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Freezer Tracking

Posted on May 16, 2013 in Home Projects | Comments Off

I don’t always live the most organized life.  I try to put things back orderly and know where things are, but sometimes things just slip away from me.  One area of my home that seems to always be hard to keep orderly is our deep freeze.  Food piles up, items get lost at the bottom, and digging in it to see what is in there is a big pain.

I came up with a simple solution, so I can keep track of what is in the freezer.  This helps me plan meals easier, use food that may have been forgotten about, and not have to dig through to see what I have.  I purchased a basic dry erase whiteboard to log what goes in and out of our freezer.

To make a board you just need a few items:

  • a whiteboard
  • a dry erase marker
  • a permanent fine point marker, like a Sharpie
  • something to adhere the board to your freezer or wall next to the freezer (my board came with stickies, but you could use magnets too)
  1. Draw lines on the board with a permanent marker.  This way you can erase food items as you use them without ruining the lines.
  2. At the top mark the quantity of items, description, and date you put it in the freezer.
  3. Update the board as you add or take items from the freezer.

This is an example of what I’m dealing with and why I need to keep track of the items outside of the actual freezer:

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Lay a cement board subfloor for tile (not fun, but a great way to save)

Posted on Jun 28, 2012 in Home Projects | Comments Off

This is not a fun, cute, see beautiful results of your sweaty hard work kind of project.  This is a dirty, hard, back-breaking job.  However, it is also a money saving project that with some physical labor really isn’t that hard to figure out…..heck, I did it (this is our cabin kitchen floor)!  If you’re looking to tile a floor, below are the steps to teach you how to lay the proper subfloor.

***I will soon be posting ’how to tile’ & ’how to grout’ , so stay tuned.  Also, please don’t mind the hideous wood paneling…that is getting worked on as well!

The proper subfloor is very important when laying tile.  You can’t just lay tile over plywood or linoleum; the thin-set (tile adhesive/mortar) won’t adhere and the tiles can crack as the floor moves and swells from moisture variations.  You can, however, lay tile over concrete or an existing tile floor (as long as it is secure and you have the height clearance).  You also want to make sure the floor under this project is stable.  Cement board and tile create a lot of weight.

What you’ll need:

  • 1/4 inch cement board - I like using ‘Hardiebacker’ (use 1/2 inch if you need to build height)
  • Mortar (thin-set, mud, etc)
  • A 1/4 inch notch trowel
  • Screws - 1 1/4  inch deck screws (they won’t rust)
  • Cement board tape (same idea as sheet rock tape)
  • Tools like a screwdriver, razor (for scoring the board), a large ’egg-beater’ drill attachment for ease of mixing mortar, a bucket
  • Knee pads, rubber gloves, etc  – anything to make the job more pleasant, so booze can fit in this category as well

Mix your mortar with water.  You want it to be a peanut butter consistency and to hold the trowel marks as you spread it.  Slop some on the floor and begin spreading it out, creating a ‘fan’ effect for even coverage.  The notches in the trowel help regulate how much mortar is left on the floor….handy little tool!

As you lay the board screw them in *do not step on boards until they are screwed into place*. Install screws in a random pattern all over the board. Give about 8 inches of space between screws, 2 inches in from corners, and 1 1/2 inches in from the sides. Make the screw heads level with the board (don’t over screw).

After all the boards are laid you will need to mud and tape your seams.  First, fill the spaces between boards with mud and smooth the line along the seam (you can use the flat side of your trowel for this). Second, lay a line of cement board tape along the seams.  Third, smooth another thin layer of mud over the tape.  Allow it to dry.

The project is done and now ready for tiling!  oofda, I need a massage!

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A Medicine Cabinet Remodel…..a what?

Posted on Apr 12, 2012 in Home Projects | 5 comments

You look in it everyday.  It holds some of your most important daily items.  It’s neglected.

Our bathroom is very neutral in color, so I figured adding a little surprise splash of color in the medicine cabinet is a great way to sneak some in.  Color helps create energy and, Lord knows, I can use a little assistance with that in the morning!  I painted the inside of the door with chalkboard paint, so I can leave notes to my family and leave myself reminders of products we are running low on, if I took my vitamins, and anything else that pops into my head.  I used a ‘Tiffany Blue’ acrylic paint for the back of the cabinet and for the thin wood trim I used to frame in the chalkboard.  A few organizers from The Container Store tidied up my products and my mornings just got a little bit happier!

Here is the ordinary cabinet before:

Here it is after:

What you’ll need:

  • Chalkboard paint
  • A small amount of colored latex or acrylic (I just bought a small $2 bottle from the art store, so I didn’t have to pay for a full quart).  It doesn’t take much paint for this small project.
  • Thin wood trim.  I bought mine at the hobby store (in the section where tons of very thin and small strips of wood are sold to be used for architectural models).  The wood needs to be thin, so the cabinet door will shut all the way.  If you don’t want to deal with a wood frame you can simply paint a stripe around the chalkboard or not have any edging around it at all.
  • Paintbrush, tape, and glue (if you use a wood trim around the chalkboard)

Tape the edge of your cabinet to protect it and apply 2 coats of chalkboard paint.

If you make a wood frame: paint the trim first (so you don’t have to be careful once it’s installed), measure the size of your chalkboard and glue the pieces up (I taped them together on the back first, applied all the glue, and then adhered it in one piece.



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Starts your seeds off right

Posted on Apr 10, 2012 in Home Projects | 1 comment

Get fresh herbs and flowers off to a good start by planting them early and letting them sprout indoors.  Once they have grown a bit you can then transfer them into the ground or pots, but this is an easy and cheap way to get them going.  Use the egg cartons (styrofoam cartons need less watering)that you would have tossed out anyway, seeds of any kind, and a little soil…..too easy!

Make sure you mark what seeds are planted in which egg cartons.  I dipped popsicle sticks in chalkboard paint, so if I grow different plants next year I can reuse them.



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Change the Look of Outdated Trim

Posted on Mar 30, 2012 in Home Projects | Comments Off

When we bought our home all the trim was dark and damaged.  Generally I like the look of stained wood trim, but in some cases it is necessary to paint over it.  Changing trim to white (I like the color ‘Alabaster’ by Sherwin Williams) or a glossy black can really change the way your whole room looks.  I spent so many hours redoing ALL the trim in our entire house that cumulatively it was probably a couple weeks of time that I refinished the floor, window, and door trim.

It is important that you use an enamel paint for durability.  I like to work with latex instead of oil based paint.  It’s easier to clean up and you don’t have as many harsh fumes.

What you’ll need:

  • Sandpaper or sanding blocks
  • A good angled paintbrush
  • Painter’s tape
  • Primer
  • Enamel paint, I prefer the look of semi-gloss

Here is an example of the trim before and after.  This is our upstairs hallway.


  1. Sand the trim in order to smooth out the wood and remove any previous shine from polyurethane
  2. Wipe the trim clean with a damp cloth
  3. Use painter’s tape to mask off the end of the trim (if you are painting trim that is on carpeted floors you will need to remove the trim, paint it, and renail it back on the wall)
  4. Apply 1 coat of primer
  5. Apply 1 coat of enamel.  Use a good amount of paint, but make sure it doesn’t drip and run.
  6. Remove the painter’s tape after your 1st coat of enamel.  This will prevent the paint from drying to the tape and then pulling off the trim when you remove the tape. *if paint does dry to tape – take a knife and score along the edge of the trim before removing the tape
  7. After the 1st coat of enamel is dry, apply a 2nd coat. You can be more sparing with it and don’t have to go to the edge (there isn’t tape anymore!)
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