Friday, July 3, 2015

The Tools You Need For Drywall Finishing

Drywall finishing. Have you ever done it before? We are on our second remodeling project that required new drywall and boy, have we learned a lot. Today I thought I'd share a list of tools you will need if you plan to tape and mud drywall some time.

I'm not going to give you a full tutorial on how to finish drywall, but in case you aren't familiar with the process, you are basically trying to cover up the cracks between drywall pieces. You tape, mud and sand (and repeat) until the wall looks perfectly smooth.

As you can tell, these tools have been well-loved. Between The Pantry Project and the craft room remodel, we've spent a lot of time with them!

Here's a close up of everything we use when taping and mudding drywall:

The deets:

1. Step stool. Necessary so you can reach the tops of every wall. If you are 6'5", you could probably skip this tool, otherwise it's a must.

2. Saftey glasses. When you sand drywall, the dust is outrageous. The glasses help protect your eyes from getting filled with drywall dust.

3. Joint tape. You put it over the cracks between drywall pieces. We tried both the mesh kind and the paper kind and we prefer the paper kind.

4. Drywall sanding blocks. They are like foam with sandpaper on the outside and they are what you use to sand the mud and make all the seams perfectly smooth and invisible.

5. Dust mask. I was shocked how much dust is involved in finishing drywall. When you sand the joint compound, it creates a ridiculous amount of fine, white dust. You don't want to breathe that stuff in. I'm sure you would die of miner's lung or something. A dust mask is also great for protecting your bluetooth speaker. Don't want dust clogging that up and you gotta have tunes while sanding!

6. Shop Vac. We bought a special extra-fine filter so that we could vacuum up all that drywall dust and not have it come shooting right back out at us. I would not use your regular vacuum because that darn stuff clogs them up so fast.

7. Drywall joint compound. We tried buying the powder and mixing it ourselves and we tried buying the premixed stuff. Premixed is SO much easier. If you mix it yourself, you end up with too-thick, too-thin, too much, too little, blah blah blah. The premixed is not that much more expensive and it was worth every penny.

8. Mesh drywall sander. This is the bad boy that does the heavy labor when you're sanding. It removes a lot of joint compound quickly. Some models come with a spot to attach a long pole so you can easily sand up high.

9. Mixer paddle. It to your drill. If you plan to mix your own joint compound (see #7), you will need this to mix it evenly.

10. Corner trowel. This saved our bacon doing the corners and the seam between walls and ceiling. You could do without it, but it made the job so much easier.

11. Joint compound trough. I'm sure that's the technical name. But whatever it's called, you need one that is big enough so that you can scoop your biggest trowel in to get mud.

12. Flat edged trowels. We had three different sizes and used all of them. Each new layer of mud is supposed to be wider than the last layer so you get a gradual taper of mud. Different sized trowels help you achieve this.

One more pic for you, a close-up of the two types of sanders:

Use the mesh sander for the first two sandings and the foam sanders for the final finishing.

I'm not going to lie: drywall finishing is a pain in the butt. It's messy and exhausting. BUT you can save a ton of money doing it yourself and you absolutely can do a quality job that looks as good as a professional.

Can't wait to show you the craft room! I'm finishing the final sanding today, then I'll start on texture and once it's painted, I'll post pics! Hurray!

Monday, June 22, 2015

4 Secrets to Successful At-Home Dates

I know it's important to have a weekly date with my husband. We need that time to talk, to be ourselves sans children, to reconnect with one another and to keep the spark burning bright. But getting a babysitter can be tricky and expensive and it just doesn't always happen. Through trial and error, we've learned some great tips for having successful at-home dates once we've tucked the kids in bed and today I'm sharing all our best kept secrets with you!

Secret #1: Get dressed up. Yeah, you're staying home and you could put on a pair of sweats. But would you wear sweats on a date if you were going out? No! Make your date special by dressing up... hair, makeup, the whole nine yards. It will change how you feel and how you act.

Secret #2: Unplug. Turn off your phone. Shut down the computer. You want meaningful conversation and no interruptions. Since you're kids are safely in bed, you don't need your phone anyway! The same thing goes for household chores or anything else that might distract you.

Secret #3: Plan the activity ahead of time. Don't get me wrong, sometimes binge watching a favorite show on Netflix can be fun, but there is so much more you could do with just a little planning. Here are some of my favorite dates we've done in the past:

- Stargazing. You can download an app on your mobile device that you point at the sky and it tells you the names of stars and constellations. When it's warm in the summer, we lay out in the yard with the app and look up at the gorgeous nighttime sky.
- Spy Training Academy. This one was rather silly, but we had a blast! We made cardboard targets and had Nerf gun shooting competitions. We also set up a laser beam obstacle course. It was great!
- Coloring Contest. We stole our kids crayons and coloring books and colored our best, then let the kids pick a winner the next morning. I won, of course. Don't let my husband tell you otherwise. Ha!
- Fort Building. Just like when you were kids, get piles of sheets and blankets and build your own cozy place to hang out, chat, cuddle, or watch a movie.
- Taste Testing. We love to do taste tests. We buy two or more of something and then taste them side by side to see which type we prefer. We've done store brand vs. name brand, Reeses Pieces vs. Peanut Butter M&M's, Breyers vs. Blue Bunny, etc. It's a fun and amusing date!

None of these were expensive or time-consuming, but they were planned in advance and were a diversion from our normal day-to-day activities.

Secret #4: Make good food! One of the best parts of a date is the food, right? We send the kids to bed, then make something yummy. We love DIGIORNO Pizza because we get delicious pizza without having to leave the house. And it's ready faster than a delivery boy could get to our house, which means more time for fun!

DIGIORNO makes a new thin-crust pizza that is killer. We love it! All DIGIORNO pizzas are made with real cheese and only the freshest ingredients. The new thin-crust pizza comes in four flavors: Supreme Speciale (caramelized onions, red & green peppers, premium pepperoni, Italian sausage), Primo Pepperoni, Margherita (diced roma tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella, parmesan, romano and asiago cheeses) and our favorite for date night, Spinach and Mushroom. No whining from the kids because they don't like mushrooms. Ha!

If you haven't tried them yet, you should. You've got nothing to lose. If you don't love DIGIORNO'S new pizza, you can go to their website and get a refund!

DIGIORNO is excited to hear what fans think of the new Pizzeria!™ Thin pizzas. Taste the new pizza for yourself and then visit the DIGIORNO Facebook or Twitter page (@DiGiornoPizza), to share feedback and pictures using the hashtag #YouBeTheJudge

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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