The Stacy Chronicles

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Cork

Today, I’m going to talk a little about the many uses of cork. We’ve all heard of cork boards, right? You can buy tiles or rolls to make cork boards for your craft room or your kitchen. You also can buy cork tiling for floors.

When Jeff and I started updating our 100% oak kitchen we knew we would have to find something to line the cabinets with. I knew I wanted my cabinets white, but I was having a really hard time finding anything “cute” to line them with. You have the rubbermaid squishy stuff that slips and slides, or the contact paper that will not come up for a million years (and then it leaves tacky residue). Anyways, I knew none of those options were for us. In updating this home we are trying our hardest to increase the property value in case we ever decide to move out to the country. We are planning on painting all the rooms pretty neutral colors: grays, blues, light greens. We want to do everything right and not skip any corners.

I researched for days on the internet and found out about cork. Cork is mildew and mold resistant, eco-friendly and trees aren’t destroyed in the making of it (they just use the bark).

When I went to Lowes they only had one roll of cork shelf liner,and it was 18” x 24”. We needed it to be 24” wide and a lot longer. We have 36 cabinets for pete’s sake! Long story short, I found out about cork underlayment. It’s made to lay down under tile or other flooring for insulation. It came in a 100ft roll for $89 with free shipping to Lowes. I know that sounds like a lot for shelf lining, but if you add up all the small, paper thin, cork rolls I would have to buy at $10 a pop, I saved us around $100! The underlayment is really thick. I believe it is 1/4 of an inch or more. The cork lays down flat and doesn’t move at ALL! I’ve heard that the rolls of cork shelf liner tear because they are so thin.

I would like to give a big shout out to my hubby who cut it exactly to fit all of my cabinets. I cannot measure or cut straight. You will find out through this blog, if you don’t already know me, that I am not a perfectionist. You would think with all the crafts and hobbies that I do I would have to be, but I’m an artist at heart, which means that I use my creative brain, not my literal. I am also very bad at English, which is why you will see many run-on sentences and extra commas everywhere. I will apologize for that right now, sorry.

We are both very please with the results and I highly recommend buying the cork underlayment if you have TONS of shelves to line. It’s worth the time and money to make it perfect.

I chose not to line my drawers in the kitchen with it because I wanted a little vintage charm and a pop of color. Our kitchen is going to have white cabinets and white subway tile backsplash, so I wanted just a little color on the inside of the drawers to make me smile when I open them. Also, our kitchen is uber modern, but I love vintage kitchen utensils, so I’m mixing the two styles (can you do that)?

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Looks nice, huh? Please excuse the fact that my cabinets are being used as a pantry. We have to completely gut the old pantry and add dry wall, shelves, tile, ect.

Concerning the fabric for the drawers, I bought Mod-Podge and a foam brush, then I applied it over the fabric before I cut it. The reason for me applying the Mod-Podge is that it seals the fabric to protect it, makes it cut like paper, and keeps the edges from fringing. Here are a few pics of the fabric I chose to line the drawers.

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I picked this because it was the most vintage looking fabric Hobby Lobby had at the time (I live very far from other fabric stores). I like the idea of all the states, because Jeff and I love to travel. Plus, we’ve lived in a lot of these states. Shout out to Alabama, home of cotton (obviously)! So, what do ya’ll think? Good news is I didn’t Mod-Podge it down, so if I get tired of it I can just switch it out. I think it cost me around $8 for the fabric to line 7 drawers.

Let me know if ya’ll have any other neat ideas for shelf liners!

Cheers!

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From Pimples to Pendant

What is this you might say, two posts in one day!?! Yea, yea, yeah, I’m getting a little addiction. So, what’s up with the weird title? The other day when I was talking about the front porch I was really wanting to tell ya’ll about the pendant light we had bought for out there. I’ve always wanted a hanging pendant light on my front porch, but the wiring has never been set up to do that in any of my old houses. I’ve always settled for the one attached to the side of the brick or vinyl or whatever. Anyways, one of the things I was really excited about with the house, besides the fact it has a front porch, is that the wiring is already there for a hanging light! I was telling my cousin about this sweet deal we got on a new light for the front porch (more on that later), when she noticed the old one. She said the old fixture looked like it had pimples (hence the title of this post). Okay, so about my deal; Jeff and I decided to stop by a lighting and cabinet wholesale store one day in Gadsden. It is also where I got my kitchen UFO light:

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which to answer your question, yes it does provide lots of light for the whole kitchen. Anyways, I got a steal on this light $18 for a $44 light! BUT I got a better bargain on the pendant light. It is a Thomas Prosperity light which retails for $237, we got it for $32. The company had it for $49 and we asked if they could give us a deal and they knocked $17 off the price. Moral of this story is that it NEVER hurts to ask! Without further adieu here is the before and after:

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Aren’t the shadows totally amazing? Anyways…

Later Taters!


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Restoring Heartpine Floors

So, I talked a little last post about refinishing our floors. I thought I would give some more details for those of you contemplating ripping up your old carpet and refinishing your hardwoods. We made a LOT of mistakes and tried multiple things, but now we feel we know much more about refinishing floors. If we ever have the opportunity again not that I would ever do this again we will be so much better at it. So, there are some bad spots (by bad spots I mean places where the stain pooled), but our floors are SUPER old and, well, at least they look better than they did! The reason we had pooling is because we wanted them super dark and the stain didn’t seem dark enough. But I’m getting a head of my self. I wish I took pictures of the actual process, but I was up to my ears in dust (literally) and didn’t want to bring my camera in to be destroyed! The most annoying part of this process, and I think Jeff would agree, is pulling up the carpet…well the mess you get after you pull up the carpet. So, once the carpet has been pulled up there are little staples, not to mention old carpet liner goop (if your carpet is over 20 years old). You have to get all the millions of staples out of your floor before you can sand it. We started out using pliers and I almost poked an eye out. We researched on google and found out about this tool called a Wonder Bar, we nicknamed it Wonder Bra (but that’s off subject). Though it is quite funny when Jeff is calling out asking me where his Wonder Bra is! lol Anyways this tool is a lifesaver. You can buy one at Wal-Mart and they cost less than $12. Okay, so you get up all the staples and then you scrape up, sometimes with your fingernails, all this foamy goop off the floor. That part was super gross. Next you need to rent a sander. We rented a U-Sander because that’s what Ace Rentals suggested. It won’t tear up your floors like a drum sander. So we bought tons of sandpaper ($1 a piece) in three different grits. Jeff didn’t trust me to hold on to the big machinery, so I got the amazing backbreaking job of using the hand sander to sand the edges close to the wall. Well, I advise you skip this part. It wasn’t until halfway through our endeavor we found out that if you use the side of U-Sander it gets within a inch of the wall. Anyways, we were trying to make everything perfect and I spent 3 days on my hands and knees sanding about 1000 square feet of wood! By the way, you are going to run through A LOT of sandpaper on the first grit (36). The first grit is the one that gets all the stain and finish off, the second two are to smooth the surface. Our sandpaper kept gunking up every 10 minutes are so from the old polyurethane on the floors. I have no remedy for this, but a few other people thought they did. DON’T LISTEN TO THEM!!! Here’s what we googled and here is what the Ace people told us (mind you after we had been sanding for hours). They said that they always put mineral spirits down and let it sit and it gets some of the finish up! Well, 3 wasted hours later, and out of pocket fifty more dollars, the mineral spirits did absolutely nothing! Our sandpaper still got gunky. Okay, then we researched and read where paint stripper helped get some of the finish up. Dummy us actually listened and went and bought two HUGE things of paint stripper. Total= $60. This was by far the biggest mistake of our floor finishing journey. The paint stripper not only made our house smell like words cannot describe for MONTHS, it had some kind of chemical reaction on the paint. No matter how hard we tried we couldn’t scrape the goop up! Goop = bad, moisture = bad, floor project = BAD! We bought a special scraper thing, another $15 wasted, and even that didn’t get the goo up. So we ended up gunking up our sandpaper even worse! I hope you aren’t laughing at how incredible naive we are in our floor finishing endeavors, because not even I can laugh about it yet! hehe Another note on stripping, do not buy the safer orange stripper. The orange stripper soaks into your floors and discolors them, which shows up after the staining! 1000 sandpaper pads later we have our floors looking reasonably sanded down to the bare wood. Now it’s time for the fun part, staining. Staining is very fun, but very messy. Each gallon of stain is supposed to cover 400 square feet of flooring, one coat. Okay so we bought 3, because we had over 800 square feet to do. We wanted them super dark, shiny, and chic. You will need stain, polyurethane (glossy or satin, we went with glossy “chic”) rubber gloves, a painter’s pole, a sheepskin covered square block thingy to administer the stain, lots of old lint free t-shirts or rags, paint brush (for edges and cracks), and mineral spirits to clean up. Now, directions from friends and smarter people than ourselves say to rub it on with the fancy sheepskin and then let it set for a minute or two (longer it sets the darker the color) and then rub it off with the rags. Here’s the deal, we wanted DARK, shiny, chic floors. We bought Cabot brand stain, because we were told it’s the best, in a Bombay Mahogany (with extra blacks and browns added). I wanted these babies to be almost black. When we applied the stain to our freshly sanded floors they looked red, I mean red, red. I almost cried. We started in the living room…bad idea. You need to start in a room in the back of the house where no one will ever see it! You think I’m joking, but I’m not! You will get better at this process as the day goes on. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT start staining in a room that people will see as soon as they come into your house! Okay so, I wanted them dark. We decided to just wipe the stain on, thickly, and then NOT wipe it off. If you know anything about staining floors, this was our other biggest mistake. It is always better to do multiple thin layers of stain then one thick layer! The drying time increases abundantly and that is bad. So our living room has pools of darker spots and isn’t very pretty. To explain why we didn’t do multiple coats starting out, is because we are very frugal people. A can of stain is somewhere like $40 for a gallon. We didn’t think we would have enough and, as you can see, we had already spent so much on unnecessary items. Anyways, as we moved to other rooms, we were learning. We figured that we would do it right in the other rooms and just do multiple layers. I think we did two or three layers, and though they never got as dark as I would have liked, they look much better than the pools of darkness in the living room. Come to find out our whole 1000 or so of square feet only took one gallon. We now have an extra gallon for touchups, which is more than enough. I think we are going to use it outside on our back wooden entryway thingy. On to polyurethane, we used glossy. I don’t know if it’s because of all the construction in here, but there are constantly flecks of lint on my floor. I think I would probably do a satin finish if I were to do this again, which I am not. I have been to friends houses with the satin and you can’t see lint and dust, maybe it has to do with our housecleaning skills, but idk? The satin looks more rustic, the glossy more shiny but dirty. Overall I do love my floors. Here is a step by step guide to floor staining without all the details, that you have now read. hehe

  • pull up carpet, staples, foam
  • get a u-sander, tons of sandpaper in 3 different grits 36, 60, 120
  • go a medium speed over the floors, never stopping or resting on the sander
  • make sure to get most of the finish off with the 36
  • don’t skip the 60 and 120 because it affects the finish
  • clean between each grit and clean especially well after the final sanding
  • apply stain and let sit just for a minute, wipe in with rags
  • go over one room, move to next room while first is drying
  • wait a day until your second coat. keep applying coats until you are happy with hue
  • apply polyurathane with the same sheepskin applicator. repeat.

There you have it! Now for some before and after pics!

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Before After

This is our guest bedroom.

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Before After

Hallway to the bedrooms.

Maybe you can click on them to see better detail! So, there it is, a LONG version of refinishing floors. I really hope you learned something today. Remember never be scared of trying new things. It is really worth it in the end when someone compliments your floors and you can take all the credit, for the dark pools and all!

Later Taters!


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Front Porch and Yard Ideas


So, here is the front of our house during springtime. I really wish I would have taken these pics a few months earlier when the dogwoods (at least I think that is what they are) had gorgeous pink and white flowers! So, as you can see, we have put up a new mailbox. I had beautiful purple tulips planted around the mailbox, but since I don’t have a green thumb, they died. 😦

I have added some flowers around the front, but the landscape still looks pretty pitiful! Here are some the the flowers I have planted right around the front of the porch.

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I transplanted two rose bushes from our old house. I planted this blue ground covering on both sides of the porch. I also planted two gardenia bushes on the edge of porch. I absolutely can’t wait until the bushes grow big and we can enjoy them while lounging on our porch swing! Speaking of swings, check out the one Jeff promised to build me.

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Isn’t it the most gorgeous thing you’ve ever seen! Boy do I love the South! Speaking of the South and front porches (which if you couldn’t tell, I’m extremely excited to have one) I think I need to go make myself up a big glass of sweet tea..in a mason jar, of course!

Okay, back to front porches. I need some suggestions. I know we need to pressure wash the poor thing. As you can see from the picture up top it’s kinda grimy. Besides the cleaning, we have bigger plans for our lovely porch. We have already purchased a large, glass, hanging pendant light. It is beautiful! I will post pics as soon as Jeff installs it. We are also going to keep the original screen door, but replace the old screen with plexi-glass. I’m going to paint it an amazing color…green, plum….need suggestions!?! We will eventually replace the main door with an amazing huge wooden door and keep it the wooden color, no paint for it! Let’s see what is next…Oh, the shutters. Should they stay or should they go? We are eventually going to replace all the windows with bright and shiny new ones. I’m not a fan of shutters, at least not these shutters! And last but not least, the railing. I hate it. I want big white columns. If I am using my brain being realistic I know that that would be a HUGE project, not to mention expensive! Jeff thinks we should blast the old paint off and then repaint it a nice black. It’s just been painted so many times and is really rusted underneath. Maybe I’m being a baby or maybe I’m just a little intimidated by all the work, idk? Comments, inputs, suggestions, all are welcome, as they always are on this blog!

Later Taters!


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Up and Running

So, after a LONG absence I’m back! I don’t know how well I will stick with the blogging this time, but lets hope longer than the last! There is so much going on with our lives right now, mainly updating our 1940’s home, that I thought I should share. We moved to our new home this past January and have been loving every minute of it. We can actually see the mountains from our yard. To give you a little of the history of our home, it was built in 1947. The same couple that built it with their hands in the 40’s lived their entire lives here. They actually bricked it out of old chimneys that were left over after house fires. The house has three bedrooms and one bathroom (luckily it is pretty big). We have a large formal dining room, a big kitchen (with 38 cabinets), and a 200 square foot laundry/mudroom. There is plenty of room here for us to grow as a family. It has heart of pine floors, which we refinished before moving in. We stained them Bombay Mahogany and finished with a high gloss (still not sure if that was the best choice). Also, not sure if refinishing the floors on our own was the wisest decision. We are trying to update the house by our selves, as to save the most money possible. The refinishing of floors is probably the most stressful labor intensive thing I’ve ever done! I was the one humped over sanding the corners of the room with a hand sander, yeah, not fun! Anyways, I think the labor was not in vain, as the floors look so much better than the red berber that graced the floor before.
Please bare with us as we try to document the whole process of fixing up a fixer upper! Really, the house has tons of charm and character. We are in love with it! I will upload pictures shortly. Our desktop has crashed and we have a new one on the way, but seeing as ALL my pictures are on the old one, you are just going to have to wait a little longer. Hopefully we will be progressing much quicker on the updates of our home this summer. Jeff is taking the semester off from school, so he will have more free time to work around here. I originally thought we would have the house finished in a year, but with busy schedules and lots of updates, it will probably be more like three! Hang in there as we update the blog as much as we can, those DIY’ers out there know how time consuming this can be. It will probably take months to get you a good “after” picture, but I will try my best.
So, sit back and enjoy our progress while we enjoy the satisfaction of getting our hands dirty, and turning this old house into our home!