Sunday, June 19, 2016

I'm a little Stuc Up!

I noticed the stucco next to our front door was buckling a bit and starting to fall off of the wall.  I applied duct tape over the cracks until I could get it repaired.


I called four different stucco repair companies and finally got someone to come out to take a look.  A very nice man looked over my problem and promised to email me a quote.  That was the last time I heard from him.  I emailed and called multiple times but was never able to get him to respond. I couldn't get any of the other stucco repair folks to return my call either. I have a handyman who can do almost anything so he came out to see if he could handle the repair.  He said it was too much for him.

So, left with no other options, I started watching YouTube videos on stucco repair.  I went to Home Depot and bought metal lath and powdered stucco mix.  I enlisted Tony's help to apply the lath.  First we broke off all of the loose stucco.

Uh oh!  This was going to be a bigger project than I had anticipated!  We considered making another front door, but decided that would look odd!

I wanted to square up the hole like I had seen on the YouTube videos but thankfully Tony vetoed that idea.  He thought we shouldn't make the hole any bigger than it already was. We attached the metal lath using lath screws, making sure every area was covered with lath.


Then it was time to mix the stucco.  Tony loves his power tools so he hooked up the paint stirrer to the drill to stir the stucco.  We mixed the stucco in the garage and then by the time we carried it to the front porch, it had hardened into a bucket-sized chunk of concrete. We decided that we would only mix a small amount at a time and still, it hardened before we could get it on the wall.

The sun boils down on our porch in the afternoon and that made the stucco harden even faster so I started applying a small bucket of stucco every morning.  It was slow work.

Tony did some Googling and found that adding lime to the stucco mixture would cause it to harden slower.  This helped a lot and I was able to apply 3 small buckets of stucco every morning after that.

I think it took me about 2 weeks to get the entire hole covered with stucco. Of course I had to go on vacation for a few weeks to give the stucco plenty of time to dry. :)  When I got home, I mixed up one more bucket of stucco and put on some final touches.

We had some paint left over from the last time we had the house painted.  We got out the drill and the paint stirrer and mixed it up.  Even painting was slow-going, but I finally got it covered.  The paint didn't exactly match so I had to paint the entire wall.  When it dried, it matched a lot better.

Voila!  Good as new! This was a difficult and time consuming project and I now understand why no one would call me back!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Paws Awhile - From Amish to Anchors!

When we bought Paws Awhile in September 2013, the decor was a bit, ...well..., dated.  The theme was more like an Amish country home than a Beach bungalow.

We obviously needed to redecorate the entire unit but we had bigger fish to fry - we wanted to update the kitchen, living area and master bath before we spent too much time on aesthetics. My sister had surprised us by redecorating the guest bedroom a year before and we loved it, but we just hadn't made time to work on the master. Once the major renovations were done, though, it was time to give the master bedroom some attention.  I wanted to surprise Tony with the new decor so I asked my sister to come to help.

Mary Jane is very experienced with "Shabby Chic" painting.  Following her instructions, I bought paint, plaster of paris, and wax. We mixed the paint, plaster of paris and water and painted two coats on each piece of furniture.

While the paint was drying, we went shopping.  We decided we wanted to have a navy & white nautical theme.  We found a couple of options for quilts and were thrilled when Beals had a great sale on our first choice and a matching throw pillow.

When we got home, we started waxing the furniture to give it the shabby look.  The top drawers and headboard had a lattice work design that didn't really look good with the white paint so we decided to paint them blue to match the new quilt.

With more paint to dry, we had time to do more shopping so we swung by a couple of thrift shops to look for a piece of furniture where we could hide Lola's litter box.  We found a toy chest at the Humane Society store that would be perfect.  It needed a matching cushion so we hurried over to Jo Ann's to get some fabric and foam for the cushion.  I finished covering the cushion at the condo but had to take the cover home to add the anchor embroidery. I was able to keep this hidden from Tony since he rarely visits my sewing dungeon!

The quilt set came with two king sized pillow shams that I didn't want so I decided to take them apart and use the fabric.  The shams were blue and white striped on the front and white with blue anchors on the back.  I used the front of the shams for curtains and the back for a pillow and some accents for the windows.

We used matte blue spray paint to paint the brass lamps and drawer pulls. My seashell knitted afghan perfectly coordinated with the decor! 

Gerry, the manager of our condo complex, saw us going by with the spray paint and when she found out we were decorating with blue and white, donated a seashell picture to match!

I didn't say anything to Tony about the new decor so when we came down last Thursday, I was excited to see what he would say.  At first, he only noticed the new quilt and said, "That looks nice."  We were still unpacking and getting settled so I didn't say anything more.  After a few minutes, he came out of the bedroom and was properly surprised and pleased by all the work we had done!

We are thrilled with the new look!  We really feel like we are at the beach now!