Category Archives: Getting Crafty

Crafts, home decor, & DIY

Fixing up the homestead

Dan and I recently considered moving. We have two kids, two dogs, chickens, bees, a student from Kenya, a hamster and a snake all sharing a 3 bedroom rambler with a modest-sized yard. Sometimes it feels like we’re popping at the seams. Our Kenyan student is about to move on, but my niece is coming to live with us this summer, so I started thinking we needed just a little more room.

We’ve thought this before, and I go back and forth on it. When I take the global perspective, I realize that we have much more living space than most people in the world. (When our Kenyan student moved in, it was the first time in her life she’d had her own room.) So, from that perspective, we “should” be able to make it work. And, although I’m the most haphazard of gardeners, I ‘ve managed to get an apple tree, a plum tree, rhubarb, some blueberry bushes and various other food-bearing plants to establish themselves in the yard. Moving would mean starting over on my plan to transform our yard to edible landscaping. (More on that in a future post.) I also think about the fact the space crunch we feel right now is temporary — the children will move on eventually, and then Dan and I won’t need a big house.

But the crunched feeling got overwhelming recently, and we actually got out there and started looking for a new home. After looking a few houses, we found one that I thought was perfect. It was near where we live, so no great upset to anyone’s routine — in fact, it was closer to the high school where my older son will go next year. It was just a little bit larger and had a slightly bigger back yard (more room for the bees! and maybe we could get some goats!). I was already imagining how we would organize the house and what I would do with the yard. Well, as these things happen (sellers not motivated, we did some hard thinking about finances and the reality that we’ll have a son in college in –gulp! — 3.5 years), the deal didn’t go through.  I moved through the stages of grief fairly rapidly and then declared, “That’s it. We’re not moving. Let’s fix this place up and figure out how to make it all work right here.”

Dan accepted my decree (at least for now) and we agreed that we’re going to go through the house with paper in hand and make a list of everything we’d like to do, then prioritize the list, then figure out how much we can actually spend. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do at least one thing on the list.

We haven’t done the formal inventory yet, but I decided to tackle something in the boys’ bathroom that’s been bugging me for a while — rust! Their mirror, which is nice and large and would be fairly expensive to replace, is showing wear and rust around the edges.

Rust along the edge of the mirror

This rust must go!

I’ve been thinking for a while that it would be cool to put some tiles or pieces of glass around the edges of the mirror to make a sort of mosaic frame. Then recently, on Pinterest, I saw a post from the SITS girls  about how to use clear silicone to attach tiles to a mirror (you can link to the original post from my Pinterest board here, or go directly to the original blog here).

Perfect! The boys bathroom has a beach theme, so instead of tiles, I decided to use beach glass. I searched around on amazon and found some large pieces of beach glass for a reasonable price here from LifeForce Glass ($7.50 for 2.5 lbs; I bought two bags).

Bag of sea glass

Two bags of sea glass pebbles

Dan had some clear-drying silicone left over from the recent bathroom remodel, so I was set to go.

silicone and glass

Clear-drying silicone adhesive and glass pebbles

I spread a little silicone on the flat surface of a glass pebble.

Silicone on pebble

Spreading some silicone

Then pressed the pebble into place along the edge of the mirror.

Pebble pressed on glass

Pressing the first pebble into place

I held it for about 10 seconds then let go.

Pebble in place

Ta-da!

OK, so at first I tried to defy the law of gravity and work on the mirror in place on the wall. The mirror is big and taking it off the wall seemed like it would be too hard. But the pebbles are fairly heavy and gravity would not be denied. Even though I tried waiting a minute to let the silicone get tacky, and then pressed for 10 seconds, the pebbles were slipping a little from where I placed them.

So, I called for the cavalry and Dan lifted the mirror off the wall like it was nothing while my younger son scrambled to clean his legos off the dining room table. Dan laid the mirror down flat, and I continued working on my border. I placed the pebble colors randomly, with the only rule being that I wouldn’t put two of the same color right next to each other. The pebbles had different contours, but they were mostly generally oval or rectangular in shape. I tried not to rigidly line them up, but tilt them in slightly different ways.

Making the border

Our Kenyan student couldn't resist joining in when she saw me playing with glass

I left the mirror on the dining room table to dry overnight. Dan came by and made a slight adjustment to the pebbles that were in the locations where the mirror clips would attach to the mirror. (He measured the position of the clips on the wall, then measured in from the edge of the mirror, and nudged a couple of the pebbles away from the edge of the mirror a little bit to make room for the clips.)

The next morning, Dan hung the mirror back up for me.

Mirror with seaglass frame

Pretty mirror with seaglass border!

The silicone dried clear so it’s hardly visible.

Closeup on seaglass

Pretty glass instead of yucky rust!

Here’s a picture of the edge where the rust was most visible.

Rusty edge hidden by seaglass

You really have to look to see the rust (so don't look) 😉

I love the new look and final cost was $15!

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