Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Up the Stairs

My brother taught me to play with guns.  Not really.  And in this day and age I really shouldn't joke about that.  I had used a rifle twice before shooting skeet and thought that was my claim to fame, shooting skeet in southern Virginia, but I recently learned how to use a nail gun and now I'm much more proud of that.  I thought I'd share the process. 
After we finished painting and hanging pictures in the hallway, we realized it lead to a dead end at the top of the stairs.

I had seen some seemingly simple ways of dressing up walls with bead board and decided to give it a try, well really to enlist my brother to teach me how to use a nail gun to put up wooden boards.  I wanted to create an effect of old board and batten.  Here is a link to my inspiration site, Thrify Decor Chick, where she explains step by step how to do this. 

I had estimated the cost of this project at about $75 (and we had a gift card from Christmas!) but it ended up, of course, closer to $100. Still I feel it was all worth it.  After my brother showed up, the hardest part was measuring.  We decided to have the home improvement store cut the 12 foot boards into four foot lengths to save us extra time and trouble, so from that measurement we were able to figure everything else out. 
We measured and Ed cut.  I got to try out the NAIL GUN.  After I got over my initial fear I learned that it's quite a thrill doing something with this power tool.  Ed was so encouraging, or rather commanding, "Just do it."  He did not want to play into my fears at all. 

Although I bent a few nails in the beginning he was patient with me and I was a pretty quick study. 

After we finished with the boards it was all about the filling, caulking and painting.   (Don't you love that old light?!)

Of course, that seems simple enough, but the tools just sat in the hallway for about two weeks.

Once I got up and going again, it was very rewarding.  We changed the light fixture to match the one at the bottom of the stairs, painted black, though I kind of wish I went more colorful.

Then the final touch.  This is my favorite. 

I had seen posters/paintings of important dates written in big bold number fonts that were really cool, like your birthdates, the day you met, the day you married.  (Can't find the website right now, but I will.)  And it gave me the idea to use decals, like we had on the front door, right on the wall beneath the pictures.  But ordering all those separate birthdates and years, etc. would be a big process and a big expense, relatively speaking.  Then my daughter had to go to JoAnn, and I thought I'd look for decals.  None.  But in the scrapbooking aisle they did have cool stickers that were just the right size and came in a cool font that I could imagine would work.  My idea was to put the kids' birthdates right beneath their pictures.  I spent about 10 minutes on the floor in the scrapbook aisle counting numbers and zeroes to make sure I had enough sticker packs, then it didn't even matter because they were on sale for like $1.79!  Score!  I bought three, but should have bought 4.  I abbreviated the years from 2000 to 00 even though I probably could have done the whole thing. 
The funny thing is, when my kids were younger I was reading a book called Little Big Minds, about sharing philosophy with younger children.  One of the questions was "Are numbers or letters more important?"  So I posed the question to my four- and six-year-old, and their responses were so interesting.   JJ, the six-year-old, who was really into baseball stats at the time, said, "Numbers."  Annie said, "But JJ, how would you know what the numbers meant if there were no words?"  So when the birthdates were up, we asked a few kid friends to tell us what they thought the numbers under the pictures meant.  It was really fun (the size, the day the pictures were taken, the day of your vacation, the day you were born)  and we realized that even not knowing right away made for a cute little game to play with our house guests.

One more caveat, however.  I used 3M Command stickers to hang the pictures.  I won't do it again.  About an hour after finishing this project I heard two of the pictures smash to the floor.  I got out my old fashioned hammer and nails and now they are still hanging just fine!  I will however continue to use these vinyl stickers everywhere in my house!  What can I do with them next...

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