Butcher Block In Process

We put five coats of Behlen Salad Bowl Finish on the butcher block.  You have to wait 6 hours between each coat, and 72 hours after the last to cure it, so it is taking too long.  I think we are going to stop at five and move on to installing the sink.


Replacing a Leaky Hose Bib

The hose bib directly outside our laundry room leaked water consistently, and tightening it did not help to stop the leak.  We had to get a new hose bib and a little plumbing to fix it.

  • Find out what size you need to buy.  For us, we needed a 1/2″ hose bib and coupling.
  • Gather the materials: hose bib, coupling, propane torch, solder, copper piping.

The first order of business was to shut off the water supply to the house, which was conveniently only a foot away. Channel locks and a firm tug accomplished this. Once the water was turned off (note: we had to open a faucet to let the water drain somewhere else), I used a pipe cutter to cut the pipe several inches away from the elbow and pulled it through the hole from outside.

The water line runs parallel to the wall, has a 90 degree junction that travels straight up, and a 90 degree elbow that leads it through the wall an outside. for this job, we only had to replace the leaking bib so I cut about 2 inches away from the elbow.

We first soldered the copper pipe (about 1 foot) into the new hose bib. It’s a pretty simple process:

  • use a pipe cleaner on the last couple inches of the pipe that will be soldered (it’s a handy tool that has a couple different sized holes with steel bristles which you insert the pipe and rotate a few times)
  • apply a generous amount of flux on the cleaned end of the pipe (you can get this at any hardware supply store. it’s a goopy substance you buy in a small tin and apply with a brush)
  • insert the pipe into the rear end of the hose bib 🙂
  • have matches (or lighter) at the ready
  • uncoil about 6 inches of soldering tin-lead
  • open the propane valve slightly and hold lit match/lighter up to it until it ignites
  • this next part requires a bit of patience: hold the end of the solder line up to the joint and move the blowtorch flame close enough to start melting it **********move the blowtorch from side to side and don’t hold it in the same spot or you will start scorching the pipe and dissolving the flux*******
  • as it melts, move the end of the coil around the joint until there is a liquid metal bead against the lip of the joint
  • steadily apply heat while moving the torch until the tin is drawn into the joint. when all the tin is drawn inside, you are finished.

I took the newly soldered bib and pipe and inserted it through the hole from outside. The next step was to solder the coupling onto the remaining pipe after the elbow following the same process: clean, apply flux, light torch, melt tin, heat until drawn into joint. Be sure that there isn’t any water left in the pipe or dripping out of it, or you will not be able the heat the metal sufficiently to melt the tin (which is quite frustrating).

After soldering the coupling on and then the hose bib piece into it (make sure the hose bib is right side up BEFORE soldering) we turned the water on and let ‘er rip. Success 🙂 No leaks and it worked perfectly.



My style – French Country

I took a style quiz online and it told me that my style is French Country.  I actually would have to agree.  I also like Old American – the moldings and the columns, kind of antebellum.  What’s your style?



How to make a custom sign

Start off with a wood block in the craft section of any store like Wal Mart, Hobby Lobby for 97 cents or 99 cents

You’ll also need

  •  some paint brushes (small ones)
  • acrylic paint –  I bought white and turquoise for this project
  • stencils

First paint the base color:

Wait a few minutes until it dries and start stenciling the letters with your second color:

Make sure you press the stencils tightly against the wood or else you will end up not staying in the lines


Variations: You can cut out craft paper with nice designs as a background or buy sticker letters so you aren’t painting in the letters yourself.  Make holes in the plaque to hang on a ribbon.

Long Term Radon Test

If you couldn’t do a radon test prior to purchasing a home, there are also long term radon tests that are far more accurate. These will test your air for about three months or more.  I bought a radon kit for Little House before purchase, but I did it wrong.  I put it on an upside down drawer to make it 4 inches off the ground.  The home had no utilities so I couldn’t read the directions in the dark and my memory from reading it in the car was incorrect.  It wasn’t supposed to be placed that low to the ground.  Also, the home was unoccupied for a year, so radon builds up if a home is closed up with no air escaping.  My short term test came up with 2.1 which is okay, but in reality it is probably much lower.  So I purchased a long term test off of amazon.com after reading Consumer Reports.  I bought this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003C5BZYA/ref=oh_o01_s00_i00_details

I have yet to tape it up on my walls, but I will update the results down the road once it gets a long enough read.

Accustar Alpha Track Test Kit AT 100

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  From all the work we have been doing the past week, I feel like I completely blew past the new year and didn’t even get the opportunity to reflect on 2011 or set any goals for the upcoming year.  I did take a mini-break and went to a friend’s house party.  I feel like I have barely been home and I catch myself getting a little anxiety sometimes.  I usually have to regroup in my room by straightening things up, cleaning, and planning out what I have to do.  Since I didn’t get to do any of that, there has been a little stressor that is lurking and ends up making me feel anxious if I ignore it for too many days in a row.

What have we done so far?

  • Put primer all over the floors
  • Picked paint colors
  • Painted first coats in the living room and hallway
  • Picked flooring and picked up flooring (2 trips)
  • Put in flooring in all rooms and closets except for one (closet)
  • Demolished the old vanity in the bathroom and took it to the curb!
  • Bleached the bathroom floor
  • Bought lots and lots and lots of things from Home Depot.  I need to look at all my receipts.  This stresses me out because I kept having to buy things that were not planned.

Some things I would advise based on my experience:

  • Buy LOTS of plastic jungle gift cards to Home Depot…I didn’t buy nearly enough.  I went through hundreds of dollars already and a lot of it was not planned.
  • Go to the post office to ask for a movers pack which has a bunch of coupons in it for moving services, Home Depot, Lowes, TV service
  • Do yourself a favor and just buy the 5 gallon Kilz.  I ended up buying several 2 gallon buckets at various intervals.  Especially if you end up hating a color you painted a room – like I did.
  • Buy ahead things you know you will need off of amazon.com or craigslist.  I ordered some things, but then ended up needing so much other stuff because I didn’t really know.  If you read my posts, I list things you would most likely need to use for projects, so if you can, just buy any of the materials up front.  That way you have time to price hunt!
  • If you like a paint color at the store, go with the next shade lighter because your lighting at your house may be a lot darker than the store!

Things that I learned about myself and stresses that I didn’t think about that will come up during these kinds of projects:

  • Even if I try to deny being Type A and try really hard not to be, I think I am definitely Type A.
  • If your significant other is not Type A, you may find yourself getting very frustrated.  Prepare!