Look at that Niche- That is a Nice Niche.

This is an actual profile photo on Eddie Murphy's Facebook page! I'm not kidding- follow this link:  https://www.facebook.com/EddieMurphy/photos/a.154069074666916.39917.153822731358217/788316451242172/
This is an actual profile photo on Eddie Murphy’s Facebook page! Seriously, click to link!

Donkey gets the credit for this posting’s title, ha. When I had finished putting some of our collections in the entry way niche, I really did say “Look at that niche, that’s a nice niche!” and I swear, I heard it in Donkey’s voice. I digress… (clears throat).

I have a few random house projects that I have been meaning to get around to

Is this a summer To Do list? Or is this just wishful thinking?
Is this a To Do list? Or just wishful thinking?
  • paint under counter
  • do something with the empty niche above the front door
  • repaint stair risers
  • get son’s collections into manageable storage boxes
  • put all photos into a storage box, not mixed with other mementos
  • sort out and give away extra fall/autumn/Halloween/Thanksgiving decorations
  • kids’ (now teens!) grade school holiday art separated from holiday storage boxes

Today I finally did something with a space over my front door. This niche has sat naked for more than five years. As I have passed by it multiple times, every day, I wonder what the heck to do with it? I don’t like random tchochkies too much, so the décor du jour doesn’t interest me.

It took awhile but I finally gathered together items from our travels into a small collection to put into this awkward niche above my front door. Rocks from beach trips, conch shells from the great-grandparents’ world travels, pine cones The Boy has collected… only the tall sticks came from the craft store. So I cheated.

But, here it is, TA DAAAA:

Still needs something more in the front...
Still needs something more in the front…

July Project #1, All Done- No More Ugly Door

Bye-bye, ugly front door!

Door sanded, wood filler dried and sanded
Door sanded, wood filler dried and sanded


It was easier than I thought to paint with the door still on the hinges...
It was easier than I thought to paint with the door still on the hinges…


Ta da!! Nothing left but to let it dry and clean up!
Ta da!! Nothing left but to let it dry and clean up!


Although I didn’t need to use the orbital sander (overkill) or take the door entirely down for easier painting, it still feels great to complete a project that I never tried before. I’m glad I made myself round up a bunch of new-to-me home improvement projects; we have let many little jobs like this slide for too long with our weekday long commutes and our weekend family activities. If I have enough time to watch two seasons of “Agents of Shield” and “Agent Carter,” season one, I have enough time to get some painting done around here… no more excuses. Wish me luck, I have two or three more painting jobs on my list.

I think the outside entryway looks lovely.

Abby likes it too-

“Are you done yet? Take me for a walk, the cats are talking smack and I want to go check my pmail accounts.”

One last before and after for my records-IMG_7442

Go me!

Move over, Nike, I’m Going to Just Do It

What happens when you have little to no home improvement skills or experience, and you try to apply wood filler to parts of your front door?

What happens if you botch up the job?

Will you permanently ruin your lovely front door? Will the children have to hang their head in shame and say that they don’t really live here when friends come by? Will one hundred handymen pop out of the bushes, pointing their fingers at you and laughing? Will you glue the front door shut with the wood filler??


Look at that beautiful job!
Look at that beautiful job!

Yeah, look at that fine job! I’ve sanded down all of the wood filler and hope to take the door off the hinges tomorrow and paint this bad boy a lovely dark green.

When this project is finished, I am going to very much enjoy telling the little voice in my head that always says how I can’t do anything that it is time to shut up once and for all. Nyah!

Front Door Repainting Step 2 (in only two trips to the store!)

Today’s trip to the home improvement store was quick, painless, and I think I only need to go back one more time for this project. That’s pretty good for the novice DIYer, oh yeah!

Today I started my front door repainting project…

  • Decided on a color- isn’t that always the hardest thing to do? I walked right into the paint section, looked at the simplest display, chose the darkest pine green and was finished in less than one minute. The guys at Home Depot had to then redirect me to the proper exterior paints. So I just picked the closest color to the one I liked. Done.
  • Sanded down the whole door by hand with a coarse paper
  • Realized I already owned the proper paintbrush, enough wood filler and the fine sanding paper for the orbital sander. Trip #2 to the store will be for returns only, I hope.
New color- Behr Marquee "Black Evergreen"
The new color- Behr Marquee “Black Evergreen,” click the pic to link to Home Depot’s web page for purchase info…
stuff on the top right gets to be returned… saves me some $$
That was the fastest I’ve ever picked a paint color and was in-n-out of a home improvement store EVAH!

Tomorrow I’m hoping to fill in low spots with wood filler and sand down the rest of the door to smooth it all out… that is, if I’m not standing in a Comic Con line to get passes into the fabled “Hall H.”

Wish me luck…

What do DIY Tutorials and Teen Culture Have in Common? You Tube.

“Oh yeah, I learned how to do that on You Tube.”

Everyone except me… I have to admit, I’ve never used online videos to learn how to do anything. Supposedly there is a video tutorial for everything online. The Girl taught herself how to play guitar just by using You Tube and other online tutorials. The Boy is learning coding. And do we even need to mention how every high school student in the country knows about The Vlog Brothers and their Crash Course videos? John and Hank Greene are better than internet rock stars for this generation of students- they are leaders. Don’t know who they are? READ THIS ARTICLE and get your own crash course in Online Teen Culture- “The Teen Whisperer,” by Margaret Talbot as published by The New Yorker Magazine. You will be glad to know that the Youth of today have better role models than the latest pop star or celebrity.

Hide your weather beaten front door behind a Door Monster this Halloween!
Hide your weather beaten front door behind a Door Monster this Halloween!
Fall 2014 1st day of school and the leftovers of the Doctor Who party
Fall 2014 1st day of school and the leftovers of the Doctor Who party… the fez is out of shot, unfortunately.

My July projects include repainting my sorry front door. Hoo boy, is it in bad shape. We’ve abused it with tape and crepe to make a Door Monster for Halloween (and it hid the chipped, faded paint!), and turned the blue-ish door into our own personal Tardis for a Doctor Who party. But, the door has taken a beating and is ready for repainting. I’ve painted the inside of my house before, but never have done any exterior work. It’s gotta be different with some important steps to follow. And should I paint it a true Tardis blue? Or a forrest green, like The Husband has requested… decisions, decisions…

You Tube to the Rescue!

This guy had great instructions, door totally off the hinges with no hardware to tape around:

So did the people at Dunn-Edwards Paints, and they left the door on the hinges and some of the hardware on:

This video was helpful, too, another with the door on the hinges and hardware taped and providing a materials list:

OK. I’m ready to hit the paint counter and get started.

July Project of the Month- Interior DIY (or, “In Which I Visit Lowe’s/Home Depot 42 Times in One Month”)

I remember when we bought our first home almost twenty years ago, we learned really fast that you don’t start a repair project after 2:00 on a Sunday afternoon. N00bs like us tended to have to head back to the home improvement store at least five more times than the first three trips you originally planned on making. All the shops we needed closed at 6:00 on a Sunday evening back then, leaving us fat out of luck and stuck amidst unconnected parts and unfinished projects until the DIY store reopened.

Wish me luck- I am going to try to fix, repair, paint and/or decorate a bunch of stuff around here this month. Maybe I can learn how to operate a few power tools, yeah! The To Do list has gotten a little long and it is time to start hacking away at it.

But I won’t be starting anything after 2:00 on a Sunday. I’ve learned that lesson.

Is this a summer To Do list?  Or is this just wishful thinking?
Is this a summer To Do list? Or is this just wishful thinking?

APRIL Project- Stop being *Those* Neighbors…

you know who they are. Their lawn could use a trim. They have some bushes that are half dead. And are they ever going to do something about that spot with weeds? Yeah… that’s us.

Smart people who can maintain their yard...
Smart people who can maintain their yard…

I have four spots in the front and back yard that need work that I keep saying I will do something about-

  1. Put another citrus tree in a pot in my backyard- do the work myself this time instead of making The Husband do it all
  2. Find a water-wise plant and rocks for the front of our walk
  3. Also, more water-wise plants for my window boxes instead of committing plant abuse and killing off a bunch of flowers again 
  4. Plant the cactus The B-I-L has so generously offered to share from his plant many times- fresh nopales in my future!
Potted tree- fine.
Potted tree- fine.

I don’t know why our citrus trees are dying slow deaths. Yes I do. I don’t fertilize them, the snails are eating up the new leaves. and then there is the entire North American population of Whiteflies living on one little Meyer Lemon tree/bush in my backyard, struggling to overcome these pests.

It isn't arborcide if your tree has blossoms, I tell you!
Unpotted tree… It isn’t arborcide if your tree has blossoms, I tell you!

Hopefully, by the end of the month I’ll have gotten out there and made our incredibly nice neighbors proud, and turn over the job of being THOSE neighbors to someone else.