Sunday, September 20, 2015

Summer Highlights

Even though it's still 90 degrees outside, by most accounts summer is over. As usual, the summer went way too fast. Here are a few of our highlights:

Family Visits
Both sets of grandparents and one aunt came to visit us this summer! We missed Aunt Bradi, but are excited to see her in a few weeks.

The Beach exhibit at the National Building Museum

Rehoboth Beach
We celebrated my birthday this year at Rehoboth Beach. Zahara LOVED jumping in the waves and playing in the sand. It was such a perfect, relaxing weekend.

The capital of Maryland is only 45 minutes from our house, but we never seem to make it up there. We spent a day up there this summer though and it was fantastic! A boat ride around the bay, fresh blackberries from the farmer's market, and an ice cream to finish...what could be better?

Hanging Around DC
There are tons of fun things to do all around DC, including the National Zoo, the splash fountain in Silver Spring, and chilling at our friends' pool. you can see, it was a busy, fantastic summer. Bring on fall! We've already gone apple and pumpkin picking, so we're ready!

Friday, September 4, 2015

DIY Mirror Frame

I love our master bathroom. It's clean, airy and spacious. But, it was missing something. We have a huge builder-grade, wall-to-wall mirror. It bounces around tons of light, but I thought it would look nicer if it were framed. Frames for a mirror that size were cost prohibitive, and buying a new mirror seemed unnecessary, so I decided to make my own.

I used the last remaining days before I went back to work to make this happen. Luckily my friend Dani was on maternity leave and was game to help me out. We headed to Home Depot to gather supplies.

There are a lot of great tutorials online already, so I won't try and recreate one here. I followed Blue Cricket Design's tutorial pretty closely. I'll just add in a couple of pointers. First, I used pre-primed moulding. It costs a little bit more, but I liked the decorative elements and it saved me time.

I grabbed a twelve-foot piece and cut it down to size myself. It took a while--so long, in fact that a contractor who kept offering to help me managed to practically cut down an entire forest while I was still cutting my first piece. But, sometimes the pride that comes with doing it yourself is worth the extra time and muscle pains.

After what felt like hours in Home Depot waiting for help with paint (long story...short version is that the perfect brown paint is really, really hard to come by), we headed back to my house. We used Dani's miter saw to cut the moulding into 45 degree angles to form the frame.

We diverged from the tutorial a little bit in the next step because my mirror had big plastic clips that would prevent the frame from sitting flush against the mirror. We measured the clips and used Dani's Dremel tool to notch etches in the two sides of the frame. Sidenote: how amazing is Dani? Woodworking while baby wearing? That's a truly modern woman.*

After taking the wood upstairs to make sure the cuts were accurate and the pieces fit together, we started painting. I painted the backs and fronts of the wood so bare wood wouldn't reflect in the mirror once hung.

When all three coats were dry, it was time to hang the frame. Here's where things didn't go so well. We followed the directions in the tutorial and used liquid nails to hang the wood. All the pieces fit perfectly together, but the painters tape was not enough to keep them from sliding town.

In the morning I caulked and painted the corners to make the seams less noticeable.

I don't love how the corners turned out, but overall I'm pretty happy with the outcome. The whole project only cost around $50. The biggest expense was for moulding, which came in at $33. 

For not very much money, and a little bit of effort, the room looks so much more finished. Hooray for fun DIY activities with good friends!

* All safety precautions were taken to ensure the baby was not harmed in any way.