Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Every Home Deserves the Perfect Black Door

dressing your home in the perfect black door
The other day I showed you how to prepare and get your door ready for it’s fresh coat of paint… and today I’m revealing our new gorgeous black door!

For a reminder, when I originally showed our new patio space, it looked like this:

Now here it is with it’s new black door.  It’s a simple quick change, but I think makes such a big impact!

I’m not sure why, but I was pretty nervous to make the change.  Now that I’ve done it, I think door makeovers may be my new obsession!

High Impact. Low Budget. = My kind of DIY project.

What do you think? 

exterior black door
Either way I think you should come enjoy one of the Fall crisp nights and enjoy my door space with me!

Again, if you're going to paint your own exterior door be sure to check out my tips how to prepare your door here.

Thank again to 3M DIY for inspiring me to do this project!

Monday, October 28, 2013

How to Prep and Paint an Exterior Back Door for your Home

This project is brought to you by 3M DIY. Their great products helped this project possible.

A few weeks ago I showed you our “new” patio makeover.  Well the weekend after, I painted the back door black so after one week that project was already “outdated”.  I’ve been waiting to show you the final reveal of the door – but for a while there, we were 10 feet under water due to non-stop rain.  Thank you tropical storms.

I love the drama and class the black door brings to the space.  I was pretty nervous about doing it at first because I hadn’t painted a door yet and lines and textures can really effect the result.  But I am SO glad I took the plunge – especially with black.  It’s so classy and feels fresh and new.

Our door was originally white and over the three years the poor caulking job of the window insert had grown mold and was filthy.  So there was a lot of prep work before I jumped into the painting process.  Thanks to I had a lot of 3M™ Safety and prep products on hand to be sure it was an easier job. 

How to prepare your exterior door for painting:

3M DIY Safety and Preperation Products
I had two different drop cloths for the process, one during the prep, and one during the painting.  You’ll see why later.  Then the necessary goods were protective gloves because the primer and paint I was using was oil based ( = messy messy).  I also used a sanding block during the prep, and end up using an x-acto knife, and sharp edge object ( I used a flathead screwdriver). 

Okay so first, the only time I was able to do this project was at night… soo that’s my excuse for the “rough” pictures.  (that darn flash light).
The first thing I did was sand the door, just a quick even easy sand.  Just to “rough up the surface” (you know… make it feel like your man’s 5 o’clock shadow!)  Then I started on the biggest project of this project – fixing the mess that is below.  There was caulk outside the trim lines on both sides… it was dirty and messy on the outside of the frame and then all over the window edge too as you can see in that picture.
how to fix bad caulk lines
So I wasn’t able to get all the pictures of the in between steps… I mean I was doing this alone and just picture me trying to use an x-acto knife to cut the caulk but not deep so to cut the door… and then trying to take pictures with a camera during all that… while standing on a chair.  ANYWAYS, I missed a few steps… but it’s simple, just use your knife to cut a score line in the caulk.  It won’t just fall off because that stuff is STEEEEEEEKY! 

Once I scored the line I just used a flathead screwdriver and pressed flat against the door and used the  edge to pull the caulk down.  
Steps to fixing old messy caulk on doors
WAHOO CLEAN LINES!The importance of cleaning up caulk lines
So this is why I used two different drop cloths… This was just half the amount of caulk I pulled away… and I’m serious, this stuff is sticky… rather than just pick it up and have to make sure each piece is up… I just rolled up my drop cloth and laid a new one for the painting part of the project. How to properly prepare an exterior door for painting
NEXT! The painting begins!

Prep once again – because I needed the door open to paint I was scared of anything that would flock to the light when the door was open so I taped off the doorway.  ScotchBlue™™ Painter's Tape & garbage bag and we’re all sealed up.
How to properly prepare an exterior door for painting
Let the priming begin. I used a oil based primer and had Lowe’s tint it to a grey.  First I painted the trim edge, and then used a roller to paint the sides.  How to properly prepare an exterior door for painting with 3M Painters Tape
After the primer was dried, it was time to paint the gorgeous black! SWOOOOON!  After that was all done here’s a last tip -
Tip for removing oil/grease off glass
I had a lot of vegetable oil on the window from cleaning off the caulk residue/primer and paint and if you’ve ever tried cleaning oil off a window it’s darn near impossible.  Except for that great tip – 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water.  Cleans the window right up and no oil marks left.

I'll be showing off our door in a couple days so be sure to check it out!

I was compensated for this post and provided products, but as usual I will only share my favorite products and companies with you! To keep up-to-date on projects, products and sampling visit


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Remembering How Important Home Maintenance Is When You’re a Home Owner

HA logoThis post is brought to you by HomeAdvisor, but all thoughts, opinions, and warm fuzzy feelings are mine.
At the beginning of the season I shared a big ol’ To Do list for Fall for home care and home maintenance – how many have done any of the items?  Well I’m proud to say I’ve started tackling the list one by one.

Just as I wanted to help you make sure you’re taking care of your home with that home check list – that’s why I’m here again sharing about  Want to know what’s most awesome about HomeAdvisor? I used them even before given the opportunity to work with them.  - That’s how you know true love.

A big item on the To Do list was to power wash my house and fence.  Power washing is a big DIY no no if you’re a beginner.  Did you know there is serious damage you can do to your home if you pressure wash it improperly or with the wrong chemicals?? 

Let that be the segway to reason number one why is amazing.  It’s not like one of those websites you have to pay to become a member of to only see reviews.  It’s a full service website that allows you to see home care tips, reviews, suggestions, tips and maintenance must-do’s. Beyond just that, it allows you sign up for a particular service you’re in need of and then will find top of the line companies that will call you and let you know about their company.  It’s SO EASY!

First I jumped on the website and there’s a tab called, Cost Guide that let’s you pick any home task you may need be it exterior or indoor cleaning, roofing, interior design, general contracting, landscaping, etc etc etc.  I pulled up the cost guide for Exterior Home Cleaning for Power washing.  Right away I see the low to high average cost of power washing, plus the average cost that it’ll cost me in my area.  In addition there is a lot of information explain about the topic of power washing such as the possible dangers, questions to ask a company, benefits of it, and more. 

power washing costs
Then you can “call in the pros” and submit for a quote for your own home.  This is where you enter information about your own requested job and the more specific you can be about it, the more accurate and better results you’ll receive.

Finding a power washer
I immediately received three company suggestions for great matches for my requested job. 

power washing results
These are companies that are tested and suggested with the HomeAdvisor back up – what does that mean?
“HomeAdvisor, a subsidiary of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI), is a leading website offering comprehensive tools and resources for home improvement, maintenance and repair projects. With 13 years of expertise helping more than 25 million people find a trusted home service professional, HomeAdvisor is a cutting-edge resource in the home industry.”

It means they have your back --- and you can trust who they recommend.  I’m glad I did because I AM IN LOVE with my results of power washing which I’ll show you soon.  Not only did I have them power wash my house and fence, they also professionally cleaned my carpets inside.  They were fast, they were efficient, and they were awesome.  I already know who I’m calling next year to do the EXACT same job! 

I’m real excited to show you the amazing after the company I choose did – but let me leave you with this horrible “before”.. GAG! (seriously I’m so embarrassed)

My vow to you – my sweet readers – I will NEVER let it get this bad again!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The 7th Month Itch

I can’t believe Makenzie is already 8 months old… I know parents always say that “how time has flies”! With Jackson I never thought it did, his first year was a LONGGGGGG one as he never let me sleep.  I always thought I had a rough year and a hard first child as he just was never interested in sleeping. Now that I have Kenzie… I realize it’s full circle.  A kid can’t “have it all” so there will be pluses and there will be minuses.  She sleeps, pretty great actually.  She’s also probably the world’s HAPPIEST baby ever. BUT, she’s into EVERYTHING.  Which is new to me, because Jackson NEVER EVER was.

She’s only 8 months old and has already been kicked in the face (no tears), fallen out of a swing (no tears), colored on our bookcase with crayons, eaten a puzzle piece, opens every cupboard, climbs every ledge, chewed on about 10 electrical plugs, and taken every toy from Jackson… she does it all.  Jackson and I never get to rest, we’re constantly chasing her.

I called this the 7 month itch because we were blessed with Jackson as a big brother.  He NEVER had an ounce of jealousy since het met his little sister in the hospital.  He’s loved her far beyond words from day one, and she too has loved him beyond words from the beginning.  They had an innate love that I’ve never seen kids so young have for each other.  He was sweet with her, he was always so gentle, and carrying and helpful. 
Once that started to wear off and his hugs got a little rougher, but she loved it back.  She never cried, I never had to tell him to be more gentle, because she never minded.  He started not wanting to share his toys and wanted to be away from her, but would always give her a toy in exchange to keep her busy.  Again, we were very lucky.


DSC_9924(The duck is broken and always says hot – I swear they’re not in a hot tub)
Then the 7 month itch began.

I noticed the past few weeks have felt “harder”.  I find myself stressed and frustrated with him more and more.  “Jackson settle down” “Jackson don’t yell” “Jackson can you not laugh so loud” “Jackson don’t take her toy” “Jackson put her down” “Jackson don’t make her stand up, she doesn’t want too”…..
where’s my wine!

So what changed?  That 7 month itch of Jackson being a big brother.  She’s getting bigger, and he’s realizing it.  He’s noticing she can be more of a friend, an equal, instead of a baby.  He laughs UNCONTROLLABLY with her, usually by teasing her in some way.  And she laughs right back with him. 

It’s the beginning to the rest of my life.  I now realize they’re already building their “team”.  Where it’ll just be the two of them… without me.  He doesn’t need just me anymore….. he laughs harder with her than he ever did me.  They’re soon going to be doing things and when I ask what they’re up too “NOTHING MOM, IT’S BETWEEN US NOT YOU”….

best friends
So here’s to you sweet children of mine…. I hope that you continue to be the best of friends.  I hope you always have each other’s back.  I hope you always find pleasure in each other’s company.  I hope that you know the true meaning of a best friend because you have one in each other.  I’ll always be jealous of the bond you two have as brother and sister once I’m not included in every moment… but I’ll always smile and adore the love you have for each other.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Gallery Wall with Wire and Wood

Gallery wall built with wire and wood using instagram pictures gallery wall with wood and wire
There’s something about having actual printed pictures in hand and on display in your home.  It makes the moments that were captured come to life and be daily reminders to enjoy life.  It has been years since I’ve taken the time to print pictures.  My hard drive is jammed back with thousands of pictures of Jackson moments over the last four years, but not too many printed pictures of our family unless they’re the ones we got developed from our family photo sessions. 

It’s interesting how pictures have changed since we have become to dependent on our cell phones.  Over the first three years of Jackson’s life I have folder after folder of digital pictures capturing every little moment with my camera.  But with Kenzie I barely EVER grab my camera and am just capturing those giggles and smiles with my phone.  The quality of the images almost seems like we’ve gone back in technology light years compared to how crisp and beautiful images from cameras can be.  But I noticed because of my photography for blogging I no longer capture the simple moments of my kids.  I’m concentrating on the perfect lighting, the perfect aperture settings, the perfect soft focus.  It no longer becomes about what they’re doing, but about the story I’m trying to tell with my camera settings. 

That’s what is almost great about using my phone for capturing the simple perfect moments.  Most of us all use Instragram (would love you to follow me if you don’t already!) and I love the filter effects, the unique square shots, and the classic white border of those pictures.  I finally got up off my buns and sent off a small collection of pictures to Persnickety Prints to get my pictures developed.  When I received them in hand I was obsessed, I LOVED having pictures in hand again.  The quality is unique, it’s not professional pictures, it’s almost the quality that we’re used to seeing from our own childhood using disposable cameras.  But it’s simple, the picture becomes about the moment again.  So with my prints in hand I made a new gallery wall for our living room to have these moments be daily reminders to LIVE, LOVE AND LAUGH. 

This is a super easy and inexpensive way to create a gallery wall without the high cost of frames, and creates a larger piece of art that becomes a conversational piece.  Here’s my make-up-as-I-go how to for my gallery wall piece.

First grabbed some 8 foot long planks from my go to place for timber – Lowe’s.  Jackson was enjoying the ride.


Then I gathered up my materials for cutting my wood to length.  I always use a circular saw for cutting wood, and use a table base, t-square, measuring tape, clamps, safety goggles, and my Kreg-Jig Square Cut (such a great little gadget for cutting wood with a circular saw!)

I always use a measuring tape to measure out the necessary length (I was cutting my boards down to 7 feet long) and then use a T-Square to get my straight cut line.

DSC_9659bThen to assist with getting straight cut lines I use the Kreg-Jig Square Cut.  It’s inexpensive and has been such a great purchase, I highly suggest buying it if you use a circular saw often.

Then I just did a quick sand down of the boards using a palm sander with 120 grit and wiped it down to remove the left over dust. 

Moving on to staining – I always use a staining pad with a lint-free cloth nearby.  I smooth on the stain and quickly go back over it with the cloth.  You can let the stain sit for a few minutes to get a deeper color but I was doing this outside in 95 degree weather so if I let it sit on the wood at all any detail would show in the stain like my strokes or unevenness.  So instead I just do a few coats to obtain the deeper color I want to achieve with adequate dry time in between. 

Once I did that to all four boards (by the way I totally cheated and only stained the front and sides of the board, didn’t bother with doing the back.  Shortcuts people, they’re so great!

So next I knew I wanted a little more to my piece than just the wire and wood.  I initially thought of making my big yellow heart sign as the background, but decided to go with just an oversized word “love” as the backdrop.  I pushed all the boards together and sketched out my word.  I always write on wood with chalk and then just remove any mistakes or unnecessary lines with a wet cloth.  Works GREAT!

writing with chalk on wood

Then I just went over my chalk lines with a thin lined paint brush and white paint.  Once the paint was completely dry I wiped down the whole word with a wet cloth to remove any left over chalk lines.

I took another short cut and just found the studs on my wall and directly screwed the wood planks into the wall and kept two inches apart of each plank to separate the word “love” out.   Once my boards were up I just used simple screw eyes and steel wire to create the hanging line for the pictures. 

I pre-drilled the holes for the screw eyes and then just screwed them in.  Super easy.  I followed that up with wrapping the steel wire around the hoop part.  If you’re not familiar with cutting wire, or using needle nose pliers – here’s a tip.  That part that the wire is clamped in between in the picture below actually cuts wire.  Everyone may know this already, but maybe you don’t… and I just helped you learn something new.  See that – we make a great team. 

tip for needlenose pliers
Next I just used little clothes pins that I purchased from Michaels for $2 a bag and hung up all my pictures. 

What do you think?  Do you think the love is too much of a distraction or does it work?  You may have noticed that I moved our toy bookshelf and it’s no longer along the side of the couch.  I just needed a change and trying to find a layout that works with two toy-obsessed kids. I moved the bookshelf under a different window to make it stand out more. 

I am excited that it’s super easy to change out pictures so every few weeks I can get more pictures developed and just swap them out for an up to date gallery wall without the fuss of taking the fames down and changing out the pictures.  Easy Peezy is my middle name ya know.

The art above our couch has been changed out a few times since we’ve moved in, you can see the original art here, and then the pallet frame art piece here.  (By the way I may be selling that pallet frame piece to someone on my Facebook page if anyone may be interested so if you think you are – be sure you’re following me on Facebook when I post about it)
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