More Painting Hacks

Slowly but surely, J and I are making our house ours. When we moved in last October, the ENTIRE house was this awful shade of grey. It’s almost like the previous owners watched a bit too much HGTV and decided that what all 14 rooms and bathrooms needed was one color. But instead of picking a grey that would make the spaces look clean and fresh and emphasize the size of the rooms and the great windows, they chose an awful flat dirty grey that made everything feel gross. It made the (painted) white baseboards look dingy and dirtier than they were.

Here’s what the sitting room looked like before we moved in.
before sitting room

The photo “quality” actually makes this space look not terrible, but in person, it was dark and dirty. The room lacks an overhead light, but during the day (once the hideous vertical blinds were out!) has fantastic light from the two windows. J and I spent a lot of time trying to find the perfect blue for this room to match the formal, yet inviting vibe we wanted it to have. Plus, while we both like blue, I tended to go more toward a true navy and J tended to go more cobalt. Ultimately we settled on Empire Fleet Blue from Valspar.

Empire Fleet Blue

On our test swatches, it looked pretty dark, so J was a bit skeptical about how it would make the room feel. We left the squares up on the grey walls for about four months before our favorite local hardware store had a buy one get one free on premium paint sale. That was the push to just try it. As I wrote about here, we figure out some pretty great taping hacks. One more time, splurge and get the good Frog tape. It’s absolutely worth it!

The additional hack we used to protect our wood floors for this room was paper bags and boxes. Our paper bag collection bordered on hoarding so I was happy to get rid of them this way.

We found if you opened the bags like you would if you were covering a school textbook (high school memories!) but left the bottom flaps, you could cover more space and give your baseboards extra protection.


Then just make sure you tape the bags together and tape them to the wall. This method works particularly well for corners.

Then we further protected the floors by adding a super cheap plastic drop cloth, or feel free to use a plastic party tablecloth if you have one on hand, and then old sheets to keep from slipping and sticking to the drop cloth. IMG_4663

While all of these photos are at night, if you can avoid it don’t paint at night. With a toddler, we couldn’t avoid it and just painted after she went to sleep in the evenings. One coat covered really well, but there were a few places that needed a second coat, so every wall got another coat the next night.

IMG_4664We let the paint dry overnight before adding the furniture back to the room.

In all it took three night to get this room painted and put back together. IMG_4695

I couldn’t be happier with the end result. I love the color. It isn’t too dark, which makes J happy. IMG_4694

Here’s what it looks like in overcast daylight:

IMG_4701 The blue is a lot lighter in person and daylight as you can tell.

Now for the next project, removing the improperly installed chair rail in the dining room. IMG_4697


Linen and Room Spray

I love essential oils. I’ve used them to make a HFM relief bath for my toddler and holiday gifts in the past. When our local store stopped carrying out favorite Zum Room spray, I knew I needed to get creative and make one of our own. Which let me completely customize it for our favorite scents. We settled on a Rosemary, Peppermint and Eucalyptus blend.

Rosemary Essential Oil
Peppermint Essential Oil
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Water (honestly, we used previously boiled tap water, but you can use distilled or purified if you want!)
Spray bottle (we went fancy, but you can use any spray bottle you want!)

Add about 10 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil to the bottle.
Essential Oil Room Spray
FullSizeRender 13

Then add about 20-30 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil and 20-30 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil. Shake and smell. If the peppermint is overpowering, add more of the other two. We originally started with 10 drops of each, but it ended up being too pepperminty for us. When you’re satisfied with the scent, add the water to just below full. Shake. Spray and smell again. If it isn’t quite what you expected, shake again and spray one more time. Still not right? Add more of what you’re missing.

Make sure you shake it before you use it on your pillows, blankets, sheets and/or pajamas. You can spray it on your skin (test a small patch first to make sure you don’t have a reaction) or hair, but don’t spray it in your eyes.

Painting hack

I can’t possibly be the first person to think of this. But this little trick just saved me hours of cleanup after painting:

Painting Hack
At first, I planned to use press and seal, but when I went to apply it, it turned out the roll was almost empty. The next thing in the drawer was Saran wrap.

So I used that and the best painting tape ever, Frog Tape and now I don’t have to worry about drips on the wood!

If only repairing the chips in the shower floor was this easy!

HFM relief bath

Our poor Miss A recently had the dreaded Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. She was really miserable. Our pediatrician suggested a salt and oatmeal bath to help with the itchiness and I improved on that suggestion with an oatmeal, coconut oil, Epsom salt and lavender essential oil bath. It was really easy to make and Miss A seemed to get some relief from it.



  1. about a tablespoon (or more) oatmeal (if using a washcloth, don’t bother grinding)
  2. coconut oil, about a tablespoon
  3. about a teaspoon regular table salt
  4. about 1/4 cup Epsom salt
  5. few drop lavender essential oil

Combine at least the first three ingredients (you can combine all five, we just had the lavender essential oil and the Epsom salt in the bathroom already) into a washcloth and tie with string to close.
Draw a warm bath and place the satchel under warm running water. If you didn’t add the Epsom salt and the lavender essential oil to the sachet, add it to the bath now.

Fun fact: adults can get HFM too and it’s just awful.

Removing stickers

sticker ruined shirt
It was bound to happen. Toddlers love stickers, which means stickers end up on everything. I also love stickers, so it should not come as a surprise that the first time a sticker went through the washer and the dryer was on one of my dry-fit athletic race shirts.

J was convinced I’d ruined the shirt. I was less convinced.

I was less convinced because we used to label Miss A’s bottles with label maker stickers. Even the plastic ones would eventually fail after multiple washings and we would be left with the sticker residue on the outside of the bottle.

Someone really smart (if it was you, please say so!) once told me to use a stickier item to remove stickers. I immediately thought of duct tape. When it removed the sticker residue from the bottles in one try. I guessed the same process would work for my race shirt. Or I’d destroy it forever. Worth a try!

Items needed:

  • Ruined shirt
  • Duct tape

Cut a length of duct tape at least twice as long as the sticker residue. place duct tape on top of the sticker and rub.
Removing sticker residue from shirt
Lift the duct tape and peel the sticker off.
Removing stickers from athletic shirt
Repeat using a clean area of the duct tape until all of the sticker residue is removed.


Sticker residue removed