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Is Your Outdoor Space Ready for Summer? Plus a Giveaway!

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I was recently asked by Procter & Gamble and The Home Depot if I would be interested in writing about tips and products for getting your outdoor space ready for summer.  My reply was “YES!” 

Is my outdoor space ready for summer?  NO!  My deck was painted in the spring.  But back went the dirty grill and the table and chairs.  I also have a screened-in porch that has… well, nothing really.  Some of you may remember my post in the spring when my brother tiled the porch floor and painted the ceiling a Haint blue.  It looks fantastic!  But then I stopped.  I didn’t buy chairs or anything to make the space inviting.

So, accepting this assignment meant I was going to face my dirty, neglected deck.  And while no one said I had to decorate my screened in porch, who am I to turn away from an opportunity to change the look of a room? 🙂  

I received a bottle of Mr. Clean Outdoor Spray, Mr Clean Outdoor Pro Magic Eraser, one Bounty Paper Towels roll, and a natural colored canvas The Home Depot apron.  I was armed and ready!

I used Mr. Clean Outdoor Spray on the outside of the grill.  It worked great! I took a picture of how dirty the towels were, but decided it was just too disgusting to show you.  It seems you are actually supposed to  clean the outside furniture and grill once in a while.  I just assumed the rain did that. 😉

Look how shiny and clean it looks! I think the sun is even shining a little brighter now.

My son actually liked cleaning the porch with the Magic Eraser! It looks like my son. It doesn’t act like my son. 🙂 The Magic Eraser worked great on the white-painted trim.

 Here are a few tips to get you ready for some outdoor entertaining from P&G and Home Depot…

Maintain your outdoor furniture – Keep it looking good all summer.

– Inspect your deck – Give it a good once over, check for loose nails, bricks, cracked concrete.

– Remove the clutter – Clean up, power wash, remove unnecessary items/debris.

– Accessorize – Add in the little touches (i.e., plants, outdoor lighting, lanterns, centerpieces).

– Clean your grill – Give your grill a clean start this season.

According to a recent Procter & Gamble (P&G) survey, only 25 percent of consumers clean their grills and only 20 percent clean their outdoor furniture.  Keeping them clean can help them last longer. 

(Nope, rain doesn’t count as cleaning I found out!)

I desperately needed to get my newly tiled porch some furniture and accessories .  Not wanting to spend much money, I found some chairs, very similar to my deck chairs, at The Home Depot for $14.00.  I bought three for a total of about $45.00 with tax!  I love a bargain!  I had bought an old iron and wood table at an antique store quite some time ago and it never had a home in my house.  Now it’s the table for the porch.  It’s perfect!  I added some plants, a lantern, coasters made with tile and scrapbook paper, and pillows I already had.  I’m not quite finished, but my porch is coming together!   Take a look around your house.  You probably have accessories perfect for your outdoor space.

Before and After. My $14.00 chairs from Home Depot! All the trim and railings got a good scrubbing using Mr. Clean Outdoor Pro Magic Eraser.

Another Before and After. While my son helped me with the cleaning, my daughter helped me with the decorating. (and modeling! HA)

Procter & Gamble and The Home Depot sent me a prize package to give away to one of my readers, which includes:

  • A full-size bottle of Mr. Clean Outdoor Spray ($3.97 retail value)
  • Mr. Clean Outdoor Pro Magic Eraser ($9.97 retail value)
  • One Bounty Paper Towels Roll ($1.97 retail value)
  • A custom LeatherCraft 2-pocket natural colored canvas The Home Depot apron (.77 retail value)

If you are ready to spruce up your outdoor space and would like to enter to win this prize package, just leave me a comment and I will add your name to the drawing.  (Drawing will close in 2 weeks from today.) 

Just a reminder… The Home Depot is a one stop shop for purchasing P&G products, including Mr. Clean Outdoor Spray, Mr. Clean Outdoor Pro Magic Eraser and Bounty.

Thank you Procter & Gamble and The Home Depot! 

Disclosure:  Procter & Gamble provided the prize pack for my consideration as well as the prize package to one of my readers.  All opinions are my own.

 

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DIY Fireplace Backsplash

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I have been working on my fireplace “backsplash” all week.  It’s finally finished!  It was pretty easy, inexpensive, sometimes a little frustrating, but the end result, according to my hubby, who was out of town during the whole construction, is “quite impressive!”  🙂

Here is my boring wall before.

I measured the boards to the size I wanted, mitered the corners, and taped everything to the wall to get an ideas of what it would look like.

You don’t need to miter the corners, but since I love my power tools, I went ahead and cut the corners this way.

Alway use a level! And often! Levelness is happiness. 😉

I used small nails and Loctite All Purpose Adhesive Caulk to attach the wood to the wall. May be unconventional to use caulk, but I did not want to use wood glue in case I change my mind someday and want to take it down. I asked my blogger friend at Pink Toes and Power Tools what she would do and she suggested the same thing.  If I were to do this again, though, I would use a backer board of some kind (plywood, thin wood) and screw that into studs and then add the frame and moulding. Live and learn!

Here I added trim to the inside of each rectangle to give it a finished look.  I decided, after I painted it (semi-gloss white), that it needed wide trim on the outside to make the backsplash look more substantial. After MANY trips to Lowes and Home Depot, I finally decided on window and door molding. It worked out great because it almost matches the trim on the windows. The wonderful thing about DIY is, that unless you blog about it as I do, nobody would know all the mind changes that went on. They would just think you are brilliant! Ha!

A tall view of the finished fireplace.

Finished! Just added some accessories for the picture. I will be spending days, I’m sure, rearranging the mantel a few hundred times!

The wood I used.  I chose a higher quality of wood that didn’t have knots.  The 1 x 4’s are on the outside frame. The 1 x 3’s are the two boards used on the inside of the frame.

The small trim was used on the inside of the frame. The white trim is the picture/door moulding I used on the outside of the frame. Of course the look is totally up to you. The options for trims and mouldings are endless.

Keep Reading…

The whole thing cost right around 50 dollars.  It would have cost less if I used pine wood.  Not too bad for a big impact!

This was an easy project, but I will confess that after I got the frame up, I realized it was off-center.  It was level!!  But not centered.  So I had to take it down and scoot it over.  And my walls, I found out, are not straight.  They have a bit of a wave in them.  So when the vertical boards went up, part of the wood touched the wall and part of the wood did not.  And it was the walls, not the boards that are wavy.  By the time I finished the project, I went through 3 tubes of caulk.  Yes, people, caulk is your friend.  It will cure what ails you.  Or at least fill in massive gaps on the wall!

Anyway, just wanted to share that part with you as well.  Don’t get discouraged if projects don’t turn out right the first time.  Unless you knock down a wall, you can fix most anything.  You and your friend caulk.  One more thing… 😉

No EXCUSES… 😉

Linked to: Funky Junk InteriorsToo Much Time On My Hands

 

Curtains Made Easy

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Sewing was my first “hobby”.  I started sewing when I was pregnant with my daughter.  I couldn’t find a bumper pad and crib skirt I liked, so I made them.  Did I know what I was doing?  Not exactly.  But I just went for it.  What’s the worst that could have happened?

Drapes are the one thing that can really add warmth and style to a room.  If you have ever shopped for them, you will know that the patterns and fabric are not great, prices are expensive and most of the time you can only find 84 inch curtains.  (That makes me crazy!  All my window need 96 inch curtains.)  What’s a girl to do?  DIY!!!!!!!

It’s easy.   And fabric shopping is fun.  A great fabric store is the happiest place on Earth, beside Lowes and Home Depot!  The fabric I used in the pictures below was only $5.00 a yard.  It was reduced because of a printing flaw, but you would never find it.  (It was bought at my favorite fabric store, Tony’s Fabrics.)  With that price, it cost $15.00 per panel!  Woohoo! 

All that is required to make drapes or curtains the “Laurie way” is a sewing machine, being able to sew a straight line, (so no drinking while sewing!) a ruler and an iron and ironing board.  I don’t do rules, by the way.  You will probably hear me say that a lot.  That means there are no patterns used.  They are not lined because these curtains are decorative, the fabric is heavy and it’s white on the back side.  If you were going to close the curtains, they would need lining to protect the fabric from the sun.  That’s for another day.

These drapes are for my BFF’s dining room. The fabric is gorgeous! And happy.

 

It’s always good to know which side is up.  That applies to more than just fabric.  Ha!  I didn’t cut the salvage off the edge.  I used it as a guide for the first part of the side hem.  It’s about an inch in case your fabric doesn’t have this type of salvage on the side.   Then iron it.  This is the most important part.  You’ll be ironing more than you will be sewing.

The side hem is folded over again, then ironed.  It’s time-consuming, but it makes the seam flat and easier to sew.  Then sew your straight line close to the edge of the seam.

Do the next side of the fabric the same way.  I attached a safety-pin to the top of the fabric so I would know which end was up.

The top hem is folded over twice, just like the sides.  This time though, turn over the first fold 2 1/2 inches, then fold over again 3 inches.

3 inch hem top hem. 

My sewing machine does not have guides for a 3 inch hem so I measured from the needle where I wanted the stitch to be than used blue tape as my edge guide.

In case I haven’t said it before… Ironing is very IMPORTANT.  But it’s boring.  My daughter caught me with a phone to my ear, multi-tasking.  That’s what mom’s do. ; )

The bottom hem was done the same way as the top hem, except I sat on the floor with the curtains hanging and pinned the seam to the right length.  I ironed them while they were still hanging to make sure they were exactly the length I wanted.  Then I took them off the rod and sewed the bottom seam.

Here’s another example of easy to make curtains.  These curtains are in my house. These were super easy to make. I bought a set of white curtains from Ikeas and added “designer” fabric to the top. 

 

Framing a Bathroom Mirror

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My BFF Kerry, and I just finished framing her bathroom mirror.  It’s definitely one of  my favorite DIY project so far!   I have seen moulding put on builder grade mirrors before, but we took this one a little farther.  What a difference it made in that room! 

Here’s a tutorial on how we did it:  (The total cost of the project and the supplies we used are listed at the bottom of the page.)

First, we measured and miter cut the trim (measure TWICE and cut once!) then taped it into place to check out the fit.  There’s nothing like miter cuts coming together perfectly!  A hand miter box would have worked fine, but I used an electric saw for this project.  (Don’t forget to get your level out and check that each piece is straight (level).

Test fitting

The mirror is attached to the wall with clips, which would not allow the trim to lay flat against the mirror.  Not wanting to remove the clips and adhere the mirror directly to the wall, we marked the back of the trim where the clips would be and chiseled out a piece of wood.  This was done (carefully) by scoring the wood with a utility knife and then using a chisel and hammer to tap out the pieces of wood.  It worked great!

This is what the back of the trim looked like.

Next, we glued the back of the trim and put it directly on the mirror.  The frame alone looked good, so we could have stopped there.  But why? ;   )

Used two rows of tile all the way around.

Tiling went surprisingly fast.  Kerry put a line of glue on the mirror and I peeled off each tile to give to her.  We glued them side by side so no grouting was necessary.)  This time I didn’t count how  many tiles we put on the mirror by hand, one by one by one.  I didn’t want to know!

Almost done!

Once the tiles were dry (we waited impatiently over the weekend), the small trim piece of moulding was measured, miter cut and glued to the mirror.  I don’t have a “before” picture of the moulding, but it’s just a thin decorative moulding from HomeDepot.  It finishes off the tile perfectly!  (FYI, Kerry had the outer moulding and the inner moulding painted before we started the project.)

My pictures don’t do the mirror justice. It looks amazing!

A mirror like this would cost hundreds of dollars in a store!

Here is the breakdown of what was spent:  Total $51.91

 Household Goop Tube  $4.57
1/2 inch mosaic tile 8 at $2.94 (23.52)
8 ft., 1/2″ molding trim 2 at $3.98 (7.96)
8 ft., 1 1/4″ molding trim 2 at $7.93 (15.86)

The home improvement stores have so many beautiful tiles.  The design possibilities are countless.  (Yes, my mind is spinning!)  I loved this project so much, I’m going to put all my ugly builders mirrors BACK up!  I hope you enjoyed.

Happy in a Can – Bathroom Redo Before/After

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UPDATE:  “Happy in a Can” is completed!

Redoing a room doesn’t have to be expensive.  Some paint, thrifty shopping and woman power can turn a room from fair to FABULOUS on a small budget.  Frugal is beautiful! ; )

BEFORE

AFTER – Bathroom redo completed.

ORIGINAL POST from 1-13-12

It’s amazing what one gallon of paint can do.  It’s like HAPPY in a can.  And the perfect color of paint is like ON CLOUD NINE in a can!  No kidding!  I get teased a lot for always “painting something” in my house.  But the end result of just a couple of hours of work is amazing.

My BFF and I have been friends for almost 2 decades.  She has humored me through all my house changes and even participated in many rearrangements of furniture, accessories and has picked out paint colors with me.  And she’s great at it.  She is a designer after all.  But in her own house, she hasn’t changed much in a very very long time.  I know!  It’s shocking ! Ha!  She has a very busy Hubby and she doesn’t tackle paint on her own.  (Yet I still love her.)  So today, with one gallon of paint, we painted her kids bathroom and the laundry room in a day.  Less than a day.  Less than a school day actually!  And she even had a paint brush in her hand.  And used it!  (That information is for her unbelieving hubby.)  We bought a shower curtain, shower rod and hooks, toothbrush holder (at HomeGoods), and paint at Home Depot all for under $100.00!  Her bathroom and laundry rooms are totally transformed.  And while a gallon of paint can’t solve the problems of the world, it can, for very little money, change the mood and spirit of a girl and a room (or two).  AND it was fun!

I haven’t mastered taking good pictures yet!  This is the color we used.  It doesn’t show up in my pictures as stunning as it really is.

Benjamin Moore HC150 Yarmouth Blue
BFF painting. I’m so proud! The old color was a light salmon in the bathroom.
Laundry room. It had the original builders paint for (gulp!) more than a decade. : 0

 

Happy in a Can (paint can that is!)

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It’s amazing what one gallon of paint can do.  It’s like HAPPY in a can.  And the perfect color of paint is like ON CLOUD NINE in a can!  No kidding!  I get teased a lot for always “painting something” in my house.  But the end result of just a couple of hours of work is amazing.

My BFF and I have been friends for almost 2 decades.  She has humored me through all my house changes and even participated in many rearrangements of furniture, accessories and has picked out paint colors with me.  And she’s great at it.  She is a designer after all.  But in her own house, she hasn’t changed much in a very very long time.  I know!  It’s shocking ! Ha!  She has a very busy Hubby and she doesn’t tackle paint on her own.  (Yet I still love her.)  So today, with one gallon of paint, we painted her kids bathroom and the laundry room in a day.  Less than a day.  Less than a school day actually!  And she even had a paint brush in her hand.  And used it!  (That information is for her unbelieving hubby.)  We bought a shower curtain, shower rod and hooks, toothbrush holder (at HomeGoods), and paint at Home Depot all for under $100.00!  Her bathroom and laundry rooms are totally transformed.  And while a gallon of paint can’t solve the problems of the world, it can, for very little money, change the mood and spirit of a girl and a room (or two).  AND it was fun!

I haven’t mastered taking good pictures yet!  This is the color we used.  It doesn’t show up in my pictures as stunning as it really is.

Benjamin Moore HC150 Yarmouth Blue

BFF painting. I’m so proud! The old color was a light salmon in the bathroom.

Laundry room. It had the original builders paint for (gulp!) more than a decade. : 0

 

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