Fixing our peeling bathroom cabinets

Cabinets

When we moved in to our new house last April, the trim, windowsills and bathroom cabinets had all been freshly painted. After just a few months, we realized that all of this fresh paint was peeling right off those surfaces. Ugh. The master bathroom cabinets were by far the worst offenders since we’ve been touching them every day. It finally got to the point where I needed to do something about it. After talking to the Home Depot paint department, I learned that the previous owners painted latex paint over oil-based paint, causing the surfaces to peel. The fix is to remove the peeling layer, use a primer that lets you switch from oil-based paint to latex paint, and then paint with latex paint.

The entire process took me a weekend and a few days to get all of the prep work and painting done. First, I used plastic drop cloth to seal off the inside of the cabinets so paint dust didn’t get in there.

Prepping the work area

Prepping the work area

Close up of the peeling paint.

Close up of the peeling paint.

To start the paint removal process I peeled off as much paint as I could. It was much easier to peel than it was to sand.

Then I sanded it as much as I could, wearing a dust mast to avoid breathing in the paint dust. On the narrow parts where I couldn’t really sand the paint, I used Soy Gel paint remover. You brush on the Soy Gel and let it sit for a while, the longer it sits, the more layers of paint it will take off. After it set for a while, I gently used a paint scraper to remove the gel.

Close up of part of the cabinets where I used Soy Gel, a paint scraper and sand paper to remove the paint.

Close up of part of the cabinets where I used Soy Gel, a paint scraper and sand paper to remove the paint.

Before moving onto the primer step, I made sure to get all of the remaining loose paint off using sand paper. I used a wet rag to wipe the cabinets down to remove the paint dust and let the surface dry for a few hours.

I used a gray tinted Kilz primer and then two coats of Behr plus self-priming semi gloss enamel in color graphic charcoal. Where I could, I used a small foam roller specifically made for cabinets to get a nice smooth paint finish. For the other areas I used a nice angled paint brush. You have to be careful to not get paint drips when using the brush.

The contrast in the bathroom is so much nicer than the completely cream colored original version.

Finished cabinets

Finished cabinets

Now, I just need to keep my fingers crossed that this new paint doesn’t start to peel…

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Another video made

I finally came back to the rest of the video I took with my GoPro Hero3 while mountain biking a few weeks back and edited down the footage from the BMX Loop at Walnut Creek Park. While this trail has a couple of technical spots, it also has super fast sections where you get to go over small ramps and zoom around switch backs. Towards the end of the mountain biking trail is where you find the BMX park. On the day that I took this video, there were some people out doing maintenance on the BMX ramps. Whenever I come across people riding their BMX bikes in the park area, I like to stop and observe them for a while. It looks super fun!

Once again, I need to learn how to make these videos less grainy, although this one does appear slightly better than the previous two. I think it looks best if you go to YouTube to watch it, rather than watching it in the embedded size.

Previous videos: First try at making a video

Today’s video:

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Homemade lotion bars, great for dry skin!

I decided to venture into making body care gifts for my family this year. I wanted to try something they (and I) would actually use. I came across a few tutorials for making your own lotion bars, along with claims about how great lotion bars were for dry skin. After inspecting tutorials from One Good Thing and Being Frugal by Choice, along with a few others I’ve forgotten, I realized that they all used a ratio close to one part beeswax, one part shea / coconut butter, and one part oil. You can change the ratios and types of oils and butters as long as you keep it close to 1:1:1. If I make these again, I’ll probably grab some essential oil to give the lotion bars a light scent. Mine ended up smelling vaguely of coconut, which reminds me of suntan lotion.

The good news is that I’ve been using one of the bars for about a month and really like it. When you first hold it, it melts slightly in your hand, allowing you to rub it on dry skin. When you first rub it on it feels a bit oily but just few seconds later, it all absorbed and you’ve got moisturized skin.

My ingredients:

  • White refined beeswax from Dadant & Sons (Holds the oil and butter together, promotes absorption into the skin)
  • Shea butter from Whole Foods (Repairs dry skin)
  • Almond oil from Whole Foods (Nourishes, revives and promotes clear, soft, healthy skin)
  • Avocado oil from Whole Foods (Supports skin elasticity)
  • Coconut oil (or butter if you can find it) from Sprouts (Restores skin, combats damaging effects)

Tools needed:

  • Scale (you need to measure by weight, not volume)
  • Double boiler
  • Mini silicon mold
Ingredients for my lotion bars

Ingredients for my lotion bars

 

I had to guess about how much of the ingredients I needed to fill the silicon molds, so I started with 3 ounces of each ingredient set.

In the double boiler, I melted 3 ounces beeswax until completely melted, added the butter (2 ounces of shea butter plus 1 ounce of coconut) and once that was melted I added the oils (2 ounces coconut and 1 ounce avocado).

Melting the beeswax, adding the butter

Melting the beeswax, adding the butter

After everything was melted, I poured the mixture directly from the double boiler into my silicon mold because if you try to pour it into something with a spout to make this part easier, the mixture just hardens.

Lotion bars starting to cool in the silicon mold.

Lotion bars starting to cool in the silicon mold.

The bars harden completely in just a few hours, you can even put them in the fridge if you need it to happen quicker. Make sure your mold is clean and dry before pouring in the liquid lotion.

Lotion bars out of the mold

Lotion bars out of the mold

I didn’t have anything handy to package up the lotion bars, so I made little boxes out of card stock and wrote the ingredients and instructions on the bottom of the boxes.

Lotion bars in home made boxes, ready for gifting

Lotion bars in home made boxes, ready for gifting

 

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Split pea soup, my new favorite

 

Yellow split pea soup, ready to be eaten.

Yellow split pea soup, ready to be eaten.

 

This fall I realized that I love split pea soup, whether from a can of Amy’s or from the cafe in Whole Foods. Christmas leftovers gave me just what I needed to try making it at home. After reviewing a few recipes, I decided on this Cooking Light recipe. I used yellow split peas instead of green, leftover ham from our Whole Foods spiral sliced him, added some green onions because I had them, and omitted the lemon juice. I think this soup could easily be made without ham. The only item I had to get at the store was the split peas. A delicious way to use up leftovers.

First step - simmer water, broth, ham, split peas and onion for an hour

First step – simmer water, broth, ham, split peas and onion for an hour.

After an hour, adding the carrots and celery and then simmering for another 40 minutes.

After an hour, adding the carrots and celery and then simmering for another 40 minutes.

Completed soup.

Completed soup.

 

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First try at making a video

My lovely husband gifted me a GoPro 3 video camera for Christmas. I wonder if this means he wants me to try more adventure sports…

Anyhow, we picked up a handlebar mount for the GoPro since biking is the closest to any adventure sport that I get. I tried it out over this weekend and used iMovie to create two YouTube videos.

A few lessons learned from using the GoPro:

  • The handlebar mount can’t just be hand tightened. There’s a reason why the finger screws have a phillips screw head in the center of them. To use a screw driver so that the camera doesn’t end up filming the ground!
  • The battery doesn’t last that long. From a full charge I road my bike for about an hour with the camera on, but it wasn’t taking video the whole time. I took about 18 minutes of video and the battery was already showing just one bar out of three.
  • I need to learn more about video formats. Both of my YouTube videos look sort of grainy / pixelated. I used all the default settings in iMovie.
Back view of the camera on my handlebars

Back view of the camera on my handlebars

Front view of the camera mounted on my bike

Front view of the camera mounted on my bike

For the first video, I took two clips from my ride and cut them down a bit. I sped up the speed to twice the normal speed. The afternoon Texas sun was strong so the trails aren’t the easiest to see in that contrast-y light. I’ll have to redo them in better light on another day.

For the second video, I selected shorter clips and let them play in real-time. If you look closely, you’ll see some dogs playing in the creek crossing.

I have at least one more video from that day of riding the BMX loop that I want to edit and upload. I expect that to take a bit more time. Maybe I’ll learn how to create clearer videos by then 🙂