I Saw Miles and Miles of Tile…

Oh I love that song! “All the stars up in the sky…doop da do!” But that is not what we are talking about today. Today we are talking about tile floors and how to keep them clean. I do seem to have Miles and Miles of Tile in my house.

Which is great to not have to fuss too much over. I love that when I am out gardening and I have to run into the house (with muddy shoes) for something, I don’t have to army crawl my way across carpet, to get to the “safe zone.” I can just shrug, and walk in, and know that I can clean it easily a bit later.

However cleaning this much tile can be a chore. One annoying thing about tile, is that if you don’t mop it just right, you see all the streaks. I hate that. So after some experimenting, this is the best method that I have found that works for me. Now I am not claiming that I made this up. I am sure someone, somewhere does this as well. This is just my favorite method. So now I am sharing it with those of you who haven’t discovered it for yourselves yet.

So lets get started!

First you need to start with a clean swept floor. It is silly to mop without sweeping first. So here are the perfect tools for people with Miles and Miles of Tile like me!

Yep, I use a Giant Janitors dust mop. That is the absolute best method to clean a huge floor area. The smaller broom is for sweeping up the pile and dumping it in the garbage. Or for quick spot clean ups. Otherwise, put on your Custodial Pants and use the large dust mop. You will thank me.

Now if I am feeling extra OCD and Monica-esque, I will get the hand vac out and vacuum up all around the corners, crevices and other nooks and crannys.

Now that your floor is dirt and dust free, lets get mopping!

Here are our tools.

You need a…

• Bucket. I prefer this one from target, because it has wheels.

• Vinegar.

• Essential Oil in your favorite flavor. I choose Grapefruit. Yum.

• A mop, of course. I like the sponge mop, no particular reason, just because. You can find them most places that sell mops.

1. Fill the bucket up with 1 or 2 gallons of HOT water. Not mildly warm, but steamy hot. This lets the water evaporate quickly from the floor.

2. While it is filling, pour about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of vinegar into the water. This depends on how much water you are using. The vinegar is a natural disinfectant and helps things be shiny without streaks.

3. Then, again while the bucket is filling, put about 5 or more drops of your essential oil in the water. I do it until I smell it. Which is usually around 5 to 7 drops. Yum yum, grapefruit. You can also do tea tree oil, or lemon, or whatever you like. Orange is nice as well.

4. Then start mopping! Now I am not going to tell you how to mop. Seriously, if you don’t know how by now, then call your mother.

So there it is! Mopping Smithocracy style. Now you can take it to the next level and steam mop after you are done regular mopping. (Yes, I am that insane at times.) But I save that for my really deep cleaning days, or when I want people to think I am Donna Reed.

So if you try it let me know! Or share your own methods of cleaning your Miles and Miles of Tile. Or, if you have been to my house, and can bare witness to my clean floors, leave a comment saying so!

Happy Mopping!


The Legal Mumbo Jumbo

Well it was bound to happen sooner or later, but if we are going to stay on the up and up, then it’s time to get the Legal Mumbo Jumbo out of the way. The REAL Government made a law saying we have to, and while The Smithocracy is a household government, with it’s own set of laws and rulers, we still have to bow to the actual Government. The USA one, just in case you have no idea where we are. So here it is.

1. The Smithocracy is run by The Smith Family. It consists of the 4 individuals of our family; Dan, Tannie, Austin and Logan. The Voice of The Smithocracy is Tannie Smith. Sometimes you will hear from Dan Smith. As the kids get older, I hope that they will contribute to the blog as well. However, as it stands for now, Tannie is the Author of the blog.

2. We do a lot of things. We DIY, we food review, we product review. Whatever catches our fancy. Each thing we do, we do our own way.  We are not professionals.  Well Dan is a professional CPA, but that is all he is professional at. I WAS a professional Graphic Designer, but I hung that hat up. So what does that mean? It means that not all things turn out perfect, and sometimes things go wrong. If they do, we try our best to share them so it won’t go wrong for you. But remember, The Smithocracy believes fully in Free Agency. No one here made you try it, and you are the only one responsible for you, and your own decisions to follow, or not follow our advice. However, if you try something on here, and it doesn’t work for you, like it worked (or did not work) for us, you or someone else gets injured, or something you own gets damaged, we are in no way responsible or liable.

3. All photos, content, text, etc. on The Smithocracy are rights protected. Please link back and give credit, as we do the same for you. That way no one violates any copyright laws. That would be really sad. Anything not credited to someone else, belongs directly to The Smithocracy. If it is not by The Smithocracy, it is credited and appropriately linked. If something is missed, it is by pure accident and will be corrected once brought to our attention.

4. Don’t steal my stuff. Seriously. I don’t mind a link back, or a summary of what I have written, in your own words (as long as I still get the credit.) But do not copy/paste. Do not use my photos without credit. And do not use my ideas without credit. I am an Artist and take this stuff VERY seriously.

5. At this time, we do not accept advertising, of any sort, on this site. If a product is mentioned, it is because I like it, not because I was paid to. If a store is mentioned, it is because I really shop there. If I say food is good. It is because food is good. As long as this site continues to cost us nothing, we will continue to do it for nothing. We want our opinion completely untainted. If a product has been donated for our review, we will clearly state so. But we will still give our full opinion, whether it be good or bad. If a restaurant has invited us to review their place, we will state so. However, mostly we just crash and review.

6. Giveaways are items that have been freely donated or have been created by Tannie or another of The Smithocracy family. We will not accept payment to give a product out. But we will accept the donation of a product. And only products that we feel will appeal to our readers. If the item has been donated, it will be stated as such. If it was created by The Smithocracy, it will be stated as such.

7. Your contact information is safe with The Smithocracy. It will not be sold, handed out, copied or misused in any way.  We may, at times, contact a person directly to get an address in order to send a giveaway, if you have won said giveaway. But that will be the only purpose of obtaining that information.

8. The Smithocracy is all about being nice. It is not about mean-ness. Therefore if you post something crabby, mean, malicious, insensitive or negative in any way, it will be deleted or not approved. All comments are held in review initially. If you are a previous Positive Commenter but turn negative, you will be deleted. There is Zero Tolerance on this issue. I guess in a small way that means we do not believe in Completely Free Speech. We believe in Positive Free Speech. We follow the motto, “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.” Let me put it another way, if I don’t let my kids say it, I won’t let you say it either.

9. This is my blog. Which means I will move stuff around if I feel like it. I may delete stuff if I feel like it. I may post if I feel like it and I may not, if I feel like it. So things may change sometimes, and may not other times.

Phew! Well that was tedious. Good to finally get it out of the way. If you fell asleep, I completely understand! But now we have some Rules and Regulations to follow, and if anyone knows me, they know that I am a Rules kind of gal!

It’s Neat to have a Seat.

Well it is finally done!!! That long-awaited for kitchen table. You can see the start of the journey in this post, and this post.

So let us see, in pictures what exactly is happening here.

First we started out with this.

Just a big empty space. And it stayed that way for quite a long time. It even posed as a work room for the Giant Curtain Project and the Sneaky Trash project.

Then I bought this little (BIG) guy.

He was good from far, but far from good. You can’t tell from the picture, but a lot of Love was needed. I mean A LOT. So so so much love. But I digress.

Too impatient to wait for a finished product, I then I used my Imagination and Photoshop skills to come up with this little image.

Most of you voted for the red base. However the other half of The Smithocracy leadership, did not love red, or any color. So after much debate in congress, it was agreed that black was the least controversial color. So peace was restored once more.

So now where does that leave us? Oh yeah, you probably want to see how it really looks. So now I have to decide…

Do I just show you the final product without taking you through the journey?

Do I make you wait and wait, just as I did?

NO!!! I hated this project, and so I will not make you suffer as I did. Here you go!

Complete and in full glory. No Photoshop here folks! Can you see the differences? One big difference is that we did end up changing the light fixture, but it obviously is not the glass pendent I initially worked into the imagination photo. Still no stools for the counter. But we will get there.

So I don’t know about you but, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! Yes four loves. Love to the power of 4, and you get 4 Smithocratic votes of yes on this one!

“But wait, Tannie, didn’t you JUST say you hated this project?”

Yes I did, Dear Reader, yes I did.

And now I will take you through the Journey of the Table.
I will try to show pictures as I can, but the more I hate a project, the less time I take to take pictures. So yeah, not so many.

First we had to peel of this SUPER thick varnish, which had an amazing smell. And if you can’t read my sarcasm on that, then I mean terrible smell. Once that was done, we disassembled the legs and painted them black.

Here is a nice after picture in the late evening.

Nice and black. This is when I still thought this project was the best idea ever.

After that we got the joy and blessing of scraping off, who knows how many years, of chewing gum. Delicious. This was a restaurant table at one point. But I was still surprised at the amount of gum!

So now is when I want to make a plea.

Please do not stick your gum under a table. You don’t know if that table will someday end up in some poor DIY-ers garage. And there they are, stuck, cleaning your disgusting gum. You should really feel ashamed.

Moving on.

After that I sanded and sanded and sanded and sanded and sanded…need I go on? Yes, I sanded some more. And because we wanted a very smooth finish, we covered the top with wood filler, where I got to sand and sand and sand some more.

Now I do not want to reinvent the wheel here. So here are the blogs I checked out to decide how we wanted to paint the table.

Centsational Girl

The Cerniks

Bryn Alexandra

Young House Love

So I had all this wonderful information from bloggers who have done it before. Dan and I decided to nix using the spray gun method. He hates using ours, and I don’t know how, and didn’t feel like learning. So that ruled out that method. We really were worried about any sort of roll marks or paint lines. So we decided to go the spray paint method.

We did prime first of course. That is the one thing every blog agrees on. Prime, prime, prime. So prime we did.

I should have known it would have been a disaster, when after the very first coat, right when things looked perfect and beautiful, this happened.

Yep, a bee flew in and landed right smack into my perfect paint.

He was so mad!

I was so mad!

We were both buzzing mad!

Do not fear for the bee, I gave him a hand and set him outside, where he spent the next hour cleaning himself off, buzzing and cursing at me, and then flew home.

After that, it was one disaster after another. First the bee, and having to fix that. Then the paint, for whatever reason, would not dry consistently glossy. The table looked like it had some sort of spotted glossy disease. I did the primer, I did thin even coats, I waited the appropriate time to dry in between. But it was not happening. The other problem was that our wood filler idea did not work. Instead you could see every flaw, every hole, and every sanding mark.

So it was time to go back to the drawing board. Which meant more sanding. *sigh.*

At the great suggestion from a friend, I decided to switch methods. I went with using a sponge roller and just flat house paint. This method was best described by Bryn Alexandria. So read her post, and you will know what I did.

To fix all the flaws and holes, I used some drywall repair stuff, and it worked really well, just was tedious and meant more sanding.

So I painted, sanded, patched, painted, sanded patched, So on and So Forth. Until it was as smooth as a…insert your favorite “smooth as” saying.

Once the paint looked perfect I applied the Polycrylic as recommended. And here is the result.


I was so relieved and happy. So a HUGE thank you to Bryn!! I will now use this method for all my furniture. Sorry spray paint, you are a failure.

So we let it cure for three days and changed the light fixture.

Look how happy Dan looks, changing a light. He is so fun to do projects with!

Then we stuck it in the house.

Then we searched for the perfect chairs.

Which we did find at West Elm.

And voila!

Table bliss achieved.

We did in fact, actually buy a vase that we were going to turn into a glass pendent. But he found a new home on the fireplace.

Along with our new friend Mr. Hoots.

So I am super happy with the results, not so happy with the process. I guess the Moral of This Story is, hard work always pays off. Even if most of the hard work was pointless.

Also sanding is your friend and enemy. It is your Frenemy.

And what were the boys doing during all this.

Making the Best Blanket Fort Of All Time of course!

Anyway, anyone have a project that went wrong, but right all at the same time?

Please share!!!

P.S. The Smithocracy needs your vote! Like us on facebook and stay up to date on all things Smithocratic! Including giveaways. :-) Yes bribery just happened.

And the winner is…

Well we have a winner for the Notepad giveaway! Actually we have two!  I decided to go ahead and reward out of, not just the new likes but also my original, Loyal Likers. However the second winner does not get two notepads. Sorry! But you can choose from the two I have. So first winner, you get both the Honey Do List, and The Daily To-Do list. Second winner, you get a choice from the two.

So this is how it went down. First I entered the New Likees into a random number generator. Then I counted from the bottom up, to that number to get my winner. So that winner is…

*announcer voice*
LEANNE HANSEN!!!! Come on down!!!

You have won a bea-uuuuutiful pair of notepads, designed by yours truly, Tannie Smith formerly of tann|design. These notepads are only found here at The Smithocracy and are now yours!!!

**announcer voice over**

For the second winner, I repeated the same process, only this time I entered the Loyal Likers. And that winner is…

*announcer voice again*

GRACE VASQUEZ!!!!!! Come on down!!!

You have won your choice of one bea-uuuuutiful notepad, designed by yours truly, Tannie Smith formerly of tann|design. The notepad you choose is only found here at The Smithocracy and is now yours!!!

**announcer voice over again**

Woot! How fun to win things. I will contact you guys via facebook to arrange delivery by mail or pick up.

Congratulation from The Smithocracy!!!

P.S. Oh no! Did you miss the contest and now you are sad? :-(   Well fear not, go ahead and like us on facebook so you will never be sad again. There will always be more giveaways!

Small Changes

Over the summer we did not do any major projects, but we did do a bunch of tiny ones. Sometimes the best change is a small one. So today we will just highlight some of those tiny changes. There are a couple that I may go back and later do the step by step. But for now we will enjoy the small things.

First we took the time to beautify our front and back porches. A wonderful birthday gift from my mother.

So here is a look at the front porch. Sorry, no before pictures on this.

and a detail shot.

The back patio.

another angle.

One of my favorite of the small changes. It really helped me feel more moved in. Just having that little bit of color. Potted plants seem like a settled in, permanent type of a thing. So I was so glad to get that!

Next I did a few small things in the living room. I have a before and after on this, so lets see if you can spot the changes.

First, the before.


This one has been fun, because when people walk in, they know Something Is Different. But what that Thing is, they can’t figure out. I have had comments, like “this room feels more lived in.” Or “Why does it seem like you have stuff in here now?”

Well if you didn’t spot it, I have added a brown and larger lamp shade to give weight to the lamp in the corner. Two Living Plants have been added, some art on the mantle and one of the stick pots has been tossed.

It’s amazing how those very very small changes really help make the room a littler more solid. Now of course it is still not complete. But I don’t like putting things in place just as a place holder. Either it has the Thing it is going to have or it is empty. That way the space constantly mocks me for improvement. So The mantle will slowly get added too. But for now some art and a plant are good.

Next is a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG awaited one. For a while now I have had my eye on a certain pin-tucked duvet cover at Target. It is a knock-off of one made by West Elm. Well this summer I finally committed and covered up our poor naked Duvet.

Here is the before.

How embarrassing. Well Naked No More!

I wish I had staged this after photo a little better. Oh well. Just take my word for it, that it is a huge improvement. Of course the bedroom is still a little stark, but that is a large change, not a small one.

We also had another small thing change in the bedroom. Something that I have not shared with the reader yet, is that Dan and I are in a battle. For many a year the main rulers of The Smithocracy have been at a stand still. And it is all over a piece of art.

I love it, Dan hates it.

Here is said art.

You can see it here in our old house, Proudly Displayed on the wall.

It is a piece, that I can understand, will not always be universally loved. But I like it. It is constantly under much heated discussion. So far I have come out on top and Mr. Poppy has stayed in the bedroom. However the one thing we agree on is that the frame needs to be updated. The gold and brown is sad and old. So I took care of that just last week.

Hello silver frame. We also actually hung it on the wall. This was a super easy change that I will do a tutorial on later. However Dan, is slightly happier to see the gold gone. We do still plane on actually re-framing it. The brown felt is gross. But for now, silver is good.

Last but not least, we finally added the extra bars on the day bed. The thing was driving me crazy with the bolsters constantly falling through.

Here is the before.

And now for the after. *hint – no we have not painted it yet.*

So much better!!!!  Now the bolsters stay right where they should. Good Bolsters. We will give all the details when we finally do paint it. Coming soon…I promise!

Well that does it for our small summer changes. We also made some changes on the blog! We added a photo in the about section and a new page about advertising. So check it out!

Any small changes in your life that have made a big impact? Tell us about it!

P.S. Don’t forget to enter in the Giveaway. Contest ends Friday! So like us on facebook to win! Check it out here.



Smithocracy Giveaway!!!

Here at The Smithocracy, we are feeling the love on the blog. Lots of traffic lately! Thanks people! However we do not feel the love on our facebook page. Boo.

Therefore it is coming down to bribery. We are not completely opposed to buying love and attention, therefore…

Announcing the notebook giveaway!

We need some likes people, so head on over to The Smithocracy on facebook and like us. You have one week to do so, starting now. Then out of our new like-ees, we will pick a winner. And what does that winner get?

I am so glad you asked dear reader.

You will get a To Do Daily notepad and the Manley Honey-Do List For Men notepad. Something you can only get here. Yep, one of each for free!!!

Wow, I know. Contain the excitement.

We will announce the winner on Friday, on our facebook page. So if you don’t like us you can’t win, and you won’t know if you won if you don’t like us. See how we have you snagged?  Bwahahahaha.

“But what benefit do us none winners get for liking you?”

Good question. Well you will get the benefit of being notified of new posts as they happened. You will also get the benefit of sneak peaks on projects before they get posted on the blog. You also get the warm feeling of making us feel loved. And last but not least, it is just a nice thing to do.

So go ahead…go like us…we are waiting…