Tag Archives: DIY

I am a DIY goddess

I just spent over six hours tiling our downstairs hallway.  Our downstairs, as we live in a raised ranch, consists of a laundry room, garage, bathroom, family room, and a spare bedroom.  Every room on the level enters into this smallish hallway.  All told, it’s probably 12 feet long by 4 feet wide, with one zig-zag.

When we moved in, the family room, bedroom and hallway all had this brownish-gray carpet, which was a bit stained up and the color was just dreary.  We replaced the carpet recently in the two rooms with more wall-to-wall, but significantly lighter in color.  This left the hallway with the bare commercial style flecky asbestos-containing tiles, which, in addition to just being pretty ugly, were also slippery as hell, as my ankle can attest when I came off the stairs too quickly and completely wiped out, twisting said ankle in the process.

I had previously selected and bought for the floor vinyl plank peel-and-stick tile at Lowe’s.  I cannot find the stuff I bought on the Lowe’s website, but here is a similar product, in a very similar color. (The stuff I got at Lowe’s was only 98¢ a square foot, though.)  I found myself with some free time today, as Lane took an impromptu trip to Buffalo with her Grandpa Jerry.  (Jake and I will be going in two days to rendezvous with here there, and then Friday we’ll drive to the Albany area to visit friends.)  So I started on the tile project, and between Jake playing well by himself for awhile, and then taking a 3+ hour nap, I was able to finish the whole hallway.  And might I brag, it looks pretty darned good!  The stuff was easy to install and really looks nice.  For peel-and-stick vinyl tile, at any rate.  It just needs to be trimmed out with some new quarter-round and those metal threshold things and we’ll be all set.  Yay!



Things are getting done around our new abode, which is encouraging.

Our living room is all painted — three walls are the same warm beige (“oat cake” says Behr) as our bedroom with one accent wall of Ladybug Red.  And Frank likes it.  Yay!  I’m fairly confident in my color choices and I like to go out on a limb sometimes.  Nothing that a can of primer can’t fix, right?  I figured he’d be wishy-washy on the red at best, and he’s actually digging it.  Cool!  Our next color challenge is to pick a color for our dining room.  I was, and still am somewhat, leaning toward a muted, darkish orange color for the dining room… but just now I started playing with some warm browns and ooooooohh.  I’ve never painted a room a dark brown before.  I’ve done navy blue in a half-bath, but never a whole room of something so dark.  It might be fun.

Frank and his dad tackled a bunch of clearing out the overgrown landscaping this weekend, and I conquered more of it this afternoon.  Then I dug a two-foot hole and set up our new roadside mailbox at the behest of the postal service (with a bit of help from my father in-law — but I did dig the whole hole myself with a post hole digger).

Frank and I just finished changing out all the switches and outlets in the living room to shiny new stuff and adding dimmers and all that fun stuff.  I gotta say, nothing makes me feel more like I’m a cool, confident adult than installing a dimmer switch, and I say that without a hint of sarcasm.  Just gotta shampoo the rug in there, and put in our furniture.  The cable company is coming next Tuesday to install cable for us, and our own internet service (right now my only internet is off of the in-laws’ router, for which we can only get a signal against the outside wall of our dining room, which is why I’m sitting here on a cushion from our couch instead of the dozen or so infinitely more comfortable spots in our house.)

The last couple days have felt quite productive.  Tomorrow, I’m spending a day with just Lane, while Jake gets to hang out with his grandparents for the day.  I figure since she’s starting pre-K next week, we should do some sort of send-off, to kind of celebrate her last days before she becomes SCHOOL AGED.  Ack!  So, she and I are going to drive down to Sesame Place for some kickin’ mom-and-daughter time.

How to make a backdrop system on the cheap

First off, you need a backdrop. I bought some white muslin from Joann Fabrics, and dyed it myself. There are a bunch of how-tos online to tell you how to do this, and they are better than I would describe. Long story short, I used two packs of permanent dye per backdrop (10′ x 20′, but you don’t necessarily need one that big), tied it up a bit with some jute twine, soaked it in one of those Toughneck Rubbermaid storage containers inside my bathtub for nearly an hour, untied it and let it soak a little longer, rinsed it like crazy, washed it in the washing machine, and then dried it on low… and untangled it about a dozen times. This sounds like a giant annoying job that you’d want to do outside and/or in a big basement… and that would be nice. However I managed to do it in my 2 bedroom apartment without a basement in the middle of winter so outside wasn’t an option.

I have plans at some point to sew a rod pocket into at least one end of each of the two that I dyed myself, but since my sewing machine is in storage while we’re between houses, that’s a little project that will just have to wait.

If you’re not into DIY, you can buy inexpensive backdrops through Adorama.com – I have a white one of their Belle Drape muslins, and they aren’t bad. I would love it to be a little heavier but it works pretty well. Dying two backdrops myself saved me about $75, so to me it was worth the effort. But, I wanted big backdrops that I could wash easily, and wasn’t entirely concerned with exactly how I wanted them to come out.

I do also have a background stand, but it does get in the way. I have found the best way to put up a background, as long as you have a bare wall (no furniture or framed art on it) is with those 3M Command Hooks and some large-sized binder clips. You know… the kind, when you have an office job, you seem to accumulate endlessly. You probably already have the binder clips (or can get them at no cost) and the hooks are inexpensive, reusable, and temporary.

Here’s what the backdrop setup looked like for the photos I shot in the previous post. I used one softbox, about 15-degrees off-center.