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Replace Porch Steps – Front Porch Fixer-Upper

January 7, 2014 in Building and Repurposing, Outside

Disclaimer – This post on how to replace porch steps is not riveting… nor is it awe inspiring… but I hope it IS confidence boosting. If I can do it, YOU can do it!

If you’ve been following my blog, then you know that I sold my house this past fall.  Before I could put it on the market, there were some improvements that needed to be made. My Mom and sister, Christy, came to visit one weekend to help crank out some projects. While they were in town, my Mom made it her personal mission to get the ball rolling on my front porch. On top of tiling my bathroom and installing a new vanity with Christy, my mom scraped the chipping paint and applied the first coat of primer to the porch. It was just the motivation I needed!

After they left, I ran to the store to purchase some grey outdoor paint. I managed to get two coats on the porch within 48 hours of their leaving. It felt SO good to be making progress!


…but there was one problem…


The Steps!

They were a hot mess. Not even worthy of a fresh coat of paint. Let’s face it.. .for 2+ years I’d kept kicking the bottom riser to make sure it was still supporting the first step. It was just waiting to fall apart.

IMG_0287…I’m not proud.  Just being honest.

Why didn’t I fix it sooner?  Well – I didn’t think I could! In fact, I was convinced I couldn’t. Joke’s on my – it was MUCH easier than I thought!


Step one – Rip them out.  Not surprisingly, the rotten boards didn’t put up much fight. I used a crowbar and heavy hammer to knock the boards loose. It took all of 2 minutes… maybe.


Snag a broom and sweep up all those leaves!  I took note of how the last stringers and risers were attached. This shouldn’t be too bad!

After a quick trip to Lowe’s, I had two ready-to-go stringers, screws and the boards I’d need for my treads.  Let’s do this!


I used the old stringer to determine where I’d need to make my cuts. A couple quick chops with my miter saw and this bad boy was ready to go on.


At this point, I was smiling ear to ear. This was really going to work!  My confidence was starting to shift! My neighbors were probably wondering what was up with the crazy girl smiling as she screwed boards onto her porch.  Nothin’ to see here people – just go on aboutcho bidness.


I was on a motivation roll… why not go ahead and prime them, right?! I raced the sunset to get my first coat on. Woop!

IMG_0359b…and I’m proud to say -

I did this project ALL. BY. MYSELF.  - and it turned out AWESOME!


I knew when people came to look at my house, the porch would make a great first impression.  - and don’t worry, I spruced up those flower beds too! I just had to wait until the last minute to plant things. I have a way of killing plants and didn’t want them to all die before my house was actually on the market.

What’s the moral of this long-winded DIY tale?  Don’t sell yourself short!  We’re all capable of much more than we give ourselves credit for. So get up, get out there and just do it!





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DIY Drink Stake and Score Keeper

September 27, 2012 in Building and Repurposing, Featured Bloggers, Outside

Earlier this month I guest blogged at Debbie Does Creations and revealed a little DIY creation! Today I thought I’d give you a little more info on how that came together!

As a special wedding gift for my middle-sister and her husband, I thought it’d be fun to make cornhole boards to drag along to their family-friendly Destination Wedding! …and boy was I right! We played beanbags every day while in Florida. Don’t tell the lady that gave her the fine-china crockpot, but she said my hand-made cornholes were the best gift she got (J/K)!

I did a full how-to on the project here. Don’t be intimidated by the power-tools. Trust me! I tackled my first wood project last year and I’ve been full steam ever since! You can totally do it.

I thought it might be fun to whip up a little cornholes accessory for those people like me that like to enjoy a beverage while they play. …and then I remembered those times where we lost track of the score as our beverage count went up. Hmmm, what’s a girl to do? How about make one of these!

My favorite things about this project:

1) I had to open a beer. Well c’mon.. what kind of drink-holder tail-gating photo would it be without my beloved Miller Lite?!

2) It cost me a whopping 25 cents in materials!

Okay, I’m sure you’re scratching your head on that second part, but here it goes –

  • The box/crate was made using leftover pallet wood from a plank wall in my bathroom.
  • The wood stake was in my shed when I bought the house (woop!).
  • The white hook was in my toolbox from Lord-knows-what years ago.
  • I bought the chalk and alphabet rubber stamps when I made my clay-tag calendar.
  • The paint/stain I already owned.
  • …which leaves the chalk board. Yes, my (new) friends, that chalkboard set me back 25 cents on clearance at Target. What a find right!

Did you see my monogrammed koozie? ha! I love that sucker. I’m wild about the color scheme and the giraffe reminds me of my horse, Sylvester… he’s tall and likes to run around with his head held high. Such a silly giraffe!

So you want the scoop on whipping one up?  Sure!  That’s the easy part!

  1. I used my miter saw to cut my pallet wood, then glued and nail-gunned it together.
  2. I then stained the box and stake with Minwax Express in Indigo. Minwax was super AWESOME and sent me some of these stains in some SUPER FUN colors to try! Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for a project or two with these stains… and a full review! PLUS – There will be a GIVEAWAY FOR YOU coming down the pipeline. Woop!
  3. I added the No. 12 with some leftover paint and my rubber stamps.
  4. After a quick dry (encouraged by my blow-dryer), I hit the edges with my palm sander to rough up the finish.
  5. Once it was good to go, I pre-drilled a hole in the top of my stake and attached the box with a wood screw.

Voila! Instant beer holder!

The hook is just a handy place to hang the scoreboard… which is of course optional!

If you don’t have a nail gun or miter saw, this project could easily be done with a handsaw and good ol’ fashioned hammer and nails! Just be sure to pre-drill your hole into the stake so you don’t split the wood when running a screw into it.

Cheers to all of you cheering on your favorite teams! Here’s hoping we don’t see another Ref Debacle this weekend!

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July 3, 2012 in Outside

Have you ever set out on a trip and had a picture in your mind of how it would go?

Until you were faced with a challenge…

Something that stopped you in your path, forced you to take a step back, and find another way…

…a route off the beaten path and over the tracks.

This is the photo-story of my weekend D-Tour.  A simple 3 hour drive that wound up including a 20 mile dirt road detour… and I loved every Dusty, dirty mile of it!

How gorgeous are those worn gates. I’d love to snag them, along with that rustic, sprawling barn in the background.

…ANOTHER “Road Closed” sign. Are you Kidding me?! I was less than a mile from the pavement on my map. Sigh… My inner GPS kept repeating, “Recalculating… Recalculating… Recalculating…”

Pavement! Thank you Country Road 271. You served me well. Oh where will Plan B C take me…

another 10 miles north to

Downtown Louisiana, Missouri!

What a fun little town nestled on the banks of the Mississippi. I only wish I would have had more time to dig through the cute shops lining downtown!

…just around the river bend:

Shut the front door. Not again.

Just kidding! There was road construction, but at least the road wasn’t closed. At this point, I was just laughing!

This little gem of a small-town flea market was SCREAMING my name. Someday I’ll go back!

Be still my heart.

There are few things I love more than round barns. If only…

I almost didn’t snap this picture in time. I loved it’s quirky, aged feel. I’d take it in a heartbeat!

Sometimes you just have to let go. Just breathe and enjoy the ride. You can’t change it… just go with it.

…and that’s where I find the most fun.

On a country back road. Uncovering the world, one turn at a time.

“I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”  – Robert Frost

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