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What’s black and blue and (then) red all over?

I am hilarious.  Remember that joke?  What is black and white and red all over?  A newspaper!  Ha Ha.  Get it Red-Read?  I don’t know why I thought of this.  Anyways, the answer to my question is my milk door.  Yes, I said my milk door.  I imagine there are many people reading this (yes I actually think many people will read this!) who have no idea what I am talking about.  Let me clarify.  My house was built in 1910, back in the days before refrigeration.  There is a small door next to my side door that opens and is now used as my mailbox, but back in the day would be the storage for fresh milk delivered by the local milkman.  Pretty neat stuff.  I wasn’t too clear on the time frame and details so I did a bit of internet research ( I am a librarian after all!) and found this: http://www.historicnewengland.org/collections-archives-exhibitions/online-exhibitions/From_Diary_to_Doorstep

I do not live in New England, but the idea is the same.  Apparently the golden age of milk delivery was between 1860-1960…so I imagine for the first 50 years or so that my house was around this little milk door was in use every day.  To quote the site:

“By the 1960s, the housewife in the family car had replaced the milkman on his delivery route. Supermarkets, refrigerators, and affordable automobiles made the milkman obsolete, and home milk delivery as a reassuring staple of city and village life receded into memory.”

Pretty neat.  Even though the milkman no longer pays my house a visit the milk door still serves a useful function as our mailbox.  Unfortunately it was looking pretty bad, with glossy blue and black paint.  Not a color scheme I am fond of.  Now that both girls are in school and I have returned to work I have also returned to “work mode” on the house…determined to wrap up a number of projects before the snow falls.  The first project is painting all of my exterior doors- starting with this little milk door.  I have been pretty absent from blogging…but I have been busy!

Here is what I was starting out with:

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Do not make the same mistakes as me, I will embarrassingly tell you about all of my missteps so that you can avoid spending two days painting what seems like a simple and tiny area!  First, do not assume it was painted with latex paint.  If your house is as old as mine it probably wasn’t.  I did not think of this and tried painting right over the blue/black paint with my red paint.  Not a smart idea.  I had to wipe it off, sand it off and start over.  It was not even sticking, but rather streaking across the door.  Not pretty.

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Because I am cheap I then decided to cover it up with an oil based primer I had laying around.  Kilz I believe.  Remember- you can cover oil based primer with latex, but you can’t cover oil based paint with latex.  I then painted 4 coats of my red over this primer layer.  Still did not work very well.  Red is a very hard color to get right!  Since I knew I was also painting two full size doors this color I headed to the hardware store to purchase the right supplies to make my life easier- small rollers, sanding block and most importantly tinted primer!

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I then re-primed with the tinted primer (essentially starting all over again!) and covered it with 3 coats of paint.  Voila.  NOW it looks good!  Not the most direct route to success, but my trial and error will make my other doors go that much faster.  Until then, take a look at my beautiful shiny red milk door.  Love it.

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I took what I learned and painted my side and front doors too…much easier the second time around.  Post to come.  Once I make it through all of my home projects I will get back to sewing…I have made a few things since I last blogged but finding time to sew/paint/clean/work/prepare kids for school is stressing me out.  Once my routine becomes easier I will get back to sewing.  I miss it!

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