Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Before It All Goes Down...

Hey...remember me?  I used to blog here every once in a while.  Yup, that's me! ;)

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus, but not by my choosing.  That pesky thing called life got in the way.  I won’t bore you with all of the details, but a couple little things like a merger, a year end, budget deadlines, my birthday, my parent’s coming up to visit for two weekends and my beautiful neighbor’s baby shower has had me quite busy and unmotivated to crack the laptop open in my spare time.

But my longing for blogland has crept back in and forced me to find time to blog even though my work schedule hasn’t calmed down yet.  What can I say...I’ve missed you guys!! :)

Last time we chatted {ya know, via the interwebs} I was gushing over two pieces of mid-century modern furniture that I was dying to pick up from a Craigslist ad I saw. 

Okay, so maybe I wasn’t dyingggg for the actual transaction, but rather having those beauties in my possession.  Is it just me, or does anyone else feel a twinge of anxiety before buying or selling on Craigslist?  I’m always so excited for whatever treasure I’m about to own, but then the reality sets in that I’m about to have an awkward exchange with a complete stranger.  I get super nervous and uncomfortable.  Thankfully, I’ve never dealt with a really bad transaction before, but that doesn't keep me from breaking into a sweat before each one goes down.

Thankfully, this was the most enjoyable meeting to date!  Hubs and I rented a U-haul van to pick the furniture up.

{Unfortunately, we own two sedans, so there is no way we’d be fitting a dresser/mirror or chest of drawers in either car...let alone both!  So for an extra $60...$19.99 for the rental, $10 insurance coverage, $.99/mile and topping off the gas...we were able to comfortably transport two larger pieces of furniture.  I had no problem paying an extra $60 for the furniture since we were getting both pieces for $100.} 

Once we arrived at the house we were greeted by the sweetest elderly couple we have ever met!  We thoroughly enjoyed chatting with them while we brought everything outside and loaded it up in the van.

We even hung out in their driveway and talked some more before the wife insisted they stop talking our ear off so we could get home and on with our day.

It’s transactions like that that keep me going back to Craigslist for more.  I mean, what is better than getting gorgeous furniture, for an amazing price, from such kind people?!?

Anyone else have terrific CL transactions like that?  I’d ask about awful experiences, but I’m too afraid that you’ll scar me for forever. ;)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Thrifty Finds.

Everyone here knows I'm a sucker for making over thrifty Craigslist finds.  I've prettied up a buffet, painted/reupholstered some dining chairs, painted bedroom furniture, painted a dresser-turned-console-tablemade-over a pair of nightstands, reupholstered a bench and spiffed up a file cabinet.

Occassionally I find myself browsing through listings, even when I'm not looking for something specific.  If I come across a well-priced item, it will most likely come to live with our basement...until I find a "home" for it. ;)

You guys might remember that scenario happened with the campaign furniture I stumbled upon {yup, still untouched in our basement}...and now, it's happened again.

These two mid-century beauties will be alllll mine {for only $100} come Saturday!  I cannot wait.  LOOK AT THOSE LEGS!

CANNOT RESIST.  Anyone else a sucker for a great piece of Craigslist furniture?!?!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Crack is Whack!

I know I should have named this post something proper like "How to Repair a Crack in Plaster Walls", but 1) that wouldn't have been half as much fun and 2) that would imply that I have some sort of expert knowledge, and we all know that's not true! ;)  So please forgive my lame-ness, continue reading my post.  K, thanks. :)

For more months than I want to admit, we’ve had tape bubbling off of our wall like this.

The underlying crack had been there since the day we looked at the listing...and while we were going through the major renovations of our main floor, we added the task of repairing the cracks in the plaster to our contractor's punch list.  Unfortunately, the repair didn’t last very long and the tape bubbled after a few months {like you see above}.

I recently contacted a couple pros from Angie’s List for estimates to repair this.  They were between $200 and $300 to repair that crack (plus another one in the hallway ceiling that was missed all together by our contractor).  Much of the expense was due to the fact that they would eat into at least half a day to apply all the coats of mud they needed for the job.  One pro told me what steps he’d take to repair things, and he led me to believe it wouldn’t be too hard for a homeowner to do themselves.

After hearing from him, I decided to give it the old college try.

I started by exposing the entire crack.  {The other patches you see are from electrical work we just had done.I used a box cutter to slice out the tape that was bubbling.  I just ran it along the edge where the tape seemed to be.  After I got through the paint and a little of the old mud that was applied, the area just seemed to peel right off.  Easy peasy.

Once the whole crack was exposed, I worked my way along the crack gouging it out {forming a little “v” notch in the wall}, and removing anything that seemed loose.  A small screw driver worked best for me, but I’m sure there is a “proper” tool that probably does this a little better.

Here is the top of the crack, how it looked after the tape came off, before I removed any loose plaster...

And here it is after.

{Let's take a minute to stop and enjoy the yellowy-flesh tone paint that used to be on every square inch of the house...eeeeek!}

Once that was done, I used an old paintbrush to brush out the crack and loosen up anything I might have missed.  Then I vacuumed out the crack, and wiped everything down with a damp paper towel.

After things were dry, I applied some caulk to the entire crack, working it into the crevices and getting any air bubbles out.  I left that to dry over night.

The next day, I used some fiber glass mesh tape and taped over all of my cracks.  I cut the tape into several pieces to do this because I made sure the crack was in the middle of the tape at all times.  Our crack is clearly not one straight line, so there are a couple areas of tape slightly overlapping.

Then I used a putty knife and applied the first layer of joint compound. 

I made sure to work this product into the crack as well, so no air pockets would end up behind it.  I used a smaller putty knife that I already had, as well as a much wider one from my neighbor.  I left that to dry overnight.

The next day I used the putty knives to scrape off any high points, and then used a drywall sanding block {also from my neighbor...thanks Taylor!!}, and sanded the edges of things down.  Luckily, since I was conscious of it when I applied the first layer, there wasn’t too much to sand off.  After things were sanded, I wiped the wall down again, and applied my second layer of compound.

This coat was much lighter than the first one.  I let it dry overnight.

The next day I sanded things down again, and then wiped the wall down one more time.  I didn’t need too much more mud, so a light coat here and there is all I applied. 

I let it dry overnight again, and then sanded the following day.

To make sure things were smooth and ready to be primed, I closed my eyes and traced my fingers over the wall.  Because the color of the wall and the mud differed, my eyes would sometimes play tricks on me.  It'd look as though there were several areas I needed to sand or even mud again to get a smooth surface, but when I'd close my eyes and just feel with my fingers...I'd "see" there were no bumps or ridges and I was really good to go.  Finally it was time to prime!

We had plenty of primer left over in a big 5 gallon bucket from when we were priming things after our reno.

I grabbed one of the buckets we had left and put a coat on the wall, including the areas the electricians patched up.  I put two coats of primer over everything...

One coat.

Two coats.

...and then two coats of wall paint.  Luckily, we had plenty of that left over in the basement as well.

One coat, still wet.

Two coats.

I have to say, I was pretty nervous how this would turn out with me tackling it...but I’m glad I gave it a shot!  I was able to save us some money, and learned a new skill in the process.  Plus, when this crack pops up again {like the pros said it will continue to do over and over...ughhh}, I will tackle it head on, with confidence! :)

PS-I am in no way, shape or form an expert on this type of repair {obviously}.  This is just how I fixed ours, and I wanted to share it with my friends...especially those who asked for a tutorial!