Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fireplace Makeover

I love having a fireplace in my home.  However, my home was built in 1988 and that means brass accents.  Yikes.  It's been on my list of "projects to do" - to put a better mantel on it and get rid of the brass.

I decided to give it a temporary face-lift since I'm not sure how long it will take me to actually get a new mantel on it (that would take learning how to do a bit of carpentry work and buying some appropriate tools!).  Believe it or not, I've never spray painted anything before.  One of my favorite bloggers, Thrify Decor Chick, always talks about how she transforms items just by spray painting, so I thought I'd try it (originally, I thought I would have to replace that whole piece with the glass doors and all, but um, hello?  Spray paint is much, much cheaper).  Off to Home Depot I went to buy some spray paint.  I cleaned up the surface of the fireplace, took off the handles, sanded them down (they are made of wood - I never even realized it!), taped everything up, and started sprayin'.

I used Rust-oleum's Oil Rubbed Bronze on the brass and handles.  But, after I painted the handles, I decided that they disappeared into the fireplace and wanted them to stand out a bit.
I should have hung these while painting them.  They kept rolling around when I sprayed them and paper stuck to them before they completely dried.  Oops.  Hey, it's a learning process.
See how the black handle on the right does a Houdini disappearing act?
So, off to Home Depot again to get some primer (it was a PITA to sand off the dark color) and I picked out Rust-oleum's Satin Nickel.  This time I hung the handles, which made it a lot easier to spray.  (duh!)

The picture is not so great, but this color stands out much better.

It took 4 days to complete (including, drying time and changing my mind on the colors), but the actual time to do the work was minimal and easy and I think, it made a big difference.  What can I spray paint next?!



I am very excited about another project that has been in the works for awhile - putting kitchen handles on my cabinets and drawers.  I think I finally found screws that are long enough and fit the handles, but I have yet to try them out so we'll see.  To be continued...

House: 7 1/2, Me: 6 1/2

Friday, June 24, 2011

Expedit Makeover

I've been looking at a lot of decor/diy blogs lately (check out Thrifty Decor Chick.  She is freakin' awesome!) and have been inspired to lighten up a bit.  I tend to like dark colors and have a lot of dark pieces in my home, so I'm slowly incorporating some lighter colors and pieces in my home.  (Please excuse the crappy cel phone pics).

This is my lovely Ikea Expedit bookcase in the living room.  I just love these Expedit bookcases!  It also acts as an entertainment center with my blu-ray player, wireless router, and modem (the last two are hiding behind picture frames).  Just a few slight changes and it really lightens it up.  (And no, I didn't paint or change the color of the red hat boxes - I just got new ones at Ikea).  Much, much better!

Dishwasher Woes

After two tries, I was able to get the leak underneath the dishwasher fixed.  No more drip, drip, drip. We originally thought that the water supply line was not on tight enough and thought that was how it was leaking, but actually it was that gold connector piece that the water supply line is connected to that was actually leaking.  That's 1/2 a point for me!
Underneath the dishwasher

So,  the big problem is getting the white tube to connect to the air gap.  This is what the white tube looks like - no connector piece at the end.
And this is what the one on my old dishwasher looked like.
That black piece is stuck on there pretty well - can't take it off.
And this is what they told me to buy at Home Depot.
Official name: "Disposal Connector"

I tightened up the clamp and then hooked it up to the air gap.
It was very hard to get back there because the garbage disposal is in front, so I crawled under there and tightened the top clamp as much as could.  And oh boy, did it NOT work!  Water came out everywhere.  So, I figure that either I didn't tighten it very good or it's not the right part?  I gave up for now - I have other things to do, but I'm determined to do this myself!

House: 7 1/2, Me: 5 1/2

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Leaky Pipes: Success!

What a busy, busy day today!

This morning I went to Home Depot to get the parts to fix my leaky kitchen sink pipe and for the dishwasher.  Then, made a stop at Bed, Bath & Beyond to pick up a couple of things and forgot to use my gift card...AGAIN!  Sigh.  Once I got home though, I screwed on the new zinc nut (formerly known by me as the "metal ring") onto the pipe under the sink and the leak seems to have stopped.  Woo hoo!  Another point for me!

Crack in metal ring (zinc nut)

New zinc nut in place and dry as a bone!
I also learned that the actual pipe has the size stamped on it - in case you need to know for when you need replacement parts.  Anyways, I will keep my eye on it for the next few days to make sure it's still not leaking.

I wasn't able to finish installing the dishwasher because I was on to better things for the day!  There isn't a Pottery Barn or Home Goods very close to me, so my friend and I planned a trip to the closest one to us and they happen to be right by each other (how convenient!).  We had a good time browsing the shops (which included a stop at Crate and Barrel) and getting ideas and drooling over the Pottery Barn products that we couldn't buy.  We also stopped by a friend's new bakery that is in the area and had a nice dinner.  It was a very good day and was fun shopping for the house (and adding to my new lantern collection).

House: 7, Me: 5

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Super-mini Mudroom & a New/Used Dishwasher

Last week's easy project was installing a hook rack in the front hallway.  I figured that since I don't have enough space for a mudroom (or a need since I live in Southern California) or mudroom style lockers for organizing, that this would be the next best thing.  So far, it's working out well for me, but I'm thinking I need to hang something on it that has a pocket so it can hold other things,  like out-going mail or books/magazines or anything else that I may need to take with me.  It hasn't even fallen off the wall yet!  Score 1 point for me - yeah!
My super mini-mud room?
So Cheesebox and Cheesebox Jr came over today with the dishwasher.  We got it inside the house (yay!) and took the old one out.  Man there was some grossness under there!  The previous owners sure lost a lot of stuff under that thing - lip balm, a toy car, rubber glove, amongst other things.  So, after the clean up, we attempted to hook up the new dishwasher, but of course there were problems.  (Is that really a shocker? Seriously).  First, we couldn't get the water supply line tight enough onto the dishwasher so there was a bit of leaking.  Second, the drain pipe didn't have the right connector to hook it to the air gap, so that was a no-go.  At least my new dishwasher is in place and looking really pretty in my kitchen!  It doesn't match my other white appliances, but I will eventually convert everything to stainless steel.
Cheesebox helping me out
Me cleaning all the gunk - gross!
Cheesebox Jr giving a helping hand
I also decided to try to fix that leaky pipe under the kitchen sink.  I found a plastic washer that I had bought before and it fit perfectly in the pipe.  Woo!  But, when I tried to screw the metal ring back on to connect the drain basket to the pipe, it just wouldn't screw on.  What the?  I took off the metal ring and discovered that it has a big crack in and is breaking off.  So, off to the home improvement store I go tomorrow to get some pieces for the dishwasher and leaky sink.  Will I ever finish these?   The house is still winning - argh!

House:  7,  Me:  4

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On a "stay-cation"

Due to my employer changing our vacation accrual rates and PTO cap, I have been "forced" to take time off so I don't lose it.  Ok, ok - it's not like they were twisting my arm, but usually if I have a week off, I go on a trip somewhere.  This time, I just decided to stay home and get some things done around the house or do some fun stuff close to home.

So far, I've taken my nephew to Legoland, seen a couple of movies, and went to the Tim Burton exhibit at LACMA.  Fun stuff!  I do have some plans for little house projects here and there, but we'll see how it goes.  Tomorrow, Cheesebox is bringing over her old dishwasher for me to have since mine isn't working so well - yay!  So, this will be an adventure - I've never installed a dishwasher before, but I do have my handy, dandy Home Depot book to help me out.  And to top it off, it's just me & her having to get the thing out of her car and into my house.  Oh, boy - we'll see how it goes tomorrow!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Curtain Rod Brackets - 06/06/11

Curtain rod brackets are up!  The anchors worked - my "resource" confirmed that the anchors would work (thanks dad!).  The curtain rods will be put on the brackets once I can get the rods cut down to the correct size.  I did kind of a crap-job, but I think the rods will be level once they're installed (hopefully!).  I think once the curtains are up and the paint touched up, no one will be the wiser of the crappiness of my work.
Bad patch job
House: 5, Me: 2 1/2

Kitchen Projects: Fail! - 06/05/11

My nephew was here today to visit me.  The babysitter had planned to take him and my little niece to my town's Cherry Festival, but a big event happened at their house this morning.  Their dog, Sandy, attacked a baby bird and they rescued it from imminent death.  My nephew decided he wanted to keep an eye on the bird rather than go to the festival, so they called on me to watch him.  And he brought the bird with him!  So cute that my nephew wanted to take care of it!

As far as house projects go, the struggles continue!  I don't know why I'm having issues when my projects seem fairly easy.  I attempted to hang up the curtain rods in the kitchen today.  Just screw in the brackets and plop on the rod - easy, right?  Wrong.  The screws wouldn't screw in - they just pushed in very easily like a nail, thusly not keeping a tight grip inside the wall and the bracket was a big wiggly.  Sighhhhhh.  So, I had to spackle up all the holes in the wall, which of course doesn't match the paint color.  Oh well.  I'll need to do some research to figure out how I can get those screws to stay in the wall.  I think anchors will do the trick, but I want to be sure first.  Lesson learned:  after problems with one hole in the wall, do not make any more holes!

Also, I went to Home Depot earlier this week to see about getting longer screws for the handles in the kitchen , but they didn't have anything long enough!   Excuse me?  How does that happen?  So, I think I have figured out how to accommodate for that, but I decided not to attempt that today since I'm still have struggles with my projects.  I'll give an update when I attempt it.

Wow!  I didn't intend this blog to be an outlet for my complaints, but boy oh boy, am I having issues right now!

On a good note:  after I put the kitchen blinds up, I realized that something about them just wasn't doin' it for me.  After a lot of staring at the blinds, I figured out that it was because there was a bit of a gap in between the blinds in the middle of the window.  I kept feeling like it was easy access for a peeping tom!  It bothered me enough to try to fix it,  even after all those hours spent putting them up!  I was easily able to move the one set of blinds over just a tad so that there is no more gap and I'm so happy with the end result. Ta da!
House: 5, Me: 1 1/2

Kitchen Handles: Fail! - 05/30/11

Today's project:  put handles on my kitchen cabinets/drawers.  This will entail drilling holes and making sure to put the handles in the correct spots.  After not getting much sleep and yesterday's debacle with the kitchen blinds, I'm wiped out and sore!  We'll see how much I'll get done today.  Wish me luck!

Update:  After resting up my sore back for a lot of the day, I decided to get to work on the handles.  I had already planned ahead by taking lots of measurements and even made templates (thanks for the suggestion, Cheesebox!).  I carefully drilled the holes in the drawer - making sure that they were in the right places.  Was very proud of myself for doing it so easily!  As I placed the screw into the hole, well wouldn't you know know it - the drawer face was too thick.  The screw didn't even make it through all the way!  So, I checked and all of my drawers and cabinet doors are thicker than the screws that came with the handles.  Curses!!!  So frustrating!  I gave up.  I decided that I'll just make a trip to Home Depot on another day to get the longer screws instead of messing with it today.  Lesson learned:  make sure to take measurements of things like screws!

House: 3, Me:1/2

Kitchen Blinds - 05/29/11

Welcome to my blog!  Although I've been a homeowner for almost 2 years now, I feel like I'm brand new to this whole home-owning thing.  Somewhat recently, I've had to start doing things by myself.  Now, I've never been totally helpless when it comes to doing things around the house - I know how to use a lot of (ok, some) tools and not afraid to get dirty, but I definitely don't have a green thumb and there's a lot of stuff about owning a home that I just don't know.  Having help this whole time has been a great comfort, but now I'm on. my. own.  Ack!

This week, has been the week to test my patience with homeownership.  I discovered a leaky pipe under my kitchen sink.  After struggling for about 1/2 hour just to screw the metal ring on the pipe back into place with plumber's putty, I was almost in tears.  It really shouldn't have been such a struggle, but I guess not having all the appropriate tools doesn't help.  So, I let the putty dry for a couple of days and tested the waters (see what I did there?) and low-and behold - no leaky pipe!  YAY!  However, today I decided to make sure that there was still no leak and learned that some water was still leaking - I didn't use enough putty.  BOO!  Lesson learned: use appropriate tools.

Today's project:  hang two sets of blinds in my big kitchen window.  I knew that there may be snafus along the way, but in all, I figured it would be a fairly uncomplicated task.  Um, yeah, was I wrong!  I guess having some arm strength is good for doing projects around the house as this seemed to be my downfall today.  Trying to drill holes through metal framing, while standing on a kitchen counter in an awkward position is not as easy as it sounds (ha!) - at least to someone who doesn't have a lot of strength.  And did I mention I had to do this twice because I had two sets to do?  I'm sure I'll have some soreness tomorrow.  Sigh.  Lesson learned:  start lifting weights.

Ta da
House: 2, Me: 1/2