Though I realize we're already beyond Christmas, we're in the home stretch on my 12 DIYs of Christmas nagging project goals.

The holidays bring so much joyous fervor and enjoyable obligations that it's often tough to squeeze in the time necessary to check projects off your list. In the past this has always been our excuse for why we don't get much accomplished during the month of December. I mean, when you have amazing traditions like the Scottish Christmas Walk...

...the neighborhood Gingerbread competition...

...and what seems like an endless stream of get togethers and holiday parties, it's not hard to come up with some good excuses.

But if you've been following along, I've been trying to knock off 12 nagging projects that have long needed a little DIY attention before we close out the month. So far I've filled you in on the first six, but I've still got six to go. So let's get on with it!

On the 7th DIY of Christmas I did for my true love to see, patched and painted the bathroom ceiling.

That's right, the always glamorous task of redoing something you've already done in the past. 

You see, about eight years ago we took our bathroom ceiling from this... this.

While that was a pretty amazing transformation, I made a major misstep when we settled on the ceiling paint to use as the final coat. We chose a plain old flat ceiling paint, but this is in a bathroom with a low ceiling and a shower that creates a lot of steam. And when you mix a lot of steam with a very flat ceiling paint you just might end up with a bunch of bubbles from condensation.

To resolve this issue I scraped away and sanded flat any loose paint to remove the bubbles. Then I sanded flat any issues that I saw elsewhere on the ceiling. It was a little bit of a pain, but by no means was it hard work. The key here is to remove any imperfections in the existing paint otherwise the issues will just pop back up no matter what you do.

Once the problem areas were removed I mixed up a little of the easy sanding setting type joint compound to fill the holes I created. Wherever I'd removed the paint there was a small pit and the joint compound would bring the surface back level with everything else.

After allowing it to set up I sanded all of the joint compound patches smooth to get them ready for primer and paint.

To help make sure we don't just have the same problem again in the future we chose a paint that's better suited for the rough life of a small bathroom ceiling. While we prefer the look of flat paint to a glossy ceiling, a truly flat paint would simply not work. Instead we chose a line of paint from Benjamin Moore that is supposed to be better suited for a damper environment, the Aura Bath & Spa in matte.

After cutting in and applying two coats of paint, our bathroom ceiling looks as good as new and it was ready just in time for holiday visitors.

On the 8th DIY of Christmas I did for my true love to see, more patching and painting in the hallway.

Carrying over the theme from the bathroom ceiling, we had several damaged spots and dings in our upstairs hallway. 

Whether we're talking about the spot where the feet on the back of a frame ripped off the paint, or the giant holes that I created when I had to make changes to a stud behind the wall during our master bathroom work...several years ago.

And yes, for the eagle eyes out there, that's a photo taken of us heading to high school senior prom. 

Wendy has been putting up with these holes and dings for so many years, and I've been staring at them every single time I walk by them, but neither of us has ever just stopped to take care of these unsightly issues.

I used some of the same joint compound from the bathroom to patch up the holes. But some of these holes were large enough that I had to apply a second coat to fill in the tiny holes the first coat left.

A quick sand and our holes and dings were a thing of the past.

Sensing the joy that was starting to fill the air, I primed and painted the patched spots. 

Like I said, this was done amidst family in town and events galore, so I was usually dressed like a normal person and doing as many little steps as possible before running out the door to the next party or gathering.

It took a few hours in prep and two coats of paint, but the end result is a hallway that no longer has major dings, holes, or scratches, and most importantly, a very happy spouse.

On the 9th DIY of Christmas I did for my true love to see, I got completely derailed by a thermostat.

This one will get its own post after the holidays, because this has been a long time in the making and has taken a whole lot of thought and research, but the bottom line is that I tried to install a new thermostat (twice actually) and the damn thing just isn't working. I've spent a whole ton of time on it and it's just not going well. This was actually supposed to be DIY #1 on the list, but the DIY ghosts of Christmas past had better ideas.

I think it has to do with the age of our air handler, the incorrect way it was installed, and possibly a bad thermostat. This one is still very much in progress and I'm planning on spending some time on the phone with tech support to work through these issues. Bottom line, I'm pretty much positive I have the wiring right, that our furnace air handler is a giant piece of garbage, and I will prevail.

Ultimately, this thermostat should make our home's second floor exponentially more comfortable and energy efficient, but we've got to get the damn thing working first. But when it's all said and done, we should have a nice new thermostat and we'll be more comfortable when we're sleeping at night.

So while I wasn't able to get 12 items accomplished by Christmas, that isn't stopping me from my goal. I'm going to keep working towards getting 12 nagging items knocked off my list before the end of the year...which is tomorrow. Only three to go!

Now sing it all with me!!

On the 9th DIY of Christmas I did for my true love to see, I got completely derailed by a thermostat.

...patching and painting in the hallway...

...also patched and painted the bathroom ceiling...

...Fixed the rim lock's catch...

...Replaced the giant wall clock's movement...

...Finally fixed our shutters...

...Patched the hole in the side of our house...

...Some paint on our chimney... 

...And a chiming clock next to our Christmas tree.

Wendy and I want to wish everyone a safe and happy new year's eve, and a happy, healthy, and productive 2016!

Comments 12


Franki Parde
12/31/2015 at 1:09 PM

And...a L O N G winter's nap!! CHEERS!! franki

Emily R
12/31/2015 at 1:41 PM

This made me wonder - did you ever do a final reveal of the master bath? I don't remember seeing it?

Happy New Year!


Nope, not yet. I mean, that would mean we're "done" with the bathroom, right? Well, I'm still building the two cabinets. That's on my list for early 2016. Alt smile

12/31/2015 at 3:50 PM

Yeah, I don't remember a final master bath reveal either! Keep going on the 12 DIYs; technically, the 12th day of Christmas is Jan 6th.


Full bathroom to come...some day. Alt smile But hey, now that I have until 1/6 for my 12 DIYs list, I'm going to have to push the bathroom work off just a little longer.

1/2/2016 at 12:53 AM

Just what I was thinking! You're fine Alex - the 12 days of Christmas actually start on Christmas and end on Epiphany, so you've got until Wednesday to squeeze in the final 3.

1/1/2016 at 7:44 AM

You guys have a really interesting blog, and I really want to spend some time reading it. But every time I click a link or a picture I get an advertisement for some mac virus scan thing that I have to acknowledge before I can see said link or photo, then I have to skip back 3 times to get to the original page. Clunky, annoying and frustrating.

I'll come back when you've sorted this out.


Hi, Gordon. Thanks for letting us know about this annoyance. I was surprised to hear your experience. I found the culprit and disabled it. Hopefully you (and everyone else) won't have this happen any longer.

1/2/2016 at 12:55 AM

Gordon, I think that's all you. I don't get those.

1/1/2016 at 10:41 AM

Question for you: when you do patch-painting over paint that was done a number of years ago, do the colors match? I have some patches to paint but my experience is that I can always tell the new patch from the old. And it irks the hell out of me.


Well, the long and short of it is, "it's good enough." In our case the color is pretty much perfect (same old can of paint and it's not faded much on the walls), but it's the sheen that's the actual issue.

It's never quite perfect, but the extent of how much you notice it typically depends on the sheen of the paint. A very flat paint can match very closely, but the satin or glossier paints almost always have some variation. In our case the ceiling was completely repainted, but the wall was just spot touched up.

I can completely notice every spot I painted when there's sunlight in the area, but it's hard to pick out when it's dark out and no natural light is shining on it.

Ultimately I'm not worrying too much as we plan on repainting the whole hallway a different color in the coming months. So I'll live with the sometimes spots until then.

Anne Timpano
5/19/2016 at 10:03 PM
Actually, the 12th day of Christmas is January 6, so you have more time than you think to finish your projects! ;-)
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