Tag Archives: diy

Pinterest Dump…

3 Sep

It’s been a bit slow around these parts.  We’ve been traveling a bit and paused all projects.  We did change two light bulbs in the kitchen though. That should count for something.

We still need to touch up paint in the upstairs hallway.  At least I spackled it, two weeks ago.  The husband finally gave in and sanded it yesterday.  We’ll get it all done and get back in the DIY groove, probably after the holidays.

So instead of ignoring the blog until January, I figured I’d pop in here and there and post things that are interesting to me (and probably no one else but my Mom. –  HI MOM!)

So here’s a few things that have interested me on Pinterest lately.

Modern door number made out of paint stirrers.

Herringbone marble bathroom tile. *swoon*

Love the idea of plank walls in a bathroom.

Hidden cat liter box. Genius!

Pretty gray/brown/blue color palate.

I’d probably pick Bill Murray or RDJ and hang it in my living room. I’m weird.

Pretty necklace that’s sold out.

Kale Frittata. Yum.

Spaghetti Squash Alfredo. Double yum.

Slow Cooker Cherry Almond Steel-Cut Oatmeal. Drool.

Pinterest –  Always makes me want to either craft or eat baked goods.


So, What’s Next?

8 Aug

We’ve been slowly working on putting the molding back on the landing.  We need to add some quarter round and then paint, paint, paint.  It’s been slow going for the last two weeks.  I think we burnt ourselves out a bit so we took a step back and are slowly finishing the last few things to make our stairway project 100% complete.

Even though it’s not totally complete, that doesn’t stop me from thinking what’s next on the project list!

There’s a few small things I could tackle…

  • Paint the door jambs (I had to do some spackling when our downstairs floors got refinished)
  • Touch up the kitchen cabinets
  • Find some large frames for the wall going up the stairway
  • Hang the three mirrors above the headboard that have been sitting on the dresser for months!
  • Clean up the guestroom – there are things everywhere from when I decided to sell old wedding stuff.

But all of those things are boring. They will eventually get done, I just have to amp myself up for it.

Right now I’m in the mindset of figuring out what the next big task is so I can plan it, budget it, and start working on the husband to get on board.

I think the next big project will be the living room.

Right now it’s functional, but that’s about it.  We painted it when we moved in and that’s the extent of the makeover it got.

It’s not a bad room – but I think our style (ok – my style) has evolved since we bought the house almost 4 years ago.

The first thing will be new hardwood floors.  There’s carpet now. It’s awful. The cat destroyed one of the carpeted stairs. Damn cat.

I love the floor in the kitchen and dining room.

They’re Pine that was stained Early American by Minwax.


I’m still so in love with it, borderline obsessively. The only downfall is that it is Pine, so it’s a soft wood. You have to baby it. With two animals it’s already scratched up. There’s dings and dents.

I still thing we’ll go with it though so the whole first floor will be uniform.  I have a problem with different woods/colors in one house.  Like how our bedroom is oak – for who knows what reason.

So new floors – check.

Possibly a new paint color – I’m still undecided on that. It’s blue now. I’m about 70% sure it will stay blue, but ask me in a few months.

Ignore that adorable dog and look at the blue in the background. That’s our color now. If I was to change it, I would probably pick a more muted blue.

I want to build a small faux sofa table for behind our HUGE sofa. It would keep the sofa pulled away from the wall and be a good place to put lamps.

Something like this would be nice..

We could even add decorative grates along the top so the hot air from the baseboard heating will still blow upwards.

Recessed lighting.

Right now we have track lighting that only lights up half the room.  Plus, one of the lights is falling out of the ceiling! I would love to put pot lights in and be able to fully light the whole room evenly.

Then the big project will be a built in entertainment center. Right now I’m toying with the idea of a vented gas fireplace or possibly an electric fireplace in the middle of it.

I’m already imagining myself sitting in front of it with hot chocolate while it’s snowing outside. Oh man – now I really want it.

Here’s a few images I saved that I like…

And a few without a fireplace, just in case it’s not possible/way too expensive.

Yes, it will be white. How did you guess?

We just need a lot of storage.  It will have to be custom built too.  I was toying with the idea of doing it ourselves out of pre-built cabinets, but I’m not sure if that would be possible.  We have a strange shaped alcove where we will be putting this, so I guarantee it won’t fit standard measurements.

I want it to be able to hold the TV, DVD’s, a wireless printer, etc.

I’m still in the initial figuring out what I want to do stage, so I’m sure things will change over time.

Right now I’m at…

  • New flooring
  • (Possibly) New paint color
  • Sofa table
  • Recessed lighting
  • Custom built in Entertainment Center with fireplace (vented gas or electric)

Hopefully in a few months (maybe after the holidays) we can install the floors and get this going!

Thanks to Pinterest for all the ideas/images. That website will be the death of me. Too many good ideas – so little time!


26 Jul

Well, we are project-less once again.  The stairs have been deemed complete!

This was after I touched up a few things, right before we started to lay the rugs.

I bought a high quality 2×8 rug pad to use on the stair treads. I didn’t want to risk the carpet slipping and I wanted to protect the stairs I just spent weeks working on!

I did a rough cut of the rug pad and then we stapled them on with a pneumatic stapler that we hooked up to our air compressor.  Money well spent, using a regular staple gun would have probably  made us rip out hair out.

We measured to make sure there was enough room on either side so the rug pad wouldn’t show.  I cut them smaller than the rug as well just to be extra careful.

I couldn’t find a rug that was 2×16 (or more) that didn’t look like an old lady’s rug.  There was nothing I liked.  I must have searched every rug website around.  So we ended up buying two 2×8 rugs with a plan to hide the seam.  I ended up buying 3 2×8 rugs because I want to have one cut and re-bound to fit the landing.  It’s a good thing I bought a third because we ran into a snag.

The first rug went on easily.  We started under the top lip and pulled and stretched it as it was stapled.

The rugs are from Home Decorators.  I liked that they were a bit funky.  Kinda modern on a traditional staircase.  That’s my type of jam. Plus it was really hard to find a 2′ wide rug.  Most are 2’6″ and we have a slim staircase – that wouldn’t have worked.

The problem came in when we realized we didn’t have enough rug to do what we wanted. So we figured out a new plan, and started the second rug tucked under the bottom of the first step.

We shouldn’t have done that.

We ended up short and for some reason almost a 1/2″ difference in rug widths!

We had to rip off the rug and get the third rug we bought out to measure against the rug already stapled on the top. Thank God that one was the same width!

We started from where the first rug ended and just made it to staple the rug under the lip at the bottom.  We had to cheat a few times, keeping the rug a bit away from the corners to make it, but it really isn’t noticeable at all.

Where the rugs met on the middle of the stairs we trimmed off the top rug so it fit snugly against the beginning of the second rug.

I doused the cut edge with Fray Check.  It’s used mainly for fabric, but I figured it couldn’t hurt.  Maybe it will keep the edge from coming undone.

We actually used a putty knife to wedge the top rug into the bottom one.  We wanted to make sure it was really in there.

Here’s the seam.

It’s really not noticeable at all unless you are right on top of it.


Here’s a ton of photos…


I’m thinking of adding a few large frames up the stairway (possibly spray painting them gray) and maybe moving the light switch closer to the wall at the bottom of the stairs. It’s just there – in the middle of the wall – looking strange.

The bonus of all the stair reno is because of all the painting and caulking – the stairs don’t squeak anymore.  A nice little bonus!

Stair Reno: Part Three

19 Jul

DIY in mid-July is not recommended.  Remember last week when I said doing things in high 80’s/low 90’s was bad, apparently I started complaining too early.

Today it’s going to feel like 110 degrees. I don’t live in Texas. This isn’t dry heat.  I gag every time I go outside. It’s disgusting. I’m pretty sure if my dog could lay on top of the air conditioner she would.



Anyway, this post is picture heavy and not about humidity, so I’m going to shut my mouth and get back to the stair renovation.

We left it with the treads stained.  I wanted to get the molding up before I painted so I could paint it all at once. So, last Friday the husband and I went to Home Depot in torrential rain, bought 12 ft. long molding that wouldn’t completely fit in the car, hung it out the passenger side window and drove home in the pouring rain. Not our finest, or driest, moment.

We removed the grate and taped up the stained treads.

We should buy stock in Frog Tape.

We used primed 3.5″ MDF  from Lowe’s for the board and batten. It was cheap and what we needed to create the look we liked.

We started with a piece of 12ft for the baseboard.  I take no credit in the cuts, that was all the husband, he’s 100% a numbers guy. He can figure out the exact angles when I would rather just wing it.   I’m good at thinking up the ideas, he’s good at figuring out what it takes to actually do them!

We put the baseboard on with limited issues and then went to figure out where we wanted the top piece.  We originally were going to put it the same height as the stair rail, but stepping back we realized the stair rail would be blocking the board and batten.  So we raised it about 4 inches.  When looking directly at it, the top piece of molding hovers right above the stair rail.   For numbers dorks, it’s 24.5″ from the steps.

We measured 21″  on an angle from the stairs all the way up (making sure the measuring tape was flush so we got an accurate measurement) and then used that line to keep our board level.

Then we figured out how we liked the middle pieces to be spaced.  I think it ended up being 16.75″ apart.  The husband went to work on the angles and would pass me the cut pieces through the still open hole on the base step. That thing came in handy!

I also drew a little picture on the back of one of the boards so if any future owners decide to take it off, there will be a little surprise for them.

We added a  little piece of molding we randomly stumbled upon at Lowe’s (I don’t know the exact name of it – sorry!) to finish off the top.  Then I spackled all the holes.

The next morning we added a piece of wood to cover up the stair hole and started painting.

After one coat of primer:

I caulked everything when the primer was dry.

After 1st coat of semi-gloss white:

After second coat of white paint:

After the second coat of white paint I declared the wall done.  I took off the tape.  The stairs weren’t.  There was still some patchy spots so I had to finish the next day.

But then I got a cold. Boo!

I put on my big girl pants, sucked it up, and put another coat on the stairs on Wednesday.

I gave it a bit of time and then removed all the tape and paper.  Some of the white paint did bleed through the tape, so I’ll have to touch up a few spots on the stairs, but overall I think they look great.

Photos galore!

White paint makes everything look so much better.

I still need to caulk a few places and touch up some paint.  Then I’m moving on to runner installation.

Before /After

So It Begins

27 Jun

The carpet removal has begun.  On Saturday we ripped off the carpet on the bottom two stairs. I needed to see if there was actually wood under there and if it was salvageable. Check for both!

I wanted to try to sand a step or two to see how long it would take and if it would work. I have a small palm sander that I used and quickly realized it would take me forever to sand everything with it.  The sandpaper kept falling off!

So, my husband loves me and took me to Home Depot and bought me an Orbital Sander. Nothing makes my heart flutter more than power tools. I’m my father’s daughter.

I got the DeWalt 5 inch Random Orbital Sander (This). The sandpaper sticks directly to the pad and makes life a whole lot easier for me. It took me 10 minutes to sand one step, when previously it took me at least 30.

Look how pretty it is.

I took the same stain that is on our floors now and tested a little spot on the stairs.

Big problem with the bottom stair. It stained so much darker than the floors. I put the stain on and wiped it off immediately. It’s still several shades darker and incredibly noticeable.  I’ve read you can water down stain with turpentine. We might do that or pick a lighter shade that is as close of a match as we can get. We’ll see. The rest of the stairs stain exactly like the floor. It’s just the horizontal planks on the bottom step.


No bueno.

Ignore the brown grate. That’s going away. It’s non-functional and dumb.

Because there is something wrong with us and we can’t ever stop at what we had planned for the day – we ripped off the carpet on the landing.

It’s definitely worn. There are definitely a lot of scratches, but nothing was deep. It was all superficial. I love the look of older hardwood too and this has the potential to have the character that I love.

And because I’m an idiot I decided I should sand the whole landing. So I did. For almost 4 hours.

60 grit sandpaper really cuts through the polyurethane.

I was a mess and the house was a mess.  We hung up plastic sheeting to protect the downstairs, but there still was dust all over the place.

And me…

Don’t I look wonderful. Miss America, ladies and gentlemen.

But the floors looked good.


After a lot of vacuuming….

There are still a few places that I need to hit with my Dremel Oscillating Tool. That little guy is great to sand in tough to reach places.

I’m not sure if I’m going to fill the small crack above with stain-able wood putty or not. I’ve heard some not so great things about it so I’m on the fence. That will be a game time decision.

Here’s a good shot of where it was sanded and wasn’t…

I’m going to go over it lightly with 150 grit sandpaper before I stain. Just to make sure everything is smooth.

It’s going to be a crazy weekend.

My fingers hurt…

29 May

We are 97% finished with the backyard makeover.

Even two days later I’m still so sore from digging, planting, carrying 40 pound bags of dirt, etc.  The joints in my fingers will never be the same. BUT it looks beautiful and that’s all that matters.

This is where we left off.

Fence was cleaned and dried.  In between the bouts of rain we were able to stain the back fence Tuesday night.

We gathered our supplies – Olympic Maximum Stain & Sealant in one Toner in Caynon Brown  (buy it here) and two large polyester brushes and went to work.

Here’s after two hours of staining.

We might have continued staining the side fence, but we ran out of stain. The back took an entire gallon.

So we let it dry, bought some more stain, and waited until the rain stopped. Weren’t April showers supposed to bring May flowers? Seems like Sub-Arctic April temperatures are bringing May Monsoons. It won’t stop raining!

The rain stopped Friday night and by Saturday morning everything was dry.

Here’s after the side fence was stained (If it looks a bit uneven – it is. I touched up a few places Sunday to make it more even)

Ignore the arborvitae’s thrown around everywhere. We were trying to figure out placement in very windy conditions!

With that done, off to the local nursery we went to pick up our tree (we put it on hold the day before), some additional shrubs, and flowers for the front and back yards.

Without further ado – here’s the 97% finished project. I’ll explain the unfinished business in a minute.

Working from the outside in we have two large green arborvitae’s on the ends (approx. 5 feet tall), with two fuchsia rhododendron,  two smaller arborvitae’s, then two golden euonymus.  The middle is our autumn cherry tree. She’s a beauty and we were lucky to get it since it was the only one left!

We added the rhododendron and golden euonymus for a nice bit of color and I think it turned out really pretty.

We lined the side fence with itty bitty aborvitae’s.  It ties in the larger ones on the back wall and makes everything look put together.

(Taken the day before. Notice the uncut grass and lack of bird bath)

I gave the bird bath a fresh coat of paint and it makes that back corner nice and bright.

That’s a bright blue bunny beside the bird bath. I am trigger happy when it comes to spray paint and I’ve never met a ceramic animal I didn’t love.

My husband’s pride and joy – his garden.

In no particular order he planted sweet corn, basil, cucumber, spaghetti squash, green peppers, carrots, broccoli, lettuce (two types), tomatoes (big boy, roma, and cherry), sweet potatoes, and zucchini.  We are hoping to live off that during the summer.

This is where the unfinished 3% comes in. My hydrangeas.

We dug out the flower beds (there were none before) and realized it looks better with a stone surround. We only had enough to finish one bed (while stealing one block from the border) so we measured, planted, and figured we need 10 more block to complete it. Another trip to Lowe’s is in the near future.

So after we level the blocks on the left, and lay the ones on the right this backyard will be DONE! (Oh yeah and lay mulch on everything)

Both beds have two Nikko Blue hydrangeas on the edges and one Incrediball Smooth Hydrangea in the middle. I’m excited about those. They bloom white and almost twice the size of your hand. I can’t wait. (Seriously – look)

So it’s a pretty dramatic makeover but we are really happy with how it came out.  I pulled out the patio furniture Monday night and cleaned it. All we need to do it strap on the cushions and finally enjoy the backyard.

Not too shabby.

Getting There

23 May

Despite the 36 straight hours of rain and a pup with a stomach bug who had a preference to only vomit between the hours of 1am and 10am we managed to make some headway with the backyard this past weekend.

First up – the shrubs.

We knew we didn’t want them in the backyard anymore.  They attract bugs like crazy.

The husband dug them out carefully and we transplanted them into a flower bed to the side of our driveway.

They got a nice trim and a new home!

Not a bad day for the boxwood’s.

It actually worked out really nicely.  We never know what to put in that flower bed, and the flowers we do plant end up dying.  So we needed something sturdy to hold up.  These shrubs have been thriving for the last few years in the backyard, so I think they are strong enough to survive a transplant and will continue to grow in the front yard.

Plus, it’s visually nice.  They add separation from our driveway and the neighbor’s yard.

I’m going to plant a few flowers in between to add some color and consider it a success.

So, back to the backyard.  This is what it looked like after the shrub removal.

Empty, empty, empty! A nice clean slate. Well, eh, not exactly clean. Take a closer look at that fence.  Disgusting!

So off to Lowe’s we went to pick up wood cleaner.

Olympic Premium Deck Cleaner. (Buy it here)

No scrubbing – YES!   10 Minutes – YES!

We had to buy a little sprayer to apply the cleaner.  We ended up buying the cheapest one at Home Depot the day before for $10.  (Buy it here)

Fill ‘er up and start spraying! It took almost 3 gallons to cover all of the fence. My only warning when using this product is wear old clothes (there’s bleach in it and inevitably it will get on you) and to keep a hose handy in case it gets onto anything you don’t want lightened! We had a small scare with our patio stones, but we got water on it quick enough so it isn’t too noticeable.

This is after the side fence was sprayed with the cleaner, sat for 10 minutes, and then sprayed with water.

SOAK IT WITH WATER! Just drench it. I would use the single stream on the hose first, to get off all the gunk, then use the shower feature to just douse it and make sure all that cleaner was off.  Plus, soak the ground below the dirt too so you can dilute the cleaner that’s run off the fence.

YAY and GROSS! I’m happy it was working and cleaning  so well, but gross with how much crap was caked on it.

You can see we dug the dirt away from the fence to clean because we want to stain as far down as possible.

Mid-spray of the cleaner…

Once we finished it really started to rain. So we packed it in for the day.

When it finally was able to dry I couldn’t believe how great the fence looked!

It’s like a brand new fence. I can’t believe how much better it looks!

There are a few spots where it didn’t clean as well, but that’s ok. (We could have scrubbed those areas – but who wants to do that!)  We bought a toner instead of solid stain, we want to see the grain in the wood, so a little color variation is to be expected.

We already stained the back fence – but I’m waiting until we stain the side fence to do a big reveal. It looks great! Can’t wait to show it off!

This weekend (if the weather holds up) we should be able to finish the staining and FINALLY plant some landscaping.




We are inching along … but we are getting there.

Until next time!