DIY dreaming in the sky….cloud based DIY project planning

 

Feeling a little out of touch lately since I am not actively involved with dirty hands in a DIY project at the moment.  My husband and I are building a new home and are acting as owner/builder which means doing our own project management.  Crazy maybe, but the reward at the end will be immeasurable.  Like any good project, it requires HOURS of careful planning beforehand to be successful.  Measure twice, cut once right?  I have also found that there is absolutely no way that I would be able to carry a huge binder or boxes of ideas around with me as we go through the extensive design planning process.   Sure formula for going crazy!

So, forget the old idea of magazine clipping and folder making.  Now, anyone can dream with ease by clicking the button on their mouse.  With the explosion of online information and social media, there are lots of sites now dedicated to the online consumer of information.  Even online “bookmarking a page” has gone into the caveman era.  Pinterest, Houzz and similar sites have grown by ginormous numbers that allow consumers to easily share and save socially their ideas, dreams and in the case of Houzz, portfolios of design professionals in your area that can help you.

As a user of both myself, I can tell you, it was love at first click to discover these sites.  These online based idea boards also allow me to also easily identify  a client’s ideas by going to look at their likes and wants on their idea boards online.  Anywhere that I have an internet connection, I can see YOUR ideas as well as my own.

Now to take it a step beyond the “idea board”…..Enter “Evernote” and “Dropbox”**…ahhh true love.  (more…)

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How to replace electric outlets

A very quick and inexpensive update that you can do in your home is to replace outdated yellowed or broken outlets.  You can buy a “contractor pack” of ten or as singles for usually around $.50-$1.30 per piece!  The plastic covers for each can also be bought as a contractor pack for pennies on the dollar.   Can you believe that?!    Most people don’t realize this because they don’t make it a habit to walk up the electric nuts and bolts aisle at the store.    Even better, each outlet only takes a couple of minutes to replace.

** Disclaimer:   I am NOT a licensed electrician.  However, there are many simple projects such as this, that you can do for yourself safely and accurately, as long as you follow EACH step precisely.  Any deviation or questions, should be consulted further before proceeding.

Materials Needed:   flat and  Philips (star head) screwdrivers, wire strippers, plug in style voltage tester (shows proper ground, etc)

How to replace:

1)  First and foremost, the most important thing to do is to turn off the WHOLE house power at the breaker panel.  The “main” switch is usually at the top.  For good measure, I not only flip this one switch but also each individual switch as well to OFF.  Overkill maybe, but it doesn’t hurt anything.  Of course, just to be certain or if there’s a concern, power off AC’s, computers, TV or other sensitive electronic equipment before you flip the breaker.  Some people still like to double check each outlet before they begin by inserting an inexpensive plug in type of voltage tester that shows “no voltage”.  This is perfectly fine if it makes you feel better, but really, if you have turned off ALL breakers, there should be no voltage. (more…)

How to apply window film

So in my mission to finally finish my 1920’s duplex, I wanted to replace the cheesy plastic mini-blinds throughout the space, especially the floppy one on the back door.  Have you ever been lucky enough to find a window blind that stays in its brackets and even better, ever found one that is short enough that you don’t get lost in a tangle of strings trying to shorten it to fit?  Well, during my hunt, I stumbled across a product from Home Depot called “Artscape” decorate window films.  You can choose from two sizes: 1) 24″ x 36″ for $20 or 2) 36″ x 72″ for $30.   They have a variety of finishes like etched glass, leaded glass (like the one I used), stained glass, rain, etc depending on level of privacy you also want the film to have.  For about the same cost or better than a blind?  Sold!

Here is a picture of the product:

Tools you need:  Measuring tape, straight edge, razor knife, soapy water in a spray bottle; the film itself comes with a squeegee

Here are the steps:

1)  Clean the window-ensure interior of window is completely clean

2)  Measure the area to be covered and cut film on the paper side using a razor knife and straight edge-Before you cut the film, ensure that it will be even on both sides if there is a pattern.  To do this, subtract 50% of the total reduction from each side.  In other words, in my case, my width was 21 1/2″ and the film is 24″ wide; I cut 1 1/4″ from each side.  Repeat the same measurement for length.

3)  Wet the window-Using a spray bottle with water and a couple of drops of  hand soap inside, wet the window generously.  The wetter the window, the easier to work with the film.  Of course, lay a towel down on your floor to protect it from the drips.

4) Apply the film-Starting in one corner, peel the film from the paper backing and press into place and gently continue to roll the paper backing away and pressing the film against the window at the same time.  Be careful not to let the paper come in contact with the window.

5) Squeegee the air bubbles-Using the provided squeegee, start in the middle and work outwards to remove all air bubbles. Once dry, the film should be nicely adhered.

No more blind and a bonus that I now made my 1920’s door look like it has a leaded glass insert.  Love it!  This really was such an easy project that gave me so much reward and was much faster than installing a floppy blind!  I’m going to now use the same film but in etched glass to get rid of the blind in the bathroom.

If you have any questions, let me know…hope you enjoy transforming your window.

Spring Exterior Preventative Maintenance for your Home

Spring weather is a perfect time to get outside and walk around the entire perimeter of your home to check for any signs of needed maintenance.  Houses “settle” over time and are constantly in a state of movement, believe it or not.  It is common for caulk joints to deteriorate over time and a lot of us take it for granted that certain small, but very important areas such as caulking are “out of sight, out of mind”.    Its much easier and less expensive to replace caulk in order to prevent larger and more expensive issues later.  Wood rot and excessive movement however may indicate larger issues that need to be dealt with.

Check for the following:

1) Foundation

Check for any insect intrusion coming into your brick’s weep holes, any cracking of the slab, or soil separation.   Make sure vegetation, mulch and dirt stay at least 4-6″ below the top of your slab

2) Windows

Check your window’s caulking.  An inexpensive tube of caulk goes a long way to keep your windows air and water tight.

3)  Wood trim and siding

Check for any signs of wood rot, mildew or gapping due to settlement.    In our case, Spring brought an overactive squirrel that chewed right through one of our trim boards to take up residence in our attic!  Use binoculars if you need to see the higher points better

4)  Hose Bibs and other Exterior penetrations

Check the seals around any exterior penetrations; again, good seals and caulking help prevent insect intrusion, water issues and the like.

If you are not up to the challenge of getting up on a ladder for 2 story homes, most painter type contractors should not charge a lot for this type of caulking or small wood replacement maintenance.

As always, I am here to help with any questions you have.  Enjoy your Spring!