Sunday, November 30, 2014

DIY Holiday Roof Decor - The Grinch!

We used to have this old-school bumble (you know, from Rudolph?) that we put on our roof every year. We LOVED him and he was very popular in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, after years and years of use, he was sun-faded and didn't light up anymore. They don't seem to make holiday decorations like that anymore - now they are all either inflatable or really weak tinsel - neither of which really work well on a roof. I decided if I couldn't buy what I wanted, I'd make it!

1- 2' x 4' piece of hardwood, sanded plywood (around $8, I think)
Kilz oil-based primer I had leftover from another project
White semi-gloss trim paint I had leftover from another project
Paint brushes and/or rollers (I've got tons of these around in the garage and craft room)
A bunch of colors of acrylic paint ($.99 each at Walmart)
Jigsaw blade for wood (and of course a jigsaw, which we have two of)
Pen, pencil, and sharpie
Piece of medium grit sandpaper

I started by deciding on what I wanted to make - a grinch climbing down the chimney. I found a photo online that I wanted to mimic, and divided it into even squares (in photoshop) so I could more easily transfer it to the wood.

Then I drew the same grid on the wood in PEN (not pencil).

Next I transferred the design over to the wood by looking at the image on my tablet and sketching it in PENCIL. The reason for doing the lines in pen and the sketch in pencil is so I could erase the sketch without erasing the grid.  (I erased quite a bit - I'm not good at drawing! If you are, you may not even need the grid - but it helped me a LOT!)

Then I took a black sharpie and outlined the outside where I needed to cut. I messed up there at the arm, so ignore that inner line - I didn't cut that. 

Off to the jigsaw! I bought new blades for it (see below), since the one that was on it was bent and I had no idea how old it was. Remember to wear eye protection and never touch the blade! Not when it's moving (obviously) and not after, either - all that friction makes it HOT! Don't touch it! If you've never used a jigsaw before you should probably watch a few youtube videos and maybe ask someone who has used one to observe and give you tips. It's SUPER easy to use and if I can do it, I am sure you can, too! Just please be safe and don't cut off any fingers!

To get into tight corners you may have to drill some large holes, as seen below. A jig saw can only make gradual curves - not tight ones. To do tight curves you need to drill a hole and go at it from many angles. Also, to get into spaces like under the arm where there is no outer edge you also need to drill a hole to start the jigsaw blade in. Take your time, go slow, and be careful.

Here he is! All cut out!! I quickly sanded around the edges and got off any splinters. Then I took the sharpie and outlined ALL of the lines in black. My hope was that the lines would still show through once it was primed and the base paint was on (which they did!).

Next I primed both the front and the back with the Kilz, and once that dry to put two coats of the white paint on it (including all edges).  Plywood has to be painted and sealed to be outside or it will eventually peel apart - so don't skip this step and make sure you get all of it. I could JUST see the lines under the paint, which was perfect! 

I let it dry overnight and in the morning I took the sharpie and drew over the lines AGAIN - so now I had a bright white grinch with black lines. (Sorry he's fuzzy - stupid camera!) 

For the color paints - I bought them all from Walmart. I couldn't find the perfect "grinch green" so I bought one that was close and a darker green and mixed the two until I was happy with the shade. I also mixed paints for the dark side of the chimney and the darker bricks. The rest are straight from the bottle.

Here's Mr. Grinch in process. Again, I was hoping I could see the lines through the paint - which I could once it dried! I did the red first, then the green. Think about where you put your hand to paint (are you right or left handed?) before you decide where you start!  I painted the edges the same color as the front - although they would probably look good black, too.

 I went back and put a second coat on the red since it looked spotty, and I ended up doing two coats of yellow in the eyes, too.

As the green dried, look closely and you can see the sharpie lines underneath it. Since I painted the background white, I didn't have to paint the white areas - I just left those blank. I painted around the sharpie where I could but it didn't matter if I got paint on the sharpie because I will go over all of it with paint later anyway. I free-handed the bricks.

Once all of the color was on and dried, I painted in his face features and went over everything with black lines (paint this time, not sharpie) to make it all POP!

I let that dry overnight and the next day I took him outside for the final weatherproofing. The acrylic paint is only water-resistant, so it must have a sealer over it. I chose this clear (see below) because 1. it says it does not yellow and 2. it says it projects from UV rays. Here's hoping that is true, but only time will tell. It has excellent reviews on the Home Depot website, so that is encouraging!  I ended up putting 4 coats on the front and edges of Mr. Grinch.

....and up on the roof he went!  I can't get a good photo of him with my phone at night, but you'll have to believe me when I tell you it looks amazing!

Friday, November 14, 2014

DIY Sliding Barn Door

As you may have seen on this blog, we did a major diy renovation on our master bath not so long ago.  We have a very small master bedroom (1960's house) and we just do not have the room for a normal bathroom door. And because of the plumbing in the walls, a pocket door was out of the question. So we did a sliding door on the wall.  We did this a few years ago before the sliding barn doors were all the range on pinterest and HGTV.  We just used a plain, cheap, basic door and painted it the color of the wall so it would "blend in." Well, it doesn't. It just looks stupid. So I finally got it together to make a pinterest inspired sliding barn door! And here is how I did it...

I used exterior tongue-and-groove board normally used for house siding, just like this blogger did for her lovely door! One reason I chose these is because this is the door to the bathroom and I did not want anyone to be able to see through cracks in the boards. These interlock together so no cracks between boards. (Also it'll keep steam and smells in!)  You'll want your door to be slightly wider than the opening. In my case, I needed a 30" door and my boards are 5" wide (they say 6" at Home Depot but they are really 5" when put together), so I purchased 6 boards. I also bought two 3" x 1" pine boards for the cross pieces and the top of valance over the door, and a 6" x 1" for the front of the valance. I bought one 2" x 1" piece of pine and a piece of "strapping" for the door trim, which you will see in photos later and better understand. Finally, I bought an extra piece of strapping to use to install the valance.  In addition to the wood, I also bought some stain (Espresso by Minwax), and a few cheap foam brushes. It was around $50 for all of it. You will also need wood glue and some stainable wood putty (I already had this at home).

*FYI* In case you didn't know, wood is never really the size they say it is on the tag in the store. A 2x4 is not actually 2" by 4"! So always measure and make sure you know what you're buying.

I did not buy the sliding track since we already have it. Again, we bought ours before it was all the rage and the kits were everywhere. It was difficult to find. We have this one from Johnson Hardware. I can't say I love it, but it works fine. It's just not very pretty. I'm going to make a wood valance to cover it up, so it won't matter in the end. If I had it to do over again, it'd get a prettier one like this or maybe this! There is LOTS of info on Pinterest about how to make these for way cheaper, so before you invest all that $$, check it out first. Ours was relatively cheap, so at least there is that. Had I spray painted it oil rubbed bronze before hubby put it up it might not be so bad, but DH says it was a PITA to put up and he's NOT taking it down for me to paint it.

Step one is to fit the boards together. This wasn't as easy as I thought it was going to be, but I got it done!! I just filled the little slot with glue and used a rubber hammer to help lightly bang them together.  Once I had all 6 together I went to the garage to get the ratchet straps and..... oops! Hubby loaned them to a friend! DRAT! So I had to compromise and use bungee cords. Not the best thing to use, but it's what I had. I put scrap pieces of wood across to make sure it stayed flat and tied the bungee cords as tight as I could get them - let the glue dry overnight.

One thing to note - no wood is perfectly straight, and these were no exception. Once I got them snug in the slots at the top, the bottom would pop out. I'd fix the bottom and the top would pop out. The bottom of my door is going to be about half of an inch wider than the top because of this. I'm ok with that since it's a "rustic" barn door and when it's up you won't be able to tell - but just be aware that this could happen. Had I had those ratchet straps I might have been able to work it together a bit better, but alas.... 

As you can see, I did not yet cut the boards to length. I decided to wait until I had it all put together to cut them to 80".  The boards came in 8' lengths, so I will cut down the bottom later.

Next I attached the cross boards (here you can see them laid out but not yet attached). I've seen this done in a zillion different configurations - a Z pattern, an X pattern, an X on just the bottom, 2 cross boards, 3 cross boards, etc etc etc.... do whatever makes you happy. I decided to go simple with three cross boards mostly because I'm lazy and didn't want to deal with cutting more pieces of wood. (Maybe I should rename this blog the lazy, cheap, DIY'er? lol!!)  I placed them 6" from the top and bottom and one in the middle. (Again, I'll cut off the bottom later so it looks too long, but it's not.)

I screwed them in with 1.25" wood screws using two screws on each end and 1 screw on each board in the middle.

I sunk each screw in a little (hubby has a great little impact driver that is so light and easy to use!) so I could then use stainable wood putty to fill the holes and hide the screws. Do you have to do this? Nope. It's a barn door. It's ok for it to be "rustic!"

But I did not like the shiny metal heads of the screws, so I covered them up. I let the wood putty dry overnight, and the next day I sanded them smooth. I also lightly sanded the corners of the cross boards. This is the only sanding I did. Again - RUSTIC! ;)

See the puttied holes?

The other side of these boards looks like bead board. We have bead board on the ceiling in the bathroom, so I thought this would look really nice as the part that faces inward.  The same night that I did the wood putty in the screw holes, I flipped the whole thing over and stained the other side. That night, the wood putty and the stain could dry. The next day I sanded (as described above) and then stained the front.

I'm sorry these photos are pretty bad - my basement has horrible lighting! But you get the idea. Stain = pretty!!  I also cut the valance boards to length and stained those too, as well as the side trim boards.


Now that it was fully stained, it was time to cut the door to size.  Another part of why I hesitated on this was I had not yet had the conversation with DH about the track and I wasn't sure if he might want to move it up and make it taller - I think that would have looked nice. If so, I could have made the door a bit longer. But since he said he did not want to move it, I can go ahead and cut the door down to 80".  I marked it off and used my circular saw with a steady hand to cut it.

Then I attached the rollers to the top and took it upstairs to make sure it was going to fit! IT DID!

(Sorry this photo looks dark and curved - it was night and I had to use the panorama function on my phone to get it all in the shot - stupid small bedroom!)

I jumped ahead a little in these photos because the trim on the side is already there. That is just two boards (2x1 and 1" strapping) screwed together to make a nice edge for the door to meet up with. You don't need to do this if it's a pantry or something other than a bathroom, but if I did not do this there would be a gap you could see through when the door was closed - that looks right at the toilet! So it is necessary. Plus, it looks pretty. Now imagine a nice wood-beam looking valance over that ugly silver track! That is next!

(This is getting LONG! Yay if you're still with me!)

I should mention the hardware that I bought. After looking at Home Depot and Lowes and coming up empty handed, I found a barn style pull online that I liked. Links: Iron pull 

Ok, so now that the door is stained, cut, and fits, and the trim on the side is done, it's time for the valance. This is just two boards screwed together with metal brackets.

Unfortunately I got going on this and totally forgot to take photos. But it's seriously just two boards screwed together with these things. That's it!

Then I mounted on of the 1" strapping wood pieces on the wall just above the track, making sure to get it screwed into the studs. (Buy a stud finder - they rock!)   I sat the valance on top of that piece of wood and screwed down into the top of the valance right into that piece of wood. That's it! 

(drumroll please)

And here is a close up of the handle installed:

So what do you think?? We LOVE it and are delighted with how it turned out! And I'm proud that yet again I've accomplished another project all by myself with no help from the hubby! Girl power! :)

Be sure to check out my DIY Butcher Block Countertops and my DIY Painted Kitchen Cabinets for more info on similar projects to this one!

Mid-Century Modern Buffet Makeover

I bought this beauty on Craigslist for $250. I found out much later, after this project was completed, that this piece is a very desirable Broyhill Brasilia, and it's worth up to $2,000! Well, it WAS worth up to $2,000.... before I painted it. I really shouldn't have done that, and looking back now I wouldn't have..... but live and learn! I don't plan to sell it EVER, so it doesn't REALLY matter, right?  But check out your piece and the value of it BEFORE you attack it with a paint brush! Ok, moving on....

Here is the full piece. The top is currently in storage in the basement. At least it isn't painted! ;)

After some cleaning, sanding, and painting - the bottom half now looks like this:

This is a very simple process:

1. Clean the piece very well - use TSP (from the hardware store) if it is an item that has been in the kitchen and gotten greasy.
2. Use a medium grit sandpaper and sand off the glossy finish.
3. Prime with a high quality oil based primer using a smooth mini-roller wherever possible (you can use a brush where you must, but go over it all with the roller if you can). Let dry completely.
4. Paint using the same technique as above.  Let dry completely and coat again if necessary.
5, If you plan to use it a lot, you may consider coating the top with a polyurethane or polycrylic for extra durability. I did not do that to this piece because it doesn't really get things sat on it often.

It's that easy!

I even took off the hardware and spray painted it silver, because gold just isn't my thing. I put them back on upside down, apparently... but I put them back on in the matching direction as the design on the left - so maybe the former owner had them upside down? Who knows! One of these days I may swap them.

Yes, the bottom drawer is a bit off. I've asked DH to fix that for me but he just hasn't gotten around to it. ;)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Creating a closet where there is none

So as you may already know, I live in a old house. Apparently people in the 1960's didn't have much stuff - because there is a serious lack of storage in this 1964 brick ranch! Which we then made worse by taking out the very small closets in the master bedroom and the office and turning that space into a luxurious shower. (Totally worth it!) The upstairs guest room has a small but usable closet - you know, the kind with the two sliding doors that always fall off the track? It has a long shelf at the top and a bar for hanging stuff. That's it. I gave that closet to my husband because I'm nice like that, and because I have two dressers and he has none. So where do I hang my stuff, you ask?

Originally I had one of these in the corner of the guest room. I broke that thing in no time by hanging way more weight on it than it could apparently handle. The plastic thing at the bottom snapped. I propped it up with an old dictionary (who uses a dictionary anymore, anyway?) and that worked for awhile, but eventually it all came crashing down. If you don't overload it, though, these things are really nice.

So then I invested a little more cash into one of these. Yes, it's way more expensive - but you do get what you pay for. In my case, this was necessary. I kept it in the same corner and mounted the two bars straight into a stud in the wall. Now we've got sturdy!

But now when we have guests staying in our guest room, they are forced to fall asleep while staring at all of my clothes. That's kind of weird. So I started looking around Pinterest for ideas and came up with a great one! Curtains!

But curtains are tres expensive and I'm cheap. So instead of looking for 96" long curtains, I went straight to the bedding section at Walmart and bought three flat twin sheets for under $5 each. They are exactly 96" long and just perfect for what I needed.

I don't know why this green always looks NEON in photos. I had one shade darker of this green in the old kitchen and it looked neon in photos, too. It's not. It's a nice, soft green - I swear!  But anyway - check out my closet corner now!  (Sorry the photos suck. I have no idea where my "real" camera is these days so you just get phone photos. Good enough, right?)

I just took two curtain rods and mounted them directly to the ceiling. Then I cut two small holes in the top hem of the sheet - one in each end on the backside, and slipped the rod through. I didn't even have to break out the sewing machine!  There are two sheets hanging in the front and one on the side. That's it!

Here is a somewhat better photo of the whole room. I updated the bedding, rug, and curtains in this room in recent weeks. I used some birthday gift cards for the beautiful duvet from Target. The curtains were previously used in my master, so they were essentially "free"! (Yes, I know I need to iron them. I will do that tonight.) I did buy new sheers to go on the windows - the windows in this room face the street and the neighbor's house, so a little more privacy was necessary. I made the green throw pillows you see on the bed (fabric and pillow forms from, and got a new lamp shade in grey chevron (from Target, of course) to update the lamp.  (Not that you can see it here, but that lamp was originally purple and was in my bedroom when I was a teen! I spray painted it high gloss black and it's new again!) I also got rid of that horrible television and replaced it with a small flat screen that I scored from a friend who was moving for $40! 

So there you have it. It might not be the BEST solution for having no closets in an old house, but it works for me and at least my in-laws won't have to stare at my entire wardrobe when staying in this room.

Oh, and Yoda is sitting next to the TV because he thought he matched the room and wanted to be a part of it. Silly Yoda.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Butcher Block Countertops, Part 2 (UPDATED!)

If you haven't read part 1 of the butcher block countertops, you might want to read all about it here first.

Done? Ok - let's move on!
This morning, the kitchen in the rental house looked like this:

Here is another where our wonderful friend was taking the sink out - so you can see that fabulous light fixture!

And now it looks like THIS!

Whoops! We measured wrong on the backsplash (also stained wood) and they were too short to cover up where the old ones were. We have to re-do those pieces! But other than that, install day went GREAT!

First, as you saw above, my husband and his friend took out the old countertops. Then the new butcher block started to go in!
While the boys were working on that, I was working on bathroom sink faucets and hallway light fixtures. As the day went on, we installed the new cabinet hardware, hung the new ceiling light fixture, and put up the lovely wine rack! I actually bought that wine rack for my husband when we were dating, but he moved in with me shortly thereafter and we never used it. It was previously chrome, so I took all of the metal parts off and spray painted them bronze to match the kitchen fixtures. I also spray painted and recovered those stools you saw above ($5 each thrift! Yes!). 
Here are a few more of the ALMOST finished kitchen:

I can't believe how DEEP that sink is! It's 10" and I swear it looks so much bigger than my double bowl sink, even though the outside dimensions are the same. It's wonderful and it really pulls the white cabinets into the countertops and ties them all together (I think, anyway!).  And the faucet is SUCH an improvement! I wanted something big and bold since you can see it from all angels from pretty much anywhere on the first floor. The guys said it was a pain to install, but I'm glad they figured it out. It's a stunner!

So now we must finish that backsplash, and then we can call it "good enough" and put her on the market!

UPDATE! We finished it a few days later and here it is!  (It was dark out so we couldn't get the best photos - but you get the idea!)

Like the new light fixture?

Want to see how they have held up? Check them out A YEAR LATER!