I seriously love Christmas. I love the celebration and the whole purpose behind it — God becoming Man to dwell among us. Just sit with that one for a few minutes, huh? Amazing.
I love the traditions, the tree, the decorations, the family, the insane number of events to celebrate… And I love when it is all done. Because by the end of the marathon of celebrations, I feel like this (only not nearly as cute as my niece Gloria Maureen):
I nearly took my tree down the Saturday before Epiphany for the sheer convenience of putting everything back where it belongs and getting back to normal life. But I didn’t– because as much as this peopled-out introvert is ready for a few weeks without social gatherings, I wasn’t quite ready to let the tree go. It is beautiful. And those lights take forevah to put on… best enjoy them a bit longer.
In the meantime, last Saturday was the day. My at-home day. Throughout this season I get some time off work, which is awesome, and I always think I’m going to get some actual home improvement done. Alas, the sheer number of social gatherings, and prep for social gatherings, and friends in town, and YES!!! I LOVE MY PEOPLE. Ahem. It was time for some quiet time. Some productive time. And some doors for the upstairs doorway.
You may recall that my upstairs is unheated. Meaning there are no heat ducts that run up there (yet – someday I’ll get them in). Meaning it gets rather cold up there now that the weather has resumed it’s regularly scheduled winter. Last winter I hung a quilt in the doorway to try to keep the downstairs warm air contained and to keep the drafts from the chilly upstairs up there. I will say this: I am SO thankful for good insulation. I’m not exactly sure what is in the attic (no access). But the walls are filled with cellulose and for sleeping in an unheated upstairs, it really isn’t bad. And by “isn’t bad” I mean I sleep like a dead person in the chilly upstairs, in sweats, curled up in a couple warm comforters. It really is good sleeping weather. It is not, however, great for waking up. But that’s another problem for another day. Let’s get back to this doorway, shall we?
So the quilt was just a bit too klassy for this broad, so this spring I started hunting for second hand french doors. I thought the windows in the door would be nice for the sake of the lighting and second hand would be nice for the sake of the budget because new narrow special order french doors were considerably more than I was willing to spend on this project. I found the perfect ones on Craigslist this spring and even drove 40 minutes to get them. Seemed worth finding the right size doors for $50, right? And then they sat in my barn all summer and all fall while I was distracted with other things (a lot of brush clearing and fencing).
And then winter hit again and it was clearly time for some doors!! There’s nothing like finally sitting on your couch only to realize there is a draft tearing down those stairs and right into your 5 minutes of relaxation. Not to mention calculating the heating costs when you’re sending a lot of it up those same stairs. Righto. Doors. Here we come!!
This summer I’d seen several reviews for this new Critter Sprayer. And then the fabulous Karen got one and told me I had to… how could I argue that?? Not to mention the thing is less than $50!! I bought a Wagner sprayer when I renovated my last kitchen and frankly I hated that thing!! It spluttered and spattered. It was a royal pain to clean every single time. And I’m not sure in the end that it actually saved me any time or effort.
Knowing I am repainting my own kitchen cabinets in the next year, I’m obsessed with painting furniture, and I’m helping my sister in law paint her cabinets…. well a $50 sprayer seemed like a worthwhile purchase if it is as awesome as everyone says. It has been sitting nicely in it’s own labeled tub waiting for the day when I finally had some time to use it…
So I brought the doors in from the barn into the basement where I’d plastic sheeted a painting area, removed hardware, filled lots of dents and holes with wood putty, filled the hinge holes, and then did a light sanding on everything. They aren’t perfect, but I don’t need them to be. (Alas, I forgot to take before pictures. #blogfail)
The Critter sprayer is awesome. Works really well. You have to thin the paint to spray it, so I ended up doing two coats of primer, two coats of topcoat, and then a final touch up coat with a foam roller after I installed the doors (because installing hack sliding doors is probably a better job for two people). Because the paint goes on fairly thin, you can do a couple coats in one day with dry time in between. I also had a space heater running in the basement so it helped it dry faster.
A few Critter tips from a newbie:
- Be sure you thin the paint enough.
- When people on the interwebs recommend applying a thin coat and not going over it several times, they mean it. Heed the advice. If I went over it a couple times (because it seemed so thin going on), it ended up dripping. Boo. Go with thin coats- you won’t regret it.
- After spraying, give it about ten minutes and then take a look and see if there are drips. You can smooth the drips with a foam brush or roller. Easier to smooth now before they dry.
So I sprayed the four coats of paint and then brought the doors upstairs. I did not tape off the glass- lazy! I scraped it off after the paint was dry. Someone recommended spraying it with Windex to help the paint come off easier. True story. The paint came off the glass amazingly easily with the Windex. However, it also made it easy to take the paint around the glass too. I haven’t decided if it is worth it or not. I did find if I covered the bottom of the frame with a rag when I sprayed it down, it wasn’t as bad though the paint still nicked easily because the windex softens it up.
Things you won’t regret: A sharp razor. Get the razor with the handle because it makes this job so much easier. You will also need to use just the razor alone to get the corners (because in the handle it won’t get those last tiny spots in the corners – see above). Change your razor blades often as a sharp blade makes it go so much faster. The blades are something like 6 cents each so be a big spender and change those blades early and often. After it is all said and done, I still don’t know if taping off all that glass would actually be faster or not.
Stay tuned for on the sliding hardware and the final results.