My everyday life...

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!!! Now I feel like I can move on to Christmas...I just can't decorate or shop until after Thanksgiving!

I would like to think that OTHER bloggers get to hang around all day painting, sewing, cooking and just blogging away about all their fun and creative projects.

I suspect that is not the case. Truth is, we all have a REAL life. One that requires our daily attention.

I am a "list maker." I keep multiple yellow note pads all over the my truck, in the kitchen, on my desk...consolidated when needed. Seriously, if I don't write it down, it probably won't get done. Errands, calls, chores, needed supplies...all has to be on the list. If I forget my list, I drive around aimlessly with no idea what I need to do. 

Do I have a phone that has a "list" function? Yes I do. But I can barely make calls and text with it...forget about making a list on it!

If I forget to consult "the list," chores don't get done.

Sometimes a chore or errand gets moved from list to other words, it didn't get done today, so it goes on the list for tomorrow...and then maybe the next day...and the next.

Last week, before all the Thanksgiving hoopla started and Christmas began creeping out of the attic (an avalanche actually!), I wanted to get a few mundane "honey-dos" completed that had been languishing on my lists for a few months! You know, that stuff most women tell their husbands to, I don't have that luxury!

I finally shut off the seasonal meter...only because the hiss from a busted pipe reminded me I forgot! I pulled down some creeping plant stuff that overruns my front facade every year so Brian and Matt would be able to put up Christmas lights, (that is one "honey do" they do have to do) and I reworked the flagstone in the front bed to make room for a HUGE rock (220 lbs...seriously!) that was needed to deal with the roof run-off!

And last but NOT least I desperately needed to recaulk the kitchen backsplash and do some touchup grout and caulking in my bathroom! 

If you want your tubs and kitchens caulked, invite me over...that is one thing that drives me nuts! Nasty, cracking, mildew infested caulk...or poorly done caulk. Either way, I am liable to go to my truck and pull out my utility knife and caulk gun! 

It is one of those tiny maintenance things that needs to be addressed in your home. If you do not keep your tub or backsplash properly caulked, you WILL eventually have water damage to your walls and/or floor. It may take a few years, but it will happen. So ever so often, scrape out the old, nasty caulk and replace it with new! It will look better AND you will prevent water damage around your tub and in your kitchen!

It seriously is not a hard thing to do!

Here are a few general "rules of thumb." 

1) Always caulk between your countertop and backsplash and between your tub and wall tile. DO NOT use grout in those gaps...grout should ONLY be used between tiles...never between tile and another material. Caulk between tile and walls but make sure you use a "paintable" latex caulk...and recaulk every time you paint! 

2) Silicone caulk only cleans up with mineral spirits and is usually NOT paintable. You should use silicone in "wet areas" like in your tub/shower or outside in areas you will not be painting. You can use latex caulks on walls and trim and on your kitchen counters. Latex caulk will clean up with water. 

3) If caulk or grout cracks or separates, cut or scrape it all out with a utility knife before applying new caulk or grout. If the area is "stained" with mildew, spray it with bleach and use an old toothbrush to scrub it out. Let it dry thoroughly before applying new caulk or grout! 

Some caulk says it is mildew resistant...I think they lie. 

4) Less is better....if you glob the caulk or run a thick bead, you are going to make a nasty mess. Especially if you are using silicone caulk!

This is a "before and after" picture on my kitchen counter.

On the left is after I had removed the old caulk and applied new...on the right is the old stained, cracked caulk. You can often find latex caulks that match tile grout! In bath tubs, it is best to go with a caulk that matches your tub, if possible...white on white, almond on almond, etc. 



The tub caulk had gotten pretty nasty and I had some cracking in the grout in the corners. (It is evident from the pictures that I put this chore off entirely too long!)

I removed all the old grout and caulk with a utility knife, used a little bleach and a toothbrush to scrub out any mildew and nastiness... 

...and then applied new grout and silicone caulk.

First, I mixed up a small batch of grout. I used my finger to mash it in the corner and then wiped it with a dishcloth. Small and simple repair!

Pure silicone caulk is not the easiest thing in the world to deal with but it really is the best sealant for "wet" areas. When cutting the tip on your caulk, try to cut the tip no bigger than your "gap" and make sure you cut it at about a 45% angle.

When you run the tip along the "gap" make sure you run a smooth and even line...keep the caulk gun moving at an even and steady pace. I use my finger (whichever one has a broken nail at the time) to smooth out the line, wiping any excess on a paper towel as I go! 

I saw a little trick online one time where they run a piece of tape along the tub to keep excess caulk from getting all over the place.

I tried it. Honestly, I have done this so many times, I can run a good line and do a pretty good job smoothing it with my finger. The tape thing didn't work for me, but no harm in trying!!! Especially if you are prone to getting a lot of caulk where it shouldn't be! 

Just know that if you use this trick, remove the tape immediately and you still need to run your finger along the caulk to smooth it out because the tape is going to "pull" the caulk up a bit on the edge. 

(After the caulk dried I did some serious scrubbing on the grout with baking soda, followed with bleach! Man that stuff can get nasty!)

I did learn a valuable lesson...caulk does not store in your garage! No telling how long that silicone caulk had been in my garage and just because it had never been opened did not mean it was good. After 4 days, it had STILL not I had to scrape it ALL out and apply new caulk! Such is life!

Again, caulk is not something you want to ignore when it begins to break down! 

Now that I have a few "honey dos" completed, I can concentrate on Christmas! Yippeee! Not much has changed from last year, but I did make a few Christmas pillows and I have one or two little additions to my Christmas decor that I can't wait to share! I even have a little "craft project" I will share!

'Tis the season!