June 30, 2010


(that means “takin care of business”)

On the docket for this week:

  • Storm door is getting installed tomorrow or maybe this afternoon if we’re lucky.
  • Need to build up the beans’ trellis a little higher with my new fencing. (today)  They are climbing on each other at this point.
  • Finish raking out the unsightly backyard dirt pile (today)
  • Use my BOGO perennial coupon before it expires (tomorrow)
  • Paint the kitchen toe kick as well as the teensy little side pieces of cabinet that require pulling out the dishwasher (this *might* get done Thursday night, otherwise it will have to be next week)

AND then we’re off to eastern Kansas for the Fourth of July! 

My aunt always has a fun Fourth at her house, and we’ll see my grandma and some cousins we don’t see very often.  There are some great attractions in that part of the country.  They include:  my aunt’s pool!, an apple orchard with a store where you can buy cider slushies (awesome in the Kansas heat),  a parade in a nearby neighborhood that screams Americana, tons of food, and we want to visit a local bakery we just saw featured on Cupcake Wars, just to say hi and buy a cupcake :)  I think it’s called Daddy Cakes. 

Side Note: Does anyone else think the Cupcake Wars commercial with the exploding cupcake is one of the cleverest promos out there right now?  We think it’s awesome!


Next week:

  • Sand cabinet doors
  • Prime cabinet doors
  • Maybe the first coat of paint on the cabinet doors
  • Camping with friends over the weekend I think


Sometime soon in the backyard:

  • The solar lights project
  • Move the edging on the other side of the yard with Hubby’s help.
  • Do some major weeding – one of us with the sprayer and one pulling

June 29, 2010

DIY Cabinet Upgrade Part II


A little bit of sanding with my new sander….


A little bit of primer…..



And two coats of paint….


And we’re on to the next step!  The DOORS! :)


I am still thinking about whether we need some kind of clear coat, but I haven’t decided yet. 

Anyone have any strong opinions either way?


I’m linked to Make it Yours Day at My Backyard Eden :)

June 28, 2010

DIY Cabinet Upgrade Part I

Our orangey oak builder-basic cabinets have been screaming for some attention since we moved in.  Plus, yesterday I realized that the cabinets in my kitchen at home are the exact same cabinets as the ones in the kitchen at work.  Little tidbit for  you :)
So here are some before pictures:
IMGP0655 Right after we moved in
IMGP0804 At Christmas
After we painted and had the light fixture replaced with recessed lights
Alright, so first thing to do here is install some trim.
I picked up some 1x2s, some molding (I chose a shorter and squattier version of crown), and some brass brackets.  I spent about $30.
I cut the 1x2s to size with a hand saw.
I cut the trim angles with a miter box.
I used Liquid Nails and brads from my staple gun to attach the trim to the 1x2s.
Then I countersunk all the brads and filled the holes in with wood filler. 
Then I coped my one inside angle with a coping saw. 
I discovered an “oops” at the same time.  (See below)
Then it was time to install!
I set each piece on top of the cabinets and originally intended to use the brackets to attach it from the back.  No dice.  I don’t know what the deal was, but I couldn’t get the screws to screw into the back of the cabinet facing.  I’m thinking maybe I’m not strong enough to give it the pressure it needed, or I couldn’t get enough leverage (standing on the counters doesn’t give you much leverage) or both?  So I made do. 
I ended up using 2” wood screws and because they weren’t quite long enough to go through the 1x2 AND into the top of the cabinet, I had to use the weird little hole-making tool I used on the guest room headboard.  I drilled the holes probably a quarter inch into the 1x2 and then my screws were long enough.  Then I could just drill a screw straight down through the 1x2 and into the top edge of the cabinets. 
The picture above was from my headboard project, but that’s the little tool I used on the cabinet trim as well.

And now the cabinets are ready to be sanded and primed!
So the one “oops” I discovered was I needed to cut the crown one inch shorter than the 1x2 in the inside corner.  Otherwise, the 1x2 that butts up against it will be impeded by the crown.  But I installed my molding and THEN realized I should’ve cut it shorter.  My solution was cutting a notch out of the other 1x2 so that it would fit in nicely UNDER the crown of its neighbor. 
If I’d thought more about this project before I started, I might’ve realized that.  But when you’re impatient to get going and you think you can figure it out as you go, I guess you have to deal with the bumps as best you can.

Curious to see how this project ended?  Go here.

June 21, 2010

A Trellis Extension for the Beast


We have an enormous Clematis vine (the “Beast”) growing on the railing of our deck.  It’s so big (and has never been trimmed?), that you can see the old fan trellis it was originally tied to, now literally pulled apart by the vine.  There’s no getting to that old trellis though, unless the whole vine comes down (and I don’t want to do that just yet! It’s very pretty right now.)


This clematis is getting SO big…..that it has nowhere else to go.  It has “old wood” stems which have grown around the railing and are supporting it to some extent, but the new growth has trouble getting a hold of the railing.  So the vine is doubling over itself, having nowhere else to grow.

I will be trimming the plant to a drastic 12 inches from the ground, but not until winter when it’s dormant.  Until then, I needed to do something about its size.

Enter: a roll of fencing and some bamboo stakes.


A few snips of the fencing, some simple weaving, and some green garden twist-ties later, the clematis has more room to grow.   (And I’m getting ALL kinds of ideas for that fencing….)


It will provide some shade to our deck as well, though admittedly the trellis looks a little strange. But I predict the clematis will have covered it by the end of the week.


For one season, strange is fine.  Next year I’ll make sure it has a larger trellis to begin with (and we may even have a pergola for it to cover – we’ll see.)

Some other yard “pretties” :

IMG_2012 A long-stemmed rose bush of some kind.  Ok it’s not pretty yet.


IMG_2013 Blooms from a shorter, squattier rose bush.

IMG_2031 Delphinium


Attack of the Killer Tomatoes – also not pretty.  But tasty! (Soon)


Thanks for stopping by!  Have a great day :)

I’m linked to:

The Girl Creative

I Was Featured!


If any of you have not visited “Tools are for Women Too”, you must go check it out.  Rory posts about his great projects, discusses and reviews tools, and he has a great linky party every Monday too.  From the linky party entrants, he picks a “Modern Craftswoman of the Week” to feature and guess what?????

I’m a Modern Craftswoman of the Week!

It’s hard to think of myself as a “craftswoman” because I just kind of forge my own way with tools and projects.  But you know, I guess that’s how to learn, right?

Thanks Rory!

June 14, 2010

Secret Garden $35 DIY Headboard


A couple months ago, I picked up these garden thingys from Hobby Lobby.  They looked perfect for something in my “Secret Garden” themed guest room…but what I would do with them I wasn’t quite sure.  Some kind of headboard came to mind.

I set them aside until a good idea could come to mind (plus I was really busy with work for a few months)… and then all of a sudden

I knew what I would do attempt to do!

This picture was my inspiration:

And this is the “before” of the room:

Disclaimer:  I’ve never built anything.  I’ve never taken a woodworking class.  I’m a chick.  Loud tools kind of scare me.  If I can do this project…..and I did…..you can too!

First, I headed to Home Depot to find some newel posts (the big, thick posts at the bottom and corners of railings).  When I got there, I found out newel posts are VERY expensive.  The one I wanted was $38 (and I needed two! eek)
So I grabbed a 4x4 instead.  It was about $8.  I had the “Big Saw” (at the store) cut it in half for me.

I also picked up a cedar fence plank (I was going for a 1x6, but the cedar plank caught my eye and it’s about the right size, plus it smells good)  and two 1x2s, all of which I had cut to size for me by the Big Saw.


Oh, I also picked up some “cap” MDF molding to trim the top of the 4x4s.


First thing I did to the lumber was prime it.


Then I got creative with drilling/carving/mucking out four square holes for the 1x2s to fit into. 
This took some time, but it wasn’t too hard.  I started by marking my rectangles with a pencil.  Then I used my dad’s old  Dremel tool to carve out the rectangles. (Thanks Mom for donating it to the project cause!)  It was my first time using a Dremel tool and it was pretty neat.  I spent some time with the directions and used the only wood carving attachment in the case already.


My sophisticated project area.  Don’t worry – that carpet is an old dirty piece that is on the basement floor.  The goggles are a must for a Dremel tool. There was sawdust flying “ever-where!”

The holes were certainly not pretty on the inside and you can see in the picture above where the Dremel tool jumped out  and carved a little arc in the wood where I didn’t want it.  But hey, it’s my first time using this thing, and my first time “carving” anything….and I can fix it with wood filler and paint :) (Or maybe just paint, depending how lazy I am.)

I ended up using a large drill bit to make several holes (as many as I could) in each rectangle.  The drill removed a good amount of material, which made it easier for the Dremel tool to then shape the peg hole.
When I finally got the “peg holes” deep enough, I inserted the 1x2s and drilled a wood screw through the back of the 4x4s to hold the ends in place.

My screws weren’t quite long enough, so I used this funny little tool in my toolbox to drill a big hole so the screw could go farther into the wood:
    IMG_1951IMG_1950  IMG_1955

I used wood filler to fill all the gaps:

Then I painted it the same color as the guest room walls (Valspar Coastal Villa)

I added trim around the top using Liquid Nails and brads from my (manual) staple gun.  I had a bit of a learning curve cutting the cap pieces since they all need to be at the same angle in order for the cuts to match up, and when you’re holding the trim by hand, it’s easy for the piece to roll a little forward or back as you’re cutting.

Then I weathered the posts and white trim with sandpaper and this stuff:

A Home Depot employee was very helpful finding something to “weather” my wood and she highly recommended the above “Restor-A-Finish.”  She teaches faux painting classes and had a lot of examples of her own projects where she used various treatments.  One thing she said she never uses is glaze.  She said you can get the same effect by diluting a paint, using stain, or using other products (like above).  She thought it was a waste of money.  Just thought y’all would like to hear that too, since there are a lot of painting projects out there in blogland.
IMG_1982 IMG_1978 IMG_1979 IMG_1980

I added the cedar plank for extra support (unprimed so it will still smell good!), and just screwed it to the backs of the 4x4s.  I probably won’t bolt the headboard to the bed frame, and instead I’ll just stand it up between the bed and the wall.  


Next I used the Dremel tool to trim the panels to size, which just required a few cuts and some patience.  There were a lot of sparks, so I went pretty slow. (The tool came with special “cutting disks” which are designed for metal.)
IMG_1975 IMG_1984

I used a grinding stone to smooth the rough edges after I cut through the metal pieces. (Also came in the Dremel kit – I would’ve bought a hack saw had my mom not brought the Dremel tool over when she did because frankly, I would never have known a Dremel tool could be so useful!)

Then I stapled them to the 1x2s using half-inch staples and my staple gun… and it was done!



What do you think?  For $20 (metal things) + $15 (lumber) = $35, I think it’s a winner :)


I should also mention I had to buy a fresh quart of the Coastal Villa paint ($11) and the Restore-A-Finish was $8.  So you could add those in and the total comes to $54 (but I’ll use those for lots of other projects, so the cost will be spread out.)


The shot above uses a flash, which shows my iridescent stenciling (prior project).

IMG_1996 IMG_1997 
Thanks for stopping by!  I’m off to think about my next project….. :)

I'm linking up to:

Thrifty Decor Chick's Before and After Party
Motivate Me Monday 
Make it Yours Day at My Backyard Eden
Transformation Thursday at the Shabby Chic Cottage
Time Travel Thursday at the Brambleberry Cottage
Under $100 Linky Party at Beyond the Picket Fence
Frugal Friday at the Shabby Nest

Please stop by some of these blogs and check out all the awesome projects – and be sure to leave some comment love for your favorites :)

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