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How to Fix your Squeaky Stairs

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It's been awhile since I shared the everyday tips & tricks that I'm doing around my house, but I always enjoyed it, so I thought I'd start it back up.

Plus, you need to know about this. :) 

The master bedroom in our house is right next to the stairs. My daughters and I, particularly in the summer, are night owls. Nate, on the other-hand, is not. This is mostly due to the fact that he gets up around 4:30 am (I have no idea how he does this) to work out and then beat Nashville traffic into work. We love him & all that he does for us!!

Our stairs have always creaked, but recently they've gone to a whole new level making it impossible for anyone to go up or down the stairs without waking our hard-working, but very exhausted man. So the other night, I decided there had to be something we could do. 

Turns out there is. 

There's a brilliant little kit out there called the Squeeeek No More Floor Repair kit that I truly wish I had thought up myself. It's so smart. 

First, you have to find the floor joist, or in my case the saw-tooth looking board running under the stairs called the stringer (no, I didn't know that before this project!) that runs on both sides of the stairs and often the middle using the included joist finding tool. 

I found that mine was 18.5" from either edge, so I measured over on each step and aligned the included depth control tool.

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I then used my drill to screw in the specially scored screws with the customized driver bit. 

The depth control tool will case you to stop with the screw head about 1 inch out of the carpet. Never fear. This is on purpose. Just be careful if you're walking around with bare feet! 

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This is where the magic happens! 

The depth control tool has a notch that you will then slip over the head of the screw. 

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 Simply turn the tool to the side with a little bit of force, and . . . 

 . . . the screw SNAPS OFF JUST BELOW the surface of the wood floor! 

What??!?!?! I told you this was ingenious.  

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Crazy easy and because the screw breaks below the surface of the floor, nothing for you to step on or feel on your feet, doesn't mess up your carpet. . . . all-in-all, BRILLIANT. 

In our case, the stairs do still creak some. . . but my daughter literally just ran up the stairs as I'm typing this sentence and I only heard one small pop – which is a million times better than it was 3 days ago! – but I think that it due more to how our stairs were built than to the failure of this product. :) 

So, if you also have creaky stairs, or floor, quit thinking there's nothing you can do about it and go grab this kit. . . and some extra screws. You'll need them. ;) 

A Serendipitous Day!

Have you ever had one of those days where everything just seems to be miraculously, not just going your way, but jumping in your lap from out of nowhere to make it awesome?

If you follow me on Instagram (@loridanelle) you'll know I had one of those days a little over a week ago. It all started when my car broke down on the way to work. (I'm serious. My car broke down & it turned out awesome! I know!!) I was about 3 blocks away from dropping the girls off at their Nana's & was heading to work. All of a sudden, it just quit on me. But I was able to get it into a parking lot — and as I was only 3 blocks away from my Mother-in-law's house, I just grabbed all my stuff and walked back. No big deal.

I then texted a couple of co-workers to tell them what was going on, only to find out that due to a work truck hitting a telephone pole right outside our building, we couldn't get to work anyway because of live wires on the ground.

There was a bit of back & forth about how our work day would unfold, but in the end everyone who had managed to get to the building was sent home after being stuck there for a few hours. So, as my car had broken down, I managed to skip out on all of that.

Some other wonderfully random stuff happened as well, but what I'll just stick to what I really, really want to tell you about from here on out. As I was leaving my car I noticed a cute shop I hadn't seen before tucked behind one of the MANY Hair Worlds we have in Nashville. As Hair World is not a store that interests me, I never pay too much attention to the building. Over the door hung the coolest, most perfectly rusted over-sized letters/sign and I just knew I had to stop back in when I got things a little under control.

So later that afternoon I stopped back in. One of the very first things I saw were these amazing tables. Giant wood slab on top of locker bases. I secretly thought that one of those would be PERFECT in our "formal dining room" which we will never use as a formal dining room — because I don't really like to reserve a whole room for 1 or 2 dinners a year, and we're not exactly formal over here. But that's just us.

Instead we use that room as a shipping center/work space. And despite being functional, I really, really, really want to replace the small folding tables we currently have set up in there to help us as we decide what makes the most sense in how we should use that room.

(From experience, I highly recommend going cheap and testing a brand-new function for a room with what you have before you start spending money & buying real furniture or building stuff. I've purchased or built too many things that didn't end up working the way I thought they would!!! But I digress. . . )

Anyway, the tables. I don't think they were for sale, and I didn't bother looking for a price because I knew they would be WAY out of my range. So I accepted my table-less fate and moved on.

A few hours later, I was contemplating my blog post of the day and how I said I would still like more lockers for shoes. I decided to get on Craigslist and see if some of the lockers I had also been eyeing when I purchased mine were still available. I did a search for "lockers" and saw that the same lockers were still available (no, I'm not getting them), but below it I also saw a listing titled "school shop work table." Of course my interest was piqued, I clicked on it, and behold, this is what I was presented with this.

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IT'S THE SAME, EXACT STYLE OF TABLE AS I HAD SEEN IN THE SHOP EARLIER!!!!!?!?!? WHAT?????!!?

And the best part? It was listed for $100.
For real.

I IMMEDIATELY emailed the listing to Mr. Maker who was still at work and told him he had to go get it. Because he loves me so very much, he called and set up a time to meet with the guy. Meanwhile, I start obsessing a little and discover that to buy this table new, it costs around $3000. And this one was listed for $100! Plus, if you know me, you know that if the old table and the new table were side-by-side & each cost $3000, I'd still pick the old table, so this was just all around perfect. Plus Mr. Maker, master negotiator that he is, didn't pay $100 for the table. He paid $75. And that was after telling the guy he'd give him $80. Yeah. He's that good. So later that evening I welcomed home my new treasure.

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As it had previously been in a school's wood shop, it has wood vices on all for corners of the solid, laminated maple top.

And though it doesn't look that bad in these photos, unfortunately, at some point they had been poorly painted with a no-fun grey. So, my next job is to clean them up. I can't wait!!!

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So you see, even though my day started out with a broken-down car, none of the following would have happened if it hadn't happened. Plus, what was wrong with the car ended up being an easy fix, so no big deal there either!

Absolutely. Wonderfully.  Serendipitous.

DIY Lockers as DVD Storage

We went through a phase early in our marriage — before Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime — when we figured it was a better use of our money to purchase movies from the Blockbuster previously viewed section than to rent movies.

Often nearly the same price, and we could watch the movie more than one night. We were so brilliant and financially responsible. So now, even though we have gone through a few movie purging sessions, we still have A LOT of DVDs.

At least considering we've never really had a place to put them. In the practice house we kept them in these bins with lids on a shelf. It sort of worked. Except that to get a DVD out we had to figure out which bin the DVD we wanted was in, pull the bin out, get the DVD and then put the bin away. I'm sure you can already spot the biggest problem here. DVDs NEVER got put away. So we had stacks and stacks of them on the mantle below where our TV hung.

When we moved to the new house? The bins came with us, but they just sat on the floor in a stack below the TV. Also with stacks and stacks of DVD cases that never got put away. So, when I purchased my Lockers awhile ago, it seemed like a pretty great solution to my DVD problem. The DVDs can be HIDDEN, but yet EASILY VIEWABLE. Win! Win!

Using the existing shelf as a template for the measurements, Mr. Maker and I cut a bunch of shelves from some plywood we already had on hand, using a table saw.

Then, I used #10 1/2" screws & 1" L Brackets in the existing machine drilled holes for the shelves. This was actually a little time-consuming. Especially since I put the brackets in the first locker before realizing that, of course, the screws used on the interior wall for one locker were the same screws that needed to be used on the adjacent locker. Duh. So I had to take them out and add an L Bracket to the other side of the wall.

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Still working on decorating, etc. around them, but I did pick up a globe while on our trip to Bell Buckle especially for the top of the lockers. It makes me happy.

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I'm loving them! And sort of wishing I had another set to put in the front entryway by the door for shoes...

DIY Industrial Curtain Rods

So I'm assuming you noticed the AWESOME curtain rods we made for our lovely new curtains, right? If you're like me and don't really love traditional curtain hardware, this is a wonderful option!

And really easy! 
I like easy.
The most difficult part was finding someone at the home improvement store to cut the pipe for me! OK, even that was pretty easy.

For each curtain rod, you'll need

[2] 1/2" black iron floor flanges [2] 1/2" x 1" black steel nipples (longer if you'd like your rods further out from the wall. in the picture above we used 2.5", but have switched to 1") 
[2] 1/2" black iron elbows [1] 1/2" black steel pipe cut to your dimensions
Mineral Spirits
Rust-oleum Spray Paint in Hammered Metal

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At the home improvement store you'll find the steel pipe in various shorter lengths, but also in something like 10 foot lengths as well. They can cut all of the pipe and re-thread it to work with the fittings. This is especially good to note when doing more than one window. Much cheaper to have 1 10' pipe cut down into 3 sections than to use the almost-correct-length shorter pipe.

The pipe in particular will be greasy. 
This isn't Pottery Barn. :) 
This stuff is made to be put in the ground for gas lines. So, use mineral spirits to clean it up, along with the other pieces.

Go ahead and screw all the pieces together in the arrangement shown above. With the hammered metal spray paint, give the whole thing a good coat and after it dries, give it another.

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Once it's completely dry — I'd give it AT LEAST 24 hours, longer if you can stand it — and you're ready to attach your curtain rod to the wall!

You will need to put your curtains onto the rod before hanging them. You won't be able to change out your curtains easily. However, if this is a must, I recommend using rings with clips to hang your curtains, but you'll still need to thread the rings onto the rod before it goes on the wall.

I'm perhaps a tad paranoid and hate putting anything on the wall that isn't attached to a stud, so I highly recommend anchoring your rod to a wall stud. Building codes dictate that you'll have about 3" of wood on either side of a window opening, which is helpful to know. If you don't anchor them into the stud, make sure you use the proper hardware to attach them to the drywall, just like you would need to with any curtain rods.

Once it's up, step back and enjoy!

You might even want to start practicing saying, "Thanks! I made them!" cuz you're going to start hearing it a lot. ;)

xoxo Lori Danelle

New Curtains!

I'm looking forward to a week enjoying my NEW CURTAINS!!!!

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Yes, despite Mr. Maker and I both being sick, we finally managed to get these things up! And what do you think of my fancy, DIY curtain rods??

Perhaps not everyone's style, but they are PERFECT for us. I LOVE them so much!

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The bright colors are making me so happy! I really don't think there's a more perfect fabric out there for me right now.

I really want to keep our spaces light, open and airy, but I'm a bold, bright color kind-of-gal, so I was craving some loud colors! The curtains completely changed the room. I think I'm going to spend my week sitting on my couch just staring at how wonderful they are.

Yeah right. As if I had time for that. . . or could actually sit still for any length of time!

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What I'm actually itching to do now is re-finish our dining room table!

And hang some of the artwork & pictures that have been piling up in our drawers instead of being put on a wall.

Yeah, I'll probably tackle that one before the table. :) 
How about you? What are you exited for this week?

xoxo Lori Danelle

DIY Hanging Book Shelf

The hanging bookcase is not an idea that originated with me. Too bad, because it's really quite brilliant!! :) If you do a web search you'll find a few different ways to do it if you don't care for how I went about it.

I knew I would have little girls pulling on this, so I made sure that it would be very sturdy from the start. To achieve this, I used some upholstery I had on hand from previous project to make the baskets. I knew I would need to screw the double curtain rod brackets directly into a stud in the wall and that I couldn't trust wall anchors with my little girls. I found the studs in the basic location I would be hanging it and measured how far apart they were, center to center.

In newer houses, building codes specify that studs be spaced 16 inches apart from center to center. In older houses, I've discovered that pretty much anything goes. :) To find studs, you can use a stud finder, available at your local hardware store, or if you live in an older house like ours, it may be painfully obvious! Just look for the bowing in the sheet-rock and the nails popping out!! (OK, it's not that bad, but I can still tell where they are if I look closely.) Either way, I would use the 16" rule as an estimate, but double check by actually finding the studs. 

This measurement tells me where I am going to put my hardware. The distance between—inside edge of one bracket, to inside edge of the other—gave me the width I needed to make my fabric basket.

To start, cut a rectangle 20" high x 24.25"wide.

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Serge, or zig-zag around all the edges to keep the seams from fraying.

Fold, iron & pin both side seams in 1/2" towards the wrong side of the fabric.

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Sew along folded edge approximately 1/4" away from edge. For aesthetic purposes, I did 2 rows of stitching.

On the top & bottom edges, fold, iron & pin seams in 2" towards the wrong side of the fabric (same direction as the side seams).

Sew along the folded edges 1.5" away from the edge. Again, for aesthetic purposes and a little extra strength, I sewed 2 rows of stitches. This will create the channel that you will feed the 1/2" dowel through.

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I wanted to tie in the bunting that I had made to hang over the girls' beds in these book shelves, so I added it to the fronts.

Use the same 1/4" bias tape that you used for your bunting.
Unfold it and pin in place, so that the folded edge is closest to the top of your hanging basket. For a guide, I lined the fold of my bias tape up with the top row of stitching on the basket. Stitch in place, leaving the top half of the tape free.

Arrange the triangles as you would like them, matching the top edge of the triangle to the inside fold of the bias tape, sandwiching it between the top and bottom of the bias tape. Pin in place.

Sew 1/8" inch from the open edge of the bias tape.

Now all you have to do is insert your 1/2" wooden dowels and your basket is ready to hang and fill with books!

xoxo Lori Danelle

DIY Bunting

The last couple of weeks have been quite insane for me!
Good insane, but insane.
A huge jump on realizing dreams of working for myself, 
But still busy, crazy, stressful, exciting, and very little sleep. 

I'm just sorry it happened in the middle of such a fun time here on my blog!
I believe I owe you a few tutorials, yes? 

Let's get started!!

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Today I'm going to go over how I made the bunting I used over the girls' beds. 

If you've hung around here long, you know I don't like things too perfect, so I made mine with a raw edge. Plus, it makes is super easy to sew up! However, I'll give notes on what to do if you'd prefer a finished edge.

Cut your chosen fabric into 4.5 inch strips, then fold into 5.5 inch sections.

I made a pattern out of cardboard so that I could easily cut out my fabric. To make the pattern, I cut out a rectangle that was also 4.5" x 5.5". I marked 2.75" in on the bottom of one of the 5.5" sides and then drew lines from the top left & top right corners to the bottom center.

I then laid the cardboard pattern on my folded fabric, and marked where the middle point would be with my disappearing ink pen.  

Using my rotary cutter (LOVE that thing!) and a straight edge, I lined the straight edge up to the top corners and the lines I marked for the bottom point and made my two cuts.

This will give you a stack of triangles in the middle, and if you unfold the left & right side, you'll have two more sets. There will be some smaller pieces folded up in there from the edges of your fabric. Follow these steps with as many different fabrics as you'd like until you have enough pairs of triangles to extend your desired distance.

If you want to go with unfinished edges like I did, place two triangles WRONG sides together, pin & sew 1/8th inch from the raw edge on the left & right sides. If you would like, I you can sew the top as well, but there really is no need.

(If you wantfinished edges, place two triangles RIGHT sides together, pin & sew 1/8th inch from the edge on the left & right sides—leave the top open. Use a pointy object, such as a pencil or scissors, to turn the triangles right-side-out and push the point out. )

To go the really easy route, use purchased biased tape in the width of your choice. The tape I used was 1/4" wide. If you prefer you can make your own. Sandi Henderson has a good tutorial on her blog on the right side for making it yourself if you want to give it a shot. 

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With your fingers, open up the biased tape and lay your triangles in the middle, lining the top edge of your triangle up with the center crease of the bias tape. Fold the tape back down and pin at the two edges and in the center of the triangle. Do this along the length of your bias tape until you get it as long as you'd like.

Moving to your sewing machine, sew as close as you can to the open edge of the bias tape, thus securing the triangles and sewing the tape closed.

Ta-Da!!!
Hang it up and you're done!!!

Too cute and much too easy! :)
Nice little way to add some color & a personalized touch to a room. . .or even a party!!! 

Now go make stuff!!

xoxo Lori Danelle

DIY Painted White Floors

Originally, I hadn't planned on sharing with you how I went about painting our floors. But then I remember how much time I spent on the internet searching and pouring over websites that had any mention of how to do it.

I was REALLY nervous about painting the floors. I was scared that it wouldn't look the way I envisioned, or that the paint wouldn't wear well. Before I finally committed, I read a ton and talked to several people at our local Sherwin Williams store.

In the end, this is how we did it. And I'm happy with the results, so perhaps it will work for you as well!

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We started the whole process by ripping out old carpet and laying down new pine flooring.

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We went with a softer wood like pine because we wanted it to get beat up and worn in. So if you select to go with pine, please please please be aware of this! Also, we ordered ours from a website and then picked it up at a local store. We were not aware that it had grooves!!! The only thing I dislike about the girls floor is the grooves! It's a nice place to collect any dirt!  :(  But at least it all goes there and I can sort of walk over it, rather than in it, right? 

Anyway, I suggest finding flooring that does not have grooves, or perhaps turning the board over. . .?? That's what I wish we had done. The next step was filling any nail or floor staple holes, quickly sanding the whole surface down with a palm sander, and vacuuming up all the dust!

Now you're ready for paint!! We started by priming the floors.

Over the years, we've really come to like Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water Base Primer/Sealer that we purchase at Home Depot.

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After all my research, we opted to use Sherwin Williams' Floor & Porch Enamel, in True White. I can't remember now if I did 2 or 3 coats, but my guess is 2.

One place where I strayed from the advice given by Sherwin Williams is that they told us that we could just put down the paint and we wouldn't need to seal it with a polyurethane. They gave us a time frame in which it would need to dry. We gave it that amount of time (something around a week. . .it was a fairly long time) and the paint was still tacky and we would leave foot prints if we attempted to walk on it.

Finally, I gave up, said screw this and bought a water based polyurethane for floors and we were moved back in the next day!

To apply the poly, you'll need a special painter's pad and pole. Use long straight stokes. Though water based poly is less likely to yellow, you'll want to be especially careful not to let it get too thick or puddle, as it will still yellow in those circumstances. Apply at least 2 coats and be sure to follow the directions on the package for drying time, etc.

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Pretty, shiny, *clean* white floors!!!! (they never looked quite like that again!) :)

White floors are not for everyone. If you're looking for pristine, this is probably not the route for you—unless you have hired someone to meticulously clean the floors hourly!! However, if you like your floors to look worn in, and appreciate the character of some scuffs and dings, then you may have found the perfect thing!! Also, we painted the floors in my husband & my bedroom black. We followed the exact same process as described above. I HATE them.   :) Painting a dark color did not work out for us. I would paint another floor white in a heartbeat, but if I want dark, we're staining them from here on out!!!

So, I hope that answered some questions you may have. If you're considering attempting this and have questions, don't hesitate to ask!! I know I would have loved to have someone who had done it to ask questions! Painting floors is a bit scary and a big commitment! But I am SO glad I went for it!!

xoxo Lori Danelle