DIY diva

Dueling DIY: A Lack of Progress (But not of Magic)

February 5, 2013 | 16 Comments | Uncategorized
DIY diva

So. I have a confession. During the time when I was supposed to be working on my stairs this weekend… I took a nap. Two naps, even.

I’m kind of a wreck, which happens when I bottom out after a long stretch of insomnia, and I’m fighting some kind of plague (let’s hope it’s not rabies*) which is just the way it goes sometimes. So my progress on the stairs consists of this:


Yep. In 7 days, I managed to stain 6 steps. (Sorry Team Diva, I don’t blame you if you switch over to The Duck Side.)

I meant to put a coat of poly on at least half the steps over the weekend, but keeping the cat off of them is proving to be more challenging than I thought. I’ve increased my cat-deterrent by 8″ (aka two pieces of painters tape) to see if that helps.


I expect that this has a zero percent chance of working. My plan next weekend is to haul the cat food and litter box into one of the spare rooms and lock him in for a few hours. And then drink heavily, because when my cat voices his displeasure he does it loudly and without pause.

In defense of my cat, he’s effing awesome…


He’s my little dude and we hang out all the time. It’s just he takes after me in that if you try to tell him what to do he will murder your face off.

So. That’s fair. Makes the stair-refinishing kind of difficult though.

However, even though I haven’t been getting as much done on the stairs myself, that doesn’t mean that nobody has been making progress in this area of the house…

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After I noticed some sparkly sawdust and unusually small tools around the staircase, I started doing a little research. I’m not too far from Ann Arbor, Michigan and it turns out there’s a bit of an Urban Fairy infestation in the city.

You know how this goes right? Everybody moves into the big city, then things start getting a little crowded, and a few like minded fairies decide they miss the fresh air and wide-open spaces of the country.

I hear they like to settle in to places that are under construction (and really, if there was anywhere in a house that you were going to find a little magic, any Harry Potter fan will tell you that the cupboard under the stairs is the place.) Which is how I think I ended up with a little more magic in my house than usual…

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It looks like my Farm Fairies have been hard at work putting in an entry. And if I’m not mistaken, that wire (that I’m sure they pilfered from my workshop) indicates that some interior work is going on now.

I kind of wonder what color they’re going to paint the door? As long as they don’t try to go honeyed oak, I’m sure we’ll get along just fine.

As for everyone else in this Dueling DIY challenge…

Sarah @ Ugly Duckling House claims her stairs aren’t as done as they look, but I think she’s just being modest about the whupping she’s delivering to me:


Micha @ Little Old House is doing admirable work with her heat gun. (I know it doesn’t feel like progress when it takes forever, but believe me, it is.)

I’m feeling a little nostialgic about old houses this week (since it’s my one year houseaversary at the Liberty House) so I may have gotten a little teary at this quote in her recent post: “Then I remember that I love my little old house. That in a hundred years it deserves to be loved at least once, and that I need to do right by it.” Amen, sister.

Christine @ Little House on the Corner is making awesome progress. We’re all about at are sanding limit, but I think Christine can see the light at the end of the tunnel.


Ann @ Our Handmade Home is just about where I’m at with things and is getting ready for paint…

These lovely (and badass) ladies are keeping me on my toes, and once I get over these rabies I swear I’m going to wow you all with my progress. But first… another nap.

*Mom, that’s a joke. I’m almost sure I don’t have rabies.

DIY diva


  • Emma (Broke Ass Home)

    I didn’t realize you were close to Ann Arbor, we’re over there all the time (we live in lansing) I should have guessed though, our houses have a lot of the same woodwork (though yours is much older than mine I think…mine is 1907)

    I bought an urban fairy for my nieces last time I was in Ann Arbor- at Water and Soul or something like that. Super fun.

  • MarieRoxanne

    I love your little door, I hope they add an “outdoor” light above the door!
    They might paint the door a bright red… watch them closely …

  • Micha

    Awww shucks :o)

    I love the fairy door in your house. Maybe, if I’m lucky and leave out some milk and cookies, we’ll be lucky enough to attract a Brownie or other house fairy. I know of a place in the hood with a fairy dwelling in a tree (it has a cute red door)

  • Guerrina

    Better fairies than Fievel! Hope your fairies really like you and don’t like Hunter Green! Still pulling for Team Diva!

  • Jeff

    Wish you felt better Kit. The treads look great and you should feel great about that progress.

    The tiny little door, does it lead to a parallel DIY universe where power tools do the work for us?

  • Kimberly

    Refinishing the stairs is so far down the list of what this dear old house needs, that I am not even sure it’s on the list!
    But *happy dance* today is the big day I’ve been waiting on for over a year!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The attic is done and painted. Today, we move all the stuff that belongs in the attic back in!!!!!!!!!

    • MarieRoxanne

      You’re going to put the stuff back in the attic “organized” right? Not just shoved back in, right? Because that would just defeat the purpose of redecorating now wouldn’t it? LOL
      P.S. I would probably just shove it back in myself…. and deal with organizing it later.

  • katie

    good luck with the cat – when i poly’ed our kitchen floor i thought for sure the cat would stay off of it (he has a big problem with things that smell bad). he did great for the first 3 coats, but he decided that the final coat is when he would do a little dance all over the kitchen floor. we had to sand the entire thing and then decided as punishment, he had to travel with us over the weekend (we were going out of town and had been planning on just leaving him at home) so that he didn’t ruin the floor again.

    cats are sneaky…

  • Jo @ Let's Face the Music

    Team Diva is not switching. We would never switch because something is almost but not quite finished. That is our team mantra. Viva, Diva! Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

  • Sandra

    Hmmm. I am pretty sure inviting faries to help you in the duel is cheating. :) They are trickie little buggers. You invite one in and the next thing you know you have twenty of them living in the house throwing parties and stuff. :)

  • Vicki

    Sorry that rabies or somethin’ has attacked you, no cure for that but another beer to help you sleep better. Anyway wondering if you have an idea for a boring new stairway, treads and risers specifically as I traded my charming older home for newer construction. ( i know! What was i thinking! Maybe the carpeting removal and sanding/painting extravaganza did me in.) Currently they have carpeting on them, which hides OSB, not exactly refinishing ready stuff. I’d like to know your thoughts! Take care!

  • Dana

    That’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

  • Pip

    If you like the penny ’tile’ look, I know where you can get your hands on a few million. Ahh, the end of an age.

    Also, I love the fairy door.

  • Jeanie

    I’ve been planning the penny landing. See a penny pick it up has new meaning!

  • Jeanie

    shoot, my email was wrong……. I lived in Howell MI, now in NC. I understand how your house is now, we had one similar!

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