Full Bathroom Reno Day 18: How to Grout with a Grout Bag and Paint the Shower Ceiling

You may have noticed a lack of bathroom renovation posts here on the blog, and that's because we haven't worked on it for nearly a couple of weeks, for extenuating circumstances. We got back to work on it today, though.

We started to put up the pencils, which if you're not familiar, they look like this. But, due to the nature of our uneven natural stone, they weren't lining up. The idea of a pencil is to act as a trim, making a straight even line around the uneven natural stone. But in our case, it wouldn't have been even so we decided not to go through with it. Instead, we are going to finish the edges with caulk, like a typical shower surround.

Next, we decided to fill in a gap near the ceiling on one of the tiled walls.

filling in gaps with stacked stone tile

On the other two walls we tiled up to the ceiling, but on this first wall we stopped a little short. It was the first wall we did, and we assumed we needed to leave room for caulk, but it was a bit too much room. So, Jake cut tiny slivers of the tile and we filled in the gaps with those.

install stacked stone tile

We let the thinset dry, then we grouted the two corner lines. We decided to use a grout bag, to pipe it in the cracks easier. We chose unsanded grout, because our lines were less than 1/8".

grout and grout bag

how to mix grout

We mixed the grout per instructions, but I will note that if you're using a grout bag, it's a lot easier if the grout is more on the runny side. We did one seam with grout that was a thicker consistency, and one with grout that was a thinner consistency, and it was a ton easier with the thinner grout. With the grout bag, you simply pipe it into the cracks just like you were icing a cake.

how to grout with grout bag

After we grouted the seams, we smoothed it with these caulk tools to great a nice line.

grout stacked stone tile

grout stacked stone tile

In these photos the grout is reading lighter than it reads in person. In person, it blends beautifully.

After we grouted, I painted two coats on the ceiling of a water and mold resistant paint. In hindsight, it would have been a lot smarter to paint it before we tiled, but live and learn.

We were ready to seal the tile, but I read on the instructions that you must wait 72 hours after any grout application to seal it, so we are waiting. After that, we can caulk around all of the edges, secure the hardware, and be done! Yay! I'm very happy to be at this point.


On Saving Things

I have found so much joy in the kitchen lately, and it is due to my "new" cutting board. There are quotation marks around new because it's new, but it's not. I bought it around five months ago with a birthday gift card. I just started using it about three weeks ago.

wood grain cutting board

Why? I was saving it. I do that with most of my new or nice things; do you? But here's the question, what exactly am I saving it for?

wood cutting board onions habeneros

Yes, it's a beautiful cutting board with lovely graining, color, and details in the wood. But it's a cutting board. It was purchased with a given gift card. And, it is intended to use for cutting things!

chopped onions wood cutting board

For five months, it has been in my skinny cutting board cabinet with all of my other cutting boards that I actually use. It was tucked away, buried in the cabinet. I was saving it because I loved it and didn't want to mess it up, but wasn't it an even bigger travesty to not use it? Better to love it and use it than never mess it up and keep it tucked away forever, for fear of ruining it.

chopped habenero wood cutting board

Here's the beauty: I actually love it even more now with the hundred little knife marks in it. It's rustically beautiful. I get to use it on a daily basis, and I enjoy it the entire time I'm using it. When I look at it or use it, it creates happiness. And, who doesn't need a little extra happiness in their day?

rustic cutting board

Life is a celebration. Let's treasure and celebrate each moment, even if that means messing up a perfectly good cutting board.


Baking: Mason Jar Shaped Cookies

Every year for Mother's and Father's Day, Jake and I always get a little something "from the dogs". Usually it's a cute card with a dog on it and a note from Tex and Charlie, and they sign it. In past, I've used ink and stamped their paw print on them, and Jake's drawn pictures of the boys. It's always something fun and silly.
mason jar cookies

I had a little extra dough from the beer shaped cookies, so I made Jake some cookies. He had to work when we celebrated Father's Day, so he didn't get any of those cookies. I left one at home for him, but I think someone couldn't help himself and ate it. (I'm looking at you, Tex.) So of course, Tex was apologetic and asked me to make some more.

mason jar shaped sugar cookie
One of my friends shares my love for mason jars and gifted me a mason jar cookie cutter some time ago as a thank you. I thought it would be fun to make cookies and say thanks for being an "a mason" dad! 

sugar cookie shaped like mason jar

This time, it was a lot easier to roll out the dough. I think I learned my lesson last time- you have to press down on the dough hard with the rolling pin bit by bit until it's mostly flattened, and then roll it out. So if you use this recipe, make sure to do that. All in all it was a happy ending, Jake loved his cookies and Tex was reprieved. That silly pup!


Baking: Beer Shaped Sugar Cookies

This year for Father's Day my family went to a local brewery. My dad loves to do different and fun things, so this was just the ticket! The brewery allowed picnic lunches, so my mom brought sandwiches and chips, and I brought cookies. I love to do themed things, and I'm known in my family to always bring some sort of themed dish to holidays. I've brought turkey and pumpkin shaped cheese balls to Thanksgiving, popcorn cupcakes to a movie night, all sorts of Christmas cupcakes, and on and on. I just love making things extra special! When I asked my mom what I could bring, she said cookies, so my mind went to work on how I could make themed cookies. Beer shaped cookies would be fun, I thought!
I got a bottle and beer mug cookie cutter, and I used this recipe. In the past, when I've made cookies, they never seem to keep their shape, and since I had such cute cookie cutters, I wanted to make sure they would this time.
I gathered all of my ingredients:

ingredients to bake sugar cookies

ingredients to bake sugar cookies

Along with my new cute cookie cutters:

beer bottle beer mug cookie cutter

beer mug beer bottle cookie cutter

And I went to work. I will note, the beer mug shaped cookie cutter is copper, and the beer bottle cookie cutter is aluminum. The copper cookie cutter was so much easier to work with, because it was so much sturdier. The aluminum cookie cutter was a bit flimsier, so I had to be more careful when cutting the dough.

Also, my parents gifted me a Kitchen Aid mixer for Christmas and a marble rolling pin. It was so heavenly to work with these! I love to bake, but I've never used a mixer before; I've always done it by hand. It was so lovely and so fun to watch the mixer do the work!

beer shaped cookies

I painstakingly followed the recipe, which includes making the dough, refrigerating it for 45 minutes, then rolling the dough to a certain width, refrigerating it again for 15 minutes, cutting the shapes, then freezing it for 15 minutes, all before baking. She says this is to keep the shape, and I think it did pretty well! Usually when I bake cookies they tend to spread out, sometimes leaving the shape indistinguishable, but these kept very well. When you roll the dough out for the first time, she says it takes a bit of elbow grease, and I can certainly say it does. I had to use my body weight, pushing down onto the roller to get them going.

beer shaped sugar cookies

I did half of the batch with just sugar, for any sugar cookie purists.

beer mug shaped sugar cookie

beer bottle shaped sugar cookie

I decorated the other half with icing. For the bottles, I created a beer label and beer cap, and wrote "Pops Brew." I started calling my dad Pops some time ago, and it's stuck. My niece even calls him Pops instead of Grandpa. So cute! My dad has a mustache (he's very handsome!) and when we text, if he uses a smiley face, he inserts a mustaches like this :{) so a mustache label was fitting. The writing isn't perfect, but it's the thought that counts!

beer bottle sugar cookie Pops brew

For the beer mug, I used yellow icing for the beer, and white icing for the foam.

iced beer mug sugar cookie

iced beer mug and beer bottle sugar cookie

beer shaped sugar cookies

I think these would be fun for a beer tasting party, bachelor party, Super Bowl party, man's birthday... the possibilities are limitless. And, I think you could get really creative with the beer labels!

The cookies were delicious, and perfectly soft in the centers and lightly crisped on the outside. I've never baked cookies with lemon extract before, and I was a bit worried that the flavor would be too strong, but it created a very nice flavor. Jake sampled the dough before it was cooked, and he thought it tasted a bit nutty. Either way, they were very good!

We had a blast at the brewery, and the cookies were a fun touch. So what do you think, are you going to make beer shaped cookies?


Dining Room Built Ins: Before and After

When we moved into our home, everything was dark. Dark painted walls, dark paneling, dark trim, and dark oak built ins abounded in our dining room. Needless to say, with our oak wood dining table and chairs in there, it felt like a cave. A woodsman's cave, maybe.

Now, I love wood and the richness it brings into a home. I even prefer wood over painted furniture most of the time. Unfortunately, it was all the same color and it was all old-fashioned 80's oak. Don't get me wrong- I love the 80's! I was made in the 80's and I loved my oversize sweatshirts, leggings, and scrunchies- but I don't want that look in my home. :)

It took some convincing on my part to bring Jake over to the light side (see what I did there?) but eventually he saw the light. (Boom! That's two in one sentence. I'm on a roll.) We first took care of the paneling- more on that another time. Second, we took care of the huge oak built ins.

Here are the befores:

Here are the afters:

These built ins are huge multi-taskers for us. They serve as a desk, storage, and occasionally a buffet table for us. They are right behind the dining table, and the dining room is central in our house, so they need to work hard and look pretty. For the chair, we simply turn a dining room chair around and use that when needed. Sometimes Jake even pulls out the poof and uses it as a seat. We keep our printer, modem, and Jake's work paperwork on the desk portion. The drawers provide a place for assorted office supplies. The left cabinet provides miscellaneous storage, and somewhat acts as a broom closet. The right bookshelves hold more files, more office supplies, and dining room necessities, like our cloth napkins. The right cabinets hold additional office supplies as well as my decorative table items, like candles and table runners.
To refinish the built ins, we first removed the hardware, which was brass. I spray painted the pulls, hinges, screws, and shelving hardware with oil-rubbed bronze spray paint. They were in good condition and the shape was nice, plus the holes were already in place for them, so they just got a quick makeover with spray paint. For anyone who is wondering how well that hold up to heavy use, I can testify that it holds up very well. We actually did this project two years ago and they still are in perfect condition.
For the built ins, we sanded them heavily with a palm sander and by hand. They were coated in a heavy varnish, so we needed to be sure to get all of that off. Then, I cleaned them up really well and painted them to match our kitchen cabinets. We liked the color of our kitchen cabinets, and they are actually parallel from each other, so it was nice to match them. I took a cabinet door from the kitchen cabinets to the hardware store and they color matched the paint for me. It took about four coats to completely cover the oak.
Then, I painted the shelf backs and the top nook a beautiful dark green. The color reads more olive in these photos, but it real life it's a bit richer and darker. Once it all dried, I replaced the pulls and the shelving hardware, and put back the glass shelves. I did remove one shelf as we didn't really need it, and it cluttered the look.
All in all, it has brightened the room and the house so much. The dining room is connected to the den/living room and kitchen through a somewhat open plan, so it has affected all three rooms immensely. We both love it. And how can we not, when this is the view from the desk?
I'm so glad we took the plunge and made them our own. It now looks and feels like home.

If you have a dark room, don't worry! Some hard work and paint can change so much.

One last before and after:

It feels so good to be home!


Full Bathroom Reno Day 17: How to Tape and Float Waterproof Sheetrock

We left off with all of the stacked stone tiling complete, but before we installed the finishing trim pieces of tile, we needed to float the sheetrock next to the tile.
waterproof sheetrock
We needed to float both sides- the side with the shower hardware to make an even surface, and the back side to make it flush with the existing sheetrock. We used joint compound and paper joint tape.
joint compound and joint tape

joint compund putty knife

The first step was to apply the joint compound over the sheetrock with a putty knife.

apply joint compound

Then, we smoothed the joint compound with a flat trowel. It would be ideal to use a squared or rectangular trowel for this, but we just used what we had.

smooth joint compound with putty knife
Then, we applied the joint tape over the smoothed joint compound. Be sure to apply it correct side up, or it will bubble and crease once it's dry.

joint tape

apply joint tape

Next, we applied more joint compound over the tape with a putty knife.

apply joint compound over joint tape

And finally, we smoothed that layer of joint compound, making sure to create an even surface.

smooth joint compound with putty knife

smooth joint compound with putty knife

Meanwhile, my sweet faithful pup stood by and watched. He's really been wondering what we're doing spending all of our time in the bathroom and not spending it sitting on the couch cuddling with him!


Doing this floats the area and creates a smooth and even work surface for us.

floated drywall
Next up, pencils. Then grouting the corners and sealing it. We're getting closer!