Category: House and Home

Paint- It’s Cheap and Comes in a Can

paintremodelingkitchencabinetsinexpensivesavemoneyfrugalgreenIt’s called paint- it’s cheap and comes in a can.” This has to be one of the best quotes I’ve heard while watching a tv show. I really wished I could remember which show I was watching, but this is exactly how I feel about paint. Paint is a wonderful inexpensive way to spruce up just about anything. I didn’t want to replace my kitchen cabinets since they are actual wood and not cheap particle board. The cabinets are in excellent condition but just needed a facelift. To paint or not to paint was the question. I really wanted the kitchen to be brighter and stained wood darkens spaces. In the end, I decided to paint them. Below are the steps that I took and some pictures. (Oh quick note, that picture was drawn by my husband. I asked if he could draw me a paint bucket with brush for this post. I outlined it in paint, but will eventually figure out how to actually paint in photoshop. I think he did a fabulous job!)

How I Transformed My Kitchen Cabinets
I must have looked up almost a hundred articles and websites looking for information on properly painting previously stained cabinets. The problem is so much of the information, even from the “experts”, varies by technique and even properly cleaning or degreasing the doors. I decided to use a no rinse TSP cleaner. Then I did lightly sand the doors since the stain was pretty old and faded. After I wiped them down with a clean tack cloth, I have knotty pine wood so I used a shellac primer in a spray can just on the knots. The knots vanished after I primed the doors with a regular primer.

Finally I did use 3 coats of white Kitchen and Bath enamel paint. It is a little more expensive than a semi-gloss, but it’s made for specifically for a high humidity. I used a paint brush and not a sprayer. I didn’t know how to use a sprayer and I definitely was not willing to experiment. I used a very high quality paint brush made to eliminate brush strokes. I have to admit it came out great. I can barely see any strokes, and I am very happy with the results. The whole process of cleaning, sanding, and painting took me about 2-3 days. I had 16 doors so I had to paint eight one day and paint the remaining eight the next day. I did let the doors dry for about 4-5 days. I was a little paranoid. Most experts recommend at least three days. I know many people would not use a white, but I have found it very easy to keep the cabinets clean. I just wipe them a couple of times a week after I do the dishes. The best part is my kitchen is much brighter, even with the lights off.

Spray Paint- Who Knew?

I really wanted to replace the door handles, but we couldn’t find new handles to match up as the old ones are hung differently than today. I cleaned them, but couldn’t get all the rust out. My brilliant husband suggested we just spray paint them. We got a flat satin black and one with the primer already mixed in. It cost us about $8 with tax and it worked perfectly. The handles look brand new again! I am thrilled with the results, and it was much cheaper than buying 20 new handles. The total project cost us $90! That includes all the paint, primer, brushes, and sandpaper. I did get some discounts with coupons that I was mailed. I think that saved me about $12-15. I have brand new cabinets and handles for under $100! We did splurge on the better paint, but I think it was worth every penny. I think a picture is worth a thousand words…literally!


My Renovation Reality

Yes just like the show, house repairs are unexpected and extremely time consuming. Our renovations are coming to an end inside the house thank goodness. I don’t think I ever want to look at another paint brush again. Ok so just a bit of an exaggeration, but I am happy to step back from remodeling for a few months. I plan on doing a few posts about time saving tips that I learned and just show off our projects. I’m extremely pleased with how my house has turned out so far. We saved a lot of money by tackling many things ourselves like patching drywall, caulking trim, painting, and lots of comparison shopping. I’m waiting for it to cool down (say October) before I tackle any outside projects. I want to caulk and weatherstrip my windows to further reduce my electric bills. I still have a couple of small projects to finish up, but I admit that I’m procrastinating as I’m burnt out.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #79- Use Card to Scrape Paint off Wood!


Today’s frugal living tip is use old credit or debit card when removing paint off wood floors. It could also be an old gift card and some people have used CD’s to scrape. I found the old card to be much easier and didn’t scratch my wood floors as they are not finished but waxed.

You should really use a drop cloth when painting. But if you forget then this technique works well.

So I I really like to use Citrasolve cleaner. Spray a small amount and then use the card to scrape the paint gently.

I find the Citrasolve smells great and polished my wood floors making them look new again. I did try Goof Off, but it didn’t smell nearly as nice. It also didn’t work well at removing the paint. I had to really rub to get any paint up. I gave up and switched to the Citrasolve, and all those paint marks were cleaning up easily.

The credit card was great at removing tiny and big paint drops. I then used a damp sponge mop with warm soapy water to wipe up the Citrasolve.

In the future, I can say I will use a drop cloth when I paint my rooms.

House Remodeling Projects

I can’t believe I haven’t posted in so long. I was going to start another blog about my weight loss journey, but that hasn’t happened yet. I will say the main reason I haven’t posted in so long is I’ve been remodeling my house. We are in the midst of multiple house projects including painting, new floors, plastering drywall, ripping out old and trying to make new items fit. We also had our house leveled, which is great, but now many of our doors have to be shaved or door latches readjusted so doors will shut again. I’m also kicking myself for not doing some before/after pictures. I’m cutting out old drywall around door cracks. My husband wasn’t sure if I could handle fixing all of the crumbling drywall above the tub where we ripped out an old cabinet. I have proved him wrong, and you can’t even tell there were big chunks of drywall missing exposing the wood beneath it. All I can say is the internet, google, and youtube are your friends in diy projects like this.

On the flip side, I have also spent countless hours planning and shopping. I do enjoy all the shopping, but I don’t always enjoy making all the decisions. I can be extremely indecisive plus I love getting a bargain. When I would find something I liked, then I would worry that I could get a better deal somewhere else. I solved that problem by downloading a free app to my iphone to price compare called Shop Savvy. It also lists all the local & online stores with the cheapest price listed first. That cool app has saved me time plus I know if I’m getting a good deal or not. I love technology.

The other reason I haven’t done any blogging is I’m still trying to get my son all the help he needs. That has been an ongoing struggle with the school and doctor. The doctor finally came to the conclusion that my son does struggle with major anxiety along with the autism. The doctor thinks he has more Asperger’s syndrome coupled with anxiety plus the Sensory Disorder. Trying to find a good balance of medications to help him has been very hard. He was having lots of trouble in school at the beginning of the year. He had three different teachers in a matter of two months. Not good for a child who resists any change especially in his routine. That has been a fight at the school along with fighting with the doctor my son needed to be put on an anti-depressant. I hate medicating him, but I knew in my heart he needed to be put on one. Right after Christmas, the doctor agreed with me and was put on Zoloft. He has been doing so much better. He is now making straight A’s again, and I’m curious to see how he did on the ileap. His teacher thinks he did extremely well.

With the summer coming, I’m looking to make some big changes with his diet like I did with mine. I have been struggling some with my weight loss for the last several months. I gain a couple and then lose them. I will save that for another post. All in all, life has been very hectic so I tend to forget about the blog when I get very busy with other projects. I am excited to share pictures and my experience with these projects. I have to share here since my husband refuses to go on Renovation Realities with me. I know we would have the highest rated show ever since I do have a bit of a temper. Ok, so that is a tad of an understatement I admit. I am a bit of a perfectionist so it’s better that I’m doing most of this work myself. I do enjoy having an ipod on this phone since I love to sing while I’m plastering and sanding.

Are You Ready for the Winter Heating Blues?

Each year I say I’m going to get my house more energy efficient for winter, but I end up procrastinating and do nothing. Then when I open my heating bills I want to cry. This year I am going to make my house more efficient so I can stop dreading the heating bill. I have a 55 year old house that comes with the original windows and doors which can get drafty. I did take down my doors to re-stain them, and filled in all the tiny hairline cracks. We had a nice cold front but I couldn’t feel any wind coming through like usual. Here is what I’m doing this weekend.

1) I am hanging thermal lined curtains in my living room. I eventually want them in the bedrooms we sleep in.

2) Installing door sweeps for all three doors.

3) Installing foam weather stripping for the windows. I also will caulk around the outside window casings and door frames.

4) I made a door draft guard for all three doors. We only use one of them on a regular basis. I will only put it in front of the door at night.

I spent under $200 for everything including the curtains. That was my biggest expense since I needed 8 panels for my living room. I didn’t want to use caulk on the window sills since we live in a warmer climate. Our winters aren’t very harsh so there are days I want to be able to open the windows to let in any nice air. That’s another reason why we didn’t want to put plastic wrap on the windows. I should be able to save at least 20% off my heating bill just doing these simple steps.

There are lots of ways to winterize your house. I don’t have to wrap or insulate pipes since we don’t get hard freezes and most of the time it’s only a day or two at a time. I don’t have a furnace or boiler so I don’t need to clean it out or make sure it’s in good working condition. I have a forced air natural gas heater so it’s minimal maintenance. Our attic is already well insulated, and we don’t have basements in Louisiana. You need to consider your winterizing needs which will depend on how cold your area gets. There is a lot of great information on the internet. I hope I gave you a few tips to consider so you don’t cry when you open your heating bills this winter.

Another Remodeling Project Completed

I’m remodeling our house using cash only and no credit. It’s taking us longer but it’s more satisfying knowing that each completed project is paid for upfront. I won’t have to worry about making monthly payments on them for the next five years. I completed our kitchen project last fall, but I don’t think I ever posted the pictures on this blog. We spent around $800 which included getting the ceiling cracks fixed and painted, new light fixtures, and painting the walls. It was an amazing transformation, and it was an inexpensive project. I’m still not completely finished since I still need a new kitchen floor. I also want to add a wall and base cabinet next to the stove which will give me a nice area for prep work when cooking. I can also store all my spices, baking staples, and some cookware plus my kitchen knives. By adding that one set of cabinets, then I will have more cabinet space again.

My other remodeling project we completed a couple of weeks ago was my utility room. It also had deep cracks in the ceiling and down one wall. You would never know there were ever any cracks. It looks fabulous and got a great deal for the amount of work done. I’m extremely happy and another inexpensive remodel. She not only fixed the cracks, caulked everything, painted the ceiling plus my walls. She even pulled out the washer and dryer and painted behind them plus my old wooden door. Everything looks so clean and new. I’m definitely going to use this company when it’s time to paint my house. Our next project is converting the porch into a carport. We should be able to start it either next week or the following week. Of course the worst part of remodeling is waiting on the contractors.

Stylish Faucets

It seems that home decor as the same stylish trends that you see in fashion. What was fashionable twenty years ago always comes back in some form either on the runway or in the decorator store. I have noticed, on many of the home decorating shows, that French Country farm sinks and faucets are all the rage. I find it even more amusing how big of a price tag comes with a style that is already in my kitchen when I moved in.