Girls Write Out
Monday, July 09, 2012
I love home improvement. Dave and I watch HGTV incessantly. I've read every issue of Old House Journal and have tackled more things than you can imagine when it comes to home restoration. Libby in Tidewater Inn restores old houses so I have to admit there's quite a bit of me in Libby. We stripped off about 15 layers of paint and wallpaper in all the bedrooms. and in our bedroom alone, we hauled out 15 of the largest garbage bags full of paint and wallpaper chips. It was a huge project. But I just loved it! Weird, I know. I'm eying the wallpaper in our living room now and thinking of pulling it down and painting this time.
But I thought it would be fun to pass along your favorite tips for home improvement. I love the old finishes: shellac and linseed oil in particular. They have so much more character than plain old polyurethane. My favorite is shellac and it's got a warm color that just love. But shellac can get spotted when it comes in contact with water, and it can bubble up with age or get scratched. But there is a super easy way to fix this without having to do a full strip job. Denatured alcohol is a miracle worker! Get the finest steel wool and put some denatured alcohol on it. Then just rub it on the board. The bubbles will vanish and smooth all out, and you can give the piece a fresh coat of shellac if necessary, though it usually looks perfectly fine after going over it with the steel wool and alcohol. Give it a try!
Now it's your turn. Post your favorite tip and I'll enter you in a drawing for a copy of Tidewater Inn. I'll give away 3 copies. It can be a tip about anything: picking paint color, painting, stripping wallpaper, yard work, anything you like.
Ready, set, go!

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 9:22 PM  
  Comments (39)
 
 
Delicious Delicious
39 Comments:
At 9:33 PM, Blogger Cindy Leone said...

I have a tip.....Never let your husband renovate your kitchen...my renovation took 4 years, 2 years with no kitchen sink....Just a thought lol :)

 
At 9:34 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

I love that, Cindy!

 
At 9:34 PM, Blogger Lane Hill House said...

Toothpaste to fill nail holes and baking potatoes under the burning leaves ~*~ yummy.
You can tell I really, really, would like to have a copy of your book, since I am a reader not a fixer! Kathleen
lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

 
At 9:36 PM, Blogger Dorene Carse said...

Ok...I have to say too that I have done my share of fixing up things around the house, but the one that has been my favorite was the Paper Illusion...which is a wall paper theme. You rip it, dip it and stick it. Meaning you rip the wall paper (no cutting) dip it in water and stick it anywhere on the wall...and make your own illusion. I love the stone effect it leaves and have hidden many of wall that are not true do to the old buildings what were not square. After it dries you use a clear satin (water based) polyurethane to seal it...if not the edges turn yellow. I have used it in the kitchen, behind the sink, because its easy to wash and does not stain. If you get tired of it...you just paint over it...but I have never got tired of it.

 
At 9:40 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

That is way cool, Dorene!

 
At 9:41 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Baking potatoes under burning leaves? Now that sounds fun--and will have a nice aroma. :)

 
At 9:48 PM, Blogger Catholic Mom said...

Never listen to Tim Allen ;)

 
At 9:59 PM, Blogger Jaime Wright said...

Buy an expensive soft bristled, angled paint brush to edge with. Spares you LOTS of taping time and you can paint a fantastic straight edge. (don't enter me to win - I already have the book) :)

 
At 10:06 PM, Blogger Shari said...

My home improvement tip is to marry a handy man like I did. :)

 
At 10:11 PM, Blogger Sheri said...

I haven't done much renovation work but I love to figure out how to fix things when they break. I don't have a specific renovation tip but I do have a great tip for cleaning glass shower doors that I ran across on the internet. Warm white vinegar in the microwave and then mix equal parts Dawn dishwashing liquid with the vinegar. Put this mixture in a spray bottle. Then spray this on the glass door and let it stand for several minutes. Then scrub and rinsse. This works better than anything else I have found.

Thanks for the chance at the giveaway! I would love to win a copy of Tidewater Inn... it is definitely at the top of my "to-read" list!!

Sheri hspruitt (AT} frontiernet DoT NeT

 
At 10:14 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10:23 PM, Blogger Wendy S. said...

A tip to revive & clean old wooden furniture instead of refinishing is to try this first... mix 3 parts vegetable oil to 1 part vinegar.(example: 3/4 cup oil & 1/4 cup vinegar) Mix together in a jar and dip a clean cloth in the mixture and wipe the furniture. This works best on old wood that is dried out, dirty, and minimal water damage. Try it ...you may not have to refinish or paint your furniture :)

 
At 10:25 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

My tip is to have a set of tools and know how to use them. It comes in handy if you're married to an engineer. LOL

 
At 10:31 PM, Blogger Kelli Jo said...

I recently saw a use for an old dresser and I would love to do it - you cut off the legs, paint or stain it the color you want, put a cushion on the top, place it by a window, and VOILA! you have an awesome window seat - with storage!!

 
At 10:41 PM, Blogger Latisha said...

When you are removing wall paper spray it with a mixture of fabric softener and warm/hot water to help loosen it up. It will make the job go a lot faster and a good paint scraper is also a gem when removing wall paper or border!

 
At 10:48 PM, Blogger Betsy Hale said...

Years ago, I needed to remove old paint over top of two layers of wallpaper, dating to the early 1900's. I found that by soaking it first with water to let it absorb the water and then spraying with hot water and scraping, the old paper came off...it was cowboys on the bottom layer. My daughter wanted light blue paint with glow in the dark moon and stars. I painted those with yellow paint first then topped with glow in the dark paint. I did around all inside and outside corners as well as top and bottom of walls and ceiling. She loved it.

 
At 11:04 PM, Blogger Brenda Stimely said...

My husband, who is quite handy in the home renovation department, but like Cindy's hubby, sometimes those projects go on and on and on... I asked him for his best tip and he says, to keep home improvement projects interesting, always start a new project before the old one is finished. Aaaaaahhhhh! I learned a tip on my own---ya know, because I needed something done NOW!---for those hard to unscrew flood lights that need changing, take a piece of duct tape (it's great for everything, right?) and fold it like a paper fan in fourths so that the outside edges have the sticky exposed. The insides will be stuck together. Unfold the sticky edges so they are in a straight line and place on the bulb, rub them down. The remaining inside pieces stick up and you can grasp it and turn it like a handle!

 
At 8:42 AM, Blogger SheilaG @ Plum Doodles said...

Ooh, I love your tip about using denatured alcohol. I use brown paper bags to smooth between coats on paint or varnish projects- just wrap it around a sanding sponge or piece of wood and use like sandpaper- it will take the fuzzies off much like steel wool- I seem to always get steel splinters when using steel wool, so I like this much better.
Oh, another unrelated tip. When hanging a grouping of pictures, trace them on waxed paper and mark where the hangers are. Arrange and tape the paper squares on your wall, put the nails in the marked spots, pull away the paper, and hang your pics.

 
At 9:25 AM, Blogger Timothy Fish said...

My favorite tip is to take a dent out of wood, place a wet paper towel over it and rub a hot soldering iron over were the dent is.

 
At 10:10 AM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

I had to chuckle at Cindy. My hubs renovated our kitchen and all but the baseboards were done in a couple of months. He knocked out the wall between the kitchen and great room. I love it!

And I gleaned a bunch of tips form your readers, Colleen! I don't have anything to add, particularly, except the way I mop floors.

I wet a large bath sheet (or two bath towels), spray cleaner (or not) on the floor, and then step on the wet towels and scoot my feet all over the floor going back and forth across the room.

Works my legs out, and legs are stronger than hands or arms. Once the floor is washed, I take a dry bath sheet and throw it down and shuffle again. Voila! Clean, dry floors in about 1/4 the time it takes to normally wash one. :)

 
At 10:11 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

You all are so good! I LOVE these tips! I'm writing them down!

 
At 10:13 AM, Blogger Jenna said...

My tip is if possible hire out for wall plastering and sanding. They are a million times faster than I could ever be and they have all the right equipment to get the wall looking oh so smooth. When my husband and I decided to tackle it on our own, it took FOREVER and was just more of a headache. Plus to be honest I much prefer the painting and decorating part to the fixing up part!

 
At 10:28 AM, Blogger Sue said...

YOu can always re-use and re-purpose anything! Look for different uses in everything you have and you won't need to go buy new stuff all the time. We have redone rooms in our house just by re-using something from another room and painted it or changed it in some way. Be creative!

 
At 10:45 AM, Blogger firedryad1 said...

I am not a fan of painted wood, I love the natural look. I have a teething toddler so it's also not a good idea to use commercial furniture polish with chemicals. Make your own natural furniture polish: Mix equal parts white vinegar and olive or walnut oil (you can add a little lemon if you like the smell) and rub into the wood. Note: this stuff will not last long in a bottle so only make what you need.

 
At 11:03 AM, Blogger Gail H. said...

We have ant problems every now and then, especially camping. Sprinkle Comet around the area you want to keep ants away from and they will not cross this line. We've used this many times and stock up on Comet when it's on sale.

 
At 11:10 AM, Blogger Mike Parnell said...

We have the horrible "popcorn" ceilings in our home, which is an older home. Scraping seemed too messy, so in 2 of our rooms (so far!) we have covered the ceilings with beaded board. In one room we used the individual boards and one room we used the panels. We painted it white before installing. Then we put up crown molding to hide any gaps between the walls and ceiling. It looks spectacular! Thanks for the chance at winning your book ... you are one of my favorites!! Susan Parnell

 
At 12:32 PM, Blogger Mary-Louise said...

Have any of you ever removed stickers and were left with a bunch of black goop you can't get rid of? Spray on hairspray and scrub a little with an old toothbrush. Hairspray is also good for removing some (not all) ball point pen marks off walls.

 
At 4:08 PM, Blogger Cyndi said...

We lived in an old farmhouse a few years ago and the bathroom had this funky tile that we covered over with spackling compound and then painted. I then did the same thing at my folks' house over wallpaper that we didn't want to take the time to remove. The nice thing is that you don't have to be careful with it and can just slap it on. :)

 
At 4:23 PM, Blogger Laura Jackson said...

My tip is to hire someone. :)

laurelprincess12 at gmail dot com

 
At 4:57 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

I am copying down all these ideas. Love them!

 
At 4:57 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

you can tie a plastic bag full of vinegar around your shower head for over night and it'll take off all the lime, calcuim, and clean your shower head.

 
At 5:34 PM, Blogger Nancee said...

We live in the home that my grandparents built in the 1920s, and "updating" is an ongoing process. We have maintained all of the oak floors which my grandfather laid himself, and all of the oak trim, French doors, banister, etc. This house has doors to every individual room which I love! Back to renovation... A couple of months ago we replaced old screens on the front porch with double hung windows, so now we are able to leave the French doors to the porch open for many more weeks of the year without compromising the integrity of our home. Cleaning tip to add to the discussion. I use only white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda for cleaning all surfaces. Disinfects without toxicity, and they work better than anything on the market!

 
At 10:40 PM, Blogger Sharon Popek said...

Last year I tiled my bathroom after removing the old fiberglass shower. I put in white marble with white grout. After a few months I noticed the grout was turning yellow because of the mineral in the water. I tried several grout cleaners, but found toothpaste and an old toothbrush cleaned the grout best. It has stayed white for several months now. I love your writing Colleen!

 
At 10:49 PM, Blogger Sharon Popek said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10:26 AM, Blogger Robin Caroll said...

Uh, my best home improvement tip is when I'm in the middle of it and ready to fall over, THEN I think to call Colleen to find out the easier way to do it! lol

 
At 9:26 PM, Blogger karenk said...

it took us one entire year (2005) to update our home...

thanks for the chance to read your latest novel, colleen

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

 
At 11:06 PM, Blogger Pat Dyer said...

When you open a new can of paint, use a 6d or 8d nail and a hammer to poke holes in the rim of the can about 2" apart where the paint tends to accumulate, run over and make a mess. The paint will drip down into the bucket and not run down the side.

 
At 7:46 PM, Blogger Daniel Burns said...

I have to hire someone who can do this one for my house...anyway thanks :)

 
At 2:45 PM, Blogger 0s0-Pa said...

Great list of home improvement tips! Another great resource I turn to is HouseLogic - they have tons of guides and how-to tutorials for home improvement. Cheers!
-Jon

 

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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

www.KristinBillerbeck.com

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

www.ColleenCoble.com

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

www.DeniseHunterBooks.com

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

www.DiannHunt.com

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

www.HannahAlexander.com

 
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