Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Entry Room Re-Do Part 4 or Our Front Door Re-Do

Technically this isn’t really part of the entry room re-do, but it sort of qualifies so it is going to be Part 4 of this series.  Our front door is actually something I really love about our house.  When we remodeled our house in 1996 we took out a non-working sliding glass door that served as our front door from 1985 until 1996 and replaced it with a double door.  The doors themselves are actually fiberglass with glass half windows.  I’ve really enjoyed these doors.  Normally one side opens but we are able to open the other side when needed which is super helpful if we need to move big items in or out of the house.  Even though the doors are fiberglass they have a wood grain in them.  Initially we stained the doors a dark reddish walnut stain and then put several coats of poly on them.  Over the years though they have really taken a beating and they were looking pretty sad.  The poly just can’t stand up to our harsh sun, heat, wind, and blowing sand.  It was actually really wild the difference between the inside and the outside of the doors considering they started out looking the same.

So, as we I started revamping the entry we decided we really needed to start with the outside of the house which meant doing something about those doors.  I didn’t get a before picture…YET AGAIN!  But, I do have several pictures of my house from before so you can see how the doors looked from the outside.  This was actually at Christmas time though so try to pretend that the wreaths and trees are not there right now.  I promise, they really haven’t been up since the week after Christmas!  I really promise!!!!!


Well, the first thing we had to do was decide what we wanted on the doors.  I just didn’t want to go the stained door again because quite frankly it just won’t hold up.  Hot Rod did what he does best, he started the research.  He looked online and found the best paint to use on doors.  It is called Hollandlac paint.  It is a paint made in Holland that is used on all of the doors there.  Apparently it is supposed to hold up to extreme weather for 15 years!  Now, it is not readily available though, and there are just a few places that carry it here in the states.  We actually had to order it from a place in Houston as there was no place in town that had it. 

Now to say this paint is expensive is a huge understatement!  It actually costs $48 a quart!!!!  Yep, you read that right.  Almost $50 a quart.  Not only that but we also bought the entire kit for painting the door which included 2 different kinds of primer, a brush, mineral spirits, and tack cloths.  I know that may seem extreme but I wanted to do it RIGHT!  I followed their instructions to the letter even. 

The first step was to take down the doors.  Yes, you got that right too, we actually took the doors off the hinges to do this process.  I have to give my hubs some credit though, he is a GENIOUS!  He thought of the perfect solution for this little “big hole in the house” dilemma.  Man, my man is so smart sometimes!  He went to the hardware store and bought a 4 X 8 sheet of plywood.  We already had one sheet but needed 2.  He also got 3 – 8 foot 2X4’s and some 10” bolts with nuts.  What he did was lay each piece of plywood sideways against the outside of the door.  Then he put the 2X4’s on the inside of the doors.  He drilled holes through both the plywood and the 2X4’s and put the bolts through them.  Basically what this did was bolt the plywood to the house without putting a single nail hole or mark on the trim of the door on either the front or outside of the door.  This is what it looked like when it was done.  It worked like a charm! 

IMG_4795I think our temporary fix was actually more secure than the doors.  It would have taken some brute strength to break into that!  So, time to work on the doors.  First thing was to clean and sand them.  I used my power sander and 100 grit sandpaper to get off all of the old dirt and peeling poly.  They started like this:


And after sanding they looked like this:


OK, first step down, next step is to apply the first coat of primer.  Since we had fiberglass doors we had this extra step.  Wood or steel doors only needed the one kind of primer but the fiberglass said to use 2 different types.  The first one was a water based primer made especially for fiber glass.  It was white, easy to clean up, and covered very well.  The instructions said to apply this primer with a foam brush.  Silly me, I thought I had TONS of them.  Well turns out I did have tons of them but they were all the same size, a whole 1 inch wide.  We decided to use them anyway.  They wore out quickly so it took about 6 or 8 of them before we finished both doors.  Oh well, saved me a trip to the store one more time.  ha ha ha


I taped off the glass with painters tape but I had decided to do the trim around the window in the same paint as the door so it got the same treatment that the door did throughout the entire process.  We let this primer dry over night. 

Next we sanded the doors again using 220 grit sandpaper.  I used my electric sander again but didn’t apply much pressure at all.  This step is to just remove any particles that dried in the paint and to give the previous primer some tooth for the next coat to hang on to.  Then it was time for the next primer.  This one was an oil based primer and it said to apply it using a brush.  I really don’t care much for oil based paints because they are so hard to clean up so I decided to use an older brush that I would just throw away afterwards. 


We let this coat of primer dry a couple of days actually.  Since it is oil based it needed a little more time to dry.  The instructions said to dry overnight but due to scheduling it was actually a couple of days before I resumed the process.

I sanded it again with 220 grit sand paper, lightly again.  Then it was time for the color.  We had decided to use the black high gloss paint from Hollandlac.  The Hubs and I were actually in a little disagreement over this.  I wanted to paint the doors in the same red that the house is trimmed in but he thought it would look bad to have the doors and the trim the same color so we opted for the black.  The Hollandlac paint is extremely thick, much thicker than any other paint I’ve ever used.  It supposedly has a lot more color particles in it than any other American paint which is why it will last so much longer.  American paints have more liquid in them than paint particles.  The black went on very well and covered better than I could have imagined especially since the primer was such a stark white compared to the black. 

We did 2 coats of the black with sanding in between the coats.  I seem to have not gotten a picture of the black paint when the doors were still on the saw horses, but fear not…I got pictures after we hung them back up.  The only downside I can tell to the high gloss is it does show every imperfection and we do have a few dings and dents in our doors so they do show up.  Still, even with the dents and dings the doors look fabulous!


Hot Rod used this opportunity to replace all of the seals on the doors too, so every part of them got new rubber all the way around.  They seal VERY well now.  Almost too well actually.  It’s kind of hard to open the door now but I’m sure as the bottom seal gets a little more broken in that will ease up.

After hanging them back up it was time to re-install the hardware.  Another slight problem there.  Our doors have been not working for some time.  The doors were actually not “catching” so unless we had the dead bolt engaged the doors would blow open anytime there was any wind.  Hot Rod worked on them a month or so ago and got them fixed, but when he did the dead bolt no longer matched up exactly to the whole so there was not a metal plate, it was just going into the wood.  During our 4th of July party my mom pushed open the door thinking it was unlocked and it tore out the wood completely.  So, we needed to get the wood part that is between the doors replaced and we also replaced the hardware at the same time since the hardware was not working great anyway. 

We replaced the hardware about a month before we decided to paint them and at the time I really thought we were going to go with the red paint, but as you can see we didn’t.  However, I really wanted the oil rubbed bronze look for the hardware so that is what we bought.  Now, the doors are black and the oil rubbed bronze for all intents and purposes is black too.  We were really worrying how they would look together.  Unfortunately I had thrown away the box the hardware came in so I couldn’t just take it back and get the brushed nickel or some other color.  We decided to go ahead and try it and see how it looked.  I actually don’t mind it either.  I mean it does kind of blend in to the door but it looks ok to me.  So, here are the newly painted doors!  I’m very happy with them.




So, my review of the Hollandlac paint is it is wonderful!  I love how it covered and it looks great now.  Now we just have to wait and see if it will indeed hold up to the West Texas wind and heat and dirt for many more years to come!

Now for a little history lesson.  While Hot Rod was researching the paint for the doors he discovered some interesting trivia on the history of painting doors black.  It actually started in the early 1900’s I believe (or it may be the late 1800’s).  Anyway, when King Albert died in England, many of the people in England painted their doors and frames black as a sign of mourning for the loss of their king.  Queen Victoria actually wore only black for the rest of her life in mourning until her death in the 1930’s.  So, if you are ever on Cash Cab or something and they ask how the practice of painting doors black was started you will know! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Summer Table

I thought I would share my summer table centerpiece today.  I am so mad at myself because I did something I thought was really cute but very simple for the 4th and then I didn’t take a single picture of it!  What was I thinking?  I wasn’t that’s what!

But, I just changed things up to give my table a fresh summer look and I really like how it turned out so I thought I would share.  It is super budget friendly too!


This is the finished look, but let’s break it down, shall we?

First of all, I got the cloth on the bottom at an Estate Sale.  It is just a simple linen cloth but it looks very old.  It was a whole $2.00 at the Estate Sale.


Next, is the cloche.  I’ve been seeing all the wonderful cloches around the internet and I really wanted one, I kept looking at the Goodwill and Salvation Army Store, garage sales, estate sales, etc but I just could never find one.  Then it hit me!  Duh!!!!  I have one already.  I had this glass cylinder from an old candle holder table I got a long time ago.  It’s been sitting around collecting dust when it came to me, why don’t I use it?  I can invert it and then I just need to find something to put under it.  I washed it up and it is perfect.


The base was this gold tray I found at the Salvation Army Store.  As you can see from this picture, it was only $2.00.  I liked it because it had those cute birds on it.  It was pretty much the perfect size.  I put the two together and it looked OK!  Yay!  I love it when something comes together like this.  Next I looked for something to go under the glass that looked summery.  I used one of the birds I got for my spring table and it fit!  The colors of the bird ended up working out perfectly for the rest of the tablescape too.


So, now that I found the cloche and got it in place, what next?  I looked at my stash of décor not in use and decided to try this silver candelabra.


It was a little lower than I wanted so I put it on top of this basket upside down.  Then I took a long hard look at it and…I didn’t like it.  I really like silver and gold together but this time I just didn’t care for it.  Off comes the candelabra.  OK, so what else can I use?


When I was putting up the candelabra I spotted this vase.  It is really beautiful.  I got this at the same estate sale where I got the cloth.  It has this beautiful gold trim on it.  It was marked $20 but I got it on the half price day so it was just $10.  It’s still a bit much I know but I think it is very old and the lady told me I got a heck of a deal when I bought it so I think I did ok.  I just gathered some dried flowers and such from around the house to put in the vase.  OK…now what?


Just a little candle holder in the yellow color I’m playing off of.  This was actually used at my daughters wedding a couple of years ago.  OK, so this side is done, now on to the other side…what to put over there?


First I added this old copper pitcher.  I got this at the same estate sale as the other things for just $5.00.  I loved the look of it.  I just added some more dried flowers in it and called it done.  OK…now I just need one more thing to finish it all out.  I looked and looked and then found this…


It’s a simple cracked glass bowl.  It actually has a gold frame for it to stand on but I couldn’t decide if I wanted to use it or not.  I’ve had this bowl forever.  I really can’t remember when I got it, where I got it, or how much it cost, I’ve had it that long.  The problem was when it was on the frame it was almost the exact same height as the pitcher and I wanted it to be a little different in height.  I put it out and left it alone for a day to think about it.  Then it came to me…oh I know what to do to finish this off.  So, off to the grocery store I went. 


A bowl of lemons.  The store had small lemons and large lemons, I chose the small ones.  I put them in the bowl and then decided they looked better with the frame after all.  They are the perfect summer touch.  Not only that but they add a nice lemon scent to the room too.  They were 5 for $1.00 so for $2.00 they are a great addition.  I’m thinking they will probably last a little longer than fresh flowers too and they are cheaper!  WIN! 

So, that’s my summer tablescape.  Let’s take one last look:


Ah!  So summery, light, and fresh.  I think I like it. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Wonderful Dinner at Home

We are in the process of repainting our front door and got started on it this last weekend.  I’ll have a full post about it as soon as we are done to show the entire process of it but suffice it to say I worked pretty hard this weekend!  So, last night it would have been very simple to go out to eat or heat up a frozen pizza, or even order a pizza in, but we were good and actually cooked a great dinner at home.  I thought I would share it with you.  It was delish!!!!!

Our menu consisted of a porterhouse steak that we shared, corn and green chili risotto, and a fresh tomato salad with mozzarella and basil.  So, here goes…

As for the risotto, here is how I made it.  I started by putting a full container of chicken stock in a small sauce pan and put it on the stove covered on low.  Then I drizzled olive oil in a medium skillet with a couple of pads of butter until the butter was melted.  I added one cup of Arborio rice to the skillet and cooked it on medium heat for about 10 or so minutes.  You just basically want to brown the rice.  Once the rice has “toasted” for awhile you add about a half a cup to a cup of good white wine to deglaze the pan.  Continue cooking until almost all of the wine has been cooked off.  Once the wine has been cooked off, you add the chicken stock by a ladle about 1 to 2 ladles at a time.  After the addition of each ladle you stir the rice and let it cook until the liquid is almost gone and then repeat the process until all of the stock is gone.   Depending on how creamy and soft you like your rice you may have to add some additional stock but usually the one quart of stock is sufficient.  At the last ladle I added a cup of frozen corn that I had heated in the microwave along with about a half a cup of green chilis.  Once almost all of the liquid is gone, you add cheese.  I just grate fresh parmesan into the pan to the desired consistency and taste.  I added about a half a cup or so.  Finish the dish by adding one more pat of butter at the last to give it a good shine and taste.  When serving I added fresh cilantro as a garnish (which added quite a delicious touch I might add!).  The end result was AMAZING, even if I say so myself.

For the tomatoes, we had a fresh one from our garden so I sliced it and sprinkled some fresh chopped garlic on top of the slices, then sliced some fresh mozzarella to lay on top of each slice.  Then I laid fresh leaves of basil (from my herb garden on my back porch) on top of the cheese.  Next I drizzled olive oil over everything and then salt and freshly ground black pepper.   

While I was doing all of this, Hot Rod cooked the steak out on the grill.  He marinated the steak before hand with just dry grill seasoning and then simply cooked it on the grill.  Isn’t it amazing that a freshly cooked meal at home is sometimes so much better than anything else you could have done.  Behold, our wonderful fresh dinner:


Friday, July 8, 2011

Would You Buy This?

I’ve been following Junker Newby for awhile now. She has a feature every Wednesday titled “Would you buy this Wednesdays”. Basically she and others post things they bought at thrift stores, garage sales, antique stores, etc and ask if others would have bought it too. Well, I have an entry for her this week.

I was looking over Craigs List for my town and found a listing for an “Antique Art Deco Credenza”. I looked at the picture and fell in love. I emailed her and it had not sold yet. I was amazed because the listing was actually a day or two old. Most of the times when I find something on Craig’s List it is already gone. Well, I made arrangements to go check it out and this is what I found:





OMG! I was in love immediately. First of all this is not a credenza…at all! This is a buffet. I think that was my lucky break! I really think if she would have advertised it as an antique buffet it would have sold immediately! The detail on it is just short of breathtaking. The legs have tons of character and those wooden accent pieces at the hinges are just so pretty.

So, the price? It was $60! Personally I think it was a great deal! The doors and drawers all work. There is no smell to it at all. The only downside is it is in pretty rough shape but very fixable. I’m trying to decide if I want to paint it or sand and stain it again. The hubby actually gave it a 5-6 out of a scale of 1-10. You have to understand my hubby is not the least bit supportive of my junking addiction. He just keeps telling me “why are you bringing that junk into the house?” Well, I think even he can see the potential in this puppy. I really want to fix it up and then use it to put our TV on it in the living room. I’m trying to decide if I want to do that or not. You see if I do go that route I will have to do some altering to fit the other components (receiver, satellite box, and DVD player) where they can still be reached by the remotes.

So, now for the suggestions and comments. Would you have bought this for $60? If so, what would you do with it? Would you let it serve it’s original purpose, that of a buffet in a dining room or would you put it somewhere else? Lastly, would you paint it or restain it? Please tell me what you think. I would really love to hear what others say and don’t worry about hurting my feelings. If you hate it and think I’m an idiot for spending that much on a used piece of furniture that needs work I totally get that and I really do appreciate any and all opinions! Promise!!!!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I Heart New York!

Our family vacation trip this year was to New York.  There is actually a story to just the trip alone.  We planned on going to New York the week between Christmas and New Years and we actually made it as far as Houston before we were stuck due to the blizzards in the east.  Needless to say our trip was cut extremely short.  We ended up just flying back home the next day with plans to reschedule this summer sometime.

Well, a couple of weeks ago we finally made it.  It was myself, the hubs, my daughters, their husbands, and my grandbaby.  We rented an apartment in Murray Hill (28th and 3rd) and it was fabulous!  I definitely recommend going the apartment route if you have not done that before.  Check out homeaway.com, we use it almost all the time now for vacations.  We’ve found that renting a house is just better than staying at a hotel.  But, I digress…

This post is actually about my shopping while in New York.  Let me preface the shopping pictures first by saying I LOVE NEW YORK!  I think this was my 5th or 6th time there and it is never enough.  I love that city so much.  The entire atmosphere is just addicting to me.  The shopping…even more so!

Our first shopping experience was at Century 21.  Now if you’ve never been to New York and you get a chance to go, you should check out Century 21.  It is down in the Financial District and it is amazing.  Tons of designer stuff at rock bottom prices.  I tend to get shoes there mostly but I found a couple of dresses this time too.  Check out what all I got:


These were all very inexpensive.  The most expensive ones were the white beaded BCBG sandals and they were a whopping $29.95.  A price you can’t beat for beaded BCBG shoes! 


Then I found these glitter flip flops.  They are incredibly comfortable and super duper cheap ($6.97) so I bought one in every color: silver, blue, black, and brown.


Lastly I got these ruffled shoes.  I actually lucked out finding these.  They were not on display anywhere but I was looking for my size in another shoe and saw this box and was pleasantly surprised.  They are super cute!


Next, we went up to the designer dress department and I found 2 really great dresses.  The one above is a Marc Jacobs.  It was a little pricey for a discount store ($75) but it fits me like it was made for me and looks so classy on.  I had to go for it.


Then I found this super cute casual dress.  It also looks great on and is just so fun!  It was not bad priced either.  I don’t know what designer it was but the price was $35.00 so I had to grab it up.

That about sums up my shopping at Century 21.  The girls all got a bunch of shoes as well and Brandi found Sidney a few things as well…like the cutest gold Juicy Couture shoes ever!

The next time we went shopping we headed north to Bloomingdales and H&M.  H&M stores are amazing, especially for the younger shopper.  They are really geared towards Juniors but I always seem to find something in there for myself too.  This time I found a great dress!


It is super cute and looks great on too.  I especially liked the price too.  It was $35.00.  There was this darling matching jacket too but they didn’t have my size so no jacket for me.  I found quite a bit of jewelry there as well, all very cheap but very cute.  I wish they had an online store but they don’t.  I hear they are getting one in Dallas soon though so maybe I’ll be able to go a little more than once every couple of years!  Smile

After leaving H&M we walked over to Bloomingdales!  OK..I love this store.  Our first stop once inside was the Louis Vuitton store within the store.  I had already decided before we went that I wanted a real Louis Vuitton purse.  It would be my biggest extravagance!  I looked at all the bags, tried them on my shoulder and my arm and picked out this one…


It was difficult for me to cash out that much money for a purse but hey, you only live once right?  You might as well live in style whenever you can. 

So…the point of this post?  Besides showing off my stuff?  Well, this post just reinforces what I’ve said so many times before…be choosey with how you spend your money.  For instance, this time I bought quite a few pairs of shoes but none were very pricey.  I splurged on the purse that will last forever and will never go out of style.  I mean this style has been around for years and I don’t see that changing any time soon.  The dresses will probably go out of style so I didn’t spend that much on them.  The shoes will also go out of style since they are all very trendy, so again not much money was spent on them.  Once again I bought one very expensive thing but it is a classic and I will have it forever! 

So, have you gone on vacation this year yet?  Did you buy anything super cool?  Please share!!!!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Entry Room Re-Do, Part 3

Well, the entry room is really coming along. I’ve lost almost a month of project time because I’ve just had so much going on and we’ve been enjoying the summer. Well, for the next 2 weekends I will be home so I really hope to accomplish quite a bit in the next 2 weeks. I got a head start on it last week though. We have an annual 4th of July bash at our house every year so I did a few things and finished up a couple of things to make my entry more inviting for the guests. It is still not complete but it’s getting better!

So, the next project I want to share with you is a lamp re-do. I started this with a lamp I bought at Goodwill for $3.50. I really thought I took a picture of it when I bought it but apparently I didn’t. Dang it! I swear from now on I will take tons of before pictures. But this time once again you will have to use a little imagination. The lamp was painted in an Indian Southwest design with a pueblo and an Indian woman on it. Definitely not my style at all. But I really loved the shape of it so I got it with plans to change it with paint.

The first step was to tape off the light fixture and the cord. Then I spray painted the entire thing with Primer


I let that dry completely (overnight). Next I painted the base of the lamp with the color I wanted it to end up…Heirloom White from Rustoleum Painter’s Touch. By far my favorite paint lately.


My plan is to have the bottom be a contrasting color from the rest of the lamp. After I let the white dry, I taped off the bottom of the lamp using painters tape. Turns out I don’t think I let the white dry long enough. When I peeled off the tape later, some of the brown wood color was showing through where the paint came off with the tape. I actually like how it looks though so I’m not going to fix it.

So, after taping off the bottom I painted the rest of the lamp with the color I wanted…


A HOT Turquoise blue! This is the accent color I’m putting in the entry. It looks amazing with the gold, burgundy, and white. I painted the lamp with 2 coats of the turquoise paint and then let it dry. In retrospect I should have removed the tape from the bottom immediately after painting if I wanted to keep it pristine. Oh well, I still like the outcome…


Tada! It is done and I love it. I used the shade that I bought at Ikea last year. I’ve been struggling with this stupid shade since last year because it just wouldn’t work for any known lamp! I have no idea what this shade was supposed to be used for but I had to do some creative engineering to make it work. Oh well, work it did! So, the lamp is finished!

While I was doing the lamp I did another project as well. I made my own display stacking trays. I started with this: 2 glass plates and 2 glass candle sticks bought at the Thrift store for 50 cents each.


The first step I did was to glue it all together. I used E6000 glue and just eyed it for “centerness”. I glued one candle stick to the bottom of each plate. I put them upside down and set a paint of can on each to weigh it down. Then I let them dry.


Next, I put the 2 pieces together by glueing the bottom of the candle stick on the smaller plate to the top of the center of the larger plate. I weighed it down again with the paint can and let it dry.


Now, it’s time to paint. Although, you could just call it done at this point. My husband actually preferred it when it was just the glass but I wanted it a color to coordinate with the entry. So, step one for painting glass is to first spray it with frosted glass spray. This will create a textured surface so the paint has something to cling to.


I had the frosted glass spray in my stash of tools so I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t have to buy it. I have no idea how old this stuff was but it worked perfectly!


I allowed the frosted glass spray to dry and then painted the entire thing with primer first. I’ve finally learned after 49 years that it’s just best to go ahead and prime things before you paint them. I may be a slow learner…but I can be taught! Smile


Once the primer dried, I painted the entire thing once again with the Heirloom White. I painted it right side up first, let it dry for awhile, then flipped it upside down and painted it again from that direction. This allowed me to get to all the hard to reach places.

The final outcome…



So, with both projects now done I started to play with the arrangement. Both items are going on an antique table I have sitting in my entry between 2 chairs. It is actually a drop leaf table but the drops don’t really work all that well so I just use the table as a side table really. I started with adding some balls to the display trays.


Um…ok…it looks alright but just not quite right. Next I experimented with putting something else on the top tray but leaving the balls on the bottom.


Ah, yes…I like this much better. Now to put it all together!


I used a small frame I got at the Salvation Army to “even” things out. Actually it’s really “odding” things out. You know that design rule right, things should be done in odd numbers because they are more pleasing to the eye. So, my table is complete and I’m digging it. Here is a sneak preview of the entire gallery wall now with the table and chairs in front of it. I know, I know…the chairs are just horrible, but they are a future project I promise! I want to get them recovered or to actually try my hand at re-upholstery. But, that will come later. In the meantime, I’m really liking how it’s coming along. Oh, you also are getting a sneak preview of the china cabinet which is currently undergoing a makeover too. (I hope to finish it this weekend so I’ll hopefully have a full post dedicated to it next week)


Now to break down the costs. The cost of the lamp was $3.50. The cost of the plates and candle sticks was $2.00. The cost of the mini frame was $2.00 (kinda pricey actually for a used frame but it was from Pier One and it looks brand new and it matches the décor in the room!). The cost of the primer and paint was about $9.00 (1 can of primer, 1 can of Heirloom White, 1 can of turquoise). The cost of the frosted glass spray was free! (if I needed to buy it though it still had the price tag from Hobby Lobby on it and it was $4.99). I already had the flower arrangement, vase, and cross. So total cost of the table redo was $16.50 and I love it!

What do you think? My sister wasn’t so jazzed about the turquoise color in the room but I actually love the unexpected splash of a different color. I think it just gives the room the added pop it needed.

There is so much more to come…I’m not nearly done with the gallery wall, not by a long shot!