7/28/2014

Pool - Level Ground and Setup 2014

Last year we bought an old pool on Craigslist.   We did get a few good days out of it, but it turned out to be a bit of a nightmare.   We had problems with the filter, leaks, seeds and leaves falling in, chemicals, and uneven ground.  Here's what the pool looked like a year ago.  Naively we just started filling it up on the ground that "looked" flat.
fill up, inflate, intex pool, bubble pool, rubber, amount of water, time

And here's the pool rings we made.  They served a dual purpose to keep out some of the leaves and to try and warm up the water.  Our backyard is surrounded by leaves and only receives sun for a few hours of the day. 
diy pool ring, pool rings, heat rings, sun, warm, cover, diy pool cover, make

This year i knew that i had a lot of work to do before even thinking of turning on the water.  Probably the biggest problem was that we set up the pool in an area that was not level.  


The previous owners of our house had an area of the yard where we could tell a pool had been set up before.  I thought we could just set up our pool on the same area without a problem.  But when we set up the new pool it was much larger and the rubber edges hung over the leveled area of dirt. Unfortunately one of those ares of dirt was much lower, which meant that the water was right up to the top at one end and very low at the other end.  The bad part was that at the low end of the pool was where the filter was located and it was not able to clean the water properly.  That meant that throughout the year we had problems with dirty water.

The second problem we had was with the Intex pool inflatable ring.  The top of our pool has an inflatable ring that is inflated in order to keep the sides up.  I looked and looked but i could not find the leak.  But this was a problem that i would try to fix after the pool was all set up, because it will still stay partially inflated and the water should hopefully not pour out.

So before I did anything this year I knew I needed to level the pool area.  We have an 18' x 4' Intex rubber "bubble" pool.  I got out my measuring tape and marked off an area of 19 foot in diameter.  At first I just used the shovel and eyeballed the ground level.  I knew from the year before that the area by the wood fence was high and the area by the back of the yard was low.   So using a shovel and a wheelbarrow transferred much dirt as I thought necessary to the low-end.  I also knocked down some of the high spots in the old existing ring of dirt.  Here's what the pool area looked like.
level dirt pool area, how to level a pool, flatten pool, yard, backyard

Luckily I also own a laser level.  It wasn't bright enough to work during the day but I checked the level with it at dusk.  It turned out that the eyeball test was pretty good.  I was only off an inch or so from the highest point to the lowest point.  But I'm glad I used the laser level to check every few feet or so.  There were some spots where it fluctuated.  I used a rake and shovel some more to knock down the high points and level everything out.

Here's another picture of what that area looks like after I moved a few yards of dirt to try and level it out.  Exciting i know...
backyard pool area, flatten dirt, dirt for pool level, sand, how to 

With the pad level it was finally time to start setting up the pool.  This picture shows are filter, pump, chemicals, cover, and tubing.  We also needed a bag of fine sand, which gets added to the pool filter. It's not the original filter that came with the pool, the previous owner upgraded because he was tired of cleaning out the small cloth filter.  And the cover was something i picked up on clearance over the winter at Meijer.  They are surprisingly cheap in the middle of February when they need shelf space.   I'm really glad I got a pool cover because the seeds which fall down from the large tree in our backyard really wreaked havoc with the pool and its chemical balance.  Not to mention having to use the pool strainer to clean out everything every time we swam. 
common pool supplys, how much, cost, typical, filter, make, made

I used a metal dolly to carry the heavy rubber pool from the garage to the back yard.  Here you can also see the special filter pools sand we needed to use.
how to pool, cover, dolly, sand, pool filter sand

It took about a day to fill up, but this year went much faster and turned out a lot better.  We didn't have problems half way through, realizing it was out of level.
intex 19 foot pool, 18', 18 foot intex pool, price, cost, size, diameter

Also there was a bit of a learning curve the first year with how to set up the filter and pump. There was weird hose clamp and rubber tube connections that took us a while to understand.  But this year I remembered how it went together and it all went together smoothly.

There are still some problems though. The inflatable rubber ring which goes around the top of the pool has one or many leaks, i'm not sure.  I've checked it several times this year but still cannot find the leak.  I even used soapy water to spray over it, in hopes of finding an air bubble, but nothing.  After reading some more i realized that this was a common problem with many other people.  Some people said that it could be from microscopic holes in the rubber which happens when the rubber is exposed to sunlight over time.  We tried filling it up every three or four days but it became pointless exercise.

Also there's holes in the rubber pool itself which needed patching.  They are small, slow leaks that they become annoying wet spots in the back of our yard.  My method for fixing the leaks is to heat up our hot glue gun, unplug it, then run out there and squeeze as much hot glue in the puncture as i can before it cools down.  Immediately when the glue touches the water it hardens, but it works pretty well.

We say that this might be the last year of having in setting up a pool.  Our great $75 Craigslist purchase has been fun at times, but it's also lots of work.  Not to mention three or four times that cost in water bills, chemicals, cover and electricity.

7/23/2014

Bamboo After Cold Winter


I planted bamboo in my backyard many years ago.  Here's some of the previous posts in case you are interested:

Bamboo in Heavy Snow - pictures after a big winter ice storm
Bamboo - 2011 - a much harsher winter meant lots of dead leaves in the spring
More Drain Pipe - trying to route a roof gutter drain around bamboo roots
Bamboo 2 - the first winter, hoping my small trees survive
Bamboo - the original grove of trees in West Virginia where i brought the trees home from

Bamboo in Cold Climates - a summary of how it's grown here in Michigan

I have two different types of plants, which i brought back from West Virginia and Kentucky.  Over the years it has been a struggle to keep the plant alive here in Michigan's cold winter weather.  In West Virginia the bamboo grew year-round and reached a height of about 50 feet tall.  However in Michigan that same plan can only really grow for a few months before the weather gets cold and covers the ground with a foot of snow.  This was one of the coldest winters, usually the leaves stay green all year, but this time they all turned yellow and died. 
yellow bamboo, cut down, dead, die, kill, bamboo

In previous winters I was able to keep the plant alive by putting layers and layers of grass clippings, leaves and mulch on the roots.  After doing some research I believe that the large bamboo I have in my yard is Yellow Groove bamboo and reading about that specific species, I learned that it may be killed if the weather dipped below -15°F.
cut and clump bamboo, stalks, tree, lumber, wood

In 2014 the temperature was below -15°F on multiple days.  When spring came I knew all the parts of the bamboo above ground were dead. So I got out my hand clippers to cut all the stalks down to the ground. My dad came over and helped cutting and stringing all these branches in bundles.  One nice thing though is that the bamboo stalks themselves are pretty light, since they are hollow.

Another great thing about bamboo, which some people also hate, is that they are hard to kill.   The bamboo plant stores energy in its roots, which are called rhizomes, and use that energy to grow new shoots in the summer.  So even though it looks like the plant was a goner this spring, I knew there was a good chance it would come back as the weather warmed up.

One spring day in May I went out and noticed several new shoots coming out of the ground.
new bamboo shoots, month, when, seeds

As you would expect they were coming up close to, or right next to where I cut down the dead stalks. Usually these new shoots have to compete for light with the main plant, but these new shoots were able to collect all of the sunlight.  Although that's not really a big deal because as far as nutrients go all of the shoots are connected together and work as one.  Bamboo is the same as the grass growing in the yard, it looks like many individual blades of grass, but it's really interconnected clumps which support each other. 
what type of bamboo, grow, type, species, cold, zone, zone 4, zone 6, zone 5

Here's what it looks like now, it's actually hard to notice a difference from a year ago.  The bamboo is such a quick growing plant, it goes from nothing to full height in about a week.  Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world.
how to grow bamboo, how to remove bamboo, type of bamboo

The only downside is that there's not as much nutrients going into the roots this year, since there are less leaves absorbing sunlight.  But actually I think I could probably just cut the plant down to the ground every year and it would grow back good as new.
hardy bamboo, harty, bamboo, michigan, cold climate, type

7/16/2014

Organize Parts Storage Stacking Cases


It all started with this video from Tested.
tested, adam savage, sortimo, sorting cases

And in case you are wondering what the final result looks like, this is my rolling case to organize all my parts, screws, bolts, brackets, etc...
organize parts, storage stacking cases, harbor freight, 20 box

You can watch the video of the build here, but for more pictures and explanation continue reading.
Organize Parts - Storage Stacking Cases
 
http://youtu.be/ctgp7JBPLXs

For some reason i recently became interested in organizing everything in the workshop.  I saw pictures like this one and just got really motivated to clean all the junk from my basement shelves.
how to organize your shop, organize bins, sorting, organize, shop, workshop

Here's a picture of a portion of Adam's shop.  He has spent years arranging everything the way that he prefers, but he is still changing and making it better.
adam savage workshop

I've talked before about how much I like watching the Tested channel on YouTube.  It's hosted by two guys Will and Norm, but the main attraction to it is Adam Savage from Mythbusters.  There's lots of really great videos which show Adam working on different projects and making really cool things in a shop.  A couple of months ago I built a folding case for my nail guns.  I was inspired by the case that adam built on Tested.
folding toolbox, tool box, nail gun case

One of the earliest videos on the Tested YouTube page was one which showed how Adam sorted and organized all of his parts/hardware. 
mythbusters shop, how to organize bolts, washers, nuts
http://youtu.be/1OPSbF6kM9k

Lots of people use jars or trays, sometimes you'll see a whole wall rack with different compartments for the nuts or bolts.  These types of systems seem like a good idea at first.  But then you start adding parts and pretty soon they get over filled and become just as difficult to find things as a big jar.
harbor freight colored trays, sorting, bolts, shop

Or if you're like me you had everything spread over your garage and workshop in coffee cans and buckets.  I've had this gray set of drawers for many years and it did work really well.  I've just accumulated more stuff then will fit in the drawers.
sort bolts, screws, nuts, washers, parts, how to sort, stay organized

But Adam had a system by a company called Sortimo.  It's individual cases which have modular compartments on the inside.  Basically modular cases inside of a larger case.  For example one case will hold all different sizes of bolts.  Those bolts are separated into individual cups which can be moved or removed from the case.  Also these cases are designed so that when they are turned sideways or upside down everything stays in place.
sortimo tbox, tboxx, case price, review, price, sale, compare

Adam had about 20 of the Sortimo cases on a rolling rack in a shop.  I thought it was a wonderful way to stay organized and easily get to any part you need quickly.  No more having to search through piles and piles of junk all mixed together in one container.  One big downside of the cases and rack system that Adam used is the price.  I looked online, the Sortimo cases cost more than $50 each and the rack was several hundred dollars.  That meant that if you wanted to purchase the same thing that Adam had, you would have to spend close to $1000.  So i decided to come up with a cheaper alternative, which worked the same way.  The first change i made was with the case itself.  There are other companies that make these sorting cases. Lowe's has cases made by the company Kobalt which cost around $12.  But i decided to buy my cases from Harbor Freight.  They had three different case sizes and i decided to buy medium sized case.
harbor freight 20 bin portable parts storage case, review, build, cart, box

The original price of the case at Harbor freight was $10.  Although 99% of the time you can purchase it in the store for $7.50.  Then on top of that, you can always print out a 20% off coupon for one individual item, plus you can print out another coupon for one free item.  Luckily I have a Harbor Freight on the way home from work.  So I printed out eight 20% off coupons and eight free item coupons.  Each day I would go to the store and grab one plastic case and either a free flashlight, free measuring tape, or free volt meter.  So I was getting the plastic sorting case and flashlight for just $6.40.  Which is half of the case at Lowe's and way less than the Sortimo case.

After buying eight cases and getting 8 free items I got a little impatient.   I realized that although right now i only need 8 cases, over time i would probably need a lot more.  So i ended up buying a total of 12 cases from Harbor Freight.  

Now before I begin talking about building the rolling organize cart, I want to mention the actual Harbor Freight sorting case.  All of those type of  cases come with a clear cover so that you can see everything inside.  However with Harbor Freight 20 box case there is a large sticker which is attached to the front, which is impossible to get off.  After searching online i realized that many people had the same annoying problem.  One solution that someone had was to peel off the thin plastic coating with a razor knife, then using carb cleaning fluid or transmission fluid, dampen the paper sticker until the glue breaks down and it could be easily removed by scraping with a flat razor knife.  That method worked really well and i was able to remove all 12 of the stickers.

Then it was time to begin sorting all of my nuts, bolts and miscellaneous parts I had lying around my workshop.  I had things in coffee cans and jars, in bowls and just lying on the shelf.   I did have a nice little sorting box which I've used for as long as I can remember.  It was great when I was a kid but I definitely filled it up years ago and needed more space.  So I dumped everything out on the table and began sorting.  The whole process took 3 days and i filled up 9 of the 12 cases.  This is what it looked like after i had purchased just 5 cases. 
sorting parts into cases, workshop, tools, how to organize

It was very enjoyable going through, dumping everything out, sorting them into their own tray, then deciding what trays should be grouped together into a case.  I was finding things that i never knew i had.  Also it was great knowing that i would never have to spend minutes each time having to look for just the right sized bolt.
harbor freight case, garage, rolling cart, case, adam savage

So now I had all the cases sorted and it was time to build the mobile stacking cart to keep it all together.  I drew several different sketches of how I thought the cart showed work.  At the end I figured that the simplest design would be the best.  Just a wooden 5-sided box with wooden sliders for the cases to rest on.  Then i drew the cart up on AutoCAD.  Using the computer to design, really helped with getting all the dimensions.  It forces you to think more about what all the board dimensions will be and all the spacing.  Here was my final design.
plans for a rolling cart, case, workshop, toolshop, woodshop, dimensions, case, sortimo

The dimension of the rolling case itself was based on the size of the Harbor Freight cases.  I gave about 1/2" room on either side, it didn't have to be the exact size of the case.  However i did design it so that the cases were flush at the front.
plans, build, how to, boards, make, cart, wood, rolling

The wood I decided to use was 1/2" OSB.   I've used this wood many times before on different projects, basically for the same reason.  It's adequately strong and as cheap a 4'x8' board you can buy.  The 4'x8' sheet of OSB is only $10.  Compared to a piece of 1/2" plywood which might cost $35.  You can see in this picture the sheet of wood that I started with.  The best thing is that i had already used this board on a previous project.  Luckily there was enough of the board left, that I could cut out the top, bottom, back, and the two sides.
osb wood, 4x8 board, layout for organize cart, case

I still have to improve my technique for cutting a large sheet of wood on the table saw.  I probably should have used a circular saw with a straight edge.  But I was able to cut the rough dimensions and then later i recut it exactly to the right size with the table saw and 90° fence.
table saw, cross cut, osb, craftsman, guard

Here are the wheels that I was planning on using.  They were a little pricey at $4 each, but they're really nice and roll quietly.
harbor freight wheels, rollerblade wheels, smooth, quiet

For the small boards that the cases would ride on, I used a piece of 1"x2" pine.  Again these come in 8 foot pieces and only cost $1.00 each.  I cut them down to size, 13", then attached them to the sides.
glue slats, 1x2 pine, how to clamp, cart

The method used in attaching them to the side boards was a little bit complicated.  First I added glue to the slats and clamped them to the side.  Then I flipped the whole side piece over and nailed them from the outside.  Once they were nailed in place I could remove the clamps and move to the next piece.  This process was repeated over and over until all of the eleven 1"x2"s were attached.
nail gun, bostitch, build cart, shop rolling cart

Here are the completed side boards waiting for the glue to dry.
side boards, bostitch air compressor, dimensions

Well my plan was for them to be set to the side and dry, but instead I decided to build the whole case that day.  That's the great thing about using a nail gun and glue, normally I would have to wait for the glue to set for 24 hours and have to use several clamps.  But with the nail gun it's all held in place and I can continue to work.  Here's how I attached the other pieces.  With everything lying flush on the ground I glued the top on and nailed it together.
building the case, wood case for shop, tray, verticle, stacking

I then repeated that step for the bottom piece and the back.  And here is what the case looked like at that point.  Only then did i leave it and let the glue dry overnight.
vertical stacking case, cart, rolling

The next morning I tested the plastic cases to see how they would slide in and out.  It was a little bit of a tight fit so I decided to round over the edges.  I used to wood rasp to knock down the sharp edges of the OSB and 1x2's.  This helped a lot and allowed the cases to slide smoothly on the wood rails.  Next I did pass over everything with the belt sander.  I didn't spend too much time sanding, but I did knock down all of the sharp outer corners as well.

Then it was time to start painting the case.  As with many of my other projects, I just use whatever leftover paint I have in the basement.  This time the old paint was a sort of a whitish lime green color.  It was leftover in the basement from the previous owners of the house.  I don't think the company which made the paint still exists.
paint shop cart, stacking case, mobile, wheel

Here's what it looked like after the first coat.  I wasn't real happy with the lime green paint so I decided to give it a little more weathered look.
painted, white, wood, cart, case, wood, cheap, free, clean, organize

On the right is the lime green paint I used, on the left is polyurethane.  To do the weathering all I needed was the brown and black paint in the middle.  I've done weathering techniques before on my nail gun case and tool box.  I got the idea from Adam Savage and his YouTube videos.  The tool box i weathered looked way better after it was old, dirty and scuffed up.  I thought the organize case would look better weathered as well.
paint and polyurethane, how to weather, weathered wood, adam savage

The way to weather something starts with wetting down the surface, then brush on the brown or black paint.  I try to get the dark paint in all the nooks and crevices.  Then take a rag and try to wipe off as much paint as possible.  Weathering OSB has a definite look to it because it is not a smooth piece of wood, it's actually several pieces glued together.  Filling in those cracks with dark paint gives it more of a textured look.
how to weather a case, give something character, osb, paint

I had never weathered something this large before, it turned out all right, but not as good as the other two projects I had done.  Although I definitely like it better than the solid lime green paint.
stacking vertical wood case, organize, plans, build

After the weathering I added two coats of polyurethane to protects everything.  The last step was to add the 4 wheels.  This was the first time i got to use my new cases.  I had to find 16 screws to attach the wheels and they had to be the right size.  It was so easy finding just the right size screw to use when everything is neatly sorted.  Normally I would have to dump out coffee cans on the floor and try to find screws that were roughly the same size.  You can see here how easy it is when everything is in its place.
harbor freight, case, organize, wheeled cart, vertical cart, box, wood, plans

Here is what the final case organizer looked like.
great organize cart, pinterest, cheap, harbor freight, case cart

I'm really happy with how it turned out.  I do realize it's not the most complicated thing in the world.  Just a square box with some wood slats glued on the inside.  But it didn't need to be any more complicated then that.  It's simple, strong and works great.  So far i've used the cart a few times to find bolts or washers and it's saved me lots of time.  If I need a specific piece I can just pull out the labeled box and find the exact one I need.
pinterest how to organze shop, organize, fabric, screws, man

Yet again this is one of those projects that I wish I had done years ago.  I can just imagine how many hours it would've saved me over the years.
cool cart, case, organize, sort, neat, compact, woodshop,


7/09/2014

Baby Room Remodel Idea


UPDATE
Here is the full video we made while remodeling the baby room.  I tried to clarify as much as i could but the pictures and write-up below probably does the best job of explanation.


http://youtu.be/8ralJQW2Meg


A big step in getting ready for a new baby is preparing the room.  We decided to convert one of the spare bedrooms in our house into being the new baby room.  It's approximately 12' x 12' and you can see from this picture that has hardwood flooring, ceiling fan, and a window.
baby room remodel, wood floor, paint, fan, curtains

We installed the new ceiling fan a few months ago.  Here's what the room looked like before we began.  The walls were taupe, the wood frame around the window was painted white, while the baseboard and frame around the closet and door were a dark brown color.
how to prepare a baby room, remodel paint color

The first step was to remove the old baseboard. We still have 200'+ of white baseboard that we bought from the Gibraltar home auction.

It's a nice touch to put in new baseboard, it really makes the room look more modern.  So using a hammer, crowbar, and a couple of flat bladed screwdriver's I was able to pry the old baseboard off the wall.  You can see the different layers of paint on the top edge, which also added to it's ugly look.
how to remove base board, install baseboard

We decided that instead of having mixed matched brown and white trim we should just make everything white.  The new baseboard was already white, but that meant we needed to paint the door trim then remove the closet doors and paint them white as well.  The clear finish on the doors meant that it would require a few coats of white paint before the brown was invisible anymore.
easy room remodel, freshen up, paint, white

Karrie had been looking for ideas on Pinterest.   She ended up liking the idea of painting chevrons, or a zigzag pattern on one of the walls.  We watched a few videos on how it should be done and then went started to work.  The first step was to paint the wall white.  That would also be the base course for the zigzag pattern.
how to paint chevron on wall, zig zag

Here's what that wall looked like after two coats of white paint.  It didn't matter that we got too much paint on the walls to the left and right because we would be painting over those walls with a different color.
white wall base, coat, color, chevron, zigzag

We also used that same white paint for the ceilings, doors and closet trim pieces.  Again neatness was not an issue since all the walls would be repainted.
paint baby room

You can see from this picture the type of coverage that white paint had on the room door and closet doors.  The closet doors in the back have had two coats of paint by this point, whereas the bedroom door has only had one coat.
easy free baby room, paint color

Before we begin laying out our grid pattern on the walls, I measured the room and drew everything on AutoCAD.  Then I drew several different chevron designs on the wall.  I showed carried the different designs and let her pick the one she liked best.
chevron zigzag wall design, pattern grid, how to

To paint the zig-zag wall pattern you first have to create a grid on the wall.  Then you basically connect the '+' with angled lines.  You don't want the lines you draw for the grid pattern to be permanent so you use chalk, which can be wiped off later.  Another tip that Karrie found was that instead of measuring every square, we could use a piece of cardboard as a template.  Since every square on the wall was the same size the cardboard template could be traced in a repeating pattern vertically and horizontally.   Once the cardboard was traced with chalk the intersection points were marked, Karrie was able to use green frog masking tape to lay out the zigzag chevron pattern.  Since it's important to have really crisp straight paint lines, we decided not to skimp and bought the expensive masking tape.  It did a good job of not allowing the paint to bleed through.
grid for chevron, how to paint a zig zag wall

Here's a close-up of what the wall looked like at this point.  You can see that we used yellow chalk to lay out the grid.  The yellow chalk did a good job of being visible up close but not too dark that it would ruin the white paint as we wiped it off with a wet sponge.
easy chevron wall pattern, zig zag wall paint design, tips, how to

Another tip we learned while doing this was to use a laser level.  We were lucky enough to have a rotary laser level and this laser level which attaches to the wall.  It helped us in getting a nice vertical and horizontal lines.  We also realized that instead of tracing around the entire box, the intersection point is the only thing that we really needed.
zig zag wall paint

Karrie decided to add another step in between the chalk lines and the masking tape.  She used a straight edge and a pencil to draw the diagonal zigzag lines.  This isn't really needed but helped us to make sure the layout was correct.
baby room zig zag wall paint pattern

Again here is what the wall looked like at this point.  If we did this again we would skip the step of drawing the pencil lines, but since it was our first time we didn't want to use the entire roll of tape before realizing that we screwed up.
step by step guide for chevron zig zag wall paint pattern design

While Karrie was working on that wall I started painting the other three.  We picked this blue color for the other walls in the baby room.
best baby room color, paint, wall

By the end of day two we were already at this point.  The first coat of blue paint on the walls and the zig-zag pattern was all laid out with tape.
how to paint a zig zag wall, chevron, easy design

You can see from this close-up, that the chalk marks were still on the walls.  We would wipe it off before we started painting.  Also Karrie wrote the letter 'P' in the areas where we would be painting gray.
masking tape pattern on wall, cool, funky, easy, free

Here is another close-up of the wall and door trim.  Remember from the earlier picture where I painted all the door trim white then afterwards I put masking tape on the edge so the blue paint would be nice and straight.  However after removing the masking tape it didn't tear as nicely as I hoped.  We were left with this horrible jagged at edge.
crisp, clean, easy wall paint, corner

That's when I remembered we had a special tool for painting corners and trim.  It's a red plastic pad with rollers on its edge, the rollers allow it to get close to the trim without leaving streaks.   Next time i'll have to remember to forget the masking tape and just use the red painting tool.  It does a much better job and it's a lot quicker, not having to tape everything off first.
how to paint a straight edge on a wall, corner, trim

While I was working on the trim Karrie began painting the gray chevron pattern.  She found that using a small roller was the best tool.
zig zag wall, chevron, baby room,

It took some time to paint the entire wall since she had to go slowly and make sure not to roll over the 1 inch green masking tape.
great baby room idea, baby room wall design, paint

Another close-up of what the wall, paint, and tape looked like.  You can see that the critical edge is the inside one where we would peel the tape away.
close up wall pattern design, paint, how to

This is what it looked like as we were finishing up the first coat of gray.  We had to paint part of the cold air return cover as well since it landed the gray section of the wall.  Luckily the outlet covers landed in the white portion so we left those white.
one day wall paint, paint design, pattern, grid, geometric

We put on the second coat before removing the masking tape.  Then here's what it looked like as we peeled away the green frog tape masking tape. You can see that the line was pretty crisp, although we still needed erase the chalk line and pencil lines.
masking tape clean straight edge, how to paint a straight edge

After all the tape was removed, the chalk marks were wiped off, and the pencil lines were erased, this is what the wall looked like.  You can see from here that only one small corner of the cold air return was painted white and one small corner of the coaxial cable cover was painted gray.  The bottom of the wall was left rough because it would be covered up by white baseboard.
zig zag wall design, how to, steps, geometric, grid

And here is what it looks like up close again.
paint wall design, geometric, grid

Not all areas turned out perfect.  Here was the very first corner we did. Obviously this needed a second coat of white paint to cover up a rough mark and pencil lines.
fix a bad paint job

But when it was all done it looked really good.  The contrast between the gray, white and blue walls looked a bit much when the room was empty, but with all the furniture in the room was perfect.

After all the painting was done it was time to add the white base board.  The first few times I had to install baseboard I used a hand miter saw, a hammer, and a box of nails.  It didn't turn out very well and took a long time.  But since then I've purchased a few nail guns, an air compressor, and the power of miter saw.  These new tools make installing baseboard a whole lot easier.  My cuts with a miter saw are much more precise and attaching the baseboard to the wall and nail gun's takes just a few seconds.
install baseboard, how to, bedroom remodel, baby room remodel

Here was the first board I attached.  In the corners you need to cut the boards at a 45° angle however at the door jam it just needs a straight cut.
tools to install baseboard, base board, easy, guide

Not all of the joints were perfect.  Even though I cut them at 90° I've learned that the walls in our house are not 90°.  Corners in our house range between 88° and 93°.  That's where spackling comes in.  Another thing I'm really glad we did was install new outlets, switches, and cover plates.  Instead of leaving the 50-year-old electrical plugs, we decided to switch them with new ones.  We started doing this when we remodeled our family room.

The great thing about replacing them is that they only cost only a few dollars, but make a huge difference. The outlets are only $.50 each, cover plates are even less, and the light switch is something like $1.00. But when you're all done really makes the room look like new.
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Here's the new lights switch we put in.  After making sure the power was turned off at the circuit breaker, I removed the old switch and screwed in wires to this new one.  The whole process took about 3 minutes.
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Here's another finishing touch, putting sealant caulk along the baseboard edge.  It's these small details that make a lot of difference.  Had we not done this you would have seen a black line running around the room at the top of the baseboard.  But by adding the caulk it doesn't show any seam at all.
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And while we were spackling the corners of the baseboard we also filled in the nail holes.  After the spackling dries you just need to use a slightly damp rag to wipe it flush.  I used to use sandpaper but a damp rag is quicker, easier, and leaves no mess.
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Depending on where you shop, curtains and curtain rods can be quite expensive.  We learned this lesson after buying hundreds of dollars worth of curtain supplies at Bed Bath and Beyond.  The prices there were crazy, everything was $30 or more.  So if you needed 2 curtains and a curtain rod it would cost you close to $100.  So instead of going there, this time we got curtains and a curtain rod at Homegoods.   They don't have the same variety and you never know what they will have in stock, but if you get lucky you can find something for 1/4 of the price.  When hanging the brackets I try to attach screws directly into the studs.  But sometimes that's not possible and you have to use those plastic anchors.
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The gray curtains on the outside were ones we took from our dining room.  The sheer curtains center were once we got for around $10 from Homegoods.  For a baby room we knew it was important to block out as much light as possible for when the baby sleeps during the day.  With the dark gray curtains pulled shut it does a pretty good job of blocking the light.
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Here's what it looks like from a different angle showing zigzag wall and the baseboard.
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We decided to assemble the crib and try to figure out where we were going to place it in the room.  We got this Fisher-Price crib on sale at Meijer.  It also came with a free changing table, which we have on the first floor.
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It was slightly more complicated to set up than I thought it would be, but still only took about 45 minutes to put together.
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Here it is about two thirds of the way through the assembly process.  It seems sturdy enough, especially after adding the steel frame to the inner portion.
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We ended up liking the crib in the center of the room.  That gave us space on either side for a chair and other things.
crib in baby room

Next we put in the wood dresser.  It's a little hard to see in this picture, but the dresser is a really nice one we got from Craigslist.  The woman said she paid $300 for it new, but she was selling it for just $75.

Originally we figured that we would have to purchase an ordinary dresser and tried to make it work in the baby's room.  But we got super lucky with this one, it's really nice and even has the platform to put a changing pad on top.
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This is what the room looks like with a little more furniture in it.  The basket on the left is for odds and ends, the rocking chair and nightstand are in the other corner.  The rug in the center of the room is real nice and soft, we also got it fairly cheep at Homegoods.  Both of the blankets in this picture are ones we made. The blanket on the chair was made by "knotting" together two pieces of fleece.  That blanket was quite easy to make and only took about an hour.  However the blanket on the crib took several weeks.  First we had to look on YouTube to learn how to crochet.  It's made of two - 1 pound spools of yarn.  We messed up a lot while making it but it turned out really nice.
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Here's another angle of the room as we were setting up.  You can see that with all the furniture and curtains in the room the chevron wall isn't as bold as it was when the room was empty.
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We were both really happy with how the baby room turned out.  I was expecting the whole process to take a few weeks, but it only took a total of five or six days.  We worked all day on the weekend then at night after work.  As people are giving us gifts and things for the baby room is filling up with lots more stuff.  We might have to make shelves in the closet to hold everything.

The big day is now about three months away.  Even though the room is done we still don't feel like we're ready.