Monthly Archives: May 2010

How to build a canopy fit for a “tween/teen”

My little girl will always be my princess, but she was ready to part ways with all things pink and ready to restyle her kingdom.  This is an alternative of the last do it yourself instructions on how to build an overhead bed canopy.  Fortunately, you can use these same how to instructions to build a bathroom tub valance or window valance because of its shape.

In case you missed it, here is the other alternative on how to build a canopy over a bed:

http://agirlcandoit.com/2010/05/05/diy-bed-canopy/

Materials you will need:

One 1″x 12″ x 7′ white pine board ($8); Two 4 pack packages of “L” brackets-one large, one small ($6 total); Fabric of your choice-1 yard to cover valance;  # of feet of trim depending on your desires (price varies)

Tools you need:

Glue gun,   Staple Gun, cordless drill, drywall screws and drywall anchors

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Peel and Stick Wall Art Mural…so Easy, A Kid Can Do It!

As I am working on my latest project, the tween room makeover, I found these neat little peel and stick wall art murals at Hobby Lobby.  They have a variety of styles and designs.    They retail for $19.99 but Hobby Lobby considers them “wall art” which placed them at 50% off during their weekly special.

Its a stick on vinyl, so all that you have to do is roll it smoothly over your wall.  It comes with little jewels for embellishment that you can stick on as shown above.

The finished piece looks clean, crisp and very stylish.  The best part?  My daughter was able to do it by herself and we know how accomplishing something for yourself feels!

Preparing for a “Green” baby – 6 DIY tips for an eco friendly nursery

Don’t worry, your baby won’t be a little green alien.  Although sometimes, it may feel like it with the jabs and rolling motions of the little life inside you waiting to make his or her appearance in this world.  Having a baby is life changing.  Most expectant parents want to do their best to prepare for their new arrival, so it makes sense to embrace a lifestyle change to eco-friendly if you haven’t already, starting right in the nursery.

Here are some eco-friendly home improvement options when planning your new nursery:

1)  Follow your nose

Lead is no longer found in newer paints found in stores, but there is another chemical you should become aware of: volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) How can something that says its organic be bad you ask?  The VOC culprits emit toxic fumes and invisible gases from common household items such as paints, flooring or even a new vinyl shower curtain.

Thankfully, many major paint brands now offer low or no-VOC paints.  Check the labels!

2)  Now I lay me down to sleep

Add a corded dimmer switch to your lights that are next to your cozy chair so it’s always within reach.   A little night-light  also provides sufficient lighting in the dark at lower wattage use.

3)  Beyond the 5 second rule

Crawling around on the floor can have its disadvantages for baby.  Carpet is one of the most toxic elements that you can put in any home.  Carpets can harbor dust mites and other allergens.   Even worse, new synthetic carpets can emit gaseous VOCs.

Options to keep the nursery carpet-free:  bamboo flooring, cork or carpet tiles.  Add softness to the bamboo floors using a natural fiber rug or mat.   If you don’t like the idea of carpet free, at least consider one made of natural fibers such as wool, cotton, hemp or jute and don’t forget about checking the padding!

4)   Let the sun shine in

Cordless cellular shades (available through Levolor) is just that…cord free! This is the safest option for curious little fingers.  Use natural fiber window coverings to compliment your color scheme and room decor.

5)  The air we breath

An air purifier improves indoor air quality by removing allergens such as dust, pollen, mold and pet dander.    The Idylis air purifier from Lowes claims to remove 99.9% of airborne allergens.

HEPA filtration on vacuums also helps reduce airborne allergens.

6)  Keeping it clean

Using eco-friendly cleaners are the safer alternative for your whole home.  Even a little vinegar, baking soda, etc. can do a great job cleaning without the harmful chemicals.

Make your next DIY project a successful one

“You Can Do It Too”…Make your next DIY project a successful one

I love starting new projects.  I love learning new things.  Each time, I savor the sense of accomplishment by not only completing the task, but  also knowing that I was successful.  The following are tips to help you get the most out of your next home improvement project too:

1.  Have the right tools and the right materials

Before tackling any project, determine the type of tools needed and the type and amount of all the materials for the project.

2. Research and planning

Research the steps necessary to complete the project from start to finish to ensure you will have the know how.  Plan the project in steps so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

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Ralph Lauren paint is a thing of the past at Home Depot

Ralph Lauren paint love

Are all paints created equal?

Having spent years completing a wide variety of painting projects, I have had my share of trials and errors when it comes to paints.  Call me nostalgic, but my first real painting leap was taken with Ralph Lauren more than 15 years ago. Their very rich colors and designer label were alluring to women everywhere I recall.

Ralph Lauren was also great because it had a vast selection of colors organized in a user friendly fashion and the price was competitive.   I was usually able to achieve one coat coverage (a real time saver and confidence booster!) and the best part was that years later, I could use it to touch up spots and it would still blend perfectly!!  I’ve seen other “pro brand” paints not even able to do this without leaving what looks like spots that belong on a cheetah which meant repainting an entire wall.

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A Home Remodel Series (Part 5-Retile a Shower)

At last, today is moving day for my friend!  Her mini-home remodel is complete and the construction dust is gone.    My friend went from vanilla everything to “wow” by making subtle changes with color and a few finishes.  Concluding our home remodel series we started last week, her master bath shower and tub, like the rest of her home,  were white on white.

To see where we started and what we’ve done, click here:

http://agirlcandoit.com/2010/04/27/a-home-remodel-series-part-1-before-demo/

For such a large and bright space, it lacked a lot of personality.  With some paint and new tile, see the room take on a new life below.

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A Home Remodel Series (Part 4-How to install wood flooring)

The finished project

Continuing our series on following the progress at my friend’s home remodel, part of their wood flooring in the dining room had been damaged by a water leak from the adjacent kitchen.

See what all we are covering in this series by clicking the link below:

http://agirlcandoit.com/2010/04/27/a-home-remodel-series-part-1-before-demo/

Wood floors add a lot of warmth and character to any room.  They are exceptionally durable and a good quality wood floor is meant to last for years and years.  Unfortunately, in the case of my friend’s home,  wood and water do not agree and the resulting buckled wood flooring was not salvageable.

Wood floors damaged by water leak

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DIY Bed Canopy Fit For Any Princess

Convincing our daughters that all boys are frogs, and they are princesses, what girls bed would be complete without a crowning touch like an overhead canopy? Making one yourself is extremely easy and affordable.

You’ll need:

a staple gun, fabric glue, a piece of plywood or other rigid board cut to a circle, and some drywall screws and hand-held drill

For the one pictured, I used some soft felt for the underside cover and the top ring (1 1/2 to 2 yards should be more than sufficient), 2 colors of sparkle tulle (about 8 yards each-on sale, this runs about $.79 per yard!), some zebra print ribbon for the tie-backs (1 yard cut into 2 pieces), some sequined cording (about 1 1/2 yards), over-sized faux pearls (1 package) and a black feather boa.  You can find all of this stuff at a crafts store; I like Hobby Lobby because they put their fabrics on sale frequently.  For this canopy, I spent about $20-25.  You can find something similar online for much more and it’s not nearly as “customized” to suit your daughter’s room decor.

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A Tween Girls Bedroom Design

A Tween Girl’s Bedroom-Easy and inexpensive decorating ideas

I am blessed with a very quick witted and enjoyable tween daughter.  With a college student moving on and another teen son taking over a bigger room, my daughter has an opportunity to also move to a bigger bedroom within our home which will leave behind her current room.   Her current bedroom (above) is already decorated in a style that most TEEN girls would die for, so it pains me to disassemble it.

It may seem odd to give up her current room’s modern and trendy appeal, but there is a valid story and a certain amount of guilt behind it.  When we first moved into our home, I painted her room the pink it is now.  Florals, gingham check were the visions of “little girl” I once had for my daughter.  Turning 7, she wanted something a little more hip and definitely anything BUT pink!

Not having the heart to repaint so quickly or do away with some decor pieces already in her space, I regrettably convinced her to “compromise”.  So with a new comforter set and pillows priced at less than $200, along a few intentional decor pieces purchased on sale at Hobby Lobby for under $100 and a little creativity, we had a complete budget room makeover for less than $300.

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5 Things Women Should Know About Home Improvements

Recently  Scott McGillivray  from HGTV’s “Income Property” appeared on the Today show and discussed 5 things that every woman should know about basic home improvements:

1)  Have a few basic tools on hand

Scott recommended a 12 volt cordless drill which is small and easy to hold and it is rechargeable in 20 minutes and can be used for a variety of projects.  Also recommended were a tape measure, stud finder (used to find the framing studs in your wall which is useful to know when hanging heavier objects on your walls), drill bit set, and a “sawzall” which is a handheld mini-saw

Here is an expanded version of what I recommend that every basic tool box should have:

http://agirlcandoit.com/2010/04/27/basic-toolbox-and-tools/

2)  How to properly insert a screw into drywall for hanging a picture

If you just insert a regular screw into drywall, it runs a good chance of becoming loose and creating a bigger hole when it wiggles out.  The best method is to use a molly bolt (also known as a drywall plug).  Look in the “fasteners” section of your local home improvement store for the drywall plugs; several types even have “weight ratings” to guide you on the type you might need for your task.

3) Patching a small hole

Oops you goofed and drilled the hole in the wrong spot or maybe you don’t want a picture in a certain spot on your wall any longer and a hole remains from the old nail or screw. Small containers of drywall patch are available at most home improvement stores in the paint section.  Some are very handy and even change colors as they dry to let you know they are ready to sand and repaint.  For small holes such as nail holes or screw holes, you can use the drywall patch and a putty knife and spread a little dab of the patch into the hole and smooth it out even with the wall surface.  Repaint as desired.

4)  Your toilet is running

The never-ending noise of a running toilet is not only annoying, but costly due to high water bills.  Common fixes for a running toilet: a) handle gets stuck  so you can just jiggle the handle to make it stop; b) sometimes the chain inside comes loose so all you need to do is reach inside and reset the chain on the hook;  and c) sometimes its the flapper at the bottom of the tank that doesn’t reset itself inside properly so it just needs to be pushed back into place.

5) Reset circuit breaker

Sometimes, a circuit gets overloaded in your home and causes the lights in one part of your house to go out.  All homes and apartments have circuit breaker panels and when a circuit is overloaded, a breaker switch clicks off.  Go to your circuit breaker panel and find the switch that went off and reset the breaker by turning the switch back on.  Obviously if there is an overload, you need to try to determine the cause and adjust.  Usual culprits are high voltage appliances like hair dryers on the same circuit as other high demand appliances.

See the complete video here:

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/33448782#33448782