Deep thoughts on DIY from the dog

I’m excited to share that I’m now a regular contributor to ThatMutt.com. This gives me an outlet to write about dog training, care and of course my favourite dude, Baxter. You can read all of my posts at ThatMutt here. My latest post went up on earlier this week. A slight variation is below.

“I’d help you put up those curtain rods, but I don’t have a drill.”

Uh-huh? What about no thumbs, no vertical reach and a tendency to spend most of your time asleep, dude?

Baxter installing curtain rods

“You think a paintbrush makes up for not giving me a drill? This pooch likes power tools, lady.”

Baxter and his paintbrush

“Oh, and you made fun of my thumbs and my height. You’re on your own for painting that mirror. This is what I think of your paintbrush.”

Baxter avoiding painting

“Ahhhh… dreamland, where doggies have drills… and thumbs.”

Baxter dreaming of not painting

With Baxter’s help (or perhaps despite it), the guest room is now done. The reveal is coming up next.

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Distressed about distressing

I was face-to-face (face-to-seat?) with the chair. I had spent days painting it, working my brush around every spindle again and again. The old brown stain had been replaced with a warm white finish.

White painted wooden chair

But I was about to change all that. Or I would if I could bring myself to step towards the chair.

I had a piece of sandpaper in my hand, and my plan was to rub it over my freshly painted chair making it look older and a little bit worn.

“Do I really want to do this?”

“If it doesn’t work or I mess it up, I’ll have to paint the chair again.”

“But remember the vision.”

My vision for the guest room is to embrace a bit more rustic style. A slightly shabby chair would fit in better than a perfectly painted one.

I lifted the sandpaper and got to work.

Distressed painted wood chair

The end result looks okay, I think. Definitely more interesting than the plain white chair. I’ve never been a shabby chic person, so I’m still adjusting to this look. Now that the guest room is coming together, though, I feel like the chair fits in.

Distressed painted wood chair

The plan for the weekend is to focus on the curtains, which are pretty much the last to-do for the guest room aside from some more accessorizing. I should be sharing the finished space with you soon.

Have you ever distressed furniture? Did it make you nervous? Are you a fan of the shabby chic style? What causes you anxiety when you’re making over furniture?

Finishing up the deck

I’m pleased to welcome Sarah in Illinois back to the blog. Today’s post is full of the things I love: a big doggie, country views and a great DIY transformation. Take it away, Sarah.

One of Steve and my favorite places to relax is on our deck. The summer of 2013 we drew up plans and built a large deck off the back of our house. There are some things about the deck that we wish we had done differently, but overall we are very happy with it. (Hello, Treu!)

Deck with Treu

We had done a little research on how to protect it. One thing that we had read was to wait a year to put any sealant on it.

We chose to wait even longer. The boards we used were very green. That is, they had a lot of moisture in them. This was obvious when we installed it, but it also showed up over time as the boards warped more than we had liked as they dried.

This year I decided that it was time to get at least one coat of sealant on it. The thing was, after two years, the deck was very dirty and stained. I believe this was a combination of normal use, stains from the grill, mold from moisture and just pollution in the air.

Deck railing before

So I chose to clean it first. It took just a little bit of prep work. I have two unbelievable huge and beautiful mums, so I made sure to drape plastic drop cloths over them to keep the cleaner off of them. The deck wash I purchased was a bleach base and it worked like a charm for cleaning the deck.

Cleaning the deck

I bought what I believed to be enough based on the square footage that it said it covered. This was way off. I ended up needing double the amount. I think that part of the reason was that maybe the square footage listed did not take in account the railings. But I am sure it also had to do with how heavy I sprayed it on the wood.

I used a hand held pump sprayer to apply the cleaner, then I used a broom to lightly scrub trouble spots, and finally I sprayed it off with a garden hose. This was easily a one person job and if I had had enough cleaner would have taken just one afternoon.

Then I let the deck dry for a couple weeks. I wanted to make sure not to trap any moisture in with the sealant.

Deck before and after cleaning

When it was time to seal the deck, it took more prep work and took two people. Steve and I used the same hand pump sprayer to apply the sealant. We found the method that worked for us was for Steve to spray the railings, then the floor and for me to follow up with a brush and smooth any drips and puddles. We wanted to make sure we put a heavy coat on, but we wanted it to be fairly even.

Applying sealer to the deck

The sealant was much messier than the cleaner. It got everywhere–on us, on the siding, and even oversprayed to my nearby herb garden. We are planning to reside the house in the next year when our addition is finished, so I was not too upset by the overspray on the siding, but I sure wish I had harvested my basil and oregano before we got started.

We feel the deck needs at least one more coat of sealant for us to be happy with it. But since harvest has started, it looks like it is going to be next spring before that gets done.

In the meantime, I am so happy to have the first layer of protection on it. The cooler weather is just begging us to come out of the house and relax!

Deck with mums

What a great outdoor space, Sarah. Those mums are amazing. I’m always so impressed by how wood can be restored with a good cleaning and a bit of work. Good job. I hope you get to relax outside and enjoy it.

Anyone else have tips to share about restoring wood? Have you ever stained a deck? Who else has had a project that’s taken a bit longer to complete than planned?

Add just a shade of grey

I absolutely did not know what colour I wanted to paint the master bedroom. Something light and soothing? Maybe a shade of green or grey? Was this my moment to finally just go with white?

If you take a look at my master bedroom Pinterest board, you’ll see I was all over the map.

When I finally settled on navy blue, it was a snap decision. There was no sampling, no questioning, not even a paint chip. I walked into the hardware store and asked for a can of Hale Navy.

I’d seen it on a couple of other blogs. I liked all of the rooms I’d seen it in. Might as well give it a try.

But when I opened the can, I wasn’t sure. It looked so grey! I thought I’d chosen blue!

Now that the room is painted, I couldn’t be happier with the colour, and I’ve learned an important lesson. Whatever colour you’re thinking of, go a little bit grey.

This insight isn’t anything new. Young House Love did a great post a couple of years ago showing how the colour you envision might not turn out the way you think it will once it’s on your walls.

However, experiencing it myself in front of my own eyes was different than reading about it on my computer screen. I’m going to share my lesson on your computer screen nonetheless.

Here’s the Hale Navy chip from Benjamin Moore’s website. Very grey to my eye.

Benjamin Moore Hale Navy

Here’s the paint on my brush. Still very grey in my opinion.

Benjamin Moore Hale Navy

And here’s the paint on the wall. Thanks to natural light and the vagaries of photography, this looks very blue. (Ignore the random furniture. We haven’t set up the room yet, so we’ve just stuffed some of the guest room furniture back in the room. Although I do love how the wood desk pops against the blue).

Benjamin Moore Hale Navy

Here’s the paint up against the bright white trim. This is a bit truer to how Hale Navy looks IRL.

Benjamin Moore Hale Navy

We’re plodding along ever so slowly on our master bedroom makeover. With my promise to be more flexible this year, I haven’t set any deadlines for myself. But that means we’re still a little ways away from moving into our new room. Here’s where we’re at:

  • Buy a new bed
  • Remove popcorn ceiling
  • Patch ceiling and walls
  • Paint ceiling, trim and walls
  • DIY a headboard
  • Relocate light switch
  • Replace light fixture
  • Make/find window treatments – In progress
  • Paint dresser and replace hardware
  • Refresh dinged up closet doors
  • Decorate and personalize

Do you have any projects on the go right now? How are you doing on your 2015 to-do list? Do you have any tried and true strategies for picking paint colours?

Summer project report

Take a journey with me back to February, would you?

Don’t worry. You don’t have to actually go back to the time of snow and cold and dark.

Just remember back in February when we painted the foyer, kitchen and hallway.

Hallway painted Benjamin Moore Abalone

Now let’s go back a little bit further to January when I posted my 2014 Home Goals, and I said I wasn’t going to paint the living room this year.

Well, I lied… kind of.

The kitchen, hall, foyer and living room all run together, so I planned to paint them all the same colour. Knowing that I wanted to set up my bookshelves this year, back in February Matt and I painted one wall of the living room–the wall I planned to put the bookshelves on. I figured once my shelves were set up and full of books, I wouldn’t want to take everything down again to paint behind them.

So the living room has looked a little bit like this for the past six months. Stylish, I know.

Half-painted living room

Well, the thing is, when I started the bookshelf makeover this month, I realized that if I put the shelves where I originally planned, we wouldn’t have room to walk around the couch and into the dining room. I decided to put them on the opposite wall. A wall which was unpainted. Whoopsie-doodle.

So my August project report goes something like this.

  • Put the bookshelves that had gotten damaged in the move back together.
  • Took the big fat bookshelf apart, cut it in half and rebuilt two new sets of shelves.
  • Added iron-on edging to the new shelves where I needed to.
  • Stripped the paint off the TV stand.
  • Raised the TV stand by half an inch and added trim around the bottom.
  • Painted the TV stand.
  • Realized I was going to have to paint the living room.

Here’s some evidence that I did actually do some work on the bookshelves.

Steps in my bookshelf makeover

Despite my progress, the bookshelves are kind of on hold right now. They’re all set up in the guest room ready to be painted. However, I’ve shifted my attention to the living room.

The prep process is exactly the same as what we had to go through for the hallway:

  • Pull out nails where pictures were hung.
  • Take off cover plates.
  • Sand the incredibly rough walls.
  • Patch holes and divots.
  • Wipe down the trim.
  • Paint the trim.
  • Prime the walls.
  • Paint (two coats).

The living room is both simple and complicated to paint. Complicated because it’s a vaulted ceiling that requires a big ladder to reach the top of the wall. Simple because on the two walls I’m painting, there is an archway on one and a patio door on the other. The actual wall space is minimal.

And yes, you read that correctly. I am painting only two walls. Of the four walls in the living room one is already painted (as you saw) and the other contains the fireplace. I am not painting around the fireplace until we’re done whatever we do with the fireplace.

So my August project is another bit of a fail. I did manage to get the TV stand completely finished though. I’ve put it in place, even though we’ll likely have to move it when we paint. I had to finish something this month.

TV stand before and after

What did you accomplish this month? Have you ever gotten mid-way through a project and only to find your to-do list has grown?

How to refurbish a ping pong table

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, so today’s post is all about something green. Our new(ish) ping pong table.

Refurbished pingpong table

This ping pong table was a bit of an experiment. We found the top (in two pieces) in the barn when we first moved in. It was pretty dirty and had even been pooped on by the swallows that live in the barn.

I am always optimistic, so one day last summer, I dragged the two halves outside. I have no idea how I managed to move them by myself because each piece is extremely heavy. I haven’t been able to carry them on my own since. I scrubbed with a brush and sprayed with the hose until all of the poop and dirt (and a fair portion of the original green paint) washed away.

Damaged pingpong tabletop

Matt did not share my optimism that the table could be rehabilitated. That night he tucked the pieces deep into a corner of the driveshed. I have no idea how, though, because the tabletop is heavy even for him to move on his own.

Despite his lack of enthusiasm for the project, Matt did help me carry the top into the house. Then, one weekend while he was out of town, I went to work.

This project was a total experiment, and I’m sure ping pong purists out there will be horrified. But (spoiler alert) everything worked out, so I’m sharing my technique with you.

There were two big issues with the table: 1) We had no legs to go with the top. 2) The top itself was not in great shape.

The leg issue was easy to solve with six trestle style legs from Ikea (Lerberg).

Ikea Lerberg legs for a pingpong table

The top took a little more effort.

I started with a coat of fresh white paint over the lines. After sleeping on it for the night, I realized I really should have sanded the top first, so the next morning I basically started all over again. I sanded down the top, which was not an indoor task. Sanding resulted in a fine green powder over the whole room–not the best scenario with our nice light carpet. There was a defined line between where the drop cloth had protected the carpet and where the green dust had floated beyond the drop cloth’s reach. I was very glad Matt was not home to see the mess I had made.

Refurbishing an old pingpong table

The Shop Vac erased the green mist, and I was able to get back to the painting.

White paint went on again, and, then once it was dry, I taped off the lines. Since painter’s tape doesn’t come in ping pong line widths, I had to very carefully trim it.

Cutting painters tape to narrower width

Then the tape got a quick coat of white paint to seal it, and after some drying time I moved onto the green. Since I wasn’t sure if this was actually going to work, I used some regular latex paint that we had left over from Matt’s office. It’s Manor Green from Benjamin Moore in case anyone’s interested.

Refurbishing an old pingpong table

The green took about three coats, I think. On the final coat, I carefully peeled off the tape to reveal the white lines. Some of the white flaked off (I think giving the white more time to dry, or even doing two coats would have been helpful).

Refurbishing an old pingpong table

Chips aside, the finish was a massive improvement over the table’s previous state. In fact, Matt was so impressed when he arrived home that he started to think that maybe I wasn’t entirely crazy in wanting to save the table.

So now I had a tabletop and I had table legs. How to put them together?

Refurbishing an old pingpong table

It turned out that the Lerberg legs are a bit shorter than regulation ping pong height of 30 inches–hey, I have some standards. Using a few 2x3s and my Kreg Jig I built a frame to attach to the underside of the tabletop.

Using a Kreg Jig to screw 2x3s together

I screwed the frame to the tabletop… or at least to one half. The top ended up being too unwieldy and heavy as one big piece, so I didn’t screw everything together. We set the top on the frame and the frame on the legs, and we think each piece is heavy enough to stay in place on its own.

Frame for the underside of a pingpong table

The six Lerberg trestles mean the table is very leggy. However, we really needed the support in the middle of the table as well as at each end.

We got a very simple cheap net at Walmart. It’s called an “everywhere table tennis” from EastPoint, and we just clipped it onto the table. Again, I wasn’t sure that this refurbishment was actually going to work, so I didn’t feel the need to invest in a professional net.

Anywhere table tennis net by East Point

With the table set up, Matt broke out the paddles, tapped one of the balls across the net, and it bounced. It worked! We had a functional ping pong table.

I had no ping pong skills, but after a week of daily practice, I’ve improved a lot. I finally won a game against Matt yesterday (he also may have let me win one). My ping pong prowess aside, refurbishing the table was a definite win.

Have you ever rehabbed a piece of furniture that seemed beyond hope? Anyone have any ping pong pointers? How are you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?

February goals wrap up report (and a reveal)

It’s the last day of February and time for the final report on how we did on our goal for the month of painting the main floor hallway, foyer and kitchen.

Want a sneak peak?

Hallway painted Benjamin Moore Abalone

Yup. We have light fixtures, art and fresh paint. Hallelujah.

Just for a reminder, here’s a look back at how this project unfolded over the month:

Progression of painting our hallway

Heading into last weekend, the final task on our list was installing light fixtures. I chose school-house type fixtures from Home Depot (a complete source list is below). There were lots of options through their web site, and these were about the cheapest. I love how the dark oil-rubbed bronze contrasts with the light coloured walls, our pristine white ceilings and echoes the dark tones of our picture frames.

 World Imports Luray Collection Oil Rubbed Bronze 1-Light Semi Flush mount

The light fixtures came in both a semi-flush mount, which I used in the hall, and in a pendant, which I used over the island. I love these lights and have wanted to use them for awhile. They have so much more personality than the boob lights that were there before, and I think they work very well with our casual country setting.

 World Imports Luray Collection Oil Rubbed Bronze 1-Light Pendant World Imports Luray Collection Oil Rubbed Bronze 1-Light Pendant

The final task on our to-do list was also where we fell off schedule a little bit. If I zoom out a little bit you’ll see that we’re still missing one light fixture in the foyer. I’m DIYing this one and need just a bit more time to pull it together. This angle also gives you a glimpse of the kitchen, hallway and foyer all together.

Hallway painted Benjamin Moore Abalone

This one miss aside, I’m declaring February’s project a success.

For us, a month was a realistic timeline to completely transform these spaces. My schedule worked really well to keep us on track. I kept a rough tally and for just the painting, we spent about 25 hours. We worked steadily but didn’t stress ourselves out trying to get it all done too quickly. I’ll definitely be mapping out monthly goals again.

The main floor feels fresh and new. Having Matt’s grandpa’s paintings on the walls really makes the space feel like ours. I’ve fallen even more in love with my house.

Anyone else go through a transformation this month? What did you accomplish in February?

Source list:
Wall paint: Abalone from Benjamin Moore (75% intensity)
Trim paint: Cloud White from Benjamin Moore
Light fixtures: Luray Collection Oil Rubbed Bronze 1-Light Semi Flush mount (this one doesn’t seem to be available online anymore) and Luray Collection 1-Light 34-5/8 in. Hanging Oil-Rubbed Bronze Pendant both by World Imports through the Home Depot
Paintings: Family heirlooms painted by Matt’s grandfather

Progress report 2

Another Friday, and time for another update on how we’re doing with our February project of painting the foyer, hallway and kitchen.

We have colour!

Hallway painted Benjamin Moore Abalone

It’s subtle, but I promise it’s there.

Just to remind you, here’s how the hallway has looked throughout this month.

Progression of painting our hallway

And here’s how the colour stage went down.

Thank goodness for three-day weekends
Two coats of the colour took longer than I expected, but, like everything else that’s been on the to-do list so far, we finished it, and we are on schedule.

Tag, you’re it
Painting at our house is a game of tag, as I cut in and try to stay ahead of Matt who handles the rolling. On the first coat, he caught me quickly. Cutting the ceiling, baseboard, nine doorways and the kitchen meant that I was extremely slow.

I was so glad I made the decision to take off the chair rail. I would not have been happy if I’d had to do more cutting.

On the second coat, Matt didn’t even start rolling until I finished edging the hall and the kitchen. This timing ended up being perfect, as we finished at exactly the same time.

Scraping the bottom of the bucket
We had just enough paint. I bought two gallons, even though Matt thought three might be better. We were probably a bit stingy towards the very end of the second coat, but I still think we have a good finish on the walls… and less than 200mL of paint leftover.

Left over paint

Change it up
We chose Abalone, a popular neutral shade from Benjamin Moore. I find this colour very changeable, which I like. At night with the lights on it looks very grey. In the morning with the sun shining in the windows, it looks more brown.

Lighten up
I had the paint mixed at 75% saturation, as our hallway and kitchen tend to be a bit dim. I was a bit worried that lightening it would change the colour, but it still seems true to the Abalone tone, and the lighter shade works really well in our spaces.

Tongue-tied
How do you pronounce Abalone? Is it “own” like “home alone?” Or is it “onee” like “baloney?”

Coming up
The major work of painting is obviously done. I’m keeping my eye out for touch-ups, but so far haven’t found any spots that inspire me to break out the paintbrush again.

Since I took the picture at the top of this post, I’ve put the cover plates are back on all of the plugs and switches. Which leads to the final item on my original to-do list: install new light fixtures.

Matt, aka “he who hates pigtails,” aka “in-house electrician” will take on this task this weekend.

What’s on your to-do list for this weekend? What’s the division of labour at your house when it comes to painting and electrical? How do you pronounce Abalone?

I’m dreaming of a white ceiling

I know a lot of people are adding colour and patterns to their ceilings these days, but I am still white ceiling person. Even if I wasn’t, the colours and patterns we’ve had on our ceilings for the past two years would not be my choice… ever.

There were the specks and smears. (Sorry for the poor photo quality. I find it really difficult to photograph our dim hallway).

paintingprep5

Then there were the stripes.

paintingprep2

Our home inspector’s explanation for these lines was that the insulation in our attic was insufficient. As a result, the ceiling joists got cold. The temperature difference between our warm drywall inside the house and the cold joists in the attic resulted in condensation. Dust and dirt in the air in the house stuck to that condensation, making stripes.

When we upgraded the insulation in the attic, our contractor had a slightly different opinion. Of course I now can’t remember what he said.

In addition to the obvious dirt, there was the overall grey tinge that you saw on Friday.

I’m a bit embarrassed to say that we’ve been living with these ceilings since we moved in two years ago. However, I am no longer ashamed. We used Benjamin Moore’s Fresh Start primer to make our dreams of a clean white ceiling come true, and I thought it might be helpful to post a bit of a review of this paint.

Out of all of the things I care about in my house, the shade of white on my ceilings is not one of them. My usual method is to use primer to paint the ceilings. For the hallway, foyer and kitchen, I didn’t splurge and go all the way to buying real paint, but I did choose a slightly upgraded primer, rather than the standard formula. The “high hiding” label on the Fresh Start can was what sold me. I had a lot of dirt to hide.

Benjamin Moore Fresh Start Primer

Fresh Start is a slightly thicker consistency than standard primer, which made me feel like I was covering more dirt. It’s not sticky, though, and was easy to apply.

Whether because of the thicker consistency or because our drywall absorbed the paint, we ended up using more than I expected. I had bought a second gallon, not realizing I had one at home already. The extra paint ended up being a good thing because for our 310+ square feet of hallway, kitchen and foyer we used a gallon and a quarter, just for one coat.

I had hoped that we would be able to get away with a single coat on our ceilings, but we ended up having to do two. I’m not sure if it’s that our ceilings were just too dirty, if the Fresh Start didn’t cover as well as I thought it would, or if we applied it a bit thinly in a few spots, but the next day there were sections where I could still see some of the grey.

The second coat went on very quickly (about an hour) and used much less paint (probably just a bit more than half a gallon). The second coat also did the trick. There are no more dirt spots, and none of the grey has bled through.

Since we were working on a ceiling, it would have been helpful for the Fresh Start to have a tint, like some of the specialized ceiling paints out there. These go on light pink and then dry white. In the dim lighting of our hallway, it was sometimes hard to tell where we had yet to paint. At least, it was on the second coat when we were painting over white, rather than grey.

One coat, two coat. One can, two cans. It doesn’t matter now. All that counts is that the Fresh Start did its job, and we now have the white ceilings that I’ve been dreaming of since we moved in.

There’s still one more painting post coming up this week. Check back Friday to see the progress we’ve made on the walls. (Hint: there will be colour!)

Until then, I’m really curious to hear how you handle your ceilings. Are you all about white, like me? Or are you one of those daring folks that embrace the “fifth wall?” What’s your go-to primer? Anyone else tried Fresh Start?

And just in case you’re wondering, Benjamin Moore has no idea who I am, I bought my own paint, and this post is just my opinion.

Progress report

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. Given the occasion, I have to start with a quick note of love.

Thank you all for reading, commenting and following along on our adventures. I feel like I’ve found so many new friends, even though many of us have never met. Your warmth and support makes my day everyday, so today I have to give some of that love back. I can’t send you all chocolates and roses, but I can say a very sincere thank you.

Valentine’s Day means that we’re halfway through the month, so it’s time for an update on my February goal of painting the main floor hallway and kitchen.

Here’s what was on the to-do list for the first half of the month and how we did:

  1. Patch and sand holes from chair rail. By Feb. 7. Final coat went on Feb. 4, although I didn’t manage to sand it until Feb. 7. Doesn’t matter, though, ’cause it got done.
  2. Buy paint. By Feb. 7. Done Feb. 6.
  3. Wipe down the trim. By Feb. 7. Done Feb. 7.
  4. Remove cover plates on plugs and switches, take down old light fixtures and install pig tails. Feb. 8. Done Feb. 8.
  5. Paint the ceiling. Feb. 8. Done Feb. 8.
  6. Prime the walls. Feb. 9. Done Feb. 8. A whole day early.
  7. Paint the trim. Feb. 14. After 5 1/2 hours of painting spread out across the past four evenings, I can say this one is done as of last night. Another whole day early.

Plus two new additions:

  1. Remove the old doorbell chime box and patch hole. Mostly done Feb. 9. This is Matt’s add-on that still needs one more coat of paste, but it shouldn’t delay this weekend’s plans.
  2. Paint a second coat on the ceiling. Done Feb. 9. Expecting a single coat of paint to cover our filthy ceiling ended up being a bit of wishful thinking.

Even with additions, everything–every single thing–is on track.

Progression of painting our hallway

After the frustration of 2013 where I was not very successful in accomplishing projects around the house, the progress we’ve made this month makes me tremendously happy. Sure wiping down all of the baseboards and trim (9 doorways, remember) was not my ideal way to spend my Friday night, but I did it, it’s done, and I made my deadline. Planning every step and setting deadlines have been super helpful.

Some soundbites from last weekend:

  • “This ceiling is disgusting.” (Matt) It totally, complete was, but no longer.
  • “Why didn’t we do this sooner?” (Matt) Ummmm… we killed ourselves on the basement reno?
  • “This hallway feels wider.” (Julia) “Wider or whiter?” (Matt) “Uh… I guess both?” (Julia)

Here’s an illustration of our disgusting ceiling. The white circle is where the light fixture used to be.

Dirty ceiling before painting

We’ve only primed, but it has already made such a difference. I’m excited to add colour this weekend. Here’s what’s coming up next:

  1. Paint the walls (two coats). Feb. 15-17 (a three-day weekend).
  2. Install new light fixtures. Feb. 22.

I’ve learned that it’s just too easy for me to procrastinate and push projects off. So far with my new technique of mapping the steps out in detail and scheduling each stage, I’m staying on track. This is a major breakthrough for me.

And people, I am so excited to see the final product and to share it all with you. Will the reveal be an acceptable late Valentine’s gift? I think it’s going to be even more awesome than I expected.

What have you been up to this month? Care to share your mid-month update? Do you have any special plans for Valentine’s Day? I think my present will be a night off from painting. Happy weekend, everyone. And happy Valentine’s Day.