How I Fixed My Leaky Toilet

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed that the toilet in my hall bathroom runs. all.the.time.  When I got back from Denver on Monday I noticed that the bathmat was wet and tracked it back to the base of my toilet.  Gross.

I thought I needed to replace the wax ring under the toilet so I watched lots of YouTube videos and felt confident that I could do it.  When I talked to my dad this morning he said that it was unlikely that the toilet was leaking from there so I went back to Google.

Google lead me to this video and this one which lead me to the hardware store.


Really, I should have known that the leak was coming from the handle but I guess I didn’t think that was possible.

When I got to the hardware store I realized that I should have paid attention to A) the make of my toilet and B) the placement of the handle.  I didn’t.


So, I paid more money for the “universal” models of the handle and flapper.  The flapper was in decent condition but I figured I’d replace it while the tank was empty and I was replacing the handle.


I also go the “water saving” model because, why not?

The handle came off easy and I noticed that the bolt was starting to crack and thought that might be what was causing the leaking.


I got the new handle on, turned on the water and….leaks.


And then, light bulb!  Can you see how high up the water level was getting in my tank?  Turns out that’s over the hole for the handle.  So, I adjusted the float and….NO LEAKS!


Now I need to scrub the toilet and floor and bleach the bathmat.  BUT, I FIXED MY FREAKING TOILET TODAY!

On another note, I’ve decided to change things up and have started a new blog.  After today I’ll be at good little house!  My first post is up and it’s a recap of year two-I hope you’ll go check it out!



Big Picture Redo

Way back in November 2013 I made a big picture to put over my mantel.  It was nice to have something up there and I still love the picture, but I wasn’t loving how it looked up there anymore.

After several changes my mantel has looked like this for the last couple of months:

p1Not terrible but I just wasn’t loving it.

I decided to attach the picture to a piece of plywood and then build a frame around it.  All with stuff I already had.  And I didn’t have any plywood.

Improvisation #1:


I had a piece of bead board left over from my bathroom project that was slightly bigger than I needed it.  I still don’t own a table saw so I used a combination of an exacto knife and a hand saw.  Luckily it’s not really wood so it cut pretty easily (although not cleanly.)


Originally I was going to stain the trim around the edges but I had to use a combination of pine and redwood (improvisation #2) so I had to abandon that plan.  I had also planned on setting the picture down into the frame a little bit but since the back board wasn’t real wood I couldn’t nail into the edge so I just set the board on top of the frame and nailed it together (improvisation #3.)

Once everything was fastened it looked like this:

p4I caulked the edge between the board and frame and once that was dry I got to painting.  p5

First I sprayed it wit an aqua spray paint (obviously this was after I had already started to position the picture.)  Once the spray paint was dry I rubbed on a coat of Jacobean stain and let that dry.

Then I put it over the mantel!

p7I love it!  I’m looking for a frame in a size between the one holding the picture of me and Henry and the little one.


I really wish I had done this sooner!  It was so easy and looks so much better!


Driftwood Sign

A few weeks ago my mom found a river worn board while walking her dog and brought it home for me.

After a long week I decided it was time for some crafting stress relief.

sign1I loved the shape of the board but didn’t really have a place for it inside so I found a garden appropriate quote to paint on it.

sign2I printed it out and found a placement on the board that I liked.

sign3Then I just traced over the word.  The wood was soft enough that with slight pressure I had a nice outline left that I could just paint right over.

sign4I wanted to use paint that I already had so I used my kitchen color (Little Sprout by Valspar) and the Fresh Mist I used on my patio chairs.

I had some little sawtooth hangers on hand so I stuck them on the back and took it outside.

sign5I love it over my leaning herb table.  I really need to level it out but that seems like it’s going to be a lot of digging and I just don’t have that kind of energy today!

It seems a little high now, but I wanted to give my plants to grow tall and I also didn’t want the dirt from the pots to splash up onto it while I’m watering.

sign6I’m so glad my mom saw this, grabbed it and brought it back for me!


New Lawn Mower

I got home around 8:30 tonight and noticed


my clematis are blooming-almost a week earlier than last year (and holy cow, look how much bigger it is this year!)


2my new lawn mower arrived!

I had originally planned to buy it in a store but after some research I found the one I wanted wasn’t sold in stores.  Home Depot had it and was doing free shipping so I just bought it online.

3Man I’m glad I did, too-I don’t know if I could have gotten this into my car!

4So with the sun setting I decided it was a good idea to assemble it.

5It was really only two pieces so I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal.

6But after about 20 minutes and (20,000 mosquito bites) I still had the grass catcher to attach…and I couldn’t do it.  It’s supposed to click into some slots on the handle but it was too dark for me to see them and I didn’t want to spend any more time outside being eaten alive than I had to.

So tomorrow I still need to do that (plus add oil and gas) but for tonight, I’m off to take a cold bath to try to calm down all these bites!


DIY Hose Holder

I have been dragging 100 feet of hose all the way around my house for the last several weeks.

I only had to water a couple of times before May turned into one constant rainstorm so I had conveniently forgotten what a pain it was to water until this week when the rain dried up.

I felt like I could be in an infomercial as the “before” person.  You know how they always look frazzled and frustrated?  I was.  It took me an hour plus to water and I’m sure half of that time was spent dragging, un-kinking, and cussing.

So when I found a pin for this tutorial I figured it was worth a try.

hose1This was my hose situation before.  I didn’t use it.  By the time I was done watering I was so frustrated that I just left the hose in the yard and walked away from it.

I went to Lowe’s this morning and bought

hose2a cedar post ($15)

hose4and some wood curtain rod finials ($8.)

hose3I cut the post in half and cut another board to a square and glued and screwed it on top.

hose5Then I glued the finial on top of that and caulked around it.

hose6I had this hose holder already so I screwed it onto the post

hose7and then made a second one (again with a hose holder I already had.)

I spray painted the first one and while it was drying I dug a hole.

hose8I thought about putting this several places but the other options would have limited how far the hose would reach so I put it here.  You’ll notice that the end of the hose is hanging into the planter.  I have a small leak at the hose bib and have found that if I leave the sprayer nozzle at the other end of the hose open my plants enjoy the extra drips of water (rather than the driveway.)  It’s not a good permanent solution but works until I can get a plumber here to fix it.

hose9The one for the front yard is still drying so I won’t be able to set it up until tomorrow but just having this one has already cut my watering time down!  AND I even put the hose away when I was done!


Outdoor Table

I built furniture today you guys.  Not any of that pre-cut particle board stuff either-for real, from scratch furniture.

It all started with this

table3blank wall in the backyard.

And also this:

table2Specifically all that wood hanging out around my shed.

To the right you can see a failed project that I originally intended to put up around my front stairwell.  It didn’t work out and now I’m glad because I like the metal fence I put up out there better.

Anyways, after some Googling I decided that I could build a console type table out of the wood I already had.

table1I started out building the legs

table4and them attached them with two boards.  Because I was using wood I had already cut for other projects, I didn’t have two of the same width and length so the front board is narrower than the back one.  I don’t think anyone will notice

table5because I then put boards across the bottom to form a shelf.

Then I realized that I had just built a really awkward 5ft long table that I couldn’t lift and maneuver off my patio so I had to take the shelf off and reassemble it in place.

table6I moved the bricks and rocks to the sides (SO MANY SPIDERS!) so I could put the table (mostly) in the center of the wall.  When I have another set of hands here I’ll probably move it to level the ground and put some rocks down under it.  The ground is super soft and slanty there so the end on the right is sitting lower than the one on the left.

You can also see in the above picture that I put a top on it.  I used two of the cedar fence boards that I had leftover from building planter boxes.  One is warped from being out in the rain for so long but I’m exploring other options for the top so I’m not worried about it.

table7Then I had to accessorize it, of course.

I’ve had a makeshift pallet table on my patio for several months.  It’s been half painted and under used so I’d like to get rid of it and just use my pretty new piece.  I picture the bottom shelf holding extra pots and miscellaneous gardening supplies and I want the top to be filled with pots of herbs and flowers.  I plan to scour thrifts stores for more pots that I can spray paint bright new colors.

I also haven’t decided how I’m going to finish this.  I’m thinking of a combination of staining the legs and painting the shelf on the bottom.  The shelf is pine and I think it’s going to need more protection if it’s going to be out in the elements.

table8While it’s still not completely finished, I’m so proud of it!  I did that!


Plant Markers I Don’t Hate

Last week I made some plant markers that I hated.

Tonight I made some that I really like!
pm1I had these pieces of trim left over from my kitchen and closet projects and thought I could make something pretty out of them.

pm2I cut them into 7″ pieces that I angled at the bottom.

Then I painted them and sprayed them with some sealer and took some crappy pictures outside, at night.

pm5I’m not sure how these will hold up but if they last this season, I’ll be happy!

pm6I spent $0 (today at least) and about 30 minutes on these….far less time (and money!) than I spent on the ones that I hated!