Hi All,

It's been a while so I wanted to share a little of what has been happening here.   Yesterday, when I got home - I  was greeted by this.   Uh-oh...
We really should have had the deck stained last year - but it never happened.  So it was at the top of our list for this year.  Only every time it has been nice enough to do it - we have had something else going on.  We have gone back and forth between doing it ourselves - or just hiring someone. 

It's not that it's a huge deck it's just that this year the horizontal and vertical surfaces all need done and since it is about twelve foot off the ground with a patio underneath - the underside also needs restained. 

Yesterday, the hubby decided to get started.  The first thing he found was one of the top boards on the rail around the deck had started to rot.  There is probably a proper name for that top board but I certainly don't know what it is.  

So I came home to a deck with no "top boards" and this waiting on the patio -  
Ohhh wow - we are finally getting the deck stained and we need the power tools  - I am sooooo liking this!!!  After a quick bite to eat we got started measuring, sawing and tightening screws and it now looks like this. 
All the top boards and hand rails have been replaced.  Now all it needs is stained.   I am excited to get it done so that we can put the furniture back and do a little decorating.   I have some little projects I want to do on the deck and patio (some are almost ready to reveal) but I have been holding off knowing the deck had to be stained - and that means the patio gets all scrambled as well.  I can hardly believe it's almost July and were just starting to stain.  But hey - it's all in the name of progress so just a couple of more days and then it is back to the fun stuff!

They are forecasting hot, hot, hot weather for at least the next week -  I want to try to get this done before it gets to hot and definitely before the 4th of July.  
See you soon!
Hi All!

Happy Wednesday!  Hope you are having a great week.  You may have caught a glimpse of dark hardwood floors in some of my posts.  Today I would like to share the stairway transformation that became part of updating to hardwood floors.  Here's a sneak peek at how it looks today. 
Below you see how our stairway looked before we got started - navy blue carpet with lots of cherry wood. 
It was time for some updates!

Before we could get started, my husband and  I first had to find common ground in our vision of what an upgrade meant.  Our initial translations were just a tad different.


     To my husband upgrades meant buying new navy blue carpet to
replace the old navy blue carpet.  (mmmmm, no)

    To me upgrades meant hardwood floors, with stained treads on the stairs to match the new floors, risers painted white and a much darker handrail.
Once we decided on hardwood flooring (enough said) - I still had it in my head that I also wanted to update the stairway.  You might as well know - when I get something in my head I am determined to accomplish it.  I joke about Mr Niche's resistance to change sometimes - but he really is a good sport; he concedes that when it comes to decorating that's my area - - and when it's all done  - - he's happy when I'm happy.   But I still try to incorporate his desires into any major changes. 
Sooooo, one day I removed the little wooden plugs and started to sand and sand and sand and wonder what the heck I  got my self into and sand and sand and wonder and sand and sand.  Seriously - it  seemed like a gazillion spindles - okay maybe not quite a gazillion - but  there are over 50 of them!   Then after all the sanding and cleaning up  was done I started to stain and then paint.  That part of the process seemed to  go much quicker.  Sorry, no in between photos. 

At some point, I peaked under  the carpet - that is when, I slapped it back down and decided to let the treads  to the professional.  I am determined; however, I also know when to step aside  and hire someone.  Who knew - there are different types of stairs - one for  putting carpet on and the other for looking at - these were not the looking at  kind!!!

So here is what we ended up with. 
I couldn't find the right color of stain; so I ended up blending colors to match the darkest tones in the hardwood flooring.
A view from the top - that's a lot of spindles!
Another look.
So do you have a stairway that you would love to update?  If so, maybe this can be your inspiration for getting started or maybe you've already refinished yours - either way, I'd love to hear about it. 
Welcome back!

We have  been busy around here and fortunately we got the shutters and doors painted just in time for the Spring blossoms to burst.  The shutters and door were previously dark green.  Ooops, no before picture - I know I have some, I just have to find them - probably on the other computer.  Anyway, this time we decided on black paint, with white trim.  I think it goes nicely with the brick.   It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for your curb appeal.    

A tutorial for the wreath on the front door is here.  The only difference now is-  I took the eggs off the wreath after Easter.   

Last year was pretty crazy around here, without getting into the all of the details - - suffice it to say, the shrubs and bushes just didn't get trimmed. They normally get trimmed after the blossoms fade and before the fresh mulch goes down. With last year being a bit very hectic - by the time we realized they needed trimmed the buds were already starting to push for this year. Decision time...shape them and not have as many buds this year or let them go. Shape or blossoms...blossoms or shape...I decided I would rather have flowers and we would worry about the shape later - so we left them go. I'm not saying it was easy, there were a few times after that decision when I just wanted to had to restrain myself from giving them a good trimming.

Now looking at all the blossoms, I am glad I didn't give into temptation and trim them.  But, trust me, as they begin to fade - they are in for a good trimming.

So how about you, would you have trimmed them despite beginning to produce buds or waited it out to enjoy the blossoms?

Hello Everyone,

Here it is the 6th of May already and I'm just making my first post for the month.  Time is flying - it has been busy around here and no signs of letting up for a while.  This month is packed with graduations, and various gatherings with family and friends - so postings may be a bit sporadic this month.  

Arrrrghhh, I can't believe it - I forgot to tell the contractor - do not install mirrors above the sinks.  You know the kind...plain contractor grade mirror, glued to the wall.  Yep, that's the one.  Well today we're going to learn how to take this plain powder room mirror...
and frame it to present a more finished look. 
Molding (available at hardware store)
Miter Saw
Product for hanging mirror (e.g., Liquid Nails read on for how I used Velcro)
Wood Glue
4 - Corner Clamps

Measure the width and height of your existing mirror.  Next determine how you want your frame to fit on the mirror.  I recommend you add at least 1/4 inch on all sides of the mirror for the frame to extend over the edges; 1/4 inch added to each side would add 1/2 inch to the length of each board. 

Picture frames have 45 degree mitered corners.  In order to make a perfect frame you will need to:

   (a)   Cut the top and bottom board to exactly the same size with a 45 degree angle on all ends
    (b)  Cut the left and right boards to exactly the same size with a 45 degree angle on all ends

If either the angles or the lengths are off by even by a smidgen of a degree or a fraction of an inch - it will show when you assemble your frame.  Yes, smidgen is a technical term.  Measure and mark each of your boards according to your desired measurements.  Remember, the thickest part of your molding will be the inside edge of your frame. 

To cut your boards and make your 45 degree corners, you can use either a hand miter saw like this.
or an electric miter saw.   The electric saw will give you a more precise cut but  either one will do. 
Regardless of which type of saw you use, you always want to make sure that the thickest edge of your molding is tightly secured (clamped) against the back edge of your saw.   When using tools always perform a safety check before operating. 

The thickest part of your molding will be the inside edge of your finished frame.  Double check the angle of your cut prior to sawing - after cutting the shortest edge should be along the thickest edge of your molding as shown in the photo above.  If using an electric miter saw make sure the saw blade is rotating at full speed prior to lowering the blade to cut through your wood.  You may want to practice on a spare piece of wood to see how the blade, your measurement marking and the laser are aligned so that you cut precisely. 

I prefer to cut all of the right ends then all of the left ends - that is just so I don't have to reset the angle of the saw each time. 
Once you have all four pieces cut, verify that the left and right sides are the same length and same angle.  Then make sure your top and bottom pieces are the same length and same angle.  This can be done by holding each piece against it mate - first holding the inside edges together then the outside edges together.  If the pieces  match, you are ready to assemble your frame.  

I use corner clamps  to give the corners an extra squeeze while your glue sets.   If you don't have corner clamps, you can get them at the hardware store they cost about $3 a piece and can significantly improve the look of your finished frame. 
Loosen the corner clamps enough to freely place your wood into the clamps.  Remove one of the short pieces and put glue on both ends.  Place the short piece back into the clamps, line up your corners and tighten the clamps - remove excess glue (as directed on your glue instructions).  Repeat on the other end - glue, place, line up and tighten.  Recheck all of your corners to make sure nothing shifted.
 Keep clamped for at least 30 minutes or as instructed by your glue.  Follow the directions on your glue for drying time - mine required 24 hours  before putting an stress on it. 

Once the glue is dry, paint both sides of the frame.  Both sides???  Yes, the edge of the backside of the frame will reflect in your mirror.
Allow the paint to thoroughly dry and you are ready to hang.  You can select from various products (such as Liquid Nails) and glue your frame right to the mirror.  I really didn't want to permanently mount the mirror - see how close this mirror is to the wall corner, well it can be a real pain when it comes to painting that corner.  Besides, I may want to change the color or style of the frame.  Soooo, I decided to try Velcro.  You may not be able to use velcro with all moldings; however, my molding has a ridge on the backside that allowed me to place a little strip of Velcro in each of the corners.  Since the Velcro sits in the ridge, it still allows the frame to sit tightly against the mirror.  So now I can just remove the mirror when I am ready to paint either the frame or the wall and simply rehang it.   

Check out those corners!!!  Mr Niche says they are so good that they look fake. 
And finally - here is the finished look.  The mirror was painted with Oil Rubbed Bronze to match the light fixture.  The light  was originally brass before getting an update with Oil Rubbed Bronze.  Learn how to update your brass fixtures with spray paint here.
Here's the side-by-side comparison of before and after.  This project is well worth it.  It all costs less than $20 and it definitely improved the look in this powder room. 
Now, I have two other contractor mirrors that need framed.