Month: July 2014

Fireplace Before and After

Fireplace Before and After


When we bought this house, our favorite thing about it was the fireplace mantel that had seen better days.  We started out by giving removing the mantel and stripping the many layers of paint off.

Then we stained it to match the other furniture and wood floors in our house.

But the most notable difference is the tile and DIY hearth we added.

The fireplace didn’t have any kind of hearth or floor tile when we started, but we thought it would bring a bit of character to this beautiful fireplace.  We started by building a box our of 2x4s and plywood.Hearth Base

We followed the tile instructions to install larger tile on the top with a bullnose tile around the edges. Hearth Tile InstallationHearth Surface Tile

We added a smaller mosaic tile around the base that would match the rest of the tile.  We have been living with this hearth installed but an unfinished mantel for over a year!Hearth Installation

Yesterday was finally the day to add the rest of the tile around our fireplace insert.Fireplace Tile Installation

Luckily, we were able to tuck the tile behind the mantel because it doesn’t sit directly against the wall, except on the outside edges.  We will be adding a bit of trim to make up the difference once we finish sealing and grouting the mosaic tile.

We did have to cut the tiles around the insert.  We used a standard score and break tile cutter that we bought for around $20.  You don’t need anything too fancy for this small of a job.Cutting Glass Tile

I am so incredibly happy with how this fireplace has turned out so far.  We still need to grout the tiles and add some small trim, but it is so much better to look at in the meantime.  Fireplace After

We were also able to get a bit of crown molding installed this week, so an update will come soon on that.  Thanks for reading!

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Chicken Run Door

Last fall we built a chicken run attached to our chicken coop.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time before the snow got too deep to add our door.  Ryan ended up crawling through our chicken door to get into the run to shovel during the winter months.


Chicken Coop Door

Keep in mind that door is 12″x12″.  It’s a good thing he fit, because there was no way my pregnant butt would have!

Now that the weather is nice, we were finally able to add a door.  When we put in our posts, we put two close together to frame in our door.  All we had to do was cut our the fencing that was there and build a door to put in its spot.


Adding a Chicken Run Door

After removing the fencing, we added 3 pieces of treated 1×4 to the top, bottom, and middle with fencing staples.  We placed the middle 1×4 in the spot we wanted our gate lock to be.  When measuring for the horizontal pieces, we made it about half an inch smaller than the opening so that the door would swing easily.

Chicken Run Door Part 1


These horizontal 1x4s are on the on the inside portion of the door.  We then added the vertical 1x4s.  They were added to sandwich the corners of fencing and are on the front portion of the door.

Chicken Run Door Part 2


In order to beef up the door and keep animals from being able to tear at the edge of the fencing, we added 3 smaller pieces to the front of the door.  These pieces sandwich the fencing and make the door look a bit nicer.

Chicken Run Door Part 3


After the door was built, we just attached it to the 4×4 posts with 2 large hinges.

Chicken Run Door Hinges


Finally, we added a gate lock and were all finished!

Finished Chicken Run Door


I think Ryan will be grateful he doesn’t have to squeeze out that tiny door into the run anymore.  It will also be a lot easier to deliver treats to the chickens, so I think they will be happy about it too! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more chicken updates to come soon!


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Chicken Tractor Modification

$40 DIY Chicken Coop

When we initially built the $40 Chicken Coop in May of last year, we thought about putting wheels on it to help with moving it around the yard.  Like most projects we get into, however, we were racing to get the coop built before our meat birds were ready to go outside and just didn’t have the time.

It turned out that the coop was actually pretty light and could be skidded through the yard without too much fussing.  Besides, we only have the meat birds in there for a few weeks before they’re ready to be butchered, so, by the time we figured out the intricacies of adding wheels, the coop would be in storage for the winter.

This year we’ve got another 25 meat birds and a plan that’s going to save my back!

Adding Wheels to the Chicken Tractor:

My Father-in-law gave us a set of wheels from an old air compressor this spring.  He must have grown tired of my complaining… Or, perhaps it was because they were in charge of moving the coop while we were gone on vacation for four days.  Naturally, we waited until after we returned from vacation before installing the wheels.

Our plan was to use the two wheels on the heavy end of the coop and put a handle on the light end.  A 2×4 cut about 24″ long would serve as a swing arm for each wheel.  A single 9/16″ bolt through the middle of the 2×4 and into the coop allows us to adjust the rolling height as well as drop the coop down to the ground while at rest.

Here’s a picture of the wheel in the rolling position:Chicken Tractor Wheels

And a picture after dropping the coop back down:Chicken Tractor Wheels

This setup works extremely well and I love how adjustable it is.  Why didn’t we do this earlier!?

Hope you enjoyed the post!  Let us know how you added wheels to your chicken coop in the comments below!

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Harrison is 2 Months!

Harrison 2 Months


Our little guy turned 2 months yesterday!  It is seriously amazing how fast babies change.  Harrison is so much more alert, it’s crazy!  He smiles and “talks” all the time and has even learned to roll over.  Ryan has taught Harrison to mimic him and they stick their tongues out at each other.

Harrison 2 Month Stats


He has also gotten a lot bigger (weighing in at almost 13 Lbs and growing an inch over the last month).

This month we took a couple of long road trips and Harrison did great.  We took a trip to Des Moines, IA last week that involved a 10 hour drive there and 12 back.  Harrison did great until the last hour or so on the way home.  I think he was just sick of being in his car seat, so we took some extra time getting home.

Of course, we can’t forget the Tigger pictures!

Harrison 2 Month Tigger

“Hi, I’m Harrison and this is my friend Tigger.”Harrison Tigger 2 Month



You can already tell he is getting bigger.  Check out his 1 month photos to compare!

Thanks for reading!

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