Tag Archives: diy

I Should Probably Get That Fixed… My Life 03 MAY 2015

You know that old saying “Stop bugging me woman, I said I’ll do it. You don’t have to keep asking every six months about it you know!” – well, totally applicable when it comes to me and DIY/upkeep here at my house in Country Mews.

I probably only bother mowing the lawn every month and a half or so, my car only gets washed like twice or maybe three times a year, blown lightbulbs have been known to take weeks (if not months) to be replaced [hey, I have nine ceiling downlights in the lounge. I can afford to lose two or three of them you know!], the perished light fitting in our en-suite bathroom is still perilously hanging from its cord (for longer than what I can actually remember), and then finally there is this:

Late last year, one of Gordon’s Bay’s infamous winds gusted through the house and slammed shut the front door that had been standing open, properly cracking the beautiful sandblast design glass pane and rendering the door a pretty ugly sight indeed.

cracked stained glass pane front door in gordons bay

We’re pretty much halfway into the new year now.

I should probably get that fixed at some point…

How to Mess Less when Drilling Holes My Life 30 JAN 2015

Over the last couple of years I’ve put up a lot – seriously a lot – of shelving around and about our house. Of course, every shelf requires a multitude of holes to be drilled through the plaster and into the concrete/brick walls, which translates into a lot of fun time spent with my old, inherited Black and Decker electric drill.

Now I’ve come across this tip numerous times in the past, but the point is that it does actually work and thus is always worth mentioning again: How to you create less mess when drilling?

mess less when drilling holes 2

Well, one of the simplest ways to mess less when drilling a hole is to simply grab a plastic shopping bag and some masking tape and then stick one end of the open bag directly under the spot where you are about to drill.

As simple as that.

The bag acts as  a dust catcher which in turn means more time putting up shelves and less time becoming acquainted with your vacuum cleaner.

(Unless of course you don’t really like putting up shelving and would rather spend some more time with your vacuum cleaner in the first place. I’m not going to judge if that is the case, promise.)

mess less when drilling holes 1

Anyway, if you want to see how this DIY tip delivered in a funnier, more animated way, check out the always amusing Suzelle DIY and her video demonstration that came out last year:

Related Link: https://www.youtube.com/user/SuzelleDIY

The Reason that I can’t use My New Stepladder My Life 05 MAY 2013

My birthday is only next weekend, but Chantelle has gone and kicked off things super early, buying for me a beautiful heavy duty stepladder that I’ve had my eye on for a while now (from Tafelberg Furnishers).

This turned out to be super useful because this was the weekend of staying at home and getting things done around the house while Chantelle bakes and attends a toddler first aid course, things like de-clutter my study, repair the kitchen cupboard, fix Chantelle’s broken baking tins, replace faulty lightbulbs and most important of all – get a start on putting up the much needed shelving in the braai room for Chantelle’s packaging and baking stuff. (Builder’s Warehouse turned out to be an awesome ally on the last one).

However, as with all things in this house these days, I had to wait my turn to use my early birthday gift – Jessie decided that my new stepladder makes for an AWESOME television watching vantage point!

jessica sitting on daddy's stepladder 1

jessica sitting on daddy's stepladder 2

Home-made Wall Shelves My Life 24 MAR 2013

I don’t do much DIY and generally the DIY that I do usually revolves around putting up shelves. Point in case – I decided that I wanted some shelving up in the office (despite the over-abundance of packing space already in the room), and to make things even more interesting, this time around I would make my own shelves instead of just buying some off the shelf.

(Note, this decision may have entirely revolved around that I wanted to play around with that jig saw I bought myself the other day, for no other reason than I thought it might be nice to have in my tool cupboard.)


So I sourced my materials, i.e. a nice length of pine and some black wood stain, and set about designing my own bookends, destroying the blade that came with my jig saw, leaving a trail of sawdust throughout the house, not to mention on the ottoman’s which I used as trestles when handling my wood, running to my dad for him to use his fixed circular saw to edge my boards, and then finally drilling and screwing the thing in place – the end result of which is something that I think looks damn good, works like a bomb, and most important of all, makes me feel all warm and proud on the inside.

Truly a proper DIY job (that funnily enough, actually worked out cheaper than just buying and putting up some ready made shelving!)

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Even Jessie approves (and she sat there watching it go up, so she knows all about my shelves!)


Dishwasher Installed! My Life 20 NOV 2012

I just realised that I kind of forgot to mention that a while ago we did indeed get around to making the big kitchen alteration in order to house the new dishwasher that I had bought for Chantelle – and I guess I don’t really have an excuse as to having not mentioned this yet, seeing as the dishwasher has been handling pretty much ALL of the dishes over the past couple of weeks! :)

Anyway, Chantelle and I decided to let her dad take a crack at the project, and together with Rob and Andre, a handyman Monty has entrusted with work around his place for years already, arrived with Cheryl in tow at our house on one fine Saturday morning.

And with Chantelle, Cheryl, Jessica and myself ejected out of the house (shopping, woohoo <- sarcastic) for the most part, the three set about first ripping out the old short counter top between the fridge and the washing machine, taking apart the existing grocery cupboard, building a tiny replacement cupboard from the old cupboard parts, cutting out channels and putting on fittings to enable split water intake and exhaust, putting in a new full length counter top that stretches from the fridge to the door, and finally sliding in and connecting the washing machine and dishwasher, now side by side next to our new tiny cupboard and fridge.

All in a morning’s work it turns out.

It’s not the greatest set of pictures I must admit, but the quality of the work done is fantastic, the speed at which it was done was jaw-dropping, and quite frankly I now owe my father-in-law and brother-in-law big time. This project really came together smartly!

And because it was much cheaper tackling it this way than getting a professional contractor in to do it for us, I managed to purchase a great big linen cupboard to replace the wonky, rickety metal shelves as the now permanent storage spot for all Chantelle’s backing ingredients – right next to the spotless new fridge in the braai room that we added to our collection as well!

Right. New storage spaces, a dishwasher and extended counter space, seriously, Chantelle should now be more than ready for business when Chantelle’s Cookies and Cakes opens its full-time endeavour doors starting this December! :)

Replacing Our Front Door Security Gate Lock (aka How to Remove Pop Rivets) My Life 30 MAY 2012

I enjoy the small, self-contained DIY jobs around the house, and my toolbox was called into action a couple of weeks ago, when inexplicably the lock on our metal front door security gate seized, leaving us with no way of opening the gate, meaning no access via the front door and therefore a bit of an inconvenience (though probably not so much when one considers just how much we make use of the front sliding door to gain access to our abode).

Anyway, we phoned up some locksmiths to get a couple of quotes, recoiled at the prices given, and then stepped back to ponder how we were going to proceed.

A day or two into this saga, I received an excited call from Chantelle telling me that a) I need to take her out for an expensive meal or b) I need to feel less manly about myself, as she had managed to get the gate open after lots of patience, prodding and Q20 lubricant, super convinced that she had now fixed the lock as it appeared to be operating smoothly once more.

Sadly for her though, on my arrival home and subsequent test, the lock once again seized, this time with the key stuck in the lock, but thankfully with the gate open, meaning we now had access to the lock mechanism.

Deciding that it would be far cheaper to just replace the lock ourselves, I set about freeing the trapped keys with a set of pliers. As it turned out, I could apply just enough pressure with the extra leverage afforded by the pliers, freeing the key without the extra hassle of breaking it off.

Anyway, next on the agenda was the removal of the pop rivets which hold the lock in place within the metal gate. Some Googling plus a conversation with Monty led me down a path where I combined two of the primary methods used in removing pop rivets, first taking off the heads of the pop rivets with a few hard bashes to the back of a well placed, good quality paint scraper, followed by drilling out the remaining stem of the pop rivet through the use of a metal drill bit just wider than the pop rivet body. (You’ll note that pop rivets come in standard sizes, in my case the ones in use were 4.8 mm pop rivets, meaning I needed to purchase a 5 mm metal drill bit to get the job done.)

Of course, I didn’t have the necessary tools on hand, and so a trip through to Builder’s Warehouse was in order, where of course I spent far longer than intended, and walked out with a whole lot more for my toolbox than intended!

With the rivets removed, I then needed to purchase a similar lock for the security gate, and taking the old lock with me, I returned to Builders Warehouse and purchased a nice middle of the range, well priced 7 lever lock which best fitted the old lock’s dimensions. (Again, the locks are fairly standardized in size, though it is always best to take the old one with for comparison purposes!)

Of course, life doesn’t make things easy for one, and the joy of discovering that these locks are fairly inexpensive turned sour when I discovered that some small differences in rounded ends meant that the new lock couldn’t simply slide into the hole that used to accommodate the old lock – no it was back to Builders Warehouse for a third time in order to purchase a round metal file, needed to make the slot bigger so that the new lock would fit.

So with my new round file and a borrowed straight file from Monty, I set about rasping away at the gate, taking away enough of the messy weld work so that my new lock could smoothly slide in, after which I grabbed my sparkly new pop rivet tool and secured it in place.

Yay, success (and a working security gate) at last!

(And yes, I know the lock is upside down, but only because the original lock was in upside down as well. What, you didn’t think I was going to take off the whole bloody security gate just so that I could flip it the right side up did you?!)

Homely Upgrades My Life 16 NOV 2011

It would seem that my “at last” purchase of the television for the previously unused entertainment/dining/braai room and Jessica’s FAST approaching big birthday bash has sparked off a fierce new round of home improvement, resulting in Chantelle spending far too much time in Mr Price Home than what I, or our bank accounts, are comfortable with.

That said, the place is starting to look good – real good! :)

So far, we’ve purchased two brown suede and one black leather Ottomans for the main lounge, to act as additional seating/movable coffee tables/eye candy in place of the old central coffee table (which now sits in the entertainment room as our improvised television stand). Chantelle picked out a nice large print for the back wall above the main couch, and we’re pretty certain we going to be putting up some photo frames on the opposite television wall.

Oh, and Chantelle brought some nice fashionable cushions to bring some more colour into the room.

The major purchases have however been for the new entertainment section, with the main addition being three full length brown tabbed curtains for the previously unadorned, frosted sliding doors. In the corner next to the new television, we’ve bought a small fold-out table to act as a decorative stand for an old lamp we saved, with a brand new lampshade thrown on to make it look a little more modern. Above this will be our old black and yellow African woman print hailing from Nagua Bay, which we’ve pulled out of storage and dusted off for its new role.

On the opposite wall above the couch will go up some floating shelves, though we haven’t gotten around to purchasing these just yet, and next to that a long horizontal mirror (which we have actually bought). Finally, Chantelle bought another, smaller print to act as a cover for the exposed circuit board that exists in the room, which actually turns out to be a pretty neat solution to what was an unsightly problem!

So now just a matter of installing some of the pieces (i.e. the prints and mirror) and doing a little reorganization of the room, and the house will AT LAST be in a fully completed state. Only took us a year or so to get around to it all!

P.S. Forgot to mention that somehow she managed to slip a new quilt for the bedroom in as well. I really, really don’t like Mr. Price Home right now! :P

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DIY Home Upgrade My Life 17 MAY 2011

We really haven’t spent much time or money on improving the house in a very long time, with life and the garden simply getting in the way of the small amount of free time we do seem to have here in Country Mews. However, this weekend saw us pick up the DIY reigns once more, as we kitted out in the process two bathrooms, one bedroom and even slapped in one shiny steel rack for the shed!

Of course, one can’t tackle these sort of projects without spending some money (and by some money I mean a LOT of money), which is why both the day of my birthday and this past Saturday saw us spend an inordinate amount of time in the shops, targeting Mr. Price Home, Builder’s Warehouse and Game in particular, making them all a little richer and us a whole lot poorer in the process! :)

Sunday was deemed DIY day (although Saturday I did manage to finally get to the much needed lawn cut and edge trim, never mind the handing of my most awesome Batman print in the study) and when Chantelle popped in from her split shift, we first tackled the main bedroom where we hung our newly purchased curtain and put up our nifty three part purple flower print, complete with matching throw and pillows to bring a nice combination of grey and purple into our room. For the record, little Jessica LOVES the cylindrical grey pillow we’ve added into the mix.

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