Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sanding Ceilings

As if taking down the popcorn treatment wasn't enough ceiling fun, we have now moved on to sanding.  Although taking down the textured popcorn finish was an aesthetic choice, the sanding step is not; In order to paint the ceiling after taking down all of the popcorn, sanding is necessary.  

For one, there is popcorn residue (ew).
  But also, removing the ceiling texture treatment reveals all of the imperfections on the ceiling.  You are, probably, able to see where the main support beams are, where old light fixtures may have been, etc.   Because the texturing of the ceiling hid all of that, there was no real reason for the ceiling to be perfectly smooth or uniform before.  
 Our home had a lot of random things, like hooks screwed into ceilings, or areas where the joint tape was showing through.  Of course we wanted to fill in those holes with spackle, along with the little gouges that were made during the removal process, so we had to sand those areas afterwards anyways.  Overall, the sanding allows the painting process to go a lot smoother and allow the final result to look cleaner.  

It is much easier than taking down the popcorn.
It is much messier than taking down the popcorn.

- a roll of fine grain sand paper
-sanding sponges
- 2 extension poles
-2 ceiling sander attachments
-goggles that seal around your eyes
-face mask or respirator
-Spackling ( we like the kind that starts pink and dries white)
-putty knife

Before we did anything to the ceilings we had laid plastic film over all of the floors.  The popcorn was so messy that we had to take up all of the film to dispose of the popcorn.   So before we could begin the sanding we had to lay plastic down again.  This will be the same plastic we keep on the floors during all of the painting, so the plan is not to have to do this step again.  It is so time consuming!

Our friends Patrick, Diana, and Michael came over last Saturday and helped us lay the plastic, spackle the ceiling, and begin the sanding.  It was a huge help and most definitely a time saver.

The guys were tackling a project in the other room, so Diana and I were left to sand, after all the spackling had dried.

We donned all our safety gear which, in this case, is more for self preservation and stamina than protection from any actual hazards.

  There is so much dust that you would only be able to stand it a few minutes without any face protection on.   Diana and I both felt like we had plaster in our mouths after only a bit of sanding, even with the masks.  Messy stuff y'all. 

I found the whole process easiest if I stood on a step stool and used the extension pole - it gave me a good angle.  No matter the method, ceiling work is a killer on your shoulders, so being able to smoothly  sand back and forth without getting stuck is really a must.  Being 5'2", trying to use the pole while standing on the floor was just not working out. Once I found what worked for me, the whole thing went really quickly.  

The sanding was spread over the course of 2 work days.  It took about 4 or 5 hours (mostly working alone) to sand the dining room, hallway, living room and bedroom.  Nothing compared to taking down the popcorn!

So this is a, rather dark, picture from the hallway that shows the ceiling with dried spackle over cracks and grooves. 

Here is a shot, post sanding.
This is not the same area as the first picture, but this spot looked the same.  The ceiling imperfections are still there, of course, along with the white areas that are now smooth with spackle, but you can really see the difference.  It looks so much smoother and will take to the paint so much better.

  The next step is to wipe down the ceilings so there is not dust.
Then, PAINTING!  woohoo!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

From Bedroom to Den: Part 2

Before            &           After

After the Popcorn Ceiling project was completed, we went back to finish up the kitchen, and soon-to-be den, project.  A couple of weeks ago we took down all of the panel board and plaster board from the "bedroom" side, thus starting the From Bedroom to Den project.

So, to start on the kitchen side, we first had to tear down the plaster board.  We knew from speaking to the contractor, that the chimney had once been a fireplace for the bedroom side and a stove for the kitchen side.  
Once we started tearing down the plaster we found where the stove had been connected.  It was full of ashes, so we had to start by getting a lot of them out.    
Simon scraping the ashes into the a bucket.  

The next step was to take out all of the insulation.  Ew.  
Ashes and insulation: both messy, unpleasant business

After we were insulation-free, we had to cut out the studs.  The studs on the old bedroom side of the wall are holding up the second floor, so we can't take those down until we put up a supporting beam.  But the other side, the one in the kitchen is just studs, so out they came.   

Before     &    After

It is starting to look less and less like a wall every day.  Next step, first floor chimney. 

Taking Down A Chimney: Part 2

Although Simon and Michael successfully took off the top of the chimney and patched up the roof, we eventually still need to take the entire chimney down.  Simon tackled the second floor part of the chimney, about 6 feet, on Sunday.  

The majority of the work is carrying all of the bricks down the stairs into the Bagster.  
I was not incredibly upset that Simon did this on his own that day.  :)
No more chimney upstairs.  :)

We are trying to save and clean up as many bricks as we can so we can reface the fireplace with original bricks from the house.  So far we have over 80 and we still have the rest of the chimney on the first floor.  I think we willl have plenty; maybe even some extra for landscaping.   

Monday, January 12, 2015

How to Make a Gift Card Wreath

Our church just hired a new preacher.  He and his wife moved here from out of state for the position, with three young children.  One of the things the life groups did for them was provide them with giftcards or memberships to places in town to get them plugged in, and to make it feel like home.  
I was part of the group recruited to help them get settled, and rather than just giving them a pile of giftcards I wanted to find a nicer way to present it to them.  I had never made a gifrcard wreath, but I thought it could be a cute, welcoming way to put the cards all together.  

So I went to Dollar Tree (seriously, a great place to begin crafts) and bought a couple of packs of close pins.
Then I went to Hobby Lobby (another great place for craft shopping) and bought a wire wreath, a wooden letter "A", and burlap bow.  

I used Mod Podge and one of those mini books of themed scrapbooking paper to cover the clothes pins. 
I traced the size and cut our a bunch of little strips. 

 I used a little foam brush and painted on 2 or 3 coats of Mod Podge, letting it dry completely after each coat.  
I went through both packs of clothes pins, leaving some uncovered, because it went nicely with the other colors, and only used 3 double-sided pages from the paper pack.  So, it really didn't take much.    

I alternated the clothes pins, short and tall, around the wire wreath.  I just clipped them on, I didn't glue them at all.  

I painted the "A" to match the scrap booking paper and tied the bow onto the top.  I didn't put any clothes pins on the area where the bow was, because I didn't think it was necessary.  If you wanted to be able to take the bow off, you would want to put them all the way around.  
I cut a 2-inch thick strip of burlap from some extra that I had at home.  I folded it in two and connected it with a knot to the wreath, behind the bow.     

I hot glued the "A" on top of the clothes pins.  

Once the paint and the glue dried, I clipped all of the gift cards into the middle and it was finished.  

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Taking Down a Chimney

There is a big, brick chimney on the front of our house.  A fire places was one of the must-haves on my house hunting list, and the pretty one in out living room is exactly what I had hoped for!
  There is one other fire place that was closed up in the middle of the kitchen and den by some previous owners.  You can see the little chimney in the picture above. 

We will have to put some money into the fireplace in the den to get it back in working order, and we just cant do that for two, so it had to go.  Plus, from a floor plan perspective, it would be really difficult to work around.  

So Simon and our friend Michael went to work Thursday taking it down.  

It needs to be taken down from top to bottom, so the work has to begin on the roof. 
I don't think anyone involved really loved that part of the whole thing, but they were both troopers. 
Brick chunk by brick chunk they sledge hammered away the chimney. 
After that they had to patch up the roof. 
They needed:
OSB to cover the whole
2x4s for bracing 
Tar paper to seal it
And shingles to protect it (and make it pretty) 
Here is an action shot. Haha. This is where the chimney used to be, but no more! 
I don't have a picture yet of the new roof because just moments after the finishing touches, the rain came! 
Thankfully it had not come before, and we quickly were able to find out if they had done a good job. Haha. They had! No leaks. :) 
Or friend Patrick (not pictured) came that day and helped out too. He helped bring order to the chaos of bricks, shingles, and junk thrown off the roof that were decorating the front yard and driveway. 
A big thanks to everyone who has already helped us out with our work! We really appreciate the help and enjoy the memories. 
The next step will be to continue taking down the chimney on the second floor and then down through the kitchen: a less time-sensitive chore since it is all inside. That will be finished around the same time as the brace for the ceiling downstairs (see "from bedroom to den"post).  
It seems crazy that our Christmas vacation time as flown by so fast, but we did get a lot done, and have laid the ground work for quite a bit more. 

Deborah's Wedding

I have lots of friends who end up getting married in Nashville. Why not, I suppose. It is a beautiful place.  But between seeing family and going to weddings, it feels like we are always weekend road tripping that direction: A fun bonus to living near by. The latest wedding fun was for my sweet friend Deborah and her, now husband, Bryan. 

They had the ceremony at the Cool Springs House. It was so gorgeous. 
The ceremony was a touching mix of tradition and character. The music brought everyone to tears. 
The atmosphere was lively and classy. It all reflected Deb's personality so much. 

It was a chilly day, but also a beautiful one. Both the wedding and reception were outside.
There was a hot drink table that kept us all warm, despite the weather. Hot chocolate, cider, teas, coffee: they were perfectly prepared for a cold November day.  

There were so many delicious and gorgeous fall sweets to indulge in. Homemade pies, cookies, Carmel apples, and this magnificent cake. 

Everyone's favorite cake in the face moment :)

We are so happy for Deborah and Bryan and wish them the best future, through good times and bad, and that their love continues to grow more and more, for each other and for the Lord, every day. 

Goodbye Popcorn Ceiling!

Maybe it seems like a minor, cosmetic issue, but popcorn ceilings do not appeal to me.  Ew!  
They were one of the first things I noticed when we looked at the house. 
Thankfully, popcorn ceilings are not incredibly difficult to get rid of.  
Simon's cousin Jessica, over Thanksgiving, mentioned that sometimes popcorn ceiling can contain asbestos.  Since that is certainly nothing to take lightly, we did some research and found that it isn't just a possibility, but it is extremely common.  So, we found a lab to send some samples to that would return really quick results.    

Thankfully the results were negative and allow us to remove it ourselves.  

So, Friday and Saturday were popcorn days.  Messy popcorn days.  
We donned our respirators and safety goggles and got to work. 

Step one: Laying plastic film down to minimize the spread of the popcorn and hopefully quicken the cleanup.   My friend Diana came by the house on Thursday and helped with that. It definitely made it quicker and I am thankful for that! 

Step 2:  Using a chemical sprayer to water on the ceiling.  Spraying water makes the popcorn  

Step 3: Run a drywall knife across the soggy ceiling and the popcorn just scrapes off easily.  Sometimes it comes off in big sheets and others in crumbles.  Either way it makes a big mess.  
It's a messy messy process!  

But so worth it!   Look at those smooth ceilings! 

After the den, it was on to the dinning room.  

Here is Simon working the sprayer.  

And another smooth ceiling!!
We repeated this process in all of the rooms and hallways until we had a popcorn-free home.  WooHoo!
It is definitely a little more time consuming than we had originally expected, but it is still not difficult.  Definitely worth the time!

Next we will paint all of the ceilings and the moulding the same color.
Movin' right along!

From Bedroom to Den

The new house is definitely live able as-is. But the present layout leaves some things to be desired for our personal preferences. For instance, there is a bedroom connected to the kitchen, and in that bedroom are double doors leading to the backyard.  Not ideal... 

Because we enjoy a more open floor plan, we invision something better from this space. This wall with the closed, white door in the above picture is the other side of the kitchen. To give us the open feeling that we desire, and get rid of this awkwardly placed bedroom, we decided to knock this wall out an open up the space.   We wont be redoing the kitchen for probably another 6 months or so after we move in, so this room whole area will look rather unfinished until then.  But between the planning and the other renovations we have in the meantime,  I'm sure the time will fly.  

We needed a way to discard the construction waste, and renting a dumpster was expensive and time constrained. We found this neat option. It is called "The Bagster".   You buy the bag at a hardware store, fill it up, and whenever you are finished filling it, you call and schedule a time for the waste truck to come and retreive it.  There is a pick up charge of course, but it was a lot cheaper then renting a dumpster. 

If you are interested, you can click HERE to read more about The Bagster or see if there is a pickup rout in your area.  

The walls are plaster, and therefore, not the best for demolishing.  It is hard to tell, but the room is covered in white panel board. The first step was to remove all of the trim around the doors, as well as the baseboards before removing the panel board and uncovering the plaster. 

Here is the fireplace that was covered up. We knew it would be there because of the black tile mantle area on the floor.  We thought about trying to keep the chimney and fireplace in the room, but keeping it would really complicate both the downstairs and upstairs floor plan, and we already have one old fireplace in the living room to bring back to life.
Here you can see half tan plaster and half white panel board  

Here is simon removing some of the panel board. 

Finally we got it all off! Woohoo. You can see the missing moulding along all of the doors, windows, and baseboards.  

These are the double doors and closet on the other side of the room. 

Next came the plaster boards. 
There is a lot of electrical wiring in this wall, so the power had to be out for us to safely demo. 

The Bagster is filling up fast. Simon kept making trips to pour out our plaster waste. 

Finally, we managed to tear all of the plaster board off of the wall.  The next step was taking the plaster off the kitchen side of the wall.   
Here is the after picture.  The only thing left is the fireplace and the studs.  This is a load bearing wall, so we will have to brace the ceiling before we can take the studs down.  

It looks a bit like a construction zone right now ( although we did sweep after this picture was taken)  but it is definitely looking different, and that in and of itself is exciting.  I am anxious to see how it will look once we take the wall down.  That will hopefully happen in the next few weeks. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Christmas 2014

This was the first year we haven't traveled for the Christmas holiday.  While excursions to see family are a lot of fun, there is something relaxing about getting to have family come to your home and celebrate together there.  Not to mention, it is a great excuse to do that deep cleaning you've been meaning to do... all year.  

My Mom and Dad arrived on Christmas eve right in time for some lasagna soup and A Christmas Carol.
It isn't Christmas without Christmas Morning coffee, right?  Not in our family at least.  :)

 In the spirit of Christmas, Mom and I tried our hand at gingerbread cookies ( a first for me) and I thought they turned out pretty great. The decorators may not have been beautiful, but they tasted fine just the same. 

With parents, come presents!

Christmas Smiles
You are never too old to get toys.  Thank goodness!

Simon's opening his reciprocating saw from his parents.
MyaAnnual Christmas ornament from Mom.  

The Pioneer Woman cook book.  I may have to steal a couple of those recipes for myself. 

Game of Thrones book set.  Another gift I may borrow at some point :)
Our Christmas morning fire. haha.  
Christmas was an all day eating affair, but the main Christmas meal was a linner... or a dunch... a late lunch, early dinner?

Dad being a goof with his napkin.  
We all ate, and ate, and ate until we were about to pop!  And then we ate gingerbread cookies of course.  

While we are on the subject of eating until you pop, I'll admit that a guilty pleasure of mine is Cracker Barrel's Breakfast.  YUM!  Somehow we always manage to find some time for it when we are with Mom and Dad :)  And going after Christmas is the best way to get the 70% off Christmas ornaments:  win-win! 

After a few day of Christmas fun and a long day of hard work at our new house, my parents headed back home Sunday morning.  It was great to have them with us to share laughs and make memories.  We are thankful they were willing to make the trip.   Love you Mom and Dad!

And Merry Christmas from the Reinhardt Faimly!