How To Freshen Old Grout Between Tiles in 3 Easy Steps

If you didn’t already know, it should really come as no surprise to anyone that I am slightly OCD.

Yup, I’m the one who needs all the pictures perfectly straight, the furniture dusted, and my floors ARE clean enough to eat off of…for reals.

Our house is kinda old, built in the late sixties or very early seventies, and we haven’t done a major overhaul on the kitchen, so I still have the old porcelain tile with white grout, which poses difficulties keeping spotless and sanitary even for someone like me whose middle name is “Bleach”.

Every so often, I step out of my Louboutins, throw down my Chanel, and get my hands dirty for a purpose — to freshen and reseal the grout.

Until we remodel and tear out the countertops, this is an excellent method of keeping everything looking clean and fresh.

And it’s SO easy!

This is what I use; it’s bright white ‘cos that’s my grout color. I purchased it at Home Depot — it’s pre-mixed and EASY to use.
grouttutorial1STEP ONE:

I use my finger because I’ve tried a lot of other tools and nothing works better. I don’t even wear gloves, but you really should.

Just scoop up a mess of grout and push it into the space between the tiles, dragging your finger down along each square ’til it’s filled and even.

Make sure you really wash that stuff off your hands; it’s very drying and probably toxic!
grouttutorial3 STEP TWO:

Take a rag or a sponge (or both) and carefully wipe away the excess grout. Let it dry overnight and then wipe off the tiles again.

grouttutorial4 grouttutorialsealer

 

 

STEP THREE:
See the little brush? Turn the grout sealer upside down and squeeze just until enough sealer coats the brush; continue to squeeze, and paint all the grout with the sealer, let dry for about an hour and add a second coat.

When it’s dry, wipe the tile with a clean, damp cloth to remove any excess grout.

 

 

 

 

Voilà!

Beautiful grout again…sparkly clean and shiny, easy as 1-2-3!
grouttutorial2

This Post Isn’t Worth Reading…#OCD #DIY Project When Tugboat Man Is Out To Sea

More of the trials and  tribulations of being married to an absent spouse  – I’m a grass widow– doing it all alone.

I wrote this post assuming it possessed some merit; after all, it’s got the bones of a story  – a DIY project along with some humor, but I’ve since decided it’s a pretty worthless and unimaginative effort and should rightfully be relegated with a click to Trash, but I’m just gonna go with it

Screw it. Whatev.

Hope it’s not a total waste of your time.

But ou’ve come this far, you might as well keep going.

I offer my apologies in advance.

Here we go…

I’m a trash picker upper.

For example, if I see something that’s been tossed out and I want it, I have no problem bringing it home, and if it’s too big for me to grab by myself, I’ll get hub to do it, unless he’s out to sea, and then I’m out of luck.

I want what I want, no matter where it comes from. Almost anything can be cleaned and even disinfected, right?

I don’t know where that idiosyncrasy came from; it’s definitely at odds with the part of me that’s a Chanel-loving, obsessive shopaholic, but hey, an acquisition is an acquisition, no matter how it got to me.

(Am I hearing you think “hoarder”?)

Driving in our neighborhood one evening (probably the next day was our trash pick up), my little eagle eyes spied a library table on the curb all by itself and looking very lonesome.

I made hub stop (actually I screeched, “STOP!!!”) and we got out to take a closer look. Upon inspection, it was a little scarred and well-used, but definitely crafted of a good solid wood and worth a rescue, in my opinion.

I’ve had to teach hub to enjoy alley picking; it doesn’t come naturally to him. He reluctantly agreed that it was too well made to ignore, plus he always needs to weigh in his own mind the level of nagging he must endure.

We He muscled it into the back of the truck and brought it into the garage. It had been painted a hideous institutional gray and would have been too arduous a task to strip the paint and stain or oil it, so I repainted it my favorite shade of fern green.

I couldn’t find a place for it, so it stayed in the garage for about a year — as a platform for some of my projects — until a couple weeks ago when I had the brilliant idea to use it as a laptop table in my son’s room, which now doubles as hub’s man cave.

Hub cut the width to make it narrower and rough-sanded it. When I returned from taking him to the airport last week, I went to Home Depot and got a quart of high gloss burgundy; a deep, rich, saturated hue.

I painted one coat. Then another. Then another. Then another.

Finally, it wasn’t streaky and it was all shiny and perfect. It took practically the whole quart.

This is where I screwed up.

I thought I should protect the top from stains and rings from glasses and coffee mugs.  I found some stuff in the garage; Dupli-Color DE1636 Clear Engine Spray Paint.

Not smart. Paint for an ENGINE, not painted wood. Duh.

The first coat came out all cloudy and streaky and felt rough, so I sprayed a second coat and it was even worse. I emailed my tugboat man and he told me where the sandpaper was in the garage and that  I should sand the bad stuff off and repaint.

His final words were, “And then leave it alone until I get home.”

Of COURSE I ignored him because I was getting really obsessed with protecting that perfect paint job on my free table.

Another brilliant thought exploded in my brain that I needed to bring it up to my son’s room and finish painting/sealing it there.

Therein lies a problem.

We have a tri-level house with two flights of stairs.

The table weighs about forty pounds (I told you it was solid) but it felt like it weighed a thousand pounds to me. I’m pretty strong, but it’s a very unwieldily shape and my short little arms couldn’t fit all the way around any part of it.

The table’s about 47 inches long and I’m 60 inches. Do the math.

I turned it upside down with the legs sticking up, got an old blanket and sort of picked up each of the four ends of the table while sliding the blanket under it.

I started pulling up the first steps.Hand crafted oak stepsThe table kept sliding down and I kept pulling.

One step up, two steps back.

I had ANOTHER BRILLIANT idea. Turn the table end over end like a cartwheel.

I huffed and I puffed and I wrestled that stupid table up to the second level.

I took a few minutes to wipe away the sweat and come up the rest of the plan.

These steps are carpeted and should have been easier to push/pull.

graysteps

I pulled that stupid table ALMOST all the way — and guess what?  I bet you figured out where my next mistake was. Yup, I forgot to move the table at the top of the landing — there I was, holding up the thousand pound table with one hand while I ATTEMPTED to maneuver the other table out of the way.

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that idea wasn’t gonna work.

I leaned that elephant of a table up against the wall and did what I should have done the first time…move the table out of the way so I could get around the corner.

Up to this point, the process had taken no less than two hours.

And I was only halfway there.

Finally, after much grunting and groaning, that stupid piece of shit table made it to its final destination. I laid a tarp under it and touched up some of the paint that had chipped off on its arduous journey.

Still obsessing over the top, I rummaged through all of hub’s stuff in the garage and found high gloss spray polyurethane. “Hmm, this should work fine”, I said to myself. I sprayed the first coat and it was all streaky, but I gave it a few minutes, then I ran my finger over it and immediately ruined it ‘cos it was still wet. I read the directions and it said to wait four hours between coats, so I went shopping (haha) and came back a couple hours later. I figured that was long enough and sprayed another coat. FYI–this is NOT a good thing to do inside the house even with the window open. The fumes are GNARLY. 

I thought maybe I used the wrong stuff again so I drove down to the village to Ace Hardware and picked up a small can of oil-based polyurethane. I was just about to paint on a coat of that over the other two coats of the spray-on stuff when I thought I should double check with my tugboat man since he’s really the expert around here. When he finally emailed me back, he told me not to use the oil-based stuff on painted wood unless I first tried it in a spot that wouldn’t show, because it might not work with the kind of paint I used, and could cause all the paint to “lift and pe.

Who knew this was going to be so difficult?

I decided to spray one more coat just to do it, and lo and behold, that third coat did the trick! It’s shiny, it’s glossy, it’s perfect!

Whew!

This time I didn’t give in to the temptation to run my fingers through the fresh spray.

This whole ordeal was shared by my hub with his crew; another story about his wife so everyone laughs at my escapades, but I don’t mind because I have a beautiful table and I did it all by myself.

redtable

Look at the shine on that baby! I can practically see myself!

Now when my Angel Boy comes home, he’ll have a lot of room to spread out his work.

redtable1Thank you for slugging through to the end of this longwinded glimpse into the complex workings of Princess Rosebud’s slightly OCD mind.

On a scale of 1to 10, was this the WORST post you’ve ever read?

tablewithcomputer

Best Christmas Decorations EVER-Haters, Line Up! Yoo Hoo, Pinterest, I’m Calling YOU!

 I hope you enjoy a repeat of one of my most clicked on posts of 2012 while I spend a little time with my tugboat man and my son, Angel Boy.
…..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     

It was last year that I was inspired by other topnotch decorators who so kindly blogged about their DIY Christmas tree masterpieces.

In fact, I was so inspired and so thrilled to be stuck here all alone for the millionth time during the holidays that I created a masterpiece of my own, just for you, my loving internet family.

As I looked around my house, the elliptical seemed like it had the best “bones” to adorn.

Plus, it had a ready-made beverage holder!

I didn’t have any Maxi-pads or other feminine hygiene products–’cos THAT ship has sailed–if you know what I mean. (Hey cool, a nautical reference jauntily tossed in. Damn, I’m good!)

I added a toilet paper garland, a couple of Sophie Kinsella novels, two glittery seashell ornaments, a bottle of wine in the beverage holder, a white plastic poinsettia, a few EMPTY gift bags, and a festive plush Hello Kitty toy.

You can’t really see it very good, but there’s a chocolate bar too, which I don’t have to share with anyone! I’m such a lucky girl! This is the best use I’ve found for the elliptical. Hanging freshly ironed shirts hanging on it is a close second.

Now you can carry on with your day; just take a moment to let it all sink in.

The moral of the story is that it might not be a good idea to leave Princes Rosebud alone for long periods of time.

Don’t HATE…Emulate.

Decorated for Christmas elliptical

Property of Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

decorated elliptical

Property of Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

DIY Part Two: Outdoor Swing Canopy Sewing Project

closeupcushionDo-it-yourself…This is the second part of the project — I recovered the torn cushion — click HERE for that DIY post.

After that refurbishment, it was clear that I needed to find a way to create a matching canopy. There was no way I could be satisfied with two different patterns and color schemes.

There are tons of online tutorials, but I decided to freestyle it — I took a bunch of measurements and went back to JoAnn‘s Fabrics.

For the top of the canopy, my tugboat man suggested a solid color — lime green — that would coordinate with the stripes, which I thought was a surprisingly good idea because, well, because he’s a man and is marginally color blind, or at least color apathetic.

First I cut and pinned the striped material to the top; then I hemmed all the raw edges; repinned, and sewed it all together. It was sooo difficult to work with that much canvas material, especially the way it bunched up on the sewing machine, but I persevered because I’m stubborn that way.

It feels good to try new things, but I’ll definitely NOT take on this project again!

The corners were tricky…but from far away it looks fine!
swingcanopycloseup

Under the shade of a non-fruiting mulberry tree…with an orange orchid photobombing the picture.

swing canopy

It looks great if you don’t get too close…matching up the stripes is always a challenge; one side’s perfect — the other not so much. Oh well…

swingcanopy2

What do you think? Have you ever tackled a job or a project even though it’s incredibly difficult? Were you proud of yourself for meeting the challenge or did you give up before it was completed?

Recycled, Repurposed, Reborn, and Reformed

It’s not always about Chanel.

Yes it is — well,  I say yes, our bank account says no.

Whatev.

Moving on.

As much as I loves me some designer fashion — especially Chanel –  I really don’t like to throw anything away ‘cos I think I’ll always find a use for everything if I save it long enough.

No need to toss out those nasty old cracked and faded Crocs,
merely fill with a little soil and some succulents!
Voila!

crocs

Crack a wineglass when you partied too much???
Fill with a little soil and more succulents.
Just don’t try and drink out of it again…

wineglassplanter

Chipped a dish?
Once again, fill with rocks and soil — and more succulents!
These need a little water; looking kinda sad…

dishgarden

Yeah, I break a lot of things.
More broken coffee cups, more succulents.
This is the desert, after all.
And yes, that’s a broken tile, too!

coffeecups

Repurposed fruit basket stand.
I painted it black ‘cos it was all rusty, lined the baskets with black plastic, filled with soil and planted begonias on the bottom and fuchsias on top.
Did you notice that the basin beneath it is not very 
photogenic?
It will have to go.
I found the Trix rabbit whilst digging. No one knows where it came from!
No, I’m not from the UK, but sometimes “whilst” is a great word.

fruitplant

Tell me about anything you’ve recycled, repurposed, reborn, or reformed.

Best Christmas Decorations EVER-Haters, line up! Yoo hoo, Pinterest, I’m calling you!

I was inspired by other topnotch decorators who so kindly blogged about their DIY Christmas tree masterpieces.

In fact, I was so inspired and so thrilled to be stuck here all alone for the millionth time during the holidays that I created a masterpiece of my own, just for you, my loving internet family. S

o, Cousin Fur and Aunt Cheeky and Second Cousin Far Removed Tracy F for Fantastic, this one’s especially for you guys.

As I looked around my house, the elliptical seemed like it had the best “bones” to adorn.

Plus, it had a ready-made beverage holder!

I didn’t have any Maxi-pads or other feminine hygiene products–’cos THAT ship has sailed–if you know what I mean. {Hey cool, a nautical reference jauntily tossed in. Damn, I’m good!} 

I added a toilet paper garland, a couple of Sophie Kinsella novels, two glittery seashell ornaments, a bottle of wine in the beverage holder, a white plastic poinsettia, a few EMPTY gift bags, and a festive plush Hello Kitty toy.

You can’t really see it very good, but there’s a chocolate bar too, which I luckily don’t have to share with anyone! I’m such a lucky girl! This is the best use I’ve found for the elliptical. Hanging freshly ironed shirts on it is a close second.

Carry on with your day; just take a moment to let it all sink in. Don’t HATE…Emulate.

Decorated for Christmas elliptical decorated elliptical

Tying up the boat, tying up loose ends on Friday

Cleaning house today:

1. The ants seem to be gone, at least for now. Thanks to everyone who kindly offered elimination suggestions.

2. My squirrel friends: real, ghost, spirit–have all disappeared. No more visits of any kind from any animals but for the scrub jays, who are always welcome!

3. I am very grateful for your likes and follows on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. I am still not sure why I can’t like anyone back on FB; it’s going to take a better mind than mine to figure it out! I’ve stopped stressing on it; I know the glitch’ll get straightened out at some point. I think the open letter to Mark Zuckerberg was cathartic.

4. I recently learned how to read/respond to comments on my blog and other blogs I comment on. Please don’t think I’m rude for not responding; I just figured it out!

5. We’re finally getting an iPhone, well, as soon as the captain gets back, ‘cos it’s finally time. We can’t deny that this is the way the world is now. You’re in or you’re out.

6. The captain says they’re “making good time”.  That’s something most people don’t hear every day, I bet. It’s something that is very “merchant marine-y” and could have just as easily been heard in 1850 or 1950. The only difference is that up until a few years ago, the only communication to home and hearth would have been through infrequent letters sent from faraway ports. We are very lucky to have email and cell (sometimes) and sat phones for an emergency (or my birthday!).

7. I’ll end the day with a new addition to our seashell family of home decor. I saw a set of these online somewhere and thought I could do it myself, so I bought a few sets of inexpensive drapery holdbacks and just glued scallop shells over the ends.

The captain installed them for me before he left. I have a feeling he might be overwhelmed by the amount of seashell decor around here, but he’s pretty tolerant of my collections, especially since he brings rocks and shells and driftwood from his travels around the world and then builds shelves to accommodate them.

Seashells and Toilets

I’ve been asked what I use to perfume my sheets with, and I’ve used lavender linen spray, but this time I sprayed orange blossom while ironing, and misted Chance by Chanel on his pillow, my favorite fragrance.

I was thinking about posting this picture on Pinterest.

Image

I hate hate hate the little plastic things that conceal toilet bolts; I can’t explain it, but they really bug me, and one day I took the plastic off while I was cleaning, and came up with the brilliant idea of replacing it with a seashell, which fit perfectly, and I think it’s a great improvement! I daubed a bit of Museum Putty on the underside to hold it in place. I use QuakeHold or Museum Putty to secure lots of things that I don’t want to glue or hot glue. It works great and doesn’t leave a mark.