Simple fix: The disposal

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 0 comments

Hello there! Thanks so much for all the love on the finished fireplace, I appreciate it more than you know! We’re so happy with how it turned out and I hope it inspires you someway in your home.

As you know, I like to do things myself if I can. I have mixed emotions when I have to call someone to fix something for me – if it’s something stupid and little I’m annoyed. If it’s a biggie I’m totally cool with it. ;)

This past weekend we had a stupid little something and I was determined to get it fixed myself. Long story short we got lots of little bits of stuff that shouldn’t be down a drain…down our drain. It involved an obnoxious cat. It always involves an obnoxious cat. Not knowing the little bits were down the drain, I turned on the disposal and the “rarrarrarrarrar” of death started up. Actually it’s more of a “grrrrrrr” when it’s not working.

If you know what I mean by “long time listener first time caller” right now than you are my favorite person. If you don’t look up “Mr. Obvious, the critter” for a laugh.

OK, back to the post. The little bits had gone down the disposal and it was stuck. There’s a few things you can do to fix this situation on your own. First things first, turn the disposal off at the breaker box.

If something gets stuck in the actual sink part you can usually get it out of there on your own. I’ve used the handle of a wooden spoon and kind of swirled it around in there and then you can put on rubber gloves and reach in and grab it if you get it loose. Or if it’s tons of little things like glass you can put your wet vac hose down in the sink and try to pull them up that way.

If it’s gone down into the disposal like ours did than you need to move to the next option. The bottom of your disposal will look like this:

how to fix a disposal

There’s two areas that are important. The red button on the right is the reset button. Sometimes you can just push that in after clearing out the drain part and it may work. (The button will be out if it needs to be reset. If it’s already pushed in it doesn’t need reset.)

The area in the middle is how you’ll fix most issues with disposal. You’ll need the key that came with it -- it’s just an allen wrench basically:

disposal key easy disposal fix

If you don’t have the specific one that came with your disposal you can usually find one that works on an allen wrench set:

allen wrench

Although when I fixed ours the set did not work – I had to use the disposal key to do it. The allen wrench wouldn’t grab enough.

You stick the key inside and turn it – you may hear everything inside moving around. This is a good thing. I could hear ours grinding. Every few turns I would try the disposal again – if it doesn’t work on the first try or two keep turning. You’ll want to hit the reset button again if it’s sticking out and then things should be moving again. It took about three attempts to clear ours out but it worked! fixing garbage disposal

It just takes a few minutes and you’ll usually be able to fix yours on your own. Have you ever tried this? It’s a GREAT feeling to save hundreds of bucks! Or at least $75-$150 for a service call so the repairman can do the same thing. 

Now go look up Mr. Obvious. :)

$13 planked wall (Finished fireplace!)

Monday, September 29, 2014 0 comments

Hello all! Wow, what a full weekend! My husband was out of town so the kiddo and I played hard all day Saturday – all kinds of fall goodness. Sunday I worked my tail off getting the fireplace finished up, finally! It’s DONE!

I had a couple things left to do to get it done – I had already finished up the wall treatment above the fireplace and I’m really pleased with how it came together. I knew all along I wanted to plank the top wall, but I wanted to do it a little differently than I did last time. I wanted the planks to be much wider than the standard mdf or pine I usually use. So I went straight for the underlayment at the hardware store:

underlayment as wood planks

This is the stuff used under flooring and it’s SUPER cheap. I paid $13 for a big sheet. The nice guy at Lowe’s cut it down into strips for me – each one just over five inches wide.

The edges needed to be sanded down just a little bit – it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be though. Then I gave them two coats of my Peppercorn color and started the process of hanging:

installing wood planks

My wall is a little over 50 inches tall so I did some figuring to determine the width of each plank – I knew I was going to put some space between each one so I ended up with the five+ size. You can use anything you want as a spacer – I had my brad nails on hand so used those.

By the way, I painted the wall the gray color first – this is important if you’re going to leave any space between your boards.

I moved my “spacers” down each plank as I nailed them in, checking for level while I did it:

wood plank wall install

This install went really fast – the front part anyway. The only parts that took some time were around the outlet:

cutting wood around outlet

I used my jigsaw to cut out the spot for it. This wood is so thin I could have just scored it and broken it off really:

cutting planks around outlet You can see I’m no ace at the jigsaw. ;) Good thing nobody will ever see it.

I painted right over the outlet and the cover:

painted outlet

The sides took some time as well just because I needed so many pieces. These were installed the same way:

cheap wood planked wall

Because I needed so many boards that were the exact same size I just used my original as a guide to cut them all out:

I just lay it on top of the board, mark the line, cut, lay it down again, cut…it saves time instead of measuring every single piece.

You can see here how skinny this wood is – exactly what I was looking for!:

underlayment wood planks

The corners didn’t need to be perfect because I covered those with some corner molding.

I had finished all that up last week but still needed to touch up some spots. I also put one final coat on the entire fireplace – it needed three coats of the Peppercorn all together.

Here’s that same corner with the trim covering up those rough edges:

wood planked fireplace

I haven’t even filled the holes on the wall yet and I don’t think I will – they add a little rustic flair that keeps this area from getting too stuffy. That’s my excuse anyway. :)

When I designed this huge fireplace I knew the TV was going to have to go above. Not my first choice but it was the only way to make the layout work. So I had the guys make an inset in the middle of that upper wall for the TV to sit into:

TV above fireplace

We have it on a bracket that moves any direction – but when we push it back in you can’t see any cords at all. I LOVE that. Love love love:

TV above fireplace

I cannot believe this thing is finally done! I’m absolutely head over heels for all of it!:

gray fireplace

I went out of my comfort zone painting it that dark gray but I LOVE it. It feels good to branch out every once and a while. :)

We get such good light in here now the room can take it:

gray fireplace with built ins

I haven’t really decorated it yet – this is stuff I’ve had up here and I’m not sure it will stay. I’m not sure if I’ll keep the long box up there or not: herringbone tile

The mantel is so deep -- my possibilities are endless! I just want to play around with some things to see what works. For now it’s simple and I like it.

I had some gold candle sconces from Target to hang on either side of the TV but when we held them up last night both my husband and I thought they didn’t look right. It looked too busy. I think I’d still like to try something on either side perhaps, but they will need to be long and skinny:

peppercorn sherwin williams

The crown still needs to be painted and finished up there…I’ll tackle that all at once around the room.

If you remember we had to build the fireplace out this far because otherwise we would’ve had to get a permit to build a “doghouse” off the back of the house for it. That would have added quite a bit of time and lots of money so we went with this. It ended up working GREAT because we now have extra storage and a spot for the TV components on the sides:

TV component storage next to fireplace

A few of you asked and YES the remotes work through that metal sheeting! I LOVE that I have all kinds of junk in those cabinets right now and you can’t even tell. Buwhahaha. :)

We were going to hold off on any more construction till next year…but then I quickly realized I just wanted to get it all over with. So that window on the right will be double doors soon (I’m hoping within a month) and the bay window in the kitchen will get a makeover too. So I haven’t continued the molding in that area or painted anything – there’s no point till after we get that done.

But the big beast in the room is DONE!! It took me nearly a month!:

dark gray fireplace

I’m SO pleased with it. Now onto the smaller jobs in this room to get it finished up – paint, molding fixes, door trim, more paint and then some final decorating touches. This is taking waaaay longer than I thought it would but it’s been a pleasure along the way. :) Thanks for coming along with me, as always.

To see more about the dark gray color, go here.
To see how I cut the inserts out of the doors and what I used to cover them, go here.
For a tutorial on installing a tile fireplace surround, go here.
For tips on how to clean the glass on a gas fireplace visit here and more tips on sprucing up your fireplace here.

Let’s go shopping

Friday, September 26, 2014 0 comments

Hey all! Happy Friday! I’m back with a little shopping excursion to one of my favorite stores. I like sharing spots that I think have great products and prices (and no, this is not a sponsored post!). I’ve shopped Cost Plus World Market for years now but I feel like it’s been over the past couple of years that they’ve really upped their game.

They have the same feel as Pier 1 -- I just find the pieces to be a little more unique and different. It’s a place I like to walk through just to get inspired. I don’t buy something every trip there but I always walk away wanting to buy plenty. ;)

I had to return a few things yesterday so I took some pics as I walked through to show you why I love this place so much!

They always have beautiful rugs – I loved the shaggy diamond patterned one:

diamond rug world market

They have a great variety in the store and bigger sizes available online. That sheepskin rug is way cheaper at IKEA though. :)

I have so many dang mirrors, I don’t need another one. But both of these catch my eye every time I go in:

wood sunburst mirror wood oval mirror

I’m always trying to figure out where I could put one!

Their signs and art are fun too – this one is for you if you can’t find an antique antique sign:

antiques sign world market

It’s really good size by the way.

These glass signs are super cute as well:

fresh baked pies signlunch being served sign

I’ve seen the pie one around blogland lately – love them both!

We have a few of their towels – they have the most colorful selection I’ve found anywhere:

towels world market

That’s one thing you’ll notice in this store – lots of COLOR. I love it.

There are a TON of decorative items throughout too. I loved this wood sconce:

sconce world market

World Market is one of the only places around (other than HomeGoods) that carries furniture you can actually buy and take with you. I got this foyer table a couple years ago:

high board and batten

I adore this table. I added the hardware to dress it up just a bit but otherwise it’s beautiful on it’s own. I love the look of the wood – it’s a natural tone with a little white wash. So pretty.

They have a huge drapery selection too:

window treatments world market

But if you need anything longer than 84 inches you’ll have to shop online.

One of my favorite spots in the store is the lighting area:

knock off eldridge light lotus light fixture

That one on the left? It’s an exact replica of the Ballard Designs light – this one is bigger than the BD small version and $50 cheaper.

One of my all time favorite purchases from WM is the chandelier over our kitchen table:

wood chandelier

I get asked about our kitchen chairs all the time too – those are also from World Market. If you are patient you can get their furniture on sale and they’re always sending out coupons too.

I LOVE their linens – I’ve not found a selection like this anywhere else:

kitchen linens world market

I used their placemats to make most of our outdoor pillows years ago:

placemat pillows

WM also has a TN of kitchen and entertaining products:

mason jar beverage dispenser salad servers world market

I can spend a good 30 minutes just checking out all the cute items in that section alone.

World Market also carries a HUGE wine selection and tons of unique and worldly food options. It really is a fun spot to check out! I find their prices to be pretty reasonable and for bigger items I will try to wait till it’s on sale or I have a coupon.

Have you ever shopped this store? We only have one nearby but they do sell online as well. Have a GREAT weekend my friends!

My problem areas

Thursday, September 25, 2014 0 comments

Hey hey!! How are you on this fine Thursday? I love Thursdays. :) I’m feeling GOOD because I’ve finally been tackling some my problems areas over the past couple of weeks. Not my hips and stomach – but the ones in the house. ;) I’ve let the house go just a little lately – I’ve been so focused on the reno that everything else kind of falls apart. Well, I mean, we aren’t living in filth or anything – but I don’t keep up with clutter well when I’m distracted by DIY projects.

There comes a point when I’m done with it though. Like D.O.N.E. You know it’s serious when the caps come out. So I’ve been working on small projects here and there just to make me feel better.

Our garage, along with my car and our kitchen island, are just spots I don’t keep up with. They are perpetual messes. I’ve tried to change my ways and have gotten a little better with age, but not much.

The garage is worst of them all – after a summer of working on projects it is an absolute disaster. Thing is, we always park in there – so no matter how bad it is we make room for the cars, so that’s something. We may have to jump over things to get to them, but we can park inside!

My work bench had become an absolute PIT:

disaster area

I can’t believe I show you some of these pictures – but I always want to share the real stuff with the pretty. I’m normal. Well maybe not, but close.

But I had that spot looking GREAT after about an hour of concentrated clean up:

DIY work bench

I’m gonna be honest here – a few of those things were chucked into the other side of the garage – that’s also a disaster. I really would have just put it away, but we can’t really walk through that part right now…cause it’s a disaster. Baby steps. (For the easy DIY instructions on how to make that work bench go here.)

I have talked for YEARS about trying to get a better handle on the paper that comes into our house. I’m just a piler – it’s me and I refuse to fight it any longer. I pile it up for a couple few weeks and then tackle it all at once:

The basket is now mostly empty again:

My goal is to sit down once a week to address everything in the basket – we’ll see if that happens. Snort.

My favorite organizational project of the past couple weeks is this one though. Listen carefully when you look at it – you’ll hear angels singing:

organizing small tools

Do you hear them??

I picked up this little organizer from the hardware store about, oh I don’t know – six months ago? Yeah. 

My little bits of DIY things have been floating around everywhere up till now. I’ve kept some in tackle boxes:

tackle box for screws and nails

Which is actually a great solution if you only need a nail or screw occasionally. They aren’t big enough to hold the number of pieces I have though.

Mama needed something bigger and better. This thing is amaaaaazing:

organizing small things

I sat down and sorted everything and was in absolute heaven. I’m not kidding, I kept saying “This is amazing” out loud every few minutes. I would worry I was running out of little drawers and then I’d realize I had a ton more and I’d say “This is amazing!” again. I’d find random little things that I just had a few of and there would be a spot just for them. It was a beautiful time.

It was made even better by my BFF the label maker:

label printer

I mean, this is a must. All that organization is worthless if you’re going to have to pull out eleventy billion drawers to find one little thing.

I rediscovered all kinds of little doodads that I love. Tons of my favorite anchors that I didn’t realize I had:

best anchors wire holders

You just screw them in instead of drilling a hole in the wall first – so easy! And those jobbies on the right are great for corralling cords behind furniture. Cause you know how much I hate cords.

It was GLORIOUS! Whoo hoo! Now I just need to decide where I’m going to keep my little organizer – you can hang it so I’m thinking maybe in our utility closet. That way I don’t have to go out to the garage for every little thing.

I tell you what – a little decluttering and organization makes a girl feel good! I say it all the time but even focusing on small areas will make you feel so accomplished. If the clutter is overwhelming in your house set your sights on one problem area at a time. Set the timer if you need to and just go after it in little bits so you don’t get frustrated.

What’s your worst problem area? Areas? Overall our house stays clean and picked up…most of the time. But there are spots that I let get out of control way too often.