DIY Shed Progress!

I’ve made progress on my shed! Last I talked about it – it looked like this: in the middle of my yard, with no boards and no door.


I needed to put the horizontal boards up on all four outside surfaces, to make it look nice. I had bought fence boards for this purpose. They are pine wood, which is a lighter, blonde wood color. So first order of business was to stain each one of those 32 boards. I did all this in my garage. I stacked them up and stained all the edges first, then I lined them up against the wall and stained just one side of the boards. (I used the same stain color I used on the shed’s plywood “skin”, which is Olympic’s Maximum Stain + Sealant in Tobacco, Semi-Transparent. This did require me to go back to Lowe’s a few more times to get more quarts, as I grossly understated how much I would need for these suckers!)


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Once the stain was fully dried and ready to go (this took a couple of days, thanks to some rainy weather). I started to lay some boards out on the door, playing with different gap measurements between each board – from no gap (each board touched the next board) to a wide gap (which you started to see the ugly plywood backing). I ended up settling on one in the middle, where I was able to use some scrap wood pieces as a guide on how much space to leave between each board. Once I made that decision, I laid out each board on the door and marked out lines on where the boards would be nailed on. (But this part turned out to be totally useless, as I ended up not using these guides! Total waste of about 2 days worth of work – since I had a lot of trouble keeping the boards level to the ground – one side would always look higher than the other!)

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I began to affix the boards to the shed, starting with the left side of the shed first. That first board was the most important one – it had to be perfectly level – which I used a T-square against the front side of the shed, drew a line (said a little prayer)and nailed that one into place. After that, I would follow this pattern:

  1. Measure the length of the side of the shed. (Keep repeating the number in my head as I walk through my house to the garage.)
  2. Grab a board, mark out the measurement. Measure again. (Measure twice, cut once!)
  3. Use the chop saw to cut the board. (I may have giggled manically once or twice at using a power tool.)
  4. Carry the board back through the house to my backyard (While praying that I didn’t cut it too short.)
  5. Hold it up against the shed, using two shim pieces to keep the gap in between the boards even and nailed that one into place. (Then remember to breathe again)
  6. Repeat process for next board. (here I go again!)

I used a nail gun, which I borrowed, that was connected to my own air compressor (thanks Mom and Dad!!!!) to drive the nails in, starting at the top and working my way down. When I got down to the part where the little shed-butt sticks out, I had to make some custom cuts on that particular board. I used the circular saw to cut out a notch in the board to allow me to be able to install one long piece into place. You can see in the image below that I have a  board clamped to my Workmate bench for me to use the circular saw to cut the notch out. The next image shows a dotted line of the kind of notch that I needed to cut on the boards (one for each side!).




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Then… more digging (y’all should know how I feel about this by now.) I needed to make sure there was room for the door to swing open.

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Once all the boards were on (I did the door separately), and I had a nice little spot dug out. It was time to slide this baby into place.


And…. womp-womp… we realized we miscalculated some measurements – specifically, we made it too short.


But I didn’t worry too much, after all… For every DIY project: You must expect the unexpected! So what we did instead was we removed some of the deck railing boards off from the outside (you can see that in the above pic), and slid the shed so that the roof slid right underneath the railing top, instead of going over it.

Then we went ahead and hung the door. I put my veggie container garden on top. And this is where it is today! I rather like it!

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Still left to do:

  • Put concrete pavers into the shed floor
  • Affix a latch
  • Make some sort of door handle
  • Build and attach the top frame for my string lights
  • Figure out organization for inside shed
  • Dig more around it (*cries* digging! *cries*) in order to level out the ground instead of having a little “pool” that this shed sits in

TL;DR (too long, didn’t read?): I stained, cut and nailed horizontal boards on the shed, and moved the shed into it’s place! Still have more stuff to do.




For the last few months, I’ll look outside my kitchen window and look into my backyard, I see this….


More importantly, I see and think this:


Autumn is going to be here in a couple of months, and I have absolutely no desire to endure the raking-of-leaves ordeal that I went through last year! So I hired a good friend, Pat, who runs a handyman business on the side, and we got down to business. We marked out the 4 trees I wanted gone. We removed some fence sections in the back and on the sides. He used a ladder to cut off some lower branches. Tied a rope to the top, which I yanked on as he cut through the trunk, so that the tree would fall into my yard. Let me tell you – every time a tree fell, I held my breath since I was terrified that it would fall the wrong way and smash either my neighbor’s shed or my fencing – but no casualties occurred!

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Then his wife, another good friend of mine and I started to pull all the leafy branches and tops out to the curb for the town to come pick it up. That was quite a bit of laborious work, but we got it done! We ended up cutting down 5 trees in total, and the result? A much happier me knowing that I have that many less leaves to rake! (Trust me, I’m not naive enough to think I’ll have no leaves to rake….I just hope it will be significantly less!)


It’s ironic, because growing up: I was a pretty big tree-hugger. I would give anyone who merely thought about cutting trees down the death stare. I judged people as evil for killing these wonderous living things. Even cutting branches off? I equated that to cutting off human arms! (So phone and power companies were never well-respected in my book… they cut trees to save their silly wires!) The horror! ….. But today? *ahem* After one fall’s worth of raking leaves? CHOP THEM ALL DOWN. Less is more! It’s sorta sad how growing up changes you.


As of right now, Pat needs to come back with his smaller chain saw to cut the pile of wood (that’s in the middle of the lawn currently) into logs. I’m debating on leaving that back section of the fencing off for a longer period of time, since I’m enjoying that big boulder and the extra space there is beyond the fence. (in case you wanted to know, my property actually extends beyond that – if you can spy a tree with a pink tie wrapped around it, in the back-left by the chain link fence – that’s the marker of the edge of my property.

The tops of each tree were all put to the curb, but the trunks – I saved. I have them stacked up in the back, and will let them dry out and then use them next year for a FIRE PIT that I want to add!


But look at that… all that space! Please ignore the lovely pile of junk that is in the middle there. The previous house owners used this area as a garbage dump. I’ve started clearing out all the rotting wood and trash (plastic wrappers, old garden containers, rusted chains, ropes, old fencing material, etc) that is in there. But I can salvage some of the junk, such as these concrete pavers (you can see them in the middle of the above pic, covered in sawdust) to use as flooring in my shed.

New Shed!

Yup, sorry for the long-time-no-post hiatus that I unintentionally took here! Life just got busy for me: I’ve been on many trips, for both work and fun, been sick in between each trip (stupid airplanes and their recycled air), am on an intense work project and then managing to find time to just chill in between was few and far in between – I have many updates that I want to add into here. Hopefully I’ll be able to get them in here relatively soon!

Rather than trying to stick to a chronological timeline here – I’ll just jump into what’s my latest and greatest: my shed! I’m affectionately calling it my little chicken coop, since the design reminds me of one.

My backyard, in its all-fenced-in-middle-townhouse-unit glory, does not have any storage spot for my lawn mower. Which meant that every week that I go to mow my grass, I have to take the lawn mower out from my garage, which is in front of my house, and bring to my backyard. That means pushing it around my neighbor’s house and through her backyard (where I always stay on the perimeter!), opening her dog gate fence, closing it, then opening my fence’s gate and then I can get down to my blade-cutting business. Then do it in reverse, to put the lawn mower back into my garage!


That got old, real fast.

I was talking with a friend of mine, he’s a handyman… he found some plans online (Thanks Ana White!: That kickstarted some brainstorming conversations between us. Then a little Pinteresting by me. He came over work one afternoon, took some measurements and we came up with a mini-shed plan that takes advantage of the space under my deck! Here’s my rendering of the initial plan – as you can see it’s all customized to:

  • Take advantage of the small space underneath my low deck. Just enough to be able to stick the lawn mower front in.
  • A back door that opens up on the deck side, I could put a little shelf in to access it from the deck.
  • The roof would be slightly sloped for rainwater to run off, and with a removable grate so that I can put all my container garden right on top! The grate would be removed easily to brush off dirt if needed.

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Then I got to thinking a little more, one of my dreams to have on my deck is to have overhead string lighting. I already own said lights (they may or may have not been one of my first purchases for the house, before I moved in). The problem though, is that I don’t have anything to string them to.

Additional planning.

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I settled on the middle version. A modern framing to attach to the shed, that I can affix the light strings to. We’ll have to modify the deck light that I have there now, which is located above the patio screen doors, in order to be able to feed power to the string lights.

Off to Lowes and Home Depot we went! Lumber! Bolts! Nails! (and of course, a little drooling in the power tools section… sorry! *cleanup in Aisle 7*)

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Memorial Weekend Saturday: In 4 hours, we got the frame together and started on the plywood walls. (Random sidenote: I kept calling the process of putting the walls up “skinning.” Is this a real word-terminology, or just my computer geekiness showing?) I built this at my friends’ house, who had all the tools I would need to put it together. I used a chop saw to cut the boards. A nail gun for the nails. A power-drill to drill holes for the bolts, and to drive the wood screws in. They used a circular saw for the plywood cutting and a table saw for additional cutting. ALL THE POWER TOOLS! My little heart was singing.

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Memorial Weekend Sunday: We finish putting the walls on, and start on the aluminum surface for the roofs – this is going to prevent water from seeping into the shed. We used a brake to bend the aluminum into specific angles so we can wrap the roofs like a present!

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Then I go home to dig. Dig. There’s too much dirt right underneath the deck and I also need to remove the grass. Dig. This was the part I was dreading. Dig. Can I just tell you…. I hate digging. By the end of the day, in that little corner, I did manage to get out a ton of rocks, an insane sized root (must have been a tree around here in the past), and about 15 wheelbarrows of dirt. Freaking digging. I don’t ever want to dig again.

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All those wheelbarrows of dirt went into other parts of my yard, I’m trying to work on making it a little more evened out. Next year, I figure I can focus on making the grass look a little bit more appealing – as in: less weedy, less baldy, and more evened out and grassy. You know, like a LAWN.

Memorial Weekend Monday – I didn’t want to keep my friend away from his family for too long, so all we focused on was bringing the roughed-assembled shed over to my yard. This required me to take down a section of my fence, so that we can bring his pickup truck, loaded with my shed, back up into my yard. Once we got it off his truck and set it down in the lawn, we glued and nailed in the aluminum tops. I also borrowed his hammer-drill to chip away part of the concrete block that was blocking part of the under-deck area. POWER TOOLS! (but……… yay…….. that means more digging to come later. Imagine my joy that settled in after the “new-power-tool-I-get-to-use” high. Espeically when I look-at-and-feel all my lovely blisters on my hands from yesterday’s digging. But I have to get all the chiseled concrete pieces out… I *sarcastically-love* digging.) After the concrete chiseling bit, I went ahead and stained all the plywood with a stain-sealant that I found on clearance from Lowes.

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That last picture above is where I am today, at the end of this beautiful-and-productive Memorial Day Weekend for me! What I will be doing this week is starting to measure out and cut the fence board wood pieces to size in order to nail them up against the plywood, in order to get that horizontal plank look, for three sides (left, right and front door. The back side would be half above deck for the deck-side door and half below deck where no one is going to see it).

Time for a LONG shower.

I hope you all had a fantastic Memorial Day Weekend as well!


TL;DR (Too long, didn’t read?):  I started to build a little shed for my backyard this Memorial Day Weekend. And I hate digging.

Many Updates…

Yikes, it’s been since October since I’ve last posted. There’s been plenty of things that’s happened since my last post!

A weekend trip to Raleigh to see a girlfriend. I kept remarking on how I felt the whole area reminded me SO MUCH of Fairfax, VA! I spied a new store that I thought was really neat to check out, Moon and Lola. They’re an accessories (mostly jewelry) store apparently really well known for their monogram necklaces. I loved loved loved the store’s decorations! Their marquee letters, bright pink seating, white rhino, vintage lighting, exposed brick wall and white shelving. There was nothing I didn’t like in there! On that trip, I ate my first beignet at a place called Sugarland. And there’s Kitty Coco, her kitty! I am a complete pushover for all calico kitties. This one had me wrapped around her little paw.
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Happy Halloween! Where I spent the holiday with the nephew trick or treating. He dressed up as a Cool Cruel Ghoul this year. The black candelabra in the picture below was a mini-DIY project. It was originally a brass one that I bought from a thrift store and hit it up with black spray paint. Once dried, I put in color drip taper candles (where the melted drips are of a different color). That was a HUGE hit with the kids! “Look! It’s bleeding!”

Happy Thanksgiving! I celebrated the actual turkey day with a friend’s family, and then celebrated it again with friends. My two plates below! *burps*
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Merry Christmas! (and Happy Hanukkah!) Check out Fuzzy’s (my nephew’s kitty) swanky suit.. hahaha! He was pretty cool with it as long as we didn’t try to give him his reindeer antlers to wear. Although I noticed he was *much* more playful once he wriggled out of the suit an hour later. I decorated my new place with some candles in the window, two wreaths, and my tree (yes, people, it’s a FAKE tree – go ahead, go on, and shout out your horrors and shake your heads, get all that out of your system. I still love my tree!) I didn’t go all out with my decorations this year, though I did buy one new decoration item – an LED lit hanging basket. It was originally filled with cranberries and pinecones, which I felt was a tad too traditional for my current tastes, so I yanked them all out and replaced them with my candy-colored ornament garland and extra ornaments in the basket.
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During the whole [super fast] Christmas holi-daze, I went to a couple of holiday parties (I didn’t get pictures of those), spent an afternoon volunteering at the FoodLink operations place helping them build “BackPacks” (bags of food) for 1,600 kids throughout the region, and had my annual trip back home to DC.  In DC, I went through a SuperBowl-esque marathon of choosing paint colors for my parent’s house (they’re going through major house renovations), seeing my family friends, my family and my friends all in the DC area.

FoodLink BackPack Volunteer afternoon

But that’s not all folks! I got some DIY time in too 🙂 Those were all Christmas related.

Ornaments: I bought round wooden discs from JoAnn Fabrics in the hopes of making some cute ornaments for friends. I made one successful ornament for a friend with their child’s silhouette, but the 4 other ornaments were total DIY fails. I had attempted to print out family photos and transfer them to the wood, but in the transfer process, the images were all too destroyed to be successful. Oh well, chalk it up to lesson learned – print on better paper and use better quality wood.
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My Christmas hanging basket with the ornaments hack.

I pulled out some old wine glasses and drew a bunch of stippled dots on them using a gold Sharpie marker. That was about a night’s worth of dotting. It looked great! But in less than 24 hours, during an unfortunate moment of me trying to figure out how to work them into a little holiday vignette, one of the glasses hit the deck. And shattered. *sighs* But I still have the one left!
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I went with a theme for my gift wrapping this year: brown kraft paper with white paint pen. Every single present I wrapped was in brown paper. Most of them I painted on the decorations using white paint pen (I actually had a lot of trouble trying to find which paint pen worked best on the brown paper, which sucked the paint up, thus making the white color look translucent. I bought and tried 4 before deciding on which ones to use. The most opaque white came from Pen-Touch Permanent Paint Marker, with the 1.0mm Fine Point tip. My second favorite was the Sharpie Oil-Based White Paint Pen because it had a fatter tip, Medium Point.) I had a lot of fun doing this, even if it took up a lot of my time. I thought the end result was really cute!
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 Oh and sprinkle in four voice-killing colds that’s been dogging me non-stop since early November. Crazy whirlwind end-of-year times!
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And let me be pre-emptive here, Happy New Year!

Bahamian Blue

Bahamian Blue: that’s the name of my new front door color!

But let’s back up a little bit. Seeing that it’s been quite a while since I’ve last posted an update.

I felt that my entryway was much too plain and boring. Beige, beige, beige. And a little of faded sage green in there.


So I decided that I wanted to start updating it a little to more of my taste – which is where I LOVE color! After playing around in Photoshop to see what color goes best in this little area, I decided a teal-ish blue works best. I played with red, yellow, green, pink, white, black, brown and blue. Blue seemed to fit the best.

Next step: PAINT CHIPS. I gathered up all the ones that appealed to me and slapped them on the door. I left them there for about 3-4 days, looking at them in all kinds of lighting and distances. Morning, afternoon, night. Inside and outside. 1 foot away. 20 feet away.
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Narrowed those chips down to two: Mermaid Treasure and Bahamian Blue. (I’m sure you know where I’m gonna be going with by now… if you’ve been reading!) I bought them in samples from Home Depot and painted bigger swatches on my door.

Those paint swatches, I left up for about a week while I looked at them at all times of the day and distances. I ultimately decided on the swatch on the left: Bahamian Blue. It was just a bit bluer then the greener Mermaid Treasure. It showed through the storm door’s screen a bit brighter than the Mermaid Treasure color.

Time to get painting! I took off the doorknobs, taped the edges and framing up and got down to biz-nass.
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As I took all the painters tape off, I came to see just how crappy of a paint job the previous guys did. They didn’t prep the door right. Because my DELICATE painters tape managed to rip the old white paint right off. And on top of that, it did a pretty crappy job preventing the bleed through on the edges.
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So now, I needed to decide if I was going to paint the back of the front door white to fix the blue edges and the ripped paint spots, or paint the whole thing blue to match the front side of the door.

Again, another couple of days while I hemmed and hawed over this decision. I decided….

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Meanwhile… I spied a larger rug at Target that fit the space better.

I rather like it.

I now want some sort of oil-rubbed bronzed door knocker and matching doorknobs to complete the door. But more on that later…

Mailbox cover: Kara-fied!

If you recall, there was a mailbox decoration that wasn’t exactly up my alley.


Well, thankfully – it was just a large magnet! I peeled that baby right off, gave it a good wipe down and broke out my spray paints. I decided to do some tone-on-tone chevron stripes, to give it a more modern look, using purple.

First, I gave it a few light misty coats of light purple.




Then, after I gave it a week to let the paint completely adhere to the vinyl material, I used delicate painter’s tape to mask out the stripes. I started by making a large X through the middle, then I made the triangle lines on all 4 edges. Once I did that, I gave it a couple of light misty coats of a darker purple (sorry, I forgot to to take pictures of this step!). Once I finished the third coat, I peeled the tape off right away and let it dry.


I had a very brief moment of a panic attack when some friends asked me if I wasn’t concerned about it looking a lot like the old Confederate flag. What?! Wait, no. It’s gonna be draped over a mailbox, it won’t look like it once that happens. Right? Yeah. I’m sure it’s totally going to be fine.


Yeah, it’s fine!


AHHH. Much better.

Current project: End tables

Bought these beauties from ReHouse a couple of months ago, for $20 each,
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Sanded all the veneers off.
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Filled up the divots, cracks, and gaps with spackle. Sanded those smooth. Painted the tops white (which ended up being 2 coats of Zinsser Smart Primer and about 3 coats of Valspar White latex paint). Applied a single coat of Poly for now (I plan on doing more later).

And now today, I’m working on trying to restore the brass trims since I scuffed a lot of it up during the sanding step (oops). DREMEL TIME BABY!
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Although, it doesn’t look like the current buffing tool bit I have is doing anything much to the scuff marks, it’s just shining the brass up. I did buy this kit from Home Depot ($16) as a *just-in-case* buy. Looks like I might have to use the little fan-like tips (upper row, the two on the right) to try to feather out the marks. They are actually sanding bits, not polishing bits. So I’m a bit nervous. Brass is apparently a very soft metal (nothing like learning things the hard way) – so by running a sanding bit on top of this soft metal seems like I’m taking this down in the wrong direction just further. But there’s only one way to find out!


Once I get the brass parts done, then I’ll paint the bottom part a navy blue. (Although right now, the bare wood is looking kinda sexy to me. So I might change my mind!)