Tuesday, June 27, 2017

DIY Staircase Renovation {Gel Stain and Iron}

Our stairway remodel is finally done! Thank goodness! This project that started as a Mother’s Day weekend endeavor took us about 3 weekends and some days to complete. The process was grueling and met with some challenges, however I am ecstatic with the results. The foyer is going to be completely different once we have new hardwoods in the darker palette to match the handrails.  

To start, our friends completed this project successfully and were able to lend some tips…until we found out that our balusters were screwed in from the bottom, which was a HUGE complication that we couldn’t find any guidance on in our YouTube video or blog searches. So, unfortunately the only solution we found was to remove the entire stair sections to unscrew the wooden balusters from the bottom. To do this Willie used a variety of methods (saw, hammering a wedge in-between, nail cutters, etc.) but these little suckers were glued and had finishing nails in them, so this was a huge time sink. The one large piece took him, his dad, and me almost 3 hours to remove! However, if you are lucky like most of the bloggers and DIY videos, your balusters should be “peg-like” in the bottom and just be able to saw through and turn the top and bottom piece out of there holes. This also eliminates and issue of losing levelness, angle of stairway, oh and just the minor detail of securing these babies back on! I won’t get too much in the detail of removing and re-attaching because I pray you won’t have this issue and honestly it’s complete trail-and-error and patience to get these on and off.

How to Replace Wooden with Iron Balusters:

  1.  Remove wooden baluster (saw through and wiggle pieces out, or unscrew from bottom)
  2. Create hole for new iron baluster (if pegged it may fit already, but for us since there was no hole we used a 5/8″ spade bit to create a hole) – we also could only do a few out a time to ensure we didn’t lose the levelness of the top part, so this delayed the project again.
  3. Measure iron baluster (use an one wooden one for rough guidance making a pencil mark where to cut, then you can measure down – remember to get this all the way up in the top hole before thinking it’s too long – we learned that hard way)
  4. Cut iron baluster to length (we used our miter saw and a metal blade – also wear goggles and gloves)
  5. Once baluster fits snuggly in the two holes, you are ready to secure. But first, add the shoes. We used tape to hold it up because I had to stain later, but this is not necessary if you are just doing the balusters. Also, you can do a shoe at the top if desired as well.
  6. Then secure top and bottom with epoxy glue. If you get any on the iron, you will want to wipe it off because it will show.
  7. Let dry 24 hours and you can go back and secure the shoes with clear epoxy if needed.
  8. We alternated the double twist baluster and the single basket baluster. Flat baluster shoe and angled baluster shoe.

 Gel Stain:

I used the General Finishes Java Gel Stain like many bloggers recommended. This product does work well if you don’t want to sand much, but if I had thought about more AND because we ended up having to remove everything, I would have sanded and used a traditional stain for a more lasting wood grain textured look. The General Finishes paint required 3-4 coats so it is super dark, which once I get darker hardwoods probably won’t be as noticeable but right now it’s a little drastic. The top coat also requires sanding in-between, which honestly I did not do, so I will have to see how the wear is without sanding in-between the 3 coats of topcoat I did. After staining and topcoat, we had to touch up our baseboards from getting the staircases removed and re-chalk.

So what do you think?!?! Here are some good before and afters!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer Budget Finds {under $50}

Happy first day of summer!

This summer is going to be jam-packed with events and as exhausted we are going to be, I cannot wait to share some incredible memories with friends and family. So to start off my summer I’ve created a list of my summer budget finds under $50 because even as a fru-GAL (see what I did there haha) everyone need a fabulous wardrobe and beauty essesetials for summer fun!

Summer Accessories

Accessories are EVERYTHING for summer. It’s the perfect time to rock fun earrings, colorful big bags, fabulous sandals, and funky sungalsses.

Summer Closet Essentials

I think my summer motto will be “Yoga + Iced Coffee”, so of course a fun tee needed to be included on my list! And I’m loving the deep plunge white swimsuit…can we say HOT?!? I’m super easy for summer as shorts aren’t my thing, so my go-to look is a t-shirt and yoga pants or long flowy dresses.

Summer Makeup Favorites

My summer skincare routine is simple and I try to use the best products for makeup routine. If you have not heard of or used Tarte Cosmetics, they are absolutely amazing. I wear their BB Cream and Clay Finishing Powder every day and it’s the perfect amount of coverage but lightweight and keeps my skin healthy. Their bronzer and self-tanner are perfect to get a fabulous glow without the harmful efffects of the sun. Every product I’ve used from them has exceeded expectations, so I hope you give them a try!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

My Healthy Summer Skin Regimen

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreshSummerSkin #CollectiveBias

Summer activities are in full swing! Last Friday Willie and I took off to celebrate our 4 year wedding anniversary and set out on a full day of outdoor adventure. Since I knew we were going to be outside most of the day, I started my day with some of my favorite Neutrogena® products that I’ve incorporated in my healthy summer skincare routine. Starting with their refreshing Neutrogena® 6.7OZ Pink Grapefruit Scrub and then using Neutrogena® 2.5OZ Oil-Free Mist SPF35 as my protective base for my makeup routine which I keep super light to not suffocate my pores and allow for some sweating with little makeup runs. Just a little SPF, mascara, and lipstick is all you need for an easy natural summer makeup look. It’s perfect for a busy mom like me!

My 5 fresh summer skin tips are:

  1. Cleanse
  2. Exfoliate
  3. Moisturize
  4. Protect (SPF, big summer hat, sunglasses)
  5. Hydrate (I love lemon water during the hot summer months)

After our picnic was packed, we were off! First stop was a lavender farm where we strolled the beautiful aisles of lavender and enjoyed the wonderful aroma. She also met some adorable bunnies that ate some pulled clover from her.

Then, we headed to a pick-your-own strawberry farm where Hartley soon became the best strawberry spotter and would say “Momma don’t do it, I pick it” and “no green ones, only red”. We did let her sneak a in a few along the way, but by the end of 30 minutes, she proudly carried her full bucket back to the farm to pay for them. Then we sat to enjoy the beautiful farm scenery and eat our delicious strawberries and picnic. Oh and we tried sharing a little lunch with the farm goats (they didn’t like gummi bears, Hartley learned..hehe).

Our final stop was a winery. Since it was only 4pm we almost had the entire place to oursleves. It was perfect. We let Hartley play in the outdoor area while we enjoyed a glass of wine watching the horses and enjoying the fabulous pond. The horse LOVED my wine as well!

At the end of our exciting day, using Neutrogena® 5.5OZ Makeup Remover Oil-Free Eye, washing and mostorizing my face, and getting settled into pajamas with a nice glass of wine was the perfect end to our beautiful family celebration day. Being able to grab items at my favoriate Target made incorporting these products into my summer skincare regiment easy as pie! Right now, Target is offering a $5 GiftCard with the purchase of 3 Neutrogena skin care products. Offer valid in-store and online Target offer 5/21 – 6/10 & 6/25 – 7/1. Happy summer skin!

Monday, June 5, 2017

DIY Faux Brick Wall Tutorial

One of my good friends, Nicole, has been talking about doing this faux brick wall forever and it’s finally done!! If you remember my post from Kathy with Our Amore Blog a few weeks ago, this is her fabulous niece she was referring to who introduced us. Nicole is such a planner and tested all sorts of methods of distressing this brick before she dove on in, and all the trial and error paid off because it’s looks awesome.

Supplies:

  • Faux Brick Panels (Nicole bought hers at Home Depot and had them cut to her measurements) – about $25 per panel
  • Nail Gun and nails
  • Dremel or sharp exacto-knife for cutting holes for outlets
  • Spackle (brand below – She used almost 4 of these canisters, so may be cheaper buying a bigger once depending on your wall size)
  • Putty Knife
  • Painters Tape to protect walls
  • Sandpaper

Installation:

  1. Measure your walls and get the precise cuts you need for your wall
  2. Plan how pattern will line up
  3. Cut panels (Home Depot will do this for you if you have your measurements, highly recommended since this stuff is hard to cut straight and is a HUGE time saver)
  4. Use a razor or dremal to cut holes for outlets
  5. Use nail gun once positioned to secure to wall * Tip – Work in at least a pair to help position and secure to wall. The panels are a little ackward and can shift easily in the installation process. Working alone will be frustrating and a huge time sink.

White “German Smear” Technique:

  1. Scoop the spackle on to the end of the spreading knife
  2. Smear the spackle on to the wall (how thick or thin you leave it is up to you)
  3. After you have done a small section, using your finger, smear out some of the excess spackle from the “grout” of the brick
  4. Continue this process until your wall is covered
  5. As the spackle begins to dry, wet your fingers to and lightly trace the “grout”.  We found that this helped smooth it out. *Tip- If possible, work in a pair like Nicole in her mom did. One person smears large amounts with putty knife while other person comes in behind to add/smear with wet fingertips. It dries fast so it will lessen the amount of time of alternating bewteen fingers and putty knife.
  6. Let the wall completely dry
  7. After the wall is dry, you can use your sandpaper to distress it (how much you sand off is personal preference)

Of course you can leave the brick color if you would like, but the white distressing is perfect for Nicole’s Tuscan vibe and all decor. It also makes this accent wall pop and help makes the room look bigger. She is looking for some accent pieces for the sides of the fireplace…any ideas?