A finished project, an unfinished project and a ‘kick in the pants’

I am happy to report I have finished the Great Outdoor Fan Renovation! In case you missed the final reveal earlier this week, here it is again:

Oil-rubbed-bronze-outdoor-fanAnd to rewind further, here’s what the fixture looked like before I smothered it with spray paint:


For all the DIY deets on this project, click here.

Although I’m excited to finish the fan upgrade, my post today is primarily about an epic, unfinished project I’m preparing to tackle. Perhaps you’ll recall my post back in, uh, September on how I turned our Miami Vice pink bathroom into a coastal-inspired oasis? No? ;)

Here’s the before of the master bathroom:


And the after:

Master-bathroom-renovation (1)

The truth is I never entirely finished that room, hence the reason I don’t have any photos of the sink and vanity. Here’s what that side of the room looks like today, more than seven months later (hanging head in shame):


Fortunately, I just got the “kick in the pants” I needed to work on finishing this project! My favorite DIY-friendly clothing company, Duluth Trading Co., contacted me recently to help raise awareness for a fun contest aimed at helping procrastinating DIYers like myself (you too?) get stuff done once and for all.

The awesome folks at Duluth sent me an Armachillo shirt (love!) and a pair of skinny jeans (my new, all-time-favorite pair, by the way) as well as a $100 Visa Gift Card to help out with supplies for the bathroom project, which I spent faster than you can say “Lowes.” :)

So here is the plan for this side of the master bathroom:


And here is the design inspiration for the furniture, fixtures and accessories:


I’ve already got the faucets and cabinet paint ordered and I’m ready to work on DIYing my own driftwood-inspired mirror frame.

In the meantime, if you’ve got a stalled or unfinished project around your house or yard, Duluth wants to give you a “kick in the pants,” too! 

Duluth Trading Co. is picking 10 people to win a $200 Visa Gift Card to help finish a project and$200 Duluth Trading Gift Card good toward tough gear to wear while doing it.

Head on over to the Duluth Trading Co. Facebook page here for official contest rules about your chance to win cash and clothes to help get the undone done. Five winners will be chosen on April 23, and five more on May 1. If you don’t win the first week, you are automatically entered in the next. That means people who enter early have more chances to win.

Best of luck with your “kick in the pants!”

The Great Outdoor Fan Renovation

I recently mentioned that one of the projects in our budget-friendly backyard patio upgrade is refurbishing our tired-looking ceiling fan/light fixture.

Patio-plansLast week I asked the hubs to take the fixture down for me. (I’m not totally comfortable working with electrical wiring … yet. ;))


After it was down, it was really obvious it needed some TLC.


I removed the fan blades and dusted and scrubbed the fixture.


I used sandpaper and steel wool to remove any visible rust spots.


Then I primed the whole thing using Rust-OleumPainter’s® Touch Ultra Cover 2x Primer in flat black. This product is currently my favorite spray primer because it gives great coverage, goes on evenly, and doesn’t spit or sputter.


After priming, I gave the whole fixture two coats of Rust-Oleum Metallic Paint & Primer in One in oil-rubbed bronze.


Next came the tricky part. I was originally planning on reusing the same fan blades and just painting them using my faux wood grain technique. But that plan went out the window when one of the blades broke in half as I was removing it.

Fortunately I had an old fan in the basement that was taken out of our dining room when I added the chandelier. The fan blade color was perfect, but there was a problem. The holes in these “new” blades didn’t match the holes in the fan I was planning to attach them to. So I had to first plug a few of the old holes and then stain the filled holes to match the blades.

I started by flipping the blades over to the side that wouldn’t be seen and taping the holes that needed filled with putty.


Then I flipped the blades over to the “good” side, filled the holes with stain-able wood filler, and brushed on a coat of stain to match the blade color. (Only two out of the three holes in each blade needed filled.)


My objective was to make the old holes as inconspicuous as possible. One word of caution here: If I had to do it over again, I would have only used stain on the holes and scratches, not on the whole blade, as it didn’t adhere well and left me with a sticky mess as I was attaching the blades to the fan.

Speaking of attaching the “new” blades, I had to drill two new holes in each of them so they would line up with the holes in the fixture. Before screwing the blades tight to the fan, I added washers to each of the holes for added reinforcement. (The last thing I want to do is decapitate one of our picnic guests with a flying fan blade.)


The washers were added to the top of the fan (aka the part you don’t see). Also, in case you’re wondering, these fan blades are finished in a light oak color on one side and a mahogany color on the other.

Here’s the final result:






I love the new look, although I am disappointed because the fan wobbles a bit, which I believe is due to one of two factors affecting its balance:

  1. I bent the metal that holds the fan blades in order to shimmy my screwdriver in to remove the screws before I painted the fixture. (With the right tool, this would not have been necessary.)
  2. I switched out the fan blades (because I broke one of the old ones, remember?) to larger ones and this may also be slightly contributing to the imbalance.

So if you can avoid these two pitfalls, you should have a like-new, wobbly-free fan. :)

Let’s take a look again at the before:


And the after:


It looks like a new fixture!

Special thanks to Rust-Oleum for providing me with the primer and paint I needed to complete this project. 

Budget-friendly backyard patio plans

We are finally starting to feel a bit of warmth in the breeze here in the mountains of Pennsylvania. It has been a long, snowy winter and we are all ready for spring! I am looking forward to feeling the sun on my face and preparing our patio for some backyard barbecues with family and friends. We practically live on the back patio from May through September.

This year, with the help of my dad and the hubs, I’m planning on making some upgrades to our patio, starting with this hot mess:


To begin sprucing up the space, we’ll be pouring a concrete step off of the back porch. After doing some research on how to do this project – I recommend this video tutorial – I created a game plan. I’ll begin by cleaning up all the yard debris; digging out a spot for the stair, which will run the entire width of the porch; forming up the area where concrete will go; and preparing for a successful pour by removing and killing any weeds and grass in the vicinity using Spectracide Weed & Grass Killer.


Photo via Spectracide.com

I have been around a lot of concrete pours, both large and small. But I have never actually been heavily involved in the process before. This will definitely be a learning experience for me. I’ll be sharing all the details along the way so those of you who are thinking of tackling a similar project will get the information you need. If you haven’t already, be sure to “like” me on Facebook here, as I’ll be sharing the daily progress there.

I’ll be glamming up the patio with some other thrifty DIY upgrades, too.


In addition to removing weeds and debris and pouring the stair, I’ll be refurbishing the ceiling fixture (a project I’m really excited about); adding my $160 upcycled patio dining set; and filling some stylish planters for the new patio stair.

To see some of the inspiration behind this project, check out my Outdoor Pinterest board here. Here are some of the elements I’m planning to incorporate into my space:


Thrifty DIY patio set

Torches in planter

Adding color

DIY outdoor ceiling fan update

The coolest part of this whole backyard endeavor is that I’m working hard to make sure the project is one of my thriftiest makeovers yet. I’ll be sharing all my money-saving strategies along the way so you can make your backyard gorgeous, too, without busting your budget.

We’ll be going to work on the project hopefully this week, so more details and photos will be coming soon.

In the meantime, if you have an outdoor project that requires the use of weed and grass killer, save yourself some money by heading over to the Spectracide Facebook page, “liking” them, and snatching up their $2 off and $5 back coupons.

To all of my yard warriors, whether you are after a total yard overhaul or just want to keep your yard looking its best, visit the Spectracide Facebook page for tips and savings to get started.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Spectracide. The opinions and text are all mine.