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Wire Basket Mailbox

May 17, 2017

I don’t know about you guys, but I am so incredibly happy that wire baskets are becoming a HUGE trend.  Just the right amount of clean simplicity, with just enough rustic edge – I love it!  And you know what I don’t love?  The piles of mail that sit on my new island because I haven’t got around to sorting it yet (sigghhhh).  So I decided to tackle making a wire basket mailbox!  Because even if my mail isn’t more organized, I still get adult points for making it look pretty, right?

First of all, I am super lucky in the fact that my Grandpa’s farm has a great supply of old barn wood.  I had a piece already cut for another project, but it worked perfectly for this one instead.  And the two wire baskets, I ordered from Amazon.  Where else!  They actually were meant to hang over a cabinet door, but I rigged them up to hang on this board instead.

Photo 8

If you look realllllly close you can see where I marked my two hole with pins.  I put the basket where I wanted it and pushed the pins where I needed my little nails to go.

Here is a little closer picture.

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Next, I pounded little nails in where the pins were and bent them upwards with a pliers to create a little hook.  And my baskets hung right on there!

Photo 1-2 Photo 7

This project literally takes no time at all.  Just attach a wire to the back for hanging and you have a nice little mailbox!

 

 

Photo 4

 

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How to Safely Stain Butcher Block

April 25, 2017

 

Whether you like the lighter look of a butcher-block or a darker, stained look, there’s no question a butcher-block slab requires a little more TLC than other wood.

 

Because I’m a sucker for rich, dark-stained wood, I opted to stain the slab of butcher-block that tops my island.

 

There is a couple extra steps compared to staining trim or something like that – but it is still easy, I promise!

Here are a few before pictures!

Now, on to the fun stuff.

1.  Sand the surface.

Always sand with the grain of the wood. And as much as I love a good power tool, I would recommend sanding this by hand. I’ve found that power sanders leave little circular or side-to-side scratches that really show up on tabletops or counters!

**If your butcher block has been used (like mine was), this step is SO important. Sanding removes imperfections or stains that you may not see until you apply the stain – then its too late!

2.   Apply a wood conditioner. Make sure it has the same base as your stain – either water or oil. The conditioner I used was oil-based. Please don’t skip this step – it really helps your stain to absorb and have a nice, rich look.

I brushed this on and wiped off the excess.

Isn’t that difference just crazy? Please condition!

 

3.   Apply your choice of stain.

Everything in my house (from trim to dining table) was done in Minwax Dark Walnut, so that is what I stuck with. If you’re having trouble deciding on what color, I would check out Pinterest for some great side-by-side comparisons!

Try to apply the stain in long sections (with the butcher-blocks pattern). The streaks where the stain overlaps will be in the same direction as the wood then!

 

Wipe stain off immediately or after 5-10 minutes, depending on how dark you would like your color to be. Then let dry about 6 hours.

Voila!

4.  Finally, seal with a finishing oil and sealer that is specific to butcher blocks. The key here is to make sure that whatever you choose seals the stain and is safe to prepare food on!

I used Watco Butcher Block Oil and Finish.

There you have it – all done!

If you want to check out the DIY for the island that I put this slab on – stay tuned!

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How to Fake a Hardwood Floor – DIY!

March 11, 2017

If you’re like me, then you’ve probably spent hours pouring over Pinterest pictures of that PERFECT (yet inexpensive) farmhouse floor. And if you haven’t? Then you should. Now I know, I know. It definitely is not the most fun part of planning your farmhouse style. But it might be one of the most important! A good-looking floor leads to a good-looking room. Convinced? Okay good. Then let’s move on to the fun part!

 

I knew I wanted a dark, hardwood look to my kitchen/entry floor. But my cousin said it best,

“Your home either comes with a surprise hardwood floor, or you find something to fake it, because no one wants to install that by themselves!”

So true. And a real hardwood floor was not in my budget for this house!

So, naturally, I scoured Pinterest for weeks. My first thought was a DIY plywood floor, like you can find here and here. But because I was just trying to get my house move-in ready as quick as possible, I settled on some vinyl flooring from Menards. Well, not really settled, because I love it! And it is super durable, which is great in my heavily used entry and kitchen!

 

This was the entry before. Hello purple!

 

Okay, I’m going to be completely honest.  I had no idea what I was doing when I walked into Menards.  And the flooring section of that place is seriously overwhelming!  Cue Jack, the best, most helpful Menards worker I have ever met.  He pointed me away from the laminate flooring area, and into the vinyl planks.  Laminate is made of a pressed wood bottom layer, and a vinyl top layer for protection.  Since I was using it in my kitchen/entry, Jack said full vinyl would be more durable and wouldn’t warp like laminate if water happened to get between the cracks.   Sold!  And they were the same price, so win/win!

 

Here is where the personal preference comes in for all of you readers.  Obviously in color and style, but also in how these planks go together!  There are planks you can glue down, planks that click together, or planks that stick together to make a floating floor.  I really had no idea what would be easiest, but based on the flooring style that I liked; we ended up installing the “stick together” planks.  More on that in a bit!

 

Here were the final four styles for me:

(Ignore the bad quality, I was just sending pictures home for approval!)

I knew I wanted something with more of a knotty, real wood look.

In the end, I decided on the upper left (Congoleum Carefree Cottage Plank).  They come in 6″x 36″ planks that have peel-off adhesives on two sides.  One box is approximately $30 at Menards and covers 15 square feet.

The Installation:

Someone was not happy I made him help with installation. But it really only took us about two nights to do the whole entry way and kitchen floor!  Super fast and easy.

Quick installation tips: 

Make sure the floor is free of dirt and debris.  If that means plywood like mine was, good luck!

(Optional):  Lay a foam underlayment to protect subfloor from possible water damage.  We did this step, but did not tape the strips together like recommended!

Start from back right corner of the room.  The planks should run parallel to the long direction of the room, so try to pick a a corner based on that.  Here’s an excerpt from the Carefree instruction guide if my directions are confusing!  It makes more sense when you see the adhesive sides on the planks as well.

To cut the planks, use a sharp utility knife and a T-square.  Make one cut along the back of the plank and bend to break apart!

Lastly, stagger full length planks alongside partially-cut planks so that the seams where the planks meet end-to-end are not all together.  We cut the planks in half and kept a uniform look by staggering every other plank full-half-full-half.

And the finished product.  Looks like real wood, right? 😉

Feel free to add your own tips, tricks, or opinions in the comments! I would love to hear your personal flooring stories!

 

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