DIY Halloween Tombstones!

IMG_3014

Here’s what my son ( and his amazing assistants, mom and dad ) have been up to most of the month of October. Tombstones. Realistic, detailed and creepy Halloween decorations. Check it out:

DIY Halloween decoration, DIY Halloween gravestone, Halloween cemetery

My initial plan was to write a “how to” post with these – but it’s so complicated and detailed that I think a simple slide show is far more fun, so here you go:

Add a little moss from Home Depot and a couple crows from Display and Costume   and you are all done!

DIY Halloween decorations, Halloween decor, How to make Halloween  tombstones

Happy Halloween from all of us at Hammer Like A Girl :)

More Functional Art

I’ve been working on some more functional art for Matter Gallery in Olympia. It was fun working on the pieces and a little hard to hand them off  – like saying good-bye to your children. Check out their shop either online or in person, Olympia is full of interesting places to visit!

You can see more functional art here.

The Big Albert Lee Appliance Sale is Coming!

Need new appliances for your home or rental? The Albert Lee Appliance Sale is coming this Nov 1 & 2nd.  We’ve seen everything from your standard kitchen appliances to Viking ranges, Miele vacuums, to outdoor BBQ’s and more. Check out this link as it also contains important hints for shopping. You may also want to bring a smartphone for research on the spot. Be sure to get there early – 3:55 am if you’re serious (and crazy like Monica) – they will have coffee…

Two of Our Favorite & Quick Painting Hacks!

Exterior WindowsWe make a lot of mistakes when painting, so we have a couple quick ways to fix them.

The first is to simply wipe them off with a wet rag we carry in our canvas work apron. You may end up wiping off paint from the surface where you actually wanted it, but that’s OK, just paint again – and sometimes you will need to wipe fairly hard to remove it ( depending on how long you waited to address it. Our advice – do it right away.)

The second is a tip from the handy husband. He used to paint houses in the summer to save money for college. You simply wrap your wet rag around a small putty knife. This allows you to clean up tight corners and other hard to navigate areas.

How easy is that! Happy painting :)

PS – Daly’s Paint, has a gift for signing up for their e-newsletter; a free pint of C2 paint each month. We just picked up Tangerine! Sign up for the Color Club here.

Share your hot painting tip with us – if we receive enough we can write a post with them and will be sure to give you credit!

Our List of Tools for Painting Projects

We paint a lot over here at Hammer Like A Girl – cabinets, kid’s rooms, tile, floors. We thought we would share a few good tools that make our lives a little easier, the job a tiny bit better – plus might eliminate a few trips to the basement for just one more thing ;)

So.

First.  No injuries.

Please Direct Your Attention to the Safety Talk:

  • Be sure the ladder is stable and don’t reach beyond a comfortable distance ( this means you, Heidi! )
  • If working outside –grab the sunscreen and a water bottle
  • Wear shoes that won’t slip or catch on things
  • Protect areas with drop cloths or newspaper
  • We love our 3rd Hand Paint Pail. Holds the paintbrush and is far easier to use than a paint can. ( And made in the USA )
  • Buy a good pair of groovy protection goggles if you need them (when scraping and sanding)

Safety Glasses

Now onto –

Our Favorite Tools For Painting:

Painting Tools Unpacked

Here’s a List of Miscellaneous Things we Find Useful:

  • Reading glasses
  • Headlamp
  • Sandpaper of 180 and 220 grit ( usually smallish pieces )
  • Sanding block for larger flat areas
  • Gloves
  • A 1″/25mm and a 2″/50mm paint brush, nylon/polyester blend, angled
  • 2-3 small art brushes for hard to reach areas ( not fancy )
  • Pencils for drawing on the walls ( so you can see where to paint )
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Blue tape
  • Paint can opener
  • Stir sticks
  • Smallish paint containers: yogurt tubs or a 3rd Hand Paint Pail
  • A canvas work apron or small tool belt (so helpful!)
  • Putty knife for scraping
  • Needle nose pliers for pulling out cracked/worn caulk
  • A narrow screwdriver for loose screws and digging out yuck
  • A nail punch for popped nails
  • A small hammer for the same and sealing paint lids closed
  • Toothbrush for brushing debris from corners
  • A razor blade for cleaning up past mistakes etc
  • Wet cloths for cleaning dirt off paint
  • Wet cloths for wiping off spills and mistakes
  • More drop cloths & rags
  • This list, so we can double-check that nothing has been pilfered or lost –

That’s a lot of stuff! We finally decided to start storing them together in a caddy. When we are painting we carry them in our small tool belts.

Painting Tools in Caddy

Oh – and one more thing. Because Chocolate.

Theo Chocolate

Do you have any favorite painting tools? We would love to hear your tips!

From Ugly to Lovely, Painting a Floor, Part 2

An embarrassingly long time ago, we wrote about a project we were working on – painting a fir floor. You can read about it here: From Ugly to Lovely, Painting a Floor, Part 1. (We didn’t realize that it would it be over a year and a half later before we wrote Part 2.)

After many delays (removing an existing wood stove, demolishing a hearth, installing new wood stove and hearth, patching various areas of the floor where there were old heat registers) it’s done! Well, the living room is done. The dining room isn’t quite done, but we are so excited by the results, we wanted to share some photos.

As a reminder, this is what the floor looked like before:

Floor_Before1

And here’s what it looks like now:

FloorFinished!

This is how we got there:

Because the floor was painted with lead paint, we didn’t want to sand it, so we used “Krud Kutter”. (Why do companies think it’s a good idea to use weirdly spelled names – what’s wrong with Crud Cutter?) This cleaned the surface and reduced the glossy finish and created a “tooth” for the paint to stick to.

Then we primed the surface using XIM UMA, a special primer/bonder. I’ve used this product in the past and have had great luck. It is designed for difficult to paint non-porous surfaces.

After allowing the primer to dry, we painted the floor. We used 2 coats of Pratt & Lambert’s WithStand floor paint in a special color mix of a dark charcoal gray, allowing 24 hours to dry in between coats.

The final floor:

FloorFinished2

The paint needs to cure for 7 days before placing any furniture or rugs. So meantime, this is what the dining room looks like:

DiningRoom_During

Yikes. I especially like the murderer’s glove in the foreground.

Make Vintage Votive Candle Holders

This post originally appeared at Mod Podge Rocks Blog. Check it out for more great crafting ideas. DIY votives: vintage candle holders made from glassesOver at Hammer Like a Girl, we usually try to use materials that have been cast off, scrounged, or salvaged. So when we first were planning this DIY votive project, we thought it would be a great idea to use cut-off bottles. You’ve all seen the technique online – soak string in acetone, wrap it around a bottle, light it on fire, turn turn turn to get an even burn and when the flame starts to die down, dunk it ice water, and the bottle breaks where the string was, essentially turning a bottle into a glass. It sounds so cool (and easy). We went out and bought acetone, dug in our recycling bins and went to work. Maybe we were doing something wrong, but for the life of us, we could not get a nice clean break. The edges were jaggedy, like something you’d see in a bar fight. So with singed arm hair, we went to the Goodwill, where we bought 3 glasses for $.69/each instead. Here’s some instructions – not how to singe your arm hair – but for making unique decoupage votive candle holders. Continue reading