Key, Key, Who’s Got the Key?

One of the first things we do when we move into a new house (yea, we can say it like this now that we have 2 notches in our proverbial “house” belts ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) is change the locks. One way of doing this is calling a locksmith. The Baker way of doing this (and I’m sure many people’s way of doing this) is to DIY!

The main reason for this post is not to tell you how to go down to Lowe’s or Home Depot and purchase new locks, install them onto your doors, etc. and so on. The real reason behind this post is to tell you about this super awesome handy new invention that’s called “SmartKey.” Maybe we are late in the game, but until House #2, we had never heard of SmartKey. FYI: this is also not some type of add for Kwikset, although we wish we were profiting from this ๐Ÿ˜‰ We are really just amazed at this product!

In House #1, we had a front door and a back door – that’s it. In House #2, we now have two front doors and two back doors as well as a door on the basement that needs locking! Take out the one back door because it’s a slider that can no longer really be accessed with a key and that’s a grand total of 4 doors. We’re up two whole sets of locks from the last house! That’s where the genius of SmartKey comes in…

Easy DIY and home improvement trick for re-keying your locks!This type of door lock replacement allows you to re-key your lock instead of completely replacing it. Our front door had a SmartKey lock on it, so all we had to do was buy Kwikset’s SmartKey “Re-Key” kit. You place the old key in and turn the dial on the existing lock to “learn mode”. Then you insert the special tool provided in the kit, insert the new key (also provided) and with another turn of the dial, you’ve got yourself a brand new, working key. We tested the old key and, sure enough, it didn’t work anymore!

These things are genius! We’ve wasted a lot of time changing locks and I’m sure many people waste a lot of money hiring professionals to do this for them too. We typically don’t write blog posts exclusively about products, but when we stumble upon a product that’s changing the game in DIY and home improvement, we can’t help but rave about it! Rave on. ๐Ÿ™‚

Roof Truth

The past couple weekends I’ve been up on the roof trying to solve a problem. We’ve scoured the internet and tried a bunch of different things and nothing works. We’ve got these annoying stains running down the front and back sides of the roof. We’ve figured out they are caused by algae. And this, in turn, is most likely due to the close proximity of a bunch of trees to our roof.

Roof Stains - AlgaeWhen we moved in we were told the roof was only 3-5 years old. I don’t believe it from the looks of it, but a neighbor has confirmed it is relatively new. The first fall that we were living in the house we trimmed back a bunch of the trees. They’ve grown back, but not significantly enough that I’d expect stains and algae.

Spray and ForgetWe’ve done a ton of research online and the best two options we could come up with wereย  product called “Spray and Forget.” We tested this out on our concrete patio with great results. On the roof? Not so much. I don’t see any noticeable difference.

Oxi Clean for Cleaning Roof ShinglesNext we tried oxygen bleach, or OxiClean. This seems to have gotten rid of the darkest spots, but the widespread staining is still there. So here we are, with a stained roof. We’re in the northeast, and in a relatively high moisture area, so I guess this is to be expected, but its very frustrating.

Have any readers out there ever experienced this? Maybe you can offer some advice! Comment here or head over to Facebook to share your experience. Follow us on Instagram too so you can always stay up to date with the latest and greatest on our DIY and home improvement projects.

Curtain Call

When we moved into our house just under 2 years ago, the living room was one of the first rooms to be painted. From there, we quickly purchased and hung new faux wood blinds, as well as some white curtains. I’ve never been thrilled with shorter curtains, but because we have baseboard heaters, I always felt like we shouldn’t have long, floor-length curtains. Boy was I wrong.Here’s a quick preview of the before and after:

Before and after, modified 84 inch curtains

There are so many options for hanging curtains, you should never have to limit yourself. I have seen other people hang floor-length curtains in homes with baseboard heaters, so it shouldn’t be an issue. However, I decided to come up with an easy solution that would allow me to have the 84 inch curtains I really wanted. Thus, I give you…

How to Modify 84 inch Curtains with NO Sewing and Just 4 Simple Steps

You will need:

  • 84 inch (or any length, really) pocket rod curtains
  • 1 pack curtain clip rings per curtain (in my case, it was 4 curtains, 4 sets of clip rings, 7 in a pack)
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Tape measure

1. Iron curtains – This is the first time in the past 5 years of apartment/home living for me that I have actually decided to iron my curtains and it really paid off. Continue reading to learn why this is so important, but trust me, you do not want to skip this step!

Ironing curtains2. Use your ironing board as a sort of staging area to fold the top of your curtains down as much as you would like to modify the length. In my case, I knew I wanted to modify the 84 inch curtains by about 10 inches.

3. Open 1 pack of clip rings and lay them out along your curtain to get an idea for spacing. Ensure the clip rings will be evenly spaced and then clip!

Curtain clip rings

Curtain clip ring

4. Hang your curtain and repeat as needed, depending on how many curtains you are modifying.

Modify 84 inch curtains, hang and style like a pro

No sewing needed whatsoever and utilizing the curtain clip rings allows you to make the curtains any length you want. You can’t even tell they have been modified and, in my case, they are right above my baseboard heaters, just where I wanted them.

Modified 84 inch curtains

Now, why was it so important to iron the curtains? First of all, they definitely look so much better when they are ironed, that’s obvious. But what’s really important is, ironing the curtains allowed me to really style them like a pro. To achieve the clean, sophisticated look seen here, I pinched the curtains at the very top between each clip ring and followed the fold all the way down to the bottom.

Styling curtainsStyling curtains like a pro

Creating this accordion-like effect really makes the curtains look like curtains and not just wrinkly sheets tossed up on a curtain rod.

Curtain clip rings really are the answer to curtain modification as far as I’m concerned. I don’t own a sewing machine and I’ve used “no -ew” products, but nothing works quite as well as the curtain clip ring method! Now, in the future, I can have my 84 inch curtains or I can modify again to any length I’d like.