Monday, December 30, 2013

Strikingly Stupid

I recently discovered the door to the garage did not have a proper strike plate on it.  The latch was just ruining the casing.  Apparently someone thought that was OK.
For less than $3 I had not one, but two proper plates (not sure why they are sold in pairs) and was able to install one of them in a matter of minutes.  Doing things right really isn't that hard.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Miracle Product: Outlet Timers

Outlet timers are a very underrated product.  They have tons of uses, including turning on a lamp to deter burglars, turning off a bedroom fan in the middle of the night, and my favorite, automatically turning on and off Christmas lights.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Securing the Sofa

Our beautiful couch is a two-piece sectional, and it is always trying to separate itself.  I have been thinking of fastening the two pieces together for a long time, so I finally flipped the pieces on their sides to figure out how I wanted to accomplish this.
To my surprise, there was already a device installed for this very purpose, called a Sofa Snap.  Unfortunately, only one half of the unit was there.

That meant I would have to fabricate the other, simpler half.  I started by going through my garbage can to retrieve an L-bracket I knew I had recently thrown away.  It had been on some lumber we had burned, and I threw it out with the ashes.

I then started grinding and filing.

I eventually got the shape I needed and hit it with a coat of paint.

I screwed it into position. I put some paper behind it because I was too impatient to let the paint fully dry.

And locked the couch together.  It seems to work perfectly.  Hopefully it continues to hold. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Rug Rubbing Door

The door to our master bath rubbed on the area rug we have in there, making it annoying to open or close the door.  I finally got tired of it and broke out Chrissy's belt sander.

A couple minutes of work and the door elegantly grazes the top of the rug.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Handle Hardware


After only three months of ownership, the hardware securing the shed's handles were already showing significant corrosion.  This was also a problem on the floor model we saw, but I figured I could cross that bridge when I came to it, and I came to it a lot faster than expected.  It was a very simple swap for stainless hardware, which I am now considering painting.
This is why I appreciate it when things come with stainless steel hardware to begin with, like our cheap arbor.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Patching Hot Tub Paneling

Some of the paneling on the side of the hot tub was coming loose at the bottom.  It was the result of the material crumbling around the staples holding it.  They were put in at an angle, so there wasn't a lot of material actually being held.
The staple has been removed, but you can see where it was.
After an extended search, I was able to find stainless steel finish nails (thank you Lowe's; bite me Home Depot).  With very few nails I was able to secure all the loose paneling, and it is nearly impossible to tell anything was ever wrong.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Miracle Product: PVC Garden Arbor

This PVC arbor from Lowe's is a great product.  It looks great, it's shiny white PVC, so it should be maintenance free and last forever, and I was pleasantly surprised to find it came with stainless steel screws for assembly.  Best of all, it is the cheapest arbor they sell.  Winning!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Focus on the Front Yard

We have finally tackled our incredibly boring front yard.  Above and below are the before photos.

And here's the finished product.  Please excuse the Frankenstein grass in the foreground.  It will fill in.  And that pile of mulch is on the way out.  Those wires you see are Christmas lights on the verge of being hung.

Here are some detail shots.
The arbor was originally meant for the back yard, but it looked too good up front to deny.  We tried about 40 different brick patterns for the path that failed miserably, but eventually found one that worked.

And here's the work in progress.
We started by ripping out all the old plants and brick boarder.  All our neighbors (who employ gardeners) thought we were crazy.

That included the small tree in front of the gate that made moving the garbage cans a hassle.

In the process I might have broken a sprinkler line, which ate a day of potential work.

We also relocated a sprinkler to the corner, since we were doing PVC work anyway.

One of the nicest changes was to the brick wall.  We picked up some concrete stain and Chrissy applied two coats, completely transforming the mismatched blocks into a cohesive chocolate colored wall.
In Progress
We put a lot of effort into the new brick boarder.  Chrissy had the idea to use a two layered approach, with one brick flat and another on it's edge.  It will allow for easier mowing and should resist movement much better than the crooked old single row of bricks.
The trusty dead blow hammer proved its worth yet again.  The right tool is always a bigger hammer.
Testing plant placement.  We didn't have any specific plants in mind for this.  We just went to the garden section and picked what we liked.

It was a lot of work, but we are really pleased with the way it turned out.  The biggest challenge was working around our busy weekend schedule and early sunsets after work.
This further proves that if you want to tackle a project, you should just jump in.  If you work hard, it will turn out great.

Here's one more before and after shot.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tree Chopping - Pekema Projects on the Road

While visiting family for Thanksgiving, it was decided a tree needed to be removed.

Not only did I cut down the tree (with a little help), I also split all the resulting logs.
Before Splitting
After Splitting