Archive | January, 2010

A Countertop Coating System?

January 16, 2010


I was flipping through my latest free magazine from Lowe’s, Creative Ideas, and spotted an advertisement for “Countertop Transformations.” This stuff is amazing! It’s an epoxy/colored chip/epoxy resin-type coating for your existing laminate countertop. It’s called Countertop Transformations; Lowe’s sells it for $250 a kit. I recently helped prep and paint a garage floor, and this stuff reminds me of it.

I watched the installation video on the website ( Very intriguing.

Your countertops must be in “good” condition, but this epoxy stuff will cover burns, scratches, blemishes, get rid of blackheads and water stains, and etc. Pits or craters have to be filled with epoxy putty and sanded before applying the Countertop Transformations stuff. Your laminate must be securely laminated to the particleboard underneath it, and the laminate cannot have blisters or buckles. Of course, I can’t use this stuff. My 1970s countertops are so decayed that this wouldn’t work. Besides, I need new walls, flooring, cabinets, and everything! But maybe this can help some of you out there with ugly-but-structurally-sound countertops. This stuff apparently works on wood and metal, too. The instructions say it takes only a weekend to do, but you have to wait a week until you can do heavy-duty, normal kitchen use on them. It sure beats having to buy new countertops!

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Drywall Stilts- Now These Are Cool!

January 15, 2010

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I have never before heard of drywall stilts. When I saw a photo of them as I was shopping for home improvement stuff, and they caught my eye. Oh my gosh, I think I love these things!!

I have a house with 9 foot-high rooms on the first floor. A few years ago, when we renovated our living room, we had to rent a huge drywall lift to install the drywall onto our living room ceiling– what a headache! And then we had to spackle and paint the ceiling from ladders, ugh… doing the drywalling is my least favorite home improvement project. I loathe it. So what do you do when you have a HUGE project that you MUST do and it’s one that you loathe?

Find a cool tool to make the chore less onerous. And drywall stilts are pretty neat! They are on sale at I did some research into the stilts to se if they really work. It’s looks like they do. I found this extremely educational video about drywall stilts!

I suppose you could rent the stilts. But if you have a huge house like I do, where home improvement drags on for, uh, years, then renting is not financially sound. It’s better to buy some, use them, and then resell or give away to someone in need when you’re done with them. Or, you could keep them for those moments when you’re called upon to be Abraham Lincoln in a parade or something…

The pair I saw at was for only $99, and they are solid built. They look cool! We may invest in something like this when we start to renovate again, next spring. By the way, if you want to get some good prices on home improvement products (like paint, caulk, everything) and power tools– check out I’m a frequent customer and can attest to their great service and prices. I always check them out before making a trip to the Big Box retail stores.

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Find the Kitty Friday: 1/15

January 15, 2010


She’s got cabin fever and has been begging to go outside a lot lately. Poor Hobbes has spring fever, too. Livvy is bored with her toys, too, Hobbes. But she can’t go outside like lucky Hobbes can. NOOO she’s stuck INside, sitting in front of Mother’s computer monitor, staring her down, interrupting her important work proofreading relacore reviews and other very exciting stuff…

Well, I did manage to find opportunity for a Find the Kitty. Sheesh, she’s been such a tiger this week! Biting feet, huffing and sighing around the house. Good thing she’s really cute, or she’d be in the basement by now.

OK kiddos… can you find the cranky kitty?

FTKF 1.15.10

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The Snow Queen Goes Outside

January 14, 2010


Well, the temperatures have warmed up to a balmy 32 degrees today! Practically myrtle beach weather here in Upstate NY! The icicles are melting, the ice dams are shortening, and The Little Princess is whining. She wants to go outside in te WORST way. Three weeks ago, I did a boo-boo and carried her outside to experience snow falling. She loved it. Now, she won’t stop sniveling. She wants to go OUTSIDE. She will park herself of my computer and stare at me, whimpering.

But LIVVY!!! I have a ton of work to do– clients are waiting for their articles and she is in the way!

Well, as the saying goes: There’s more than one way to skin a cat (my apologies to you cat bloggers). I figured I’d take her outside and use this excursion as a photo opp for the blogs. 😀 She didn’t seem to mind being used as a photo prop, not one bit. Without further ado, here she is, The Snow Queen, HRH Olivia the Sniveler.


Doesn’t she look like a Siberian tiger? I love her blue eyes. […]

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Laminate Countertops

January 12, 2010


I’d probably win a contest for the world’s ugliest kitchen. I wish I would, actually…because it I did win, I wouldn’t have an ugly kitchen for long!!

Well, contest or no, I’m getting rid of this horrible kitchen. I’m still in the process of planning everything out (when I have a spare moment or two), and have decided on laminate countertops. When I was younger, I dreamed about solid surfacing countertops. I’d go to the home stores and wander through their kitchen displays.. run my hands over the gleaming, smooth solid surfacing countertops. Then, I saw the price.

*COUGH COUGH* They want HOW much?!

Laminate is looking good, REALLY good! Actually, laminate has come a long way since that disgusting orange stuff on my cabinets. Laminate is more durable. It’s more stylish. And I think it’s more waterproof than it used to be. I did some surfing and found this nice design at Wilson. It’s Kalahari Topaz. I like it.


It’s light-colored, which I like. I couldn’t ever go with a solid-white in my kitchen– those whites show every little crumb, and I’d be spending every waking minute wiping crumbs off the thing. This textured, mottled look has the brightness of white, but it’s variegated enough so that crumbs won’t stand out and scream at you as you walk through the kitchen.

Slowly, ever so slowly, my kitchen dreams are taking shape…. I still have to make a schematic of the electrical, the plumbing, and the new window… then I can delve into the cabinetry and lighting fixtures. And then I can move out of the kitchen– I hope to eventually install a nice deck with patio furnishings and matching patio cushions outside the door, for al fresco dining on hot summer evenings. Dream dream…

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Dishwashers With Too Many Buttons

January 9, 2010


To keep the budget very trim for our kitchen renovation, I’m going to stick with the appliances I have. They are older, but are in good shape and I see no need to waste money on new ones when I am in desperate need of new plumbing and electrical! I’m at the point right now where I DON’T CARE whether I can afford new cabinets– I’ll use tables and stack dishes on those! But I MUST have new plumbing, electrical, and insulation. My kitchen is so unworkable that modern electricity, proper lighting, and a drain that works is luxury to me!!

One appliance I will make room for is a dishwasher. For a time, I was washing dishes by hand for TEN people, three times a day. It was pretty rough, especially with my plumbing the way it is! I have longed for a dishwasher for many years, and I hope to get one this time.

So I’m looking around at dishwashers. I haven’t operated one since I was a girl, for (OMG) 28 years!!!! Yes, people, THAT’S how long I’ve been starved for a dishwasher! That was back in the days when we read books, walked to the library or school, and used a corded rotary phone to talk to people. Wow. I feel so old.

Anyway, the “new” models puzzle me. Must they be so complex? I remember when dishwashers had three settings: wash, rinse, dry. I don’t know where to begin with these new-fangled monsters. I don’t even think I can read such tiny print anymore. Look at all those choices!


That monster looks like it also cooks eggs, will do my banking, and provide my life insurance lead. Hm, on second thought, maybe it’s not too bad…. haha

Seriously– do you ladies with dishwashers have these kinds with all the buttons? Do you make use of all those buttons and doodads? I’m a simple lady with simple needs. How many different ways can a dish be washed, anyway? Are the more complicated dishwashers truly better than the “wash, rinse, dry” models? Things sure have changed in 30 years….

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Find the Kitty Friday: 1/7

January 8, 2010


Can you find the kitty?

FTK 1.7.10

She thinks she’s invisible when she does this, you know. Here’s an alternate view, in case you couldn’t find her in the first photo. 😉 😉


It’s a routine: as soon as she hears either the Hubs or me in the morning, she comes from wherever she was sleeping to follow us around. She gets a little canned Friskies, “talks” to us for a little while, and then comes into the living room. There, she expects us to lift the blinds so she can watch the morning birds. I think all she got to watch this mornign were the lousy crows, but birds are birds, I guess. She sure didn’t complain.

So we watched the winter sun rise slowly. The blue glow is from the fleeing twilight reflected on the heavy snow we’ve received. I love that cobalt blue color.


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I’ve Chosen My Kitchen Flooring

January 7, 2010

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Years ago, when I first dreamed about gutting the kitchen, I found this stuff called Trafficmaster Allure resilient flooring. I just may do the entire downstairs of the house with it, I love it that much. When I was at Home Dept a few years ago, a worked snapped off a piece of it for me to bring home. I have cherished it as a coffee coaster since then. I am GETTING this stuff!!!

You see, this is my current kitchen flooring. Pretty bad, huh? Those tiles are over 40 years old now. They are busted up and UGLY as all get out. Underneath the tiles is some kind of nailed-on cement board. Mostly. Yeah, *just* mostly. Because underneath in the hidden areas of the kitchen (pantry, under the cabinets and stove) there’s the old linoleum from the 1930s. And that, dear reader, is DISGUSTING stuff.


Ah, but this is the Allure resilient flooring. *sigh* I love it.


It’s probably the easiest flooring to install, too. We installed laminate flooring planks in our living room two years ago, and that was a little tough (lots of corners in there). I think this Allure is better. I’m going to install it in my kitchen and then in my dining room when I renovate that. The Allure is waterproof. The company says you can install the flooring even before your new roof is on:

Go ahead and install Allure before the roof is on in a monsoon. You will miserable but your patented GripStrip will be happy!

Whoa, that’s some promise.Well, I don’t live in monsoon- or hurricane-prone areas of Outer Banks or anything… and I’ve *still* got my roof on… so no worries for me. The stuff does have a 25-year guarantee, which is very nice.

The flooring comes in planks. They have sticky strips on the bottom. You cut the planks to measure, remove the tape backing, and secure the sticky sides. Easy.


I did wonder if the adhesive would REALLY stick… this is from the installation guide:

Once the adhesive sets, it will never come apart. We have a “controlled environment” for the adhesive– it simply cannot fail.

So I love this stuff even more. I am really looking forward to it. It is waterproof; it’s a “floating” floor which means you can install it over bump, uneven surfaces; it’s a little pricey, though. It will probably cost me about $750 to cover the entire 12 x 24 foot kitchen floor. :S Unless I can find a sponsor who will give me a discount for some blog coverage about the product! 😀

Anyway, my floor is chosen. Now it’s on to planning the electric, plumbing, and walls. Oh and a new window opening or two.

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The Mystery of the Heat Pump, Solved!

January 4, 2010

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Here’s a website of heat pump reviews, detailing everything you always wanted to know about heat pumps (but were afraid to ask!). 😀 Seriously, I have learned, over the course of owning this drafty 1855 house for over decade, that it really, really pays to know how your heating system works. We spend a fortune on heating costs for this house, and the biggest reason (besides the holes in the plaster walls) is that the entire furnace system was installed improperly! The previous owners installed the ducting system the opposite way it’s supposed to be, and then they only installed two cold air return vents. To redo the system, I’d have to gut the walls and reinstall all the ducting properly. What a chore! But it may be worth our while to do this, because all I see right now is dollars flying out the window.

Well, heat pumps must be understood in the same manner. Essentially, heat pumps are devices that, uh, PUMP HEAT! They do this either mechanically (such as, a fan or blower), or a chemical (such as freon or refrigerant). Heat pumps can be used to pump cool air into a building, as well. There are types of furnaces that are heat pumps, as well as other units for swimming pools, air conditioners, water heaters, etc. This website has everything you need to know about heat pumps, including heat pump prices and a very good explanation of how they work, what they do, and the development of technology involved with them.

Listen, if you are planning a renovation or building a home, get informed about your heating system before you install it! I’m sure my house is just an aberration (I hope so), and the screwy heating system isn’t all that common. The heating and cooling systems in your house are going to be there a good long time. Make sure they’re done correctly, and make sure you get the best bang for your buck, too. Check out the website for information and on getting the best price of heat pumps.

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Find the Kitty Friday is Canceled

January 1, 2010


Due to the holiday…. due to the kids being home today and having some extra time… and due to my house being a disgusting mess in desperate need of cleaning… today’s Find the Kitty is canceled! We are cleaning the house. COMPLETELY. FINALLY. And thus begins our new year!

I pray your New Year is turning out wonderfully and smelling like Pine Sol as mine is. If you feel bereft of Livvy’s cuteness, here are a few “oldies but goodies” of her for you to enjoy. 😀
So soft and cuddly.

Warm Fuzzies

On Daddy’s shoulders.

Livvy and Daddy2

Bathing herself after she dumped coffee all over my desk. 🙁

Livvy Bath

I forgave her. 😀


This is her “pookie face.” See how she pouts her whiskers area?


Watching the birds.

Livvy 4

And if you are now addicted (as we are), see all her photos here at my Flickr page.

Have a blessed New Year!

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