Installing a Branch Towel Bar

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The other day I showed you how to prep and sand a branch to make a towel bar. If you haven’t viewed that tutorial, you may wish to do so now.

Okay, so let’s get started. This shouldn’t take too long, but you’ll want to grab a few supplies before you begin.

Materials:


  • Prepped tree branch
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • 2 Handrail brackets
  • Drill with drill bits
  • Philips head screwdriver
  • Safety Glasses
  • Miter saw or hand saw
  • Water-based Polyurethane
  • Brush
  • 180 grit or finer sandpaper
  • Damp Rag

 

Tutorial:

Start by marking the desired height of your towel bar. I hung mine at 38″ high.

Use the drill and the philips head bit to insert one screw into the bottom of your handrail bracket. Drive the other two screws into the bracket.

Repeat the steps above to install your second bracket.

Rest your branch on top of the brackets. Mark the desired length of your towel bar onto the branch.

Cut the branch with a miter saw or hand saw.

Sand down any rough edges at your cuts. Lay the branch on top of the brackets.

Center the branch and check to make sure it is relatively level. If it isn’t, you might need to move one of your brackets.

Hold the “U” shaped hook under the handrail bracket and make a mark where the holes are on the branch.

Choose a drill bit slightly smaller than your screw.

Drill pilot holes into your branch for the first bracket only.

Rest the branch onto the bracket and drive the screws loosely through the “U” shaped hook and into the bottom of the branch.

Line up the other end of the branch onto the handrail bracket and trace the holes through the “U” shaped hook.

Remove the screws holding the first hook and drill pilot holes where you marked for the 2nd “U” shaped hook.

Lay the branch back on top of the handrail brackets. Attach the screws through both “U”shaped hooks and into the branch’s pilot holes.

Wipe off the branch with a damp rag. Brush a water-based polyurethane over the entire branch and allow it to dry (about 30 minutes.)

Gently sand any burrs or imperfections off the branch and wipe the branch with the damp rag.

Add another coat of polyurethane.

Repeat sanding and adding a coat of polyurethane until your branch has 5 coats of poly. Do not sand the last coat.

Let the branch dry completely for a day and then add towels to your unique branch towel bar!

I purposely left some extra overhanging branch on the ends for extra towels.


I don’t know about you, but I love it! I think the branch is unique and adds some warmth to the bathroom. How about you? Do you like it? Or is a branch in your bathroom just wack-a-doodle!

Linking to: Funky Junk Interiors Branch Party.

Sanding Tutorial and Prepping a Branch Towel Bar

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We’ve moved several times and each time I’ve packed one special tree branch with us. I have had this branch so long that I can’t remember where I found it. I do know that I picked it up on one of our camping trips. Whether it was Yellowstone, Acadia, Nova Scotia or somewhere else I’ll never know. What I do know is that I kept it because I thought I could do something really special with it someday. Well, that day has arrived. I decided to turn the branch into a towel bar for my sons’ bathroom.

Materials:


  • Tree branch stripped of bark and branches
  • Coping saw or other hand saw
  • Sandpaper (80, 120, & 180 grits)
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Power sander
  • Gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Safety glasses

 

Tutorial:

Start by sawing off any nubs, knots and sticks using a coping saw.

Pull out the sandpaper and power sander. 3M just sent me these color coded sandpaper sheets. I think the idea of color coding them is brilliant! It really helps you grab the right grit quickly. I give them two gloved thumbs up.

Stack your sandpaper sheets. Lay the sander along one edge of the papers and trace a line along the edge of the sander with a pencil. Be sure to leave excess on both ends to attach under the clips of your sander.

Cut the papers along the pencil line.

Load all three pieces of sandpaper into the sander (if possible). The coarsest grit (80 grit) should be on the outside, followed by the 120 grit and finally the 180 grit sandpaper.

Now you are ready to start sanding!

Here is a video tutorial on sanding the branch down. I’ve upped my level of professionalism, so I hope you enjoy my efforts.

Coming up next. Installing and finishing the branch towel bar.



Just a teeny little reminder: Don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win a brand name sofa slipcover (think of the initials PB & J, minus the J) from UglySofa.com. Three winners will be chosen at the end of the day, Wednesday, August 31st. I just love that I get to choose three winners instead of just one. Good luck y’all!


End of Summer Slideshow from Ocean Isle Beach

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There is a little sliver of an island located just off the coast of North Carolina. It is only accessible by one bridge, and is a mere 3.4 square miles in size. I adoringly think of this island as our little slice of heaven.

Every year as the beginning of school looms, we make an annual trip to Ocean Isle Beach to close out the summer. If you are the party animal type, and want to compete with the shenanigans of Snooki and the Situation, this is NOT the beach for you. Ocean Isle has a strict no house parties policy. And is a sleepy family-friendly beach.

Ocean Isle Beach has the unique geographic situation of facing south.

Because of this early risers are treated to stunning sunrises.

While the lazy sleepers can catch the colorful sunsets.

Facing south also has an effect on the waves. They are usually much calmer as they meander onto shore from the south, instead of directly from the east. But, the surfers don’t seem to mind.

Another thing I like about Ocean Isle Beach is that you can bring your dog along. Dogs are allowed before 9am and after 6pm during peak season.

I don’t know if Buddy has ever seen the ocean. He was very inquisitive and chased a crab until it disappeared into the waves. Buddy didn’t want ANYTHING to do with the water!

I think he’s a land lubber!

One week at Ocean Isle is enough to wash your cares away. I hope you enjoy the rest of this pictorial tour of Ocean Isle Beach, NC.







If you are in the area, be sure to stop by Ocean Isle Inn and ask for Tracy. He’s a great guy with some cool history nuggets about Ocean Isle. Tell him I sent you ;0).


The evening that we walked to the pier was truly beautiful. The clouds were pink and purple and blue After the sun set, as I sat by the water a mother and her children walked by. I couldn’t resist snapping a picture of their silhouettes against the golden waves. I love this picture!

But, I love this picture even more because all the wonderful things in my life are here. All four of my boys!

That’s it. I gotta run now. I hope everyone in Hurricane Irene’s path stays safe tonight and tomorrow.

How to Slipcover a Couch Beautifully and UglySofa.com Giveaway

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We definitely have paranormal activity in our home. Things move without explanation. Pillows that were strategically placed by me to look magazine pretty inevitably end up on the floor after I leave the room. Kid sized chairs levitate on their own and land on top of the couch.

And don’t even mention this pillow that has systematically lost all its buttons one-at-a-time!

When questioned, both boys emphatically shout “It wasn’t me!” Hmmph.

Well, if this continues I might have to call in an exorcist, because it is getting VERY annoying.

But, I know you don’t want to hear about my boring ghost stories. Instead I thought I’d share with you a great source for brand name (to remain un-named) slipcovers at a fraction of the cost! May I introduce to you UglySofa.com.

And let me tell you, the name is a misnomer, because this family-owned company is actually on a mission to give you a beautiful sofa! When UglySofa.com emailed me and said they wanted to send me a “brand name” slipcover to try out, I was skeptical. I mean – come on – how can you sell slipcovers from the famous PB&J (minus the J) at a fraction of the cost? I really doubted their authenticity. But, low and behold, a few days later my boxpleat slipcover arrived and when I opened it up, it truly was the brand they said it was and the quality was just as good as the slipcover I bought years ago from the store “that shall not be named.”

I immediately ran over to pull back the worn red slipcover I’ve been using for as long as my oldest has been alive. WARNING: What you are about to see is a flashback to the 90′s. I admit, I did recover this sofa way back in my college years when hunter green was popular color. (I’m sad just wondering when blue-gray will be the “dated color”.) But, if you saw the granny fabric that lay beneath you’d be even more horrified.

Now don’t even ask me why we still have a sofa that is well over 20 years old. Someday we’ll get around to replacing it…until then I have my new slipcovered sofa! Isn’t she pretty?!

Have you ever purchased a slipcover because it looked beautiful in the catalog only to get it in the mail and you can’t for the life of you figure out how they got the slipcover to look so good?

That used to happen to me too, until I worked as a photo stylist for Plow & Hearth (one of my responsibilities as a graphic designer for their catalog). I learned how to install slipcovers so they look beautiful.

Here are a few easy tricks for installing a slipcover so it look less like a rumpled college frat house slipcover. Please excuse my “butt shots”. I’m still new to this little thing called vlogging!

Start out by getting the ginormous cover on.

Find the “Back” tag on your slipcover. (And don’t look at the famous PB & J (minus the J) tag. Ha, I made you look ;-).

Throw the “back” of the slipcover over the back of your sofa.

Locate the center of your slipcover and center it between the two arm rests.

Then line up the front skirt of your slipcover. I like to let the skirt puddle on the floor a little instead of kissing it.

Smooth out the fabric with your hands, and neatly tuck and fold under any excess fabric.

This is especially crucial on the arm rest, you want to disguise any excess fabric so the slipcover looks like it was custom made for your sofa.

Wrap the side panels around the side.

Locate the D- rings on the back of the slipcover.

Feed the straps from the side panels through the D-rings in the back of the slipcover, and loop back between the two rings.

Pull the straps until the slipcover is tight. Be sure to leave enough slack to be able to tighten the other side.

Tuck any excess fabric into the folds behind the side panels and the d-rings.

Once you have the slipcover positioned, folded and tucked the way you like, then insert several cardboard light-sabers shipping tubes into the crevices between your cushions.

These will secure and hold your slipcover in place.

And now, another little video on eliminating the wrinkles in your slipcover. I just used my hands and a squirt bottle filled with water. Be prepared as I almost cross the line. I admit it, sometimes I have the mind of a 7th grade boy.

I hope those videos were helpful for you! Do you like my new UglySofa.com slipcover?

Do you want one? If you answered “Heck, yeah!” Then you are in luck because UglySofa.com is giving 3 of my readers a slipcover of their own. I don’t want to sway your choice, but can I just mention that the boxpleat slipcover has a nice relaxed weave, very similar to a grain cloth.

And the sides drape nicely over my sofa’s arm. The color I chose was ivory linen.


You have two chances to win one! Here’s how:

Step 1: Head over to UglySofa.com, then leave me a comment letting me know which slipcover you want to win.

Step 2: Follow me via Google Friend Connect, Feedburner, Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook . I’m not picky, you could even follow me at Home Depot and I’d probably let you enter!

A winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, August 31st. Best of luck!

 

 

 

How to Build a Built-in Decorative Shelf

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Thank you for all the kind comments about my boys’ bathroom. One of my favorite changes in the room was the addition of the built-in decorative shelf. It was fairly easy to build and install. I used a router to give the shelf a decorative edge, but it isn’t necessary if you don’t have a router (or are afraid to use one.)

Materials:

  • 1x 8″ Pine board (cut to length for your shelf)
  • 2 Wooden shelf brackets (with included mounting screw)
  • Sandpaper
  • Construction adhesive
  • Finish nails or nailgun
  • Hammer
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Brush
  • Router and bit (optional)

Instructions:

Cut your shelf board down to size. If you want to add some pizzazz, use a router to give your shelf a decorative edge.

Sand any rough edges down with sandpaper.

Set the shelf aside and get the shelf brackets. Line up the top of the shelf bracket with the top of the board and batten moulding.

Insert the mounting screw into your shelf bracket and press it into the board and batten where you wish to install the shelf.

Remove the screw and drive it into the board and batten where you left the mark. Slip the bracket over the screw. Adjust the depth of the screw until the bracket fits snug against the board and batten.

Squeeze some construction glue onto the back of the bracket and then slip it back onto the screw. Insert two finish nails through the bracket and into the board to further secure the bracket.

Repeat the installation steps for the other bracket. Lay the shelf on top to check the fit. Little gaps are okay because you can always caulk them later.

Remove the shelf. Squeeze a bead of construction glue on top of the board and then reposition the shelf on top of the board and shelf brackets.

Nail finish nails through the top of the shelf and into the board and the top of the shelf brackets.

Your shelf is now attached.

If you want, you can add decorative moulding underneath your shelf at the top of the board. I cut the edge of the decorative moulding at a 30 degree angle.

The moulding was cut at a straight 90 degree angle between the two brackets.

Caulk, prime and paint your shelf. Then wait about 3 days before resting anything on the shelf to avoid it sticking to the newly painted shelf.

But, then you need to put some pretties on that shelf and admire your handywork!

And now the moment that you have all been waiting for! We have a winner of the MirrorMate giveaway! I really wish I had more than one. But, don’t forget you can still get a 10% discount. Simply use: PHGBlog at checkout. Hurry because it expires on Sept. 27th 2011.

Let’s give a big “Congratulations!” to Diana C. who was chosen at random to win the MirrorMate frame credit!


Diana said: “What a great and easy way to update a bathroom mirror! I liked MirrorMate on FB … and my favorite frame is the simple, yet elegant look of the Chelsea Espresso frame!” Nice choice Diana, I hope you send me before and after pictures of your mirror.

Ta ta for now, I’ll be back soon with another fabulous giveaway!



CFLs, LEDs and Incandescents Oh My! – A review of light bulbs

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Last week when I finally  said adios to the Hollywood style strip light, I was eager to put in some energy efficient light bulbs.

While purchasing the light fixture I also checked out the light bulb display. I found myself being drawn to the bulb comparison display at Home Depot. I looked at the different lights and their color effect in the “display room”. Confident with my new knowledge, I walked out with several Soft light CFLs in my bag. But, when I got home and installed them I was NOT happy! They were harsh, bluish and just made the bathroom feel cold and clinical. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me. Those displays are so deceiving! They don’t REALLY show you what the bulbs will look like in your home. And don’t even get me started on the paint chip displays! Let’s just say you should NEVER EVER make a final decision on paint at the store!

One of my facebook fans mentioned that she really liked Ottlite bulbs, and that they were just like daylight. I promptly contacted the company and they shipped me out several bulbs to try.

It was at this point that I decided an unscientific test was in order. I started out systematically using just four bulbs, but then I bought a $30 (gulp!) LED lightbulb at the grocery store. And soon, all scientific conditions were thrown to the wind. So, I hope none of you yell at me for my lack of consistency. The test was more for myself , but I figured there might be a few inquiring minds.

One  more note on the unscientific-ness of my experiment. All the photographs were taken using the fluorescent setting on my camera (to try to give the best view of the CFLs. Which will explain why the incandescent bulbs look extra yellow. I kept the exact same shutter speed and aperture in each setting. Only the bulbs changed in each photo. These were the various bulbs I used in my test:

I hope you find this comparison as helpful as I did!

First up was an outdoor setting. This light fixture lights up our side door entrance. I was using the regular CFL in the fixture, but it was so cold in appearance and looked odd with the warm yellow light the lanterns by our front door emit.

I really liked the Philips Ambient LED in this fixture and was about to choose that one, but then read that it wasn’t recommended for outdoor or damp locations. Boo. Ultimately I decided on the the incandescent 60 watt bulb. In the meantime I will be on the lookout for a outdoor approved LED lightbulb.

The living room table lamp was the most forgiving light situation. The white shade and medium green walls made most of the light bulbs look good. But, ultimately I decided I liked the Sylvania CFL light bulb best in this fixture.

Our foyer is small, dark and has bright yellow walls. This is also the light we leave on all night to protect sleepwalkers who might otherwise tumble down the stairs. All the bulbs looked pretty good in this location except the Ottlite. It was too harsh, bright and cold feeling.

Ultimately I decided I liked the Philps LED light bulb here. This bulb was by far my favorite light bulb. But, with a hefty price tag of $30, I can’t be buying more than one or two of them!


Our master bedroom was the only location that I liked the Ottlite. The lamp shades have a beige color. This tones down the harsh white of the Ottlite. Plus, it was the only bulb that didn’t make my wall color look sickly brownish gray.

Finally, the room that started this whole pursuit of scientific knowledge: The kids’ bathroom, which has many requirements. The bulbs can’t be too dim that guests can’t see themselves in the mirror. And yet the room can’t be too bright to blind anyone who turns the light on in the wee hours of the night. The light couldn’t be too cold or bluish in cast. Basically I had a lot of requirements for this light fixture.

I also had our friend, Greg, model for me to show the lighting on skin tones.


I felt like Goldilocks in this room (too bright, too dark, too blue!)

1. The incandescents were not very eco-friendly.

2. The soft white CFLS were okay, but still a little harsh and bluish cast.

3. Regular CFL bulbs, these were pretty bad. They were darker and I really didn’t like the light color.

4. The Ottlite was way too bright and harsh for the blue and white bathroom. So, I finally figured out the perfect bulb formula.

That’s right, I’m a bulb mixer. We found that two soft white CFLs and one incandescent light bulb was the magic formula. The two soft white CFLs gives enough light and energy savings without being too clinical. But, the incandescent works to soften the bluish cast.

So although I can’t tell you that I found the PERFECT light bulb. And I still can’t embrace the CFLs, I work with them to try to go easy on my energy bill and lesson my carbon footprint. I mix bulbs in our multi-light (non-dimming) fixtures. I do have to warn you though, if you use CFLs in a closed fixture (like the one shown below with the dome removed.) They will not last as long as they are supposed to.

I also noticed a big difference between the “soft white” CFL bulbs I bought. The Sylvania ones were not nearly as warm as the Ecosmart ones, proving that all CFLs are not created equal.

I did find that I liked different bulbs in different locations. And ultimately I made a decision that allowed me to be eco-conscious but also be happy with our lighting.

But, I really hope that the Philips Ambient LED bulbs will come down in price. They use the least amount of energy, don’t get hot, and give off a light that is very close to an incandescent. So for those of us that still love incandescents, there is hope!

 

 

 

Disclosure: I was NOT paid by any companies to review the above mentioned light bulbs. Ottlite did send me bulbs for free, but I was not swayed to write a positive review. This post is my honest and unswayed opinion.

From Fishy to Beachy, the Boys’ Bathroom Reveal

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When I last showed you my boy’s bathroom, it looked like this:

Nemo and Dory would have enjoyed life living in the kids’ bathroom. But, alas, I was serenaded by a beautiful new mirror (actually a new MirrorMate frame.) And so I set to work helping this bathroom grow up.

Here is that beautiful temptress, Ms. Gramercy Martini. Isn’t she lovely.

With curves and details like that, I had to build board and batten moulding that would match her beauty.

And, what bathroom couldn’t use a sweet spot to display some beautiful flowers? I really like this built in shelf, it was really easy to construct it.

The wall color is Blue Slate by Benjamin Moore. And I used the new bath & spa Aura paint which has a matte finish! I have yet to clean it yet, but I’ll let you know how it does.

These two starfish friends are happy to perch on the 3″ deep moulding ledge. Yes, I expect them to make a suicidal dive one day, but my boys haven’t bothered them yet.


Finding just the “right” shower curtain was a little challenging. I would have loved to put in a floral or feminine curtain, but I have to respect that there are two little men that will be using this bathroom 95% of the time.

I am sooo glad I ditched the hollywood strip light for these beauties:


Just a close up view of the battens where they meet the floor. Now wouldn’t that have looked weird if I had left the baseboard tiles there?


Here is a better view of the vanity, new light fixture and the MirrorMate frame.

I have one more project for the empty wall. I took down the old chrome towel bar, but I have a fantastic idea for a new one. You’ll just have to wait and see what I came up with. In the meantime, the hooks on the door work well for hanging towels up.

So, go ahead let me know what you think! Do you miss the Nemo room? Or are you loving the grown up beach retreat? And am I crazy for making this bathroom look this good for my 5 & 7 year old boys? By the way, Pretty Handsome Son #1 tried to convince me that the bathroom would look better with black and pink stripes! I am seriously going to have to paint his closet like that because he has been asking for the same color scheme for 2 years now!

Want to know more about Pretty Handy Girl?

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Kristin from The DIY Forums interviewed me last week. She posted the interview yesterday and the second half is today.

You can learn a few new facts about me. Like what I really DON’T like to do at 8.5 months pregnant!

And how I learned my DIY skills.

I hope you’ll stop by to read the interview.

Caulking and Painting the Board and Batten

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If you are just joining me and missed the tutorial for building board and batten moulding, you can view that tutorial HERE. Today I want to show you how to hide the holes, seams and how to paint the board and batten moulding. Plus, how I paint the wall so it looks more like wood and not like drywall.

Start by taping off the moulding. I used ScotchBlue painter’s tape with edge lock technology because 3M just sent me these rolls to try out.

If you are re-painting the crown moulding and the door, tape them off as well.

Usually I fill the nail holes with wood putty. Then I fill seams with caulk. To view a tutorial on filling holes with wood putty, click HERE.

I actually just read about a neat tip on Diane’s blog (who also just added board and batten moulding in her bathroom.)  She uses ice cubes and cold water for working with caulk. I’ve never tried this, but am happy to report that it really helps smooth the caulk and keeps it from sticking to your fingers.

 

Which caused me to amend the Pretty Handy Girl’s tried-and-true caulking method:

  1. Squeeze out your bead of caulk, using a caulk gun.
  2. Dip finger in the ice cold water.
  3. Run your finger along the bead to smooth it.

Seal every seam in your moulding and then let it dry.

Once all the putty and caulk has dried, get the primer out. Paint primer on all the wood moulding using a paint brush. In the center (drywall areas), you can roll on the primer.

But, before the primer dries use the brush to spread it in long vertical strokes.

After the primer has dried, go ahead and add one coat of paint. Follow the same direction of strokes with the brush as you did when priming.

I made a video to show you the technique I used to give the wall a wood grain texture. Please forgive the painting clothes and unwashed hair! I haven’t hired a hair, makeup and costume stylist yet.

I have yet to be able to get away with only one coat of paint. If you look close you can still see some of the blue wall color showing through.

After the paint has dried, it is time to remove the tape. Anywhere that you caulked between the wood and the tape, you need to score the caulk to give it a clean edge when you remove the tape.

Remove the tape and looky at that clean edge! I’ve used ScotchBlue painter’s tape before, but I can honestly tell you that the new Edge lock technology is a big improvement. As long as you press the edges down firmly there is hardly any places where paint seeped underneath. The only places seepage occurred was where there was a dimple or imperfection in the wall.

One thing I didn’t caulk was the light switch plate which I had to cut to fit next to the batten. I will probably go back and add a little caulk between the switch plate and the moulding.


I hope you learned something today. Coming up next, the bathroom reveal!

Board & Batten Moulding Tutorial

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Board & Batten moulding is very popular right now. And why not? It is easy to work with and looks great (after it is painted)! If you remember, I used board and batten in my  my son’s closet turned reading nook last year.

I decided to create a similar look in the boys’ bathroom. Only this time I wanted to round the edges of the battens for more visual interest. I’m warning you now, this tutorial is a bit photo intensive. But, how else would I give you a step-by-step tutorial?

I started by purchasing my lumber at Lowe’s. Did you know you can buy cheap furring strips for your battens? It will save you money. Especially if you don’t mind sifting through the stacks to find the straighter boards and sanding the face of your boards after cutting them. I bought 1x4x8 boards for the battens. And 1x3x8 boards for the upper ledge. I also purchased quarter round moulding and decorative moulding for underneath the upper ledge.

Removing Baseboard Tiles:

The bathroom had baseboard tiles that had to be removed. I grabbed a few tools and made quick work of removing them. The ear muffs and safety glasses were definitely a must!

Score the edges of the tile with a utility knife.

Hammer a flat pry bar behind the tiles.

Remove each tile one at a time.


Take some time to patch any holes that are in your wall. You can view a tutorial on patching drywall HERE. I needed my walls to be as smooth as possible since I wasn’t going to add board behind the battens.

Installing Board and Batten Moulding:

Mark the height where you want the top of your moulding to be. I used 5′ as the height, but then ended up lining up the bottom of my boards on the 5′ mark. So, for the 8′ ceiling room, the top of my moulding was at 65″. Use a level mark as a guide line across the width of your room.

Next measure the widths of the sections that your horizontal boards will be attached to.

Cut your boards to size.

Test fit your boards.

I cut the board that butted up to my mirror at a 30 degree bevel.

Once you have cut all the boards and they fit. Sand down the face and edges.

A nail gun and compressor are not a necessity, but they do make the job a lot easier! Otherwise, you will be doing a lot of hammering and nailing while holding boards in place.

I used the compressor at 110psi, which worked well for the 1″ pine boards. I used 2″ nails for the boards and battens and 1.5″ nails for the quarter round.

Be sure to wear your safety gear. The compressor is LOUD and no need to risk your eyesight. I know, you are jealous of how attractive I look in my safety gear (not!)

For the horizontal top boards, I added some construction adhesive. This is not 100% necessary unless you have monkeys for children. And I do, so the extra adhesive seemed like a good idea.

Press the board onto the wall.

Shoot several 2″ nails into the moulding to hold it in place. Be sure to angle your nails to make it more secure.

That board shouldn’t go anywhere now!



Repeat the same steps for the baseboard boards (minus the construction adhesive.)

Next, measure the vertical distance between the top and baseboard battens. Be sure to measure at the exact location that a vertical batten will go. I’m sure your heights will vary.

Cut all your vertical boards and sand them down.

When you are figuring out the spacing, be sure to take into account if you will be adding a towel bar or other fixtures to the wall. My old towel bar was 24″ wide, so I made sure to space the battens to accommodate the towel bar.

While installing the battens you may run into a few inconveniences. Like, a toilet or something that can’t be moved. To deal with the toilet, I cut a piece of cardstock the same width as my batten. Then I slid it behind the toilet and scribed around the edge of the toilet.

Then I cut along my line and transferred the line to my batten.



Use a jigsaw to cut out the scribed profile (I tried to use my Dremel Trio to cut out the small section, but it failed miserably. I think the Trio is best used for thin stock like the back of a bookcase.)


Then you can install your batten around the “inconvenient” object.

By now your room should resemble something like this:

Installing Quarter Round Moulding:

Now comes the step that requires a little more precision. Cutting the quarter round moulding can be a little tricky, but don’t fear I know you can handle it. Remember the old carpenter’s adage, “Measure twice, cut once.”

Well, I admit it, I forgot! Ugh. Even I can make mistakes, so don’t be afraid to mess up once in a while. We all learn from our mistakes:

You will need to meaure the width and heights of the rectangle between your battens. Be precise for better accuracy and less caulk later!

Set your miter saw at a 45 degree angle.






This is what it should look like. The saw should be straight up and down at a 90 degree angle from the saw stand (in other words, no bevel cut).

 


Cut your quarter round so that the longest point on the moulding equals the measurement you took from the rectangle. You may have to face the “round” edge in towards the fence for some cuts. And it might take a few cuts to figure out the angles. But, I know you can do it. Once you have all your quarter round cut and dry fit, you can proceed with the install.

Remember those “inconvenient” objects. End your quarter round right before the toilet.

Add a 30 degree angle when butting up to objects like light switch covers and outlets.

Load the 1.5″ trim nails into your nail gun. Aim your nail gun into the quarter round at an angle so the nail ends up going through the quarter round and into the battens.


Hey, you are about 80% of the way done with installing the moulding!

Installing the top ledge and decorative trim moulding:

Cut the top ledges to size and sand them down. It is a good idea to round any exposed corners with the sander. This will undoubtedly prevent future dents to the head.

Lay the ledge boards on top of the upper battens. If your walls are uneven, your ledge will likely look like this.

No biggie. Grab your grade school compass. And set the two arms to the width of the widest gap. Then drag your compass along the ledge and the wall.

Get out your trusty jigsaw again and cut off that scribed line (have I told you how much I love my Porter Cable Jigsaw?! It pays to buy good quality power tools.)

Ahhh, much better. Any smaller gaps will be filled in with caulk later.

Nail the ledge into the batten below it. You can use construction glue for extra stability. (Yes, it is monkey protection for us.)

My favorite part of the moulding project is adding a little extra “bling”. I chose this decorative moulding to sit below the ledge and to give it extra support (again I have monkeys!)

Don’t forget to cut a 30 degree angle wherever you cut a batten at that angle.

Nail the decorative moulding onto the batten just below the ledge.

Now doesn’t that look beautiful?!

Fixing a few nail problems:

Remember how I said I make mistakes too? Well, here are two easy mistakes to fix when using a nail gun. When the nail doesn’t go all the way in (this usually happens if you don’t keep pressure on the gun when you squeeze the trigger), simply use a hammer and a nail set to hammer it into the wood.

Occasionally a nail may hit something when entering and end up popping out. Grab the end of the nail and pull it all the way through the wood. You may take some wood with it, but you can patch it with wood putty.


I’ll be back to show you how to caulk and paint this beautiful moulding! And then the final reveal of my Boys’ Fishy to Fabulous Bathroom! Finally, a bonus post on creating a branch towel bar.

 

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MirrorMate Installation and Giveaway

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Do you have an ugly builder’s mirror? I’m betting about 85% of you do. The other 10% were lucky to buy a home that has a beautifully framed mirror. And the remaining 5% either made or bought a new mirror with a frame! When I was first introduced to MirrorMate on Kate’s blog, I could barely contain my excitement. There was finally a fix for the ugly builder’s mirror in my kids’ bathroom {happy dancing}! I could finally say adieu to the stained, rusted and chipped behemoth in the bath and yet I wasn’t adding anything to the landfill in the process!

Bethany, who works for MirrorMate, helped me pick out the perfect frame for our bathroom. And shipped it as soon as the frame was available. Unfortunately, the frame arrived right before I left to surprise my sister in Ca. Then I came home and got deathly ill. So, the poor frame sat in our garage for a month. As soon as I started feeling better I jumped right into the bathroom makeover project. I have to tell you, the makeover was inspired by the beautiful MirrorMate frame. I just couldn’t put that beautiful frame into the fishy bathroom. It just would look like the grown up in a child’s playground.

Putting the frame together and framing the mirror was a piece of cake. Here is how we did it:

1. Unpack the MirrorMate and accompaning supplies.

2. Spread the frame and pieces out. Use wax paper (or old cereal bags) under the corners to protect your work surface from the glue.

3. Glue each corner.

4. Insert the small connector pegs into the slots at the corners. You might need a hammer to lightly tap them in.

5. Wipe off any excess glue with a damp rag (or baby wipe).

6. For added strength and to hold the frame while it dried, I chose to “clamp” my frame by typing rope around it. This was not a necessary step, but I think it helps insure a tight joint, so I did it.

Please tell me that I’m not the only one who started singing. “Spiderman, spiderman, does whatever a spider can, spins a web…”

 

While the frame is drying, assemble the cardboard guides for the MirrorMate installation.

Add the double stick tape to the back as shown in the directions:

After allowing the frame to dry for an hour, get your DIY partner to help you move the frame. You must be careful not to lift or carry the frame by the corners or it could come apart. I left the rope on it until we moved it into the bathroom (just to be safe.)

Clean your glass with rubbing alcohol (especially where the frame will adhere to the mirror.)

Put up with your handsome assistant insisting on reading the directions (even though you already did and are anxious to move along.)

Have your assistant hold up the frame and then have fun telling him to move it to the left. No, wait a little to the right. Well, maybe back to the left. {Hee, hee.}

Level the frame.

Insert the corner guides directly into the top two corners. Be sure the guide is touching the frame’s inner edges.

Remove the frame and then peel off the tape backing.

Then lift the frame back up with the help of your assistant. Align the frame onto the corner guides and press firmly onto the glass. You only have one shot at this, so go slow.

Remove the corner guides and the glue strips from the mirror.

Now stand back and admire your newly framed mirror! GORGEOUS, don’t you think? And the installation was a snap (or should I say a stick. LOL!)

No one will ever know that you are hiding a dirty stained, chipped and rusty secret underneath!


One final look at the finished product and a sneak peek at the finished bathroom. I’ll be sharing with you the board and batten tutorial soon.


One final note: I have to warn you, DO NOT put painters tape on your mirror or you will be crying the blues like I was.

I immediately contacted Bethany to see if she could send me some touch up paint. I can’t even tell you how helpful she was and when she reported that it was actually hot press leaf on the frame and not paint, I figured I’d be doing some creative treatment on the side. But, instead, she insisted on sending a new frame immediately (which arrived 2 days later!) MirrorMate has the best customer service and she told me “We want our customers to be happy with their purchase, even if that means sending a new frame.” Wow, now that is a company I want to do business with!

 

 

 

Disclaimer:

I was sent a complimentary MirrorMate frame for a product review. I can honestly say that this post reflects my opinions and I was not swayed to write a positive post. Nor was I paid to write this post. For more information you can read my disclosure statement.

Changing Out a Light Fixture (Bye-Bye Hollywood Strip Light)

light_fixture_side_view

Have you had it with those ugly Hollywood light fixtures? The ones where the bulbs are lined up in a straight line staring you in the face? Did you know that you don’t have to live with them? Even if you live in an apartment, you can switch light fixtures out fairly easily. (Be sure to keep the old fixture and all the parts so you can re-install it before you move out.)

Light fixtures range in price from $20 to well over $200. Sometimes you can luck out and find some nice light fixtures on Craig’s List or eBay for less. But, wait…Apartment Guide is giving away a $50 Home Depot or Target gift card for my readers! That means that one of you lucky ducks could win the money to purchase a light fixture for FREE (or something else you might want instead.) I’ll discuss all the requirements to enter at the end of this tutorial, so be sure to keep reading.

Apartment Guide asked me to take part in the “DIY Renter Repairs and Tips” Blogger Challenge. I hope you all can benefit from this tutorial. I think you’ll agree, it is neither difficult nor challenging to swap out a light fixture.

Instructions:

Before beginning the installation you MUST turn off the power to your fixture.


Required Safety Instruction:
Turn off the power to the light fixture you are working on. I highly recommend turning on the light you will be working on, then shut off the circuit at your circuit breaker and check to see that the light has gone out. Also note that just because the light fixture power is turned off, it doesn’t necessarily mean that other outlets or lights in the same room are on the same circuit. Always check for the presence of power before you work on it.

Tools:

  • Light Fixture
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Wire cutters and stripper
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Optional: electrical tape

Unpack your new (or slightly used) light fixture. Read through the directions as some steps may vary from this installation tutorial.

Begin by unscrewing the light bulbs and then remove the collars around the light bulb sockets.

Locate any other screws that might be holding the fixture in place. This fixture simply popped off.

Untwist the wire nuts holding the wires together.

Once all the wires are disconnected, unscrew the two screws holding the mounting bracket.

Remove the mounting bracket…

…and now you should be able to remove the light fixture. Laugh at any hidden colors and wallpaper beneath the fixture. (Toile! Ah, not so bad.)

You should be left with just the junction box and three wires protruding from the box. The bare or green wire is your ground wire. The white is your neutral wire and the black is your hot wire.

If you were eagle eyed, you might have noticed a small nick in the insulation of the neutral wire. This could cause a short, so I wrapped some electrical tape around the nick.

Install the new mounting bracket that came with your fixture (if you bought a used one, you may have to use the old mounting bracket from the Hollywood Strip). Attach the screws through the bracket and into the junction box.

The mounting bracket that came with my fixture has a rotating bar that can swing 180 degrees. Position this bar so the fixture will hang level.)

Test fit your fixture and adjust the depth of the mounting screws (the “no head” screws on the mounting bracket) and the angle of the swinging bracket arm. Once the bracket is level and fits snugly with only a small portion of the headless screws poking through; remove the light fixture and tighten the screw in the middle of the mounting bracket to secure the rotating bar.

Wrap the ground wire from the junction box around the green or bare screw on the mounting bracket.

Connect the ground wire from the light fixture to the ground wire from the junction box. Twist them together and secure them with a wire nut.

Twist the black wires from the junction box and the light fixture together.

Twist a wire nut on to secure them.

Repeat the same process to connect the white wires.

Gently fold and tuck the wires back into the junction box. Try to position the white wires on the opposite side as the black wires.

Place your light fixture onto the headless screws and secure the fixture by screwing on the small ball caps.

Remove the shade ring from the light bulb sockets.

Slip the glass shades onto the socket and then screw the collar back on to hold the glass light shades.

Repeat for the remaining light sockets.

Many vanity light fixtures are reversible.

I decided to rehang my fixture facing up for less direct light and to avoid bumping into the mirror frame.

What do you think? Do you like the new look? Do you think you will try it yourself?  I hope so, it was easy!

Now for the good stuff! Do you want to win a Home Depot or Target gift card for $50? Who wouldn’t!

Apartment Guide has been kind enough to offer one or the other to one of my lucky readers. Here is how you could win:

1.        Like Apartment Guide on Facebook and leave a comment that you like them. You can also enter the Your Picks. Your Place contest for $10K while you are there! (exp. 8/10/11)
2.        Follow Apartment Guide on Twitter and leave another comment that you are following their tweets.
3.        Visit one of the articles on MovingToday.com (you can see a list of a few I found helpful below) and let me know which one you found the most interesting/helpful/other.

A winner will be chosen at random on Friday, August 12th!

Did you know that Apartment Guide is a one stop location for finding the perfect rental place to live? Of course you did.

But, I bet you didn’t know that Apartment Guide isn’t just a great resource for finding the perfect apartment. Apartment Guide is also committed to helping you in the transition from renting to owning. They set up MovingToday.com, a site full of resources from finding your home, to DIY repair and home maintenance tips for any room in your place?

Here are just a few of the helpful articles from Moving Today:

So, what are you waiting for? Get clicking! Then come comment on this post to be entered to win the $50 Gift Card to Home Depot or Target.

 

 

 

Disclosure:
Apartment Guide is owned by Consumer Source, Inc. Apartment Guide partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in its “DIY Renter Repairs and Tips” Blogger Challenge.  As part of that program, I received compensation.  They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products used for the “DIY Renter Repairs and Tips” Blogger Challenge. Apartment Guide and Consumer Source believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

Removing Wallpaper Borders

before_bathroom_shower_view

Last week I started to give my boys’ bathroom a facelift. The room was…well…a little fishy.

Complete with fishy wallpaper border…

And a fishy toilet seat!

The room was cute and I didn’t mind it so much. But, the border had started to peel. And the toilet seat was rusting. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT buy any cheap toilet seats that have metal hinges. They may look cool, but the nature of moisture collecting around the toilet makes them rust in no time. This was our third seat to do this. Why I didn’t learn after the second? I’m optimistic by nature I guess.

Anyway, I had wanted to help this bathroom grow up a little. And I’d been anxious to try another moulding project after doing my son’s closet last year.

Before delving into the wonderful world of mouldings, I had to remove that wallpaper border. When wallpaper starts to peel, you think, “Oh cool! That means it will be easy to remove.” So you start picking and tearing at it. Well, resist the urge, it is just a funny joke wallpaper likes to play. You really need to be well stocked and prepared with the appropriate supplies for stripping wallpaper.

Materials:

  • Wallpaper stripper (DIF or a cheaper alternative is to use 1:1 concentration of cheap pink fabric softener and water)
  • Scoring tool (aka Paper Tiger)
  • Scraper or spackle knife
  • Spray bottle
  • Lots and lots of rags
  • Sponge
  • Bucket of water

Instructions:

Start by using the scoring tool. Make lots and lots of holes until you just can’t lift your arm anymore.

The more holes the easier it will be for the stripper to soak into the wallpaper glue.

Spray on the wallpaper stripper and let it sit for 15 minutes.

Repeat spraying the wallpaper (really soak it), and then gently try to slide your scraper behind the edge of the wallpaper.

If you can remove the whole strip easily, go for it. In true stubborn form, my border was hanging onto the walls with a death grip. So, I sprayed more stripper behind the border and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. (Please ignore the giant gaping hole in the drywall! I patched it later.)

Hopefully by now, it has loosened it’s grip.

Gently pull the strip off while using the knife to help separate the border from the wall.

Remove any pieces that are left behind.

Spray down the walls again with the stripper.

Wipe it off with water and a sponge or rag.


This should get rid of all the wallpaper glue residue. But, it is still a good idea to use a primer on walls that previously had wallpaper on them. This will protect your paint job from doing something alien like bubbling up, flaking or who knows what!

If you follow me on Facebook, you were privy to my post over at Parentables. I gave them a special all accesses pass to my brain on a recent trip to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore on THIS day.

You can view this and more transformations over there! Be sure to leave me a comment. It seems those Parentables readers are a bit more shy than y’all!

And, one last note. I finally delivered my promised Pretty Handy Girl in a box to Cheri (pronounced like Sherry), who writes Dragonfliez Creationz. She is such a sweet person and she didn’t even complain that it took me a month to deliver her box. Cheri and I like the same burritos from Tijuana Flats (thanks to Courtney for introducing me to this Raleigh gem.) But, unlike me, Cheri has a tough side too (luckily I didn’t get to see it.) She’s giving me assertiveness training because I’m too nice.

That’s all for today. See you next week with some more bathroom updates.

 

 

 

Dejavú – July in Review

UndertheSea

July has been a hot icky sticky month. We’ve spent more time at the pool trying to stay cool. If you’ve been poolside too, you may have missed a few Pretty Handy Girl posts.

Here is what I’ve been up to:

Go Bold or Go Home! A Slideshow of Bold Front Doors

Printing on Drop Cloth and making Bulletin Boards

An Artist's Inspiration Window

My Niece's Room - Surprising Sis, Paint Problems and a Wall Graphic

How to Back Light a Bookcase

Making Glass Citrus Themed Plates

Making a Rustic Wine Crate with Rope Handles

Make Your Own Monster Dolls (with the Kids)

Sharpie Stained Marker Shirt

How to Make Your Own Piping

Making a Back Pillow - An Easy Tutorial!

 

Organizing Your Paint Supplies - Guest Post from Becky at Organizing Made Fun

 

I’ve been a busy beaver this past week. My boys’ bathroom went from “Under the Sea” (complete with fish wallpaper border and shower curtain)


to “Down by the Sea” with dried starfish, MirrorMate mirror frame, new light fixture, paint, and a cool board and batten style moulding.

I can’t wait to show you! Oops, well I guess I just gave you a little sneak peek.

Plus, I’ve been exploring CFL bulb solutions. I’m trying to be eco-conscious, but I’m just not feelin’ the CFL love. Anyone else have this issue?

See ya’ real soon ;-).

 

 

3M Couple Speak Competition

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3M is having a REALLY funny competition right now. No, I mean really funny because it will make you laugh! The contest is called Couple Speak, and they are challenging you to submit your funniest DIY related mistranslations. The grand prize for winning is $5000! AND, there are weekly prizes of $250 for the funniest Couple Speak translations.

To enter to win the $5K, all you have to do is create your own video about DIY misadventures or humor with with your DIY partner. The videos that 3M made are hilarious. My favorite is “Cover Your Mouth”:

In the spirit of humorous Couple Speak, I thought I’d share a few humorous miscommunications I’ve had with Pretty Handsome Guy over the years. When we had the living room wall opened, we hired a contractor to do the work, because we believed the wall was load bearing and frankly I didn’t want to “Bear” the blame if the house fell down!

One of the issues we had in our living room was the lack of light fixtures…in the ceiling. The room was dark and dreary and had to be lit by table lamps. Our contractor came up with a brilliant idea for adding more light to the room. When he arrived to start work he asked, “Why not add sconce lights to each side of the opening in the living room? I have to cut holes to move the wiring in your wall anyway.” YES! I yelled. I could have kissed that contractor right there and then. And I would have had it not been for the quizzical expression on Pretty Handsome Guy’s face. I found out later that Pretty Handsome Guy didn’t have the same vision as I did:

Scone vs. Sconce

Normally our communication is spot on. We know exactly what each other means even with very few words. I’ll give you a primer on the language between us:

Me: I have good news and bad news.
Translation: Okay, I’m going to give you the good news first in an attempt to gloss over what I’m afraid to tell you.

PHGuy: Have you seen the plunger?
Translation: If I pretend I can’t find the plunger, then you will find it, ask what I need it for, and then unclog the toilet because you are handy like that!

Me: I don’t want you to freak out, but…
Translation: Okay, so something is broken. Broken so bad, that I can’t fix it. And we need to hire a professional who is going to come in and charge us a lot of money. So, don’t freak out…

PHGuy: Did you get {insert random item here} at the store?
Tranlation: Yes, I forgot to add it on the list, but I’m wondering how you are doing on honing your ESP skills.

You see, we are basically on the same wavelength when it comes to communication. Why waste time with long explanations when you can just Couple Speak! I’m curious, what are the miscommunications or better yet the finely honed communications you and the love of your life share? I hope you’ll dust off that video camera and make a video. Have fun and laugh a lot. Then upload your video, cross your fingers (and toes) and hope you win $5,000!

Here is the checklist for the Video Competition and the chance to win $5,000:

  • Video must be 2 minutes or less
  • Close your video with one of the animations (you basically chose one of the five 3M product placement categories when uploading your video.)
  • Please DO NOT use 3M products in the video. (But, you can think about funny situations that would happen if you didn’t use them.)
  •  

Upload your Couple Speak video HERE!

Don’t have a video camera? You can still get in on the fun. Go ahead and enter your Couple Speak translation for a chance to win $250 every week!

Enter HERE! Please let me know if your video makes it to the top 5. You know I will vote for you!

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