Thursday, March 26, 2015

Do you have a Cleaning Schedule? Me either!

A cleaning schedule? I can't stand them, but that's not to say the house doesn't get cleaned. It does and my Cleaning Chart has a helpful hand in that. In order to continue on with my theme of getting it together this year (meaning myself and my home), I wanted to get myself into a routine of cleaning my home. I have a routine for some things, but others cleaning chores get left in the the dust... :).

We've talked about getting organized as far as time, so I put together a yearly calendar along with a weekly schedule you can fill in. To visit that post and download our beautiful calendars for 2015, visit here.

Then we talked about our budgets. Not always the fun topic to discuss, but it's needed if we're going to get and stay organized this year. If you'd like to read the post and download my easy budget forms, visit this post.

So I decided a cleaning chart (not a schedule) was the next thing for Lewisville to tackle. My home is tidy most days, and lets just say "busy" other days. We really "live, eat, work, and play" here. I must preface here also that I am not, nor do I ever claim to be a cleaning expert in any way, but we all like a clean home right? A cleaning chart just seems like a good idea, but I hate assuming that you can clean the rooms I clean on the same days I clean them. Annoying.

Most cleaning schedules out there assume I have the same days and rooms and time they have. Nope, nope, nope. A cleaning schedule is personal to you, to your home, and to your family. I have a ceiling fan in some rooms. Do you?  I have two bathrooms but you may have one or three. I have a glass shelf in my kitchen that needs to be cleaned weekly in order for me to remain sane. You may not have the same problem privilege. Each of our homes are unique and so this cleaning chart will be unique to you also. Schedule your cleaning with the time that works for you, and clean the rooms as you see fit.

You can download and print an empty cleaning schedule that you can fill out on your own. You know best what needs to happen in your home and what needs to be cleaned on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. That's how I've arranged this cleaning chart. But if you want to peek into my world and see what I've decided for Lewisville, I'll include my personal chart also...for you to have as a template of course.

Some of you like to clean a little each day- the kitchen on one day, the bathrooms on another, and so on. I personally like to do my laundry and bathrooms on Mondays, but the rest of the house gets cleaned on Saturday or Thursday or whatever day works best with our schedule for the week. Some of you like to clean the entire house on one day. I used to do that too when the kids were younger. We each have seasons where some things works, then recognize later on that those things need to change.
This cleaning chart is designed to help you in whatever season you are in.  If you're a once in a while cleaner or an everyday cleaner, this chart can help you out.

Ok, with that said, here are a few things we do everyday in Lewisville.
- Make my bed. Kids- not so much.
- Dishes and clean the kitchen every night. This is my one thing I like to have clean every night and here's a post about my routine explaining why?
- Kids must pick up their stuff in the family room and around the house before bed. My kids are older and if we find any of their things out in the morning, we have consequences like no computer or phone for the day. Trust me. This has been the BEST thing we've done to keep the clutter down.

That's about it. Work what you can every day with the time you have, but make a routine out of it. That's how it started with making my bed. Though I wanted a clean room with the bed made, I never had the time. Then I realized I just had to do it everyday until it was second nature for me. The bed is the biggest piece of furniture in your room, so making it will at least make your room look clean. It's the first thing I do in the morning.

Cleaning Chart
Filled Cleaning Chart


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Shabby Chic Beauty

Oh me, Oh my! I am having so much fun re-doing, re-vitalizing, re-purposing, re-designing ... etc ... these "vintage/antique" furniture pieces.
This time, I found a Bassett dresser at my local thrift store. For $20 I picked up this all wood, dovetail drawer treasure.

But lets be honest. It didn't look so chic when I first saw it. Here's the before.

It was scratched and dinged and I'm not exactly sure what you would call this color or wood tone? Let's just call it "not pretty" for now. 
But I have learned to look past the lack of aesthetic properties and prefer to visualize the potential beauty deep beneath the surface. I further envision a world where all old wood furniture will make its way into the loving hands of those of us who love the "re-do" challenge. Ahhh, to dream!

 These pieces do take work. I sanded it down with my nifty orbital sander. If I had to sand the whole piece by hand, I'd be checking out the local sales for tools. Craigslist is always good for tools too. There were a few curvy spots where I had to sand by hand, but that was minimal.
FYI- I use 80 grit then 150 grit then finally 220 grit sand paper. You want the wood soft and smooth.
The top had this really thick piece of veneer, so I decided to leave this in place and stain just the drawers.
 There were a few places I needed to fix. This drawer needed a little wood filler. Make sure you get wood filler that can be stained or painted.
 Next, Prime. Prime, Prime.
 I used two coats of Grenadier Pond by Benjamin Moore. It was left over from my last shabby chic dresser which I just sold, so I was thinking, why not do it again.
 I shab just the edges of the dresser. I'm not a major shabby girl, but a little goes a long way for me.
 Then I used the antique glaze from Lowes. I love this stuff and it's so easy to use. It can be scary the first time, but trust me, it's worth using.
This is what it looks like when you "brush paint" the gel on.

 Just wipe off the excess with a (hot) wet rag. I do this process to few times, taking off most of the glaze and doing it again until I get the antique look I want to achieve.
 Of course, I couldn't decide on the handles. I wasn't sure if I should keep the original brass pulls or paint them antique bronze. I asked my friends on facebook and most said the gold side. Gold side it is! Thanks, friends!
Finally, a coat of polycrylic and she was done!

Love. Love. Love. What do you think?


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

How to clean a Butcher Block and make it look AMAZING Again!

 I'm really, really thankful for my awesome kitchen island. It was a process to get it looking amazing again, but wow, so worth the time and effort! Just look at the before and afters!

 The wood cutting board on top was well used. With large families, everyone had (literally) left their mark. So I researched and found out there was indeed a way to make her shine again. Here we go.

 First- Let's do some deep cleaning. Most of you know I don't like harsh chemicals and toxic this and that. I truly believe we can clean just like our grandmothers did years ago and their methods will work just as well or better than anything you'll find at the store.

To deep clean this piece of butcher block wood, I poured sea salt and squeezed lemon over it to make a paste.
 You can use a scouring pad or sponge to scrub the board, but I literally used the lemon itself as a sponge.

 I left it on for 3-4 hours.  It dries to a course texture like below. I saw that all the stains didn't come up, so I wiped off the salt/lemon with my 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water and let it dry completely. My step two was to start over with the lemon and salt mixture and leave it on overnight this time.

I rinsed it in the morning and dried it with paper towels. Stains- gone. It worked!
(Make sure your butcher block is completely dried before moving onto each step.)

Second- remove residual odors and stains. Make a paste using baking soda and water. I use this very paste mixture to clean my laminate counters that easily stain. Baking soda is your friend. You should have a Costco size bag in your home that's used frequently.

 Scrub ... and scrub some more. The baking soda on the wood doesn't smell great, but trust me, it's working.

 After a good scrub, start wiping off the paste with water and wipe with paper towels.

Let the board dry completely, over night even if you can keep your family from using it before the last few steps. 

 Third- Kill the bacteria! Some people will say to use a mixture of bleach and water for this next step, but vinegar and water or hydrogen peroxided and water will work just as well. I used my 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water, and sprayed it generously onto my butcher block. I always have a spray bottle readily available of half water/half vinegar as my all purpose cleaner. We use it on just about everything here in Lewisville.
If you are going to use bleach, use 1 tsp bleach with 4 cups of water.  50/50 hydrogen peroxide and water if that's your choice.

Leave the mixture on for a few minutes and wipe it off with paper towels. Again, let the block dry completely before moving on to the next step.

 Fourth and Final step- condition, protect, and beautify the block! As a DIYer, I'm used to working with protective coatings for wood, but you can't use any kind of poly on this wood and allow your food to come into contact with it. So, butcher blocks simply require a $2 bottle of mineral oil. Make sure it is food grade mineral oil; it must say USP. I found my bottle at the grocery store with other laxative items ... because, you know.

 Slather the oil on with a paper towel or rag and let it sit over night. If there is an area where the wood didn't drink in the the oil, wipe it it up in the morning.
It will look shiny and beautiful again, but wipe it clean one last time with water and paper towels.

I'm amazed at the results. 

Love, love, love it!

 I wanted my block to look nice, but to be honest with you, I doubt I'll be directly cutting and prepping food directly on my block. I know I could now, but that's not how we do things here. Cutting boards on top of my butcher block will be used. Weird, I know.

Your butcher block should be cleaned daily with hot soapy water if you're using it as a true food prep area, but don't soak your wood in water. I use my 50/50 solution on it each night even though we don't cut food directly on it.
If you happen to cut meat on your block, make sure you are using the bleach or hydrogen peroxide solution right after use to prevent bacteria growth.
As far as oiling goes, do it once a month to keep it looking fabulous.

Hope this helps!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Tardis...Blue Kitchen Island

Have I ever told you how small my kitchen is? We have little to no kitchen counter space and for about a year I have been on the hunt for a kitchen island. So why has it taken me so long if I'm desperate for counter space? I didn't want to pay an arm and a leg, and I wasn't sure how long we would be renting this house. But it has come down to need. We really, really need more counter space!
So, enter this little gem given to me for free from my friend, Lee! Thanks, Lee!

 She's a DIYer like me, and she replaced this island for a gem of her own from Craigslist. When I got it home, it looked like this. Before-

 This little kitchen island is going to help a TON! A TON! I thought about keeping it as is, but my kitchen is so plain and has very little color in it. I decided to give the island a paint job for a pop of color in my plain, old, boring, dull kitchen.

 First, I primer the island with my all time fave primer- Zinsser

I found a small test jar of paint called Hotel St. Francis Spirit Blue by Valspar for just $3. I love, love this paint from Lowes. It was so easy to work with and the color is just gorgeous. Plus, $3 for a test jar is always so much better than a $15 quart of paint that might freeze in your garage. Oh wait, that just happens to me.

When I put on the first coat of paint, I wasn't sure about the color. I asked one of my kids and her response was this, " I like it, Mom. It's like the Tardis color."  No, it's nothing like the Tardis. I refuse to believe I picked a Tardis blue color.
Because we live in a tiny house, I wanted to have the option of moving my island out of the way and  around the kitchen from time to time. I purchased these swivel casters from Lowes, screwed them into a 1x4 cut to size, and attached them to the bottom of the island with longer wood screws.
 I sound pretty handy don't I, but it was actually Mr. Lewisville who did most of the work with the castors.
Once the castors were on, I applied a second coat of paint, then a third where needed. The paint is really thin, but again, very easy to work with.

Child number two came around as I was finishing the second coat. I asked her thoughts on the color. Not kidding, her reply, "Wow, Tardis blue. I like." Aargh. My family is a fan of the show. Me? Not so much, but I was really liking this color, even if it has been dubbed Tardis Blue.

 I also cleaned up the butcher block...
but I decided to write a post on that alone because the results are amazing. So that post on how to clean and restore an old butcher block will come on Thursday- fyi.

 I also decided to splurge a little and get all new hardware. Love the new hardware! (From Lowes by the way)

And here it is, all done and looking GOOD! We all love it. It has been a huge help to us. Pulling it in close when we're cooking and moving it out of the way when we're not is really the best part- awesome.
 Love. Love. Love it!