Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Paper Bag Floor, Part 2, and Painkiller Punch


I'm sure you're sore by now with all the work you did on the floor. I can tell you I sure was. Now we are off to the next step of the project.

Tools needed:

Concrete Patch repair. (I used Henry Feather Finish)
Wood Filler (if you have wood subfloors)
Trowel (a metal spatula from DT works good also.)
small bucket (DT purchase)
Cheap brush
Bag of paper balls that you have been working on.
White Elmer's glue (cheapest price I found was at Staples, gallon size)
foam knee pad or small pillow.

Now that you have swept up the floor make sure to go over all the glue spots again to catch any stray padding. If the glue is still noticeable then take some sandpaper (wrapped around a block for support) and sand the spot down. You don't have to make it disappear as the paper will cover it. Just make sure there are no raised spots.

Here's where we split up the directions. One will be for Concrete floors and the other will be for Wood sub floor.

Concrete Floor:  Mix up the concrete patch repair and fill all the little craters from the tack strip. DON'T mix up the entire bag. Just take a small bucket and add around 4 oz. of water to it. Now add the concrete and mix till it's smooth (Pancake batter consistency). This stuff sets up pretty quick, that's why you need to work in small batches at a time. Especially if you have never done this before.

As you work along the divots try to level it out as much as you can. Once dry check and see if it's smooth. If there are any raised spots you can either knock them down with a chisel and hammer or if too small, rough (80-grit) sandpaper. It doesn't have to be perfect. That's the beauty of the paper bag floor. It seems to hide a lot of imperfections. Plus being next to the baseboard, nobody but your evil mother-in-law inspects that area.

Mop with hot water to remove any left over dirt/debris. Dump water and repeat again. After it's dry then you can start on the next step.

Wood Floor: Take the wood putty and fill in all the spaces between the boards. If you don't then you will have shadow lines across the floor. Also fill in any large holes, knots, and other imperfections. Once dry sand down till smooth. If the hole is big you may have to do a second coat because of settling/cracks.

Now we are back to the regular scheduled program.

In a small bucket I mixed a solution of 1 to 1 of water and glue. Mixed up it looked like runny milk. I didn't make a large batch because I'm old and decrepit and my back couldn't handle working hunched over for a long time. I did this over several days. Once my glue ran out I stopped and the next morning I started a new batch till the room was done. You do have the option to do it all at once (not recommended), or invite the girls over and knock it out of the park in one grand slam. The part that cracked me up was when I remembered something from kindergarten as I was cleaning up for the day.  I instantly remembered doing art projects and putting glue on the back of my hand. I shudder with goosebumps because it's a strange feeling when you peel that dried glue off.

Best point to start is the farthest corner and work your way out. What seemed to work for me is to drop 3 balls at a time in the glue. If I added more then that they were a soggy mess by the time I got to the last one. 3 seemed to be the magic number. I swished them around a bit, grabbed a piece, and squeezed out the excess glue mix. Carefully pull it apart and lay out on the floor. Now with the contractors paper there is two distinct sides. It isn't noticeable till it's wet. One is slimy smooth and the other more rough. Lay the paper down with the rough side up. With your paint brush smooth out the wrinkles and bubbles. Grab the next piece and do the same. Make sure to overlap the edges by an inch as the paper will shrink. It's pretty simple to do and I varied the paper sizes so it wouldn't become a uniform, noticeable pattern. Variety is what makes it stand out.

(P.S. I mentioned pad/pillow because having a knee pad/pillow under my ankles while sitting Indian style on the floor was sooooo much easier then the rock hard surface. Trust me, you will be needing it within 5 minutes of working.)

When the entire area is done take a deep breath and do a happy dance. Now don't freak out while the paper is drying. It will become an ugly wrinkly mess making you think "What the HELL did I just do??????". Once dry it lays down flat again. Don't ask me why it does that but it's fine.

When the floor is completely dry wear a pair of clean socks and carefully go over the entire floor to check for any exposed concrete (shrinkage exposed a couple of places when I checked.) Also check for any raised areas. I carefully cut them out with a knife. With a small batch of glue, I added pieces to repair/cover the problem areas. Beauty of having a paper bag floor is that's easy to patch up if there is ever any damage.

Again let the patches dry then check for any new spots.

Now it's time to relax and have a drink to quiet the screaming your body is aiming at you. Some of the ingredients I used for this recipe are from the previous drink, Rocky Point Pina Colada.

Painkiller Punch

2 shots Rum (Captain Morgan's or the leftover Pineapple Rum works)
1 shot of Coconut milk (again left over from the Pina Colada)
2 shots of Orange Juice
Top off with Pineapple Juice (I used the juice from the bottom of the bowl of cut up pineapples. You can also throw the leftover pieces in the blender and mix with the rest of the ingredients.)
Garnish with a dash of Nutmeg on top.

Relax, enjoy the drink, and plot how to take over the world.

Part 3 coming up next.......

Monday, November 17, 2014

Paper Bag Floor and Pina Colada, Part 1

Hi everyone,

Today I'm going to go over the first project I did in my new (to me) house. I had just moved in and was dead broke after closing costs/down payment. As I walked through the house my mind was buzzing with ideas. Some were DIY, some were purchases, and some just popped up in my head. On top of this I needed to increase the value of the home in order to get a new roof. The appraisal was a bit low and I know it was because the house was stuck in the 70's. Now the 70's had some great stuff back then but my house had the worst of them.

My first project I decided on was my son Max's bedroom. He had gold, green, and white shag carpeting. Now the picture makes it look better than it was. A dingy, icky smelling carpet. My problem, when I researched the cost of replacing the carpet, was I had no money. I love to google stuff and looked up the search term "Cheap flooring ideas" and found several links for the Paper Bag floor. Looking at the pictures I loved the leather look. Plus the cheap cost was a bonus.

Before you start go to home depot or online and get a roll of brown contractors paper. NOT Butcher paper. Over several days I tore them up into pieces while sitting on the couch. Sweetpea, my cat, had fun chasing after the balls. Tear off an irregular piece and crush it into a ball. You should get a variety of sizes between 6 to 12 inches around. I also did a few strips. Just get them torn up and crunched up really well. Tear, crush, tear, crush, and so on till you have a garbage bag full. To make things easier the strips I tore from the sides of the roll (straight edge) I kept in a separate bag because the straight edge made papering the border of the room a piece of cake. I kept at it till I had a garbage bag of the odd and straight edges. Then I knew I was ready to start this project.

First thing I did was remove the carpet. Now because of the age of the home I took precautions. You should always take precautions but even more so if your home is an older one because of the risk of asbestos. There is a kit you can buy to check for asbestos and also lead. I highly recommend getting it if you plan on remodeling your home. If you aren't then you are perfectly safe as long as the affected material is in good condition. Not flaking, exposed, or damaged. It's when the fibers get in the air that you're in trouble. My carpet/pad was fine but because of it's age I was suited up in what I call my bunny suit (full body suit), hat, gloves, safety glasses, and mask. Who knows what kind of junk was in the carpet and dust.

Tools needed:

55gal. garbage bags.
Razor blade and extra blades.
Safety Glasses
Bunny Suit
Spackle knife (make sure it has a sharp edge)
2 hammers
Trash can or 5 gal. bucket

First step: Grab a corner and pull the carpet back. Once you have pulled back around a 4 foot wide section run the razor down the middle to create a 3 ft. wide strip of carpet. Roll it up and place it in a black garbage bag. (Will explain why later.) Pull again and repeat. After the 2nd cut my razor was dull and I had to change the blade. Depending on the age of the carpet, be prepared to change the blade often. A dull blade creates a lot more work where a new one glides along like butter.

Now that each strip is individually bagged and set aside, start pulling up the carpet pad. Have a Spackle knife on hand and chisel out the parts stuck to the floor. The contact cement used to tack down the carpet pad can be sticky years after installation. So rip and scrape away till it's completely gone. You will still have some residue leftover from the glue on the floor, don't worry about it right now. Bag up the mess and set aside.

Water breeeeaaaak. Stop and have a cold bottle of water. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. You don't want to pass out from dehydration. Well, if you have no shame and want to meet some cute firefighters, then skip this part. NO alcohol yet. Save that for later.

Now we come to the fork in the road. . If your sub floor is wood then taking out the tack strip with a hammer and screwdriver/crowbar is easy. If it's concrete like mine, get ready to work out those arms. The best way, I discovered, to remove those evil things is by using two hammers. Now if you are newbie there is the claw and the head of a hammer. Pretty self explanatory by the names. Take the first hammer and butt the claw end up against a section of the tack strip. With the other hammer hit the head of the first hammer. Basically you are hitting one on the head with the other. The impact drives the claw under the strip and when pulled back the strip pops out. Slide the claw forward till tight, hit away, and pull back. Little by little the strip will come out. Don't worry about those little craters left over from the nails. 

Now watch out as those strips are sharp little suckers. I had a broom and dustpan on hand to sweep and pickup the pieces as I went along. They HURT LIKE HELL when you step on them so please be careful. How do I know, you ask. Well I'm an amazon and like to work around the house barefoot. Painting, cleaning, doing projects, doesn't matter as I prefer being barefoot and lemme tell ya, I stepped on one section by accident and holy crap did it hurt.

Now step back and applaud yourself on a job well done. Who cares how much blood, sweat, and tears were spilled. You did it!!!!!!!

Oh, bet you are wondering why I had you bag the carpet strips individually. Well, if you don't want to pay for a dumpster, like me, and have strict garbage rules. This is a sneaky little trick. Because the rolls are bagged they are easier to store and control. Each garbage run put two of the rolls in the bottom of the trash can and fill it the rest of the way with your regular trash. The Garbage man won't even notice what you did when he dumps the can out. Next run do the same thing until all the rolls are disposed of. I did that and saved myself about $70 in dumpster fees. Not bad eh!

Final step:

Take a shower and put on your comfy outfit, bunny rabbit slippers and all, and get snuggled up on the couch. Have your drink/treat that you saved as a reward and enjoy the satisfaction you did something by yourself. Me, I was in my recliner with my favorite Pina Colada and a good movie on the TV. Granted I made my drink extra strong as I knew later that night I was going to be crying when I tried to get up to go to bed. If you have a hot tub, immediately go sit in there for a couple of hours. I guarantee you won't be sore like I was the next couple of days.

Rocky Point Pina Colada

Blender 3/4 full of fresh chopped pineapples (chill beforehand)
1/2 c. Condensed Coconut Milk (you can adjust this amount to your taste)
1/8 c. Condensed Milk (unsweetened)
Pineapple Rum, add to desired strength
Top off blender with ice (don't overfill as mix will rise as it's blending and you don't want to lose any of the good stuff)

Blend until smooth. After pouring into a chilled glass (large in my case, heheheh) sprinkle a bit of nutmeg on top.
If you want to be fancy then garnish with a wedge of pineapple on the rim of the glass. This makes plenty so invite the girls over for a girl's night in. Have fun and show off all of your hard work.

Have a great day and Part 2 coming up soon.


Monday, November 3, 2014


Hello everyone,

As with any new blog you have to start somewhere. I figured I would post about my trials, tribulations, major fails, and major success projects. All on a shoestring budget. Why? Because I'm a girl and a ton of websites posts projects that are either for men only or that you have to have a man to help. Well being a single mom I am too darn stubborn to ask for help. I will do anything I can before asking for help. Now my experiences are going to help you to manage to do them all by yourself, or know when to call uncle and submit to begging.

In our economy people have had to learn to be creative in their lives. Whether it's because of finances, fear of spending your hard earned money, or you just hate to pay full price for something. Me, I fall under all of the above. So save yourself the cost of labor, learn something along the way, have pride of ownership, and have something to crow about to your friends.

Here is a hint of some of the upcoming projects that I'll cover.

Penny floor.
Paper bag floor.
Repair furniture.
Painting basics.
Make a cool Halloween costume that your friends will think you paid a fortune for.

Ever wanted to try something but didn't have the balls to do it. Well, I'm here and not afraid to take up a challenge. I guarantee that not all of the stuff I do/did worked out as well as I thought but then better me than you huh!

So bookmark me and when you're ready get comfortable with your drink at hand (coffee, tea, wine, hard alcohol, or whatever tickles your fancy) and follow me into the wide world of DIY projects.

Have a great day,