Hard in the paint

One day, I was like Jaymes, guess what, let’s paint 75% of the house.  Jaymes, who hates to paint, but loves me deeply, was like “sure.”


According to Urban Dictionary, to go “hard in the paint” means “To approach a problem, obstacle, or challenge with supreme confidence of success through a commitment to use all facilities available to one’s self to achieve a goal.” And that’s how I try to approach painting.  Be meticulous, take your time, and drop everything else in life to complete your objective.  Not dramatic at all.


When I moved into my house the paint on the walls was in good condition.  I am not one of those unreasonable people on HGTV House Hunters who thinks they shouldn’t buy a house due to paint colors.




There were much other pressing issues to attend to, so I accepted the pinkish beige for the time being.




After accidentally painting my shutters and garage doors varying shades of purple, I decided to proceed with extreme caution. I like my garage and shutters, but this paint definitely looked brown/grey on the swatch in the store.




I spent weeks looking online to find these four shades. I purchased the little pots, and painted large squares on my living room and kitchen walls. Light is different everywhere in your house, so it’s important to factor in lighting too. I was going to do everything right this time around. That was February 17, 2017.



See how different the same shades read on a different wall in different light?!


In July (yes, five months later), and I’m still squinting at the squares. You know, I have always found, that if it is hard to decide, you probably do not the right options. It took me five months to figure out that blue just wasn’t it.


Our home is about 1000 square feet, so I really wanted to have every room be similar shades.  Since the bedroom and the office were already grey, I went with grey instead.  I choose Behr Spun Wool for the walls, and Behr Polar Bear for the trim. Yes, the pun in the color name contributed to its selection.




Pinky beige and grey-beige might not seem like a radical change.  However, paint colors are tricky, and even the slightest change in hue or brightness can make a world of difference.  Paint colors also read much more intense on a 10’x10’ wall than on a 1”x1” swatch.  So just to be sure, I painted the whole wall to confirm that this was it.  Better one wall than the whole house.




Painting doesn’t take that long.  It is the preparation to paint which crushes your morale. This was especially true in my laundry room, which had god awful brown wood things… everywhere.  I don’t have a hatred of wood, but my floors are brown, my cabinets are brown, and my house is tiny.  There was more than enough brown.



I painted over the rainbow striped tile. And the outside of the sink.


After waiting months to paint, I was impatient to get everything done. It took a few days to clean, prime, and caulk everything.  There were a lot of weird gaps in places too that need spray foam insulation, another few days for that to cure.


The I love you but “This shit is taking forever!” face.


In addition to painting the walls, I also wanted to do all the trim and all the ceilings.  Multiple coats and touch ups meant more days. In the end, it only meant our house was a disaster for two weeks. But we got through it, and when it was done, it was really done. I still need to take photos of it all put together, but you can see here how fresh and clean it looks.






Despite some paint drops that still are on the floor today, it turned out well.  I like the calm color, and the cohesion the house has.  Anyway, at the end of the process, I LOVED it.  And Jaymes was determined never to paint again.


“This grey paint looks great! Also, I’m colorblind.”

The End.

How’s it growing?

So I’m a little late celebrating Earth Day (April 22). But in honor of our lovely planet and my very local environment, here’s some updates on how my plants are growing.

On March 30th, I seeded the bald patch of ground where the old porch used to be.

We had done one round of seeding before the one pictured, but the soil had been too compacted for the seed to take properly.

The grass is growing in pretty well (the is from a few days ago). From afar it looks almost filled in. I’m going to do one more round of seeding, and then it’ll be perfectly filled in.

My climbing rose bush is showing some signs of life! If you remember, when I received it it was a bare root; so it basically looked like a sick twig.

I planted it with some food and waited. 10 days later (and plenty of watering and rain), little tiny buds are starting to grow! 

It’s hard to see them because my iPhone isn’t the greatest macro lens. However I am glad that the plant looks like it’s on its way to being alive and healthy! 

Lastly I transplanted a red knockout rose bush from by the front steps to a container in the back yard. After some major pruning and feeding, the plant started blooming immediately. Well one bloom. It still counts! 

I also transferred some “annuals” that actually came back. This whole climate change thing saved me $3.50 on a tray of Verbena. Thanks massive amounts of pollution! I added some extra Petunias, to keep the old plants company. 

So that’s it for now! It’s been raining nonstop the last few days, so it’s prevented us from working out in the yard. 

Making the Bathroom Navy

Older house full of charm + a limited budget = decorating challenges. The tile in the master bathroom definitely needs to chillax. I wanted less high-school gym bathroom and more Apartment Therapy-esque. So to temper the obnoxious baby blue I used color palette of a ship underway. Sky blue and deep navy as far as the eye can sea.  800px-thumbnailThe master bath is 6 feet by 9 feet. The large size combined with the blue tile makes it feel very cold, not homey and relaxing. Dark navy would make the walls seem closer and balance the vivid tile. Battleship grey for grout and fixtures to make it feel cleaner. Bright cloud white for the trim, and maybe some orange accessories when I finally get my shit completely together.And no, those orange cabinets did not stay, I’m talking  pretty orange flowers or vase.943992_10153335101797927_5608474924088904585_nI’ve had a few mistakes in picking paint color. There was the green lemonade color of 2000, Avocado green explosion of 2004, and the Purple cave wall of 2006- just to name a few. A color will look great on a 1 inch chip, but in a whole room the color is weird, overbearing or too intense. Much like online dating, it never is how you imagine it’ll be.

Cat Tax

I get decision fatigue picking a coffee creamer flavor so Behr’s paint color selector is great for me. It breaks down the colors in a manageable fashion, so you’re really only looking ~20 choices at a time. The section that featured the sky blue of the existing tile also featured navy hues. Boom, instant matching. Rather than picking from all the colors ever, I just picked those five to test.  I moseyed on to Home Depot to collect the six or so paint chips in the running, taped those suckers to my bathroom walls and waited.

Paint Color

Any PH worth their salt knows that colors are affected by different lighting situations, so it’s best to give picking a paint some time so you can see how the sun, lights or Febreeze candle affects your paint. 


I wish I took photos of the chip-waiting process, but whatever, I’m just starting this whole home improvement blogging thing. I settled on Behr’s Midnight Blue. Again the chip is deceiving, here it looks gray. But on the walls it looked gray-te. 
Midnight Blue

I chose BEHR Premium Plus because it was shinier and it’s mildew resistant. The existing paint watch patchy and uneven, so I opted for a primer and paint combo. Plus it’s what the paint guy recommended.

recommended by 1 out of 1 home depot paint mixing employees

The grout in the bathroom was “white,” meaning at some point it was probably white. But when I got it it was… not white. So having read YoungHouseLove’s success with this grout stain product, I also selected GroutRenew in Platinum.  The grout staining project is a whole other post. I selected the grout color with the paint to ensure cohesion among all the color choices.


Room Progress (paint only).

So, I like the color I chose and it also accomplished what I set out to do. The rich color makes the room less institutional and tempers the blue tile. The next challenge will be picking a bedroom paint color that goes with this room. But that’s another problem for another day. This painting project took two trips to Home Depot and cost around $60.34 and five days.



So what do you think, does it look like an upside down ocean view? Have you tried to work with ugly tile in your house?

My To-Do List

  1. Choose a color palette for the room
  2. Light test color options, select a paint color for the walls
  3. Purchase paint and supplies
  4. Clear out the room
  5. Remove items attached to walls or cover with tarps and tape
  6. Spackle holes and cracks, sand if necessary
  7. Wash walls with a TSP solution and water to remove dust and grease, let dry for 24 hours
  8. Tape off edges of walls and windows
  9. First coat, cut in with angled brush as you roll to remove brush marks. Let dry for 24 hours. Wrap painted brushes in saran-wrap and store in freezer for next coat.
  10. Second coat, remove tape directly after

Shopping List

  • Trisodium Phosphate Cleaner $3.92
  • 1-Gal. Ultra Pure White Satin Enamel Interior Paint $32.38
  •  Painter’s Tape  $9.42

  • Shortcut 2 in. Polyester Angle Sash Brush $5.47

  • Paint Roller Kit $12.97
  • Other supplies: a ladder, small cup, rag to wipe up drips, good music, old painting clothes

Starting Master Bath Reno


I’ve been concentrating my recent efforts on my master bathroom. MB has got blue tile on the floor and walls, a rather large shower, odd old cabinets, and hazy “crystal” fixtures.

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So first things first, I took measurements of everything in that sucker. Then because lists are awesome, I made a list of things to do.

Master Bathroom Plan

Short Term Projects (this year):

  • remove cabinets
  • frost windows
  • replace vanity light fixture
  • replace vanity mirror
  • paint walls
  • stain grout
  • re-caulk areas around sink and toilet
  • replace light switch, electrical plug
  • paint overhead light fixture, add LED bulbs
  • move shower curtain to a standard height, new curtain
  • paint air vent to match
  • replace faucet, shower handles
  • change shower head

Long Term Projects (1-2 years)

  • add crown molding
  • replace window
  • replace toilet w/ high efficiency toilet
  • replace vanity and sink
  • remove toothbrush and soap dishes
  • replace pocket door, add lock
  • replace water supply shutoff valves

Extreme Long Term (+5 years)

  • Gut it the whole thing and make my dream bathroom, you know, when I win the lottery.


Candle Making

no cookies here

Being the craftmeister that I am, I figured it can’t be that hard to make candles. Just hot wax, some string, and a little ingenuity.

Each of us has a luxury that we’re willing to spend money on. For my friend Fiona it’s shoes, for others it may be a motorcycle or a dog. My cash black hole is definitely my apartment. I will spare no expense when it comes to making my house a home. Which would explain the logic in spending $25.00 on a candle to get my home to smell like, “Luau Party.”

Wait… doesn’t Luau mean party? So basically I dropped an Andrew Jackson on a candle with a redundant name. Ah well, it smells good.

Nevertheless, I like a challenge and as Yankee Candles literally burn my money away this zaftig lady set out on creating her own.

First I did some research, because there’s nothing new under the sun that someone else hasn’t already tried and blogged about. Karrie over at the blog Happy Money Saver had a really good plan so I used her recipe.

Making 50 Hour Soy Survival Candles http://happymoneysaver.com/happy-homesteading-making-50-hour-soy-survival-candles/

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HappyMoneySaver: Badass Homesteading

I have mini hoarding tendencies. I especially feel bad whenever I have to toss something glass and perfectly serviceable in the garbage bin. Therefore the top shelf in my kitchen has a menagerie of jelly jars, glass vases and other translucent receptacles of all sorts. After some inspection I  chose about 7 and tossed the rest. After an hour long soak in hot water and a bit of scrubbing, these babies were good to go for getting their wax on.

top shelf in my house, no liquor just jars



leftover glass jars
hey ladies, it’s nice and warm in here


Ready for Waxin’







Total Cost so far: $0.00 and some elbow grease.

I went on Amazon to scout the rest of the stuff I would need. I bought wicks, 5 lbs of soy wax and essential oils.

I like sandalwood, vanilla, lavender and bergamot. A mix of sweet, woody and fruity; assuming that because I enjoy those scents separately I’d enjoy them mixed. Now, when you’re DIY anything scenty; i.e. candles, lotion, scrubs, you want to buy essential oil, not extract.  Essential oils are much more expensive than extracts, but for good reason. Essential oils are the essence of boiling the plant and seeds together, extract is essential oil diluted with alcohol and other additives. If you want something that really has a lasting smell, oil is the way to go. Extracts should be used for cooking.

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Natural Soy 444 Wax: 5 pound bag: $11.29


Low Smoke 210Z Wicks – 6 inch: 8 dozen Wicks: $9.95


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Sandalwood (Nepal) Best Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil – 5ml: $9.99




Cost of materials: $66.39

Other things I needed: hot glue gun, a pot, scissors, tin foil, funnel and a thermometer. All of which I had in the house, because as aforementioned, I’m a mini hoarder.

Once I gathered all my supplies, thanks Amazon Prime 2-day shipping, I set to get meltin’. 

DSC_0026 DSC_0023DSC_0042To be continued in Part 2.