Friday, July 11, 2014

Front Door Fancy (Updated...Again)

I've had my eye on a cute plant holder/object de art at my local craft store for a month or two; ultimately, my patience was rewarded and I snagged it at 70% off.  

Despite its initial high price tag, the wire it came with was objectionably wimpy.  It could not stay.

I snipped the existing wire, and replaced it with this sturdy stuff from a previous project. 

My early Summer Coneflowers flanking the door burned out over the hot 4th of July weekend, so I needed to get some more living things out there, and this gave me the perfect opportunity.

I lined the wire basket with Sphagnum Moss instead of trying to find a planter that would fit perfectly.

Nothing special about getting this stuff set up, I just shoved it in and hoped it would stay.  I added my little plants and shoved more moss in around them.

I also need to paint my front door (as soon as ONE of the million paint chips I've taken from Lowe's is even close to its existing color - I would love to change it, but hey, HOA...), and I don't want this cute guy to damage the new paint when it goes up.  So I added some felt pads I had laying around.  They aren't outdoor/waterproof rated, so we'll see how well they hold up.

I used an outdoor/waterproof 3M hook to hold it on the door - we'll see if it's strong enough, or if I'll walk out one day to find a splintery mess...

I even had a couple plants left over to pop into the planters flanking the door, and a little moss to help keep the soil wet in the hot sun.  I think they'll look cute and cohesive as they go into full bloom!


Turns out, that moss doesn't stay in very well.  And that our door doesn't get the benefit of any rain, and plants in a door-attached planter need a lot of extra watering.  So, off to the compost pile their remains went.

I grabbed a long cocoa fiber basket liner, and cut it to relative shape.

In retrospect, I wish I had left the sides a little taller.

Then, I added some plants that won't protest too much without a lot of water.

I like the way the moss/flowers looked better, but got really tired of sweeping moss in our foyer, and never remembered to water.  Here's hoping these guys last a while.

Aaaand, the great crash just happened.  Apparently, one big thunderstorm was too much, and weakened the seal of the supposedly waterproof 3M strip - it just fell right off the door... time to find something a little lighter...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wear Sunscreen

Sorry, your daily SPF isn't enough.  Even your windows need some sunscreen.  

I recently switched out a sad (once cute) comforter in our guest room, and it was faded terribly.  But, only on the side that faced the window.  And I'd noticed serious fading on the dark curtains we'd hung elsewhere.  I really didn't want that to happen to my fancy new bed, or anything else in our house.

Aesthetic concerns aside, without any big trees to shade us, our house roasts in the Summer sunshine.  Especially the dining room.  I LOVE this window bay, but it gets too hot to enjoy, even in the winter.

Wandering around Lowe's, we found these Gila window films.  DIY window tinting?  How hard could it be?

Luckily, it's pretty easy, after a little learning curve.  Even more luckily, you get to benefit from my learning curve.

Some tips:
  • You will definitely need a buddy for this project.  I mean, I'm sure you could figure out a way to peel everything smoothly without the film sticking to itself, but I couldn't.
  • The full instructions are wrapped up inside the roll of film.  The first window I installed it on did not benefit from my thinking the full instructions were on the side of the package (and yet, it looks just as good as the second one I did, so that should tell you how seriously easy this is).
  • Trim to a slightly bigger than glass pane size before you peel off the clear backing.
  • If the clear backing is too hard to get off, use a piece of Scotch tape to separate the layers.

Let's get started.

Step 1:  Gather Materials

Window (clean first with Windex or your preferred window cleaner)

Window Film

Installation Kit


Paper Towel

Step 2: Find and Read Instructions

Step 3:  Trim Window Film

Make it a little bigger than the window pane.  Too much overhang is wasteful and makes the final trimming more difficult.

Step 4: Grab a Buddy

Have your helper hold the cut panel while you peel the backing off.

Step 5:  Spray

Spray the window and the sticky side of the window film with the application solution.  Don't be stingy.

Step 6:  Stick the Film On

Wet sides together.

Step 7:  Smooth 

Get the big bubbles out with the squeegee.

Step 8:  Final Trim

Use the cutter to trim the film to the exact size of the window pane.

I found it easiest to trim and remove one edge at a time (as opposed to trimming the entire way around before removal).

Step 8:  Final Smooth

Wrap your squeegee in paper towel to do a final smoothing.  The paper towel will soak up excess application solution.

If you get something trapped between the film and the window pane (errant fly, perhaps), just peel up a corner, get it out, and repeat from Step 5.  It takes a few days for full cure, so there's time to play with it.  

Here's the difference - the window on the right is filmed, the middle and left are au naturale.

These guys aren't perfect, of course.  The window film is so thin that, if it does bend, it can leave a little crack that's visible on the window.  Also, the Platinum finish turns a little two-way-mirror reflective at night.  They do have a less reflective model, but I worried that it wouldn't reflect UV rays as well.  Neither of these are huge problems.

I still have a few windows to go, and then we'll be able to compare our electric usage from year to year.     It feels cooler, the instant the film gets installed, though.  And for now, that works for me.  

Note: Not a sponsored post - this brand was just what we found at our go-to hardware store.