DIY Paint Job – Week 7

DIY paint job

Painting can be done by anyone but I thought I would mention a few things that really helped me along the painting project:

Preparing for a DIY Paint Job

Prep work is the key to a good paint job, it is tedious, painful, and un-fun but this will be the factor that differentiates a good paint job vs a sloppy paint job.

Use a quality painter’s tape. I’ve tried Scotch Blue Painter’s tape and got a lot of drips under the tape. So I tried Mutlisurface Frogtape (green) and it was a LOT better. It’s so much more sticky and it left clean sharp lines with very minimal dripping (which was mainly due to the uneven walls we have).

Test your paint choices by buying the sample sizes. What you imagine might be totally different than the actual paint color in the room you’re painting. I tested my paint samples after I primed. They only cost $3.98 per 8 oz for BEHR’s.

Spackle at least two times. Repairing those imperfections is the most important task in prepping. Use a flash light at an angle and meticulously spot any small holes, lines, and cracks. This is the time to be anal. If unsure, just spackle. You’re going to sand it nicely after it dries up anyway so it won’t damage your walls.

Clean the walls with a wet clean rag or sponge or whatever you have (old t-shirts?). I didn’t use any soaps because the downstairs bathroom is a very low traffic room. So there wasn’t much to clean off the walls, besides dust.

Gather your painting tools before starting. I have a handy list with prices and links embedded for your reference:

1. Roller frame: Economy 9 in. Heavy-Duty Roller Frame – $3.57

2. Roller cover: Roller Cover 9 in – I had this from before so I don’t know the brand or price and I’m not sure if it’s polyester or not. I’m sure I spent less than $5 on it though.

3. Angled paint brush: Zibra 2 in. Angled Sash Trim Brush – $9.99 (I’ve used the cheapest one at Home Depot before and I hated it! It left streaks all over because the bristles are so hard. This one is nice and smooth and soft!)

4. Paint tray: Economy 11-1/2 in. Plastic Enviro Paint Tray – $1.97 (You could cover it with aluminum foil to reuse. I tried doing it but it looked all funky so I didn’t do the foil)

5. Painter’s tape: FrogTape 1-1/2 in. x 60 yds. Multi-Surface Tape – $6.97

6. Spackle: Phenopatch 1 qt. Premium-Grade Patch-N-Paint Lightweight Spackling – $6.98

7. Putty knife: Workforce 3 in. Flexible Scraper – $4.37

8. Sandpaper: 3M 9 in. x 11 in. Surface Leveling Sandpaper (3-Pack) – $3.97

9. Hand held sander: I bought mine long time ago but is similar to the Homax Hand Sander – $4.98

10. Ladder or high chair

11. Cotton blankets (thrift them?) or tarp or plastic drop cloth

12. Cotton rags or old tshirts or cleaning sponge

13. Screwdriver to remove outlet/light switch covers

14. Large plastic bags or newspapers

15. Scissors

16. Primer: BEHR Premium Plus 1-Gal. Stain-Blocking Primer and Sealer Interior – $20.88

17. Paint for your trimmings, moldings, etc. – I used BEHR’s Ultra Pure White Satin Enamel 7050

18. Your choice of paint color – I used BEHR’s Adriatic Mist 490C-2

NOTE: Paint samples are $2.94 each and it comes with 8 oz. Worth the little expense to avoid painting with a color you hate. Total varies according to how large the room and how many items you already have. I spent about $75 in everything.

Priceless DIY Painting Tips

Saran wrap all your brushes to keep them from drying up overnight. You don’t have to wash off the paint if you’re not changing colors but if you are, then make sure to remove as much of the water possible because it’ll dilute your first few strokes and it’ll make your wall very wet. You could also place them in the refrigerator and then letting it adjust to room temperature before using them.

For small, cramped spaces, like behind the toilet, find other ways to get in there. Where there is a will, there is a way! I Googled it and got a few great ideas, like buying painter’s replacement pads and taping them to a long stick. I ended using a mini-roller because it actually fit in there. But bottom line is, don’t skip on painting areas that are visible (even if slightly so) just because it’s difficult because there are other ways to get in there. Sometimes though, you just gotta give in.

You don’t need to buy tarps or plastic to cover the floor. Just use an old, unused blanket, or buy one at the thrift store instead. Also, you can cut up the oversize garbage plastic bags into pieces and tape them along the wall about 10-12 inches out to protect the borders and corners. But everything else, just place a blanket.

Caulk early on so it dries off well. I skipped on the caulk because I seriously didn’t want to wait a whole ‘nother 24 hours and since the contractor placed them upside down, I figured, I’d have to fix them eventually. The reason why I’d caulk early on is because it’s recommended to paint the caulk as well.

Before, During, and After Paint Job!

It took me 4 DAYS and LESS THAN $100 to repaint the bathroom. The bathroom is very small, it’s only 6 ft x 8 ft x 5 ft. It only has the toilet, one small window, mirror, light fixture, sink, one outlet and light switch area. It only has floor baseboards and door trimmings. I noticed that the prior contractor that painted the room place the baseboards facing the wrong way. Smart guy. I was going to redo the baseboards but I might just leave that for another DIY project. Too much for my limited DIY experience right now haha

Day 1

before painting bathroom bathroom after spackle

bathroom after spackle

– remove everything from the bathroom
– use a putty knife to remove small bumps and prep for sanding
– sand the entire room (top to bottom) to even out obvious areas (sooo painful on my back and arms)
– wipe the walls with a clean cloth
– spackle the heck out the walls

Day 2

Finally, Time to Paint

Prime the walls. It might be obvious but some people want to save time and avoid priming altogether. But when I compare the walls in the house that were not primed vs the walls the were primed, I see a HUGE difference.

Paint top down, starting with the ceiling to the walls to the trimmings. I like this approach because I don’t have to spend time taping the whole room twice or three times! I hate taping. It’s so tedious. Wherever my paint went over the base moldings, I just primed over those areas, let it dry a few hours, then painted with a higher gloss white paint.

Make sure the paint is dry to the touch when recoating and make sure the paint has dried for at least 24 hours if painting with a new color (i.e., primer to paint color to trimmings). In some areas because of the humidity, it didn’t dry long enough so when I removed the tape, it bubbled up dragging the whole paint with it! Ahh! Worst thing ever. So make sure it’s really dry before putting painter’s tape.

Painting the ceiling is super easy. Since this is a very low traffic room, I didn’t buy any special paint for the ceiling. I just painted with the primer twice and was very happy with the clean white look. I chose a flat finish for the walls so I didn’t feel the need to paint over the primer. Also, I used the same roller and angled brush that I used for the walls. Don’t be intimidated by the ceiling but do buy eye cover in case of paint drips 🙂

bathroom after sanding bathroom after primer

– sand every area that has spackle (I didn’t spackle twice because I was too eager)
– clean the walls again. I made a dumb mistake… I used a moistened clean rag to wipe the walls again and removed some of the spackle I had just placed! DUUH! O.o I know… But it’s OK, I can live with it. I didn’t want to re-do everything.
– tape off the floor edges with plastic
– place painter’s tape to protect glass window
– cover the light fixture and toilet
– prime the entire room, top to bottom two times
– wash all brushes well and saran wrap them
– test paint samples (you don’t need to buy a new brush, just use the brush you have and wash it after each time or buy one small brush just to test all your samples)

Day 3

perfect clean inviting bathroom color

Actual wall pictures without photoshop!

– admire white room
– select final paint color and get a gallon of flat finish – adriatic mist
– tape the ceiling edges
– paint first coat of pretty new color
– wait for three hours to dry
– recoat with pretty new color
– wash all brushes well and saran wrap them

Day 4

bathroom after paint job bathroom after paint job

– admire new color
– tape around the baseboard moldings, door trimmings, and window
– reprime areas where I accidentally painted over
– let primer dry for a couple of hours
– paint trimmings, moldings, and window area with satin enamel ultra white pure
– wait about 4-5 hours for the paint to dry to the touch (it should be dry a little more than just to the touch to make sure it doesn’t peel the new coat of paint) and remove painter’s tape

This project actually took more than 4 days. I would say 6 days because 1 day of running to Home Depot to get supplies and looking at paint colors and 1 day of just cleaning up the bathroom after everything was done. But 4 days of actual painting labor.

I love the result! More painting projects!

Thanks for stopping by : )


Coffee Pot Cleaner Alternative – Week 6

I’ve had my Mr. Coffee 4-cup coffeemaker for probably over two years. I’m ashamed to say but I’ve never done the suggested manufacturer maintenance to keep the coffee tasting delicious. I’ve blamed the coffee for the nasty burnt flavor. What a shame to have wasted delicious coffee since I brewed it with my dirty coffeemaker! Seeing how vinegar is the all-purpose solution to all cleaning problems, I tested this eco-friendly coffee pot cleaner alternative.

Why Vinegar as a Coffee Pot Cleaner Alternative?

–          Cheap

–          Leaves zero toxic residues inside your coffeemaker

–          Environmentally friendly

When Are You Due for Coffeemaker Maintenance?

Manufacturers recommend decalcifying, every 80 cycles when using soft water and every 40 cycles when using hard water (most of us, use filtered tap water, which has tons of stuff that result in mineral deposits). This means that depending on how often you brew, you would do maintenance every three months when using soft water (who uses soft water treatment? I heard it’s good for your hair) and every month and a half when using hard water (AKA tap water).

Some signs that your coffeemaker is due for maintenance:

–          Increase in time it takes to brew

–          Excessive steaming

–          Build up of white deposits on the surface

–          Nasty tasting coffee, regardless of what type of coffee you buy

What You’ll Need

Coffee Pot Cleaner

For this “DIY” project (let’s consider this a DIY…) all you need is:

–           White vinegar

–          Water

–          Time

Steps to Remove Mineral Deposit Build-up in the Water Reservoir

  1. Pour a mix of ½ white vinegar and ½ water to the top of the water reservoir.
  2. Let the unit sit for 2 hours. The vinegar will break down the lime and mineral deposits.
  3. Place a coffee filter like usual.
  4. After 2 hours, brew the vinegar and water mix.
  5. For those of us that have neglected our coffeemakers for years, repeat steps 1 – 3 above two more times, and just let it sit for 20 minutes instead of 2 hours. **Make sure you let the decanter cool before pouring cold water to avoid cracking of the glass.
  6. Trash the used coffee filters and make sure to use a new one each time you brew.
  7. After the vinegar mix brews, pour fresh water and fill the water reservoir to the top.
  8. Brew fresh water 2-3 times to rinse out the vinegar from the coffeemaker (or as many as you think you need).
  9. Clean the decanter following the steps below while you let the unit sit for 2 hours.

Steps to Remove Mineral Deposit Build-up in the Decanter

  1. Pour equal parts of white vinegar and hot water inside your decanter to the top.
  2. Find a bowl that will let the decanter’s bottom fit nicely in a vinegar solution. Just pour enough vinegar to cover the bottom part of the decanter (where the hard minerals are built-up).
  3. Let the decanter sit for 2 hours. The vinegar will break down the lime and mineral deposits.
  4. After 2 hours, empty the decanter and rinse with clean water.
  5. Clean the removable filter basket at the same time you clean the decanter (see below).

Steps to Remove Build-up in the Removable Filter Basket

  1. Place the filter basket in a bowl where you can immerse it in vinegar mix to the top.
  2. Pour equal parts of white vinegar and hot water inside the bowl to the cover the filter basket.
  3. Let the decanter sit for 2 hours. The vinegar will break down the lime and mineral deposits.
  4. After 2 hours, rinse with clean water.
  5. You can wash inside the basket with a new toothbrush or q-tips to keep the coffee oil and coffee grime from building up between the crevices.
  6. Follow the steps below to clean the exterior of your coffeemaker.

Steps to Clean the Exterior of Your Coffeemaker and Under the Top Lid

  1. Wipe down all the areas with 100% vinegar using a cloth or paper towel. You can use q-tips for tight spots.
  2. Wipe down the area under the top lid. Mine has accumulated lots of coffee stains but I read that placing a second filter on top of the coffee ground will keep the spattering to a minimum.
  3. For the warming plate, you might have to place a cotton cloth / paper towel soaked in vinegar and let it sit for 2 hours (depending on the hardness of the build-up). Then, once softened, it will a little easier to wipe.


–          Better-tasting coffee

–          Coffeemaker will last you longer

–          Faster brews

–          No embarrassing dirty coffeemaker

Coffee Pot Cleaner How much cleaner the water is in the before/after picture??


Coffee Pot Cleaner Did you see that nasty bug that came out from my coffeemaker???


I did the test, and coffee definitely tastes much better! And I feel much cleaner.


DIY Bathroom Window Privacy Film – Week 5

Our downstairs dungeon bathroom has been privacy-less for years and years, as you can see from the before picture. Inspired by the window privacy film DIY from our kitchen, I found this perfect post on 7th House on the Left that shared a Moroccan pattern stencil perfect for contact paper. So using the left over contact paper from the Kitchen Window Privacy Film DIY from week 2, I added much needed privacy to that bathroom (disregard the poopoo color wall, it will leave the bathroom soon, forever).

DIY window privacy film

So this project will really cost only $8! I used the Con-Tact Frosty 288 in. x 18 in. Clear Liner that I got at Home Depot: Con-Tact Frost Clear Liner.

supplies diy window privacy film

Then I used this handy Moroccan Pattern Stencil (click on the pdf link) that 7th House on the Left sweetly provided for all of us to use.

There aren’t any real instructions needed. Just measure your window to the contact paper, trace away using the stencil, then cut them up, and stick them to the window following your pattern.

The window privacy film DIY has been there three months and it looks the same as the first day – meaning, the contact paper has stuck very nicely (along with the kitchen one). Yay!

Best of all, I still have tons of contact paper… : P


PS: I’m 11 weeks behind… But I will eventually catch up!

Goodbye, Taiwan.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 – Day 36

ruyi chinese

A gift from Amà.

如意 (rú yì) as one wants / according to one’s wishes

Favorite Picture-Memories from Taiwan, Hong Kong, China

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The day before our departure, we did last shopping and dinner with family. My grandma invited me to her bedroom to show me all her arts and crafts projects and old pictures she has. I was so touched that she invited me to see her bedroom because I know it is a very private place to anybody. Then, my dad came in too and I could tell he was also very touched. These are the type of favorite moments of my trip that a photograph can’t capture. But I thought I’d compile favorites of those memories that I did get a picture of in chronological order with a link to the corresponding blog post : )


First Day in Taiwan Lost in a Bustling Neighborhood

Getting lost on our first day in Taiwan with my dad and walking around for 45 minutes following people’s directions was fun.



The Mountain and Please No Pee Splashing

Eating, Eating, and More Eating

Spending time in the mountain, hiking and eating lunch with my aunt/her husband/grandma’s friends.

mountain kaohsiung

Grandma Leg Lift


Sad Beginning at Guanyin to Happy Ending at Xiziwan

Our visit to my grandfather’s resting place and then enjoying a family outing biking at Sizihwan.

inside columbarium

taiwanese hot dog


Can You Say Awk-Waaard

Spending the day watching my dad play golf and being his paparazzi.



Hot Sping-ing in Zhiben, Taitung

Visiting hot springs for the very first time! This is also the only picture I have of just my granma and me (I think).

Fengshan Station Taiwan


Grandma is Like the Energizer Bunny

Just Arrived to Hong Kong

Dad and I driving around on the moped a few times (and getting lost).

moped kaohsiung


A Different Side of Sizihwan

After being stood up, my dad wanted to make it up to me (even though I was stood up by someone else) so we went out the whole day to Sizihwan with my cousin as our “tour guide.”

jumping cijin tunnel


Salvador Dali Art Exhibition in Kaoshiung

Seeing the Salvador Dali exhibition in Kaohsiung with my cousin was a lot of fun too. I realized that I have a tendency for abstract art and Dali is now one of my favorites.

salvador dali art exhibit


Self-Guided Tour of Lotus Pond in Kaohsiung

Video of orchestra: Orchestra at Lotus Pond, Kaohsiung for Chinese New Year

Going out by myself to explore Lotus Pond was unforgettable. I enjoy solo-touring. I take my sweet time taking pictures and walking around.

Spring and Autumn Pavilion


Finding Fo Guang Shan Monastery

Fo Guang Shan Videos – favorite is the ending : ) Fireworks at Fo Guang Shan

The biggest adventure was finding Fo Guang Shan Monastery and spending the entire day by myself. One of the most unforgettable experiences in Taiwan.

Fo Guang Shan Monastery Taiwan Fo Guang Shan Monastery Taiwan Fo Guang Shan Monastery Taiwan Fo Guang Shan Monastery Taiwan


What Happened to the Taiwan Trip Posts?

Riding the Maokong gondola and finding out that my dad is scared of heights.

maokong gondola taipei


Hello, Hong Kong!

Having the freshest of them seafoods I’ve ever had!

Sai Kung Promenade


Highest Viewing Platform in Hong Kong

Enjoying a yummy latte at The Peak in Hong Kong and taking in the 360 degree view of Hong Kong.

victoria peak hong kong


Dongguan, Guangdong Province, China

I got to see a more relaxed side of my dad and even karaoke’d with him and his friends. I think he’s fun to hang out with and I can see how his friends enjoy his company because he’s always down to do anything. But with family, we see a more serious side of him so this was another priceless experience.

dongguang karaoke


A Little Sightseeing in China

During this trip, I found out my dad really enjoys biking. We rode the bike three times and each time, I would see a big smile on his face and him saying how much he missed riding a bike.

biking in dongguan


Last Day in China – Xiqiao Mountain

Sightseeing with my dad’s friends was fun. One of them got a calf cramp from walking up the stairs so my dad told him to sit on the floor and stretch his leg. Then, my dad kicked the sole of his foot hard and the cramp was gone. My dad starts joking around saying that he came to China just so that he could kick his friend. And what an expensive kick that was LOL Everyone was cracking up hard.

nanhai guanyin xiqiao mountain
Seeing my third auntie (right) at night for dinner after she got off work was nice. On our day back from China, she came over to have dinner and I finally took a picture of her, my sixth auntie, and my dad.

family in taiwan


Photo Nostalgia

One my most favorite things about my trip was seeing old pictures. I love all of them but if I had to choose one, it would be seeing my three oldest siblings riding one bike while my second oldest sister is hauling them lol

siblings biking


Chung Tai Chan Monastery

Lastly, visiting Chung Tai Chan Monastery was nice. But meeting the nuns was even better. Monks and nuns are so mysterious. They have such different energy than other people like us and I loved meeting them.

Chung Tai Chan Monastery

I only have one last post of my trip. I can’t believe I posted about every single day I spent there. That would be 36 days!