Our Cork Floors – One Year Report

Update: Our Cork Floors One Year Later | Pretty Handy Girl

Faux Weathered Gray Wood Grain Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

A year has flown by since I laid our Globus Cork glue down tiles in our kitchen. I wanted to check back in and let you know how they are holding up.  I must say this is one of my favorite (if not THE favorite) fixture in our kitchen. I had some minor doubts because some people feared that dogs and cork floors don’t go well together. Or that rambunctious boys would ruin them. Well, I’m here to report that after a year they still look the same as when they were installed!

Update: Our Cork Floors One Year Later | Pretty Handy Girl

I can tell you that there has been lots of chair scraping. Lots of matchbox car races. Lots of wrestling and plenty of Buddy sliding on them as he runs to retrieve balls.

Update: Our Cork Floors One Year Later | Pretty Handy Girl

I have yet to see a scratch anywhere! The only mark that I did manage to make was a small dent when I dropped one of the heavy corbels and it hit the floor right at the pointy edge. But, I can’t even find that dent to be able to check on it.

There is also one dip where I must not have filled a knot hole in the underlayment. But, it is barely noticeable unless the light hits it just right: [Read more...]

Ryobi Battery Powered vs. Campbell Hausfeld Pneumatic Finish Nailer Comparison

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finish-nailer-comparison

A finish nailer is a great tool to have in your workshop.  It’s great for small projects, installing moulding, wall planking and more. After using both types of finish nailers for many projects, I wanted to break down the pros and cons of each.
Compressor_finish_nailer_combo_kitI was able to score this Campbell-Hausfeld nailer and compressor combo around Father’s Day at Lowe’s for $69! (Normal MSRP is $99.) I’ve used the compressor-powered nailer for many years on an assortment of DIY projects (like my Art & Craft Studio scrap wood wall.)  I haven’t had any problems with it. It’s reliable, lightweight and can fire a variety of length finish nails and U-staples. For the value, you can’t go wrong. The cons of the Campbell Hausfeld are mostly related to the compressor. It is very loud when the air tank is recharging. It’s a little bulky to store and haul around. You are limited to the length of your air hose and a power source. And you must empty the tank and maintain it periodically.

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In all the ways that the Campbell-Hausfeld fails, the Ryobi Air Strike excels. It doesn’t take up as much room to store. No compressor needed because it is essentially built into the tool. As long as the battery is charged you are ready to fire nails on a moment’s notice. The light helps illuminate in dark working areas. You aren’t tethered to an air hose or compressor. This allows you the freedom to wander anywhere with the nail gun. And it is quiet (with the exception of the bang when firing the nail.)

The downsides are it doesn’t shoot U-staples. The gun itself is heavier to hold because of the battery and size of the gun. If you lose charge in the battery you have to wait a while for it to charge. Finally, the price is slightly higher than the MSRP of the Campbell-Hausfeld at $129.

I hope this comparison helps you select your own finish nail gun.

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Want to learn how to use a finish nailer? Check out my tool tutorial videos and more!

Xtend + Climb Telescoping Ladder Review

Xtend + Climb Telescoping Ladder Review | Pretty Handy Girl

Xtend + Climb Telescoping Ladder Review | Pretty Handy Girl

A few months ago I got an email asking me if I wanted to test an Xtend + Climb telescoping ladder. I said I’d be happy to try it, but I couldn’t promise I’d blog about it. I try lots of products, but only the ones I love get mentioned on the blog. The litmus test is if I would recommend it to a close friend. If I would, then I share it with you (because y’all are like friends I just haven’t met yet.)

Xtend + Climb Telescoping Ladder Review | Pretty Handy Girl

The 760P Xtend + Climb ladder arrived in a compact box. When it arrived, I doubted that it really contained a 14.5ft ladder. But, sure enough inside was the telescoping ladder. Over the course of three months, I truly gave it a work out. I used it to clean the gutters and… [Read more...]

DIY Book Reviews – Inspired You – The Handbuilt Home – Handmade Walls

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I think 2012 could be named the year of DIY blogger authored books. So many fabulous bloggers have come out with phenomenal  books. Young House Love, Miss Mustard Seed, Ana White, and The Handmade Home just to name just a few.

For me this is a dream come true. Finally, the beautiful words and photos of my favorite bloggers are now in book format. Here’s a quick round up of three DIY books I think you’ll enjoy. You’ll surely want to add them to your holiday wishlist! [Read more...]

Tool Review – Black and Decker GYRO

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I finally finished installing the Flow Wall in the arts & crafts studio. And I had some help from this little guy:

This is the Black & Decker GYRO, it’s a cordless screwdriver, but it has one amazing feature. It is smart enough to sense which direction you want  to turn and will begin to move in  that direction at the slightest tilt of your hand. (I wish I had a tool that could sense the direction my mind is going on this kitchen remodel, but that model might be more complicated than rocket science.) [Read more...]

How to Seal and Protect Your Deck

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One of the home improvement projects that has consistently been at the bottom of my “to do list” was re-sealing the porch floor. And it would have stayed there if I hadn’t noticed this: [Read more...]

How to Salvage Wood from Shipping Pallets

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Pallet upcycling is all the rage today. But, if you’ve ever tried to actually remove wood planks from a pallet, you know that it is not an easy task. The nails that are used are typically spiral nails and are designed to really grip that wood. And if that’s not enough, they usually shoot 4-5 nails per joint. Sheesh, you’d think they were building a foundation for a 10 ton elephant. Okay, actually it is the foundation that has to hold tons of product as it is lifted by a fork lift. Which explains why harvesting pallet wood can be a labor intensive task.

I figured you’d appreciate it if I shared with you the quickest and easiest way I’ve found to salvage this beautifully rustic pallet wood. [Read more...]

Rockin’ Out with Safety Gear – 3M Tekk Digital Work Tunes Review

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I feel like I’m constantly shouting safety messages at you. But, I can’t stress enough how important it is to wear hearing protection when you are exposed to loud noises. But, did you know that the noise doesn’t even have to be super loud? Exposure to higher levels for an extended period of time can also cause hearing loss.

Here is an infographic from 3M that shows common household noises that may be harming your hearing:

I have a pair of 3M Tekk ear muffs that I use when sawing wood and using my power tools. But, Pretty Handsome Guy doesn’t have a pair. He isn’t allowed doesn’t use my tools very much, but he does do most of the yard work. When he cuts the lawn he uses ear plugs. I decided it was time to upgrade his little foamies to some rockin’ headphones! Last week, I gave him a pair of Digital WorkTunes™ HearingProtector and AM/FM Stereo Radio ear muffs. He was thrilled to try out something that allowed him to rock out while he was chopping blades.

[Read more...]

White-washed Window Box from a Wine Crate

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The other day I was wandering aimlessly shopping at Costco and spied an empty wooden wine crate. The angel stamped on the side was beaconing me to take her home. Actually, I read Funky Junk Interiors’s post about making tool boxes last year and have been looking for just the right wood to make one. The angel may not have beaconed me, but I wasn’t about to leave the store without her.

I thought about tucking it under my coat and making a break for the front door, as I was sure there were other crafty ladies eyeing up the lonely wine crate. But, I resisted the urge and asked the manager if I could have it, and he graciously let me take it home. I was exuberant because I’ve been missing my rustic wine crate that Cherie won. [Read more...]

Adding Wallpaper for Windows to Stop the Peep Show + Giveaway

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I’m about to share something a little embarrassing with the whole world. I confess to you that I regularly walk in my bathroom naked in front of the only window in our master bathroom!

Why would I do such a silly thing? Why? Well, I’m not intentionally trying to flash the world, that is for sure! I do it because I don’t want to cover that window that provides light and a view of our wooded backyard. I like to watch hawks, deer and other wildlife as they cross behind our yard. During the spring, summer, and fall I have plenty of privacy from the trees. BUT, in the winter that privacy is nearly nonexistent.

Now, I’m not insinuating that my neighbors are the peeping tom types, but I still feel a little self-conscious getting out of the shower at night in a brightly lit bathroom.Dear Mr. & Mrs. Jones (not their real names), if I inadvertently flashed you on one such night, I’m sorry.

When Wallpaper for Windows contacted me to ask if I wanted to try their product, I immediately said, YES! The name of their company is slightly misleading, because they sell a wide range of privacy films and decor clings for more than just your windows. You can find products in their online store for glass shower stalls, mirrors, side lights, and more.

I was instantly drawn to the decor tint line. The decor tints are sold in privacy and see-thru opaquenesses. With a variety of  11 colors to choose from, I knew I could find one to work with our blue bathroom. Ultimately I chose the sky blue see-thru film.

Why not privacy you ask? Well, here’s the thing, I didn’t want to block my view of the wildlife (and the kids playing in the yard), but I did want to keep my neighbors from thinking that I lead a wild life.

How to Install Wallpaper for Windows Window Clings

Materials:

  • Razor blade
  • Window cleaner
  • Water and soap mixed in a spray bottle (the Shaklee Basic H2 works for both cleaning and spraying)
  • Clean rag
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors (if you don’t have an X-ACTO knife)
  • Wallpaper for Windows film
  • Wallpaper for Windows squeegee

Difficulty: Easy to apply the film; Moderate if cutting shapes

Installing the Window Film

Step. 1 – Start by scraping any debris off your windows using the razor blade. (Confession #2 – that debris you see below is hairspray. Truth be told, I lived through the hair band 80′s and haven’t weaned myself off hairspray yet.)

Step 2. – Clean the windows thoroughly with glass cleaner and wipe dry.

Step 3. Measure each window panel. You may choose to add 1/4″ to the dimensions if you are unsure about your measuring or cutting skills.

Note: Wallpaper for Windows will cut your panels exactly to size (1 flat $6.50 fee for the all the divided lights in my window), but I chose to do it myself. It isn’t hard to cut the film, but you might want to pay to have Wallpaper for Windows cut it if you aren’t practiced at using an X-ACTO knife.

Step 4. – Transfer the measurements to the back of the window film (the white paper side.) Hold the ruler firmly on the back of the film and cut your panels.

Set the panels aside in a dry spot. Don’t let the paper backing get wet.

Wash your hands thoroughly to remove any oils or dirt. If you don’t, you could leave fingerprints or smudges between the glass and the film.

Step 5. – Wet the window with the water/soap mixture. (I used the Shaklee Basic H2 window cleaner.)

Step 6. – Peel the backing off the decor tint film.

Remember how I said not to get the backing wet, here is why:

Those little white spots of backing paper were near impossible to get off.

Step 7. – Position the window film onto your window. You can peel it off and reposition it as needed.

When the film is centered on the window, use your hand to press and smooth it onto the glass.

Step. 8 – Use the provided squeegee (also a credit card will work) to press from the center to the edges of the film. Push any air and water bubbles out to the sides.

Step 9. – Use a sharp X-ACTO blade to trim any excess film from the window.

This is how the see-thu decor tint (blue sky color) looks on the bottom half of the window. You could stop at this point and enjoy the privacy that it creates.

Here is a close up view of the blue sky tint next to the open window:

Cutting a Graphic out of the Window Film

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’m the blogger who likes to push that “Amp Up the Creativity” button on all my projects. Which is why I wanted to cut graphic shapes out of the decor tint.

Step 1. Install the window film (see directions above). Let the window and film dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Install a fresh blade into the X-ACTO knife.

Step 2. – Use a sharp X-ACTO blade to lightly cut through the film. Use enough pressure to cut through the film but not to scratch the glass.

Step 3. – Use the X-ACTO point to pull a corner free. Peel the shape off the window.

Continue until you have completely the scene. I cut out simple graphic trees from the window film.

In the late afternoon, the sun shines through the cut-outs and projects this beautiful scene on the opposite wall.

And now I have the perfect amount of privacy and yet can still see wildlife and wild boys in the backyard.

The closer I get to the window, the more I can see out the cut outs:

However, as you can see, there is still enough of the film to protect my neighbors from seeing more than they bargained for.

Sorry the Giveaway has ended from WallpaperforWindows.com.

If the tinted decor film isn’t your style, they have a plethora of other films to choose from!

Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated to write this post. Wallpaper for Windows sent me a complimentary sample of their product to test. This post is my idea and my thoughts on their product. I was not told what to write.

Smart Tiles Installation and Product Review

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The other day I was lamenting the condition of our laundry room. It was beautiful about a year ago, but continual use and lots of cleaning paint brushes had left the wall looking like this.

Since Jackson Pollock walls are not in style, I decided to give the utility sink a quick face lift. Of course glass mosaic tiles would be really fab here. But, I didn’t have the time or desire to grout the walls and tiles. Luckily I had some Smart Tiles patiently waiting for me to try them. I chose the Lagoon Mosaik tiles for my laundry room. But, there are a wide variety of colors and sizes to chose from. These self-adhesive tile sheets have the look of mosaic glass tiles but not the hassle and mess of mixing grout, laying tile, and cleaning the grout afterwards.

Installing them is a cinch. It is as simple as wash, peel, align and stick! See:

You’ll need a few materials before you start:

  • Level
  • Pencil or Chalk
  • X-ACTO knift
  • Cutting Mat
  • Metal ruler
  • TSP cleaning solution
  • Sponge
  • Dry Rag
  • Painter’s Tape

Clean the walls according to the directions on the TSP cleaning solution box. Wipe the walls dry.

Use a level and a pencil to mark a line where the top of the smart tiles will be installed.

Dry fit all the tiles sheets. Start in the corner (if you have one.)

 Tape up all the tile sheets using painter’s tape.

Cut any excess off the sheets and cut any additional tiles needed for the installation.

Peel the backing off and carefully adhere the tile sheet to the wall. Try very hard not to touch the adhesive backing.

Line the tile up with the level line.

Press firmly against the wall and smooth your hand over the sheet to remove any air bubbles.

For any holes: 1) Count tiles for the hole. 2) Cut out that many tiles. 3) Stick them on and admire how well they blend with the existing tiles.

Another reason the Smart Tiles are a breeze to install is because they are flexible, you can wrap it around an object, then mark the cut and use an X-ACTO knife to cut away any excess.

That is all there is to it! Stand back and admire your handy work!

I loved the ease and simplicity of the Smart Tiles. They look real until you get up real close and notice that they are not as thick as glass tiles on the side. To fake the sides, you could fit a thin piece of molding on the sides and the top to give it a more finished look.

Although these tiles are easy to install, they cost about the same as the real thing. However, you will save money on grout. And you will definitely save time (and we all know that time is money!)

The tiles I installed have wiped off very easily and they don’t show splashes. A few of the corners have started to peel up where I wasn’t  careful about not touching the adhesive backing. The rest of the seams are holding tight.

If you are looking for a quick and easy solution to update your backsplash, I highly recommend the Smart Tiles.

That being said, if you want a more permanent solution, I recommend spending about the same amount of money and take the time to install glass mosaic tiles.

Note: They cannot be installed inside a shower where the conditions are very wet. In the kitchen, if installing behind a gas range without a back panel, you need to leave a safety zone.

You can purchase them at your local Home Depot in the US,  online, or at these locations.

Disclaimer: I was sent one packet of 6 Smart Tiles to try. This is not a paid review, all opinions and the project are my own. If I don’t like a product, you won’t see a review on my blog. For more information about product reviews and my disclosure, read this.