Friday, June 29, 2012


On my tour of my wildflower garden today (you know, to see what’s new), I got to see lots of bees happily (I assume they were happy) pollinating.  I feel like I’m helping the world. :)  (The world needs pollinating bees, right?) :)

bees on wildflowers

bees on wildflowers

bees on wildflowers


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Little Hydrangea

A couple of years ago (maybe 2010?), I attempted propagating some hydrangeas by taking cuttings, following these directions.  I took about 5 cuttings from my hydrangea and about 5 from my mom’s.  Out of all those cuttings, this one has survived, grown, and is blooming!! I’m so happy!

hydrangea cutting 2012

hydrangea cutting 2012

Here’s what it looked like last May!

my little hydrangea cutting survived the winter! 2011

I’m so proud of my little blooming hydrangea!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Pantry Doors are Up!

Whew! Finally, all 24 pantry doors are up, hung, functional. It’s a big wall o’ doors and I love it.

kitchen pantry

pantry doors!

We had a picnic over the weekend, and for us, getting the house ready usually means some construction. :) I’ll have a few quick projects to share over the next couple of posts, but for now, the big one! The pantry!

I showed you when we had gotten 2 doors hung. I described how we painted the doors and how we built the pantry.  Now I can tell you how we finished it off!

After we hung those first 2 doors and learned a lot, I hung a few more of the middle doors myself.

middle pantry doors

Then I remembered (because I had been trying to forget) that due to miscalculations, the bottom doors would hang down past the bottom of the pantry.

pantry door is too long :(

So I used some of my extra 1x2s to add some length to the bottom of the pantry frame. (Thank goodness we gave ourselves a big 2x6 toekick!)

1x2s for length

It was very reminiscent of all the trim I had to add to the front of the pantry to make it deeper. :( At least it was a smaller project. And at least I had my amazing helper: a small Campbell Hausfeld 2-gallon air compressor and pneumatic nail gun.

Campbell Hausfeld 2 gallon air compressor

This thing is great. It’s not really well regulated (compared to our larger, 6 gallon air compressor), so it can’t usually power much more than an 18 gauge or 16 gauge nail gun, and even then, sometimes you’ll have to wait for it to build up enough pressure to actually sink the nails. But it is small, and therefore always available to me and easy to bring around to my various projects. We got it at Lowe’s on a Black Friday a couple of years ago, and it’s been invaluable ever since. Same as the trim I added to the front of the pantry, I glued and nailed these bottom boards up. I caulked, primed, and painted them.

Then I called Grandpa. Putting up the middle doors wasn’t too bad on my own, but I knew that to put up so many more above and below, I would need help.

We formed a little assembly line for attaching hinges.

hinge assembly line

Grandpa drilled the holes (3 per hinge! 2 hinges per door!) and I attached the screws.

And we used this amazing self-centering drill bit (also called a hinge bit) for doing it! It was a life saver.

self-centering drill bit

This unit has a tapered edge that fits right into the holes of the hinge, lining the drill bit up to be perfectly centered in the center of the hole. You press the spring-loaded contraption down and the drill bit goes into the wood! And because the bit does the lining up for you, the drilling process goes more quickly because you don’t have to eyeball each hole.

self-centering drill bit

perfectly centered hinge holes

The drill bit especially came in handy when we were mounting the doors/hinges to the pantry frame. (I learned about this amazing drill bit from This Old House!)

And voila! We just repeated the process on the 18 remaining doors, put my 3/$1 handles on all of them (also from Bailey’s Discount Center), and we were done!

kitchen pantry complete with doors!

I’m still debating whether I want to just trim out the top, or somehow try to make it functional storage (we’ve stashed stuff up there already, so making it official storage could be great!), so I will keep you updated. But for now, one more quick before and after.

kitchen pantry before

kitchen pantry after

Have you completed any big projects recently? Isn’t that great big sigh of relief wonderful? :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Pretty Wildflower Colors!

I was so happy to find these pretty colors in our wildflower garden today!

wildflower garden

wildflower garden

We’re hosting a picnic later, so we’ve completed a few projects that I can’t wait to show you! :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Aerogarden Update: RIP Cilantro

Well, after 6 months, and a recent hefty pruning, the cilantro has died.

RIP cilantro

But, I’ve already planted a new one to hopefully, once again provide me with more cilantro than I know what to do with. :)

new cilantro

P.S. Something (not me!) is eating my basil! I need to figure out what it is and stop it!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, Brian! with Peanut Butter Frosting!

Today, Brian turns thirty-FUN!

(That’s thirty-one.)

Brian and Jessica
This is Brian and our friend, Jessica, at our friends’ wedding. This is how I think of Brian. :)

Here are the peanut butter frosted cupcakes I made him today:

Peanut butter frosted cupcakes

Brian looooooves peanut butter. So I thought peanut butter frosting on top of chocolate cupcakes would be a winner.

Here’s what I started with:

Box cake and peanut butter

I just made the box cake into cupcakes, following the directions. I love a spouted bowl to fill (2/3rds fill, that is) all those cupcake cups.

cupcake batter

Then, as they were baking, I made the peanut butter frosting. Here’s the recipe I got from my brother-in-law’s mother.

Peanut Butter Frosting:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
3 Tbsp milk
2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Mix peanut butter and butter well. Gradually add sugar. Add milk as needed.

peanut butter frostingThere used to be an “r” on “powdered suga” :) but I wrote it with dry erase marker, and it’s come off. :)

I ended up using about 3/4 of the 16.3 oz jar of Skippy, so over a cup of peanut butter. Maybe a cup and a half? But for the other ingredients I used the proper amounts. And I added the milk after I took the above picture, and it really smoothed it out.

It is so delicious!!! I am not even a peanut butter nut, and I couldn’t stop eating this stuff!

If you’ve been on the internet at all, you’ve seen this tip before, but it’s a good one. I filled a Ziploc baggie with the frosting, cut a corner off, and used that to frost the cupcakes. It took me a bit of trial to really get this thick frosting to look nice, but it’s still faster and neater than frosting them all with a knife. And luckily, Brandon just wants to eat them, not look at them.

frosting in a ziploc

My best cupcakes looked like this:

peanut butter frosted cupcakes

For a part-time baker like me, that’s not bad! :)

But the rest of my cupcakes did look like this:


Hahaha! I thought I should show you the truth. :) I did use a knife to smooth some out…and I did just leave some in their silly states, since they’re just getting eaten.

Anyway, they were delicious!

Happy birthday, Brian!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

“Quick” Door Makeover Part 2

So last time, I began my tale of how I got this door:

TARDIS blue door

From this door:

Door before

As I mentioned before, since I had to re-screen the door anyway, I figured now would be a good time to paint. Except that it was 95+ degrees out. Oops!

So I started.  I took off the screen door from the door frame. There were just a few hinges with a few screws apiece and the door was super light. I set it up on some horses in my “spray zone.”

screen door primed

I primed the door with Rustoleum’s Painter’s Touch Spray Primer in Gray, and then topcoated it with Rustoleum Painter’s Touch Spray Paint in Deep Blue.

I also painted the little dog-barrier (but didn’t prime it.) (It’s plastic, but the Painter’s Touch says it sticks to plastic!)

paint + dog guard

The spray paint dries quickly, and even more quickly in the heat! But, I only had one can of spray paint (what was I thinking!?) and between the screen door and the doggy-barrier and putting enough coats on to create an even finish, I definitely needed two cans of paint. So finishing that part of the project got put on hold.

So I began working on the door frame.

door before

It was so hot out, that I was grumpy and didn’t take in progress pictures. But I primed the frame with Zinsser’s Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Interior/Exterior Primer and topcoated it with Conco’s Exterior Paint in Semi Gloss Bright White.  I brushed on one coat of primer and about 3 coats (kind of 2.5) of paint. Because the screen door frame was metal, it was sort of a pain to brush on (it was just so smooth! If I wasn’t careful, I’d be taking off paint in one area as I was putting it on in another.) Next time (as in, on the front door), I might consider masking/plasticking everything off and spray painting it.

Oh well, it was done and it looks good. I got it primed and painted over the course of 2 days.

The second day of my “quick” door makeover was when I decided to attack the steel door itself.  When I went to the store to get more spray paint, I also picked up a can of brush on Painter’s Touch in the same Deep Blue.

deep blue brush on

Here’s where the fun really began. So I didn’t prime the steel door. What was I thinking?  I don’t know. That same weekend, I seriously berated my friend Ashley via text message about even considering skipping primer, and yet I skipped the primer. It must have been the heat.  The Painter’s Touch will stick to metal just fine, so I’m sure my finish will be okay, but my painting process would have probably gone much more smoothly if I had rolled a thin coat of primer on first.

So let me start by saying that I did not follow these directions from Young House Love about rolling thin, even coats of paint onto my ultra-smooth steel door. I really should have followed their advice.  But while at the store getting the paint, I forgot to pick up some more 4” foam rollers, and I decided that I really didn’t mind some neat brushstrokes on my door because it would sort of mimic a wood door.

The problem was it was so hot. And the paint was drying as I put it onto the door. And the door was just so smooth and not soaking up the paint or holding on to the paint or anything (like it might have had I primed), so the semi-dry paint would just come off/get all gooey and bumpy when I would touch it with new, wet paint. There was no maintaining a wet edge, I just couldn’t work that fast and the heat was working against me. (The paint can directions totally say that for “proper drying” the paint should be applied at temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees. Not 95.) :)

So my painting was looking like this:


I was wiping off sections of paint that were getting messed up, and I wasn’t touching sections of paint any more. Instead, I would just wait for it all to dry, then paint what was left. It was harrowing.

And I was left with a bumpy, kind of icky finish.

bumpy, icky paint

So before I put the real second coat on, I sanded the first coat down with some 220 grit sandpaper. (And really, I ran out of 220 grit sandpaper, so I got some 100 grit, wore it out on other projects (just sanded things that needed sanding to wear it down), and sanded with that. It was all terrible. Not having the right tools around is never good!)

I watered the paint down a little for the second coat, and learned my lessons about not touching semi-dry paint. So I put the second coat on in about 2 sessions, and it turned out really well. :)

Let’s look at the finished product again, shall we?

TARDIS blue door

Oh, and the re-screening!

This is a relatively easy process. I’m not good enough to write a full tutorial, but I’ll still show you what I did.

I laid the door out on a nice huge table (although I have also done this when the door was still up on its hinges).

screen door

Rolled the screen out across the door, and kind of straightened it out. (It would have been helpful if I would have taped the screen in place at this point. It will have to move, but the tape would have helped keep the screen in place.)

I have been buying pet screen because it’s tougher than regular screening. Grounder can still pull it down, of course, but I holds up better to scratching, etc.

rolling the screen onto the door

Use the convex side of the screen spline tool to push the screen down into the groove. (And use a flat head screwdriver at the corners to push the spline in.)

pushing the screen into the groove

Then use the concave side to push the spline down into the groove.

inserting the spline

This is where my directions get fuzzy. I just worked around, a little bit on each side, to keep the screen taught and straight as I went around. Luckily, it’s easy to keep adjusting your work, undo a bit and redo it, etc. But that’s why I can’t write good directions.

So then, the spline’s all in there, and cut the excess screen off with a sharp utility blade! (In my screen door, there was a little groove that the blade could ride in, so my cut was nice and even, and it didn’t mess up my paint job!)


rescreened door

We re-attached the dog-guard, newly painted to match/blend in, and hooray!

TARDIS blue door

(I also cleaned and repainted the door hardware, but not really well, so I won’t show you a step by step. :) It definitely looks good, and if I don’t point out my mistakes, you won’t see them.) :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Things I Love Thursday: Libman Freedom Mop

Yes, I cannot believe I am writing a blog post about a mop.

Libman Freedom Mop

But cleaning is one of those grown up things I have to do, and let’s say you were my friend, and you were saying, “man, my Swiffer wet wipes aren’t cutting it and I just hate dragging out a mop and bucket!” I would say, “Friend, I love my Libman Freedom Mop!”

This is not a sponsored post, but I know it’s going to sound like one!

I do have and love and use Libman Wonder Mops, which is especially good for things like doggie accidents. But I don’t always want to do all that work! Ha!

Enter Libman Freedom Mop.

You can fill the reservoir with whatever you’d like, so in my upstairs Freedom Mop, I have it filled with the diluted Waterlox floor cleaner, and in my basement Freedom Mop, I have it filled with diluted Method floor cleaner.

Libman Freedom Mop

You pull the little trigger, some solution comes out, and you mop it with Libman’s Swiffer-type pad. Let me tell you about the pad! It velcros on and stays on. It has Libman’s amazing scrubbability, and it is so easily washed or rinsed clean. I rinse mine in the sink or with the hose. Done. Nothing to throw away, nothing to waste! And you can buy extra pads in case you’re cleaning a lot.

Done. It stores in a closet on a hook, doesn’t leak, and is ready to go whenever I need a quick cleaning or a big cleaning.

There, I just wrote a post about my love for a mop.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What a Difference a Day Makes

I know I need to finish my story about why my quick door project wasn’t so quick, but I’m running behind today. I’ll tell you tomorrow.

In the meantime, I took a small adventure outside, and there are new colors and blooms in the wildflower garden! What a difference a day makes!


I think this is some California poppies (orange), None So Pretty (darker pink), bachelor’s buttons (blue), baby’s breath (white), and not sure about the big pink one! It looks like a poppy…


blanket flowers

I think these are blanket flowers…



I’m not sure which one these are…but now they come in lighter purples instead of just the dark one!! :)


blackberries and black eyed susans

And some more blackberries behind some black-eyed Susans!


I hope you don’t mind continuing this wildflower discovery summer with me! It’s so exciting to see what pops up!

Here’s my “Wildflower Reference” board on Pinterest…all links from American Meadows.

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