Gimme a Giveaway Winner & Top Twelve: Tools

Happy, happy Friday!  I can’t believe we’re almost in July.  But I’m so fraking excited to watch fireworks on the fourth.  What are you doing this year to celebrate?

Okay, how about I tell you the winner of the Super Sweet Life and Williams Sonoma gift card?  It’s Kristin!  Congrats!  I’ve been working on the boys’ bedroom revamp (mood board coming at ya Monday), including building plans.  Which got me thinking about the most used tools in our proverbial belts.  So here they are:

Top-Twelve-Tools

1.  Screwdriver and tape measure.  We have several Kobalt 6-piece screwdrivers because they’re so handy.  One screwdriver for large or small flat/phillips screws.

2.  Utility knife, Basic or Kobalt Quick Release.  The quick release feature is really nice, changing dull blades without a screwdriver.  And it folds into a pocket knife.

3.  Pipe cutter and wire stripper.  ‘Nuff said.

4.  Stud finder.  Easily locate studs, perfect whether you’re hanging a heavy mirror or installing new trim.  

5.  Staple gun.  Perfect for upholstery and attaching insulation bats.

6.  Hammer, pry bar, nail set.  Useful for installing or removing trim.

7.  Air nailer and compressor.  Ben loves Porter Cable, and we’ve got a set similar to this one.  For starters, a 16 gauge nailer is widely usable.

8.  Random orbit sander.  This is what I use for all furniture stripping, and I love it.

9.  Cordless drill.  Sure, an electric drill can do the job, but a battery-powered drill is far more portable.

10.  Shop vac.  Clean up any mess you wouldn’t want to use a normal vacuüm for.  Big chunks, fine dust, or wet messes.

11.  Miter saw.  A base grade saw works for most jobs, but for more intricate cuts (ah-hem, crown moulding) try a sliding compound miter saw.

12.  Quality paint brushes and rollers.  The Wooster Shortcut is my pick for painting trim, but an angled Purdy brush is ideal for ceilings.

Grow Inspired

I’ve mentioned before we’re working on landscaping our yard.  Right now, that includes tons and tons and tons (quite literally) of rock.  Rock is perfect for us because so much of our property is steep, hard-to-mow hill and sun-baked southern exposure.  Oh, and we’re way too cheap to pay hundreds of dollars a month just to keep grass green.  Hooray for saving water and money!  While the rock has many benefits for us, it still isn’t green.  And let’s face it, green = life.

Back-Yard-Hill-Needing-Plants

Although, I did transplant a few creeping evergreens up on our back hillside.  A touch of green, but we’ve got a long way to go.

Back-Yard-Hillside-Needing-Plants

The plan is to add plants after spreading all the rock (so we don’t crush our plants in the process).  Sadly, that may have to wait until next spring when a greater variety of plants is available.  Until then, I’m using Sprout It to help plan our attack.  Sprout It is a new, free iTunes app that helps find the best plants to use based on space, lifestyle, weather conditions, and growing difficulty.  Basically, it takes the guess-work out of choosing plants.

Even more exciting, Sprout It is giving fans a chance to win a backyard revamp!  Everyone has a space in their yard that needs some help.  I’ve really got my eye on this spot:

Back-Yard-Shade-Garden-Spot

Big ole pile of dirt, just waiting to get plowed over, rocked, and planted.  I’m thinking a variety of shade plants like hostas, bleeding hearts, ferns, and lily of the valley.  But really, our whole yard could count.  Do you have a needs help spot, too?   Well, the Sprout It Backyard Takeover contest is a super fun way for you to get involved.

Sprout It Grow Inspired

Anytime between now and July 2, upload a picture to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #GrowInspired, then visit the Sprout It page to claim your photo and officially enter the contest.  One grand prize winner, to be announced on July 10, will receive a free backyard design from Chris Loves Julia and a $1,000 Lowe’s or Home Depot gift card to make it happen.  Sign me up!

Obviously this yard can use a plan and plants.  Because this is the greenest place in the yard:

Back-Yard-Steps-and-Plants

Something needs to change, stat.

I know this seems like a sponsored post, but I’m  not being paid to share this info.  Just think it’s a fun contest and want to spread the word.  What are you waiting for?  Hop on Instagram to add your photo and get in on the action.

Walnut Saves the Day

I really love my kids, I do, but sometimes they do things that I don’t understand.  Sometimes cute, like having conversations only they understand.  Others, not so cute.  Like coloring on the couch.  Or using a nail file to scratch the backs of our dining chairs.  Exhibit A:

Scratched-Dining-Chairs-Before

Seriously, what the heck?!  Of course I was irritated, but I remembered a trick I’d heard, but never tried.  Use a raw walnut to cover the scratches.  Luckily, I had a bag of trail mix with a few walnuts left, so I used those.  Here’s the same chair after rubbing the nut over the scratches on the right:

Scratched-Dining-Chairs-Half-Done

And after covering all offending scratches:

Scratched-Dining-Chairs-After

Sure, the scratches are still kind of visible, but not from across the room.

Scratched-Dining-Chair-After-Detail

The walnut colors the scratches nicely, but obviously can’t fill in the gouges.  I’m just happy for a cheap, quick fix.

Have you tried the walnut trick?  Care to share the strangest damage your child(ren) has/have done?  Do you have other quick tips for fixing furniture?

If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a room full of trim to paint.  Weehee!

Three Things

Three things to share today.  First order of business, the winner of a Sanus Full Motion TV Mount is Erica.  Congrats!

Sanus-TV-Mount

Second on the agenda, sharing a super cheap and über easy way to frame out a canvas.  Wanting to finish off the painted canvas I made for Ben, I stopped in Home Depot to pick up 2 eight foot pieces of 1 by 2 pine.

Canvas-Frame-1-by-2-Wood

To fit these in my car, I cut each into two pieces, five feet and three feet so I had a little wiggle room when cutting at home.  Before making my mitered cuts, I sanded the rough wood using 150 grit paper.

Canvas-Frame-Wood-Before-Sanding-Detail

Rather than relying on precise measurements, I brought my canvas out to my work table.  Yes, I measure the girly (maybe lazy is more appropriate) way.  But, it made it so easy.  I just marked the edges of the canvas on the inside of my frame, then used a square to mark the top as well.  These lines became the inside of my angled cuts, just lined the edge of the saw blade at the corner and cut.

Canvas-Frame-Corner-Detail

Before attaching my frame to the canvas, I first applied a coat of Dark Walnut stain and two coats of Minwax Polycrylic (both already in my stash).  I debated the attachment method.

First I though I’d nail from behind the canvas, shooting into the canvas frame and then into the pine.  But Ben said poplar can have weird knots and it might angle and shoot through  my canvas.  Um, not the look I’m going for.

Instead I used an 18 gauge nailer to go through the pine and into the canvas frame.  Worked like a charm, although I did angle my first shot too severely (fearing a blowout on my canvas) and it went into my work table.  Lesson learned.  While the nail holes are on the outside of the frame, they’re barely visible.  You know, until I take a close up shot.

Canvas-Frame-Nail-Detail

Now the canvas looks finished, with a slim, modern wood frame.

Canvas-Framed-in-Family-Room

Oh, and I worked up the courage to deal with the ceiling.  Not done yet (this is dragging on!), but looking a little better.  Especially when the can lights aren’t hanging down like Halloween zombie eyeballs.

Canvas-Framed-on-Mantel

One of my favorite things about this frame is the price.  Two 8 foot sections of 1 by 2 pine set me back $2.50.  I mean, how can you beat three bucks for a huge frame?!

Canvas-Frame-Left-Side-Detail

My second favorite thing about this frame is the depth.  It sits flush with the canvas back, but has another 3/4 inch depth beyond.  I think it’s a nice touch.

Canvas-Frame-Right-Side-Detail

Of course I love how quick and easy it was, too.  Took between and hour and two of active time to make.  Because this frame was so easy, I want to make two more to finish off these embroidered constellations.

Item number three; last but certainly not least.  We’re celebrating yesterday’s summer solstice with a big sale.  Now through Friday, July 5, use the code STARTSUMMER to save 50% on everything in our shop!

Summer-Sale-Banner

Oh, how about a number four?  Have a wonderful weekend!

Etsy Favs: June

You know what I love about Etsy?  Well, I’m going to tell you.  I love supporting creative people and small companies.  And getting to interact with the actual artist, not some huge entity.  Oh, and all the fabulous, affordable, original art/home decor/jewelry/and more.  So, here’s what caught my attention recently.

Aztec pillow cover at Classic By Nature

Miniature Glowing House with Green Trees by 2 of 2

Vintage Inspired Minerals and Gems Science Poster from Vol. 25

Late Night Swim Watercolor Painting by Renée Anne

Sedum Photo Pillow Cover at Catino Creations

Navy Honeycomb and Mint Cube Stud Earrings from Vivid by Esther

Mountain Range Scherenschnitte Paper Cut by Catfriendo

Give and Take and Picnic in the Park at Kiki and Polly

Vintage Industrial Hanging Light from DW Vintage

Ursa Minor Constellation Pillow at Love, California

Minimal Abstract River Painting by Lauren Adams Art

Ridges Sky 9331 from Becky Comber

We can’t forget about our awesome Etsy shop sponsors, either.  Through the Doggy Door, a quirky shop stocked with upcycled goodies ranging from leather key chains and wallets to brightly painted home accessories.

My favorites are the cameras.  Conversation piece, right?!

And MT Photo Journal, a shop filled with beautiful Montana photography prints.

Scenic landscapeswildlifeflorals, and rustic images abound.

Stop in these awesome shops, support small businesses, and show them some love!