2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back

That is how I feel like today went. The first piece of trim was cut wrong the first time. In the second piece of trim we cut one did not like it, cut another piece and we did not like that one either. So what did we do? We used the first piece…yep that is how we roll.

We made a big mess putting the one piece of trim up so my helpers were on vacuum duty. My daughter is a wack-a-doodle, she loves to vacuum.

Then onto cutting an interesting angle for one piece of trim and patch one area of a wall.

Now we had to switch gears for a bit and put in the stair nose. The trim that went in that area was a little fancy so we wanted the stair nose in first. First we cut out the flooring from upstairs.


Did you know that a circular saws come with their own tool? We have had ours for going on 8 years and just realized that. Learn something new everyday.

Now we are ready to put in in the stair nose. Note: stair noses(?) should overlap the riser, for some reason that knowledge got lost somewhere and we cut too much off, sigh. So we had to make a Plan B. My hubby took a 1x board and stripped it and then notched it out a groove to cap the laminate. Worked like a charm! Wish we had not cut the stair nose we bought so we could have taken it back, oh well.

By the end of the day, the worst was realizing the stair nose was not going to work. We got about half the trim up, with the really kinky pieces to be put up next week. Hopefully by then I may be ready to distress, stain & varnish the stair treads and risers!

Every project finished brings us closer to our new years resolution…A FINISHED HOUSE!!!


10 Tips for the DIY’er

This is just some wisdom for you DIY’ers. Some of this was learned the hard way and the others not so hard.

1. Always make sure power is off. Even if you are working on the box, flip that main switch OFF. You do not want to get zapped by 220.

2. If you are doing any sort of ceiling work with drywall, plywood, etc if you do not want to have a scaffold make a 2×4 T. Remembering to make sure the “T” is somewhat snug to ceiling. You do not want it hitting your head. Even if it saves the patio door. Hubby did this to me.

3. When buying screws, make sure you have the right type of bit {square or Phillips} AND the right size bit {square #2 or #3}.

4. Always, always, always measure twice. It is easier to shorten a board than lengthen it.

5. When nailing a board do not nail straight down the center. Make triangles {2 along short end, 1 towards middle of board} at the ends and then hammer nails in a zigzag pattern to connect them. Note: my hubby actually did this his first time.

6. If you can use screws, use screws. They make things more secure AND are easier to remove if you mess up.

7. Always buy more than you think you will need. It is easier to return than it is to get more mid project.

8. Old houses are not square, learn to live with it…they are generally not level either.

9. Not all women are capable of redecorating while pregnant. Questionable decisions may be made. Myself included.

10. Always watch where you are stepping. Especially when redoing your roof, you may step thru the drywall into kitchen.

Always expect the unexpected in an old house. For example; large holes in the exterior side of your house hidden by plaster and lath, smashed beer cans blocking holes in the wall, clay tile in between your studs in the wall…


Good times.

Happy Dance!!!

We have gotten a lot done in the last week, and I am so freakin’ excited. The bathroom needs a good ole scrub down after all that work we got done. Hopefully I will have the “Before and After” post of the bathroom soon.

I have made some changes to the stairway since my last post. I started by sanding all that  patchy blue/green in the stairs. As well as some paint brush work, a coat of primer and 1st coat of color, not telling, it is a suprise. We are working on the list of little things for the stairs tomorrow. Like trim, stair half walls {master bedroom side}, stair nose, some more paint, etc. My hubby is just happy it does not have to do with the stair risers or treads! I will also have an art gallery DIY for you as soon as the stairs are revealed!

Chomping at the bit to get more done!!!

More New Wood

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Day two!

Well not really day two, more like day two and a half. My wonderful hubby did work on the stairs Saturday after he worked from 3am to 3pm. I know, awesome is he not?! We are progressing down the stairs pretty good today. After doing the landing and a step on Saturday. We started and finished the last of the straight stairs today and have now hit the dreaded angle stairs which resulted in complete demolition of the last four steps, or should I say first four steps?

Since I cannot be too much help at this point, I am working at my other job, wedding florist. Typing up estimates while thinking about my stairs. Really anxious to get my fingers into some new stairs yet have to get wedding estimates done. Anyway, this is what our stairs look like now.

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Hubby demolished the first 4 steps, those nasty angled steps and I {break time} cleaned up after him. He then screwed the risers in temporarily to make sure our new steps will fit right. Also, if we have to take them out because it is not working right, it will not be as hard. When I cleaned up that nasty, filthy area {mouse poop yuck} I discovered why our stairs are always extremely cold.

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This area right here is our problem. What your are seeing is tar paper, which can be used as a house-wrap. That is the layer under our siding. Easily fixed now that we know where the problem is. Great Stuff foam here we come!

Anyway, back to the stairs. To finish the bracing for the angled steps there is some interesting spider work of 2×4’s that I am NOT going to show. After all is said and done we have the risers, 1 tread, and 3 temporary treads for the angled steps finished.

After this is all done we realize that the second step up is goofy and will have to be adjusted… sigh, and that’s a wrap for today.

White Outs…

…are normal in the middle of nowhere. There have been a couple this year so far. This is yesterday…

You can barely see the serviceberry at the end of our sidewalk.

Our backyard…if our shepherd was still around she would love it!
We have had a couple good winter snows here in the last 7 winters. A few have resulted us and our neighbors to the north, stuck between a nasty S-curve to the south and the hill just north of the neighbors.

Usually when this happens we are stuck for 2 days. That is until the road grader comes out and makes a path. Thankfully we have only lost power twice in winter.
All these polar vortex’s & arctic blasts have reminded of our first winter here and how the furnace would kick on every 5-10 minutes and it was still cold. Our “best” memory would be from one particularly cold morning, just after a good storm. We were on the main floor at the time in a northwest bump out. That room is always cold in the winter, but this specific morning my hubby got a shocking surprise when he stepped out of bed…Snow! Yep snow, in the house. We are still not sure how it got in, thinking it got thru the very poor siding/foundation.
When we sit and reminisce about our winters, the stepping out of bed into snow tops them all.

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Polycrylic!

We are so close to being done with the bathroom. I have some paint to touch up, one teeny strip of bead board to paint, and varnish. Well I did not want to to touch up paint before varnishing and I wanted to get the stained trim protected from everything, especially my children.

The first coat went on extremely well, I had my bathroom fan on to suck out the nasty fumes even though the poly I am using is low VOC. I sanded the trim, then wiped it down. Working from the baseboard up I did the north wall. I almost lost the can of poly, and thought “oh cripes, let’s not drop this.” {I would like to point out that it is a full can.} That wall done, yay! Next I started on the west wall and that is when this happened…2014-01-26 12.11.44

Those lovely arrows point out the obvious and not so obvious places the Polycrylic hit. All I can say is at this point I am glad it was not oil based.

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So I grabbed my mop and proceeded  to clean up the puddle, or should I say lake, in my bathroom. First I mopped up the most of it, then used soapy water to wash the floor. Second, I washed it off the bead board. By the time I got to the actual vanity it had mostly dried, but it was still coming off good, phew!  The curtain? I just said whatever, I will make a new one. After cleaning up a good 3/4’s of the can, I finished varnishing the trim.

Sigh…vanish done!


Frustration knows no bounds right now…

Why? I am trying to find a good stain color, shade, what have you, for the stairs AND hardwood flooring that will go in the kitchen this year and eventually the whole house. I love dark wood but my kitchen cabinets are already dark (Black Cherry), most of the trim in the house is dark, and then I have older pieces of furniture that range from light walnut/pecan shade to red mahogany. My husband does not want to go too dark, and I agree it may make our house feel even smaller that it actually is. I do not want to go so light that it looks like blond or unstained wood.

I have tried almost all the colors at the one store that we think would be good, and that leaves 3 other places. A farm store, a hardware store and another lumber/hardware store. Most though already have the same brands I have looked at. I know I can custom tint a color, but that seems questionable and probably not the greatest idea since I have nothing to take and say I want this color.

This is what I got so far…

stain lights to med

None of these are tripping my trigger if you know what I mean. I would love for it to looked aged or distressed. The worst part is one may look good in the stairs but it looks horrible in the rest of the house and vice verse. The hubby does not like the idea of me layering different shades of stains and my DIY vinegar stain since he says its “unpredictable”. I tried my vinegar stain anyway, it does not look good at all. What I am really liking the idea of now is distressing the stairs with chains and such then taking tubed gel stain in an extremely dark stain and filling those little crevices with that and then staining the stairs with 2 different stains fading one into the other so it looks more aged…the hubby is probably not going to like this…

I’m So Excited!!

And I just can’t hide it!

Yes I know, bad pun, but so excited right now. I may have found the one! I decided what the hell, lets try distressing. So I just went ahead and did it on a little area of an unstained board like I previously mentioned. All I needed for that was my finishing hammer and an old nail. I used the nail removing end to make the lines.

imageHere is a close up of what it looks with holes and lines…this actually a shot of of it stained so you can see the distressing.

2014-01-25 10.13.45 This picture is actually a better picture for showing the color.

This is what I used…
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*Coconut Oil (not shown)
Varathane “Black Cherry”
Minwax gel stain “Antique Maple”
Finishing nail {not shown}

It was soooo simple! I love it and hopefully the hubby does too!!!

Note: In trying to replicate this for my hubby on a larger piece it did not work. Bummer, then I remembered that area that I had used I had put coconut oil on about 18 hours earlier.
So here are the steps…
1. Coconut oil your wood (warm to a liquid state). Let this sit. In replicating with the coconut oil I applied it almost immediately, but I think letting it sit longer would be better. I also liked the sample that the coconut oil sat over night.
2. After your board has set so the oil can be absorbed, distress your board. IMPORTANT, distress after coconut oil, the oil inhibits the wood from absorbing the stain.
3. Very lightly apply the dark stain, letting it fill the little niches and crevices of the distressing. Wipe of any excess stain. Let thus sit maybe 3 minutes or so.
4. Apply the lighter stain and then wipe it off. Remembering the longer it sits the more intense/dark the color will be.

And there you have it! Somewhat simple and when I remembered that I had put coconut oil there and then duplicated it, it matched pretty much spot on. A hint darker, but very close…YAY!!!

Some New Wood

So after my last “mini post” about our stair set back, we finally figured out what to do with the stairs. It is basically what we were going to do in the first place, sigh, 1″x10″ boards for the treads and 1″x8″ boards for the risers.

Day one of replacing the stairs have us starting at the top because they are not angled steps like these, they may be interesting. image

FYI I love the risers and cannot stand to to repaint/refinish them so we are keeping them as they are and going to make decorative/storage boxes for the open vanity I want in the new bathroom!

My son is loving this right now since it opens into his room…

We braced the steps with 2″x4″s since we are using 1″x boards for the treads and risers, which are original to the house. Do you not just love that old paint on the sides! I am going to strip thru the white, brown and mustard paints to this shade, then sand and varnish it to protect it from my hubby, 2 kids, and 3 dogs.

Yay here is the one step done! We are keeping the first riser. And please ignore the upstairs mess…
imageMy hubby is sitting on the “landing”.

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We did pretty good the first day we got the top 4 stairs done, the riser for the landing and the braces for that landing. For the night we placed pieces of OSB, that were previously protecting the steps, onto the the bracing. That way no one would fall thru them over night…like my hubby going to work at 2am.