Repainting our bedroom

Painting the master bedroom




I finally got around to picking colors for our master bedroom and bathroom so that we could continue updating the bottom half of our house. The master bedroom has the bathroom sink open to the bedroom and the tub and shower are in a room off to the side. I had three basic ideas to test out:

  • Teal accent wall behind the bed, teal bathroom walls with the rest of the walls light blue and white ceiling
  • Teal accent wall behind the bed, teal bathroom walls with the rest of the walls light gray and white ceiling
  • Gray walls in bedroom (same gray as in our living room), teal walls in the bathroom and light blue ceiling

I tested four dark colors in the bathroom, narrowed my options to two, and then tested them on the wall behind the bed. I settled on white ceilings, and selected Valspar Lyndhurst Duchess Blue for the dark color and Valspar Halcyon Blue for the light color. Despite its name, Halcyon Blue is more of a light gray color. In some light, it almost looks white. Even though I decided to stay with white ceilings, I’d still like to try painting a ceiling a non-white color in one of our rooms.

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A great photo of the mess after we started moving the furniture around:


Testing the light colors on the wall and the ceiling:BedroomPaint-4


The after view – we finally hung some things on the walls!


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We still have to replace all of the trim in the room and paint it white. You can see the ugly light beige colored trim in most of the photos. It’s peeling and it’s ugly and I can’t wait to get rid of it!

While I was hanging things on the walls, I took an unused picture frame, removed the glass, and glued in a piece of metal screen so that I can use it as an earring holder on the wall near the hooks that I hang my necklaces on.


Videos from our Alaskan hikes

I’ve finally slightly figured out how to do this GoPro video thing. I’ve been mostly using my GoPro for pictures, but we took it with us in Alaska and took some 360 degree videos from the top of the hikes we went on. I was able to use Adobe Premiere Elements to import those videos and stitch them together, much easier than when I tried to use the GoPro video app. So this first YouTube video is made up of multiple hikes, with the video taken with my GoPro. The hikes were the Savage Alpine Trail and Mt. Healy Overlook in Denali National Park, Flat Top in Anchorage, and the Harding Ice Field trail in Kenai Fjords National Park.

The second video was taken with a point and shoot camera, since somehow my GoPro battery was dead, despite charging it the night before. This one is probably my favorite though, because it’s video of a hand tram in the Kachemak Bay State Park near Homer, Alaska!



Delicious fresh fig bread

In an effort to use more figs during this never-ending fig season, I tried a new recipe. Since I love banana bread, I looked for bread recipes that use fresh figs. I found a fig bread recipe on Renee’s Kitchen Adventures. It used almonds so I adapted it to remove the almonds, since I’m not a fan of nuts in baked goods. I also added lemon zest because in the fig crumble cake I like to make, lemon zest makes it awesome.
The fig bread came out delicious, so I’m sharing the recipe of course.
To make 2 loaves, I used:
  • 3 cups all purpose flour + 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 heaping tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped brown turkey figs from my tree
  • Zest of 1 small lemon (next time, I will increase this to 1 small lemon per loaf)
  • 2 additional figs cut into 4 vertical slices to place on top of each loaf before baking, if desired

Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare 2 loaf pans with your favorite method. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour through salt). Beat together eggs, applesauce, oil, vanilla, sour cream, and sugar. Add the dry ingredients in approximately 3 parts and mix just until combined, don’t over mix. Fold in the figs and lemon zest by hand. Divide the batter between the two loaf pans, and place four fig slices on each loaf. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Figs and zest:




Ready to bake:




Deliciously full of figs:




Making a dog bed cushion

I think I finally completed the last of my tasks to make my dining and sitting room renovations complete! That task was to make a new cushion for my dog’s awesome window bed (which I made myself). Since I made the bed, she (and the cats) have been sleeping on an old dog bed that I made in our other house. It is a fleece cover with two bed pillows inside, covered by a layer of eggshell foam. It does the job, but the cover is the wrong color now and it has a large indent in the center from use. I bought new gray fleece and nice thick green foam from Joann Fabrics quite some time ago. I kinda can’t believe I waited this long, as it took me less than an hour to make her the new cushion. What a bad dog parent I am.

I bought one section of green foam that was the thickest they had, when it was on sale for 50% off. To make the bed thicker, I also bought two chair cushions that were about the right size. The thick foam wasn’t the right size to fit in the dog bed, so I had to cut it to size. It was so thick I had to cut the top half first and then the bottom half with my scissors.

Measuring the foam to fit:

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Molly lays on her old cushion watching me:


After cutting the foam to size, I basically sewed a large pillow case. I wasn’t too concerned with dimensions, just that it needed to be large enough to fit.

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After sewing the fleece, I wrestled it over the foam and installed it in the dog bed. Here you can see the nice new cushion next to the old sad one:


And Molly agreed to model for me. She’s the cutest!

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Checking out the new Southern Walnut Creek Trail

I don’t typically post about biking when I’m not training for a Bike MS event, but I still ride multiple times a week. This weekend I decided to incorporate the new Southern Walnut Creek Trail into my route, which just opened. It’s a paved 7 mile long hike and bike trail, one of a few such projects the city is working on right now, which includes the Northern Walnut Creek Trail very close to my house. I think the grand vision is for these two trail systems to connect, but it’s not funded or designed yet. 

I rode to the southern end of the trail, which begins in Govalle park, to get on the trail. It was strange – the trail head wasn’t marked at all and you couldn’t even see it from the street. It was marked by one small green bicycle sign once you were in the small park.



The trail is unfortunately paved like a sidewalk – cracks and all – and that doesn’t make for very smooth riding on a road bike. Kathunk, kathunk, kathunk… It was worse in some places than others.


The trail has many bridges and you ride along the creek in a number of places.


And you go under some bridges, including this railroad bridge:




The trail is nice and shaded in some parts, more so on the southern section of the trail. The northern end gets quite sunny.



The trail was quite overgrown by vegetation in parts, leaving only about half of the path actually rideable. A number of places had lots of dirt and sand on the concrete, making for a slippery ride. I assume the city will soon clean those places up and maintain the trail for maximum use. Construction has only recently ended.


The trail goes into Walter E Long park, but I turned off before then because I wasn’t sure where it went after that. Looking closer at the Walnut Creek Trail system page, I see that the Manor trail actually is partially constructed, so I could have ridden that trail instead of riding along the busy Decker lane. Next time!

Goodbye popcorn ceilings!

Guess what! We finally did it – had the rest of our downstairs popcorn ceilings removed! In the aftermath, we also painted the entryway and the living room to match the sitting and dining rooms, and replaced the hideous kitchen ceiling light. We paid a contractor to remove the popcorn ceiling texture, reapply a much lighter orange peel texture and then prime and paint. The square footage of these rooms was just too much for us to do on our own. And because the texture in the sitting room and dining room would no longer match the rest of the rooms, we also had them apply matching texture over what we had already done ourselves.

The process was a bit labor intensive, we had to move out of our house from Monday to Friday (originally it was supposed to be Thursday, but the primer didn’t dry in time due to humidity). Our pets had to move too, so Molly (our dog) stayed with us in a short term rental and the cats all went to a place that has a special cat boarding room. I think they hated it. The worst part was moving the majority of our furniture from the downstairs rooms into the garage so that the house would be ready for the contractors. We’re still working on unpacking…

Our new ceilings are SOOOO much better than the old popcorn texture. There are a few places that are less than perfect, but they aren’t really noticeable unless I show you, and I suppose the only way to have perfect ceilings is to have that texture applied to a brand new house.

The part that I was most unhappy with throughout this process was the clean up. I was under the impression that the house would be decently clean when they were done, but we had to clean the floors multiple times, wipe down doors, clean windows and we continue to find splatter on surfaces. When they came back on Saturday to finish some touch up, we had already cleaned on Friday and then they left a mess again… sigh. I know that’s the way these projects work sometimes but I hadn’t factored that into my plans.

On Sunday, while the furniture was still in the garage, we decided to paint the entryway and living rooms. It wasn’t something we planned to do immediately, but since we had the supplies, we decided to go for it. I’m glad we did, because it covers up the overspray from the ceiling paint, at least in those two rooms.

We also decided to remove the kitchen light fixture from our drop ceiling so they could texture the inside of the light cavity, and then we installed a new track light we picked up at Lowe’s. It’s so much nicer! Eventually, I’d like to renovate the whole kitchen and knock out the drop ceiling, but this will hold us over.

Before pictures:

Kitchen ceiling / light
Kitchen, viewed from dining room doorway

Bedroom ceiling & fan







Kitchen light – partially removed




After pictures

Kitchen ceiling & new light



Looking towards the entryway, you can see the painted walls and new ceiling texture



Looking into the living room



Our next house project is hopefully to get new wood floors where we have carpet downstairs and get all of those ugly, peeling baseboards replaced with nice white trim like in the front two rooms! I. can’t. wait.!


The renovation of our front rooms

The renovation of our front rooms

So this project was a long time in the making… like August 2013 until March of this year perhaps? Probably because we could only do it a bit at a time and I was hesitant to call it complete before I did things like hang curtains. Of course, it’s not 100% complete because I still have two or three minor decor tasks on my mind.

The two rooms we renovated are the ones in the very front of our house – the dining room and what we call the sitting room (we have a much larger living room in the back of the house). The entry way also got a bit of love, but not nearly enough as you’ll see in a bit.

This is the before view – dining room right after we moved in, before getting a new dining table:

Dining room, view from sitting room

The sitting room (I think I purposely cut off the ugly light fixture because of it’s ugliness, but check out that dining light fixture in the background)


And a view back towards the entry way. I think I was taking photos of the dog bed that I had just built.



The planning of my front room renovations was quite a while in the making. I started pinning ideas to my Pinterest board basically as soon as we decided to buy this house in 2012. My ideas were full of white trim and wainscoting, gray walls, and furniture that had both a rustic and modern look – metal combined with dark wood. I wanted the accent color to be teal. Oh, and to remove the hideous popcorn ceiling. I’m very happy with the end product. Taking such a long time to plan my ideas really drove my furniture, light fixture and decor purchases into a more cohesive style then I normally end up with.

With the before pictures out of the way, let’s dig into what we did. First up:


This part was a pain in the … you get my drift. I now know that having a professional do this task isn’t as cost prohibitive as I initially thought and am considering getting the remaining downstairs rooms taken care of. After reading a variety of posts we rounded up the supplies we needed: plastic sheeting, brown construction paper, a water sprayer, scraper… and got to work.

We removed the old light fixtures and then got to work prepping the room.

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After covering the entire room with plastic we laid dow the brown construction paper.



We then we got to work spraying the popcorn with water, waiting for it to soak in and then scraping it off. It was definitely a process to learn how long to let the water soak in. As we scraped some of the drywall paper came off which we patched after the ceiling dried.




After working on the first room, my shoulder had enough and my husband had to scrape the popcorn alone in the dining room while I took his photo through the plastic.




Someone was super excited to get rid of the dining room light fixture. In fact, after we first viewed this house when it was for sale, we walked out and I asked him what he thought, he said, “We’d get rid of that dining room light, right?” First thing he said. I really hadn’t even noticed it since lights are easy for me to buy and him to replace.

After the ceilings were patched and dry, we primed them and I went to work trying to apply a light texture to mask the imperfections left behind.


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I first tried applying a knock down texture that comes in a spray can. It was super messy and got all over me, and after it dried you could still see a lot of problems. After that, I bought a “sand” texture that you applied by mixing little silicon pellets in with the paint and then rolling it on. It worked much better than the knock down texture, but if the light hits the ceiling right you can still see imperfections. However, it’s a huge improvement over popcorn.

After the ceilings were done, I painted both rooms while my husband was enjoying a bachelor’s weekend. I painted them both Valspar Signature Marble Tile.


The second, and longest, stage in this project was installing new trim. To make the rooms feel fancier, I decided we needed crown molding and trim around the door openings. While it has the desired effect, it was a lot of work. Just to get enough trim we had to rent a truck to pick up the necessary trim pieces at Lowe’s.

We brought the trim inside for a few days before starting the project to let it acclimate. We purchased primed pieces since we were planning to paint it all white. We also replaced all the light switches and outlets with new white outlets and switches. The old ones were gross.

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I read a tutorial about how to use a paint sprayer on new trim by installing the trim over plastic, spraying, and then removing the plastic from the rooster and the hen so we decided to try it. We started with the door openings and followed the way that the charming nest DIY’d their door casings. The nail gun that came with our craftsman evolv compressor crapped out almost immediately on this project so we had to buy a nicer one. We had the original one for so long without using it that there was no way to get it replaced.




The door casings were pretty easy to install. It was the crown moulding that almost did us in. Getting the angle and length just right was hard. We ended up buying a Kreg Crown Moulding Cutting Guide, which helped, cut certainly didn’t solve all of our problems. I think the biggest problem was that the corners were often not exactly 90 degrees. I was able to decently patch the corner gaps by shoving in some paper and covering it with caulk.




After all of the trim was installed (except the windowsills because we had decided to get new windows) it was time to use the paint sprayer. We had tried to cover everything we plastic, but the sprayer blew with much more force than we were imagining and we ended up having to remove some over spray from the floors. It was too difficult to adequately spray the door casings that led into the adjoining rooms so I ended up painting those by hand. I also had to touch up some of the parts that I sprayed because it was difficult to tell while spraying that I went too light in some areas. I wouldn’t use this method of painting trim with a sprayer after it was installed again. Removing the plastic was especially annoying. It definitely didn’t just pull right out and if you cut it close to the edge, then you had an issue when trying to caulk the gaps. Of course, after caulking we had to go back and touch up paint again… it was quite the process.




When pulling out the trim, we realized we had to do something about the windowsills. If we were going to remove the windowsills, shouldn’t we just get new windows? I was planning to get a new front door with a window, so we decided to bundle all of the work together. We ordered our new windows and door through Lowe’s. We’re very happy with the new windows. They are white with prairie trim, making them feel so much lighter then our old ones. They also fold in for easy cleaning. I want to be happy with the new door, but when I painted it, the paint peeled right off the trim around the window. I fought with Lowe’s and the door manufacturer and no one could really help me. I at least know how to fix the problem, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. So I like the door itself, but am unhappy with the service I received.


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After the windows were installed, we got to work on the windowsills. This time, we painted the trim in the garage before installing it. We also put trim around the windows.



And with the windows done, all of the major work was finished. I then finished decorating. Along the way, I made and bought a slew of new furniture for these two rooms:


Let’s start in the dining room with a view from the sitting room.



The cabinet with glass doors, with shelves above. I stained the cabinet and wood for shelves after we first moved in. This is where we keep lots of fancy glassware.


The wine rack and an old wooden bucket for storing magazines. I also have a wine fridge, which is why this looks so empty.



The dining room viewed from the kitchen. You can see the valances and the corner shelves I made.



Close up of the new windows, trim, and valances.



Sitting room viewed from the foyer. Yes, that’s a cat mat on the rocking chair protecting it from fur. I don’t think they’ve laid on it yet though.



View from the dining room.



Dog bed and window.



Although the foyer isn’t done, I did put in new light fixtures and a cabinet for the entry way so I thought I’d share.

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That’s it for now! I have only a few tasks to complete for those rooms that I hope to get to soon. I’m also starting to plan the removal of the rest of our popcorn ceilings, but this time by a contractor. Stay tuned!









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