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    We're two avid DIY-ers raising two rambunctious boys while tackling large and small projects, living to share our tale. All with the hope to inspire and encourage others.

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    I'm loving the way everything looks against these dark walls. Similar to white in an art gallery, but more dramatic. Jazzed up our new curtains with a few supplies and a little time. Read how on the blog now. I think he's trying to tell me something... Perhaps I need to remind him where to start a sentence. Hashtag four year old problems.

His and Hers Tasks

Good news, everyone.  The siding is 99 percent finished!  Ben took the last three days off work to get everything done before this weekend’s cold snap hits.  After starting with the most tedious part, everything went up smoothly and mostly without incident.  With much hemming and hawing, we decided to wrap the bathroom bump out in steel.  During install, Ben was on the scaffolding while I was at the bottom pounding each panel up.  While pounding a panel in place, a prybar fell off the scaffolding and on my arm.  A string of four lettered words spewed out of my mouth.  Other than that, no problems.

Lower portions were a breeze by comparison and Ben had most finished by day 2.


We know this siding choice is different.  People seem to love it or hate it.  Fortunately, several neighbors have come over to tell us how much they like it.  They could love the steel, or just that it’s finished.


Regardless, we’re thrilled.  Both with the look and that we’re almost done.  To finish off the outside corners, we’re waiting on five pieces to cover the edges.  You can see one by the front door.


While Ben was siding (and didn’t need my help), I was inside painting trim and a few walls.  Here’s a peek at the first coat in our bedroom.  As the McDonald’s slogan goes, “I’m lovin’ it.”


Hopefully tomorrow we’ll get our siding trim pieces to wrap things up.  Once that’s finished, we can take down the scaffolding and get working on kitchen plans.  Wishing you all a fun and productive weekend.

Siding of Steel

On Friday, Ben got the call we’ve been waiting for.  Our steel siding is done and  ready to pick up.  Hooray, we can actually finish the outside of our house!  However, we did stray slightly from our original plan.


Using corrugated rust steel was always the intention, until we started weighing the pros and cons.  Corrugated is more rigid and larger panels mean quicker install.  However, the 40 inch wide panels can make some cuts more difficult.  All exposed screws must be lined up to keep it looking nice, too.

So, what’s the other option?  Standing seam steel, that has a board and batten look.  These panels are 13 inches wide, which is better for intricate cuts and are easier to shimmy into the channels.  It is also secured with hidden fasteners, so there are very few exposed screws.  Standing seam was actually about 30 cents cheaper than the corrugated, but the hidden clips bump the price up another 50 cents per square foot.  After talking with the company, measuring, and giving them our cut list, we placed our order.  Then patiently waited for it to be manufactured and tackled a few loose ends inside.

Having never installed steel siding, we thought it best to start on the less visible back side.  Which also happens to be the most difficult area with angled cuts, windows and doors, and a few light boxes, too.  Overall, install went really smooth.  A special steel cutting blade (we bought ours with the steel) makes cuts quick and even.  Channels surround the windows and doors, allowing the steel to tuck inside for a tight seam.


Every two feet or so, clips snap on to the steel, and then get screwed into the wall.  The next piece covers the edge and the process repeats.


Even with the learning curve and funky cuts, the back took less than a complete weekend to finish.


Ben kind of freaked out the guy when he picked up the steel by jokingly asking, “If I leave this outside, it won’t rust, will it?”  Our plan is to see how much it weathers over the winter.  If we want to quicken (or even) the process, we can spray it with water.


Next up, finishing the front and garage sides.  I’m sure everyone, neighbors included, will be happy when we’re finished.

Halloween, We’re Ready

I’m not sure how it happens, but every year Halloween sneaks up on me.  For the past month, the boys have talked about their costumes.  E requested a cloud with rain.


I had every intention of sewing his costume, but didn’t have enough white fabric on hand.  In the spirit of Tim Gunn, I “made it work” by using a sheet of foam core to create two identical cloud shapes.  Fabric scraps connect the two sides, making it a sandwich board style.  Paper rain drops hang from thin fishing line below.  Before Halloween, I need to paint a rainbow to add, because that’s what the little man wants.

V, the crazy kid, wanted to be a battery. Seriously, this kid comes up with some of the most un-kid things.  Credit card at 3, then a stop light, and a Rubik’s cube.  A battery fit in perfectly.


Ben saved me a box big enough for V to fit in.  I wrapped the bottom of the box with two sheets of black poster board (from the dollar store) to get the general idea.  Two sets of paper cut Duracell letters are attached with double-sided tape, and white out to write ‘alkaline battery’ below.  For the terminals, I pulled two different sized canning lids and hot glued them on top.  I suppose I should cut arm holes, but it was a fun costume to put together.

Decorating our entry was just as fun.  E helped me tape paper bats and rats to the walls.  Michael’s clearance several years ago, but we made a few more to fill in.


He made a few custom creations, too.  Can you spy his bat in the picture above?  Later on, he added a witch on a broomstick:


Decorations pop against the white wood wall.


A few dollar store crows sit on the shelf along with rubber rats that the boys especially love.  We found the skull in the back while exploring, so I painted it gold and set it out.


Somehow, a bird got trapped inside a lantern.


Decorating with kids is so funny.  The little things that excite them cracks me up.  Who knew rubber mice could be so hilarious?!  Little boys, that’s who.

A Weekend of Difference

Whew, I’m exhausted today.  Over the weekend we knocked out several projects.  First, I scraped the popcorn off our ceiling.  This is my second go round, so I knew what to expect and followed the same steps as before.  Being home alone, I couldn’t move our big bed out of the room completely.  So I pushed all the furniture to that end of the room.  A layer of plastic protected everything, then I covered the floors and doors.


Scraping went quickly.  With one half done, I cleaned up the floor and pushed the furniture to the other end.  Repeat same process.  I learned something from my last session: when you reach a seam, scrape with it, not against.  If you go against, you could catch the tape and cause unnecessary damage.

Speaking of unnecessary damage, someone patched an area near the light fixture.  Even with the popcorn, the patch was noticeable.


I’ve got that spot, a crack, and small nail holes to fill and smooth before I can prime and paint.  I accidentally peeled the mesh tape off when the mud was wet, hence the hole.  So I have at least two more coats to go here.


It doesn’t seem like it’d make a big difference, but it’s nice to see a smooth ceiling.  Over the weekend, Ben spray textured the recently wallpaper free wall to match the other two.  With that dry, we trimmed out the rest of the room, windows, and doors.


Clearly, I have plenty of priming and painting in my future.


Our other walls are heavily orange peel textured, unfortunately.  At least the three painted walls with match.


While we had texture going, we finished the knock down in the dining room.  I’ll share more on that process soon.  I’m so close to having a painted bedroom I can taste it.  Or that’s sticky caulking on my thumb as I lick off chocolate.  Doesn’t matter, our bedroom is seeing real, noticeable progress.

Big Time Suck

More often than not, I enjoy having a project to work on.  Using my hands, working, creating something that I can (hopefully) be proud of once finished.  Then there are times that totally suck the life out of me.  Removing wall paper that has three coats of paint over is exactly one of those times.  Throughout my 10 hour removal process, I cursed the previous owners for a) putting up this dreaded wall paper and b) painting over it and not removing before.


Using a wide metal spatula, I was able to get most of the paint and paper off, leaving the glue behind.  See how lovely the pattern was?


In a few areas, before painting over the paper, someone spackled over low spots.  Please, I beg you, never paint over wall paper.  Certainly don’t patch areas on top either.  It’s not good.


With hot tap water, I was able to scrape most of the glue backing off easily.   The process left the walls looking like this:


More spots than a dalmatian.  Why did I torture myself?  Because I’ve decided I don’t want to add wood on this wall.  And we need to texture the walls with orange peel (unfortunately, to match the other two) before trimming out the door.  Hence the scraping marathon and my claw hands.  On a more positive note, every window in the house has been replaced.  Now we’re in the process of casing and trimming everything.  I’ve got three windows completely finished.


To match the other windows and doors, we painted the wood accent wall trim white.  I really love the contrast between the two.


Our bathroom window is done, now I have to go back and touch up the wall paint.  A walk in the park compared to the scraping.


After a summer of outside work, it’s nice to get some things done inside, too.  Now to clear out our bedroom so I can start scraping popcorn off the ceiling.

Because misery loves company, feel free to share your worst wall paper experience.


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