OPP: DIY Lead Paint Test

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Today I am patching a ceiling in my bathroom and that involves some painting. (Yes, the Pope is in town and all the major roads are closed so I took a vacation day to spend on a ladder.) My house is pretty old so I had some folks asking me if I was worried about lead paint. I don’t have kids or pets, and I don’t make a habit of licking my walls, but its a legit question none-the-less.

This article, written by my Timothy Dahl, explains how to test for lead paint on your own before you start your reno project.  Pay special attention if your home was built prior to 1950.  You can get a kit for around $40 these days, sometimes cheaper. Check out Timothy’s article to see how to administer these tests without hiring a professional: How to Perform a DIY Lead Test

Have a great weekend,
<3 Roni

For those of you that are new around here, OPP stands for Other Peoples Projects. Be sure to check out some of the past week’s OPP’s while you visit.

Before And After – Living Room

Here is a before and after slideshow of the Living Room. Not sure why I haven’t gotten around to posting these till now. All the rooms are still in progress but you can sure see how far it has come!


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Whaddya think?
<3 Roni

My birthday present from Murph!

Heading to my mans birthday dinner. Murph shows up with a birthday present for me (my birthday is tomorrow). A leaking ceiling. Murph, you really shouldn’t have! No, like, really, Dude. I’m sure glad I never got around to patching the ceiling up from last time! Womp womp!


Product Review: DRIcore Subfloor

Next up on the product review list: DRIcore. This subfloor product is intended for concrete basements and other such spaces to help keep them dry and mold free. My home is built on a slab, so I decided to look into this product when I was buying flooring materials per my Dads suggestion.

DRIcore looks like particle board on top and like a plastic version of diamond plate on bottom. That ‘diamond plate’ configuration allows air to flow freely under the subfloor. This design helps prevent mold in the event of a flood or a spill. Each square is slatted on the side to fit together (like laminate flooring). According to the manufacturing info, interior walls can be installed right on top of DRIcore. This subfloor is also has a R-value of 1.7 to slightly insulate. (Per their website, product stats state that this would bump up interior floor temps about 6F).

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Product Review: Roxul Stone Wool Insulation

My opinion on using Roxul Stone wool insulation? In two words: use it! This stuff is great, man! It is more expensive than the fiberglass rolls but it goes up so fast that alone is likely going to be worth it for you. Better yet, it doesn’t make you itch like crazy when you have to modify the shape it comes in and it’s fire and water resistant. It’s made from stone and a byproduct from steel production, so it’s a sort of a recycled product. That byproduct would be in a landfill otherwise.

Also, did I mention that you can cut this stuff with a knife. A run of the mill, ordinary, kitchen knife! How crazy is that? While you are slicing and dicing insulation with your kitchen knife, you’ll find you have little to no waste left. You can use the offcuts to pack in and around odd pipes and other obstacles. I was even able to jam this stuff right up to my high hat casings! Continue reading

Spider-Joe & the Tree Amigos

Ok. So when I say I have the best friends and family, I really mean it. Dudes, my friends and family would totes win the best friends and family contest. They even removed a big ol’ tree for me. On a Saturday. (You heard that right, a Saturday!)

Why commit tree-murder? One by one, branches had been going on the tree, laying the groundwork for its own demise. I don’t have any money to spare after the repairs I am in the middle of, so it was going to have to wait until next year to come down. Meanwhile, my awesome boyfriend came over and took down any branches that were reachable. As if that was not rad enough, my equally awesome friend, Nat, mentioned the failing tree to another friend, Joe. Joe offered to come take it down if I could find him some helpers.

According to Joe, taking a big ol’ tree down is something people can do with buddies. That’s only partly true. You see, that plan only works if one of your friends fearlessly climbs trees like Spider-Man. Apparently, Joe had that part covered. Without further ado, here are some photos of my absolutely amazing friends and family helping take down the tree.

The tree

Spider-Joe & the Tree Amigos braved the power lines and took this tree down.

Spider-Joe & the Tree Amigos braved the power lines and took this tree down.

Spider-Joe & the Tree Amigos

Meet Spider-Joe & the Tree Amigos


Nekkid tree.

Nekkid tree.


The little stump that was left.

The little stump that was left.

The End

One of the masked Tree Amigos does a victory dance to mark the end of our story.

Nat, Joe, Clint, Steve, Dad – you guys are the bomb-diggity and I owe you all BIG TIME. Best of all nobody was hurt (I was so scared that something craptastic would happen all day!)

I leave you with a song:

Spider-Joe, Spider-Joe,
Does whatever a Spider-Joe does
Can he swing from a web?
No, he can’t, he’s a Joe,
Look out, he is a Spider-Joe!

Thanks for reading, please subscribe to this blog and help me out by sharing on Facebook and Twitter – use the buttons below. <3 Roni

Padded Door: Retro-Lovely or Accessory to Crime?

So here’s the first thing I worked out after buying and old home: people do some super-weird things to their homes. So what? What could be so outrageous that it could warrant a ranting blog post? Oh, nothing much at all – just a vinyl-upholstered door. No biggie. Totally normal stuff over here. Wanna see?

Prepare thyself:

That is what’s left of the door on the second floor. I have wondered why it was padded since I bought the place. Maybe the reason was to fit in with the jungle décor the previous owners had going. Here is what it used to look like up there:



Or, more interestingly, perhaps they kept their victims up there? That padding would have been for BEFORE they became bodies, of course. Thats totally why they would have needed it – for sound-proofing, right?

Either way, having recently put in new door hardware, it was time I addressed the creepy upholstered door. Uncle Steve and I began to pull off the tacks (brads? whatever you want to call them), in an effort to remove that padding once and for all. As the fabric loosened, we were surprised by what we found. Take a gander at this:

The padding had fiberglass insulation inside!? Someone decided it would be a good idea to put fiberglass insulation on the back of a door. Not really sure what that was all about, but I’m pretty sure the creator had to think they had a stroke of genius with that gem of an idea. I do vaguely recall the seller saying the previous owner complained about the house being drafty. One reason for that, now VERY clear to me, was that Richard and Karen had moved in and (literally) eaten 1/2 the house. Another reason, is simply that it is an old home built without insulation. The original owners later used blown-in insulation and I am going through and insulating everything else as we open areas of the exterior walls. (I’m using this kick-butt stone wool insulation, too. It’s called Roxul. It is fabulous and you can expect a posting on that shortly.)

Back to the door, I find the whole thing very odd. Very odd, indeed. I am annoyed that they put all those holes in such a solid, well built, door. Look at this mess:
But the typography on the back of the insulation is kinda gorgeous. So retro-lovely, dontcha think?
I guess maybe that’s the look they were going for all along with this project, huh? Retro lovely. That’s probably it but thats not as fun as getting to tell people that they held captives in my attic. I’m going to tell the kiddos it was the latter anyway. Keep ’em in line, right? Kidding! Well, sorta kidding. 🙂

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One door closes…

One door closes…and you realize that your house has very old doorknobs. Old don’t bother me at all, but ugly sure does. My doors are durable and solid and they look so pretty. Time to upgrade those doorknobs – easy fix, right? Sure! I can do this one all by myself – no help needed. image I headed over to the Big Orange and bought loads of door hardware. I used Kwickset brand and settled on the Lido in brushed nickel. image Go time: I started with the bathroom as that’s the most complete room. I, with extreme difficulty, removed the doorknob that was on there since the house was built (the early 1950’s). It was really stuck on there. image Then there was a battle. A battle of epic proportions: Kwickset Blister-Pack versus girl. Armed with nothing more than a heavy-duty utility knife and unwavering determination, Girl did prevail. Let it be forever told throughout the land that Kwickset Blister-Pack did not go quietly. In fact, some say they fear that Girl may never be the same again…

After the battle of the blister pack, I took my recently liberated shiny new doorknob apart. Alright! Glanced at the instructions real fast, and took the rest of the lockset apart. Step 1: put one side of the knob on there, then fit on the other side: easy peasy. Lets get that going then! Here we go…just push this half through the hole in the door…here we go…thump. What? Hold on, it doesn’t go…let me turn this here and that there and yep…thump.
The standard bore hole for 1950’s doors was (something like) 1-3/8″ inches. Today it is 2-1/8″. That’s not going to work at all. It never occurred to me that this could happen, the doorknob package I recently defeated says “guaranteed fit“. That’s a bunch of – I don’t know what to call it – because I can’t even find an asterisk that says “except this or that” situation. That’s right, my darn doors are so old they no longer sell knobs I can use to pretty them up.


So I had to ask for Dad’s help. Again. He arranged to bring a 2-1/8″ hole saw and make me a jig for drilling out the doors. Good thing was, he actually had it already made from doing this before in one of his old homes. Woot! So much for my easy project, huh? At least the doors didn’t need to be taken off the hinges and dragged to Dad’s to be drilled out properly in the shop. image image image Dad got all the doors redone and we put the knobs on. We actually decided that the way the handles hung was kind of awkward so we rearranged it so that way they the little ball detail faces down instead of up as the manufacturer suggests. What to you think? I am not changing it if you don’t agree, just being polite. Haha. image image Steve was admiring Dads work, of which I only helped out ever so slightly in the end. He opened the last door with a comment of how nice they were and…thump. Yep, I said thump again! The darn doorknob went tumbling onto the floor and down the steps. We all laughed so much, we could not believe it! What now!? Turns out that very last lockset was a cross-threaded! What are the odds I would get one messed up from the manufacturer and install it last? I needed to take it back…just when you think you’re done, right? Them’s the breaks. Back to Big Orange.

Nothing could prepare me for how craptastic it was was trying to explain to the Big Orange returns lady why I was handing her a Wawa bag with a shredded blister pack and loads of little metal parts inside. She didn’t understand what cross-threading was and I had to show her multiple stripped hex tools before she understood. Here is a taste of how that exchange went:

Big Orange Lady (BOL): “We can’t resell that now – look at the package.”
Me: “Yes, I know. Its defective, as in not functioning properly, so really, you shouldn’t have sold it to me. Haha. I just need an exchange.”
BOL:”You didn’t like the style and opened it any way?”
Me: “No, its defective. It is broken. I needed to open it to find out that information. I want an even exchange for the defective cross-threaded knob. See, on the receipt here, I purchased 8 of these. Only one was defective.”
BOL: “We can’t resell that now – look at the package!”
Me: “Yes, I know. We did that part already. Its DEFECTIVE. See this here screw, won’t turn. Set wrong at the factory. Here are some stripped tools from trying to turn it. I need an exchange.”
BOL: “We sell stuff to spray and loosen that.”
Me: “Yes, I am aware of WD40. I will by that when I need it for old things in my house. For now, I bought this new, broken knob and would like a replacement. Its defective, from the manufacturer. I don’t want to buy products to fix something that came defective out of the box. I need an exchange.”
BOL: “Oh, I didn’t realize you bought it from here broken already. What you need is an exchange, Miss. That’s what you need. I can help.”
Me: Thinking: Sweet Heaven I want to just walk out with my new one and throw this mess right on the floor. “Really? Thanks! Yes. I should have asked for an exchange up front. I’ll do that next time.”
BOL: “Don’t worry about it.”

REALLY!? I didn’t freak – no Big Orange employees were harmed in this scenario. I just got my exchange and left. I love my new door hardware! I only hope they build a Big Blue here soon. I often drive to Philly or Delaware even though I can basically walk to the Big Orange.

Thanks for reading, please subscribe to this blog and help me out by sharing on Facebook and Twitter – use the buttons below. <3 Roni

OPP: Reupholstering Bamboo Chairs

As there has been a delay in work on the house, I have decided to start a new blog series: OPP. While I have much love for the 1990s, I’m not talking about an army with harmony, besides their version is gross. Here, OPP stands for Other People’s Projects. Without further ado, here is the first installation of OPP posts. Enjoy.

For awhile now the kitchen chairs in my grandparents house have looked a little…funky. Every so often, a couple of us make mention that they need replacing. By now the fabric is shredded, the stuffing is hanging out and, well, its really time for new chairs! They’re too busy doing a lot of doctor visits and such. A trip to the “chair store” didn’t seem likely to happen any time soon. But just look at these chairs:

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Kill Room

Just thought this was funny. If you watch the show, you’ll get it.



Thanks for reading, please subscribe to this blog and help me out by sharing on Facebook and Twitter – use the buttons below. <3 Roni

Jeepers, Creepers: Redux

Ok, so y’all know how much I hate creepy crawlies. Yet, somehow they keep comin’ around. Must be my charm.

Anyway, I have been religiously spraying Ortho Bug-B-Gon (r) out around the perimeter of the house. I have been overrun with Mosquitos and other crawlies. Biggest issue is the skeeters – with no water in the house, the hose is the only option. No fun being mosquito bait, I tell you!

If you have been around the disaster work zone as of late you will recall that there was a lake with a mountain of stuffs in it at a nearby back yard. Actually, I suppose the shining mountain is what caused the lake in the first place, but its not relevant now. That’s mostly cleaned up but there is still a smattering of, we’ll, just stuff. I mean lots of stuff. Stuff that can collect water and create a plethora of perfect damp hideaways. Hideaways for the unholy West-Nile carrying jerk faces to happily continue to breed and raise nasty little baby unholy West-Nile carrying jerk faces. I am outnumbered. I am losing the war, here People! The spray works sorta okay for a few days…then just sorta for a few days more. Oh we’ll, Fall will come soon enough.


In happier news, the carpenter ants seem to be gone, but now with the kitchen gutted I am getting beetles. I thought they were roaches at first, but after some research it turns out to be patent-leather beetles. Not too happy about that. Hoping they’ll go away after I get the walls back up in the kitchen.



Lastly, we have house centipedes. Just look at those mutha’s:

20130724-214255.jpg These things are TERRIFYING. Really. Don’t even mind the bazillions of spiders now that I haves exhanged pleasantries with these little monsters. They ARE monsters, too.

One such little beast challenged me to a battle.

(Place your bets now, please).

I had moved a slab of wallboard over to get to some supplies I had in the closet. He was chillin back there on the back and I passed by without noticing him, as the room has no lighting yet. I wish I took a pic of the insane bite I got on my leg now ’cause I think it was this little charmer. Mosquito bites usually get really giant on me but I had one with a silver dollar red blotch with two larger rings of lighter color red radiating out. Any-who, I was scurrrrrred to smash him since he was playing possum sideways on the drywall remnant since unholy things like bugs often don’t succumb to the laws of gravity. If I missed and he fell, gravity would, however briefly, apply to this creature – the floors are dark, the space is small and, again, no lighting to aid me. And he was about 3 inches long. I’d be creaped out forever knowing he got away. Can’t have that.
So I got my crap shop vac and went in with no cover. Lined it up behind him. Moved it closer…closer…easy now…closer…wait for it…I got him now….


Little jerk scurried a foot ahead on the wall board. Annoyed and feeling braver I jammed the shop vac hose right up to his hiney. He scurried another foot. This. Can’t. Be. Happening. Enter plan B.

I grabbed my ant killer stuff and sprayed him over and over. He just ran away. Never to bee seen again, I hope. Now I am creeped out forever knowing that he got away. Need to get these walls closed up so this type of evil monster cannot get in to the house. So, yeah, I lost that battle.

Thanks for reading, please subscribe to this blog and help me out by sharing on Facebook and Twitter – use the buttons below. <3 Roni

Happiness is…

A happy, functioning toilet:20130520-232113.jpg



Thanks for reading, please subscribe to this blog and help me out by sharing on Facebook and Twitter – use the buttons below. <3 Roni