A Stripe of a Monday

It was one of those rough Mondays… the kind where you want to pull the covers back over your head, the cup of coffee doesn’t help get you going and nothing during the day seems to go right. While I couldn’t be more looking forward to Friday.. for me accomplishing a DIY project can turn my whole day/night around.

Last Monday I came home and looked at my living room, it was bright outside, but so grr… well gray on the inside. And while gray is what I wanted, but without artwork it was just kind of blah…

what are those colorful cubes in the corner.. we’ll get to that another day..

I read a few blogs that said putting stripes on a wall took less than 3 hours.. Well I had 3 hours to burn before bed so off I went. I combined two tutorials to get my end result.

First I followed the how-to guide from the unskinnyboppy.

1. Using what your momma gave you…
A free project requires getting creative.. so I used my off white trim paint that we had left over from the trim work. Yes it was satin/semi-gloss paint.. but not having to worry about it meeting at the trims really excited me.. I’d recommend going with a matte in the future.. but again using what your momma gave ya..

2. Lucky number 7
I like Beth wanted 3 wide strips across my wall, I took my total wall height which is only around 85″ (yup old home=short ceilings). So 85/7 = ~12″ apart. to make 3 defined stripes across the wall. And for you math geeks, the extra .45802 can be found at the bottom in about an extra 1″ (don’t notice.. Great! We don’t either!)

3. Tape! Those! Lines! (with as much excitement as “Move That Bus”)-
This is where I followed thehouseofsmiths‘ technique. I used a long level, pencil, a handy dandy measuring tape and a ladder or Greg when the long measuring tape and pencil juggling just didn’t work with 2 hands.

As Beth recommended I always measured down my chosen 12″ from the ceiling and made a pencil mark. I penciled across with the level as a straight edge and then.. Taped! Those! Lines!- I used my insurance card to smooth the tape across as I went to get a crisp edge.

ps. remember to tape on the right side of the line.. and if you mess up the best part is you can rip up and try again. (I only did this once or twice… it got dark quick..)

4. Watching (or in this case not watching) Paint Dry 
I painted one coat on each of my 3 stripes, and then went back and did a second coat after about 30 minutes (while I taped the other side). After the second coat you want to “Get that Tape Off” (okay, not nearly as catchy?) but the key to crisp paint lines is taking the paint off right away.
After comparison testing painters tape and working with the tape manufacturers its their #1 recommendation. Longer the tape is on the surface the more prone it is to drips, blips and bleed through… seriously its 3rd party tested.

5. Admire Your Handy work
After about 3 hours of work, I cleaned up and then was able to admire my handy work.
I admired it right away…

And again after I cleaned up:

And again the next day..

Yay Stripes!!!.. okay so I was a little excited.. after a week its worn off.. but I made Greg and my poor brother look at least every day… haha

I’m one of those stubborn I’d rather finish it and feel the accomplishment right away then have a project drag out.. Any one else feel like that after a project? Or have a week day inspiration to tackle a quick project? Did it make you feel better or was it a disaster?


*Tweak*ing our way to an updated living room

As you’ve noticed I’ve become a HUGE slacker in writing posts.

Anyways I started reading a blog called House*Tweaking , I fell in love with their blog (mainly because I like how she refers to her husband as HH (*Handy Husband*) but also because of the tag line of “because home doesn’t happen overnight”.

Now almost a Year into home ownership (<– Yes it’s really been 1 Year since I’ve been back in Buffalo and we looked and fell in love with our house). Anyways.. after a year now I realize while we both work full-time jobs, our home really is a continual series of small mini projects. We can’t typically dedicate solid days to a project but each of our *tweaks* really does add up.

Here is a great example of a series of *tweaks* we’ve done to the living room. This is a side-by-side *before* and *current*: (oh and don’t worry we have even more added tweaks up our sleeves).


I think it looks drastically different. The old space was small, dark, closed in and seemed very very tiny. The new space is large, big and bright.

However, since do work full-time,  this post documents a series of *tweaks*. Each tweak didn’t necessarily change the room drastically, but it does show how small tackled projects can help make a big difference. So without further ado, a series of living room tweaks up to now.

Upon Moving In:

Living room our.home.place

Moving our existing furniture in..

our.home.place - living room old style

A quick change of curtains [i love, love, love, love, love  ikea clearance bins!]

our.home.place ikea curtains

A little re-org, a new coat of paint, and removal of the old trim.

New trim mounted and painted…

Then came the fun part.. taking down the unusable bookcase. [It was seriously 7 inches deep… even the bottom cabinets.] Also Greg had fun doing this as you can see…

Only 1 casualty on the way.. Lesson learned: A crowbar will go right through the original plaster walls..

With the book-case out, we moved onto mounting Greg’s baby… *no not Guinness* his 55″ HD Fancy Schmancy TV. He hard-wired a mounting box behind the TV above the fireplace, with all the wires exiting down to the side next to fireplace for the to be new appliance cabinet.

After the TV went up we arrive where we were  just a few days ago. *Voila*

oh and of course: this is all guinness approved:

Next Up for the Living Room:

-Mount TV
-Remove Bookcase
-Paint Walls
-Update Trim & Molding
-Patch Water Damage in ceiling (Guess we could add replace roof onto this.. boo)

-Update closet door ( I want to replace all the doors in the house eventually.. and I have my eye on something like this or this but in white)
-Update window coverings (I love the no curtain look, but I would like the lady next door to not see me enjoying it)
-Wall accent pieces for both the walls
-Hall Entry Furniture, Table/Desk/Dresser?
-Accent Furniture chairs for additional seating
-Get light into the room! Ceiling light? New side lamps?
-Built in cabinets/storage for the side of the fireplace
-Fireplace Re-Fresh (To Paint the Brick or Not to Paint the Brick? and Re-Tile the front of the fireplace)
-To Accent Rug? Or to go bare beautiful floors?
-Coffee Tables/Ottoman (Without the L on the couch its hard to get comfy, and there’s  no place to put your drink or feet)

*side note.. yes we have taken down our Christmas tree.. although it did take awhile..*

Also I apologize in advance if the blog gets taken over by *how to* DIY wedding items.

Adirondack Chair Repair

Did you notice the Adirondack chair that was in the summer wrap up? When we purchased the house there was this sad little piece of furniture left behind by the previous owners. While we didn’t have any outdoor furniture it looked like it was on its way to the curb.  It was weathered, tired, and unstable… (poor chair)

However, Greg tightened up the loose nuts and bolts and it became sturdy again. Ta-Da! Okay we wish, but it was still pretty grungy, dirty and yucky looking.

So once it was structurally okay, I worked on the restoration (my apologies for the lack of pictures). I used a Behr wood cleaner, and with some a scrub brush and within 2 applications it really brought the wood to a natural shine.
Note use gloves when using that toxic stuff, it worked awesome but I did learn my lesson.

After a few weeks of going back and forth I picked up a blue outdoor spray paint which I had hoped would match the cushions for the other patio set we were building. I found the perfect bright blue satin color at my local Valu Hardware store and went to town. It took about 3 cans (and while it still needs another good coat),  I was too anxious and after it dried I fell in love with it. ::happy chair::

❤ What do you think? Are brightly colored furniture going to be out of style? Anyone else have a piece of furniture they helped bring to life?

Summer/Fall 2012 Outdoor Wrap-Up

So summer is officially over. ::sad face::  As summer and fall blurred this year (or at least I like to blur them) I thought I’d wrap up the progress we’ve made outside in the last few months. Here are some before and after shots from when we purchased the house until now. It excites us a lot!

Weed, Lay Top-Soil & Grow Grass from Seed



Build outdoor patio furniture

The grass is still spotty! But its a worlds improvement from where it was!



Install Gate to Backyard





Comparing the before and after shots really helps us to feel like we are starting to cross items off of the to-do list. Some of the remaining goals left for next year are:

  • Remove the small old fence posts
  • Install Lattice Top to Other Fence Gate
  • Paint/Treat Gate
  • Finish Concrete Pad
  • Build Patio Sofa or 2 More Chairs
  • Make Cushions for Patio Set
  • Plant Trees
  • Build Raised Vegetable Garden
  • Start & Maintain Compost Pile
  • Install Privacy Screen/Pit/Shade

We’ll see what we cross off in Spring 2013. Anyone else wrap up projects before the cooler weather has hit?

Building a Gate – Wrap-Up

After a few different posts on our gate, I thought it would be helpful to do a wrap-up on our progress we made in just 1 week! (two and a half days due to all of the rain)

Here’s the before:


The idea:


The sketch:


And the after:


Open: (note the new stone rocks)


After: Backside view



If you can check out our reason for a gate, design ideas, the post installation, and the building of the gate. Any questions feel free to let me know! In the spring once the pressure treated wood is weathered we can paint/stain it to match the side panel. So many options I’m glad we have until spring to decide!

Building a Gate – Part 1 cont.

So as you can remember we were in need of a fence [here]. And in need pronto [here]. However while the posts for the 4×4’s went in with ease, we made a poor cutting judgement at Home Depot which left us with posts that were over 1 foot short of the gate that I was building. [here].

The part we’ll gloss over is the part where Greg had to remove the previously cut and installed 4×4’s. While the posts were east to install, the posts are not meant to be removed… It took multiple hours to drill out all of the pressure treated lumber from the posts… However once they were removed the new posts went in with ease.

But back to my original story: here is the design/sketch I was hoping to go for:

Read the rest of this entry »

Building a Gate – Part 1

Now that you’ve seen the designs, I thought I should show you the progress we made the first weekend. We tried squeezing in as much stuff as we could before the afternoon rain set in so we attacked it in two parts; Greg took installing the posts while I spent the time in the basement building the actual gate.

As you may remember this was our intended design:

Read the rest of this entry »

Gate Ideas

As this weekend turned into putting up a gate to blockade our Master Escape Artist, see hereGreg & I began to look into what type of gate we’d want to put up.

This is what Greg was originally thinking we’d do:

Read the rest of this entry »

The Escape Artist

Our house was sold with a “fenced in” back yard. And by “fenced in”, I mean it was only missing the oober critical gate. No big deal Guinness our lovely pup, has lived with us in my Arizona apartment fenced in by only by 2 temporary dog pens. While her sister was a skilled pen hurdler, Guinness always felt content staying on her side of the barrier.

Temp Dog Gate

For the last 6 months we have been using these “temporary” barriers just to get us by. They’ve acted as a temporary gate and on the long, long, long list of things to do was: put up a gate. Every weekend we talked about putting one up but it just seemed so unnecessary since we were all content (Guinness included).

For the last 3 weeks Guinness has been cooped up in a small pen as seen above. The backyard was recently seeded and while we are amidst growing grass (<3) we can’t risk her love for eating grass and digging holes. Long story, but as you could guess… she’s not enjoying it

The first time we noticed something fishy was after our weekday date night earlier in the week. Pulling into the driveway Greg thought he saw something in the dark shadows and turned into super protective man mode. After a few seconds passed and the coast being clear, we headed towards the house however before reaching the house we were greeted by YouKnowWho in our driveway. interesting… very interesting…

The next day we double checked the gates and the blockades before we left for work. However we received a call around noon while we were at work from our Town Police. They happened to find her by herself just leisurely strolling 5 blocks away from home on her daily walk route. Adventurous Dog Lucky for us they happily delivered her home, and locked the door behind them. phew.. how she did it? no clue?

Friday night, we come home again and this time my stomach dropped. The gate was pushed to the side, door shut, and a dog was nowhere to be seen. We did however find this note as seen below.

(Did I mention we have the BEST NEIGHBORS!) Seriously they are just awesome, and welcomed Guinness as she ventured over to play with their puppy. So we’re even now as their puppy had escaped a few nights prior and showed up at our house to play a few nights prior.

Anyways with an escape artist on our hands, and not a clue on how she is doing it.. building a gate has become our new weekend project.

Anyone else have a master escape artist on their hands? Or a new spontaneous weekend project?

Brightening My Work Home

As many of you know I transitioned back from Flagstaff to Buffalo, NY this past spring. When transitioning back, I was unimpressed with the gray skies and I missed the sunshine from where I worked in Flagstaff. As we spend 40+ hours a week at work, I thought I should enjoy being there. While I’m on the road occasionally, or out on the testing floor, I still spend a majority of my time in my cube.

I did a quick search in google and was able to find the following inspiration ideas!

Jungle themed – I liked how the bright bold colors popped
and how professional the space still is. Read the rest of this entry »