Tag Archives: How-to

How to Edge Perfect Curves in a Flower Bed

Edging Garden Curves - by Grace + Gumption

A neatly edged garden bed can make a lawn look crisp and pristine. Edging a garden is relatively painless but creating perfect corners and curves can become troublesome. Below I’ve provided a few simple steps to achieve perfect curves in your garden beds.

Supplies you’ll need include:
– 2 steel garden stakes (similar here)
– twine or string
– scissors
half moon edger

1.) Install your first stake at the base of the flower bed.

To create a quarter circle curve, identify the base point of your garden bed and hammer in your your first stake at this location. Then using your twine or string, tie one end to the top of your stake.

How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption

2.) Tie the other end of your string to your second stake.

Insert your second stake where you would like to begin your curve as shown below.

How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption

Then using the same string that is already attached to stake #1, tie the other end of your string to stake #2 and cut off any extra using scissors.

How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption

3.) Trace your curve.

Using stake #2, begin dragging it through the grass in a circular motion, leaving  an indentation that you will use as a template to make a clean and crisp edge.

How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption

How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption

Continue dragging the stake until you reach your desired destination.

How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption

4.) Begin digging your edge.

Now that you have marked a nice curved line, begin digging your edge with a half moon edger. Just follow along your template until you’ve reached the end of your curve.

How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption

That’s it!

Finish edging the rest of your flower bed and admire your clean lines of your new edges!

How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption


How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption

After: How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + GumptionHow-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption

Happy home updating!


How To Replace a Light Fixture

How To Replace a Light Fixture by Grace + Gumption at gracegumption.com

Light fixtures to a room, are like accessories to an outfit – they give a room (or outfit) that little something extra. Easily add personality to your space, by replacing your light fixture. And YES…you can do it yourself!

Before getting started, remember to cut the power to your light at the circuit breaker before attempting to remove or replace a light fixture of any kind. Just turning off the light switch does not guarantee there is no power being circulated to the wires in the electrical box.

Step 1: Install mounting strap to electrical box.

After shutting off the power to the light and removing the existing fixture, you are now ready to begin installing your new light fixture. First, attach the flat metal bar called a mounting strap to the electric box using two screws and a handheld screw driver.  In most cases, the mounting strap and screws come with light fixture but if not, be sure to purchase these things ahead of time.

How To Replace a Light Fixture by Grace + Gumption at gracegumption.com

Step 2: Connect wires using wire nuts.

While connecting wires, use the color pairings below as your guide:

  • Black or red = current (hot)
  • White = neutral
  • Green or copper = ground

Electrical Guide by Grace + Gumption

Pair up each colored wire from the light with the colored wire from the wall.

fixture wires

Place a wire nut (that you recycled from the old fixture) over the two wires and twist until the two wires are tightly clamped together. Continue until every wire is clamped to its color-coated partner.

How To Replace a Light Fixture by Grace + Gumption at gracegumption.com

Step 3: Ground the fixture and place wires inside box.

The green or bare wires are used to ground your fixture. The reason you want to ground your fixture is to prevent someone from getting shocked if the fixture were to malfunction. It works by tripping the breaker to the fixture in the instance of a malfunction, preventing the flow of electrical current to the light switch.

To ground the fixture, you need to wrap the ground wire from the wall side around the green screw connected to the mounting strap. Tighten the green screw around the wire using a flathead screw driver. Once it’s wrapped and tightened, connect the wall and fixture neutral wires together as you did with the others, using the last wire nut. To finish, gently push the wires inside of the electrical (junction) box. Now you are ready to attach the light fixture.

how to ground a light fixture

Step 4: Attach light fixture to mounting strap and test.

Place fixture on the wall by carefully by passing the threaded pipe through the hole in the canopy. Screw the cap over the threaded pipe to tighten the fixture to the wall. [Note: Not all lights will attach to the mounting strap in the same manner, so make sure to read the directions if yours is different.] Before calling the project complete, pop a bulb into the fixture, turn the power back on and test out the new fixture.

How To Replace a Light Fixture by Grace + Gumption at gracegumption.comHow To Replace a Light Fixture by Grace + Gumption at gracegumption.com

 Step 5: Attach remaining parts and enjoy!

If the fixture doesn’t light turn the power back off, remove the fixture and start over. However if all wires were installed properly, the light should pass your test without a fuss. Add remaining parts to the fixture such as globes, glass, etc and enjoy your new light!How To Replace a Light Fixture by Grace + Gumption at gracegumption.com

Happy upgrading!


DIY Herringbone [Peel-n-Stick] Tile Floor


When we first moved into our home this past April, it was evident that the entire house needed new flooring. Of course, this is no cheap task. So we started just one room at a time. One of them being, the entrance from our garage which includes our small laundry room and half bath. The existing floor was an evident vinyl tile that was printed to look like a wood trim with a green tile inside. If it sounds ugly, just think what it looked like in person! I knew it had to go but I didn’t have a large budget for this project.

DIY Herringbone Peel-n-Stick Tile Floor Before and After by Grace + Gumption

So I looked into some affordable options but just couldn’t get excited with what was available. I have seen amazing herringbone floors made but they were always made with real tile which made me wonder if I couldn’t pull off that look in my own way. After further research, I discovered that there is now grout-able peel-n-stick tile at just $1.08 per tile!! Not only is the peel-n-stick tiles much cheaper, it is also easier to cut than porcelain tile (no saws needed) and installation is also much easier (simply remove the paper backing to reveal the sticky adhesive). Best part is, I was able to complete this project for just $102!! Read below for a step by step tutorial on how-to achieve your own peel-n-stick herringbone floors.

Shopping List
12×12 Peel-and-Stick Vinyl Tile by Armstrong (I got it in crescendo french gray), $77.76 (72 tiles at $1.08 or approx. 2 boxes)
Vinyl Tile Grout by Blue Hawk (I got it in saddle gray), $18.82 (Two cartons at $9.41 a piece)
Tile T-Spacers, $4.96 (Pack of 100)

Total Cost: $102

Tools you’ll need
– Box cutter
– Metal L-square ruler
– Rubber grout trowel
– Small bucket
– Rag

STEP ONE: Determine the amount of tile/grout you need to purchase.

I needed enough tile to fill two rooms measuring 65″ x 59″ and 84″ x 72″. To calculate how much tile I needed, I used a simple tile calculator such as this one to find the square footage of my space. The calculator estimated that I needed 69.08 square feet for this project. Since the tiles I was purchasing were 12″x12″, that means I needed about 70 tiles.  (32 tiles come in a box so I purchased two.)

When determining how much grout you need, I can advice just from my experience that we used one tub for 70 square feet of floor. I purchased two and although I only used one, I went ahead and kept the other in case I needed it for touch ups later on.

STEP TWO: Cut the tiles into thirds.

For a 12×12 tile, use your L-square ruler to measure and mark each of your tiles like shown below.


Then take your box cutter and slice your tile along your measured mark – use your ruler as a guide to create straight lines. (Note: if you don’t cut all the way through, do not fret. Simply fold the tile along the mark and it will snap apart easily along the cut.)

DIY Herringbone Tile Floor Step 1

Keep in mind, that I made the decision to install my floor over the existing laminate tile. Removing existing peel stick can be very difficult and time consuming so if you don’t have to, I recommend skipping that step (I’ve provided tips at the end of this post on identifying whether you need to remove your old floor before installing or not).

STEP THREE: Lay out your tiles in the herringbone pattern.

Once you have thoroughly cleaned the surface you will be installing your new floor on and have removed doors, toilets, furniture, etc that may be in the way, it’s time to begin laying out your tiles. Use your L-square ruler and T tile spacers to begin creating the pattern. Lay out two complete rows that span the entire floor before sticking the floors down permanently. These two rows set the tone for all others, so It’s very important to have the tiles square to one. Your tiles should appear in a V pattern, similar to the image below.

Herringbone Pattern Template via Grace + Gumption

STEP FOUR: Remove plastic backing and install first two rows.

Once you are comfortable with the pattern and the tiles are all square to one another and in a straight line, you are free to begin sticking them down. To do so, carefully remove the plastic backing and placing tile back in its original place. Apply pressure to each tile to ensure the proper adhesion. Continue doing this until you have completed your first two rows. (See image below)Ready to Install Peel-n-stick tile floor

 STEP FIVE: Continue adding rows to both sides of the initial two.

Using the existing two rows as your guide, lay out another complete row using your L-square ruler again. See diagram below for a visual.


Once you have the tiles in the place you want them, repeat step four. Continue this process until you have covered the entire floor. Keep in mind that as you approach walls, door frames, or other obstacles that you will need to cut around them using your box cutter. This is probably the most annoying part of the entire project but it’s well worth it in the end.

Herringbone Vinyl Tile Pattern via Grace + Gumption

Once you have covered the entire surface area that you wish to cover, it’s safe to remove all spacers. To really make sure that your tiles have been adhered well, I would suggest taking a rolling pin and rolling over the floor a few times. Then prepare your area to grout. Use a vacuum to sweep up any debris that may have found its way into the cracks of your tile. You’re floor should now be looking similar to this…

Herringbone Vinyl Tile Pattern via Grace + Gumption

and this…

Herringbone Vinyl Tile Pattern via Grace + Gumption

STEP SIX: Grout your tile.

Using your grout trowel, spread your vinyl tile grout in between your tiles. Use your rag and bucket full of water to wipe off the excess. Do a small area at a time so your grout doesn’t dry before wiping it off. The longer you wait, the harder it is to remove the excess from the tile…I learned this the hard way. Unlike regular tiles, the depth of the vinyl tiles is very minuscule in comparison so a little grout goes along way!

Grouting Vinyl Tile by Grace + Gumption

Once you’ve finished grouting, give the floors a good couple of days to dry completely before allowing heavy traffic through the area. Now all you have left is to do is marvel at your hard work and catch up on some well earned sleep.


Words of Wisdom

  • Timing – Give yourself plenty of time for this project. It’s fair to say that this project is a couple day project depending on the size of your space. Between my dad and I, we were able to to get it done in a full day by staying up all night to finish.
  • Cutting the tiles – Make sure to cut your tiles on a surface you are not upset to scratch, cut, or ruin. I cut them right on top of the old floor, simply because I knew I would be installing over it.
  • Old floor removal – You should remove the existing floor if your old floor matches any of the following criteria:
    • Your floor is chipped or coming up on its own
    • Your floor surface is not level or has a slick coating that can cause problems with adhesion
    • Your floor has old, existing grout already
  • Clean before installing – It’s very important to clean and/or degrease existing floors properly before installation to ensure proper adhesion of the new tiles.
  • Cleaning post grout – After grouting, make sure to give your floors a good week or two to dry completely before mopping or cleaning.

If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email me directly – you can find my contact info here.


How-to Pick the Perfect Paint Color


Whether you’ve just moved into a new home or are looking to update your current one, a fresh coat of paint is often the cheapest and most effective way to improve your space. However, picking a paint color can quickly become an overwhelming and frustrating task. Not only is there more than 50 shades of gray (blue, purple, red, and yellow) to choose from, you still have to be able to determine which shade will look best in your space.

When picking out a paint color, it’s good to keep in mind that it’s shade or tone can look completely different in your home than it does under the florescent lighting of the store. So unless the color is white, purchasing a gallon of paint before testing the color in your home could result in a very unhappy homeowner. In order to pick the perfect paint color for your space the first time, I recommend trying one or all three of the following techniques:

          • Paint swatches are your friend. Bring home several different color swatches (even more than what you think you like) and view them in the room you want to paint. This will allow you to see which shades and tones look best in the lighting of your room. You’ll be instantly surprised at how the color the changes when put in different spaces.


          • Visualize it virtually. For those who have a harder time envisioning a color in a room with just a small paint swatch, I would recommend using an online virtual tool to aid your selection of a paint color. Thanks to todays technology, visualizing a color on your walls is a easy as uploading a photo. One of my favorites is Sherwin-Williams’ Color Visualizer tool, plus they have every color you can imagine under the sun. (Oh, and just as a secret between you and me – most Menards can mix Sherwin-Williams’ colors straight from their system. Just select a color and a Menards paint (I recommend Dutch Boy) and they do the rest. Best bang for your buck.)

Sherwin-Williams Visualizer

              • Try before you buy. The safest way to ensure you achieve color perfection is to purchase a few (or five) samples of the colors you are really considering and testing them out in sections on your wall. Many stores such as Menards offer their paint in sample sizes for a around $3 a piece. Trust me, the couple buck investment will is a lot cheaper than buying the full gallon only to realize that the color just isn’t working out.


I hope these tips help you find the perfect paint color for you and your room. Comment below if you have any questions.

Krista Elaine