Thursday, September 5, 2013

Plank wall makeover

The kitchen did not get done over the weekend but we're so close now I can feel it!  I ran out of paint yesterday in the home stretch of repainting the walls.  The timing couldn't have been better though because I could use a little break.  We've been working hard for over three weeks.

The walls look so much better!  I love the pine planks walls but the knots showing through the paint were finally starting to bug me.  I covered and filled them and the nail holes with sheetrock putty.  Jeff prefers it over wood filler.  He says it's easier to work with.  I then repainted the walls with Valspar's zero voc paint and primer in Garlic Clove (an Olympic color).  It's white with a hint of warmness.  It's been my go to white for the past eight or nine years and I still love it.

Here are before and after pictures.

I covered literally thousands of nail holes!  You can see the yellow knots and knot holes and some of the planks have cracks running through them.

Here it is after filling the holes and knots.

So, so, so much better!  It has a crisper, cleaner look now.  Next, we need to tackle the ceiling.  I'm sure that'll be loads of fun!

One of the nice thing about using sheetrock putty is there's no dusty sanding.  If it needs to be sanded after it dries just use a damp sponge or rag and wipe it smooth.  No mess!

We're getting into our new fall schedule (even though it's still summer...grrr) which includes getting up at 5:30 every morning to milk the cow.  It's not necessary to do it that early but the girls still need Jeff's help at this point and he's got to leave for work around 6:30.  Once Bonnie (the cow) learns the routine well enough to get to the stall pretty much on her own they'll push it back to 7am or so.  I can't wait.  I'm so sleepy all the time!

Yesterday was Evelyn's 6th birthday.  Normally I'd cancel school for the day but since it was only the second day and she still looks forward to school I gifted her with a little extra school work.  She loved it! She also helped Gracie bake sugar cookies which all the kids had fun decorating.

These are the very best sugar cookies in the world, by the way!  Way, way better than store bought.  I've had the recipe so long I don't remember where I got it but I think it might be my cousin's grandma Lil's recipe.  I hear they were legendary.

Cookies or cupcakes are how we celebrate actual birthday's when the party doesn't fall on the same day and it rarely does.  It's a tradition the kids always look forward to since we don't eat a lot of sweets around here.

We also decided at the last minute to pull out Jeff's great aunt Jewel's fine china and wrinkled bunting and fabric scraps and have a "tea" party with milk.  As you can see by Evie's face (the one with the heart on her shirt) she's feeling pretty proud.  It's fun that it takes so little to make a kids day.

Sugar cookies:
1 c. softened butter (no substitute)
3/4 c. white sugar
1 egg
2 T. milk
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
3 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
Cream butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl then beat in the egg, milk and vanilla.  In a separate mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture.  Chill dough for one hour or until easy to handle.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8th inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters.  Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.  Bake at 375 degrees for 5 to 8 minutes until just slightly beginning to lightly brown.  Cool before frosting.

1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla or almond extract
1/4 t. salt
1 to 2 T. milk
food coloring, optional

Mix all ingredients well in a medium bowl and frost right away.  (It will begin to get dry and crumbly if you wait too long to use it.)

*Update:  TODAY is Evie's birthday!!!  not yesterday...  I guess we'll be making cookies again.  Am I a bad mother because I mix up birthday dates?  I don't think she'll be disappointed when I tell her.  Jeff and I have on more than one occasion celebrated our wedding anniversary on the wrong day.  I blame it on the aluminum in my deoderant.


  1. Wow! Cute family! Your children have really grown a lot since you last posted about them. What a sweet tea party. I love the way your plank walls look. I think you were very smart to build with these. They are sturdy and have so much charm. Lovely! We also have always used sheet rock putty for filling in holes and repairs. I'm going to try those sugar cookies. Yum.

    1. Thank you for the sweet comments! I hope you love the cookies.

  2. Extra sweet, precious, grand kids--and I love your walls.

  3. PS Have you visited the blog Assortment at blogspot? They are a family of 5 living in a 600+ sq ft cabin with plank walls also. I think you would really like it!

    1. Why have I never seen this blog before?? It's right up my alley and I'm completely addicted to it already! Thanks for letting me know about it. :)

  4. Correction:

  5. The walls look great! Your children are beautiful.

  6. May I ask how you originally painted your plank walls? How do you recommend doing it? We are installing pine planks this winter in our cabin. Most will get painted white and I don't want to do it twice, if we can help it.

    I just found your blog via pinterest and spent a long time reading back. Neat stuff. Congrats on your cottage. Our cabin is a slow process (we don't live in it yet though due to jobs being here, not there yet). My parents have lived in two houses while building and finishing, so I know it takes a special patience to do it!

  7. Hi Christie. The first time we painted the walls Jeff sprayed them with Olympic Zero VOC interior paint in a color called Garlic Clove. It didn't take long for the knots to start showing through. This time around, I went back over all of the knots and cracks and any really rough spots with regular sheet rock putty using a putty knife. It's very quick and easy to work with and you can "sand" it with just a damp cloth (so there isn't any actual dust from sanding) after the putty has dried which I only needed to do on one or two spots. Then I repainted everything with one coat using a roller and Olympic Zero VOC interior/exterior Paint Plus Primer. I absolutely recommend the pain plus primer for getting a really even finish as I tried using the regular paint first in one area and the paint was too transparent to fully hide the sheet rock putty.

    I know that shellac is recommended for sealing knots and you apply it with a paint brush. The reason I didn't use it however, was because I wanted a smoother finish and some of our boards were pretty rough and I was able to fill in all the nail holes at the same time.

    If I were to do it over again, I would probably do it about the same way except I'd use paint plus primer for the first coat. You could start by sealing the knots with shellac or sheet rock putty before painting it but I noticed that even some of the regular grain lines where there were no knots showed through our first coat of paint too, which I might not have thought to seal if I were starting with a sealer as the first step. All in all, it will probably take two coats of good paint, plus sealing/filling knots, nail holes and rough spots we just happened to do all of the sealing part between the two layers of paint.

    1. Thanks so much for your very detailed and experienced reply. ;) This really helps.