Monday, February 28, 2011

Score!!! Lanterns For A Price I Couldn't Pass Up.

I have been on the look out for lanterns to hang over my kitchen island for about six months now. I was looking for at least two and they needed to be cheap. I've been making weekly trips to Habitat For Humanity for months. It's on the way home from where I play beach volleyball. I've scored on lighting there many times before and you can't beat their prices. OK sometimes I get stuff for free, but other than free, this is pretty good.

This is a lantern I found last year. I think it was $32? I painted it silver, it was brass, and hung it in my powder room. I removed the wall fixture over the sink, covered the hole with a larger mirror and hung this light from the ceiling.

I found this concrete outdoor shelf at Hab. for Hum. about the same time.

I bought these two chandeliers a couple of years ago for $25 a piece. They were also brass and I painted them silver. I drilled holes for the crystal drops and added a plug and a dimmer switch. They hang from the ceiling over the bedside tables in our master bedroom.

Today I got lucky.
I found three lanterns.

All brass and glass.

I found two of these.


They just need some paint and a little electrical work.

I found one of this style. They were all $15 a piece. See the can light in the upper left hand corner of this picture? I will need to change it to accommodate the lantern. I had to change out the can light to hang a chandelier in the rotunda that leads into my Master Bedroom. You can buy the kit at Lowes for $33. I need two of them. That's why I didn't want to spend much for the lanterns. I needed to factor in the cost of the can light change out.

This chandelier was in my office. I moved it here when Casey got the room.

Not sure if I will use just two or all three lanterns yet? I'll show you when they're finished.

Thanks for checking it out.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chicken Milanese Rughetta

I got this recipe out of a House Beautiful Magazine. Click here
for the recipe.
This is one of my mid. week go-to recipes. It's delicious as is but I made a few changes to it to make it even healthier. The recipe calls for Panko style bread crumbs. You can buy them in the Asian section of your local grocery store. I use Almond Meal Flour on my chicken breast for a gluten free option instead of Panko. You can buy Almond Flour at Trader Joe's or any health food store. I didn't have time to go to Trader Joe's. I found it at my local grocery store.

No Gluten

This is what the recipe calls for.

I pound the chicken breast until it's about an half inch thick. I use dried basil instead of rosemary (the recipe calls for rosemary) because the favor was too overpowering for my kids. I like it both ways. My family likes the basil better. I also switched out the olive oil to cook the chicken breast to either coconut oil or grape seed oil. Both coconut oil and grape seed oil are healthier cooking options than olive oil. They have a higher flash point and stay stable at higher cooking temperatures. You will use less oil when cooking. You can't tell the difference in taste. I finish the recipe off with olive oil for the dressing.

This is how I serve it with tons of fresh arugula and cherry tomatoes on top of the chicken breast. The veggies are the main dish and the protein is the side dish. You can't see it, but there is a piece of yummy chicken under all those veggies. I also made a side of oven roasted peppers and red onion. I roast the peppers and onion at 350 degrees for about 20 min. with some salt and pepper and a little grape seed oil.

Quick, Yummy, and Healthy!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Painting Stripes on Concrete Floors

I painted the concrete floors in my family room as part of a family room makeover project. To see the step by step concrete project click here. To see the rest of the family room makeover click here. I love how the floors turned out except for one problem. The light color shows every speck of grass and dirt my dog brings into the house. Concrete floors are easy to maintain, but I really don't have time to sweep every day. I can barely keep up with the laundry and other house cleaning as it is. I usually have a load of clean clothes waiting to be folded on my couch.

This is Roscoe.
She is a sweetie, but she brings a lot of dirt into the house. She likes to roll in the grass and play in the garden. When we first bought this house we had no landscaping, just dirt. We had Roscoe and our girls were 1 and 4 years old. When I picked out our floor tile and carpet I told the the lady helping us that I wanted "dirt" colored tile and carpet for that very reason. She gave me a weird look? She probably never had a client request dirt colored tile before?

Here is the "finished" concrete floor. Many of my projects go this way. I think I'm done but after living with them for awhile I realize they need something more?

I though about doing an allover Moroccan stencil, but I thought it would limit my carpet options? Also these type of stencils are EVERYWHERE right now so does that mean they are on the way out soon? Then my favorite magazine came a week after I finished the floors. Here is my inspiration.

I was inspired by this picture of a floor. Not the cover, although it's beautiful. It's hard to see? It's tile with an inlaid wood grid pattern. Very classic and timeless.

This wouldn't limit my carpet options.

I bought a roll of Frogtape and got started. Frogtape is one of my new favorite things. You can learn about my new love here.

Sweep the floors of any dust before you start so you get good tape adhesion.

After moving the furniture out of the room again (It's a good workout) I made a grid pattern with string to determine where my stripes would be. I left the armour in the room and worked around it. It's really heavy and Mr. Muscles(my husband) was at work.

The focal point of the room will be the fireplace once the mantel is completed. I started here at the center of the fireplace. A chalk line would probably work for this part of the project, but the string worked great too. I used blue tape for the string. I wasn't taking anymore chances with the orange tape pulling up the floor paint.

I made sure the intersections were square.

Lining the stripes up with my existing tile grout lines adjacent to the concrete floor made the project easier. I made the boxes six feet big or four tiles big. The string line layout gave me a good sense of what the finished project would look like. I think I would have wasted tape if I hadn't first laid out the string. At $10 a roll I didn't want to waste any of it.

Once I determined where my lines would go I started taping. I laid a piece of chair rail molding on top of the string to determine a consistent width of stripe.

I cut out the intersecting tape with a box cutter and a ruler.

At this point I'm loving the green! Green is one of my favorite colors. Can I just leave it like this? My office used to be painted a bright green color before my daughter took it over as her room. This tape reminds me of that color. I miss having an office.

I guess the tape wouldn't last very long so on to paint.
This is the same paint I mixed up for my floor border.

Once your done taping the rest of the project is fast and easy. I painted two coats of this color.
Here it is almost dry.

Then I did a dry brush technique of a lighter glaze over the top.

Here's what it looked like before removing the tape.

Look how good the Frogtape works. A perfectly clean edge.

I'm loving the grid of stripes.

Do I have to put the furniture back or can we just turn it into a dance floor or a broom hockey court?

I added a gray square to the stripe intersections.

I added a circle onto the square at each intersection.

The eye is drawn to the stripes now instead of every little fleck of dust. I will still need to sweep often, but not everyday.

The fireplace mantle is the next project. I went and looked at molding with my dad yesterday.

I still like the double stripe look of the green tape so maybe after living with it this way for awhile I' ll add another stripe to the grid?

I need to add a couple coats of acrylic polyurethane too, but we are having friends over for dinner so that will have to wait. More furniture moving!

Thanks for checking it out!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Painter's Tape LOVE!!!!

I'm in LOVE with this painter's tape!!!

Maybe I'm the last person to hear about it?

My Dad told me about it. Dads know everything.

Have you heard of it or tried it yet?

It's called FROGTAPE

It has a chemical in it that seals the tape when you paint.

No paint smudges running under the tape line!

In the past when using tape (I try not to use it) I end up painting a coat of clear glaze along the tape edge to prevent the paint from seeping under the edge.

With this stuff you don't have to do that.

I just used it on my concrete floors which I'll show you tomorrow.

Look how clean an edge this tape creates.

It costs about $10 a roll. It was worth every penny.

Also, you must let your new paint cure for at least 3 days before you put FROGTAPE on it.

Check out the perfect edge on my concrete floor.

I love when a product does what it says it's going to do!
Just thought you might like to know about it.

Happy Painting!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Step By Step Instructions On How To Prep. And Paint Concrete Floors

This project is part of my family room makeover. Doing these projects myself has saved me thousands of dollars. To see the family room makeover click here. I started by demolishing my existing fireplace tile. To see the fireplace remodel click here. Than I textured and painted my walls. I'm not a professional concrete re-finisher, so research and decide what will work best for your project. The Kemiko concrete stains are beautiful if you want to go the staining route. I've done several concrete floor painting projects that have turned out great and have stood up to the test of time. I painted the concrete floors in our old house to look like large slabs of Travertine. We had to tell the new buyers it was concrete. They couldn't tell until they got down on to floor level that it wasn't Travertine. Sorry, I was photographically challenged back then and didn't take any pictures of it.

I painted our front entryway sidewalk around seven years ago and it shows almost no signs of wear and tear. The picture is a little crooked. I guess I'm still photographically challenged?

About a year and a half ago I ripped up the carpet in our living room and painted the concrete and it has held up great. We have lived in our house for ten years and the carpet looks really bad in our family room. New flooring is expensive. Concrete floors are a very cost effective way to update your home. They are great for people with allergies and they are super easy to clean, just sweep and damp mop.

My living room concrete floor.

Here is a picture of my latest concrete project in my family room.

Here are step by step instructions on how to prep. and paint a concrete floor. I bought all of my concrete paint and sealer at Bayside Paint in San Diego. They are the closest store to me that sells Benjamin Moore products. I did this project by myself but it would go much faster if you have two people.

You will also need:

*Box cutter

*Paint trays, rollers, and an extension pole so you can stand up and apply the base coats of paint.

*An angled brush for painting the edges of your floor.

*Quikrete fast drying concrete for patching holes and cracks in your concrete.

*A small plastic trowel

*A mixing bucket for the Quikrete.

*Rubber gloves for working with the Quikrete
*Painter's Tape (don't buy the orange tape!!! Go blue or better yet the green Frogtape)

*Plastic tarps to block all openings into your project room.

*Big plastic trash cans to hold carpet tack strip debris.

*Goggles, ear plugs, knee pads, and a good mask.

*A concrete grinder or a stand up floor buffer (rent one or the other depending on the condition of your floor)

* A Shop Vac.

*Concrete paint or stain of your choice.
*Acrylic Polyurethane sealer.
Optional things you might need depending on your project:

*Paint glaze

*Liquid nails


*Molding for floor transition.


Step #1

Remove EVERYTHING from the room!!!! Please learn from my laziness and don't make the same mistake I made. That includes all blinds, curtains, nick knacks, furniture, and wall art. If possible, tape plastic over all doors leading into the room you are working on and put plastic trash bags over hanging light fixtures and ceiling fans. This project was done in my family room and there was no way to plastic off the rest of the the kitchen and dining room because it's all one big room.

Step #2

Remove carpet. Cut the carpet and padding with a box cutter knife into manageable pieces. Roll it up and tape it. We called our trash collector and they hauled it away for us on trash day.

Step #3

Remove the carpet tack strip. Use a large trash can to dispose of the strip as you go. If you have small children or pets and you can't do this step right away, save some carpet or use card board to cover the tack strip to prevent injuries.

I used a hammer and an old screw driver to get the tack strip up.

My floor had tile moisture barrier paper, base board paint, carpet glue, fluorescent orange spray paint, tile mastic, Sharpie marker, and spray on wall texture on it that would need to be completely removed before it was ready to paint or stain.

This is what it looked like before cleaning.

At this point I also removed the fireplace floor tile.

Now we're starting to make a real mess. The tile came up fairly easy, but the tile mastic was not going to be as cooperative.

Step #4

Clean up the debris as you go. You will need to evaluate your floor and determine the best cleaning method for your project. I chose to rent a concrete grinder from Home Depot. Ask a lot of questions about whatever tool you rent. This was my first time using a concrete grinder. I used a stand up floor buffer for my living room floor project, but decided to go with the grinder because of the tile mastic. The floor buffer will cost less than half to rent than the grinder, but it will take you twice the time. Have everything prepped before you rent your tool. I rented the grinder for four hours. Anything over four hours is a 24 hour rental. It cost me $150 to rent the grinder, the vacuum canister, buy the blade (you can't rent it, you have to buy it), ear plugs, and a mask. USE A GOOD MASK! Even with the vacuum canister attachment you need the mask. You might think $150 is expensive, but not when you factor in what it would cost me to hire someone to do it. I called around when I was doing my living room floor and it would have cost me between $1000 to almost $2000 to hire someone just to grind my concrete. They wanted $7 a square foot. There aren't very many companies that want to do small residential houses, so they charge a lot. At this point of the job it would have been great to have a helper. Someone to help move the canister as I was crawling around the floor and someone to vacuum the dust with a shop vac would have been a big help. My husband and I are a great team, but he works all day. I was on my own for this part of the project.

Here is the grinder blade. This one cost $69 (blue). I included it in my rental cost. They also have one for $49 (green), but after talking with the rental guy (Sergio at the Eastlake Home Depot was great), he said the tile mastic would require the tougher blade. I will be able to use this blade again for future concrete projects.

Here is the vacuum canister. The canister is supposed to suck up the concrete dust from the grinder, but a lot of dust is still thrown into the air. The hose hooks to the grinder. I am usually very healthy, but I got strep throat and an upper respiratory infection soon after completing this job. I know sickness is caused by a bacteria, germs, or a virus, but I'm not sure if the dust made me more susceptible to getting sick? It could have been a coincidence? If you have asthma or any kind of lung problems I wouldn't take on this job. I would have any family members with these problems move out of the house during the grinding step until all the dust has been cleaned up.

IMPORTANT. Don't plug the grinder and the hose into the same outlet and don't plug the grinder into an extension cord that is longer than 50' or you will blow the circuit breaker. Duct tape the hose to the canister and to the grinder. These hoses get pretty beat up from rental use and you don't want it to fall off during your project. A loose hose equals more dust.

Maybe I'm weird, but this part of the project was fun! The grinder cleaned the tile mastic off the concrete in about five minutes! I love power tools. Wear ear plugs, it's loud and glasses to protect your eyes. I also wore my volleyball knee pads. Be careful this thing can get away from you.

Can you see the haze of dust in the air? This is about an hour after I had finished grinding and it's still "foggy" in my house. At this point I looked around and realized how dumb I was for not taking EVERYTHING out of the room! The buffer doesn't make as much of a mess. The grinder actually takes a top layer off the concrete.

All along the edge of my tile there was a layer of moisture barrier paper that needed to be removed. If your floor has this, go with the grinder. Be careful along the tile. I chipped the edge when the grinder got away from me. Also, make sure you hold the grinder level or you will grind half moon circular shapes into the floor.
Tile paper before grinding.

Step #5

Clean the canister and the grinder outside. You will be charged a cleaning fee if you return it dirty to the rental. The canister is very heavy when it's full of concrete dust. At this point if you aren't strong you might need help. I had to leave the canister dis-assembled to get it back into the bed of my truck because it was so heavy and I'm a strong girl used to physical labor.
Here is the clean floor ready for the next step.

Step #6

Concrete patching. You you need to fill and patch any holes left by the carpet tack strip and any big cracks before you paint. I taped off the area that needed patching. The orange tape is fine for this part of the project. Don't put it over any painted areas because it will damage the paint.

I used quick setting concrete and mixed it with water to the consistency of pancake batter. Mix it in small batches or it gets to dry to spread. It takes longer to dry than the container says because of the extra water you are going to add.

Use a spray bottle and spray the area with water before applying the Quikrete.

I used a small plastic trowel to spread on the Quikrete.

Once dry, or in my case almost dry, remove the tape and clean up the Quikrete dust.
Wait till the Quikrete is completely dry before you start painting. It was very warm out when I did this step so it was ready to paint the next day.

Step #7

Clean, Clean, Clean. Clean the floor again because all the concrete dust in the air will have settled onto the floor. I used a mop with copious amounts of water. My mom helped me vacuum up the water with a shop vac. It was a warm day when I mopped so the floor dried quickly. Wait till the concrete is completely dry before you start painting. You want the floor to be completely clean and dust free before you paint so you get the best adhesion.

Step #8

At this point of the project you can choose to stain or paint the concrete? I chose paint.
There are many concrete paints on the market. I've found that the Benjamin Moore Porch and Floor paint is the best that I have tried. I painted my family room floors the same color as my walls, 75% of OC #10 White Sand. There is no priming involved with this product.

Apply two coats of whatever color you pick with a roller and an extension pole. This is the easiest part of the project.

Step #9

At this point you could apply 2-3 coats of polyurethane and be finished. My floor was adjacent to floor tile and it needed a piece of molding along the edge for a transition. I also chose to add a darker border, two coats of glaze, and a grid pattern of stripes. I will show you how to do the stripes tomorrow because this blog post is getting to be very long.
I used oak molding. It's durable enough to hold up to an accidental kick from a shoe. It's held up perfect in my living room. Mark the molding where it will be cut. I had to chip away a small amount of the Quikrete because it was a little high in this corner. The new molding covered it up.
I had already taped off a border at this point. It's the same width as the Quikrete repair border is. I WILL NEVER BUY CHEAP ORANGE PAINTER'S TAPE AGAIN!!! It pulled up the floor paint when I took it off. I fixed it, but I said lots of bad words about orange tape. I have since found that Frogtape is THE BEST! I will blog about Frogtape later, just know it works the best.

I had to cut the molding to match the angle of the tile.

Glue the molding down with liquid nails.

Caulk the joint between the tile and the molding.

Apply the caulk with your finger and smoosh into any cracks.

Wipe away any residue for a clean edge.

I mixed the border color to tie into the existing tile. I painted the oak molding and border this color.

I made two glazes. One is more beige and one is more gray. One part paint to four parts glaze.

I applied the glaze in a random pattern and used a plastic grocery bag to blend the brush marks. My hands got so messy I didn't get a picture of the bag technique.

Here is a close up of the glazed floor. It's very subtle.

Seal the floor with 2-3 coats of Benwood Stays Clear Acrylic Polyurethane. Another Benjamin Moore product. I'm not endorsed by them in any way, I just like their stuff the best.

At this point I thought I was finished. Come back tomorrow and see what I did next.

Here are some more pictures of my living room floor. I started by painting two coats of a choclate brown and then added three different glazes on top. One coat in black, one in an amber brown, and a third in gray. All were made with Benjamin Moore paint. I added a stencil from the Royal Design Studio along the border.

I won't lie, this project was challenging. It was messy, hard, and time consuming, but totally worth it! There is something very satisfying about doing a project like this on my own. I love the change and I love saving money.

Thanks for checking it out and good luck with your DYI projects!

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