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Easy, Inexpensive Home Spruce-Ups for Holidays

If you're expecting guests this holiday season, now's a perfect time to get your home in better shape. And doing simple home renovations doesn't have to be expensive.

Carter Oosterhouse, of HGTV's "Carter Can," stopped by "The Early Show" to demonstrate three easy, affordable D-I-Y projects any weekend warrior can handle - for the living room, guest bedroom, and kitchen -- just in time for that holiday company.

They can make a big difference, even if money is stretched thin.

How to Jazz Up a Fireplace With Ceramic-Tile Surround

Adding a ceramic-tile surround is an easy weekend project. Follow these step-by-step instructions. The fireplaces in newer homes are often rather plain, with a simple metal firebox but no surround or mantel. Adding a ceramic-tile surround is an easy weekend project that can spruce up any fireplace.

Materials:
Measuring tape
Pencil
Level
Tile cutter
1/8" notched trowel
Grout float
Clean sponge and rag
Ceramic tile
Pre-mixed grout and adhesive

Steps:
Decide on a pattern to use and lay it out on a flat surface.

Put down a drop cloth to protect the floor. Also apply blue painters' tape along the edge of the project to protect the walls.

Remove any molding around the firebox if it won't be part of the design.

Use sandpaper to take the sheen off the wall.

Use a level and straightedge to draw layout lines on the wall.

Find a fixed location to start in, then work your way outward.

Use a notched trowel to apply mastic. For best results, hold the trowel at about a 45-degree angle. Mastic can also be applied to the back of individual tiles. It sets up quickly, so apply it a little at a time.

Use a tile cutter to cut your pieces to size; start the installation at the top, and work your way downward so that the cut tiles will be against the floor.

Check the adhesive label for drying time before grouting. Most adhesives dry within 24 hours.

After the adhesive dries, use a screwdriver or other sharp tool to clean out the excess adhesive from the grout lines.

Apply the grout with a rubber grout float. Use the edge of the float to force the grout into the joints. Start at the top of the project and work down.

After the grout dries, it will leave a powdery haze on the surface of the tile. Wipe this off with a damp sponge and a bucket of clean water.

Be sure to add a bead of heat-resistant caulk around the firebox.

How to Give Kitchen Cabinets a Makeover With Paint

Looking to give your kitchen a makeover without breaking the bank? Use these step-by-step instructions and paint your kitchen cabinets.

Materials and Tools:
paintbrushes
painter's tape
paint for cabinets

Steps:
1. The preparation of the cabinet is the most important step. If the cabinets have a natural or stained finish, they are sealed with a sealant or a varnish. For the paint to adhere, you need to break through that finish and add a primer coat. This doesn't mean the sealer has to be removed completely, just roughed up.
Wash the cabinets with a mild soap and warm water solution (household dish soap will work great, but make sure you rinse well).

2. After you have washed the cabinets, remove all the doors and hardware. The doors can be painted in a separate area, and it will make it much easier to paint them once they are separated from the cabinet.

3. Sand all surfaces with 150-grit sandpaper. The purpose here is to etch the surface, not to sand down to bare wood. You can use a block sander to make the job easier. Once sanded, wipe the cabinets and doors down with a tack cloth or a damp rag to remove all the dust. Here's a tip: Use a shop vacuum prior to this step to help remove the major portion of the dust.

4. After all the dust has been removed, prime the doors and cabinets with an oil-based multi-purpose primer/sealer. Primers give the final base coat a sealed surface that will assure proper adhesion. Primers can also be tinted fairly close to the final basecoat which is a big stepsaver, especially if painting with darker colors. Sand the primed surfaces lightly with a 220 grit sandpaper. The primer will raise the grain of the wood causing a fuzzy feeling, and the light sanding will remove the raised grain.

5. Once all the preparation has been completed, it's time to apply the top coat of paint. You can choose between a latex enamel or an oil-based paint. Both provide excellent coverage and good-looking appearance. Latex is a little easier to work with and can be washed with soap and water, and it usually has less odor. Oil-based paint may be a little trickier to work with and tends to have an odor. On the other hand, oil-based paint does smooth out better and shows fewer brush marks. Whatever you choose, be sure to purchase quality paint, as it really makes a difference.

6. Start painting the inside of the cabinets, followed by the sides and then the front facings. The doors can be done at any time; just make sure they are thoroughly dried before reattaching to the cabinets. First cut in the edges of the area to be painted using a 3" paint brush. Then, use a roller to apply the paint on larger surfaces such as cabinet fronts and doors. Be sure to use a 1/4" roller cover - the shorter nap will make it easier to work with the paint. Once the paint is rolled on, lay off the surface with the paint brush. ("Laying off" means pulling the brush through the paint in long, even pulls, and it's best to lay off in the direction of the grain of the wood. The inside walls of the cabinet are a great place to practice rolling and laying off.)

7. Once you have reattached the cabinet doors bring them up to date with new hardware. Inexpensive door knobs and pulls can be purchased from your local hardware store and can really make a big difference in your kitchen.

How to Make an Upholstered Headboard

You can change your headboard with the seasons with this decorating project.

Materials and Tools:
foam core board
craft knife
fusible fleece
fusible adhesive
iron
pressing cloth
trim
glue gun
fabric scraps
fusible patterns
self-stick hook-and-loop tape

Steps:
1. Determine the shape of the headboard, and draw its outline on the foam core board. Repeatedly score the outline with a craft knife until it cuts completely through the board.

2. Cut three layers of fusible fleece to the dimensions of the headboard, and align them on the foam core. Place a pressing cloth over the fleece, spray it lightly with water, and then press the fleece with an iron. All three layers will fuse at once.

3. Cut the fabric slightly larger than the foam core so that its edges wrap around the sides and onto the back of the board.

4. Starting in the center and working out to the edges, press the fabric onto the fleece.

5. Iron a strip of fusible adhesive to the edge of the fabric, remove the protective paper and fuse the fabric onto the back of the board.

6. Cut a piece of fabric about ½-inch smaller than the dimensions of the board. Fuse it to the back of the board so that it covers the raw edges of the fabric fused to the front.

7. Apply trim around the edges of the headboard with a glue gun.

8. Fuse pattern onto coordinating fabric. Cut out the pattern, remove the paper backing and iron the design onto the headboard, pillows, dust ruffle or other accessories.

9. Attach the headboard to the wall with self-adhesive hook-and-loop tape. Apply a little glue to the part of the tape attached to the headboard, and press it onto the part of the tape attached to the wall to make a more secure bond.

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