dil·i·gence:careful and persistent work or effort

Proverbs 13: 4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Going Dutch

Well, lookie, lookie what we did.  We converted the door at the top of the stairs from the kitchen to the basement from a regular old door to a dutch door!

You can see the door here on the left side of the photo in all of its natural wood glory.
And, this is what it looks like now:
Oh yeah, and I might have forgotten to mention that I PAINTED IT BLACK!!  Which might be the coolest part of the whole project, but back to the door itself.

Why do I want a dutch door, you might be wondering.  Well, I'm glad you asked.  Our kitchen is sort of the doggy isolation area when we get back from our daily river walks.  You see, my dogs love to swim in the river that we walk along, so most days I return home with two dirty, wet, happy swamp monsters for dogs.  See exhibit A:
And, exhibit B:
So, to keep the entire house from becoming a nasty pit of dirt and filth, I often keep them in the kitchen until they are slightly less dirty.  Which means I need to be able to close off the exits.  And, having a door that can be open on the top and closed on the bottom means heat from the basement stove can travel up and light from upstairs can travel down while the dogs stay put.

Of course, turning a door into a dutch door was not as easy as I had hoped it would be.  (Is anything?)  Making the actual cut was simple:  a friend came over and did that for me with a circular saw.  After cutting the door in two, I was left with a top half, which already had 2 hinges, and a bottom half with only 1 hinge.  The top could be rehung right away, but I needed to install a second hinge on the bottom before it would be functional.

I won't go into the gory details of installing hinges, but let's just say that it's not one of my talents.  If you ever decide to give it a try, I have one word for you:  precision.  Be precise!  The hinge placement- both on the door and on the door frame- can't be just "good enough".  It has to be exactly, precisely correct.  Or else you get a wonky door.  Which won't go back on its hinge.  Ask me how I know that.  Go ahead- ask.

Anyway, after some trial and error, I was able to successfully add a hinge to the bottom half.  So, I had a door, cut in two, which now had two hinges on the top and two hinges on the bottom.
Time for paint!  The painting process was simple:  one coat of primer, three coats of paint.  While I was at it, I also painted the molding around the door, which also required three coats of paint.  All of the waiting between coats of paint (and that darned full-time job) made this project drag out to nearly 3 weeks.

Once all the paint was finally dry, I was super excited to rehang the door and finally get to see all of my hard work pay off.  Picture me springing out of bed last Saturday morning (this alone is noteworthy, as I am not a morning person) ready to *finally* pop the door back onto its hinges and fall in love.  Now picture my disappointment as I discovered that 7 coats of primer/paint can really affect how a door fits into its opening. It wouldn't fit.  Not even close.  Cue the violins, and give me some cheese for my whine.  'Cause I was super disappointed.  Back to the drawing board.

But, you know what they say:  where there's a will, there's a way!  And, will has never been something I've been short on.  I pulled out my palm sander, and showed that door who's boss!  I sanded down the edge of the door (on the door knob side, not the hinge side) until it closed without hitting.  And, I also ended up needing to recess the strike plate on the door jam a touch further.  But, once it was all said and done, I was left with a fabulous and wonderful dutch door.
It's totally functional for us, and frankly I love it for its looks alone.
It's unexpected, and the black paint really sets it off with the white molding and bead board nearby.
At this point, this project is about 90% done.  You can't tell from the pictures, but when both halves of the door are closed, they rub each other just the slightest bit.  I'm sure this is because of my questionable hinge installation skills, because when the halves are open, they don't touch at all.  At any rate, this can be easily corrected by taking a blade width off the top half, which I plan to do this weekend.  Other than that, I just need to decide how/if to top off the bottom half.  Right now, the cut edge is just painted, but I could top it off with some wood or laminate or something to make it feel a bit more polished.  I'm still researching what to do there, so stay tuned.
I love catching a glimpse of the black door from across the room.  See how it ties into the black curtain rods and shelf supports?
 And, when its all closed, it looks like a normal door!
But, of course, I prefer to show off all of its dutch-ness!
So, what do you think?  Do you like dutch doors?  Do you like doors that have been painted black?  I hope so, because I foresee some more in my not-too-distant future!



**  linking to
Elizabeth & Co.
Shabby Creek Cottage
TDC Before and After

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Thrifting Sisters

A bit of trivia for you today.

Q:  What do you get when you take two sisters and give them a day full of shopping including stops at 3 thrift stores, Ikea, Home Goods, Marshall's, TJ Maxx, Target and Old Navy?! 

A:  A trunk full of goodies and very little moolah spent!!
Thanks, Amy, for spending the day with me!  It's not often that you are able to have a day to yourself, so thank you for sharing it with me.  I love you!!



Saturday, January 12, 2013

Do you see what I see?

Something is different in our living room, and I'll give you 3 guesses, but you probably won't need them.

We got an awesome, soft and fuzzy, correctly sized, wool, trellis patterned rug, and I am IN LOVE!
I have known our living room rug was on the small size, but rugs are expensive, people!  And, I had been passively searching for a replacement, but I hadn't found anything I couldn't live without.  And, if I'm going to shell over that kind of moolah for a rug, I have to LOVE it.

Enter: online rug retailers, namely RugsUSA.com and Overstock.com.  If you cannot find a rug that you love on one of these sites, then you cannot love a rug.  Serious.  They have EVERYTHING.

When I saw this beaut, I knew she was destined to be mine.  And, the fact that she was 20% off made the deal even sweeter.
I labored over what color to get, and I originally was going to go with the gray.  But reading the reviews revealed that the gray was very much a blue-gray, and I was worried that it would be too blue.  So, I went with my second choice:  khaki. 
And, now that I have it, I love the color and think it's perfect with what I have going on in the room.  It's a nice neutral, and I think it will prove to be quite versatile, as this room continues to evolve.  The khaki section is looped and slightly lower than the tufted cream trellis pattern.  Overall, the rug is very soft and fluffy, and it's 100% wool, which was a requirement for this purchase.
I feel like this addition just pulled the whole room together.  Oh, and don't mind the tv on the hearth.  It's football playoffs season, people, and this Ravens Fan needs to see her team play.  Even if game time is during dinner-making time.  M'kay?!
Some reviewers complained about the rug shedding too much, but I haven't had any issues.  I suspect the worse offenders are probably the darker rugs, because the light pattern and the dark background make the shedding so much more obvious.  I have no complaints.  There has been some shedding, but compared to what I was expecting?  Nada.

Ah, home sweet home.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Feelin' blue

A couple days ago, I snapped this photo, uploaded to Instagram and shared on Facebook.
Wanna see what I painted?
The mirror was originally a thrift store find.  $8 is still marked on the back.  I painted her white right away after getting her.  But, with the white fireplace, she was blending in too much when she really deserved to be the star of the show.
So, I grabbed a couple containers of paint that I had on hand.  Please don't ask me the color, because there was a little mixology going on this night.  A little bit of this and that, and I had a custom color.
And, of course a "new" mirror deserves a whole new look.  I pulled this together relatively easily.  The vintage fan from the kitchen got relocated, and I picked up the tall wood and glass hurricane and the painting from the Rugged Wearhouse for about $20 total.  And, then I felt the need to put a bird on it.
Ahh, a simple winter mantle.
And all of the sudden, I'm not blue anymore.



Thursday, January 3, 2013

DIY fridge coasters

Go ahead and file this one under "The Jury's Still Out", because I'm not sure it'll end up being functional.  But, it was a 5 minute project (it will take me longer to write this short post) and it's certainly fun even if it proves to not be functional.  I made some DIY fridge coasters.
Have you guys seen them?  They're liners for high traffic areas of your fridge.  I've thought they look cool and seemed pretty functional.  If an area of your fridge gets nasty, you just pull out the fridge coaster and give it a good wipe down.  So much easier than manhandling that huge veggie crisper into the kitchen sink, no?  But, the price tag kept me from taking the plunge.  Until I figured out how to craft some myself.  *insert evil grin*

I whipped out a couple plastic place mats, originally from Target, a tape measure, straight edge and scissors.  After some measuring, line drawing and cutting, I have liners for both of my crispers and the milk shelf in the door.
Oh, and sorta related:  do you see all of that lovely produce?  It's from my weekly Friends & Farms food basket.  I should tell you all about it some other time.



*linking to Eliz & Co.
Shabby Creek Cottage