Monday, October 26, 2009

Be Gone Shiny Brass Fireplace

Since the day we moved in, I have loathed our fireplace doors, and in part the brick surrounding the fireplace. I am just not a shiny brass kinda girl. I have delayed starting this project because I wasn't really sure where to start, but after a bit of research, and a lot of confidence I said good bye to my brass forever.

First, I took the doors off by unscrewing the clips that suspend the doors in them. This is a bit of a process, and you could really benefit from having four hands to complete. However, I did this on my own, and was able to balance the doors before they came crashing down. Next, I needed to remove the lovely part brass/part light wood handles. I bit off more than I could chew when it came to this step because one of the screws was already stripped. Since I like a challenge, I kept trying to remove the screw and therefore, further stripped it. I had enough where with all to recognize I had a problem on my hands. Therefore, I called the local hardware store, and lucky for me, they agreed to help we remove the screw (for free to boot). Perhaps I could have figured out how to do this (willing it to come off did not work), but we have limited tools so reaching out for help really got this process is moving.

After the hardware was out of the way, I got my sand on. I have an electric powered one, and used this to sand most of the brass off the doors. With this process, you are just trying to rough up the metal enough so that it will accept the new spray paint. Once this was complete, I taped and wrapped up the glass doors to protect them from my high heat resistant black spray paint. You may notice in this pic that there are two holes in the metal part of the door. This occurred when I realized the prior hardware was a crazy one of a kind size. Therefore, I had to drill two new holes so that my new black hardware would fit. It sounds way harder than it was. Trust me!

So once my doors were all wrapped up, it was time to get their spray on in the garage. It took about four to five light coats to coat each side of the doors. Patience is the key here because you want to ensure you are allowing the paint to dry in between the coats. I spray painted the inside part of the door first, and then moved to the outer doors.

Once the spray paint part was complete, I then installed my new black hardware. Reinstalling the doors was a bit of a headache because the doors are suspended on these little bracket things, and it was much harder to get everything real aligned than it was to take it apart. I would highly recommend that you have another person assist with reinstalling it, but since I am impatient, and did not want to wait for my husband to come home, I was able to get it all put back together just fine. I few choice words were used, but the end result is priceless.

Ta da......

I am just loving the fireplace's new look. The brick is starting to grow on me. Initially I was thinking of painting it once I had the doors complete, but now I think I am going to hold off on that until I am 100% sure I want to paint it.

So there you have it..... Brass be gone!  I am so happy that I finally tackled this project.  I just love looking over at my fireplace now.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Rose of Privacy or Rose of Sharon????

Many of you know out there that my husband and I were very surprised with all the landscaping we inherited from the previous owners. Let's just say that the snow did a number on hiding all the fun flowers of all kinds, cactus, and bushes placed randomly throughout the yard (literally). To say we were overwhelmed would be an understand statement. As mentioned in a few of my other posts, we have spent the first 18 months of home ownership digging our way out of the craziness known as our yard. We are FINALLY beginning to see the light to the tunnel of a more low maintenance yard. THANK GOODNESS!

Our major goal during our yard overall is to create spaces that are low maintenance, but lend us plenty of privacy from our neighbors. Our other major goal is to create obstacles so that children on bikes do NOT ride through our yard on their quest to get to the neighborhood pool. You see, the neighborhood pool is caddy corner from our backyard across the street.... Does that make sense? Basically, our backyard butts up to a berm, and on the other side of the berm is a road, and on the other side of that road lies the pool. We have created major obstacles in most places of our yard by planting trees, but there still lies an area where kids ride through near our driveway. Initially, we placed rocks haphazardly, but that did not seem to stop our bike riding friends.

From the pic, it is hard to see the rocks, but if you look really hard, you can see that between the tree on the left, and the bushes on the right, we placed about 8 or 9 rocks.  Very ineffective...... So I stepped up my game, and Lowe's was my partner in crime.  I was checking out the Garden section this week to find that all their bushes were on clearance at 25%.  So I start thinking that perhaps this is the motivation I needed to get my new obstacles in place.  However, the question arises as to which bush to pick.  I decided to go with the Rose of Sharon because there were 5 available in all the same color, they grow super quick, and we have a few of them in other places on the property.  So my decision was made easily, and boy was I happy to find that at the check-out they were actually 50% off..... Yippee!  Below, you can see that I evenly spaced them apart at around 3.5 feet (per instructions on the plants). 

Then, I got my digging on.... Luckily it had just rained, and the soil was very soft making this task so much easier.

Easy peasy!..... Now, I just can't wait until they take off, and fill in.  This bush is super lovely when it is in bloom (see the little bloom below).  I highly recommend it.

Below I have included some Rose of Sharon bushes we currently have planted on the property (they are over 6 feet tall).  As you can see, they have filled in very well, and create quite a bit of privacy. 

If only I could snap my fingers to get the ones I just planted to grow as big as their brothers.  Although, I think my Rose of Sharon is beginning to create the rose of privacy I quest....

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fallin' into Fall

I have been green with envy of many of the beautiful fall wreaths I have been spying around my neighborhood in the last week. Initially I thought I would just buy one (easy enough, right?), but then I couldn't find any that I liked in my price range. This lead to me think... HMMM..... Could I make one myself? So off to Hobby Lobby I went to purchase my supplies. I already had a Styrofoam hoop thing (just needed to spray paint it black). Therefore, I purchased a fall sway with leaves & berries, 3 pumpkins on wire sticks, and then 4 extra berries & leaves on a stick (see below).

Once I got home, I got my hot glue gun out, and went to town. Basically, all I did was glue down the sway around the hoop. Once I got this complete, there were a few bare places so I used my extra berry/leaves on a stick, and pushed those items into the foam securing in the back by bending the wire. Then, I spaced my pumpkins on a stick around the wreath.... That easy....

Drumroll Please......

And there you have it.... Above is a close up view of my very first wreath.... Yeah me! Below you can see a further away view of what it looks like for guests when they are approaching our front door.

So what do you think? Do you have any experiences with wreaths?