Homey Media

We all get tips, tricks and inspiration for our home projects from lots of places. And imagine this, some of those places are not blogs! I know, blasphemy. Today, I’m going to divulge who’s in my multimedia circle of trust, those podcasts, shows and magainzes that I use to fill my commutes and lazy hours. I can only imagine your intrigue.

But truly, I hope this is a ‘I’ll show you mine if you show me yours’ type deal. As much as I love my old standbys, I’d love to add some new ones to the lineup, so share away! (Future Link Party idea??)


For listening to with a male counterpart: Ace on the House

I actually only regularly listen to one home improvement podcast, and that’s Ace on the House. Available through iTunes like any other self-respecting podcast. New episodes every Saturday. It’s hosted by Adam Carolla and his childhood buddy Ray Oldhafer and they take e-mail and phone questions about home improvement projects.

Now, if you listen to the Adam Carolla Show podcast (which I also highly recommend, it’s definitely rated R, though) you know what an outspoken, sometimes harsh yet absolutely likable and always hilarious guy the Ace Man is. If you don’t listen to the Adam Carolla Show, Ace was a carpenter (the real kind, not the weekend kind) before he made his living in comedy and espouses useful advice for anyone’s questions. Ray still works as a contractor and their banter is entertaining because Ray is not afraid of giving Adam some $*%@, and he’s hilarious in his own right. If you’re not offended by curse words or questionably tasteful analogies, this podcast is the bomb. They talk about everything from fixing a squeaky subfloor to filling a yolked-out screw hole to hanging towel racks that won’t pull through the drywall. My husband and I listen to it together when traveling in the car or while making eggs on Saturday mornings. Great stuff.

TV Shows

For your fix of Canadian dudes who still highlight their hair: Property Brothers

Or, ProBros as Mike and I call it. This HGTV show features 2 brothers, one a contractor and one a realtor (how convenient!) who help couples find the house of their dreams. The only catch? They can’t afford the house of their dreams. Womp womp. But that’s where the magic happens, the realtor ProBro shows couples some subpar homes and the contractor ProBro explains (and demonstrates via computer graphics) how the house can be transformed into their dream home all within their budget. The couple picks a house and then the demolition begins.

The ProBros Themselves

It gets really addicting to see how these once derelict homes turn out to be incredible places I’d love to live. Sometimes the couples are *ahem* difficult so it sates that love-to-hate drive. The brothers are entertaining and it shows you the potential in everything. Worth a watch. We’ve definitely spent more than one afternoon watching episode after episode after episode.

For good tips and tricks from old timers with Boston accents: Ask this Old House

The small project version of This Old House, this show is a PBS classic. If it ever goes off the air I will be DEVASTATED. Rich, Rodge, Tom, and the host Kevin visit people’s houses to help them with home conundrums. They tackle stuff like banging baseboard heaters, burping sinks and uneven asphalt. These guys fix things the right way, to the code and to the book. No shortcuts here. It’s great information, though, and I find they show me a lot of products you never knew existed like under cabinet LEDs or  screws whose heads break off when torqued the right amount. The best part of the show, though, is ‘What is it?’ Oh, that segment slays me every time. One of the guys brings in a product and the rest offer their comical guess at what it is. Trust me, it’s worth watching the show for just that.


For feeling like an inadequate homemaker: Martha Stewart Living

Ok, it doesn’t really make me feel inadequate, it just makes me feel like I wish I had 10 more hours in the day and 10 million more dollars so I could outfit my named estate with personalized projects and extensive collections of things such as taxidermy and watermelon pot holders. I love the Martha Stewart aesthetic and this magazine has fabulous ideas and recipes.  I find myself ripping out multiple pages from each issue and even the articles I can’t relate to (taxidermy collection? really?) are beautifully shot. I’m sure you’ve seen this magazine, because, who hasn’t? But, if you are a subscriber, and own an iPad, I highly recommend the iPad version. It is interactive and intuitive. I’ve totally come to love reading magazines on my iPad because of well-done versions like this. The only problem is you can’t rip pages out of the digital version, but I’ve started to use screenshots…not as satisfying, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too, I suppose.

So, good stuff, eh? (I just found out via my father-in-law and ancestry.com that I am Canadian 3 generations back and it has severely up-ticked my use of ‘eh’ because, well, I’m Canadian! No wonder I love the ProBros!) Ok, I’ve shown you mine, show me yours!

Roping in Some Shelves

So last time I left off with what I fancied as a cryptic photo of another bedroom project. CAN YOU HANDLE THE SUSPENSE??

A refresher:

Zoom out a little, and BOOM. Rope Shelves.

I decided we needed some shelving somewhere in the bedroom to display knick knacks, and after brainstorming with the husband and going through various options, such as floating shelves (too hard to build), and bracketed shelves (take up too much visual space) we settled on making this Pinterest inspiration our own:

The Nate Show via Pinterest via http://pinterest.com/jenbow5/

They were the perfect solution because 1) fewer holes in the wall, 2) easy peasy to make, and 3) cheap! How can you say no to that trifecta? We started with the proper lengths of 2×12 and I sanded them with the random orbital sander using 2 successively finer grits (hmm…probably 60 and 300? Again, this was PB – pre-blogging – so I wasn’t the, ahem, journalist I am now). Then, M drilled four 1/2” holes (using a spade bit) on each board, two on each side about 2 inches in from the end, kind of like this low-budget powerpoint mock-up of the plan view:

After staining with Minwax English Chestnut and sealing with Minwax Wipe-On Satin Poly, began the rope work. I estimated the space I wanted between each shelf (if I recall, about 18 inches) and started the trial and error of knotting and re-knotting and re-knotting again (x~53). I made sure the bottom shelf would hang high enough to allow our TV to sit on the dresser underneath and calculated upward from there. There was a lot of finagling and balancing the boards upright with my toesies as I measured rope lengths. I do my best DIY in sweatpants.

I threaded each length of natural jute rope (from Homey Deeps) up through a hole in the board, measured approximately and made a simple knot, then threaded it up through the next board. At the top, I tied a butterfly knot

and then repeated the process down the other hole on the same side of the board. Rinse and repeat for the other side of the boards.

Meanwhile, M had been devising an anchoring system for the rope shelves to hang on. Because we live in an ancient and piecemeal house, our studs are nowhere near the normal 16” on center. Consequently, he decided to screw a 1×4 scrap to the studs we could find at the top of the wall. (Side note: Whenever it comes to hanging something load bearing, I always defer to Mike. I have no time for finding things like studs and have the broken artwork to prove it.) We then caulked the seams and painted the whole schmear with the wall color (Benjamin Moore Newburg Green) for a seamless enough finish. Then, we screwed in two large stainless hooks at the appropriate distances and we were in business for shelf hanging. You can see the pre-painted anchor board at the top of this stunningly bad pic:

And the painted version here:

Ugh, if you could only have seen the first go at hanging the shelves. (I can’t wait to start blogging current projects. I am a pic maniac now!) The shelves would have looked perfectly at home in the carnival fun house. But with a little lifting and knot adjustment, we were in business!

The only issue left to take care of was the raw ends at the bottom of the shelves. Lucky for me, M has some knot know-how, he was On the Mayflower, after all. Click the link if you don’t believe me ;)

Yes, that really is him

So he ‘whipped the line’ with some  yellow string we had left over from the wedding to prevent any fraying. Parfait!

Then all that was left was to accessorize those babies…it’s still a work in progress, and accessorizing is not exactly my strong suit. Sometimes I feel weird just displaying things for display sake (“Why yes, that is a moss covered Styrofoam ball, doesn’t it just make the most stunning vignette?”), so I try to use things that are at least marginally meaningful to us. Anyway, here is how the shelves look today:

And much to fishy’s delight (on the bottom left), the shelves have hung tight. Anyone else made a Pinterest project their own?

Programming Note

Hola hola…just a little FYI for all my beloved early adopters: I plan to post on Mon, Wed, and Fri for the first couple weeks and then, if all goes well and I’m feelin it, I’ll move to 5 days/week. These resolutions are about making steady, long-term changes, right?

Anyways…I am chomping at the bit to reveal what’s going on here:

This blogging thing is kind of addicting.

From One Bed to Another

So back in September, after the dust had settled from wedding madness I got antsy to redo the bedroom. The bedroom was the first place I tackled when we moved into fh in October 2009 because it was painted a mold green color. Lovely. Here is the bed side of the room in its first iteration:

Then, last Christmas, M made me a bed. Let me say that again, HE MADE ME A BED FOR CHRISTMAS. It is incredible. Yes, I’m bragging. Cause it’s AMAZING.

You (the good DIY blog reader that you are),  recognize it as the Ana White Farmhouse bed, and I couldn’t have been more elated. I had stayed in Florida (where I’m from) with my family a week longer than he did, and he elfed around and made the bed on the hush hush so it was in situ when I got home. I almost died with excitement. We had been sleeping on an Ikea Malm before, and I was sick and tired of sleeping less than an Oats height off the ground.

The bed lived unfinished in our room for months while I made matching nightstands (also from Ana White), and planned the wedding. (The old bed is still sitting in the basement. Hello Spring yard sale. And the old nightstands have been converted into tool storage in the mud room. They look great with a vice bolted to them.) In October, it was finally time to tackle the bed and the bedroom. I picked the bedding and the wall color right from the West Elm catalog. Theirs:


Yes, I took what they had and mimeographed it for our bedroom. So what? I love it. And there was no repainting 4 times over because I hated the paint color I chose, which was a plus. I sanded all surfaces of the bed with 3 grits (40,150 and 300 I think, and sorry there aren’t more pics, it was PB i.e. pre-blogging). I used our random orbital sander attached to our shiny new shop vac we got from the in-laws for the wedding.

I cannot even tell you how well that worked. I honestly thought I was going to be dealing with a 1920s style dustbowl in the bedroom and I could nary find a dust particle in the room, even after 3 rounds of sanding! Craftsman for the win.

After sanding, I wiped down the bed and treated it with a pre-stain conditioner for softer woods to help the stain settle more evenly. Then, I wiped on two coats of Minwax English Chestnut, followed by two coats of Minwax Satin Finish Wipe-on Poly et viola! We have finished bed!

Now, let’s be honest, this process is never that easy. And, SANDING IS BORING. YOU CANNOT EVEN LISTEN TO PODCASTS WHILE SANDING BECAUSE IT IS TOO LOUD. I did sand and stain while the bed was in the bedroom. Not exactly a back of the label indicated situation…however, I did have the window wide open and we let the place air out for 7 days before moving our stuff back in there. I also propped the bed up on some scrap wood so I could sand and stain the bottom edges without marring the carpet. Not the most foolproof method, but it beat taking the bed apart, lugging it outside, working on it, and then bringing it back in to reassemble. Sometimes convenience beats best practice. This is one of those times.

This was probably the biggest, and in the long run, most permanent change we made while redoing the bedroom (when we eventually move, the bed will go with us to our next bedroom while the rest of the projects may not land in the bedroom next time). We did tackle a couple more projects in there, including this:


It’s About Time to Start a Resolution

I loooooove resolutions (not that I always keep them, but, hey, I do try). I love the clean slate feeling of a new year and all the promise and optimism it brings. I’m totally the kid who was stoked to get a new school planner and put all my goals and appointments in it as soon as I got it home. With color coding and everything.

This year, my resolutions are:

  • more precise budgeting (using YNAB…love that program!)
  • not to be lazy when getting dressed for work 
  • wash my makeup off before bed (I am the WORST at this)
  • host a yard sale (lots of duplicates because of wedding gifts, and Mike is starting to call me a hoarder)
  • call my brother and sister more often (at least once a week!)
  • Folksy Home

Yeah, that last one is this blog, and dare I say, it’s my ‘BIG’ resolution for the year.

The reason I’m starting this blog is well…the reason most people start these kinds of blogs. I do lots of home-related stuff (at least I think I do) and I want to share my personal experience while keeping a diary to look back on (so when I’m old and gray and have no interest in what I did to that curbside-found-dresser in my 20s I can be comforted by the fact that *if*I did want to know what finish I used, I could look it up). On top of that, I read approximately 1 million blogs every day and it seems like a really great community to be a part of…so much sharing of ideas and constructive feedback and support seems to interlink the blogs I read, and selfishly, I want in!

So a little background: My husband and I met while in grad school in Boston and moved to Bucks County in 2009 after he got a job here. We ‘acquired’ our dog in January 2010

and got married August 20, 2011 (yes, the Kim K. wedding day).

We love to be home and do home improvement type stuff. We constantly have projects either in the works or in the pipeline. Though we rent, our landlord is tres awesome and lets us paint/personalize etc. We are saving for a home of our own, but we’re not there yet.

However, I haven’t always been so DIY. Here I am on my prom day (with Dad) before DIY was even a twinkle in my eye:

Neither of my parents are particularly into the DIY scene (even though they are awesome in a million other ways), but I do have a ridiculously creative grandpa, below, who would never buy anything when he could possibly make his own (he has more than 1 plastic bottle part attached to his lawn mower). Maybe that’s where it comes from.

As a teenager, I spent a lot of time doing homework, reading teen magazines, planning outfits and downloading from Napster. I kind of had a renaissance when I got to grad school in 2006, started being more conscious of my place on this planet, and taking more pride in intrinsic things, i.e. DIY, baby!

My husband compliments this revelation and often when I am unfamiliar or need his steadier hand, he will jump in and help. He has the experience; here he is working on the canoe he built:

So, long story short, this marks the official beginning of my blogging new year’s resolution. Viva Folksy Home. Let’s do this!

**btw, that pic at the top is of when Mike and I got back to the hotel room after our wedding. We were just a bit excited to be married :)