How to Paint a Room

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to paint a roomThere is no faster, or less expensive, way to change the appearance of a room than to give it a new coat of paint. Painting a room requires a bit of prep work and time, but the more carefully you attend to the details, the better the result.

Buy Paint

The first step to painting a room is to determine what paint color and any texture you will be using. You can obtain samples from a paint or home improvement store to see what colors work best in your room. Then, with a color in mind, head back to the store to buy your paint. Plan on at least two coats, so a small room may need only one can, but two gallons of paint is your best bet. If you are painting over stained walls or dark paint, you should also buy a gallon of primer. Be sure to also buy paint supplies such as rollers, brushes, painter’s tape and paint trays.

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Tape the Edges of the Room

While professionals shun painter’s tape, it can help keep your ceilings and floors paint free. Take time to carefully apply painters tape to the outside of your paint area. This will give you a bit of freedom in case a brush slips or there are drips while you are painting. Tape the ceiling, doorways, floorboards, and any other built-ins that will not be painted.

Remove Wall Art and Spackle

Remove any wall art or other hangings and spackle the holes left behind. Sand down any spackle that dries uneven with the wall texture.

Prime and Paint!

Cover your floors with a drop cloth and carefully pour the primer (if you are using one) into your paint tray. Use a roller to carefully roll the primer onto the walls in a V pattern. Overlap your strokes and refill your roller with paint frequently to get the best coverage. Avoid too much paint on the roller at a time as this can lead to drips and splatters.

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When the walls have been primed, clean the tray, attach a new roller, and pour in your paint color. Ensure the primer is completely dry, and then begin rolling on your paint color using the same V technique. Use a brush to paint the narrow spaces where a roller won’t fit such as corners, the tops and bottoms of walls and the areas around windows and doors. Allow the first coat of paint to dry, then repeat with a second coat. Some dark colors may require three or possibly even four coats of paint for solid coverage.

Clean Up

Allow the paint to dry completely before removing the tape. Pull the tape carefully to reveal crisp corners and straight lines. Throw the tape away, clear away your tools and drop cloth, and enjoy your painted room.


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How to Choose a Paint Color

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to choose a color to paint withChoosing a paint color for your walls is critical to the overall feel and design of the room. The wrong choice will be apparent quickly, but will require a great deal of patience, time and resources to repair. To avoid this, be sure to pick the right color the first time.

Paint Choice Fundamentals

Paint comes in any color, but the most common wall color is white. Unfortunately, this is the least decorative wall color for design purposes. White walls can be suitable in any home, but they will not give your room the completed feel that color would.

Matte and satin paints are best in most rooms with glossy paint suitable in kitchens and bathrooms where it helps to repel water. Paints with texture and special techniques are simple to learn and can produce a designer’s effect.

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Design a Room

When selecting a paint color, your first step is to design the room overall. What sort of room are you creating? What furniture will be in the room? What is your focus in the room – a fireplace? Wall décor? Find inspiration in magazines or websites so that you have an idea of what you would like your finished product to resemble.

Explore Color Families

Once you have a feel for your room, you can begin working in color families. Red and pink paint colors are exciting while blue paint colors are cool and soothing. Greens are comforting and yellows are invigorating. You may prefer the neutrality of browns or grays, or want something truly unique such as purple. Look at your design and find the color family that works best with your image of the final product.

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Collect Paint Chips

Your next stop is to collect paint chips or samples from a paint store. Do not select the paint inside the store without first taking the samples home to see how they look against your furnishing and other colors of the room. Gather a full range of colors in your selected color family as you may discover that you want to try a deep forest green when you had originally be considering a muted olive.

Mix and Match

Layout your paint chips in the room with the blinds open to let in the sun. Paint chips are small, but they will give you a rough idea of what you’d be working with. Hold the colors next to your pictures and furniture – do some work better than others? Narrow your choices to two or three and get a second opinion if possible.

Make the Choice

Finally, take a deep breath and select the color that appeals to you the most yet works best in the room. If you simply can’t decide between two colors, get a small can of each from the paint store and paint a section of wall to see how it dries and looks in the room. You can then determine which is best and paint over the section of color that you won’t be using.

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How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets

July 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to paint kitchen cabinetsNowhere else in your house is such a large amount of woodwork subjected to such harsh treatment than in your kitchen. Your kitchen cabinets are opened and closed countless times a day, oftentimes by hands covered with butter, melted popsicles, or other food residue. Not only that, but the air in the kitchen is constantly changing, from high humidity resulting from boiling water or steaming vegetables, to hot and dry heat from an oven baking at a high temperature for a long time.

It is no wonder this highly visible part of your kitchen may be in need of a makeover. By simply painting your kitchen cabinets, you can completely transform the look of your kitchen.

Clean the Cabinets

Before you begin, it is important to clean the cabinets. Years of accumulated dust, grease, and grime can build up and prevent a quality job of repainting. You will probably find this process is easier if you remove the cabinet doors and find a place where you can lay them all out flat. Simply use an all-purpose cleaner, a few rags, and a little elbow grease to get the job done.

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Sand the Cabinets

After the cabinets have thoroughly dried from their cleaning, use a fine grit sandpaper to lightly sand the flat surfaces of your cabinet doors. By preparing the surface for the primer you will put on next, your cabinets will look better longer. If you skip this step, you’ll have to go through the whole painting process sooner than you would have to otherwise.

Apply Primer

If you are repainting your cabinets with the same color, you may choose to skip this step. However, particularly if you are painting over wood varnish, priming will help form a better bond between the wood and the paint. This means that the paint will be less likely to chip away when the doors are bumped against each other or hit with a pot. The type of primer you use is primarily determined by the type of paint you plan to use. An oil-based paint necessitates an oil-based primer, whereas a latex top coat will need a shellac primer. Be sure to do this in a well-ventilated area, and cover anything that you don’t want to get paint on.

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Paint Cabinets

Use either a sprayer or a high quality paint brush to apply the paint to the cabinets in several thin layers. It may be tempting to lay it on thick so you can finish faster, but you will achieve a much better look if you can be patient and use thin layers of paint. You may choose to lightly sand the cabinets’ flat surfaces between coats to get a really professional-looking finish. Once they are completely dry, hang them carefully back up in your kitchen and enjoy your new kitchen décor!

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How to Prepare a Nursery

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to prepare a nurseryAh, the nursery! When a new baby is on the way, the nursery presents the most fun and the most challenges. It doesn’t take long to realize you need more than a crib and a few outfits, but how do you know when you’ve gone overboard? Need to plan a nursery? Here’s how:

Pick the Room For Your Nursery

Your nursery should ideally be a room that is away from loud traffic or the neighbor’s barking dogs. You might prefer it have a western window to help your baby sleep later in the morning without the sun streaming in as it rises. It does not have to be large, but it will probably help to have a closet and some wall space for furniture placement.

Pick the Theme

How is the rest of your house decorated? Will this room be similar? Sketch out a rough plan in your head of what you would like the room to look like. What colors do you like? What kind of furniture do you need? Will the wood be dark or light?

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Buy the Linens

While it might seem like the furniture would be next, you should buy the linens. The dust ruffle, crib bumper, sheets, quilt and curtains will determine the color and overall look of the room. Neutral will suit future babies in the room, while gender specific colors and patterns can be more fun. Sheets will get the most use, so buy a few extras. Quilts can’t be used in the bed until much later, so consider buying a rod and making it a wall hanging for decoration.

Paint Your New Nursery

After you have the color scheme, buy paint and/or wall paper and get busy putting color on the walls. Remember to let Dad do the painting; pregnant women should avoid the fumes if possible.

Buy the Furniture

Now it’s time to buy a crib, dresser, changing table and any other furniture you might need in the room. Changing tables are often used only for a year or two, so it might be better to get a pad for the top of the dresser. Also consider putting a full or twin bed in the room for times a parent wants to sleep near baby. Be sure to get coordinating linens if you do get a bed for the room. The furniture may take some time to be delivered, but set it up once it does arrive.

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Buy the Rocker or Glider

You should have something to rock your baby in. Gliders are popular, and traditional rocking chairs will also do the trick. Buy one that is comfortable and sturdy. You’ll be spending a lot of time in this chair.

Buy the Decorations

Up to this point, you’ve taken care of the big items. You’ve painted, and you’ve set up furniture. You’ve got the linens. Now you get to buy decorations. Buy picture frames, rugs, wall signs or letters, toy boxes, lined baskets and anything else that suits your fancy.

Buy the Extras

Don’t forget to include the extra baby items in the room as well. You’ll need something for wet and dirty diapers, storage for clean diapers, a mobile, a place to store toys and linens, possibly a white noise machine or fan, a humidifier, and a baby monitor.

Buy the Layette

Now, it’s time to buy the layette. Layette is a fancy word for all the clothing and blankets a newborn needs. You should buy a few clothing items in the newborn size along with receiving blankets, burp clothes, washcloths, swaddling blankets and socks or booties to be ready. Be sure to pre wash all linens including sheets and blankets that will come in contact with baby’s sensitive skin.

Put Your New Nursery All Together

Finally spend a few days putting it all together. Remember to get help moving and setting up heavy items and take your time. Put the linens on the crib and hang curtains in the window. Hang pictures and place your rug. Then put the layette into your new dresser, sit in your rocker and anticipate bringing that new baby home.

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How To Keep a Spiritual Journal

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Education & Reading / Writing

how to keep a spiritual journalKeeping a spiritual journal is something that is usually associated with Bible study. An online search of the topic will pull up a plethora of Christian resources. The intent of this article is to offer suggestions which anyone of any faith can use to begin a habit of keeping a spiritual journal. 

The only tools you will need are a place to record your thoughts and some form of sacred text. I would encourage you to be open to rethinking the traditional interpretation of"sacred text." Most people, when you ask them what a sacred text is, will being listing books such as the Bible, the Quran, the Tao Te Ching, et al. Yet most people can recall moments of epiphany which occurred when not reading the typical sacred text. 

The lyric of a song that touches the heart deeply, a quotation from a movie that has a profound meaning, a painting, a sermon, even the forwarded email that has already been read by hundreds of people before reaching your in box can be experienced in a spiritual way. In other words, do not limit your definition of how you will receive sacred messages.

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How you keep your spiritual journal is completely up to you. Whether you choose to write it out longhand or write it out on a computer will depend on what makes you feel most comfortable. What you include in your journal should be as unique as you are. I offer a list of things you may or may not incorporate:

Prayer/Meditation Experiences

Most faiths have some form of prayer or meditation practice, a way for the individual to reconnect with the sacred. A Prayer Journal can be kept to record requests made and answered. A Meditation Journal can be used to track the length or type of meditation as well as any messages the practitioner may have received. Once again, I want to encourage you not to confine your definition of prayer and/or meditation to the times when you consciously quiet yourself for these moments. You may find yourself thanking God as you drive in your car for a near miss on the road that kept your from being involved in an accident. Or you may find yourself having a transcendent moment when you see a beautiful sunset. While you may not be in a position to immediately record the experience, you can try to remember to write about it later, when you are able to do so. 

Messages Received

As stated previously, how you receive spiritual messages will vary. You may read something from a book, hear something in a poem or song, find an interesting quote in a movie, television program. How and when you hear the "still small voice" is not something you dictate. That said, making a habit of going to some form of sacred text to read these messages is a discipline that is well worth the time and effort. This may include your sitting alone with a book, reading and taking notes, or listening to a teacher in some form of public gathering, on video or even recordings. The key is to make it a habit, whether it be daily or weekly. Those who make a habit of listening will find themselves hearing more messages beyond the time set aside for receiving them. It is not unusual for someone who has made a habit of recording messages they receive to find themselves to receiving more at different times and not only when they themselves are sitting down in order to receive them.

Lessons Given

Finally, you may find yourself communicating with another person and say something that is surprisingly wise, something you may even recognize as being beyond yourself. As always, be aware that this can happen at any time: during a conversation, in a letter or email, even during a chat. Although you may not always be able to write about the moment in your journal at that precise moment, you can always record what you remember at a later time. You may even be able to jot down a few key words or phrases on a napkin or notepad you carry with you. Later, when you have some quiet time to write in your journal, do so with as much detail as possible. Try not to wait too long because it is easy to lose the immediacy of the lesson if you procrastinate. It is always best to make the time then hope you will find it later.

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This is just a small sampling of what you might choose to do in your own spiritual journal and is not meant to be inclusive. As you can see there are no rules as to what you can or cannot include. The only rules I ever consider imperative for Spiritual Journaling are as follows:

Date all entries.

If you do not keep any other form of journal you may want to include a brief summary of your life or the day’s events. This is especially useful for the Prayer/Meditation Experiences section as well as Lessons Given. These extra notes can offer surprising insight to your spiritual growth when you read these entries later, whether it is a year or even a decade after the entry was originally written.

Record the source.

When journaling about messages received be sure to give credit where credit is due. If you are listening to a teacher/preacher, write down the person’s name and even the location when the teaching was given. If it is a recorded program, whether audio or video, you may not know the specifics but do the best you can with what you know. If the message is drawn from a text, whether a book or movie, poem, song, write down the title, author (scriptwriter, lyricist), and page number where applicable. 

I can say, with the utmost confidence, that if you choose to make a habit of recording your responses to spiritual experiences you will not only be able to trace your journey and growth but will find yourself having deeper and even more frequent experiences than before. Making this commitment to yourself will have benefits beyond your expectations.

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