July 25, 2021

August Book Suggestions?

I am SO TIRED that I can't even organize my thoughts into a blog post, so I am really going to keep this short (I know I always say that, but this time I mean it). I want to have a super quiet evening with no computer or phone. I'm just going to read and (hopefully!) get some sleep.

Anyway, I wanted to ask for some suggestions for an August book. I'm doing a Friends-themed read-athon for 2021, and I haven't picked a book yet. The theme for August is:

Ross: "PIVOT! PIVOT! PIVOT!" - Read a funny book.

Jerry and I actually use the "PIVOT!" line kind of often. Just today, we were moving a piece of furniture and Jerry starting calling out, "PIVOT!" Here is the scene, if you haven't seen it:

Anyway, I never read funny books! So I have no idea what to pick. However, I do have a single stipulation: I want to read a novel; no self-help books or memoirs or anything like that. Just a funny fiction story!

If you have any suggestions, please feel free :)

Oh! This is a good place to mention that when Jerry was looking for a show to watch on Peacock yesterday, I glanced up, did a double take, and yelled "STOP!! Go back!" (scaring Jerry half to death at my outburst). I saw the teaser cover of 'One of Us Is Lying' among upcoming shows. I read that book in June (here is my review) and I LOVED IT SO MUCH. I even said that it needs to be a TV series. And now it will be!

I don't know when it will premiere--all I can find is "later this year". I'm sure I won't like it as much as the book, considering I already know the ending, but I still can't wait to watch it!

July 24, 2021


This is a rather simple recipe today, but don't let the lack of ingredients fool you--I was very pleasantly surprised at how good this turned out!

I chose this recipe because we just got home from vacation yesterday and we had zero groceries in the house. I hadn't gone grocery shopping or even chosen a recipe to make for today's post, so I flipped through the heritage recipe book looking for something that was very simple.

I had all of the ingredients for this Maple Nut Cake, so I decided to give it a try--and it was delicious! It has the flavor of chocolate chip cookies (without chocolate chips) but the texture of a quick bread. (I'm assuming the "maple" in the name comes from the brown sugar; there is no maple syrup or extract.)

Jerry called this "Cookie Bread" because it tastes like cookies but it's in quick bread form.

This recipe was submitted to the Rockwood, Michigan Area Historical Society via a handwritten recipe book by Viola Herzog. However, she copied the recipe from a 1930's issue of the Detroit News.

As always, I am typing this exactly as written in the heritage book. Make sure you read my notes afterward, because there is an important error in this recipe. I made this recipe exactly as written, with no substitutions or alterations. The printer-friendly recipe is rewritten by me with any clarifications.

Here is a printer-friendly version!

Maple Nut Cake

1/2 c. shortening
1 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. milk
1-1/2 c. flour
1 c. finely chopped nutmeats
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream shortening with sugar; add egg yolks. Mix well. Add milk and flour sifted with baking powder; stir well. Then fold in the stiffly beaten whites of eggs and vanilla. Bake in a greased loaf pan 1 hour.

My Notes:

First, the obvious error (which I didn't notice until I was mixing the batter). The directions never mention adding the salt or nuts, even though they are in the ingredients. I'm not sure if this error was made in the Detroit News, or the handwritten recipe, or the heritage book. I added the salt with the flour and baking powder, and I stirred in the nuts last.

I wish I'd read ahead to beat the egg whites--if I was doing this again, I would beat the egg whites first, set them in the fridge while I mixed the rest, and then add the whites in. This way, I wouldn't have to transfer the batter to another bowl, wash the mixing bowl, beat the egg whites, then add the egg whites to the batter. Egg whites won't get stiff if any of the yolk is mixed in there, so you need a very clean bowl to beat them (ask me how I know!).

To get specific with the ingredients, I used whole milk and pecans (since it didn't specify in the recipe, I just used my preferences).

I finally got some new bakeware, and I'm excited about using it! Since I've been making a lot of the heritage recipes, I got some metal baking sheets/pans to use instead of the Pyrex glass ones. (Temperature resistant glass wasn't introduced until 1915, and a lot of these recipes are from the late 1800's to early 1900's.) I think the bake times should be more accurate with metal pans. Anyway, I greased my new loaf pan and baked the "cake" for 1 hour, as stated. (I put cake in quotes because this reminds me more of a quick bread.)

It was done after exactly one hour in the oven. Delicious!

July 23, 2021

Friday Night Photos : Family Vacation

I am SO exhausted! There is something about being in the car all day that is exhausting, despite the inactivity (literally just sitting). We drove home from my sister's property in the upper peninsula, leaving at 7:00 this morning. There was construction on the way home, which backed up traffic and added time to our drive. We were in the car for 11 hours! We stopped once for gas/bathroom and once at a rest area for a bathroom break. It was such a long day.

I'm not posting our family photos yet because I'm not sure when we'll get them back from the photographer. (And if I really don't like them, I may not post them at all.) So, I'm just going to post some random photos that I took during the trip...

The Mackinac Bridge is about halfway between our house and Jeanie's property. (It's the bridge that connects the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan.) Jeanie's property is in Ewen, Michigan, which is just about as northwest as you can get in Michigan. We live about as far southeast as you can get--so it made for a very long drive.

We took Joey with us. On the way up there, my kids rode with my parents, so it was just Jerry, Joey, and me in our rental car. He was SO good in the car--I literally forgot he was in there because he was so quiet.

Jerry pulled up some fun Snapchat filters to play around with--Luke and Riley love making faces and watching themselves with the filters. I love just watching them make faces.

The sweatshirts we're all wearing in several photos are shirts my sister had made for the week--since we were there to celebrate my parents' 50th wedding anniversary (which is tomorrow), the front says "Cheers to 50 Years!" and has their names in hearts. The back is a logo that Jerry designed for "Camp Fireside" (what my sister named her property).

Anyway, my dad taught Luke how to shoot a bow and arrow. I wish I'd taken a video of this shot, but I honestly didn't think he'd hit the target. He hit the target on the first try! Haha.

Shawn (Jeanie's husband) had these huge "chimney logs"--he called them that because it started as a tree that was rotted from the inside, so there was a hole down the center of it. When he cut it, it made a bunch of big rings. When put on the fire, the fire burns from inside the hole and lasts a long time. Anyway, they were super heavy so he brought them to the fire with his tractor, haha.

Nathan (my younger brother) has a black lab named Bailey. She's so funny--she climbs up onto the rocking lawn chairs and curls up into a tiny ball to sleep. It looks so uncomfortable, but that's where she preferred to lie down!

My sister's very old basset hound, Remington, does a lot of sleeping these days. Jeanie puts a bed out by the fire and he lies down there. Riley covered him with a blanket and sat with him. It was so sweet.

Like I mentioned on my Couch to 5K 8-Week recap, I had to start Week 9 while I was up north. Week 9 involves running 3 miles straight--so this was my first workout. I'll write about it on Monday during my final recap.

My mom brought one of those little parachutes that a lot of us probably remember playing with in gym class--she and I showed Luke and Riley how it works. We counted to three and pulled it up hard, then Luke and Riley ran underneath to trade places before it came back down. I used to love it when the gym teacher would bring out the parachute in class!

Jerry with the fish he caught on a pontoon boat Jeanie rented.

This picture below was actually my favorite part of the week! When we went up north in 2017, Nathan let me try shooting his rifle. I'm not a "gun person", but I thought it would be fun to see if I could shoot the targets. I loved it! It was so fun to use the scope to line up the shot and I felt "cool"--I told him I felt like a sniper in the movies, haha)  Anyway, he brought a few of his guns and showed me how to use them.

Nathan and I built this stand in about two hours! (I cut the boards, but Nathan put the whole thing together). We lined up a bunch of cans across the pond and I shot at them. The scope was so good that I only missed about 2-3 shots out of 20 or so. The scope was strong enough that I could probably read a book through it from all the way across the pond.

I'll never take a real interest in guns, but it was fun to shoot some targets with Nathan's. My boys were impressed that their old mom was a better shot than they were ;)

Okay, I have to finish unpacking. I'm going to bed early tonight--I can't wait to sleep in my own bed. Have a great weekend!

July 22, 2021

Reader Emails

I had no idea what to title this, because it's a very random post--I have a couple of things I wanted to share, but they didn't really fit in with things like "Transformation Tuesday", so I'm just going to put them in a post on their own!

(Please read this post about submitting things for various posts, if you're interested!)

First, this is a "Motivational Monday" sort of share from a reader named Karen. She's been reading my blog for a long time and is always so kind. I was thrilled for her when she sent me this email--her excitement was shining through. (She gave me permission to share this, of course)

Karen turned 62 years old in May and you would never know it from looking at her pictures. After buying a pair of jeans and being unhappy with how she looked in them, she became determined to lose the "muffin top" before her birthday. Here is what she wrote:

"I wish I had a 'before' picture from 15 months ago when I bought these Silver brand jeans from Maurices. I had a big muffin top that I planned to hide under a jacket or hoodie. The jeans were tight and I didn't feel good about myself. I got majorly back into my stair workout--I sweat my ass off on this workout! I actually love it. I've never done another workout that I didn't come up with excuses or procrastinate. I say out loud to myself 'push it!'. My muffin top is gone and for a person my age, I feel strong, like a mean bitch! I need to do more weight lifting but this is the best cardio I've ever done. When we get older, we can still get tougher. I am constantly working, but still working out."


If you read my post called "Boy Cookies and Girl Cookies", then you know that my beloved Aunt Mary Jo passed away early this year. I wrote about my memories of her in that post and I included a beautiful picture of her from when she was young.

I didn't know this, but a reader named Laura read the post and was inspired to draw a portrait from that photo. She messaged me on Instagram and asked if I'd like to have it--I was blown away at how amazing it looked! I thought it would be a perfect gift for Nancy, my cousin (Aunt Jo's daughter). Check this out--the original photo is on the left and Laura's drawing is on the right:

Laura hasn't been drawing for very long--shocking, right? It's so funny how she picked it up, too--she read my post about when I wanted to learn a new skill and I bought some drawing supplies and drew a picture of a cat based on instructions from a book. I didn't have interest in pursuing it further, but it sparked something in Laura, which she explains in her email below.

"I starting my art journey in August of 2018; my medium is pastel and sometimes graphite. It actually all started with your post about goals and “learning a new skill”. You had a blog post and picked up art posting this adorable cat you drew.

That inspired something in me and I remembered how much I liked to draw as a kid. I recalled really loving using pastels and decided that I would pick that up and see if I could make any progress. I bought a box of pastel pencils and then discovered this awesome website called colinbradleyart.com that offered tutorials. I signed up and immediately loved it, especially doing animals.

I was not very good, but I kept at it and got better. I started doing more and more types of pets and in the past couple of years even did a few commissions. I love animals, so drawing them seemed like the best of both worlds. That is my typical subject, but every once in a while, I see a picture with a story that moves me and I attempt that. So was the case for your Aunt Jo.

I was so touched by your blog post and then when I saw that photo you posted at the end, I thought, 'I want to draw her for your family'. I was very pleased with how it came out even though that is not my typical subject. I am so happy you like it and I hope it can bring some joy in such a sad time.

I don’t have a website yet as I typically post my art on Instagram. My entire art portfolio can be found there on @laura.m.art or @CustomPetPortraitsByLaura to see only my pet work. I can be reached on either of those accounts if anyone is interested in having a pet commission done or just has an art question."

                - Laura Mulcahy

Here is the progression of her work: 2018, 2020, and today:

I highly recommend checking out her work on Instagram. I'm still stunned that she hasn't been doing this her whole life! (And if you are looking to have a pet portrait drawn, she packaged the drawing so carefully--it arrived in perfect condition. I would definitely recommend her work!)

One of the ideas I mentioned in the post looking for submissions/ideas is to write readers' fun news--I really like this idea, so I hope people will submit things! I received this fun news from a reader (also named Katie) who I met during one of my trips to the Pacific Northwest. Here is what she had to say:

"Attached is myself in my new (to me) little Minnie Winnie, a.k.a Littles. I was very fortunate (and grateful) that COVID-19 didn't adversely affect me. I am a software engineer and it was no problem to work from home. I even went into the office some because our office was so small that I was the only one going in. I say it was because my company has decided that working remotely is working out so they have decided to let the lease go on the office and we will be working from home all the time.

So...I got a home on wheels! This has actually been a dream of mine for a long time but Frankenstein, my dog, and I will now be able to travel while we work!! I am going to start small but hope to take a cross country trip to go spend a month "wintering in Louisiana" this spring! I am super excited and looking forward to it. I also attached a pic of my travel buddy!" 

July 21, 2021

Sleeping in a Hammock

It feels so weird having posts that I wrote ahead of time get published at a scheduled time. I've done that for one post here or there, but going up north this week, I didn't want to have to worry about writing a post. Because of that, I feel like I haven't even looked at my blog in ages.

I didn't have a post prepared for today because I thought I'd try to write a weight loss related post (for my Wednesday Weigh-In). I'm not able to weigh in, considering I'm at my sister's cabin, and I'm having fun chatting with my family. So I'm going to leave it at this...

Last night, I (voluntarily!) slept in a hammock. I am not an outdoorsy person at all, so this was totally unlike me--but I love reading in my hammock during the day while I'm up here, and my brother has a couple of hammocks that have mesh coverings (to keep bugs out). Jerry and I decided to try them out last night.

This was my view in the afternoon while reading my book. It was the same at night, only it was pitch black outside. My sister and sister-in-law took bets on how long I'd stay out there, or which one of us (Jerry or me) would give in first and go inside. They voted against me! Hahaha. For someone who has never slept outside, it was kind of fun. (I was FREEZING in the morning because the temperature dropped quite a bit--but I wasn't about to let them win on that bet against me!)

July 20, 2021

Transformation Tuesday #34

Happy Transformation Tuesday! Thanks for getting submissions in early. I wanted to get this post prepared ahead of time. I am actually saving a couple for next week, so if you sent one and it's not here yet, it'll be on next week's post!

I gave my fireplace a makeover. First, I started by spray painting the brass/gold 1980s (or maybe even older) fireplace cover black. That looked so good that I painted the pink 1990s tile white. And that looked so good that I stenciled the tile in a vintage gray pattern. End of story. 

- Julie Castaneda-Hicks

In my three season room, I had white bead board and trim installed 15 years ago when we first moved in to our home in Cleveland. Over the years this strange water stain appeared at the bottom of the trim along the floor and it was just ugly. There was no water leak so I don’t know where it was coming from.

Lately, I was just getting tired of looking at it, so I thought it would be a good idea to add shake shingles and paint them gray (the same color as our house). I had no idea how to start, I just knew that I could figure it out and I could do it on my own. The shingles were softer wood and easy to trim to size with a utility knife. I nailed them to the walls and used the same paint from when our house was painted. It took me a couple weekends, but I love how it turned out. I even went ahead and painted the floor white and stenciled!

- Sarah

When we bought our house in 2018 we loved everything about it except the backyard. The patio had loose bricks and was very small, we had weird stairs to nowhere on the hill and nothing but weeds. When we delayed our wedding due to COVID-19 (and then decided to have a simple small backyard ceremony) we used the deposits we got back from the canceled wedding to transform our backyard.

We had to buy a shed (we have no garage and had no place to store all of our yard equipment). We started the transformation by tearing out the old rotted wooden stairs. In order to have the shed built we needed to have the yard leveled. Once that was done and the shed was delivered we had the patio and fire pit installed.

Rather than fight with a backyard of weeds and spotty grass we went for a large patio area. I knew I didn’t want grass on the sloped hill so I edged it out, put down so so so so many flattened cardboard boxes (to hopefully prevent weeds) then had fertilizer and soil delivered to cover the boxes.

I picked out a variety of hostas as I wanted native and low maintenance plantings. After I planted all of them (it took about three days) I mulched the whole area. Then I tilled the remaining grass/weeds and put down grass seed. Finally we had a fence installed (more so to keep our 15 month old corralled). I love how it turned out, and how much labor I put into it! 

Thank you so much for submitting these before and after pics!

Julie, painting the brass black made such a huge difference! And I'm super impressed with the tiles--I've seen a few transformations with tile stencils (including Sarah's below) and it makes me want to tile something, haha. The fireplace looks great!

Sarah, the shake shingles look great! I love that you installed them yourself, despite not having experience doing it before. You did an amazing job. And the flooring is beautiful! Great DIY skills :)

Caitlin, your backyard is jaw-dropping. The patio is AMAZING. I love the patio furniture, too. I can't wait to sit out there with you, hopefully sometime in the near future!

Please keep sending the transformations--it's so nice when I can prepare the post ahead of time. To submit a transformation, just send me a before picture and an after picture at: katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com. Don't forget to include your name and a description of the transformation!

July 19, 2021

Couch to 5K : Week 8 Recap

I made it through Week 8! That means I have just one week to go and I'll have finished the Couch to 5K plan.

This week's workouts were all the same: Run 2.75 miles (no walk breaks)

I did all three of them on the treadmill, mainly because it's been hot/humid outside. I ran all of them at the same speed I've been doing each week (5.0 mph). I'm going to stick with that speed until my heart rate can stay in Zones 2-3 for the entire run. Like I keep repeating, my end goal is to be able to run three miles and have it feel easy again. I don't remember how long that took for me when I first started running.

Anyway, here are the details from my runs in Week 8...

Week 8, Day 1 : Run 2.75 miles. (treadmill)

I was really nervous about this run. Even though I'd run 2.5 miles in Week 7, I still worried I wouldn't be able to do it. But I really wanted to focus on keeping my heart rate down--trying to run easy and focus on my breathing.

I was reading a book that I really wanted to finish (it was exciting) and when my Kindle said I had about 45 minutes left in the book, I figured I'd better get on the treadmill so I would have something to read while I ran. I actually felt really good! It didn't start to feel very hard until after I got about two miles in. Still, though, I didn't struggle to finish, which was encouraging.

I was happy with my heart rate, too! I spent more time in Zone 3 than in Zone 4. My average heart rate was 152, so I was borderline between Zones 3 and 4.

Week 8, Day 2 : Run 2.75 miles. (treadmill)

I had a feeling that this was going to be a bad run because I just didn't feel good even before I started. I felt weak, tired, and my heart rate was already fast (my resting heart rate is usually 55-60 bpm, but it was at 90-ish--I have no idea why). I hoped I'd feel better once I started running.

That definitely didn't happen. First, I forgot to turn on the floor fan that I put right behind the treadmill. I was SO HOT. I didn't want to stop running to turn it on, but after about a mile, I couldn't take it anymore and I hopped off the treadmill to turn it on.

My legs felt so heavy and weak. No matter how carefully I tried to run, and no matter how much I concentrated my 3:2 breaths, I just didn't feel good. And my heart rate showed it when I was done. It took everything I had just to finish. As soon as I stopped running, I was gasping for breath. Even when I was showering 10 minutes later, I was still trying to catch my breath.

My average heart rate overall was 154--but the second mile was 156 and third mile was 159 (compared to 150 and 152 respectively during the previous run).

Week 8, Day 3 : Run 2.75 miles. (treadmill)

I was dreading this run because of how hard the last one was. I really didn't want to feel like that again! My anxiety about it didn't help, because it made my heart speed up before I even started running. I texted Caitlin (who is doing Couch to 5K with me) and she said that when she ran Week 8, Day 2, she felt terrible and it was super hard to finish--same as me. She said her third run was much better, which gave me hope that mine would feel better.

It seemed so much longer because the book I'm reading is pretty slow-paced. I found myself looking at the treadmill display way too often to check my distance. I didn't feel terrible, however! I actually felt much better than the previous run. I have no idea why that is--it's so weird how two of the same runs can feel so different just a day apart. After this run, I was slightly out of breath, but not bad at all. Nothing like the run before!

My heart rate didn't show that the effort was any easier, though, which was kind of odd. My average for the run was 153 bpm--it was more consistent though, at 154, 153, and 154 for each split.

Overall, I'm proud that I was able to finish all three runs, especially the second one. I'm disappointed that my heart rate didn't improve, though. I was really encouraged after the first run went so smoothly. I'm going to start paying attention to what I eat/drink and maybe how much sleep I get and see if there is a correlation with how my runs feel and whether my heart rate is high.

Week 9 is going to be interesting... my first two runs will be while I'm at my sister's property in the upper peninsula of Michigan. I know she has a treadmill there, so I may do that if it's super hot outside. But it would be nice to do the runs outside if I can. It will be my first time running three miles in a long time, though, so running on asphalt in sun and heat would make it so much harder. I'll just have to wait and see!

July 18, 2021

Tips for Painting Kitchen Cupboards (or other furniture)

My friend Renee came over a couple of days ago and asked for some tips for painting her kitchen cupboards. She knew I had done mine a few years ago (I can't believe it's been that long!) so I gave her the advice I could come up with.

I painted not only my kitchen cupboards, but also the vanity cabinets in my bathrooms, my kitchen island, my dining table and chairs, a coffee table, TV console and some other furniture. I feel like it's safe to say I know what I'm doing by now ;)

Here are a few of my painting projects:

I gave Renee enough advice that I thought it might make a helpful post for anyone looking to paint some furniture. So, here goes...

(Note: In this post, I'm writing about painting over stained furniture--not previously painted furniture. I haven't painted over furniture that was already painted, so I can't say if the same tips will work.)

First, draw a quick sketch of the kitchen cabinet layout (just some boxes on a piece of paper is fine). Number the cabinets on the paper, and then write the corresponding number on each cupboard door as you remove it. 

(I wrote it with pencil in the spot where the hardware would cover it later.) This is super helpful when you put the cupboard doors back on. The doors are likely the same size, but the placement of the hardware might vary just a touch, which would result in cupboard doors being slightly askew. So it's helpful to replace the doors to the cupboards they came from.

Remove all hardware from the doors.

I highly recommend using oil-based paint. It's super durable. There are latex paints with enamel--I tried this several years ago on a dresser. It's better than regular latex paint, but nothing as good as the oil-based.

Definitely do not cheap out on the paint. You really do get what you pay for. I bought paint from Sherwin Williams. I used Sherwin Williams ProClassic Interior Oil Based paint in semi-gloss. It's been three years and it's still holding up beautifully.

Use a good stain-blocking oil-based primer. I am partial to Kilz brand. When I painted my cupboards a few years ago, I used one that was specific to oil-based paint, but I couldn't find it anymore. I found this one, which is meant for latex or oil-based, interior or exterior. I haven't had any problems using it on other furniture.

Buy a product called Flood to add to your paint. It thins out the paint, which makes it much easier to apply--but it also drastically reduces brush strokes. A few seconds after your brush the paint on, you'll notice that the brush strokes all-but disappear.

Like the paint, don't cheap out on brushes, either. It's really worth it to pay a little extra for a good brush (makes applying much easier!). I like the Purdy brand. Just make sure you get brushes that are compatible with oil-based paint.

Cleaning up oil-based paint is NOT fun--I'm not going to dance around that. You'll have to buy mineral spirits (oil-based paint does not come clean with water). I poured mineral spirits in a large mason jar and dipped my brush in that, then wiped it on an old towel several times until it was as clean as I could get it. If you're going to be using the brush again within a day or two, you can wrap it in plastic without cleaning it and it won't dry out on you. (After a couple of days, it will dry out, however, and then you really can't get the paint off.)

(You could also store the mineral spirits in a paint tin--you can buy empty paint cans at Lowe's in different sizes. They work well because they can be resealed tightly and you don't risk using/breaking glass.)

Note: you can't pour mineral spirits down the drain. I used two jars--one with mineral spirits that I sealed each time I used it. The paint settles to the bottom of the jar. Once it's settled, I pour the mineral spirits into the other jar to continue to use it. I repeat this cycle, removing the settled paint from the jar and throwing it away while reusing the mineral spirits. I typically throw away my brush after each project is done because it's hard to get it totally clean!

Once you remove the doors and hardware, you'll want to clean the cupboards really well. I used (and recommend) a product called TSP (trisodium phosphate). You can buy a powdered form of it at Lowe's. You just mix it with warm water. I wore the typical yellow kitchen gloves to protect my hands while cleaning the cupboards.

In the photo above was after cleaning (no sanding). I could have left it at that, but the surface had a lot of dents and nicks in it, so I did a very thorough sanding. (The other piece, after sanding, is below.)

The TSP is doubly helpful because not only does it clean the cupboards, but it removes the shine from the stain. This eliminates the need for sanding! (In some cases, you'll still need to sand--but the TSP does a lot of the work.) I would suggest using one of those green scour pads to clean with--it is gently abrasive, which will help the primer to stick and do its job.

If the cupboards were very shiny or smooth, you may want to do a light sanding. You don't want there to be any shine left before painting. I would use a 180-grit sandpaper and just lightly scuff the whole thing.

If there are any nail holes or dents or anything like that to fill in, you'll want to do this before painting as well. I just use a wood filler (this one is my favorite, after trying several brands). All you do is squeeze a little on your finger and then fill in the little holes (you can't use this on big or deep holes--this is just for little nicks). After it dries, just use a damp washcloth to give it a quick gentle wipe and it will come off of the surface but stay in the hole.

Next, it's time to apply the primer! Make sure that the cabinets are dust-free and dry. I would paint the doors in a garage, if possible, or somewhere that you can put them for several days. Tape the areas around the cupboards (the floor, walls, etc.) so you don't get primer/paint on them. (If you do accidentally get some paint where you don't want it, it must be cleaned with mineral spirits--water won't do it.)

I like to buy a couple of the small empty paint cans to pour the primer and paint into. I just dip my brush into that rather than using a tray or carrying around the whole gallon of paint. Then you can reseal it and use it again.

Don't thin out the primer with the Flood--the Flood is just for the paint. Using your brush, apply a coat of primer to all areas that you plan to paint. Primer is thin--so you just need a thin coat. And after the primer is on, it'll probably look really bad! It looks spotty/patchy, and you'll think you made a big mistake by doing this yourself. But wait until you add the paint--it makes a world of difference!

For the doors, cover the surface you'll be setting them on with plastic sheeting. You'll get paint on it.

When you paint the doors, painting the front and back is kind of annoying--you can't turn the door over and set it down until the paint is totally dry. I bought some little pointy cones (from Lowe's) that you can set down underneath the doors. They rest on the points so that they are raised above the surface you're painting on. So you would paint the back of the door, then carefully flip it over and set it down on the cones. Then you can paint the front.

Don't forget about the numbers you marked on the doors. You'll want to make sure you keep them marked somehow (even if you write it on a post-it and stick it to the table where the door is). I wrote the number in the recessed hole where the hardware would go and I didn't paint over it.

(The cones were pretty expensive--they came in a 10-pack, and with the number of doors I had, I wasn't about to buy several packs of them. So, I just painted one side, waited for it to dry, then flipped it over and painted the other side.)

The primer dries pretty quickly. You'll have to check the can, but as soon as it's dry to the touch, you can apply the paint. I would do all of the primer first (cupboards and doors) before starting with the paint--that way you don't have to clean your brush several times.

To prepare the paint, pour some paint into one of the smaller, empty paint cans (these make it much easier to add the Flood). I fill it about 3/4 full with paint, then add about 2-4 tablespoons of the flood. The Flood has color to it, but even when added to my white paint, it didn't change the color of the paint (or at least I didn't notice it). So you don't have to be super precise with the amount of Flood. I just add enough to where the paint is at a thickness that is easy to apply, but not very drippy. You'll discover what works best. 

Start with a couple of tablespoons of Flood, then add a little at a time until the texture looks right. To mix it, just put the lid on on the can (make sure to tap it tight with a mallet) and shake it well.

To apply the paint, just dip the brush and apply a light coat to the whole surface. You don't need a thick coat, because you'll do two coats of paint. I always start with the nooks and crannies of the doors. Just dip the brush to get more paint than necessary and let it spread into the nooks and crannies. Then brush all of the excess outward. That way you're not fighting to get paint into the nooks.

Oil-based paint takes longer to dry, and even longer to cure. I would allow at least 24 hours between coats of paint (when the paint isn't tacky anymore). You can put the cupboard doors back on after 24-48 hours, but the paint won't be completely cured for probably 10 days or so. "Cured" is when it's as hard as it's going to get. You can press your fingernail to it and it won't leave a mark. If you can allow everything to dry a few extra days, the longer the better.

To replace the doors, just refer to your sketch. Add the hardware to the doors and replace the doors in their respective spots. You can add the knobs or pulls, and you're done!

I used this Kreg jig (Amazon affiliate link) to add knobs and pulls and it made it SO EASY to line them up and center them perfectly.

Once the paint is cured, it's extremely durable! You can wipe it down and clean it just like any other surface. Now you can sit back and enjoy your "new" kitchen--and be proud that you did it yourself!

Here is a page with all of my DIY home makeover projects with before and afters of each room. I did everything from the ceiling to the floor in the entire house (well, Jerry did the floor, but everything else was me!). I'm super happy and proud of how it turned out :)

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