Home Improvement

No splinters for you!

My husband and dad did the un-fun task this summer of redoing our deck. After years of weather left the decking worn and splintery, we decided it was time — especially with a baby soon to be on the move. We didn’t want to have to worry about her soft skin on the rough wood.

Speaking of our little one, I was on baby duty, so I wasn’t much help on this project. OK, I wan’t any help. And I’ll admit, it was tough to just be a spectator! But I documented, and that’s something… right?

Here’s the deck (mostly) before:


You can see some of the damage on the individual boards here. Thankfully the supports were in good shape so they only had to replace old boards and railings.


New treads!


New rails:


For the decking, they took off some of the old boards before adding the new boards. It was easier and safer for them to work that way.


The baby liked to watch.



They discovered the most perfect egg during the renovation.





Here is the final result:


The best part? The Maryland flag and baby swing.


It took them a week to do the project, and it turned out wonderfully.

Home Improvement

Entertainment Center

The biggest most awesome totally fabulous outstanding project I did during my Christmas vacation was our entertainment center. Our entertainment center. Sigh. I never hated our entertainment center, but I never loved it haha. Which is hard to say, since Brian and our contractor/lifetime friend designed it themselves. BUT (sorry men), it was man designed! They made the shelves too tall so you can see straight past the equipment to all of the jumbled up wires. And They did a hugely weird angle.

Unfinished Entertainment Center

When we redid our basement I had to call my dad because I was so upset about it. It did not fit in with my “vision,” but it was Brian’s total vision. So, per dad’s wise advice, I sucked it up. I made it almost two years of sucking it up, but I didn’t want to suck it up anymore. So I put my tweak on the piece.

I did something crazy.

Dirty Hands

As you can see from my hands, I stained it! That might not sound so crazy, except that the entertainment center was built out of MDF! CRAZY!

Stained Entertainment Center

Our house stink, stank, stunk of stain for days after I was finished. I ended up doing two coats of the black stain, following up with two coats of poly. But, the end result and the temporary stench (and high) were worth it!

Entertainment Center_Shelves

I picked up new baskets from Michaels that were made of fabric because our old baskets scratched the soft MDF — that’s the biggest downside of using stain instead of paint. It’s easy to scratch. But I love the baskets and I eventually want to make fun labels for each.

Entertainment Center_2

The top of the entertainment needs some accessorizing, especially at the corners. But the black stain makes a world of a difference.

Entertainment Center_1

And the baskets just complete the whole thing perfectly. Can you see cords? Me either 🙂


And in case you were wondering, I chose black because our bar is black. The colors tie in together nicely.

Entertainment Center_3

Glad to have this one crossed off of my list. My head hurts just thinking about that stinky stain.






Home Improvement

New lattice

Today I am tired. Seriously tired. My weekend was packed with an oyster night, painting of built-ins and replacement of old lattice.

If that doesn’t sound tiring to you, well then I am envious. But add 6+ hours of being outside in what seemed like 100% humidity… I guess it is no surprised I could fall asleep pretty much anywhere tonight. Anyway, the important thing is that I can cross another nagging project off of my list! Our lattice.

I of course have no before picture of this project, but picture nasty, rotten wooden lattice hiding our garbage cans. Except it didn’t hide our cans… it came about 6-8″ shy of covering our recycling bin.

Did I mention it was rotten? So rotten that the lattice simply peeled away and the posts came out of the ground with a few good kicks.

Once the lattice was out of the ground and out of the way, my dad and I got to digging new post holes. Our plan was to dig 18″ holes and cement the new posts into the ground for a more sturdier garbage hider.

Post digging

Here’s where I add that my bossy dad did most of the work for this project. I assisted and pointed out when he was building things wrong 🙂 He is awesome.

After we dug two holes up front, we built a frame out of pressure-treated 2″x4″s and attached the lattice — I opted for the plastic version instead of the wooden lattice. We plopped it into the holes and made it level before adding dry cement.

lattice edge

Then we started working on the other side. Same thing… dig hole, build frame, attach lattice. When everything was level, we added water to our cement to permanently affix the lattice in the ground. We then started tackling the brick pavers — we smoothed the ground out beneath the already-existing pavers before adding patio sand. We threw some tarp down and placed the stones back in the garbage area. Nice and flat! Woo!

At that point, the cement was dry, so we put all of the dirt back on top of the cement and around the base of the enclosure.


LatticeBuh-bye ugly lattice, hello nicely hidden garbage cans


And in case you were wondering how bad the old lattice really was… here it is waiting to be taken to the dump next to our new stuff. Gross!

Lattice Old V New… Go Ravens!