This is a very delayed post and I almost decided to not write it, but Penofin deserves the plug. I’m a real fan of the product line. Staining the pergola was my first maintenance project for my home. I did this work in May. The natural wood was so pretty when I built it, I thought about leaving it natural, but wood greys as it ages. I decided to stick with the plan and applied Ultra Premium Red Label Penofin in Mission Brown, to match the porch ceiling.

When I did the porch I followed Penofin’s suggested three step process, Cleaner, Brightener, Stain. That was a small, solid, area of almost 100 year old wood that had been covered in layers of paint.  Of course that process was needed. I was hoping that would not be the case with a barely 6 month old pergola, but I called Penofin just to make sure. The agent held firm to their process, so I followed and started by removing the top course of the pergola. I thought it would be easier cleaning them and applying the stain to the entire structure with them removed. I leaned them on the backyard fence and proceeded with the Cleaner. Immediately I could see why the agent stuck to her guns. The beauty of the first two steps is that you can go immediately from Cleaner to Brightener. With the top course complete I moved on and did the same steps on the rest of the pergola after wrapping my columns in plastic and draping plastic on front of house.

That was all I was able to do on the first weekend because the only store that carries the product locally, Doeppes Lumber, did not have Mission Brown in stock. They would have to order it in, so I decided to get it from Amazon where I knew I’d have it delivered to my door in two days. The mistake I made was only ordering one gallon. The project took two, so two-weekends stretched into three. I finished the staining on Saturday and re-installed the top row on Sunday. That was the most tedious aspect of this project. I don’t know if I’ll remove it again when it’s time to reapply.

At my old home I treated (stained) my deck floor every 2 years and the fence every 4 and I used a Porter Paint stain. Penofin states their product performs on horizontal surfaces for 9-24 months and vertical surfaces for 2-5 years which is a big range. Most of my surfaces are vertical, so I’ll monitor the wood and hope to stretch it out as far as possible. Easy, but not fun. I applied the stain with a brush and could not control the drip when working on the pergola. So grateful Penofin is a one-coat process.  I was a smelly, sticky mess, so much so that the t-shirt I wore while staining went straight into the trash.

Sista Girl with Skills Update

I have converted to and have created a full website vs. just a blog. Based on the limited feedback, all negative, and me not liking the logo either, I have landed on a new Sista Girl with Skills logo. Thanks to an Etsy vendor, The Carton Amiga, my bakery division has its on adaptation of it.

I’ve added two new navigators to the site: Bakery Division, which includes a drop down for my product offerings, and GC Division. GC stands for General Contractor as it is official, Sista Girl with Skills, LLC is registered as a GC with the City of Cincinnati. This was forced when I learned the City would not allow me to pull a building permit for my first flip house project. That’s right, I have purchased 3067 Sidney Avenue, an 1890 Italianate Victorian house located one block from me in Camp Washington. As with my house I plan to chart the journey of the “restoration” not “renovation” on my blog. 

Hopefully her future owner will appreciate seeing what went into saving this house from further deterioration caused by owner neglect.  The house has been sitting vacant since at least 2014 as that was when the previous owner’s building permits expired; he purchased in 2010.  He started the flip, I’ll finish it and as my sign slogan states: I’ll do it right, or not at all. Her name is Inez in honor of my grandmother whom I’m channeling with all the baking I’m doing.

In regards to baking I’m still servicing six coffee shops and a caterer.  Deeper Roots requested a pumpkin version for the season and I obliged by creating a Zucchini Pumpkin Dates muffin featuring Pumpkin Pie Spice from Colonel de Gourmet. I’ve never made anything with pumpkin, I’m a sweet potato pie fan, but that muffin is good!  They also have listened to their customers request for a gluten-free option, so one of the two varieties offered will be gluten-free.  Don’t be afraid to try your favorite flavor if it happens to be gluten-free on the day you visit.  Gluten-free flour changes the texture slightly, but the moistness and flavor of my muffins remains the same.

My muffins are dense because they are really individual portions of my adapted zucchini bread recipe poured into a muffin pan. So what do you get when you cross bread with a muffin pan? A Bruffin, which is what I’ll call my product for here on out.

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