Thursday, July 23, 2015

Piano Make-over!!!

I am sorry to say that this post is beyond over due. I finished the piano last fall! Sigh. So many things going on and time just got away from me. But as they say, better late than never!

Making over a piano is beyond a doubt my favorite project so far. I confess it was a ton of work (sorry folks, this one involves sanding!), but every bead of sweat was worth it! I get compliments on it every time someone comes over. Hey, an aqua piano is a pretty good conversation starter. And my daughter has begun piano lessons on it. I love how it turned out so much!  If you are thinking about giving your current piano a face lift, I say do it! It was so worth it!

Here it is before and after:

This is a 4 part process:

Part 1: Take piano apart into several pieces. I did NOT take out all the keys, however, you can if you want to. The keys are generally numbered. I just covered and taped mine up since I was trying to avoid extra work. Take the top lid and the key lid off.  Protect the insides folks! Cover and tape every thing up good and tight. You don't want the instrumental parts to get paint or dust from all the sanding in them. Each piano style is different so it may look different when you do this to yours.

Part 2: Sand that piano down! Every nook and cranny needs to be sanded smooth so that the old finish is sanded off. It should be nice and smooth to the touch. There are so many angles and sides to a piano. Make sure to get them all.

Part 3: Paint! I used Valspar Paint and Primer in One in the color Sea Kiss. Satin Finish. You will need to paint a coat, let it dry, then lightly sand it smooth. repeat this step for several layers. This helps it adhere and become virtually chip proof. It also helps it become smooth and streak free.

Part 4: Top coat! I used my every trust worthy Polycrylic in Gloss finish. This is a very important step as it seals the paint and protects from dings, dents, and chips.

Here's what you will need:

1) A sander(I used an orbit), and sand paper of various grits. The higher the number the finer the        finish. For instance 80grit is for sanding off the old finish vs 220 for sanding each layers of paint. You can experiment to what grit works best for you.
2) Tape and paper to cover the exposed areas.
3) Paint rollers and brushes.
4) Your choice of paint color.
5) Primer if you don't use a paint and primer in one.
6) Clear top coat.
7) Additive for the paint called Floetrol. It slows paint drying time down so you can't see the strokes. Great stuff!

Are you ready? On your mark...Get set... GO!!!!

Make sure you are in a well ventilated area! Take your piano apart. Make sure to save the hardware to the side so it doesn't get lost.

Tape it all up. Make sure the majority of dust and paint will be sealed out. Be gentle around the keys.

Sand it down. Don't be afraid! This takes a bit of time, but its really not that bad. Be gentle on the front legs as for most pianos they are not actually weight baring.

Bust out those paint rollers and brushes and start painting. If you are using a separate primer, paint a good 2 layers on first. Then paint. You can add the Floetrol to the paint by following its directions. Be patient as you let each layer dry. Then sand it gently smooth. repeat until it looks as you desire.

Clear Top coat! This was by far the hardest step. I do not advise adding Floetrol as it can cloud up the clear coat finish. Polycylic is water based and dries fast. While this is a good thing, it means you can see your brush strokes if you get hasty. So small areas at a time and be patient. If you have a paint sprayer, that would be ideal, but for those of us who don't, little bits at a time. Polycrylic is very wet and runny. I actually solicited some help from my neighbor who works with wood on a regular basis. I was trying to go too big too fast. He helped save the day! So trust me, do it right and you win every time. :)

Let it dry and cure before you set anything on it. I let mine sit for two weeks before I brought it in the house.

Lastly, with polycrylic or any type of clear coat for that matter, it will get "burned" if it gets too much direct sun. This means that it will yellow. Darker colors are less noticeable obviously, but if you go lighter, keep it mind.

I really hope I'm not forgetting anything...

This project took me a few weeks. I'd go out and work on it step by step. Bit by bit. In the end, the time I put in returned the favor by sitting in my living area looking cutesy!

My next project is to paint the wall behind the piano and do a new picture gallery. Where one project ends another begins!

If you have any questions, send em my way! I'd love to hear from you on your piano make-overs.

Happy Pinning!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Five Cupcake MEALS and some Cupcakes!

How's every one's summer going so far? Ours has been harried, hectic, and of course, lively! Trying to keep the kiddos busy while out of school.  I've taken them to the pool, to the park, had friends over, played outside with sidewalk chalk, rode our bikes and roller blades, busted out the Slip n'Slide, and generally they can be found with an ice cold Popsicle in hand. Summer time is in full swing!

As you may remember, my daughter loves to bake. I was perusing Pinterest for some new cupcake recipes for us to try, and stumbled across several that had nothing to do with a sweet tooth. A light bulb went on. Wouldn't it be fun to do a week of "cupcakes" for dinner? The kids would think its a hoot! Mind you, these recipes are not full of sugar and spice, but full of flavor in every bite. Below you will find 5 recipes for dinners in a muffin tin and a new scrumptious cupcake recipe to boot!

Yes, the kids indeed found the week of cupcake meals deliciously fun and ate every bite!

Here is my list of fun "cupcake" dinners:

1)  Mac and Cheese Cupcakes

These Mac and Cheese Cupcakes were so easy and so darn good! The Ritz cracker bottom sealed the deal. The mac and cheese sticks together well and doesn't make for a huge mess when the kids take the wrapper off. My only advisory is to make sure you do as directed in her recipe and spray the liner with cooking spray so it doesn't all stick to the paper, especially the Ritz cracker bottom. Kids really enjoyed this different take on Mac and Cheese. For this tasty recipe click here:

2) Taco Cups

This recipe is an adaption from several. Basically its a taco in a wonton instead of shell.


2 lbs ground beef(or turkey)
Taco seasoning of your choice
Re fried beans (optional)
Wonton wrappers
Cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack
Your choice of taco toppings such as lettuce, tomato, sour cream, hot sauce, etc.


Brown ground beef. Add taco seasoning. Add refried beans to the meat and 1/2 cup water if you want at this stage.( I did not use the refried beans.)

Meanwhile, spray 2 muffin tins with cooking spray. Fill each well with a won ton wrapper. Now spray the won tons lightly with cooking spray. (This helps make them crispy)

When beef mixture is ready, fill each won ton half way. Top with cheese. Place in oven at 350 degrees. Bake for 10 minutes. (Many recipes layer a second won ton, meat, and cheese to add a second layer. I did not as my pan was too shallow.)

Serve hot with the taco toppings of your choice. I also served mine along with some fresh juicy watermelon. Fresh fruit always compliment tacos in my opinion. Ha!

I also tried these with mini muffin tins which were just as successful.

These required zero effort and were a fun new way to do Taco Tuesday!

3) Deep Dish Pizza Cupcakes

These little deep dish pizza's were a total hit with the kids! Used those little mini peperoni's and string cheese instead of shred. Cheesy pizza treat! Served these along side an Italian salad. For this fun recipe go to:

4) Mini Pot Pies

I also adapted this recipe from several recipes I saw. I kept it as simple as possible so it was fast and easy.


1 to 2 cooked chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
1 to 2 cans 8 count biscuits
1 can cream of chicken
Bag of frozen mixed veggies(your choice what kind. I stayed simple and used carrots and peas)
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a skillet, cook chicken breasts until cooked through. Removed and cut into bite size pieces.

In a bowl, mix chicken pieces, frozen veggies, cheese, cream of chicken soup, and salt and pepper.

Spray muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Place a biscuit in each well and press against sides and bottom to form a cup. In each cup, place a good amount of the filling. I'd say 2/3 full.

Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes. 

Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Serve.

These were surprising! They were just like little pot pies and my kids gobbled them up! A must try!

5)  Mini Meatloaf aka Individual Meatloaf

This recipe is straight from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. Sorry Pinterest, sometimes outside sources trump all. Se La Vie...


2 eggs beaten
3/4 cup milk
2/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tbsp snipped fresh parsley(you can use dry to substitute)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried sage, basil, or oregano
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, lamb, or pork
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard

In a bowl, combine eggs and milk. Then stir in bread crumbs, onion, parsley, salt, sage, and 1/8 tsp black pepper. Add meat. Mix well. Add the mixture into each well of a greased muffin tin. Pat into the wells. 

Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes(depending on your oven) or until internal temp is 160 degrees. Spoon off fat.

In a small bowl combine ketchup, sugar, and mustard. Spread on tops of meatloaf. Bake about 5-10 minutes more.

Let stand 5 minutes and then serve.

I've used this go to recipe for 10 years and haven't found one I like better. Hey, if its not broken!

~And lastly, for our sweet tooth, Blackberry Lime Cupcakes:

What can I say about this tart treat? Its perfect for summer that's for sure! These feature a lime cupcake with Blackberry butter cream frosting and a blackberry to garnish. My daughter and I had a great time trying these out. I gave a plate away to my neighbor who gave me a big two thumbs up! For this delightful recipe visit:

I hope your summer is going on with out a hitch. If there's any struggle start with the cupcakes first! ;)

~Happy Pinning!