Friday, December 31, 2010

Easy! Custom Lined Envelopes

One of my favorite things to make with my Cricut is cards. (I'm guessing this has to do with my OCD (want to complete the project now!) and my ADHD (has to be quick!) Hey, I have a couple of quirks, people, it's part of my charm!) Anywho, I love making the effort to create the cards, but then feel super guilty sticking them into plain boring pre-made envelopes.

Enter my random brain. Once upon a time, HGTV had a show on called Carol DuVall. Anyone else recall this show? It was a general craft show, similar to Martha Stewart, but WAAAAAY less hoity toity. She had a lady on once that showed you how to easily line envelopes. Since the show isn't on anymore, I thought I'd do my version of what I remember. Enjoy!

This is a great project to use up old scraps and matching pieces from your card projects. To start you need a piece of paper that is longer than your envelope from the top of the flap to just below pocket of the envelope.

Use a pencil to trace the edges of the envelope. Feel free to make the lines as dark as needed since the will disappear later. (Sneaky, I know.) I wouldn't use a marker here since it will bleed onto the envelope and add a little accent to it. Then again, if you're going for a random accent, go for it!

Once you have your lines traced, cut INSIDE the lines by a small amount. You're cutting inside the lines to ensure that the paper will fit inside the envelope. If you cut too much, it will look odd. If you don't cut enough, it won't fit. The example shows about how far to cut.

If you have an envelope similar to mine, you're going to end up with a wonky looking rectangle. Don't sweat it.

Place a straight edge across the wonky rectangle at the point where the rectangle angles in. Don't worry, when you try it, it will make much more sense than my poor explanation here. Crease the paper using the straight edge and then put a good crease in it using a bone folder. This will make using the envelope much, much easier.

Place the colored piece inside the envelope, center it, and line up the creases. Put glue on the backside of the flap, but...

make sure that you use your finger or another tool and smear the glue around. This will prevent it from making those ugly lines on the outside of the envelope. Not sure what the technical term is, but don't like 'em.

Fold the envelope flap down onto the glue and seal it. The great part about this is that you aren't lining the entire envelope, just the part that can be seen, because let's face it, when was the last time you peered into the bottom of an envelope??

Make sure that you leave the envelope open while it's drying. Glue has a tendency to seep out and gluing an envelope shut now isn't the best idea... (Yes, I speak from experience here and yes, I see the smile on your face...)

See, all finished! It goes really fast and makes a great addition to the hard work of custom made cards. (You don't even have to tell them how easy it was!) Good Luck!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I've been featured!!!

I am super excited. I was featured on Polly Want a Crafter. Check it out!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Candy Land

My department at work was given the assignment to decorate for our annual Christmas party. We decided on a theme of Candyland. After an evening of fun, we came out with these pretty cute decorations. Please note, that these are NOT my creations. This was a group effort. I'm not trying to take credit for them, just show off the hard work. Enjoy!

This was the centerpiece for the snack table. I love the glittery lolly-pops. I heard they came from Garden Ridge. Wonder where I'm going to head to when I'm in the big city???

These came out so stinkin' cute. All they are are large styrofoam balls with over 1,000 peppermints and cinnamon discs pinned on them. I strongly recommend a girls' night with a couple of adult beverages to make it easier. ;)

For the middle tables, we made gumdrop trees instead of peppermint discs. I was able to put my ribbon addiction to good use with bows and loops. I also ribboned the base and the dowels supporting the trees. Thankfully we didn't have time, or I would have been tempted to break out the glitter...

Holy Cow!!

Okay, not really. I mean there isn't a cow involved and nothing has been blessed to be declared technically holy, but HOLY COW!! I just got an email from Cassity at Remodelaholic and Polly Want A Crafter. She wants to feature little ol' me on not one but both of her blogs!!! HOLY COW!!

I started this blog as a way to keep in touch with family and friends and give myself a creative outlet. I never dreamed, okay, maybe I did, of being able to be featured by another blog. I am so excited!! (It truly is the little things that make me happy...)

Anyway, Polly and Remodelaholic are two really addictive blogs.
Polly Want a Crafter features some awesome ideas that are both cheap (but don't look it) and creative. Nothing aggravates me more than awesome ideas where the items needed are twice the cost of purchasing the finished craft in the first place. Cassity cruises blogs and submissions and finds the best examples of crafts and remodeling ideas so you don't have to. Check out these cute links from Polly!

Snowflake Specimen Art

"Hand"some Christmas Tree Art

Remodelaholic could be the source for a lot of my bravery in my house endeavors. It was one of the first blogs I stumbled upon and I used the logic of if they can do, so can I. Either of these look familiar? Click on the pic to see what they did with it... Check my past posts to see what I did with my version.

Check out these fabulous blogs when you get a chance. I'm just warning you, they're addictive!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


On the last day of work before Christmas vacation, a co-worker shared this video. While it's not Christmas related, the idea of peace and goodwill to men (and women) is definitely present. Enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Worst Gets Better...

Without a doubt, the laundry room was the worst in the entire house. If I recall correctly, and I do, it was that room that sent me into a crying fit wondering what in the world I'd done.

(To be fair, the crying fit came after I pulled out an entire skeleton of what must have been a squirrel or a baby raccoon, and yes, I've had that confirmed by someone other than me. Thankfully my older brother put me back on the right track when he offered to buy it off my hands right then and there. He did just the right thing by challenging my ability to do something. I can safely say that stubborn is one of my strongest characteristics. Anyway, I've digressed enough.)

Just in case you've been lucky enough to forget, here is the way the laundry room looked when I did my walk-through.

You can't see the corner that resulted in my questioning my logic, but here it is in all it's glory. The corner of the house had taken a direct hit from a tree limb falling on it last May. By August the water and rodent damage was rampant and had consumed the entire support for the corner. The 2x4 was rotted through and was knocked completely out by a gentle touch. Notice the brick in the picture? Yup, that's external brick. Oops!

I am very happy to say that what was once the worst room in the building is now a bright airy space that I'm not terrified to be in! My middle/baby brother and his wife very graciously gave me their old dryer, so for the first time since I've moved in, I can wash and dry clothes in my own house! No more blow drying pants before car duty in the morning! (been there, done that...) Notice my "new" washer and dryer.

Originally there was a dark nasty cabinet hanging up in the corner above the washer/dryer. While I appreciated the storage, the mold between the cabinet and the ceiling and the general filth of the cabinet meant it was coming out! So, what kind of storage did I want???

**Disclaimer: I'm about to get on a personal soapbox. Watch out.

My family's go to storage option is UGLY metal brackets on the wall with adjustable braces that you place a shelf on. I HATE this type of shelving for a purely aesthetic reason. I appreciate the ability to adjust it and its myriad of combinations, but the metal braces and exposed supports are just not pleasing to my eye, so don't even/ever try to talk me into it. Remember the stubbornness we talked about earlier?. Okay, okay, off the soapbox, you're safe now.

Instead of the aforementioned shelves, I wanted strong shelves that had no visible means of support. Easy-peasy right? Ha! Apparently, Marc/Dad channeled the wood workers of old in a couple of dreams before he came up with the shelf design. I'd be lying if I even tried to describe it.

I just have to say that I love the look and am very pleased with how clean and uncluttered the shelves themselves look. (Ignore the items on the shelves, I know that stuff is cluttered, but one step at a time, people! I'm only human!)

Check out my scary laundry room now! Hours of scrubbing, sweat, a little blood and a couple of tears and I have a room to be proud of. Now if I can just keep all the walls intact, but more on that later...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Elphaba Takes A Seat...

I was lucky enough this summer to spend a long weekend in Florida with my mom visiting her brother, Brian and his wife, Judy. For those of you following along and playing the game, yes, that is my aunt and uncle. It was a GREAT weekend! My aunt is one of the two best shoppers I know. (The other best shopper I know is my other aunt, Gail. Gonga-deal is a legit word in my family.)

As soon as I could feel my tush again, 17 hours is a long time to sit folks as we drove cross country, we headed out to scour Ocala for deals. The first place we went was a local church thrift store. After looking around, checking all the deals and heading for the door, my gut told me stop, and look again. There in amongst the 60's & 70's gems was something very similar to this beauty.

However, you have to imagine it in blue gray velour because yours truly didn't take a "before" picture. Still to this day, I can't think of a good use of this fabric. Anyone?? Anyone? Nope, not hearing a thing. Now, while you're imagining it in velour, go grab a can of paint, spray paint, in bright green, the brighter the better. Step 2, spray the entire chair. Seriously, go spray. Done spraying? Now, check out the pics.

See, I'm not lying. Notice the original color where we popped off the front covers on the edges of the arms. And, yes, it was spray paint. The texture of the painted fabric was much, much rougher than the original color. Ouch. What I want to know is where in the world did it come into their mind that they should spray paint a chair??? Seriously?!? That's the first thing that comes into your mind when you see a blue chair and you want to change the color?!? Anywho...

Okay, I've digressed. Those of you who follow me know this isn't an odd thing. Back to the beginning. The title to this post is Elphaba Takes a Seat. Who is Elphaba you ask? She is witch that was born green and uncomfortable with herself. The exact opposite of her best friend, Glenda. You might have heard part of her story in the tale of The Wizard of Oz. You can learn more about her from her own story, Wicked. Because of my chair's green skin, Aunt Judy named my chair Elphaba and it stuck. It fits her somehow even though she is no longer green, hint, hint.

Now, back to my version of Wicked. Design Intervention is a pro at recovering and reupholstery and gave me the courage to try it on my own. I stopped by a supplier in Houston and picked up some tools that I couldn't have done without. Kuddos too, to the awesome gentleman who helped me. When I explained that I was trying this for the first time, he reassured me and told me that I would be a pro in no time. While he was lying through his teeth, I appreciate the lie more than he'll ever know.

After hours cruising blogland, (this helped tons!) and building up massive amounts of courage, Marc, my dad, & I tackled the chair. Yup, I literally mean tackled. We pulled almost 5,000 staples, not kidding here, and then I took the fabric pieces and used them as patterns to carefully cut the new fabric. Once the new pieces were cut out of the same fabric I used for the Pottery Barn magic, we began the arduous task of putting it back together again.

Notice the brown stuff in the bottom of the pic and in the next one? That's wool or cotton (unknown by me) felting that is put over the wood pieces and springs to add comfort to the chair. Because we disturbed it, we laid it back down and then covered it with a new layer of fluff. It was impossible to get the felting smooth again without the new stuff. We had to staple down the felting, the new fluff and then the fabric. I have no idea how many staples we actually used to put it back together, but I'm betting it was over 1,000. If for some reason you decide to tackle a chair like this, get a pneumatic stapler. There is NO other way to do it. None! (Granted, it also helps to have an awesome uncle who loans you an air compressor on a 2 year/2,000 mile basis!)

I will say that putting the chair back together was infinitely easier than taking it apart in the first place. Definitely more gratifying. Now that it is done, the difference in my living room is huge. The chair now "fits" the room, instead of sticking out like a green thumb.

While I know pride is a sin, I am so proud of myself for charging in head on, after researching, and getting this entire started and finished. A couple of posts ago, I mentioned a table that I had refinished. It's now feeling right at home besides Elphaba.

Remember when I mentioned that my aunts and the term "gonga-deal?" Care to guess how much this beauty was?

She was labeled $15.

Luckily they were having a half-price sale to move out furniture, so she was only $7.50. Yes, you read that right, seven dollars and fifty cents. How's that for a gonga-deal?

A Whole New Look

Last year as a combined Christmas and birthday present I received a large chair, ottoman, and couch from Leslie & family. They were blessed enough to be getting a new set and passed on their old one. Seeing as I was then sitting on a blow up swim float to watch TV, I was really, really grateful. While the basic structure of the furniture was in great condition and super comfortable, the fabric was a tired and wearing thin, literally, in places. (On a side note, after getting their new furniture, M4 and VJ, Leslie's kids tried to give me the new stuff and take back the old because the new stuff wasn't comfortable. I did say no.)

Now, onto the furniture. The couch is a classic denim, and the chair and ottoman were a fabulous striped pattern. In case you missed my subtle sarcasm, I'm not a blue and yellow girl and stripes aren't really my thing. Now, I'm not complaining here by a long stretch. The chair is very comfortable and fabric can always be changed! Besides, one look at the chair and I had already envisioned it in a lovely cream fabric.

So, I approached my step-mom, Sara, and asked her to complete the monumental task of making a slipcover out of a lighter weight cotton canvas. (I was able to trade almost 30 yards of fabric for an entire set of wedding flowers. WooHoo! The labor, not the flower cost.) Unfortunately the fabric wasn't thick enough to cover the stripes, so the entire thing had to be lined. And oh, yeah, did I mention that there wasn't a pattern?!? So, after innumerable hours of hard work, and a couple or three pin pricks, she was able to transform what is pictured above into the Pottery Barn special below!

I have to say, I am knock my socks off impressed! And just in case of a spill, the entire thing unzips and comes off to go in the washer. Again, did I mention I was impressed????

Front Door Decor

Last year, in a fit of pique, I declared that I was going to hang up a Christmas wreath on my front door. Now, what you have to remember is that my house was still in a huge state of shambles. I had literally no place to sit, no door on the bathroom, and wasn't even living here, but darnit, I was going to have a wreath. So, off to Michael's I went. (love those coupons!!) I purchased a wreath form, a plastic garland and some jingle bells. Combined that with gorgeous ribbon and I came up with this...

By the time I actually got this made, it was well after Christmas and there was no point in hanging it up. So, I carefully put it up in a plastic bag on the top shelf of my closet until this year. Now, as soon as Christmas rolled around this year, I pulled the wreath down and took a long hard look at it and decided I didn't like it. (I know, big surprise there huh?)

It was boring and annoying me, so I pulled the whole thing apart. Don't get me wrong, I love the elements of it, just not how it was put together. While I was shopping in November, I fell in love with some glittered hydrangea at a local wholesaler. Unfortunately I didn't love their $6 per head price. So, I found some other less glittered hydrangea on clearance for $2 per head. Add a little Martha Stewart glitter and some Glimmer Mist in Santa Baby and perfection. After adding my new flowers and some glittered oak leaves, I came up with this and I have to say I am MUCH happier with it now!

The glitter doesn't photograph well, but I promise it looks good!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmastime is coming!

I would love to claim that I have been super productive today and have just now finished all of the projects I'm going to post about this weekend, but that would be a lie. Let's be honest here. I've spent most of my day picking after decorating for Christmas, finding my desk again and trying to sleep since I didn't last night (killer allergies had me coughing from 3-6 am! It could be worse, I could feel bad as well.) I do have big news about projects though. Yay!! No, I didn't finish all of these projects today or even this week, but I am super excited to share them with you. And without any further delay...

A couple of years ago, my brother and then future-sister in law went to Florida and picked up some furniture from my aunt and uncle. The table was one of the pieces that came back. It sat in my mother's house and then mine in this condition:

An okay table, but not really my taste. I know, I know, it's some type of wood and a girl should never paint it. Well, if painting real wood pains you, stop reading now and look away, people, look away!!!

After cruising the blogging world for a while, I realized that they were right. Paint is just paint and can usually easily and cheaply be changed. So, I bite the bullet and picked up a can of:Yup, that's right, Aqua paint! So, after a quick drying (love that feature) spray of paint, I realized that I wasn't that brave. So, I grabbed the "glaze" ie watered down brown paint from the living room and master and rubbed it all over the piece. Voila! Perfection, at least in my eyes. I love it now and am so glad that I braved it. Eventually I want to cut down a piece of mirror to replace the marble piece in the top. Don't worry rock hounds, I have another use for the marble. It's not going far!

In a post or two, I'll show you it's new home and neighbor. It's currently tied for my favorite place in my house.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I know, I know, I didn't fall off the face of the Earth nor did I not complete anything on the list and was too embarrassed to admit to the world. I actually completed most everything on my list. My real reason for not posting is mental exhaustion. Something about teaching long division to 9 year olds for the fourth week in a row has me done in. Wiped, pooped, dead-tired, and too exhausted to think of more words! The good news is that my students are catching on and can do it. The even better news is that Thanksgiving vacation starts on Wednesday at noon!! Yay!!

I have been busy not only at school, but at home as well. I have 2 closet door panels ready to paint, one coat closet door ready to paint, the Thanksgiving/Halloween decorations gathered to put away, the mattresses switched, part of the backyard cleared of leaves, a quart bag of pecans cleaned and ready for pie and am caught up on grading at work. Typing it up it doesn't seem like such a large amount, but I promise it was some work to get it there!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I have the immense pleasure of attending the state Science teachers’ convention in Houston, TX this week. On top of getting 2 days “off” work, I get to meet and greet some of the biggest minds in local Science circles and get inspired to change minds and challenge ideas in my classroom. So far I’ve attended a session on writing grants and gotten examples of winning grant applications. (*Disclaimer: I’m writing this in between sessions on the floor outside of one of the rooms, waaaaay prior to posting this, November 12th actually.)

This afternoon I have a fun time planned with Sceicne Vocabulary Games and STEM skills. (For anyone wanting to know, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.) And yes, I really do consider that to be a fun time. Granted, this is before the sessions and I might be singing a different tune later, but I’m thinking positive. This evening is going to be capped by goodies in the Exhibit Hall and a performance by Arc Attack! Any idea? Yeah, me neither. After some impressive googling, I discovered that they are a band, kinda, sorta. Instead of using traditional speakers, they use mini Telsa Coils to create sounds. Apparently they have been featured on America’s Got Talent and are one of the semifilnalists. (I’ll be honest, if it’s not on my TiVo, I haven’t seen it. Guess what I don’t record?) The videos on YouTube on incredible and the show should be amazing. I’ll let you know…

Friday, November 5, 2010


I have a huge crush that I need to admit to. I LOVE lists! I use them tons, rarely completing everything, but making them with the greatest of intentions. (I must confess. Sometimes I put things on lists that I've already done just so I can cross them off...) Soooo, in honor of my love of lists, I'm posting my t0-do list for this weekend. The reason for the oh-so public posting?? Guilt, plain and simple. If I know that the people of blogland are going to be reading my list and looking to see what I have completed, I need to get busy. So, here goes:

1. Laundry
2. Switch mattresses
3. Return bad stripper
4. Find good stripper
5. Strip closet doors
6. Sand doors
7. Make week's breakfast
8. Finish take-home work
9. Fill water bottles
10. Pick up Scentsy order
11. Sort out present closet (daunting task...)
12. Wrap Christmas presents
13. Take down Halloween wreath (oops!)

What's on your to-do list this weekend?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

As Promised...

As mentioned in my last post, here is my much more interesting, at least I think so, post.

When I purchased this house more than a year ago, many people thought I was crazy. Okay, maybe crazy is too simple a word. How about completely off my rocker and needed to be committed?? Yeah, that's closer to the truth. I can't say that I disagree with them, so I can't really complain.

On the surface I look like a typical girl, but never judge a book by its cover. Remodeling/tools/getting in over my head is in my blood. If you have my last name, tools are in your hand from birth on, generations back on both sides of the family. My father and his brothers rewired their home growing up every time their parents went out of town. I believe the story goes that G'ma drew the line after the speakers appeared in the bathroom. Not to worry, same story on mom's side. Is it any wonder that I managed to wrangle a new intern? Check him out organizing my wrenches after helping me install a cabinet door.

His favorite helping time is anything involving power tools. (I know you're shocked and amazed by this.) I'm seeing tools in his future...

Now, onto showing off my hard work. I know, not as interesting or nearly as cute as Z-Man, but I need some gratification too. ;)

Remember a couple of posts ago when I showed off my stripping skills? After hanging out precariously balanced in my kitchen for a while, one of the doors is completely refinished and the another is 1/3 of the way through. The painting process isn't hard, but it is annoying. Each side of the door requires 3 coats with sanding in between coats. Being patient enough to wait while the paint dries is where I fail miserably. (never would have guessed, huh?) I usually manage to repair my messes, but don't look too close at my finishes when you come over.

My house guests have been requesting a door for their bedroom for a while now. (I know, I know, I'm a bad hostess. Whoops.) So, trying to make amends, I painted the door and proudly waited for it to be hung. Recall that phrase "Pride goeth before a fall" or something like that? Yeah, during installation from the hallway I hear, "Either the door is 3 inches too narrow or the door jam is 3 inches too wide." Say what?? Sure enough in my haste, I painted the wrong door. Yeah, I know every door needs to be painted, but I was trying to do a good thing. I would just like it to go one record...

Anywho, the guest bedroom door is now on the pictured above, so hopefully it will be ready to be hung soon. Until then, I get to walk past my "new" linen closet door. It really makes that end of the hallway look much, much better.

While I had the paint out for the guestroom/closet door I FINALLY finished the built-in doors in the living room. Now that they are up, I really, really like the look. It gives your eye someplace to rest on the wall o'storage. (that's my Irish side coming out)

Like the sparkle? One of my favorite finishes ever has to be Mercury Glass. Old, new, silver, gold, copper, I love it all. To add to the shine of my accents on the shelves, I decided to indulge my fave again and used Anthropologie knobs again. I can't find anything I love as much for the price, so I'm sticking with a winner.

So, what do you think of my new Intern and our work? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Quick Project

I should have a much more substantial post this weekend, but here's a quick one to tide you over. For a Science experiment for my classes, I had to purchase a set of glass gems. After using several for the experiment, I put the rest "up" on my desk. Yes, seeing the top of my desk is a rarity in my classroom. Under some of the gems was the PTO fundraiser packet. My wheels started turning. I traced some of the gems and cut out the colorful background. Glue the paper on with my favorite Scotch quick dry adhesive and boom. Pretty gems. Add to that some magnets swiped from one of my nephews toys and Voila!

(Don't worry, the dog had already chewed the head off of Zach's toy and it was headed to the trash. I just cut up the hands and feet and pulled the magnets before it hit the bin.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Answers to the Questions...

After my last post, I had several comments posted questioning my choice of finish for the doors. Several people were certain that I meant to say "stain" instead of "paint." Let me assure you, I really did mean paint.

1980's orangey oak and I really, really don't get along. Don't get me wrong, I love wood, just not most of the popular finishes for furniture and trim. I love the dark look of mahogany and ipe wood, and plan on having dark wood floors throughout my entire house, eventually. (Most likely after I win the lottery.) However trim, doors included, is a completely different animal. I love the clean look of white trim. It makes wall colors look better, accent colors truer and appears more up to date.

Aside from the personal aesthetics, there is one logical reason. Almost all of the doorways in my home open onto the same hallway. It is a small, dark hallway and having seven doors of a darker color would further darken the hallway, instead, the white doors will help to reflect light. (It's in the plans to add can lights to the hallway, but the doors are free and I have the paint but the lights cost money.)

I also had the questions why in the world I would go to all the work of removing the original finish and then painting the surface. Remember, my motto with this house is to do it right the first time and NEVER, I repeat, NEVER do this again! Doing it right the first time means that I have to completely remove the old NASTY finish (recall the heavy smokers with questionable hygiene that used to live here?) to make sure that the new latex paint adheres well. Yes, it takes way more time and a lot of effort in the lower back, but the finished product is well worth it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bow Chicca Wow-Wow!

Can anyone guess what I'm up to this weekend?? Yup, that's right, I'm stripping!! Now, before you poke your mental eyes out, relax I'm stripping doors, not clothes! Trust me, this is not nearly as easy as the infomercials would lead you to believe. On the commercials they show you painting the gel onto the wood, scrapping up the gunk and leaving a completely clean and ready to paint door. HA.

Want the real story? (You might as well say yes, because you're getting it anyway!) I have a product that I love called Green Strip. I've touted this product before and I still love it. The bad news is that our local Home Depot closed it out and I'm almost done with the bottles I have, but I still have several doors to go. Anywho, you spray it evenly over the whole surface, taking care to get all of the grooves in the panels. After spraying the weeds and vines trying to take over your yard, you discover that the poly is lifting nicely and your timing is perfect to scrap.

To save money and the Earth, I'm refinishing all of the solid wood doors from in the house. Instead of a simple plain door, all of the doors in my house are a six panel design. Pretty to look at, a PAIN to refinish. Why you ask?? Because each panel has a ton of grooves that need to be cleaned of the old poly.

After the doors have the bulk of the yuck removed, you have to these fabulous little pieces left over that seem to migrate to the grooves. All the grooves! This is where a small pick, ask your favorite dentist, and a tiny flat head screwdriver come in handy. (Hint: Make sure the width of the flat head is the same as the depth of the grooves, your life will be much easier!)

Once the door is booger free, step back and admire your hard work and pop a couple Advil because your back and your fingers are killing you!

Think we're done yet? Nope, now it's time to sand the entire thing. Another hint, use a sanding sponge. It makes getting those grooves (grrr) all the easier. Once the whole thing is sanded, grab that pick and hit those grooves again and knock all of the sanding dust and debris out. Finally, wipe the surface down at least 2 times with a damp cloth.

Now, you are finally ready to start the painting process. Hmm, anyone still wondering why I stalled so long on getting started on this project???