New Year’s Resolution – preserve my kid’s art!

Paper Mache Animals 1

Before my kids graduate from high school I should probably get a start on preserving some of the adorable, one-of-a-kind art projects they’ve brought home over the years. Things are getting a little (very) dusty plus starting to fade and become brittle. I decided to experiment with a Mod Podge protective coating thinking that it might preserve my favorite pieces and maybe even restore them a bit. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I had a couple of questions: Continue reading

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!

Dryer Maintenance Fun!

Here’s a quick tutorial on caring for your dryer from my favorite appliance repairman (jot down this number) Mark Wiseman Appliance Service, 206-948-1060.

We needed a dryer repair the other day (at a rental), so while he was there I quizzed him with “If you could pass along tips to your customers, what would they be?” and, ta da!, here is what Mark wants you to know:

  1. Clean your lint filter every load!
  2. Once a year go outside and make sure the exterior vent flap moves freely. Remove any built up lint. If you have a “grate/guard” over your exterior vent and it is full of lint, remove it and don’t put it back! These are notorious for collecting lint and blocking airflow which leads to repair calls to Mark…
  3. Dryer repairs and fires are primarily caused by poor venting. A good vent solution is a metal vent, flexible or straight, a short run to the exterior, and an exterior vent with a flap but no grate. A poor vent example might be a plastic vent, with low spots or kinks, or a long run to the exterior, and an exterior vent with a soon-to-be-clogged bird/animal guard.

Seems straightforward, right? So with these tips in mind I came home and examined my dryer. We’re pretty type A when it comes to cleaning our lint filter every load, but I happened to reach a little further into the dryer I discovered this – Continue reading

Visualize Your Ideas, Part 2

It’s that time of year again, when we take inventory of unfinished projects and brainstorm additions/remodeling. Sometimes it helps to mock things up full scale, or see your ideas in multiple ways. We’ve written about this before here – to help you along here are a few more strategies that have worked for us:

Backsplash Mock Up

Draw on Your Walls:

You have our permission. Take a piece of chalk and a damp rag and draw your ideas full scale onto your walls. Erase them with the rag. *You may want to test this first so you can guarantee the chalk is coming off completely. Be sure to include any trim, knobs, switches, outlets, curtains, door swings, etc. This really helps to reveal any potential difficulties with your design, for example: in the above photo I have to decide how high to make the back-splash in relation to the window sill and the window division; should the tile end just short of the orange wall or go to the corner and how will the top trim piece terminate? And this is just one corner of the kitchen… Continue reading

Visualize Your Idea: Build a Quick Model

Here’s a tip: If you have a design idea floating around in your head – a new deck, staircase, fence, arbor, etc… build a quick model from cardboard or balsa wood. You don’t have worry about being too precise or neat – it just helps to see your idea in 3-D so you can see it from various angles.

Below are a couple of prototypes we’ve made – as you can see we weren’t too worried about fine craftsmanship, but it gave us an excellent idea of how things would work together and what modifications to make to the final plan. Continue reading

Tigerwood Deck Finish

This post has been updated 9.03.14, see final paragraph.

We learned something useful this week about finishes for tropical hardwood decks.

The typical deck finish is made to absorb into wood, but when used on a really hard tropical wood, like Tigerwood, (not to be confused with Tiger Woods), it just sits on top of the surface and eventually looks bad.

Like this:

TigerwoodDeckFinish_bad

We visited Daly’s, our local expert on wood finishes, and were recommended to use their product, Ship ‘n Shore, an oil-based waterproofing sealer. Continue reading

Chair Update or Bun Feet Be Gone

BunFeet_Before

Ugly bun feet. Why??? And why have I put up with them for SO long?

This is a short story about a chair we bought about 20 years ago that has always had some “bun-ugly” feet. Not only are they bun-shaped, but they are fabric-covered bun-shaped. I’ve always meant to replace them with square wooden feet, I even bought some years ago, but they’ve sat in the closet ever since. The chair is dated/worn and in an ideal world, we’d get a new one. But since this isn’t an ideal world, we will make do with a face/foot lift.

I bought the new feet (brown, but I spray painted them black) at a fabric/upholstery store, but you can also buy them online. The ones I got have a little threaded rod that is made to screw into a hole in the bottom of the chair frame. I twisted the existing feet off (with a little persuasion). The remaining hole was larger in diameter than the threaded rod of the new foot, so I cut a dowel into 3 inch lengths and pounded one into each hole. It was a tight fit so I didn’t use glue. Then I drilled the appropriate size hole into the dowel and screwed the new foot into the hole. The most fascinating aspect of this whole project was what fell out of the chair when I turned it up-side-down – a remote control, hair clips, candy wrappers, a very small pink plastic bear, fingernail clippers, a magnetic refrigerator letter Y, a chain, pens & pencils (pictured), and lots of crumbs (not pictured). Yuck!

Feet_After

New feet on an old upholstered chair!

Yay! No more bun feet! It was so easy, why did I wait so long?!
p.s. If I have offended anyone who really likes their bun feet, I apologize.

If you liked this post, you may also like:

Pillows

pillows_final5_hlag

Monica had quite a few yards of beautiful, roughly woven, natural, cotton fabric which she inherited from her seamstress/weaver great-aunt. She kept this in her basement waiting for inspiration to strike.

In an unrelated post a while back, we wrote about some cool brass stencils we found at Earthwise. They were originally from an old granary in eastern Washington. Monica talked about waiting for inspiration to strike before doing something with them.

pillows_stencils_fabric_hlag

Inspiration did indeed strike Monica, genius that she is, and she put the two together and came up with the idea of making stenciled pillow shams. Continue reading