Rainy Day Paint Fumes and a Bench Pt 2

Just a quick update today! Has looked like a torrential rain about to happen all day!  So back to the basement…and the fumes.

Almost like obsidian!

We’ve got glossy black wrought iron! It took a full 2 cans of Rustoleum. Now I’ll leave to dry until next weekend because I really don’t want to go back into the fumes again

While I was down there, I also got these done!

Pearly white!

Pretty white satin slats just waiting to become a seat.  I decided to try the Krylon Plastic Fusion as it’s supposed to work on wood, too.  I’ll leave to cure for 7 days and we’ll see if it becomes chip proof as it did on the vinyl shutters.

All these paint fumes remind me of all the trim/doors/closet doors/walls/ceilings I painted while building with Habitat. One day my current neighbor and I were busy painting on the 2nd floor of one of the houses…closet doors, I think.  We ended up having the longest giggling fit I’ve ever had due to the fumes (and our sense of humor) and then we started singing…Amazing Grace with harmony in giggling.  Good memories…they make me smile.

Enjoy your week…make some memories that will keep you smiling. I’ll be back when the curing is done and I’ve got the overspray scrubbed off!


Rainy Day Paint Fumes and a Bench Pt. 1

Hey, Everyone! I was so happy to have the rain pour down today! I love storms and the sound of the rain washing the air! Gardens were naturally watered and I had to stay in and work on a couple of projects instead of mowing the lawn.

Okay…I did go out and get a Wild Mountain Blueberry coffee and enjoyed it in my cousin’s yard before the rain. It’s nice to have Saturday morning coffee with someone as into gardening and DIY as I am.  Kinda gets the imagination motor revving!

Generally, painting is not my favorite thing to do since I have no outside space to work in. I get stuck in the basement with little ventilation and no music. But, I was fed up with my procrastination. Yes, I admit to this. Since I couldn’t get anyone to help me move the mattress, box spring & rug out of the guest room so I could start the floor and use the saw, I was faced with….painting.  Well, spray painting to be exact.

Time to start working on this baby. My cousin thoughtfully offered it to me before putting it out with the trash and she delivered it!  Thank you, Neen! Boards missing, iron rusting, nuts/bolts/washers rusted in place; lichen growing on the rotted slats. Poor little thing was in need of a serious makeover! I am in need of some outdoor seating.  What a match!

The first thing was to tear her apart…like so. Yep…glad I took jujitsu!

I had to take the two arm pieces to work and my go-to-guy, Ryan, graciously found time to cut the frozen nuts/bolts/washers off and even thought to save me one bolt so I’d know what to buy for replacements.  What a guy! The back pieces, for whatever reason, I was able to unbolt with the help of WD40.  Then it was off to the still nameless store to get replacement wood.

I didn’t take pics of priming the new wood nor cutting with a jigsaw the top curved back piece.  How talented do you think I am? Truly, I cannot take photos one handed and safely operate a jigsaw for the first time using my dining table for a workbench!  I’m just not there yet…give me time, ok? It’s still up in the air whether the new curved piece is cut well enough to fit! I guess we’ll eventually find out, won’t we?! So new wood is primed and waiting for a coat of paint and poly.  That leaves the iron pieces.  The hefty iron pieces…I think this bench, like my outdoor table, is going to stay put in storms.

First up was washing and wire brushing these pieces down…in my kitchen sink. Remember? It was raining outside, ok? No picture…’cause it was not a pretty site.

Here we are in the basement, freshly scrubbed and dry. You can still see the rusted areas even after wire brushing, but all the loose stuff is gone.

It’s time to change her color and get rid of the weathered look so I decided to use Rustoleum’s Rust Reformer.  It’s supposed to solidify any rust into solid, paintable areas and I sure hope it does! I don’t want to be doing this again next Spring!

Here you can see the back piece partially primed with the Rust Reformer.  Primed on the left, not so on the right. It took about 2 cans to do both sides of all 3 pieces.

Ahhh…nothing like fresh color! I’m allowing them to dry for 24 hours before the final coat of paint.  Can tomorrow come soon enough? Just realized I may need a 2nd can of paint!  Reminder to self: Errand after church.

So while they dry and since I was now in a painting mood induced by fumes, look what else got a new color!

Oh, yes, yes, yes they are! These are the Funky-To-Be Flower Pots! From plastic, fake terracotta to brilliant white!  Stage One Complete!  Now the question is, what contrasting color shall I use on them?  Shall I do graduated horizontal bands?  Zebra? Spiral? What shall it be? Dark gray? Black? Navy? Oh the choices!  

These were washed down with soap & water and then wiped down with mineral spirits to remove any lasting grease.  I used Krylon Fusion for Plastic – the same stuff I used on my outdoor shutters. They should be chip proof in 7 days. Since I don’t plan to use them until Spring, I’ll let them cure for quite a while before adding any contrasting color.

Can you picture them flanking the bench and the gray table, filled with bright pink,orange & red annuals mounding under some coleus? Maybe some lime potato vine cascading down the sides? Picture courtesy of my cousin Debi.  This girl has the greenest thumb I’ve ever seen! As in she does not kill orchids.

Yeah, I’m thinking dark gray, graduated horizontal bands with those colors! I think that would work well with the waterproof pillows I’m going to make for the Adirondack chairs.  Oh! I didn’t mention I scored as in free waterproof material? The kind we use in the machine we build at work for a waterproof barrier? As in Navy Blue? Gosh, the things some people throw in the dumpster.

So what say y’all? Any ideas to share? I’d love suggestions!

For those of you concerned, I did wear a face mask while doing all this spray painting and had the bulkhead open with a fan pulling the fumes out.  Best I could do with what I have! Another note to self:  Get serious about building a shed/workshop area out of free pallets…add to expanding DIY list.

It’s Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s a Finchakeeta?

Little Black Birdbath

It all started with the gift of a birdbath. One that needed to be wire brushed and painted. A quick job squeezed in one late afternoon.

And a home was found with the hollies and rhody, roses and hosta.  But something was lacking besides the water.

No color…so blah.  Then along came the missing piece!

The poor broken little birdie. Homeless…lacking color to attract other birdies.

What’s a bird to do?

Add some color to it’s black, drab feathers, of course!

“Where’s the feather dye? I really need a pick me up,” said the poor-broken-black-drab-feathered little birdie.

And what to it’s astonished eyes appeared?  Feather dye, of course.  And all the applicators needed!

“I need to be bright with subtle shading,” thought the birdie. “But I don’t want to be too colorful! I’ll leave that to those birdies.”

So the little birdie went to work adding a base color and then some highlights. She brushed and pulled color through, waited and then added a little more with a dash of color to her beak.

“Ahhh…I feel like a new birdie! Where can I go to show the new “me” off?

“I’ve arrived! I wonder who’ll stop by to comment on my new ‘”do”?  Just look at that reflection…my best side, too! I think I look thinner! I am just so pleased with my new look!”

Enough said.  The End.

Relax & Put Your Feet Up – Part 2

I told you I’d be back! Ready to finish? Only a few steps to go and the table will be done!
Except for moving her and you’ll have to find your own crew to do that!  So have you picked out your stain? I decided on Minwax Classic Gray so it will go with most any color cushions or chairs. And I love the classic gray and white combination!

Minwax Classic Gray

I began on the bottom side of the pallet to make getting the edges and between the boards easy and applied the stain with a foam brush.  Once the edges & sides were done it was onto the top. The pallet soaked up most of the quart of stain.  Just a bit left for touch-ups!  

Then all pieces were laid flat to dry overnight.  Since we were expecting some rain, I covered with an old shower curtain and secured with rocks.

The next morning I took off the shower curtain before work and allowed all the pieces to continue drying.

Numbered Legs

The last step is to attach her legs!  See the numbers?  

And more numbers!  And they match! I am a happy girl!

Numbered Pallet Underneath

So if you’ve numbered all of them you should have 1 through 8 to match up to the base. Match numbers, line up holes and pound one of the lag bolts through from the outside of the apron board.  Once you’ve got both legs to one corner secured with the lag bolts you can add a washer & nut from the underside to secure. Do all 4 corners. Sorry I don’t have pics for this.

 I didn’t over tighten as I do want to get them loose in the Fall to turn the legs up for storage, but tight enough that they don’t wiggle! Trust me (haha) they won’t come apart because we have even more shiny friends to use!

Angle Brackets

These guys are going to make sure the legs won’t move apart.
You only need 4 and each will take 4 screws that come with the pack.  About 3 inches above the bottom of the leg, line an angle bracket up evenly and mark the holes … and then we all said, “Pre-drill!” 
It’s worth it to mark and pre-drill all four sets of legs before securing with screws…unless you have a power screwdriver that you can find the charger for AND a drill. Ahem.  Moving on….

Secured Angle Bracket

Once you’ve secured an angle bracket on each leg, guess what?

You’re done.

Just flip her down onto her legs and admire your handiness!

Very Classic Lady!

Now about those extra pallets I have?  It turns out they’re not so “extra”!  Look at the next  project!  Er…uhm…the next one after the bench and the bedroom floor and the storm door and the front door and the Adirondack chairs… Oh, and if you want a pallet, I can still get one for you!

Pallet Compost Bin

Now won’t the gardens love this next Spring!!!

Relax & Put Your Feet Up – Part 1

Hi, Friends! It’s been a couple of weeks or so since I last posted.  Shame on me! I’ve got to brag say I’m very proud of myself.

I planned out all by me little self and executed said plan (with a little help from a friend to hold some wood in place while I drilled) and voila!  I have a nice, roomy, outdoor footrest!  Ok..ok…it’s a table…the perfect height to rest my feet!

Pallet Table

Pallet tables are all over Blog Land and with free pallets available to me, I just needed to add another project to my ever growing list! Can you just picture it with a black & white wrought iron garden bench and a couple of white Adirondack chairs?  Some funky big flower pots placed nearby and a fire bowl on top? Well…try….ignore tubular chairs…and just try.  See?  Beautiful!

One thing about this table is that it is not going to be moved by a Nor’easter or a tropical storm. Still up in the air about a tornado! Yes siree, she’s a sturdy little thing!

Basic Pallet
I started off with a pallet like this. I still have two more – anyone else want to make a table? They deserve to be saved from a bonfire! Yeesh!

The first thing I did was pry off the two slats on the bottom – one from each end so I would be able to access the future bolts with washers & nuts. Sorry, no pics of that hour long fiasco part.  Have you ever seen how many 3 inch nails they use per board on these things? You’d think they have to bear a lot of weight or something!

Next up was filling in the gaps. I used firring strips because they were cheap the right size – 2 inches wide and they were about a dollar and change or less for an 8 ft. length. They each needed to be 48 inches long so I spent $4 and had the store cut them in half to fit in my car.  I love it when it works out so easily! Fortunately, before I started adding my strips to the pallet, my co-worker and go-to guy, Ryan, “suggested” I pre-drill because pallet wood is hard. Thank you Ryan, for saving me mucho time and sweat and not so nice words! I lined them up being sure to leave drainage space and pre-drilled my little heart out and then secured at each end with screws.

Look how much those gaps closed already!  I should have been an orthodontist! Well, maybe not.

Unless you want to pry each and every board off, your spaces will vary.  You can pry ’em off if you want.  I didn’t want to after the experience of the two on the other side. Nope…but you go right ahead, I’ll just go get a nice cool drink and check out Facebook & e-mails.  Anything good on TV? I’ll wait. I can always come back tomorrow.

Now it’s time for what I am calling the “apron boards” which you can see the edge of in the above pic.  I have no idea if that term is right, but I like it so I’m going with it. These are the 1″ x 6″ pressure treated boards I used on each side of the pallet to even it up and make her pretty. I also had these cut to size at the lumber store which remains nameless because they ignore women that are not blonde and size zero. Apparently, the lumber store cutting person that day, didn’t understand inches so I got to break out the circular saw and trim it to correct size!  Woohoo!  Got to use the saw! Got to use the saw!  Yes, I was also enjoying candlelight and music while I sawed and hammered. Deal with it.

Butted Apron Boards

I lined them up evenly with top of pallet edge. And can I just stress again….PRE. DRILL. Because I don’t have super long drill bits, I drilled as far as I could then removed the apron board and continued the partially drilled holes in the pallet side.  Then it was time to place the screws through the apron board until about 1/2 inch came through.  This made it quite easy to line up to all the holes in the pallet.  Then get that screwdriver bit on the drill and drive them all in.  Four sides…drilling twice on each side and screwing in. All hemmed in!  Pretty aprons!

Are you having fun yet?  It gets better and thank God for friends who show up to hold wood in place and help with clamps!  Next up is drilling the holes for the legs.  I borrowed clamps, but couldn’t quite get them tight enough…enter Linda.  Thank you, my friend! I used 2″ x 6″ pressure treated (PT) wood for the legs and randomly decided that 16″ would be the perfect height for what I wanted and I was right and it feels good.

Clamped in Place

I chose to place the legs on the outside for a couple of reasons: (a) to avoid having to cut out part of the pallet base and (b) I’ll be able to loosen  the bolts in the Fall, turn legs up onto apron and retighten – nice flat pallet for winter storage! I lined them up with the top of the apron boards and made sure the corners met.  No more gaps!

Pretty, Shiny Ladies & Friends

Once clamped, holes were pre-drilled. Two legs per corner. I used a 5/16″ drill bit so I would be able to accommodate these lovely ladies – The Lag Bolts with their friends Washers & Nuts! I used fully threaded lag bolts about 5 1/2 inches long with washers & nuts to fit.  
I did not put out the money for stainless steel….this is a pallet table, not a teak or mahogany table, friends. And they were cheap reasonably priced.

I also learned my lesson with the shutters.  This time I numbered the legs on the bottom as well as their corresponding position on the inside of the bottom of the pallet. (You’ll see in Part 2.)

Now it’s time to exfoliate the lady!  I used my orbital sander with 150 grit sandpaper and reduced the weathered look, smoothed her right down and got rid of a lot of those age spots, too!

After the Spa Treatment

If you look on the left side of the picture, you’ll see the funky-to-be big flower pots and the pallet is leaning up against the soon to be restored wrought iron garden bench.  The pots will be a winter project to be ready for the Spring.  The bench is already in progress.  🙂

The hard work is over for the most part and the true fun messy part is about to begin.  Come back for Part 2 soon! Remember, there are two pallets up for grabs!  Think about it!

Blossoms & Fruit

Not everyone loves to garden. It can be quite a bit of work and expense. I wasn’t always a gardener.

Then one day shortly after I became a Christian, I got it in my head to grow vegetables – tomatoes and green peppers to be exact. And I thought my Dad would be thrilled with fresh tomatoes. This year’s veggies aren’t ready to be photographed yet, so I’ll share my summer flowers as we go.

Threadleaf Coreopsis

There was a little piece of ground between the chimney and the slate walk that I thought was the perfect place. It was only about 3 1/2 ft. by 3 1/2 ft. So I started digging and turning and weeding and pretty soon I had a nice little spot amended with some sterilized chicken manure. It was cheap and it was manure….that’s how I picked it out. Real knowledgeable I was not – just cheap thrifty! 
Little did I know this was all God’s idea. 

As I prepared that little plot, I thought of my Mom and her love of gardening. Her favorite hymn was “In The Garden” and she loved gardening with a passion, especially flowers. As I hummed and sang quietly, I thought I heard a voice in my head. Must be the sun and heat. I shook my head and kept going. Then I heard the voice repeat…”You prepare the soil, place the plants and water. I will do the rest. I will bring a harvest.” Then I realized Who spoke to me and I just said, “Okay, I will.” Seriously, what did you say the first time the Lord spoke to you?! He made it very clear that He was the One to make things grow…I couldn’t make a seed sprout.

“Peace” Rose – Mom’s Favorite Rose

Off to the local plant nursery I went and came home with 2 cherry tomato, 2 Beefsteak tomato and  4 green bell pepper plants. I got them all situated in their new home and watered down.

Through the next few weeks I watered and kept watching them….grow….and grow….and grow.

Guess what? When all was ripe to pick, I couldn’t find enough people to give the extra away to! Dad couldn’t eat all of it and did I mention I don’t like fresh tomatoes? I only like to grow them. I had Beefsteak tomatoes that took both hands to hold! And who knew that cherry tomato vines could grow to 12 ft. and more long?! In mid-September I was still getting cherry tomatoes. The green peppers were huge! (Yes, I eat peppers.)


Those plants were so tall and sturdy that my big 120 lb. dog made his way in sometime during the summer and lay in there for the coolness of the shade…and the plants still continued to grow and thrive.

What a real-life lesson from the Lord. No matter the situation or person, prepare the “soil” through prayer, “plant” a seed when the door is opened and “water” when needed with encouragement. Then see what fruit (or flower) the Lord brings! The Lord makes things so simple…we tend to make things so hard…. I guess because we’re masochists afraid something simple couldn’t be true.

This happened almost 30 years ago and I remember it as if it were yesterday. And, go figure,  I have never been able to find sterilized chicken manure in our local plant nurseries since.

I’ll end with a few more current blossoms!   But before I do, look at this stunning bouquet of white roses my green-thumbed cousin grew and gave me! Thanks, Debi! I really want a cutting to root!

 God has the best imagination!
Oriental Lily

Sunrise or Sunset?
Garden Phlox

Raspberry Eyes!

Knockout Rose

Can we say “Neon”?!

Bee Balm (Dwarf)

Little Pink Feather Dusters!

Stella d’Oro Daylily

So what are you growing?
Veggies? Flowers? Fruit? 
Whatever you grow,
prepare, plant, water and enjoy!


What a beautiful afternoon finally! Hope you all had a chance to get out and soak in some sun today after all the rain. What a great afternoon to be out in the gardens! 

Some of you don’t know the history of my house so the quick version is:  I and my son worked with Habitat for Humanity to build our home and we love it!  God took my dream of owning my own home as a single mom and being done with landlords and apartment life and made it a reality in August 2005.  My son and I moved in July 2006 and it’s never ceased to amaze me how blessed we are. Oh, yes, there’s lots of stories to go with that year of building! So much laughter! So many aches!

Six years later I’ve finally accepted that some items just aren’t “me”… like the wineberry colored shutters and storm door…the “builder beige” walls…the builder grade oak kitchen cabinets.. the outside brass lights.  Do you see a list of projects forming? Trust me, it keeps getting longer and longer including both inside & outside projects to inject this house with my style…to make it mine. Part of the reason things are finally getting done is that it took me a very long time to lose my “apartment mentality” where one can do little, if anything, to personalize an apartment and what you can do, you still need permission for, etc. Seriously, when trying to decide where to dig holes for some shrubs the first year in our home (and the second), my son finally had had enough (especially since he was doing the big digging) and said,”Mom, we own this house. Nobody is going to get mad if there’s a hole with nothing in it.  We own it. It’s okay!”  I almost cried.  He’d hit the nail on the head. Bam! Bullseye! It was one of those instant, recognized by my heart truths! Sometimes he’s really good at that.

All that to let you know the shutters have been painted & reinstalled! Woohoo!  They are DONE! Here’s a before and after.

“The Wineberry Collection”
Not bad looking by any means.
Just not “me”!

“The Wrought Iron Collection”
What can I say? 
I just roll slightly more  traditional .
Though not a difficult project, it had it’s frustrating moments! By the way, be sure to kill and demolish any bees’ nests that are in back of your shutters before you take them down. Yes, I actually remembered to do this!  
New style shutter locks have to be cut off meaning I had to buy new ones at 12/bag for $5 and change (needed 24) or buy stainless steel 1/4″ diameter, 3″ screws and washers for well over $20 and then paint them to match. Shutter locks appear to be big plastic screws…with no place to use a screwdriver to unscrew them! Yeah, I went with replacement shutter locks. 
Remains of Shutter Lock after 1st cut
to get the shutters down.
Label, Label, Label – Label each shutter on the back as you take it down so you’ll know what window and what side of that window it belongs to. I didn’t and it wasn’t pretty….trust me on this, just label ’em! Use sharp clippers – I used my garden clippers! Hey, it worked well!
Playing Taps – Next up, cut the remaining parts of the shutter locks as close to the house as possible.  Then take a Phillips head screwdriver and a hammer and tap (as hard as necessary) through the existing holes to create a “new” hole as far as you can. The remainder of the shutter lock will either fall in back of the wall or your screwdriver will just go right through it.
Now the fun part!  Get out the Power Drill!  I love power tools! Put in a 1/4″ drill bit suitable for whatever material you’re drilling through and drill in 3 inches through the existing holes.  Don’t skip “Playing Taps” because I found it really difficult when I tried to just drill through an “untapped” shutter lock. Each of my shutters had 6 shutter locks so I happily moved the ladder, climbed up, drilled, climbed down… repeat multiple times.  Then take a piece of duct tape and tape over the finished holes to prevent water or bugs getting in. This tape will remain on the front of your house for at least 7 days so go ahead and use whatever color you want! Regardless of the color tape, your home is going to look strange for a week, so have fun with it!
Wash, Dry, Rinse, Dry – Yep, hose down those shutters, wash with mild soap, rinse and dry. Then wipe down with mineral spirits and let dry. Doesn’t take very long, but I had time so I let them sit overnight.
Krylon Fusion Rocks!
Transformations – I used Krylon Fusion for plastic, plain black with a satin finish and followed the directions.  It’s indoor/outdoor paint as well. Since I have to do all painting in my basement, the bulkhead was kept open with a fan sucking the fumes out and I wore a mask.  To keep the paint off my fingers, I used rubber gloves as well.
Closest to front not painted yet.
Sorry…bad basement photo.
You don’t have to & shouldn’t do a super thick coat. A couple of thin coats and you can always touch up missed spots after.  Just do it evenly and you’ll be fine. The Krylon Fusion provided wonderful coverage and I only did one side of the shutters & the edges – from both top to bottom and bottom to top since they are louvered. I used less than 2 cans and had great coverage!
Tick-Tock-Tick-Tock – Krylon recommends allowing the painted items to cure for 7 days in a protected area (my basement) in order to become chip proof. Due to life in general, mine sat for about 2 weeks before I reinstalled. Seriously? Chip proof? I figured I’d just stick to the directions even though I was very skeptical of the whole “chip proof” claim..
Puzzle Pieces – Or if you were wise enough to label the shutters, call it reinstalling.  Getting mine back up required a friend’s help (Thanks, Deez!) to see what holes lined up with what shutter.  It took about an hour to figure this out!  Repeat, label the shutters as you take them down! Once we had them sorted out, it was up and down the ladder many more times, but at least I was pounding in those new shutter locks!  And remember, once you set them they do not come out without cutting. So line ’em up right the first time! Voila! New sideburns for your windows!
Chipped or Not? – Krylon Fusion was true to their advertising.  I used a regular hammer rather than my rubber mallet which I could not find and NOT.ONE.CHIP.  Fantastic! So far, quite frankly, Krylon has really lived up to their claims and certainly exceeded my expectations! The test is still to see how they weather the summer and winter.  We’ll know in Spring 2013!
What do you think?  Big difference or not?  Like or not? I now wish I’d put Old Glory up for the pic to show the contrast. Now I kind of want shutters on the two side windows, but I think I’ll buy them already black…really…unless I find some free ones on Craigslist!

Next up is painting the storm door black (still researching process for this – will probably visit Sherwin Williams for advice) and then the part I’ve been waiting for – color on the inside front door that faces out! Some of you know what color I’m currently loving, but those of you who don’t, I’d like to hear what color you would choose! 

As I’m new to DIYing, this “small” project gave me just enough frustration and things to figure out without sending me to the phonebook to call a “professional” or my cousin.  Little by little, adding confidence and taking on “beginner” projects versus jumping in and deciding to, I don’t know, pave the driveway or add dormers (dream), is a lesson in restraint for me as well as patience.  And now I know why I really need a shed – up and down those basement stairs getting tools….I didn’t throw anything even once. I didn’t. But I sighed a lot.

 Since it’ll be a bit before I attack paint the storm door, posts may be about odd/not odd and hot topic or sundry things I think about! Hope to see you around! Until then….