Win a Leprechaun’s Pot o’ Gold!

Win a leprechaun's pot of gold!

In honor of St. Patrick’s day we’re giving away this leprechaun’s pot of gold! Leprechauns and leprechaun pot of gold are essential parts of St. Patrick’s Day.

When not holding gold at the end of a rainbow, this handcrafted copper cauldron is perfect for storing fatwood by your fireplace’s hearth, chilling a bottle of wine, or even being used as a planter. Every cauldron is a unique piece, handcrafted by artisans in Turkey. (see the cauldron here). Winner will also receive a one pound package of chocolate gold coins with their cauldron!

Copper cauldrons for fatwood, iced drinks, or plants

Enter to win below! You can earn up to 19 entries!

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Posted in Decorating, Holidays

Paint a Brick Fireplace

painted brick fireplace

Do you think you want to paint a brick fireplace?

Brick is one of the least expensive and most durable building materials and its heat resistant properties make it one of the most popular for fireplaces. Even with all of its fine qualities, the aesthetic look of brick is not appealing to everyone, nor is it compatible with many decorating schemes. If your tastes run to cleaner, sleeker and more modern colors and textures, a brick fireplace will stick out like a sore thumb in your home. But, having your fireplace covered or painted by professionals is not within everyone`s budget. Fortunately, with careful preparation and attention to detail, you can paint a brick fireplace yourself and get professional quality results at a fraction of the cost. Here’s how:

Prepare to Paint a Brick Fireplace

Your first step is to gather your materials and tools.

  • You will need a good degreasing cleanser to clean the fireplace before painting it. Trisodium phosphate, known as TSP, is a good bet, but you can also use Krud Kutter, a prepaint cleaner and TSP substitute.

    Before you paint a brick fireplace, clean it with TSP or Krud Kutter.

    Before priming or paint, clean the surface with Trisodium Phosphate or Krud Kutter.

  • Drop cloths are necessary to protect your floor and any nearby furniture.
  • Painters’ tape will help you create clean edges where the fireplace bricks meet the mantel and walls.
  • A good oil-based primer.
  • Enough paint for two, or even three, full coats will ensure that you can cover the bricks completely. Make sure that your primer is formulated for use on brick and that your paint is compatible with it.


How to Paint a Brick Fireplace

1. Remove all decorative objects from the fireplace and give it a good dusting with a lint-free cloth like a shop cloth or old T-shirt before you paint a brick fireplace.

2. Tape off the ceiling, the walls next to the fireplace and any other surface you don`t want painted with painters’ tape. This is made to adhere well and peel off without leaving any residue.

3. Lay down a drop cloth. A cloth one works best on a wood floor, because it is less slippery. If you are using a plastic drop cloth and will be standing on a ladder, tape down the edges to help minimize the risk of it slipping.

4. Prepare the fireplace for painting. Dilute a tablespoon or so of TSP or a few squirts of liquid dish soap in a gallon of warm water. Soak a lint-free cloth or clean sponge in the mixture and wring it out until it is barely damp. Clean the fireplace thoroughly and let it dry completely. Alternatively, use Krud Kutter by following the instructions on the bottle.

5. Primer Coat: Pour a bit of oil-based primer into a paint tray and wet a deep-napped roller in it. Roll off the excess primer. Start at the top of the bricks and apply a thin, even layer of the primer to the fireplace. Work in all directions rather than just up and down to ensure that the primer gets into all of the little nooks and crannies that make up the rough surface of bricks.

Let the primer dry completely. Overnight is best, especially if you live in a damp climate or it is raining while you`re painting.

6. First and Second Coats: Apply the first coat of paint in the same way you did the primer. Work in all directions, vertically, horizontally and diagonally. Do not paint the inside of the fireplace because most paints are not fire resistant. Let the paint dry completely and apply a second coat.

7. Touch-up with Edging Brush: Once the second coat is dry, either do a bit of touch-up with your bristled edging brush, or apply a third coat of paint. After you paint a brick fireplace, the experts at Ironmongery Direct suggest that you take your new decor a step further with hanging rails to display artwork or keep precious objets d`art from toppling off the mantel.

photo via Young House Love

Posted in Decorating, Fireplace and Chimney Maintenance Tagged with:

How to Build an Upside Down Fire

How to build an upside down fire

Watch the video of How to build an upside down fire from Dylan Parker on Vimeo.

Years ago when you learned to start a fireplace or wood stove fire, chances are you learned to place the tinder and kindling at the bottom and put the logs on top. And that method has worked reasonably well over the years, but there is another, better method that turns the conventional way on its head.

The upside down fire calls for kindling and tinder to be placed on top of the larger logs. Rather than burning upwards, the upside down fire burns from the top, burning the wood it needs as it goes down. For this reason the upside down fire is sometimes called the self-feeding fire.

Advantages of an Upside Down Fire

The advantages of the upside down fire are significant. The biggest advantage is the extremely long burn time with no need to add more firewood. Because the upside down fire is built with several large logs on the bottom, there’s plenty of wood to burn, but the logs burn in succession rather than all at once. This makes the upside down fire especially good for wood stoves.

Other advantages include emitting an enormous amount of heat since the hot coals on top of the fire rather than being buried underneath. The upside down fire also helps reduce smoky fireplace problems by warming the flue. Because you light the fire at the top of the firebox, the kindling warms the flue and gets the chimney pulling air upwards.

To Build an Upside Down Fire:

  1. Place a layer of your largest logs at the bottom, tight against each other with no space between.
  2. Place a second layer of slightly smaller logs perpendicular to the bottom layer, again with no space between the logs.
  3. Continue adding layers until you reach the top.
  4. On top of the logs, add kindling and natural fatwood.
  5. Use crumpled newspaper at the top.
  6. Simply light the newspaper and wait.
Posted in Using Your Fireplace Tagged with:

Set the Mood with Valentines Day Fireplace

Spending Valentine’s Day nestled by the fireplace exudes romance all by itself, but there are some things you can do to turn up the heat. Utilizing your fireplace mantel is sure to add some spark to your night. See these ideas for for adding sparks (beyond the ones in the fireplace) to your experience by the fireplace on Valentines Day.

How to Decorate and Use the Fireplace on Valentines Day

Roses Aren’t Always Red

Forget the rose color wheel this Valentine’s Day and go with what makes you happy. Think red, pink, yellow, or even white. And then, go crazy! You can use rose petals in bowls, vases, along the mantel, tossed across the floor in front of the fire.romantic fireplace decorated for Valentine's Day

Pick a Color

Think simple by picking one or two colors as a focal or pop color for your romantic fireplace mantel. Use colored glass vases and bowls help build the color scheme. You can use real or faux flowers to bring in another texture of your pop color. Don’t be afraid to go bold with your focal color choice like using a bright or hot pink, red, or even green. It’s really your preference and what you think looks pretty.

These LED battery candles , used on your fireplace mantel, can be set to glow as white, pink, red, or any other color candle you select for your Valentine color.

LED Flameless Candles for Valentines Fireplace Mantel


Make it Personal

Think about incorporating memories into your fireplace display. Beautifully framed pictures, inspirational words, or even mementoes from a favorite trip can help set the tone for a night full of romance. You can frame black and white pictures from your honeymoon or getaway to spark romantic conversation. You can even frame concert or plane tickets from a great trip to stroll down Memory Lane. The more personal the decorations the more impact they’ll have.

Finishing Touches

If dinner is part of your Valentine’s Day plans, why not set a lovely table for two next to your gorgeous fireplace? It doesn’t have to be fancy, but throw on a tablecloth to make it feel special. A small table makes for intimate conversation and body language. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a romantic evening. Use what you have on hand for your fireplace on Valentines Day and make the night a celebration of your love and affection for each other

Posted in Decorating