by my wonderful friend Loleta! I forgot to take a pic of this, but there was a cute red/white checked napkin in the roll bowl. ;)

There were a few food items that I thought would be fun for a all star sports themed baby shower, but ran out of time/funds.
Cotton candy
Water bottles with personalized labels (had the bottles, but could not print labels because my printer ran out of ink)
Peanuts with shell on
Giant sub sandwich
Pigs in a blanket (1/2 hot dog wrapped in croissant dough and baked)

So that's it for food. My biggest tip for a successful shower with wonderful food...delegate, delegate, delegate! Stay tuned for one more fun post in the Sports shower series!

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Feature Friday-Photo Studio B (Giveaway)

Today's Feature Friday is Brett from Photo Studio B. If memory serves me right Brett is the first male to be featured! Don't worry Brett, we don't bite (unless you are holding the last piece of turtle cheesecake, then I make no promises). Brett is a family friend I have known for almost two years now. He recently took our family photos and I could not help but share! They turned out amazing! The pics and *a giveaway* are coming up soon, but let's get things rolling with the one-minute interview.
  • What is your favorite crafting tool or secret weapon? Photoshop
  • What would be the one piece of advice you would give us moms out there trying to capture great shots of our kids? Don't be afraid to take lots of pictures! You can always delete the bad ones. I do! & Don't be afraid to change the settings on your camera & play around.
  • If there was one thing about men you wish women understood what would it be? Men can be creative too.
  • What/who was the subject of your favorite photo ever? My daughter at Snowbird
  • Toothpaste: are you a tube squeezer or a tube roller? I squeeze until I can't get anything, then roll to get more.
Here are a few of Brett's favorite shots from his portfolio:

Ever wonder how to lock your blog photos so people can't steal them? Brett gives you the html code to lock the photos on your blog.

The thing I loved most about our recent shoot was that it was so much fun! It wasn't stress about keeping my crazy little guy still or making sure every one's eyes were open, it was just us having fun and being a family. The fact that my little one is so curious just added to the opportunities for great pics. This is the way I want to remember us, laughing and loving each other.

Here are some of my favorites from my shoot with Brett (sorry there are so many, it was hard to decide!):

If you are wondering...How can I get in with this guy. Well, since you are all my close bloggy friends, I will tell you. Brett does 1 hour sessions for a session fee of $50, but he has agreed to waive the fee until August 31 so you guys can give it a whirl! You know how I love free! The cd of your shoot (20-40 images) with printing rights is only $75 (they wanted $99 for this in addition to the other fees when I got my sons pics at Target). See more details on Brett's Photo Studio B page.

I know, I know, you are all wondering what the giveaway is. Well, Brett has been so awesome to offer one 1/2 hour photo session for FREE! Yep, free. And I will be throwing in a free 8x10 print of the photo of your choice. Woohoo!

And now for the fine print nitty gritty details of the photo shoot giveaway:
  • Must be in or willing to travel to Salt Lake City, UT area (sorry out of towners)
  • 1/2 hour session
  • Up to 6 people in shoot
  • Will receive a cd with 20 high res pictures and printing rights!
To enter, leave a comment on this post listing which of Brett's shoots was your fave (listing mine will not give you better chances, but it will make me feel warm and fuzzy inside). The deadline is Thursday, July 23rd.

For extra entries:
  1. Become a follower, or list if you already are one, in a separate comment.
  2. Post about this giveaway on your blog and then leave a comment with the direct link to your post.
  3. Book a shoot with Brett before the contest deadline and leave a comment that you did so.
Great shots and giveaway Brett! You are now entered in to the Hall of Fame!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sports Baby Shower-Decorations

Here's the 2nd quarter of the Sports baby shower series, decorations. I had a ton of fun with this part! I thought I would have to round up some sports equipment from my neighbors, but found I had a lot more than I thought. You can probably decorate for the most part with things you already own.

First off, to stick with the theme from the ticket invite I printed off signs to go around the house and give it that stadium feel. The Portal 3 sign went over the front door and you'll see where the rest went.

I put the general admission sign on the sliding door to the deck in the back in case we needed an overflow area for people to chat.

The following are in the front room where the mother to be was sitting to greet all the guests and open her gifts. She is a Packer's fan and luckily I had purchased this little shirt a few days earlier for my little guy because that is my maiden name.

You've seen much of this display before. The baseball bat was left from the people who lived here before us and home plate came from a pack of foam baseball plates I bought for my little guy from the dollar store a while back. I hung section 3T there because that is right above where our mommy of the hour sat.

A pair of my little squirts shoes, hubby's basketball, and a teddy wearing some sweat bands hubby got free at a Jazz game.

Now, we move to the kitchen.
I did buy these balls at the dollar store thinking I could use them for something at the shower. I combined them with some star curling ribbon I bought for the 4th and there was a little something something to hang above the food. (Just ignore the ugly light fixture and the fact that I made one of the covers crooked while hanging the balls.)

I bought this little chalkboard a few months ago from D.I. for like $2 for the playroom.

I think this is my very favorite part! I have to admit I still have the baseball and golf ball decor on my kitchen table. I got the vase on the left and the blue glass stars at the dollar store. The people who lived here before us left the baseballs, golf balls and bat from before (used a magic eraser to make them bright and clean). I had the other vases and scraps of ribbon. Stole some more golf balls and tees from my hubby's golf bag and made the basketballs from oranges using a sharpie permanent marker.

I had so much fun shopping my house for this one! I had so many ideas that I ran out of time! What other things do you have around you could use for an All Star Baby Shower?

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