Monday, August 27, 2012

Two-year-old's Birthday Cake (My First REAL Cake Decorating!)

I made this cake for my son's 2nd birthday party. The first birthday was about 65 people inside my house on the main floor in the middle of January... the entire hallway was filled with BOOTS! The 2nd party was just family & considerably smaller; so I thought, why not make it special & make the cake myself?! 

And no, it does not say, "Happy Birthday 2 Dawson!"

It says, "Happy Birthday Dawson," & there is a 2 in the middle because that's how old he is, duh! 
(Only one person thought that but just thought I'd clarify! haha)


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Barefoot in the Kitchen - The Great Kitchen Update of 2012

So, you may be wondering, "where did that crazy girl go?"

Well, I've been barefoot in the kitchen. No, not pregnant -- but definitely giving birth! Well, to a new kitchen, anyway...

Here are haphazard before pictures, totally unorganized for right now. I promise I will organize them & update later today. My two-year-old is trying to push me off my chair to take him outside!


This had to be put on hold for awhile because I'm having some health troubles that are hindering me, especially energy-wise. I hope to be back & doing what I love again soon...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Favorite Cleaning Products for Projects (& Life in General)

This post is incomplete. Please check back at the end of 5/8/12 for the final draft!


Most of these are not just for refinishing projects. 
I explain under each one what they do & why I love them.

1. Mr Clean Magic Eraser Extra Power
Photo Credit:
What DON'T I love about Magic Erasers? I can't think of ONE thing. We belong to Sam's Club, because it's about a mile from our house, so I get the value packs there because I use them for almost everything. These guys are amazing! They're the only product that can get into textured surfaces, like on our textured, white refrigerator handles, for example. 
The refrigerator is actually what I have to thank for discovering these a few years ago. 

Magic Erasers were still a brand new product then & not many people used them or even knew they existed. I used to cut coupons religiously from the Sunday paper & I'd cut one for these, picked them up, & didn't use them for awhile. Our fridge was still new 
(maybe four months old), but the handles were already smudged with dirt from repetitive use & I thought they would stay that way forever - & most likely just get worse with time. 
I had no idea that the surface of the handles were even textured in the first place 
because the grooves are so tiny that I couldn't really see them. 

I tried kitchen & bathroom cleaners with BLEACH, glass cleaners, assorted furniture & antibacterial wipes, & NOTHING would get them white again. When I was cleaning the inside of the fridge one day, it was by total chance that I simply needed a sponge or cleaning cloth, looked under the sink & all I could find was the little two-pack of Magic Erasers. When I finished cleaning the inside & the sponge-material looked all used up & worn out, I wiped the outside of the doors & then the handles. I was in total shock when they left a BLAZINGLY BRIGHT trail of clean white behind them. That was the beginning of my love-affair with the bald man's truly magical Magic Erasers. 
No joke, I could seriously be a salesperson for these because I love them so much. 

At the beginning of a refinishing project, especially if it has been thrift-ed or 
rescued from the curb, grabbing one of these & a little elbow grease is the first step. 
Next, in order to get the item sparkly-clean & free of germs & debris, I start by rinsing it in water or spraying with a hose if it's too big to rinse in a sink. If the item is small enough, I usually completely soak the item in a mixture of water & OxiClean (we'll get to that in a minute!); & if it's large, I put the same mixture in a spray-bottle & drench it that way (outside, of course!). The OxiClean starts to agitate the stains & dirt 
while I grab the Magic Eraser. Because they get deep into grooves & corners, 
this blend of product & hard scrubbing has never let me down!

They also remove crayon off the wall (for all the parents out there), get deep dirt off furniture projects, & work magic (with a drop of Goo-Gone) to tackle ANY sticky mess. If there's ever a project that you think will just never come clean & 
you haven't tried Magic Erasers on it yet, go get some & give them a try. 
Most likely they will do the trick & your love-affair will, too, begin. 

(These are my absolute favorite cleaning product of all time. 
I won't write this much about anything else.)

2. Goo-Gone
Photo Credit:
"Goo Gone® is America’s # 1 Brand in Tough Task Removers.
Its products combine Scientific Technology and Citrus Power to defeat the toughest 
sticky, gooey, greasy, gummy problems and stains without harming the surface below."

This really comes in handy for getting the stickiness from those annoying little tags that thrift stores & consignment shops plop all over their items. It's also great for removing labels from beautiful glass jars & other interesting glass containers I want to repurpose. If you try to remove the adhesive film left behind w/normal cleaning products & wiping, it just becomes a sticky, smudgy mess; but w/a drop of Goo-Gone (that I put on the end of a Magic Eraser), it's gone & we're moving on!

3. Windex Multi-Surface Antibacterial Spray

Photo Credit:
"Now you can kill 99.9% of household bacteria while bringing out our famous streak-free shine.
Windex Multi-Surface Antibacterial cleans & shines your surfaces
with no dull residue left behind. It disinfects on hard, non-porous surfaces, too."

"Works On: 
-Countertops like Corian®, sealed granite, marble (real or synthetic), Formica® 
- Exterior surfaces of appliances like microwaves, stovetops 
- Kitchen sinks        -Stainless steel        -Glazed ceramic tile
-Windows        -Plastic        -Vinyl        -Glass        -& More."

I love this stuff. It's great because not only is it good for lots of different surfaces that come up in refinishing projects, but it's an awesome cleaner to keep in your kitchen & bathrooms. It makes glass shine like normal Windex, but it also kills bacteria from stuff like raw chicken in the kitchen & germy messes in the bathroom. 
The best surprise is that after you're done killing all those germs, your countertops or other surfaces are left with a beaming, polished SHINE. Forget having to buy separate products for different jobs in all the different rooms including glass, sinks, countertops, floors (NOT FOR WOOD FLOORS - I'll get to that next just because I mentioned them), toilets, appliances, cooking surfaces, etc, ETC... 
This one cleaner does it ALL. Simple - that's how I like things.

4. Bona Hardwood Floor Spray-Mop


Because of the Bona Spray-Mop, I've never loved cleaning hardwood so much in my life. I can write more later, but I've got to go now. I can send you to this link where this lady pretty much explains the Bona Spray-Mop. I promise I'll finish in the morning!
'Bona Spray Mop vs. Shark Steam Mop - Which Is Better for Hardwood Floors?'

5. Connoisseurs Silver Jewelry Cleaner
Photo Credit:
For removing tarnish from most silver & silver-plated vintage finds, this is pretty good cleaner. It's the best I've tried so far & has been able to handle most jobs, but it doesn't do all jobs. It has never been able to tackle extremely heavy, high-silver content things (like Tiffany silver). I see that they've changed their containers & have new, slightly different names on them; & I don't know if that means the formula inside them has changed, too. I just happen to have this container that has lasted me for years & will last many more. 

When cleaning silver, I always follow this with a silver jewelry polishing cloth. 
I have several that have come free with jewelry in the past & just us whatever is on hand. The combo of the two products has always worked out 
(except for the Tiffany, like I mentioned before).

6. Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
Photo Credit:
I promise I'll finish in the morning!

7. OxiClean

Photo Credit:
I promise I'll finish in the morning!

8. Pledge Multi-Surface Wipes
Photo Credit:
"Enjoy our Pledge® Multi Surface formula in a convenient wipes form. There’s no extra cloth needed—just remove a wipe and start cleaning. Use on wood, granite, stainless steel and electronics without the fear of damage. Pledge® Multi Surface Everyday Wipes also remove up to 90% of allergens in dust." (

I like these so much & definitely miss them when I don't have them in the house. They play into my refinishing cleaning products because I listen to podcasts while I work (ADAM CAROLLA!). At first, I used my iPod on a little no-big-deal speaker set (& should do that more again) but it just gets so old updating my iPod every day! I only have a small window of time to work because I have a two-year-old & I don't want to waste any more time than I already do getting set up. Plus, sometimes I need to look up a website to help with the project & it's nice to have my computer right there. 

With lots of over-spray from spray paint, sanding dust, & just ickiness of the garage & outdoors, these wipes keep my MacBook looking like new. Oh, & about that two-year-old I mentioned, he has a way of putting a million fingerprints on the TV screen & these wipes are safe to clean them all up. 

I'll add more as I think of them. I know I need to add my paintbrush cleaner already. 
In the meantime, I hope this helps!

"It was more than discovering something that I loved to do - 
It was discovering someone I had always been." 
 ~ Natalie ;-*
Follow Me on Pinterest