Master Bedroom floor redo

Turns out our 130 year old Hemlock floor cleans up real nice!

When we bought the new house we were unsure of which floors we would be able to save and which ones should really be covered up or replaced.  It took a lot of work and many steps but the Master bedroom floor now looks gorgeous!   And I wouldn’t trade it for a new hardwood floor, a laminate floor or carpet for anything!

This is how to Master bedroom floor looked before.  The photograph really makes the finish look horrible!

The floors before

The first thing we did was clean it like crazy (sweep, vacuum  hand scrub and then vacuum/scrape out all the cracks on the floor to get rid of all of the years of accumulated dirt we could, especially in the cracks of the floor.  Then we started filling.  I used a 1 inch putty knife and Minwax stainable wood filler.   We used probably 5 of these big tubs in the room.  Filled floor cracks  Using the 1 inch putty knife we tried not to overfill to much to have a ton to sand.  It took 4 afternoons to get to this step and then we were ready to sand!  At first we thought we could use our hand sander with a fine grit, then maybe with a rough grit, then realized that we were wrong and really needed a big floor sander, luckily our local Lowe’s has then in stock to rent for under $40 a day.  hardwood floor sanding  We followed the directions starting with 37 grit and working our way to 80 and then went in the corners and the edges we couldn’t reach with the hand sander  and a bit of hand sanding .  This process was surprisingly dust free!  Not anything at all like sanding drywall mud :p  sanded floor  When our floor was where we called “done”  it was not 100% new looking.  Our floors were bowed and warped from years of being unheated, have filled gaps between each board and aren’t as secure as a brand new floor, but we weren’t going for new in this floor, just nice – we didn’t want to remove the years of character from the floor, only the years of neglect. Sanded Hemlock floor close up  The next step was to tack cloth the whole thing and then start applying stain.  I choose a very dark brown stain, And we applied it as instructed.Applying stain february 253  After the stain we applied 2 coats of a semi gloss poly.  I wanted to go for a high gloss but was cautioned against it because of the rough nature of the old wood (that every little imperfection would reflect the light differently and make it look bad)  I am so glad I took the experts advice and we couldn’t be happier with the end results! finished _IGP1870


St. Patricks day shenanigans!!!

While the rest of the country was out getting wild and crazy and drunk at the bars we were at home with the kiddos.  But once they went to bed?  Well, We just went crazy!!!


 hardwood floor sanding

Sanding the Master bedroom floor haha! go baby go! This is probably the most memorable St. Pattys day ever, based on the fact that we can actually remember it AND we will get to reap the fruits of our labors everyday for the rest of our stay in the New Home for the Handful.

At least we still had beer!

closet bar frustration

The lone closetThis old house came with exactly 1 closet ( in the little girls room). And 1 under the stairs storage area.  I understand closets weren’t a big thing in the 1890’s but according to modern standards a bedroom must have 3 things. 1) a door. 2) a window. and 3) a closet.  So really we have a 1 bedroom – 2 bath – 2404 square foot home. … Really?  So closets are being put in in all of the rooms that I am calling a bedroom, and if I ever sell the house I will put a closet in the office as well.

My contractor is installing closets in all of the kids rooms, and putting a functioning door on the one existing closet.  I however am installing closets in teh Master bedroom because I want them to have the look of built in’s not modern day closets.  It has been a very interesting progression.  1st I had to level the floor where the closets are going, then make the blanket box and bed, and now finally I am ready to start work on the closets themselves, a his and a hers.  But the one piece of information I can not find any wheres is at what depth do I place the closet rod ?

Kids bath: Planning and Demolition

I knew the floor plan of this bathroom needed to change.  There was a huge waste of space next to the toilet, only 1 tiny sink that had barely any door clearance and a shower so tiny that the kids would have out grown it by the time they reached puberty! That combined with the leak and frozen pipes made this room a priority.  (I was secretly hoping to do the main/master bath or kitchen first but the house apparently had other plans!  Oh well!)

I consulted the local kitchen and bath design specialist  they came out took measurements and asked what I wanted to see in the bathroom. I  explained that I wanted something that went with the feel/ age of the house.  I wanted to put 40 inch wainscoting on the walls, find a way to fit 2 sinks (because 5 kids crammed around 1 tiny sink in the mornings and evenings to brush their teeth just wasn’t ideal!), and frame-less glass shower doors with a tiled surround and a glass accent at eye level.  I explained I would like the vanity to have a furniture feel to it, and the 3 things I would love  to have would be a separate water closet for the toilet, so someone could pee in privacy while the others did teeth brushing and such; If we could find a way to make the shower become a tub that would be great but if we couldn’t a neo-angle shower would be fine and what ever storage we could add would be perfect!

Then my contractor who needed to measure doors for all the new closets and replacement doors happened by, he asked what was going on with the bathroom (since we had started demoing it at this point) and I explained everything I had told the design specialists.  He looked at the space for maybe a whole 5 minutes and came back with a great new design plan!  To move the door, to the opposite wall put a tub/ shower in and a pocket door to make a water closet and then tuck a double sink in where the existing door had been.   Honestly it was a perfect plan!  But I still wanted to wait until I heard back from the specialists.  I waited over 2 weeks for their reply.

They called on a Thursday I went over Friday morning to take a look at what they came up with I was super excited, until I saw their plan, my heart dropped.  They didn’t give me a double sink.  They didn’t give me a water closet.  They didn’t give me a bathtub.  What did they give me?  A 18 inch linen closet.  And a budget 10 x more than I had said I wanted to spend (and 5 times more than my contractor said it would cost).  It was super disappointing , 2 weeks of waiting, nothing I wanted or needed in the space,  and a budget bigger than I have for the whole house remodel!  It wasn’t full of high-end granite, or vessel sinks, (both which the tall Man has banned from our house! lol) Kohler accessories  or new modern innovations and striking designs.  It was simple and boring, and costly.  I called my contractor on the way home to tell him he got the bathroom job, I didn’t even bother to call the Tall Man first because I knew he would agree with my decision and we wanted the bathroom done, and done now.

We did some of the demo ourselves before the contractor came in to save some on costs and to be involved in.  Tall man and the boys #1 and #3 demo’d the trim and the flooring.  We sold the vanity on Craigslist and took it out when the couple arrived to pick it up, and I demo’d the shower and removed the light fixture and wall decor.  Then our contractor came in and made short work out of gutting the rest of the place.  By the end of day 2 demo was pretty much done and some improvements had been begun.

One week into the job, new insulation is already being installed in the wall, the  old plumbing has been removed, the walls have been leveled out and the floor leveling is underway (the floor is being leveled for the bathroom and the adjacent toy room simultaneously as they share the same floor joists).  I can’t wait to see what progress happens this week!

Industrial look window coverings

A very affordable window covering that gives a modern industrial look.   And very easy to custom size to fit any window under 36 inches wide and shorter than 72 inches long.  And very easy for the beginner DIYer or home owner, and a great look for renters who are wary of putting holes in their walls!

inexpensive modern industrial window coverings


Each window will require 1 Redi shade blackout 36×72) shade (available at Lowes, Walmart, Amazon, etc. for between $5 – $8 – I got ours at Walmart for under $6.) and 2 bulldog clips size 2 – 5/8 inch (around $4 – $6 depending on where you buy them).  Other materials  you will need are a tape measure, a sharp blade (Exacto knife or box cutter type) and a straight edge to cut against.


Measure each window on the top and the bottom, and measure again.  Find the measurement that is the smallest and measure it again!  there is no such thing as over measuring!  Now subtract 1/4 inch from that measurement.  that is the width you are going to cut your Redishade to.

measure here

Using your knife and straight edge carefully cut through the shade making several firm but shallow cuts (make sure you are using a sharp and clean knife) until you have cut through the shade.easy, inexpensive DIY

Now hold the blind at the smallest area of the window to verify it will fit.  remove the sticky backing and press firmly in the center of the upper window making sure the cut edge is facing the window.  Press firmly along the length of the blind and then let it fall into the open position.

Redishade open positionNow it is time to trim to length if the shade is billowing out of your window casing.  start by taking off 4 pleats.  you can do this with scissors or by carefully ripping along the seam as I did again making sure the cut edge faces the window.  continue taking off 4 pleats at a time until the shade hangs nicely.quick modern industrial

When the window shade is down place bulldog clips on the bottom to anchor it in place.  When you want to open the shade pick your desired height and place the bulldog clips at that point.  When in the open position angle your bulldog clips into a hanging position for a cleaner look.

down or closed position


Another great thing about these shades is that they really do block all the light darkening a room nicely, and they keep the cold out that always seems to seep through the windows in the wintertime!

redishade blocking out the light and the cold

* But what about the clips that came with the shade?  Throw them away!  Use them for clothespins, or to match socks, or give them to a kid to play with.  Just don’t put them on the shade or you will have a whole different kind of look going on!



Rainbow cake Love

Rainbow cake success! rainbow cake success

I pulled a little bit of info from 4 pins plus some knowledge I already had to make it work.

Step 1: To make the cake batter  use 2 boxes white cake mix + 1 large instant vanilla pudding.  Mix these together and then followed the directions on the box. This will yield 16 servings, or 32 1/2 slice servings (which would still be plenty!)

Step 2: Divided the batter into 6 bowls using approx. 1 1/3 cups batter per bowl.

Step 3: Start mixing your colors using gel food coloring.  I used the Betty Crocker regular and neon colors. To get the colors vibrant you will need to use a lot of food coloring, about 1/2 a tube per color. I used red, neon orange, yellow, a mix of the green and neon green, blue, and neon purple with a touch of neon pink (purple food coloring on its own always just looks dirty to me, the pink pops the color up).

Batter before the cake

Step 3: Bake your layers,  take a little bit of time off of the recommended cooking time because you made 3 layers per box instead of 2.

Step 4: Let cool then wrap with plastic wrap and freeze over night.  This step is very important so your cakes don’t break when you ice them! wrap each layer in plastic wrap and freeze overnight

Step 5: Start Icing.  I used 5 5! tubs of white frosting for this cake and put very thin layers of icing. Make sure to stir each tub of icing before you start suing it, this lightens the frosting up and makes it easier to spread.  This cake is deceptively huge! Layer your cakes in rainbow order, just remember ROY G. BIV (without the v!) with a thin layer of icing between each layer. 

Step 6: Put a thin (crumb coat) of icing around the whole cake and then pop it into the fridge for a few hours.  This lets the first layer of icing set, keeps the cakes cold and firm to make icing easier so they don’t start sliding all around and keeps crumbs out of your final layer of frosting.

Step 7: Put your final coat of icing over the whole cake and pop it back in the fridge.  You can be done at this point, or add decorative icing finishes as I did after this layer sets up and hardens.

striped piping bag

Step 8 (optional): Add decorative icing.  To get the rainbow stars and piping effect stripe your pastry bag with the gel food coloring before you add in the frosting.  Don’t go crazy with the decorative icing here or the cake will look a mess, you are just going for an accent, the real star of this cake is the layers inside.  Put the cake back in the fridge when done. All Decorated with rainbow stars and piping

Serving the cake:  Do not bring this cake out of the fridge until you are ready to light the candles and cut and serve, and plan on cutting quickly!  The warmer the cake is when you slice it the harder it will be.

Rainbow cake

 Use a sharp knife ( I used a large chef knife and a bread knife successfully)  Between each slice wipe the knife off well or your colors will mix on the edges of the cake and it will look bad.  Also any extra frosting cake on the knife will make it harder to cut cleanly.  I sliced this cake into 16 pieces, and each piece was huge!Rainbow glow candles on a rainbow cake

How to cut:  cut across the whole cake making 2 halves.  then cut 1 of those halves in half. then that 1/4 in half and then each of those slices in half.  Then start removing pieces.  slicing this cake 1 slice at a time like a normal cake will just give you a big headache and a big mess!

5 sliced of cake left!

Rainbow cake was inspired by these 4 pins:


Pinterest inspired: Ice cream slices

The cookie cutter thing is cute, but I’m sloppy and It just didn’t work for me. Plus my girl loves Neapolitan Ice cream and wanted everyone to get all the flavors. This took about 5 minutes to do and yielded 12 healthy servings from a 2 quart container of Ice cream.

Step 1: Line a pan with plastic wrap. line a pan with saran wrap
Step 2: unfold your box of ice cream completely, so you just have a brick of ice cream. Byrne Ice cream box unfolded
Step 3: slice your ice cream into 4 slices. slice Ice cream evenly
Step 4: lay 2 Ice cream slices end to end.
Step 5: lay the other 2 ice cream slices on top in a way where the flavors are staggered.layer ice cream slices
Step 6: wrap in the saran wrap tightly and return it to the freezer till serving time. wrap ice cream tightly.
Step 7: Slice into 12 pieces (slice in half 1st, then in 1/2 the opposite way to make a + sign, then divide each square into 1/3rds).slice your ice cream

Easy Peasy and quick to serve. Ice cream slice and Rainbow cake

Sliced Ice cream was inspired by this pin: