DIY Shower Cleaner

I am slightly embarrassed to write this post today.  I am including pictures of my dirty shower and if that’s not being transparent, I don’t know what is!  We have hard water, so it doesn’t take long for our shower walls to develop a white film covering them.  Cleaning a shower is something that feels like a major chore, so I’m sure I don’t do it as often as I should.  However, a few years ago I heard about a great DIY shower cleaner that works great and really isn’t terrible to clean with.

The mixture is simple:

1. Pour 1/2 Cup* Distilled White Vinegar into a measuring cup and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

 

 

 

 

 

2. Pour the vinegar into a spray bottle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Add 1/2 cup* of Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap into the spray bottle.  My spray bottle has measurement marks on the side of the bottle that I use to help measure, but you can estimate if yours does not.

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Spray the shower walls, floors and hardware.  Allow to soak for at least 10 minutes and up to a day.

 

 

 

 

 

5.  Using a sponge and some hot water, wipe down the walls and floor.  I like to use a sponge with a handle and fill it with water.

 

 

 

 

 

6.  Rinse.  The easiest way I have found to do this step is when I am in the shower.  I just bring a big cup into the shower with me and make sure the walls are rinsed well.  (No pictures of this step will be given for obvious reasons.  You’re welcome.)

*The measurements really don’t matter as long as they are equal parts vinegar and Blue Dawn dish soap.  1/2 cup of each usually gives me plenty for two showers.

Ta Da!  A sparkling clean shower!

 

 

 

 

 

The easiest way I have found to keep it clean is to have a Microfiber Cleaning Clothh by the shower that I use to wipe down the walls when I am finished.  Other ideas are to use a squeegee or a shower spray.  I have tried a homemade version of a shower spray, but I didn’t love it.  I’ll keep searching for one and share it when I find a good one.

Don’t judge me on how gross my shower can get!  I’m hoping that I’m not the only one out there with hard water and difficult to clean shower walls.

A freshly cleaned shower makes me nice and happy!

Painting a Bathroom Vanity

We had a leak in our upstairs bathroom, which meant that we had to cut a hole in the ceiling in our basement bathroom in order to find the leak upstairs.  And since we already had a hole in the ceiling we decided to go ahead and rip the cheap plastic shower walls off, tear the bathtub out, and remodel it all.

Sounds like the If you Give a Mouse a Cookie books, huh?? If you tear a hole in the ceiling, your going to rip the shower apart, if you tear the walls out, you might as well take out the tub, when you take out the tub you will need to replace it, after you replace the tub you will need to tile the walls, after you tile the walls you might as well tile the floors.  Now that you have nice new floors you will need a new toilet and you might as well redo the vanity.

This is our life right now, so get ready for a lot of bathroom DIY tutorials.  After tearing out the shower, we decided to paint the vanity next before we redo the floors.

My sister recently bought a house and has remodeled everything in it.  She painted her kitchen cabinets using regular latex paint in this pretty shade of gray.  So I borrowed her can of paint and quickly gave my bathroom vanity a make-over.

Here is the before

 

 

 

 

 

We first used KILZ as a primer to help the paint hold better.  We don’t often prime before painting, but on cabinets made from something other than real wood, we decided it would be a good idea.  We did not even take the drawers out or the door off, but I did later remove the door to do the paint.  We just removed the knobs and painted it without any other prep.  And as you can see we did not worry about covering it well, just one coat was enough.

 

 

 

 

We let that dry really good then it was time for the paint.  We used Easy Care brand.  The color is Bachelor Pad and the finish was satin.  We used a regular bristle brush and painted following the grain.  It took two coats to cover it well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was really a quick project that made a big difference.  The latex paint covered well and I think the knobs will help it last and hold up just fine.  Sometimes we think painting cabinets has to be a big project and a high expense, but in a bathroom it can be much more simple that we might think.

A quick and easy make over with a big difference makes me nice and happy!

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Dresser Makeover

I’ve mentioned my crafty sister before and I’m sure I will again and again.  She is seriously so creative and talented.  She recently bought a new house and now is gutting and remodeling it.  I can’t wait to see how it turns out!  I have asked her to take several pictures so I can add decorating ideas on this blog.  She recently refinished a dresser using Annie Sloan chalk paint and was kind enough to write a quick tutorial on how she did it.

Enjoy the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint tutorial:

Today, I want to share a tutorial on how to paint a dresser with minimal prep for maximum results.  I started with this dresser, this thing is HEAVY!! It came with two matching mirrors, which I chose not to keep.  The idea I had was to use this as my TV entertainment center.

I started by cleaning it well with TSP cleaner.  This stuff is great for cleaning grime off stuff.  It is a powder mixed with hot water.  I just wiped it down really well.

Then I took an Orbit Sander and went over the top and sides well.  The top had some damage so I sanded those areas really well.  Because I was using the Annie Sloan paint, no prep is required, but wanted a smooth surface to begin with.

 

 

 

 

 

After sanding I wiped the dust off really really well.  Then I just went for it.  I did not use an Annie Sloan paint brush, just a regular bristle brush.  I was surprised how easy it went on and how well it covered, but I decided to do another coat on the top.  It was a little tricky, because this paint drys fast, so I needed to work quickly to make a nice and smooth finish.

I loved how the details popped out after painting it!!

I let it dry overnight.  It was a little rough to the touch.  Not rough like sand paper, but just not a slick smooth finish.  Which I know is part of the chalk paint.  It has no sheen so it is not as slick.  After spending all of this time on the dresser, I did not want it to chip or scratch.  I used some clear Annie Sloan wax to put a good protective coat on top.  Immediately after applying this, I did not really like how it felt.  It still was not smooth and felt it would scratch too easily.  I decided to be patient and allow the wax to really cure….to my pleasant surprise as it cured, it began to really smooth out.  It is not as smooth as a newly varnished table top, but felt good.

I did not hate the hardware and mostly did not want to buy new hardware, so I decided to spray paint the original hardware white.

 

 

 

 

 

I took off the fabric that was behind the doors and painted the wire mesh white.  There were drawers inside the door area, but I took those out and will re-purpose with another project.  I now have shelves that will hold my DVD player, etc.

I love how it turned out!  This was my first experience of using Annie Sloan paint and I was very happy with it!!  I still have at least a half a pint left so I will be using it for another project.

Afterthoughts:

(In the picture, it looks like the dresser is white with white handles, but the dresser is actually gray.  Once her house is finished and this dresser is put in her house I will update with a better finished product picture.)

I love how this turned out for my sister and I can’t wait to see it set up and being used!  I have a dresser in my living room that has been passed around in my family for several years and seeing my sister’s dresser makeover has given me the motivation to redo this dresser.  So hopefully, more dresser makeovers are to come!

Beautiful and simple DIY makeovers make me nice and happy!

Easy DIY felt flowers

My sister is the crafty one in our family.  She is seriously amazing with the things she can sew, decorate, DIY, and create.  In her guest room and guest bathroom she had these wild-colored picture frames on the wall and accent pillows against white walls and a white bedspread.  Then for an added pop of color she made these felt flowers in bright colors and used those with the frames and on the accent pillows.  She also glued them onto the shower curtain in her guest bathroom.  It was such a simple thing to add color and personality to the rooms.  We have found several other uses for these felt flowers since: little girl hair bows, holiday decorations, and other decor around the house.  I used them in this St. Patrick’s Day decoration I made and by using scrapbook paper my sister made this cute flower vase for my bathroom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To begin you will need to cut a square from the material you are using (felt, fabric, paper, etc.).  The size of the square depends on how large you want your flower.

 

 

 

 

 

Now you will cut a spiral out of the square.  Just start at the edge and slowly twist it around until you get to the center of the spiral.

 

 

 

 

 

Now cut off the corners of the square.

 

 

 

 

 

This is where you can get creative: you can take the center of the spiral and start rolling it either backwards or forwards. You can play with this to see which way you like the flower.  If you roll it backwards (opposite as the spiral) the center of the flower usually ends up a bit sunken down like the yellow flower I did here.  If you roll it forward (same direction as the spiral ) then the center seems a bit higher.

OR you can start rolling it with the end of the felt instead of the center.  The green and white flowers above were rolled this way. You will still glue the petals together every few rolls and tuck the end (which is now the center of the spiral) on the bottom of the flower and glue it down.  The shape of these flowers is just a bit different than if you start rolling from the center.  Try all the different ways and see which one you prefer.

 

 

 

 

 

Put a small dot of glue to hold the center in place as you start twisting it.  Now, just keep twisting it around using a small dot of glue every few times around.

 

 

 

 

 

Once you get to the end you will tuck the last little bit on the bottom of the flower and glue the edge down.

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it!  Now you can begin gluing these cute flowers all over your house 😉

Fun Fact:  Did you notice my crooked pinky in that last photo??   My grandpa had weird pinkies, my mom’s are super short with big joints, mine are crooked and so are two of my four kids!

Simple DIY Valentine’s Day Decoration

Since we live in a new house this year, I have noticed that I need a few more holiday decorations.  In my old house I mostly decorated on a small console table by my front door, but in this house I have a spot upstairs and downstairs that I would like to decorate for the holidays.  I was lacking in the Valentine’s Day decor, so I made this real quick using a scrap piece of 2×6 from my balance beam project.

You could use any type of wood and any size that you have lying around.  Paint it the base color of your choice.  I chose gray.

Use a pencil to freehand draw the hearts, or if you want them perfectly symmetrical you could trace a cookie cutter or print and cut a heart to trace.

 

Using something straight like a ruler or book, add the lines to connect the hearts and to make the tail and point end of the arrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I traced my lines with a paint pen next because I was planning on painting the hearts and arrow white, but then decided to use teal.  I would recommend that you first paint it the color of your choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the paint is good and dry, then you can outline everything with a paint pen.

You can be finished right here, or if you would like to distress it this would be the time to sand it down.  It was fast and easy to use this little hand sander, but you can always use a sanding block or some sand paper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wha La!  Done!  I also thought that I could maybe make another holiday sign on the back of this board so it can serve double duty.  I’ll be working on that idea…

Completing a simple craft in the middle of the day made me feel nice and happy.

DIY Balance Beam

This post may contain affiliate links to some of my favorite items.

My daughter is a gymnast.  She seems to have a passion for gymnastics and it basically is the only thing she wants to do all day long.  Last year for Christmas Santa brought her a Jr. Kip Bar and she LOVES it!  Surprisingly, so do my three boys.  Her birthday is just a few days after Christmas and my dad and I built a balance beam for her using a design that we modified from this blog.  At the time, we were living in a small town without a gymnastics gym, so we drove her an hour to attend a tumbling gym once a week.  That town did not offer gymnastics, only tumbling (I had no idea there was a difference until we got into it, but in tumbling they do not do beam, vault, or bars.)  She loved her gym and loved tumbling, but she still wanted to try out the other apparatuses. So when she got the beam and the bar last year, she was thrilled!  She watched YouTube videos to learn how to do skills and she actually got pretty good at those skills considering she didn’t have a coach.  Fast forward a year, and we now live in a bigger town that has a gymnastics facility.  She started gymnastics in September and in her first meet in October she won first place (granted, it was only against the other girls in her gym).  Even though she had only been coached on the beam and bars for two months, she picked everything up so fast because she had been practicing at home.

 

 

 

 

 

Having a bar and a beam does take up a lot of space, but we have luckily always been able to find the space and make it work.   The design we use for our beam is nice because the legs are easily removed so it makes it easy to store. Our basement now includes an 8 foot beam, a bar, a treadmill, and an arcade basketball hoop! It’s gotten a little out of hand…

This year around Christmas I wanted to make some extra money and I had the idea to build balance beams and sell them.  We have loved having ours  and it has held up and is in excellent condition after a year, so I felt like the model we used was a good one and that other people would like it too.  I posted some pictures on Facebook and sold 5 beams.  I charged $85, which is a steal when compared with similar beams online and asked for half the money upfront so they were committed and that helped pay for supplies.  I made one extra beam and this time took pictures (although I missed a couple steps) so that I can record a tutorial.  So here it is… a DIY balance beam!

Supplies:

3-2x4x8 pine boards

1-2x6x8 pine boards

2-2x4x7.5″ pine board (I just had scraps of 2×4 that worked for this and I’m sure that if you as the lumber yard they would just give you two 7-8″ scraps)

1- 4 1/2″ x 8′ board (this can be any variety of board.  I have used plywood and also a type of snap together plank and I just cut the tongue in grove part off. I was always able to get this for free by rummaging through their scrap wood.  You just don’t want it much thicker than an inch and remember that if it’s too wide you can use your skill saw to cut it to 4.5″)

 

 

 

 

 

wood glue

2 1/2″ screws

1-package of 4 Corner Braces

Carpet padding or a yoga mat

2 1/2 yards of Suede upholstery fabric.  I bought mine at Joann’s when it was half off.  I have used both the thinner suede and the upholstery suede and I highly recommend using the upholstery/thicker material.  I wanted to try thisfrom Amazon, but the shipping was going to take longer than I wanted to wait.

Tools:

skil saw

Drill (I have a cheaper Black and Decker drill and it worked ok, but for part of the beams I borrowed my dad’s drill like this and it was AMAZING!)

Staple gun (I bought this tool especially for this project and it was absolutely worth the money! I love this little gun!

extra staples (I only used 5/16 sized staples and it worked fine, but I did wish I had bigger ones when I stapled the carpet padding on, so a variety pack like this would be nice.)

Clamp (I used just 2 clamps, but if you have more you can use them.)

Carpenter Square

2 Saw horse (This one is not absolutely necessary, but I found it extremely helpful.

Building the Beam

The number one thing I learned is to make sure the wood you buy is straight!! There were several times that I had to return to the lumber yard to exchange wood that at first looked straight, but I later realized it was not.

The second thing I learned is to make sure you put the beam together using a flat surface. Saw horses worked best for me, but you could also use two Rubbermaid tubs that are the same size or two chairs, or whatever else you have around your house that would be sturdy and equal in height.

Your first cut will be on one of the 2×4’s to cut two different 12″ pieces.  The 12″ pieces are for the legs, and the remaining 6′ 2×4 is the middle board on your beam.  Make sure you use your carpenter square to mark your cutting line and try to cut as straight as possible with the skil saw.

Lay the 6′ piece on top of one of the 8′ pieces right in the middle. Measure each end to make sure there is about a foot on each side of the 6′ piece.  Draw a line on the 8′ board to mark where the 6′ board goes to be centered.  Then take your 12″ leg and put it perpendicular (make a T with the leg and the longer boards) to the 6′ board and mark where that leg ends but make that line generous so that the leg will slide into that gap easily.  Now measure the remaining wood you have from the mark from the leg to the end of the 8′ board.  Mine were usually 7 1/4 or so.  Cut your scrap 2×4 that you either dug out from your own scrap wood pile or got from the scraps at the lumber yard to the measurement from the end of the leg to the end of the beam. (I’m sorry, I didn’t start taking pictures until I already had the boards put together, so hopefully the pictures I do have can help explain this process)

Now you have one 8′ board laying flat and the 6′ board centered on that and gaps for the leg holes (once you mark on the 8′ board where the leg goes you can remove it) and the two 7″ end pieces in their place.  Now you can add the other 8′ board on top of middle pieces and clamp them all together. and turn them on their 2″ side.  Now  check to make sure there are not major gaps between the boards and that at least one side where the three boards meet is flush.  I usually propped them up on the saw horses and used a level to see how flush one side is.  This is where you find out if you have straight boards or not.  Do not move forward until you have a mostly flush side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that you have a flush side you can turn the boards back onto their 4″ side and remove the clamps.  Carefully remove the top 2x4x8 and set it one one side of the beam.  Then move the middle 2×4 pieces on top of that board.  You should have all the places for the 6′ board and the two 7″ pieces marked so that you will know where to put them back.

Squeeze wood glue onto the 8′ board in the places that you will add the middle boards.  Do NOT add glue in the gaps for the leg.  Place the three middle boards back into their places on top of the glue.  Note:  if you only have two clamps you will have to do the 6′ middle board  and then the two end pieces separately so that you can clamp them down good.

Once they are clamped,  turn the board over so that they 8′ board is now on top.  This will be the outside edge of your beam, so this is where you will screw the boards together.  Use the 2 1/2″ screws and screw the boards together.  I alternated mine high and low on the 2×4 and spaced them about every 4-5″. Screw together the 6′ middle board and the two end boards in the same way.  DO NOT screw them in from the middle pieces, it must be done on the outside board.

Have the beam with the middle side facing up and place your last 8′ board on top and again, just double check with your hand that one side will be flush.  Then remove that board, add glue to the middle pieces and place the 8′ board on top and clamp it down.  Note: always check that the boards are still flush after you clamp it.  Sometimes you need to adjust it.  Once you have it good and level then screw it together on the 8′ side repeating the same method and spacing.

The beam portion is almost finished!  Now you just need to add a board to the top so it is level and smooth!

Once you have cut your top piece to 8’x4.5″ (remember the thickness of this piece can vary, but not larger than 1″) you are ready to add it to the beam.  Stand your beam up on the 2″ side of the 2×4’s. Place the top piece on top of it and check to make sure it is cut to the correct size and use a level to make sure it is mostly level down the length of the beam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After it meets your approval, remove the top piece, add wood glue and then replace it onto the beam.  Now you can screw the top piece into the 2×4’s.  It is OK to have screws on top of the beam. You will add enough padding that they won’t be noticed.  I did always screw them in until they sunk below the wood though, just to help it feel smooth.

Ta Da! The beam part is finished!

Building the Legs

Start by cutting the 2″x6″x8′ board into 2′ sections.  If you are only making one beam then you will only need 2- 2′ pieces.

Now you should have the 2-2″x4″x12″ legs from your first cut and the 2-2″x6″x2′ base pieces.  Start by drawing a line down the center of the 2×6 at the 1′ mark.  Use your carpenter’s square to draw a straight line down on both sides of this board.  Also, using your square mark 1″ in from the end of the board on your line  This will let you know where the leg is going to stand so that it is centered on the 2×6.

Place the leg in the center of the 2×6 where you marked it and turn it over so it is standing like a T.  Using the line on the 2×6 that shows you the center of the board, screw the leg onto the base.  This step is easiest with two people just to help make sure the leg does not twist while you are screwing on the base.  Turn it over and it should look like an upside down T.  Repeat this for the other leg.

 

 

 

Screw the corner brackets onto the leg and base to help support the legs and make it sturdy.  I did one bracket on each side of the leg on opposite ends (if you are looking at the 4″ part of the leg, I have a bracket on the left side.  Then if you turn the leg around to look at the other 4″ part of the leg I have that bracket also on the left side, which make them support each side.) Repeat with the other leg.

(Can you tell that the bracket on the left is close to us and the bracket on the right is further away?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to paint your legs this is a good time to do that.  Just mark where the leg slides into the beam and don’t paint that part.  I found out the hard way that it make the beam very squeaky when the paint from the leg rubs on the beam.  But if you want to paint the part of the leg that shows, I think it makes it look nice.  I just painted right over the corner brackets, but don’t worry about painting the base.  That part will be covered.

Your legs are now built!

Now for the big test…

Put the legs into the holes of the beam.  The easiest way to do this is to turn the beam upside down on the floor or saw horses and insert the legs. If your leg gap is small, it will take a lot of muscle and possibly a bar of soap rubbed on the leg to get it to go in. Then turn the beam over and stand it up on it’s legs.  You may need to stand on the beam to push the legs on all the way.  And test it out!  Walk on it, wiggle it, and jump on it. If it is not sturdy at this point do not move forward!  You may need to do some problem solving on what is making it wobbly.  This is when I have discovered that I didn’t use straight boards and I’ve had to take it apart and start over (I did actually have to do this once, only it was after I had the padding and material on it!  So I (or I should say, my wonderful husband) took out a gazillion staples and chiseled the 2×4’s apart and we discovered how twisted the boards were.  We literally started over.  So make sure it is stable and good at this point!  I’ve noticed at this point that it was wobbly and finally discovered the 2×6 bases I used were slightly warped, so I had to get different 2×6’s and redo that part.  Again, use straight wood!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adding the Padding 

The beam that I made my daughter last year has a yoga mat as padding and it works very well.  However, it was not a good business plan to buy a yoga mat for every beam I built, so I then discovered carpet padding and it has been awesome!  A friend of mine had just replaced her carpet, so I asked to buy her old carpet padding for $15 and it will be enough to make several beams!

Cut the padding into

1- 107″x12″ long piece for to cover the beam.  It is OK if you need to do this in smaller sections if you don’t have a piece that is 107″.

2- 14″x8″ pieces for the legs.  You will need to then find the center of this piece and cut out a 2″x4″ hole to slide the leg through.

This is where you get to use your fun new staple gun!  If you bought the variety pack of staples, I would recommend a larger staple than 5/16, but I used 5/16 and it was good enough. I just had to work hard to make sure they stayed in.

For the beam: lay the beam (without legs) on the floor and lay the carpet padding on top.  I did it with the mesh netting facing up.  And just start folding over the padding on each side of the beam and staple it on the side, never on top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the end pieces I had the padding extend past the end and cut the corners out of each side so it left a flap to fold down and cover the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you are finished stapling the whole thing you can turn it over and cut off any extra padding that might be hanging down past the side of the beam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the legs:  Put the padding over the legs and start stapling the padding to the side of the base.  I always started in the center right by the leg and I alternated which sides so that one side did not pull the other side too short. I cut the corners for the end flaps just like I did to cover the beam.

 

 

 

 

Covering everything with material

Lay out your 1 1/2 yard piece of fabric on the floor and cut it into 2-54ish”x17″ pieces.  These will be sewn together to cover the beam.  To sew them, put the two “good sides” together and pin it.  I just used a straight stitch on my sewing machine, but I did two lines close together just to back it up.

For the legs, cut the remaining material (after cutting the two 17″ pieces) in half.  Just fold it over and cut it in half.  It should be roughly 14.5″x8.5″  Then you will need to find the center of the material and draw and cut a hole for the 2×4 leg, just like you did for the padding.  I found it easiest to make a template out of paper and use that to draw my rectangle that needed cut out. Instead of cutting out the rectangle I just cut a slit from the center of that rectangle to each of the four corners.

 

 

 

 

 

To cover the legs, I slid the material over the leg and then folded the flaps inside.  I found it easiest to hold the leg upside down on my lap and pulled the fabric tight and started stapling it.  For the ends, it really just takes some playing with the corners to figure out how to fold them and get them to lay nicely.  I usually did it similar to wrapping a present. I like to fold the edges of the material down, just to prevent it from fraying.

 

 

 

 

 


To cover the beam, I laid the material good side down on the floor and then laid the beam upside down in the center of the material.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is very important to pull the material tight throughout this process to prevent wrinkles. Also, make sure that the seam where you sewed the two pieces together is laying flat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can either start stapling on one end or you can start in the middle by the seam and work your way back and forth down the beam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found that for these ends, it was easier to work with if I cut the corners off of the material just so there wasn’t as much bulk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once I got my corners looking good I folded over the material nice and tight and stapled it down good.  Again, all along the beam, I folded the edges of the material over before I stapled it so that strings would not hang down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now assemble your beam and let the fun begin!  Whew!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know it sounds like a lot of work and fairly complicated, but it really wasn’t.  The beam was usually built in a couple hours (If I was lucky to have minimal distractions) and once the padding and material are cut and sewn together, covering the beam really goes fast too.  Two hours tops for covering it with padding and material.

I would love to know if you give this a try and how it goes!

This has made my kids nice and happy and me too (as long as my boards were straight!).