Thursday, April 30, 2015

Get Those Solar Lights Shining Again

Want to know how to fix a solar light when it stops working?

Solar lights are a very easy, inexpensive way to light a walkway.  There are so many different designs and sizes nowadays that you can easily find one that matches your style and house.  We love our sleek set that we got from Target (and on sale) shown below.

These lights actually do go out, though!  This doesn't happen very often but it does occur.  However, there is no need to buy a new light (or in some cases a whole new set if the store doesn't carry your particular style anymore).  Solar lights are very easy to fix! 

All you will need:
  • Mini screwdriver set
  • 12V NiCad/NiMH (Nickel Cadmium/Nickel Metal Hydride) AA rechargeable battery
    • NiMH is the newer, more environment friendly, higher capacity technology

You may not know that these solar lights actually run on batteries that are recharged by the solar panel.  Since our battery was completely dead, we just needed to replace it.

1.    Twist off solar top.

2.    Take out screws holding the light parts in place.

3.    Remove cover.

4.    Take out old battery and replace with a fresh, new, battery.

5. Reverse: Place the cover and screws back in place, twist top back on, and you’ll have a working light again!  

Note: Most solar lights work just like this, but some may vary in how they are built.

*That white fluff ball on the right is Teddy peeing on our lights.  
It’s a never-ending, losing, battle we play with him to not constantly mark those lights as his own.  Since today is his 11th birthday, we'll let it slide .*

So don’t throw out your lights since they are super easy to fix!  Unless you run over them with a lawn mower… that’s past the point of no return… and you can throw it out. more “Get Those Solar Lights Shining Again”

Friday, April 24, 2015

A Wall Cast in Stone

Remember the cork wreaths from Stick a Cork In It??  Well, at my parent's house, we decided to make it a feature wall for their wreath and wine decorations in their kitchen with this gorgeous stone/glass tile.  

End result:

We chose Harvest Moon Interlocking 8 in. x 18 in. x 8 mm Glass Stone Mesh-Mounted Mosaic Tile from Home Depot.  It looks very beige in the online picture but in reality its very earthy with greens, blues, and grays in the stone and glass.

Before the wall was just a big 'ol plain white wall:

The tools needed to complete this feature wall job are:
  • Wet saw tile cutter
    • Only needed for the straight cuts on the end of the wall tile.
  • Tile Adhesive
    • Each tile sheet was back-buttered with the tile adhesive and placed on the wall.
  • 1/4" Notched Trowel
  • Level
  • Sponges 
    • Wipe off any extra tile adhesive.
  • This tile required NO GROUT!  This saved a lot of time and mess .
  • Touch up paint once the stone wall was done.
Progress of the stone/glass tile wall:

Stone installation complete:

We used a masonry drill bit through the stone and anchors to place all decoration back to their original home.  We measured where the decorations were before we took them down so they could be placed in the exact same location.

As an extra touch to bring out the depth of the tile, we installed round swivel recessed lights from Menards on a dimmer switch.

The depth and texture really bring an extra pop to this once boring white wall!! more “A Wall Cast in Stone”

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Unhinged: A DIY Tale

If you have an old home you'll love the charm that comes with the house.  There are bad things that come along with old homes, too.  Like rust and grime from things being old.  This was true for our indoor door hardware.  I'm pretty sure our door hardware had never been cleaned or taken care of since 1926 when it was installed.  However, there is still potential before spending tons of money on brand new hardware!


The hinge pins had a black grime coating because of time.  I solved this with a little cleaning!  Bar Keepers Friend and an SOS steel wool pad brought the hinges back to their former glory.


The actual hinge hardware was mostly painted on by a sloppy painter.  There's two solutions to strip the paint.  

1.   Take the hardware off and soak in a crock-pot with some liquid soap. 
2.   Take a flat razor blade and scrape the paint off.

After each of these options, the hardware will need to be cleaned which can be done the same way as the hinge pins.





The decorative door knob plates were discolored and rusting but the actual crystal style knobs were just fine!  

Since the hardware could not be restored to it's former glory, the remedy (without buying brand new) is to give the hardware some new color:

1.   Strip any paint on knobs/hardware (as explained above).

2.   Sand the metal with a lower-grade grit sandpaper (100 grit is my choice).

3.   Tape up the crystal knob so it will not get sprayed with paint.  

4.   ***Tape up the threads so the knobs will still screw together correctly OR just screw knobs together before spray painting.  Both will achieve the goal of not getting any paint on the threads.***

5.   Spray paint! 

  • Since some of the pieces were rusting, first I used Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer as a base coat.  
  • Next, I used a hammered silver spray paint to go with the gray theme throughout the house.  I personally think darker colors which imitate an oil-rubbed bronze finish look amazing.


Spray paint:


And PLEASE, if your door ever needs painting, do yourself a huge favor and take off the hardware before painting or make sure your hired painter does it for you!  The end result is worth the little extra effort.  (The same applies for electrical outlet covers when painting a wall ) more “Unhinged: A DIY Tale”

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Fountain Made Youthful

Ever wondered how to re-purpose masonry objects to look brand new?  We brought back to life this gorgeous three tiered fountain.

We had a really cool fountain that came with our house.  The only problem is the previous paint job was chipping off.  We think the old black paint was a spray paint job done with the fountain constructed in place.

This is what the fountain looked like with the original terracotta color popping through the black chipped paint (we had already deconstructed it by this point):

The black paint probably looked good right after the fountain was sprayed, but obviously the paint wasn't right for the long haul.  

So, we took the fountain apart and decided to give it some TLC.

1.     PREP!  Always the most important step.  We set plastic sheets underneath our work area to keep the harsh chemicals we would be using from getting on other surfaces.

2.     Use a strong jet of water to get rid of any loose flakes (we did NOT use a pressure washer in order to prevent chipping of the decorative intricacy of the fountain).  Let surfaces dry completely.

3.     Use paint stripper (states for use with masonry) and a wire brush to scrape off previous paint.  *Plastic gloves and protective eye-wear glasses are a MUST since paint stripper burns upon contact!*

4.     Once all surfaces are stripped, use Mineral Spirits to clean and prep the masonry for paint.  Rags in a box is a great thing to keep on hand and are very durable for revival projects such as this.

5.     Paint all surfaces with pool paint which is offered in various colors (I chose classic white).  Fountains such as these need to be able to handle standing water (not just a light rain).

Teddy loves being outside during our DIY projects. #diydog

6.     Wait the recommended 8 hours and apply a second coat.  Let the paint dry for another 24 hours unless applying a third coat. 

7.     Place the fountain all back together, plug in, and enjoy! more “A Fountain Made Youthful”