.How To Paint Cinder Block.

The blog has been rather quiet this month because Adam and I actually completed a few house projects! Crossing items off our forever to-do list is seriously the greatest.feeling.ever. Well..I'm sure getting a new job, buying a house, getting married, or having a baby is better cause for that term but hey--at our stage of life, completed house projects are reason enough!

Adam and I tackled a big project the other day, I'll let you guess by looking at this image:
Any ugliness jump out at you?

Oh..you noticed some uneven clay stained cinder blocks?--Funny, we saw that too!

The good news for us, that ugly cinder block is now gone :) I'm going to share the process of how we painted it to simply inform those of you who are new to this 'home owner thing' like us and have ugly cinder block around so we can all learn together.

Materials needed:

- Pressure washer (If you do not own one, ask family and friends)
- Scotch Blue Painters Tape
- Paint rollers of your choice (We purchased the biggest/fluffiest roller from Home Depot made for   
  extremely rough/coarse surfaces and it did not work as well as the cheap smaller roller you would use 
  for an interior. We found the smaller one filled in the tiny holes better in the cinder blocks despite the 
  larger one being designed for that very thing. Strange but true!)
- Paint sticks to stir
- Paint trays to roll
- Paint holder for cutting in and for rolling
- Small brush to cut in primer and paint
- Pocket knife/kitchen knife/ or razor blade (I used a sharp little kitchen knife)
- Drop cloths/old sheets/lawn tarps (In our case we used all three!)
(Buy gallons of paint/primer according to the size of your project, not by the links I have shared)
Getting Started:

1. Before beginning any painting, there is prep work to be done. First prepare the outside area by 
     blowing or sweeping loose debris on the ground.
2. Using your pressure washer, clean the existing cinder blocks to remove all dirt and mildew. Allow 
     to dry completely.
    Tip: Depending on the condition of your cinder block, you may
    have to scrape off old chipping paint or use chemical solutions  
    along with your power washer to remove excess mold and
3. Tape along the bottom of your cinder block wall and the ground using Blue Painter's Tape. 
    Tip: I recommend using a dish towel or old t-shirt to help
    reinforce the seal of the tape to the ground. It will not be perfect
    since you are working with bumpy surfaces but do your very 
    best and take your time.
4. Lay a drop cloth down to protect the ground/pavement/concrete. 
5. Using your small brush, begin cutting in with the primer.
    Tip: For your first coat of primer during cutting in, do not apply 
    too heavy or paint will "glop" and may sink under the tape. Do
    two thin coats of primer for your cutting in and then later on you
    can apply a heavier/thicker coat of your actual paint because the 
    primer will act as a sealer and not allow any paint to drip under 
6. Begin rolling your primer onto the cinder blocks.
    Tip: Like I mentioned earlier, we preferred using the smaller 
    roller instead of the thicker one designed for painting rough 
    surfaces. We felt the smaller one filled in more of the tiny holes
    in the cinder block. Please use whatever you like best and works 
    well for you.
(I had to include this photo because it made me laugh out loud. This is my face saying to Adam, "Make sure you are only getting the roller and not me!" Bah, he is such a stinker. Enjoy friends!)

7. After completing your first coat of primer, allow walls to dry. 
    Tip: Wait for at least an hour if you are using KILZ and if it is 
    a different brand wait longer and do as the label suggests. We 
    played it extra safe and let it fully dry over night. Apply a 
    second coat if needed. We bought paint and primer in one so we 
    opted not to do a second coat.
8. Repeat steps 5-7 using your paint.
(Notice in the photo above I already cut in along the bottom and in any of the corner/creases before Adam rolled on the first coat of paint.)

9. When the first coat is complete, inspect the job and coverage. Use your small brush from cutting in 
     to fill in any white primer holes bleeding through that were missed.
    Tip: Apply a generous amount of paint onto your brush and 
    "smush/poke/dab" your brush into the holes. Your brush will 
    look like it's dancing with a full twirl included :)
10. Once paint has dried, apply second coat.
      Tip: Remember to cut in with your second coat before rolling.
11. Using your small razor blade or kitchen knife, score a line between your tape and cinder block 
       wall. This will guarantee the paint does not peel off with the tape. Remove your tape.
      Tip: Remove tape on an angle and at a consistent speed.
12. Clean up your painting area and brushes/rollers.
13. Enjoy your hard work!

I adore the picture above because you can see the ugly cinder block in the background plus a little pup's bottom. Great reminder why DIY-ing is worth it! And now you know our next project for this weekend. Oh--in case you were wondering, Colden approves ;)
Ugly cinder block in background and pretty painted cinder block in foreground!
We adore the color Cathedral Gray. At night it is a rich gray and during the day with the sun light reflecting off of our fence and deck, it has a nice warmth to it--almost beige like.

It's perfect!

(linking up to a few parties)

Happy Living--Happy Priming and Painting
and remember
--Little Things Bring Smiles--


.Celebrating 2 Years.

Last weekend Adam and I joined my family in Chesapeake to celebrate my niece Emma's 2nd birthday.  

Here are a few pictures to remember her special day :)
Birthday girl playing with her daddy (my brother) and bubbles:
My parents and husband enjoying the beautiful morning at the park:
Birthday girl Emma with her proud parents:
Emma loves her Grandma and Pop-Pop:
..And she loves kisses from Auntie Katie:
Happy Birthday sweet girl!

If you liked looking at Emma's cutie pie face, check out my sister-in-law's blog filled with Emma's adventures and beautiful crochet work :)

.Backyard Improvements.

Adam and I have been making major improvements to our backyard little by little over the past year and you know what--I have not shared any of them with you! Shame on me, bad bad blogger

I think deep down inside I wanted to wait until the area was complete to share it with you but where's the fun in that? The last thirty minutes have been spent finding old photos on my computer..easier said than done..my desktop is a nightmare, absolutely no organization. (Getting back on track now.)

Here are a few exterior shots of our back yard we took after our offer was accepted.

 View from our back deck:
 View from bottom of driveway:
View underneath the deck:
Still looks and feels a bit "construction-y," doesn't it? Thankfully, Adam and I were able to look past all of the cinder blocks and visualize the potential. 

The first job we hired was tree removal. Before buying our home, the house inspector informed us the back tree was rotten inside and could be a major concern. So..

We got it removed and had our pine trees trimmed.

Now you see it:
 Now you don't:
I wish our next improvement came quickly after this but sadly this is how our yard sat for an entire year. Yes, crazy big wood piles and all..it was great, just great.

During that year, we saved..and saved..and saved...any guesses what for?

A fence!

Without going into much detail and without sharing photos, I am simply going to say: We needed a privacy fence to hide from "those" neighbors, ya know--the white trashy kind. Oops, too much? My bad.

You may remember reading about our roller coaster ride here regarding the fencing issue(s). The story ended with Adam and I hiring a surveyor to mark our property (what we should have done in the very beginning--live and learn) and had the fencing company start fresh installing our fence. Our mistakes may have cost extra money, a lot in fact, but we learned a valuable lesson: Do not always listen to what your real estate agent and person selling you the house says about where your property lines are, hire someone from the city to tell you. 
Here is one shot of our new big fence! It is 6 feet across the back and extends up to 8 feet on the side to cover up "those" neighbors. I promise we are not being mean, it had to be done!
Our "good" neighbors installed a 4 foot fence themselves and even though a new matching fence would look perfect--using their fence saved us $4000 dollars. My OCD can look the other way on this one. 

Adam and I are not sure who loves the fence more, our dog or the two of us! :) The privacy is fantastic and knowing our little run away dog cannot get out is extremely comforting. Overall, it was worth all of the money and headaches.

The fencing project wrapped up in early Spring of this year and during the beginning of Summer, I completed our deck makeover with the help of experts in the staining and carpeting world. You can read about the makeover here:

Quick Before and After:
Just as our deck makeover was completed, Adam and I hired our neighbor (who has his own business doing home improvements) to install siding to the back and side of our house where cinder blocks ruled. We also had him install two new windows in the basement.

Take a look:
 View underneath the deck:
 The picture directly above and below shows another deck feature we had installed for FREE! Adam does video for a living and the deck guy needed a commercial..can we say trade of services? Fabulous!

Check out the commercial here.

Zipup in progress:
Now back to the siding.

Here is the awesome Before and After photo:
View underneath deck with our old patio furniture:
Saying,  "We love it," is the understatement of the year! 

The fresh bright white siding adds much needed warmth and life to our house. The back of our home is feeling almost complete and that excites me to no end.

This was our project list just last week:

- Add matching shutters to downstairs window
- Add caulking around door trim and new vinyl
- Paint trim white
- Paint exterior downstairs door yellow
- Prime both cinder block walls
- Paint both cinder block walls
- Touch up acorn wreath for door

And today:

- Add matching shutters to downstairs window
- Touch up acorn wreath
- Prime one cinder block wall
- Paint one cinder block wall

Woohoo for crossing things off! I completed the work on our downstairs door last week and absolutely love the results. Photos coming soon I promise! Adam and I spent the past two days priming and painting one of the large cinder block walls. It looks amazing! Again, photos and tutorial coming soon.

Good things are coming :) 

Thanks for reading about our backyard improvements! As always, I'd love to hear about any similar projects you have completed recently or are planning to tackle soon.



This weekend was filled with bear hugs, good food, reminiscing, and laughter. 

Adam and I had a dear friend from college visit us for the weekend. Reality hit how "old" we are getting after realizing four years had passed since we last saw one another. The three of us picked up right where we left off and jumped into great conversation. 

Here we all are back at a Christmas party in college:
And here we are today: 
(please note how Adam's hair is exactly the same--too funny! I promise he has had many haircuts in the past four years!)

 God has blessed Adam and I with a deep friendship in Hillary. It is so rare to find people who truly love and accept you..all of you, including your flaws and quirks. It was sad to see her go home to Mississippi but comforting knowing next time we will pick right back up like always. 

Hill and I back in college:
And today:
You are loved Hillary!

Happy Living--Happy Reuniting
and remember
--Little Things Bring Smiles--


.Dear Monday.

Thank you for cool temperatures and warm sunshine.
Thank you for my bad hair day and learning to deal with it.
Thank you for a relaxing afternoon..
..that led to a nap releasing my mind of all thought.
Thank you for breath today that smelled of strong coffee.
And thank you for my toothbrush and toothpaste that allowed me to show off my pearly whites.

See you next week Monday!