Saturday, January 4, 2014

Stacked Stone Fireplace Wall Completed

When we first moved in our house, here is what the fireplace wall looked like:

Then my husband built out a frame for the fireplace, and I painted the wall an accent color:

Then we tore out the tile around the fireplace and on the hearth. We put up onyx 1/2" mosaic tile around the fireplace and 1" onyx mosaic tile on the top of the hearth. Then we installed a wood moulding front for the hearth. My hubby added some more moulding to the fireplace mantel surround.

So then we decided to add stacked stone to the fireplace wall. This required that hubby tear out the drywall above the fireplace mantel and put backerboard up in its place so it would support the weight of the stacked stone we were going to add. I think the final result turned out really well:

Bathroom Shower Done!

Here are some before pics of our master bath shower with closeups of the tile. It was this vertical, ceramic, kind of mottled peach tile. It was horrible:

I wanted the shower tile redone with a travertine subway tile. So we decided to use the same tile in the shower as in our kitchen backsplash, except in a little bit bigger size. It's the beige mosaic travertine tile from Floor & Decor in the 3" x 6" size. The shower grout is Home Depot Polyblend, and for the grout color, we used a 50%-50% mixture of bone and linen. Here are the after pics:

The floor tile is just a hexagonal ivory-colored tile from Home Depot. It is the Merola Tile Old World Hex Antique White Unglazed Porcelain Mosaic tile. It matches the wall tile perfectly.

My husband moved the faucet handle to the wall closest to the door so it would be easier for me to turn on the faucet before getting in the shower.

Here's a closeup of the mosaic glass tile we used. It's the Jeffrey Court stack glass mosaic wall tile from Home Depot. We used just one row of it for the accent tile.

Here are the shelves we installed. The old shower had the same shelves, just in a little bit darker color. These match the shower tile perfectly. They are the American Olean Travertine Composite Bathroom Shelves from Lowes

Me Smooth Elos Laser Hair Removal Review

Until now, I have not done a beauty post on this blog, even though it's called "Lipstick and a Brad Nailer." I think it's time to start.

I have always wanted to do spa treatments for laser hair removal, but I always considered them too expensive. Enter the Me Smooth Elos (not available in the U.S. until April 26, 2013, when it debuted on the QVC network). My cat is considering laser hair removal for herself.

So above is the device, which is essentially a handheld unit that you glide over the areas on your body where you want the hair to be removed. It is easy and effective, and sells for $395. QVC had an introductory price of $327. You are supposed to use the device weekly for 7 weeks, then use monthly (or as needed) thereafter. I started using the device at the beginning of May 2013.

I bought these protective glasses (which protect from red-light laser light at the level of nanometers that the machine uses). The glasses have metal lenses. They were $130 at a medical supply store on the internet, but well-worth it in my mind since this is your eyes we're talking about, and safety is #1. The Me manual does not state that protective eyewear must be used, but it does warn against looking directly at the light beam. So I figured it's better to be safe than sorry and bought the glasses....

I, unfortunately, did not take a before picture of my body hair. I am in my 40s with fair skin, a natural brunette with brunette body hair. As I've gotten older, I've noticed that my hair grows more sparsely and more slowly. My body hair is not really thick (except for my bikini line). I used the Me Elos on my bikini line, legs, underarms, and eyebrows (to shape them). According to the manufacturer, this should not be used on the face (per the FDA), but the device has been approved for facial use overseas. I decided to take my chances.

Here is a picture of my leg hair after one treatment, with hair growth of one week:

There is hardly any hair that you can see here.

Here is a picture of my leg after two Me Elos laser hair removal treatments (how much growth after two treatments, with hair growth of one week):

Once again, it is hard to see the hair.

Here is my leg again, after three treatments, with hair growth of one week:

Here is my leg after four treatments, with hair growth of one week:

Here is my leg after 5 treatments, with hair growth of one week:

You can see two little hairs in the middle of the leg. That's all I could see that grew back.

Here is the other leg. I can only see one hair on it:

You are supposed to wait a month to do maintenance treatments after the initial 7 treatments (and then do treatments monthly thereafter), but I have done the treatments weekly since I bought the device (and am still doing them).

As far as success, this is how well the device has removed hair from my body, in order of success:

1)         legs
2)         eyebrow hair
3)         underarms
4)         bikini line

The bikini line is stubborn, but there is hardly any hair left in that area (after treatments of about 8 months). The hair is much finer than it was. I continue to do treatments weekly on the underarm area and on the bikini line. However, there is very little hair left on the underarm area, so I can see myself being able to stop weekly treatments soon. I no longer do frequent treatments on the eyebrow area either. I do it occasionally as I see hair grow back. I do cover the hair I do not want removed on my eyebrows with duct tape, though. I don't want to chance going completely bald in my eyebrows. And I make sure to wear the protective glasses always (especially in the eye area!) when I use the device. You don't want to risk possible blindness! (Not that this would happen, but high-powered light that close to your retinas can't possibly be good for your eyes!)

I highly recommend this device! Even if you have more frequent, coarse, or stubborn hair growth than me, I feel like any improvement in slowing down hair growth is worth the cost of the machine!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Front Door Frame Project

Here is the before of our front door (please excuse the cat hiding behind the Christmas tree, her favorite spot for some unknown reason):

I love our double-glass front door. Since it makes such a statement, I wanted the interior of the door frame to have bulkier moulding, like this Victorian door frame from this blog:

So I asked my husband to help me to recreate this look. We bought a 1" x 4" piece of wood, as well as a piece of crown moulding to go on top of it.

Door moulding in progress:

Finished door:

Along with the finished crown moulding on the ceiling, I think this door moulding is the extra oomph our front door needed. I am very pleased with the results!

Lamp Shades Made of Paper

I love the bathroom light fixture I bought for our master bathroom, this one:

Unfortunately, the blue doesn't match the rest of the bathroom. I wanted to replace the shades, but at $20 each x 4 shades = $80, this sounded exhorbitant. So I googled shades made of paper, thinking I could do something cheaper. I came across this brilliant blog post: Here is an example of shades she made from scrap paper:

Brilliant! I love the ingenuity of my fellow bloggers. Instead of scrap paper, I used contact paper purchased from the good ol' Dollar General store for $2.97 to make my shades. I skipped the poster board step since I don't plan to change out the shades. Then I proceeded to follow the instructions in her blog. I just stuck the contact paper onto the shades with double-stick tape. I didn't want to mess with sticking the contact paper directly on the shades.

It turned out pretty darn good, if I do say so myself!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Crown Moulding Installed!

So we finally did it! I have been wanting crown moulding installed since we moved in over two years ago, and it's finally done! We installed it in two days, on a Saturday and Sunday. We worked from morning until night both days. We didn't caulk and paint in those two days, but the bulk of the work was done.

We had a delay of a few days because we didn't have the right saw. We have a 10" compound miter saw, but it was too small for the moulding we had. The moulding is 5 1/2" wide. It didn't fit in the miter saw. So we borrowed one from a friend, which was a 12" Delta compound miter saw with a laser guide. The laser guide helped my husband line the cuts up almost precisely, and he used two angle measurement tools, one was a Centremark, and the other one was a digital anger finder.

We bought this moulding from It's a cove style, which has since sold out on their website. It was on sale for $13.99/each (8' piece). Shipping was free, and there was no tax. I bought 41 pieces of it for $573. This would cover the whole downstairs of our home (except our dining room, which already had crown moulding, and our bedroom, which has a tray ceiling, so I didn't want crown moulding in there). I really thought this moulding was good quality. There were two defective pieces in total, but my husband cut around the defects, so he was able to use these two pieces. We had one full piece left and many tiny pieces that we couldn't use. My husband continued to recycle the cut moulding remnants and use them.  So we put up almost 320 linear feet of moulding. This was a lot!!!

It's styrofoam (or polystyrene), lightweight, and mold and water-repellant. It's not the styrofoam that you are used to seeing on coolers when you are a kid. It's a densely packed styrofoam. It was easy to work with. The pieces were 8' in length. I thought I could've done this project myself, but there was no way I could have. You need two people to hold either end of the crown moulding as you nail it into place.

We used my trusty brad nailer. Love love LOVE!


We didn't use a stud finder because these pieces don't necessarily need to be anchored to a stud--they're so lightweight. Supposedly, you can install these without nails by just caulking the top and bottom of the moulding into place with silicone acrylic caulk. But I liked the permanent idea of nails better. Plus, it's no big deal to patch up nail holes later on.

After a few walls, my husband discovered that it was easier to cut all the corners first and install those, then do the longer pieces next. We didn't buy the precut corners (too much of a rip-off).  However, if I had it to do over again, I would not cut the corners first. All the seams bother me. It's not that they're that noticeable, what with the caulk, etc., but I know they're there. And in some lights, you can really see them. I'm too OCD for seams.

I used DAP Alex Plus Acrylic Latex Caulk Plus Silicone (35 year) in the turquoise tube (except I used the color Brilliant White). This one:

 This caulk is so good! I became a caulking machine with my caulk gun. I loved it!!

The pic below shows how my husband cut the returns when the wall ended (this is under our stairway).

Technically, the pic below of our dining room does not have the crown moulding we bought. Instead, the dining room had builder's grade crown moulding in it when we moved in. I just added a 1/2" piece of cove moulding two inches below the bottom of the crown moulding. Then I painted it all in with white semi-gloss paint to make it look like one beefy piece of crown. I like how it turned out.

Here's a close-up of how the moulding in the dining room looked when I got done:

Hope you enjoyed! This was the last major project I had planned for our home.