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



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.






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

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.


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!


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.


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?


Recycled, Repurposed, Reborn, and Reformed

It’s not always about Chanel.

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


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!


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…


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


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!


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 
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.


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

I love elephants of all colors

White elephant: A possession that is useless or troublesome, especially one that is expensive to maintain or difficult to dispose of. According to Wiki, the tradition derives from tales which associate a white elephant with the birth of the Buddha, as his mother was reputed to have dreamed of a white elephant presenting her with a lotus flower, a common symbol of wisdom and purity, on the eve of giving birth.[5] Because the animals were considered sacred and laws protected them from labor, receiving a gift of a white elephant from a monarch was simultaneously both a blessing and a curse: a blessing because the animal was sacred and a sign of the monarch’s favor, and a curse because the animal had to be retained and could not be put to much practical use, but cost a significant amount to maintain.

Hmmm…that sounds very much like a description of Princess Rosebud, don’t you agree?

Elephant cow charging in defence of its calf.April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month….I’ve protested and spoken out with Peta against the cruel practice of elephant rides at our San Diego County Fair in Del Mar. The life of a captive elephant (or any animal) trained for humans to profit by is barbaric and must end. Please join me in caring about the lives of other species. We must work together to end animal abuse. Click on the link to learn more:

Here’s my very own white elephant. She is extremely beautiful and, as you can see, quite useful, holding a vase of alstroemeria flowers from our garden. I found her at Ross Dress for Less for $29.00. The vase is from Anthropologie. I picked up some color chips from Home Depot to repaint the wall for contrast but I haven’t decided on a color yet.

White elephantMore elephants!

They’re everywhere!


An elephant box


Cute elephant lamp in our entry


In Which Princess Rosebud Embarks Upon a Magical Journey


It always has been intended that a proper christening and the accompanying ceremony ensures good fortune to the lady and her crew throughout the life of the vessel.

Please join us for the (virtual) christening of our New Haven rowing dory. Champagne and hors d’ouvres will be served.

My tugboat man spent his six weeks home (between surf sessions) restoring a neglected and dilapidated vessel who just needed a little love to sparkle and shine.
(Don’t we all…)

This New Haven rowing dory benefited from a much needed facelift. He sanded and sanded and sanded every day, patched holes, went to Home Depot–alone, thank goodness–and constructed new railings (or whatever they’re called.) And varnished.boatbefore boat during restoration

Why yellow? Hubs chose the color because it’s one of his favorites (it’s our kitchen color, too)  and because he says it’s an appropriate choice for this type of boat. He saved the best part for me; declaring that every girl should have a boat named after her…paintedboatnoname

What’s her name? Here’s a hint…
princess rosebud in the sand

The makeover is complete…THE FINAL REVEAL!


We took her out for a splash–a sea trial–in the lagoon that’s about three blocks from our house. I won’t even try to pretend that I did any rowing, but I did pack a nice lunch. He insisted that I remove the little mermaid (look closely and you’ll see that she’s wearing pearls, too) but if I find a really cool figurehead in an antique shop, he’ll mount it on the prow.

(I’m laughing–I said mount–I’m really never gonna grow up!)

Here I am in an appropriately nautical outfit: Joe’s skinny jeans, striped shirt from Banana Republic, and a cashmere/silk sweater from Barney’s. I took off my Captain mandated life vest for the pic. Check out my nautical Hello Kitty hat hkhatand the string of pearls. I’ll be the first to say it–hair’s gone a bit frizzy, oh well, everything can’t be perfect all the time. I used a new conditioner from Chi–one I won’t be using again, that’s for sure. Ignore the hair, those are Chanel sunglasses, beeyotches!


Our lagoon and a very weird sky…


My wonderful captain rowed us to a secluded beach for our romantic picnic. I’ll NEVER tell where it is!


The seagull who ran off with part of our lunch.seagullateourfood

My hero! He didn’t dress for the part like I did, but then, he did all the work, and I just had to sit there and look rowing captain

A white egret in the marshwhiteegretlagoon

Raccoon prints!raccoonprintlagoon

Coyote prints!coyoteprintlagoon

At sundown we invited our neighbors over for a christening party.
I found Princesa champagne! Very appropriate, no?


Hi, wish you all could have joined us!

We read this as everyone gathered around (and yes, I made everyone follow the script, raise their glasses, and toast ME!)

“For thousands of years, we have gone to sea. We have crafted vessels to carry us and we have called them by name. These ships will nurture and care for us through perilous seas, and so we affectionately call them “she.” To them we toast, and ask to celebrate Princess Rosebud.” “TO THE SAILORS OF OLD…TO PRINCESS ROSEBUD!”

Everybody takes a sip.

“The moods of the sea are many, from tranquil to violent. We ask that this vessel be given the strength to carry on. She is strong and will keep out the pressures of the sea.” Again the glasses are raised, and the assemblage shouts, “TO THE SEA…TO THE SAILORS OF OLD…TO THE SEA!”

Everybody takes another sip.

“Today we come to name this lady, Princess Rosebud,  and send her to sea to be cared for, and to care for her family. We ask the sailors of old and the mood of the sea to accept Princess Rosebud as her name, to help her through her passages, and allow her to return with her crew safely. ” Again with the raising of the glasses, “TO THE SEA…TO THE SAILORS BEFORE US…TO PRINCESS ROSEBUD!”

A last, long sip by all.

Finally, we sprinkled a few drops of  champagne over the bow to appease King Neptune, and laid a branch of green leaves on the deck to ensure safe returns.boatwithcandle

And thus ends another day in the life of Princess Rosebud.