DIY Network: Getting Cushy

June 14, 2012   //  Posted in: Deck, Decor, DIY, DIY Network Projects   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment

Outdoor furniture just happens to be one of those things I have a hard time investing in fully. It’s only useful about 5 months of the year up here in NY, it’s expensive, and a lot of it really isn’t my style. I weighed the pros and cons of purchasing a set of outdoor chair cushions for the deck furniture that I recently painted, and here’s the thing:

  • $$$ (for ones that I really liked)
  • The affordable options were often on back order or low in stock, which limited my options since I definitely needed a set of 4
  • The colors were often wrong. Or the patterns would have competed with the design that flows in the yellow umbrella.

So, like any crafty person would do, I tried to make my own. You can see more about the rationale, materials, and the end result in today’s post on DIY Network.

Sneak peek of the outdoor pillows!

An Overachiever In Her Glass

June 13, 2012   //  Posted in: Beach, Decor   //  By: Emily   //  8 responses

Goal settin’ keeps me going, and I was happy to announce that I topped off the big container of beach glass with this instagram picture (find me! Search merrypad! I’ll follow you back!):

Getting our instaglass on.

What’s next?

Well, as many of you have questioned: What is it exactly that you’re doing with all this beach glass? The honest answer is, “I have no idea… yet”.

For now, I’m fulfilling a simple goal that I set when I bought the house three years ago, the goal to collect as much beach glass as possible while I live in such great proximity to the beach. I like it for a few reasons:

  • Its state and form is unique; no two pieces are alike
  • It’s colorful (dozens of colors collected on our beach alone, not just shamrock green, browns, and white that are most common among US and Canadian beer distributors)
  • Its transparency makes for great window decor. I like it best in a window where the sunlight shines through it. It’s like stained glass, but more randomized and earthy.

In the interest of keeping the collection growin’, I upgraded most of the glass collection to this big wine jug (not mine, found curbside outside a restaurant).

Freebie wine jug, found curbside. Is that too gross?

With the label removed and the bottle thoroughly cleaned (I can’t emphasize how much time I spent cleaning the smell of wine from the bottle), it was ready to be filled with beachy treasures.

Cleaning the wine jug, whistle while you work feverishly.

From the original window sill glass container, I transferred any pieces that would fit through the opening in the jug straight in. It’s a 1″ opening, which meant that most of the collection had a new home.

Beach glass in a pretty wine jug.

What I’m going to do with this ginormous and quickly growing collection of tiny beach glass, I’m not sure. Maybe make a whole entryway floor out of it someday like I did with the beach shale in this house. Ooh, or the floor of a shower. Or a tabletop! There’s no hurry, I’m only killing time collecting the stuff while we can now. Did you know man-made beach glass sells for $7.99/pound at the craft store? It’s not as pretty either.¬†Please people, let me mail you some.

How many small pieces (<1″) do we have as of today? And how does the jug look sized next to a lemon?

Lots of beach glass. Jug sized compared to the average lemon.

It’ll be filled this summer easily. Better start looking for a bigger container.

The large pieces were better displayed in the tall narrow container; because it measures 8″x12″x3″deep, it’s scaled nicely for the windowsill, at least more so than a huge jug. And because it’s really narrow and now holding lots of larger pieces of beach glass, the sunlight diffuses through much differently. The colors are intense. Obviously, we need to find some more big pieces. They’re a bit harder to come by, but we can usually find 1-2 nice pieces each time we venture out for a beach walk.

New goal: fill ‘er up.

Collecting large pieces of beach glass.

Side note: Those teal bottles beside the glass container weren’t from the beach. Just an etsy purchase from olivedesignshop. But wouldn’t it be great to find a totally-weathered bottle whole on the beach?

To get a comprensive view, here’s the whole collection:

Pretty beach glass collection. And growing.

How does your garden beach glass collection grow?

Up In Here, Up In Here

June 12, 2012   //  Posted in: DIY, Flooring, Stairwell   //  By: Emily   //  2 responses

Oh right, fun fact, there’s a huge attic in this house. You don’t see much of it on this blog because it’s mostly storage, and as much as it would make a wonderfully converted office or living space like some of our friends have done in their homes, that takes some mad beans. Cost restraints aside, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t thought about it, especially considering that the house will be in need of a brand-spankin’ new roof in the next few years, and wouldn’t that be the perfect time to spruce it up? Think skylights or more dormers, and some great area rugs over the existing wood panel floor. Or cool FLOR carpet tiles and rad CB2 loveseats…. I digress.

Our access to the attic is great too; unlike crawlspace designs where you’re popping through a hole in the back of your guest room ceiling, there’s a real, permanent staircase accessible behind a closed door next to the bathroom. It’s locale helps to further explain why the stairwell closet that I painted here is such a wonky shape.

Ooh, dramatic. The lesser seen attic entryway.

Thumbing through my brain cells and the search functionality on the blog, I’m pretty sure that the only attic-improvement related project that I tackled was this one¬†where I repainted and refinished the paned glass window that overlooks the front yard. Good project, totally worth it from a curb appeal standpoint, but it didn’t really tell you a lot about the attic space itself.

The lack of attic documentation has a lot to do with the fact that it’s really dark up there with only one window and a single light bulb. And spiders, there are some spiders. And Pete’s Carhart snowsuit that hangs in the corner in shadows convinces me that someone is hiding in the corner of the attic every time I embark to innocently find Christmas ornaments or bubble wrap or extra cardboard boxes. So just trust me, it’s a tall room, and big too (the entire size of the footprint of my home) and hopefully someone, someday makes great use of the space.

Me, standing tall in the attic.

When I moved into the house, there wasn’t much I needed to store in the attic. It was almost completely empty until we moved some extra kitchen cabinets up there for safe keeping in the fall of 2010. It filled up much more when Pete moved in last spring. Kids toys. Extra clothes. Lamps. An inordinate number of Christmas tree stands and bed frames.

These days, we’re up and down the stairs at least few times a week, usually carrying up something big and heavy, or carrying down something big and heavy in almost no natural light and the glow of a single light bulb. And one thing is apparent: those painted steps are slippery.

Prepping the attic stairs for a little redo.

Adding some traction paint to the stairs has been on my to-do list for the last 6-months or so, but I’ve been waiting for warmer weather so that I can open the single dormer window and the attic door for access and ventilation without releasing precious heat in chillier months.

Creating your own gritty-traction-sandpaperish floor isn’t anything super special or new-founded; you can either buy those non-slip panels to stick a rough surface onto the smooth surface, or blend floor paint with fresh-from-the-beach sand and paint it on yourself.

Floor paint and sand! Makes a slip-free staircase.

For my slip-free stairwell concoction, I used about 2-cups of Valspar Porch + Floor paint, the same gloss light gray that I had purchased and used when I was repainting the sunroom floor, and added what equated to about 1-cup of beach sand until the consistency felt rough and tough and totally grit-tastic. I mixed the two right in an old plastic container that had previously been used for mixing tile grout, so any remaining gritty wouldn’t do any harm in the grand scheme of things… I mention that since maybe you’re wondering why the container itself looks filthy.

Mixing floor paint and sand to create gritty paint!

Before I got to painting the top of every step, I had given the whole staircase a really good wash down to eliminate the dust and dog fur and dirt that had been ignored for the last three years.

Starting from the top step, I worked my way downward to paint my way out of the attic stairwell, slathering an even coat of sandy paint to the tread of each step (not the riser and not the side pieces).

Steps painted!

Painting the treads was quick, and once it was dry, I came back through with the same paint, un-sanded, to re-coat the remaining dark wood so that the whole staircase was a consistent shade of light gray.

Considering that I was going from seriously dark brown to a light gray, the stairwell itself is refreshed and brighter, even though it still looks dungeon-esque in this photo:

A finished stairwell.

The project itself was pretty effortless, and the gritty texture of each stair tread is so nice, so grippy that it’s like getting a bottom-of-the-foot pedicure when you walk on it. Can you see the sparkle of the sand in this picture?

Gritty stair treads, a huge improvement in making the attic stairs not so slippery.

There will be no ballet twirls or slips on these stairs; it’s like walking on low-grit sandpaper.

Hey, what are those little round plugs on each stair? Does anyone know? They pop loose and seem to serve zero purpose.

Attic stairs. Lookin' good in gray!

The paint job on the stairs wasn’t the neatest, but that was actually intentional. Not sure if you noticed in all of the previous images and quietly judged me, but the walls of the attic stairwell need a damn good refinishing as well, which will only result in a repriming and repainting of the entire stairwell in due time. So, no sense in cutting in carefully where the stairs meet the wall since it’ll be cleaned up in due time anyways.

A very damaged plaster wall. Next up: skim coating!

Hopefully I’ll get around to putting my skim-coating hat on in the next few days. All I know is that skim coating anything repeatedly is low on the list of things that I love to do, so it’s going to require more than coffee and blaring Cosmo talk radio to get my blood pumping.

Who’s ready to get this started?