Thursday, June 20, 2013

Make a planter - Save the People

Alrighty. I talked in this post about how the deck project started with the intent to build a planter on the side.

Well, we did that too.

The two main purposes of the planter: keep the chairs from sliding off the edge (happened twice with people sitting in them, thankfully no serious injuries); and add a little somethin'-somethin' to an otherwise utilitarian space.

Sorry, this isn't going to be a how-to post. It was a Mateo project and I was elsewhere for the duration. I can tell you that it's built right into the side of the deck, the planter portion has drainage holes in the bottom, and it was built as a basic planter box on legs and then faced with the boards.

We let the kids pick the flowers. (Next year I may pick some trailing things, but it's nice to give the kids a say.) At first I was going to just jumble them together, which is my normal method of planing. But then I thought, why not jump on the ombre bandwagon? The stuff they picked would work. So we planted dark to light.

And, no chairs have fallen off the deck since the addition of the planter.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Up Top

We wanted to add a planter to the deck, and we knew there were a few loose boards, so step one was to repair that. Except when we really inspected the deck, it was clear that more boards really needed to come off... ALL of them. sigh.

Our foolish little selves said, "well, it's still an afternoon's project. Use the power drill to unscrew the screws, pull off the boards, slap down the new ones and screw it in. What could be easier?" Heh, heh, heh.

Turns out whoever put the deck in didn't use the right kind of screws. They were so rusted the threads were gone so no amount of unscrewing was going to budge them.

Break out the crow bar, hammer, and Mateo muscle power. Poor guy had to pry and rip off each board through brute strength.

Uh, to say he wasn't happy would be an understatement.

It took him one afternoon and one morning to pry off all the boards.

It really did only take a few hours to put the new boards on.

For water runoff, you need space between the boards. Mateo just used large nails to maintain the spacing. Tapped them into the joists, screwed the new board in, pushed up against the nails, popped the nails out and repeated.
Sorry not the best pic, but can you see the nails between the boards?

We are going to stain and seal, but I read somewhere that pressure treated wood needs some time before you seal it. I really don't know for sure, but it is drier now which seems like a good thing. I think we will stain it at the end of the summer. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Making a Bath Mat, Fail

I snagged a couple of bath mats on clearance and had the idea of putting them together to make a more interesting bath mat.

I thought chevrons.

Then I thought, eh, too much work.

The problem is once I finally got around to trying this, I already knew that I am completely changing the bathroom. So it's hard to put too much effort in.

I decided I would still try something, but simplified my idea to stripes.

I measured, marked the backs and cut.

Once I laid them out, I noticed that the mats were not quite the same size. Then I couldn't find the duck tape. At this point, with fuzzy bits all over the place I just about said, "screw it." (In a less PG version. ;) )

But I had come this far already. Might as well continue. I just grabbed some packing tape and taped the rug strips together from the back.

In the picture it's not as clear just how uneven the edge wound up being. Or how much fuzz I had every where.

In an ideal world I would have used actual carpet tape (at the very least duct tape) and I would have finished it by binding the edges, but I know I'm not keeping it. So, I was lazy. That's okay though. Not every project works out.    

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Edging the Garden

I once learned how to edge from a gardening magazine, but I never put my new-found knowledge to use. Then I saw a pin/post from Funky Junk Interiors explaining the same method, and I had Sherry Petersik in my head saying, "Dude. Get on that." And it was a weird moment of cross-blog mojonation. But, Austin Powers flashbacks aside, 

Oh, behave!

it was  fo' sure time to get 'er done.

Last May we changed up a few things in the front planting bed, but never properly edged.

I pushed the mulch out of the way.

Dug straight down with my shovel, and then created a slope in my bed toward the edge I just created.

Then I put the mulch back, being careful not to load up the edge too much.



Easy improvement.



Sunday, April 21, 2013

Raindrops Keep Fallin' on my ... Yard

Honestly, we were starting to wonder if we were supposed to start building an ark. We had a lot of rain. Well, first we had a lot of late winter snow, then rain, then a break, then a lot more rain. We also had hard clay which doesn't absorb water very quickly.

Spring has pretty much sucked around these parts.

This was our back yard.

Incremental changes that neighbors have made over the years means that all the water runoff pools in our yard. This year was the worst it has been.

Luckily we did not have water in the basement, but the boys took to calling the yard a lake.

Mateo hooked up a couple pond pumps to hoses and we just steadily pumped water out to the storm drains in the street. But we need to start investigating more permanent options.

Today, while doing some yard clean up, I snapped some pictures of the garden path.

The sand base completely washed away and the the wood disks floated up.

Some floated clean out of the garden. I'm so annoyed because it had wintered well. When the snow first melted and I check it, it was in good shape. And now this.

I'm honestly just not sure right now if I am going to fix it or scrap it.        

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Marbling Eggs

I love making Easter eggs. I also like trying out new techniques.

This pin has made the Pinterest rounds, but I can't find the source:

If anyone knows where it originally came from, please share.

With no instructions, I decided to experiment to see how exactly to accomplish this wonder.

I tried paint (figuring less risk of dying my hands) and I am disappointed to say it didn't work at all.

So here's what worked: I squirted about a palmful-worth (perhaps more) of shaving cream onto a piece of aluminum foil. Then I dotted it with food coloring.

I used a toothpick to swirl the color through the shaving cream without fully mixing it.

Then, we rolled the eggs in the mixture, just once to coat all sides.

To give the color a chance to really stain the eggshell, we left them sitting for about five minutes.

Then with a paper towel, I just wiped it all off and was left with a pretty marbled Easter egg.

Given that eggs are semi-porous I wondered if the shaving cream might leech through, so I made Mateo try one. :) He said it was fine. Just tasted like a regular boiled egg.

Then, because I was just experimenting and didn't have a whole bunch of eggs ready to color, I decided I need to somehow do something with my left over shaving cream/color. Didn't want to waste it.

So, I laid a piece of white paper on the shaving cream, lifted it up, laid it down again, and so on until I had covered the whole paper.

Then I used a paper towel and just wiped the saving cream off. No fancy technique, just wiped.

I was left with a very pretty marbled paper.

This way of marble paper was so much easier than regular marbling. It's a bit messy, but so is regular marbling. I highly recommend this method for young kids.

Once the paper is dry, the possibilities are endless: make cards, use for origami, paint a picture, write a poem on it...              

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Crowning Glory

Peeps, I try never to speak ill of others on the interwebs, so I will not mention names. However, there is an epidemic of silliness going on that needs some addressing.

Crown molding.
Don't go to DIY bloggers for instructions! Go to the professionals!

Recently we added crown molding to our living room. Mateo looked up "This Old House" and followed Tom Silva's instructions. Because, you know, he does this for a living.

Hi, Tom!

Here's the quick video that simply explains the cuts.
What we discovered was that you don't need to go buy a special tool kit. For shame, home improvement stores who rip unsuspecting people off with these (and for shame, bloggers promoting them.)

A miter saw helps, a miter box and hand saw will do.
A coping saw.
A hammer.
That's all you need.

What most shocked us was that for inside corners, you don't cut angles on both pieces of molding, just one. Oh, my goodness did that make things so much easier!

During install, I couldn't always be there to hold the long boards, and nailing without a nail gun takes a bit more time and effort. Mateo's ingenious solution was this bitty block:

He nailed it in place just under the molding like a little shelf. It acted as an extra hand while he was working. Once nailed in, he popped it off. Little spackle to fill the holes and tiny bit of touch of paint and no one's the wiser.

We painted our molding before installing. After install we filled the nail holes and then caulked. 

Pre-caulk, you can see the dark shadowy gap in the center.
This is key to making it look completely seamless especially in older houses with less than straight walls
Post-caulk, nice and smooth.

Therefore, painted molding is easier than stained molding. And, of course, there will be some touch up painting.

If you plan to tackle this, I say go forth and crown things. It's not so difficult. But check out "This Old House," since, you know, they were teaching us to be DIYers before it was cool. :)  


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Painted Headboard

I talked about the hows and whys of changing the boys' room in this post.
Today I'm just going to explain how I made the red stripe on the painted headboard without measuring.

I did use a level to make the navy rectangle. Pretty standard stuff. But I wasn't about to measure and use the level and mark to figure out my red line. Too much work.

First, I bought one and half inch wide painter's tape because that is about how far in from the edge I wanted the line to be.
I placed the tape right on the edge of the navy blue all the way around. Then to get a crisp edge I burnished the tape with my finger nail, but you could use a tool such as a popsicle stick. Just rub down the edge. I don't have a picture because it hadn't yet occurred to me to do a post on this when I did that stage. Oops.

(Walls aren't smooth and painter's tape is designed to grip very lightly, so you burnish to force the tape into all the mini divets in the wall.)

I settled on a 1.5" stripe of red, so I tore bits of tape and spaced them out around the first tape line. I lined the edge of the tape bits to the edge of the tape line.

Then it was time to take advantage of the straight line quality of tape. I simply connected the dots, so to speak. My next tape line was placed carefully along the edge of the tape bits.
I used an x-acto knife to trim tape that when over.

Once in place, I removed the tape bits which were now sandwiched between my long tape lines. I then burnished the tape.

For such a small space I just bought a sample size of red paint. It did take five coats to go over that dark navy color. But red usually takes at least three coats anyway.

Once the paint was dry, I pulled off the tape. I pull straight off. Not at an angle either way, just straight.