3.30.2012

Greenery

Last weekend, we went shopping for a green stuff for our outdoor spaces.

On the list?

• One tree (to replace the one we had removed in the front yard)
• Two fast-growing vines for our new backyard planter column thingamabobs.
• A plant for the big pot by our front door
• A plant for the planter next to the grill in the backyard

First, we bought a shantung maple tree. Next, we purchased two pink jasmine vines. Then, a boxwood plant. Lastly, a waxleaf something-or-other. (Can you tell I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to plants?!)

Waxleaf thingy found a place by the front door:


Boxwood was planted by the grill...


And the two pink jasmine plants went into the planters at the base of the columns. 


Why the bricks on top? Well, we were afraid this might happen:


As you can see, the bricks didn't do the job. Our destructive adorable nuggets left the plant alone for only a few days before tearing it out and shredding it. You would think we would have learned our lesson after this incident, but no.

It's hard to stay mad at these faces for long, though. 


 You see? They look very sorry about what they did...

Anyway, we lucked out at the plant nursery (Calloway's Nursery in Flower Mound) because one of Scott's football players was working when we were shopping. He offered up his employee discount, which ended up saving us more than $50. NICE! 

I don't have a picture of the maple tree yet because of our little pipe incident. The pipe is now fixed and we plan to get that tree in the ground this weekend. Luckily it's in the front yard where the dogs can never get to it!

Here's a little positive reminder for you as you head off into your weekend:



* Happy Weekend *

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3.26.2012

Home Improvement Fail.

You know that moment when you're digging a hole so you can plant a new maple tree in your front yard, and you hear the terrible sound of PVC pipe hitting the shovel?

And then you realize that you've punctured the sprinkler system pipeline that you worked so hard to repair last summer?

And then you get really annoyed with yourself because you were recklessly flinging a shovel around important pipes?

You know that moment?

Just a good reminder... Home improvement is not all sunshine and roses and butterflies and rainbows. Sometimes you bust a pipe.

So for the moment, we remain treeless.


* Be careful where you dig...*
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3.24.2012

DIY: Custom Garden Fence

Sorry about my extended absence from the blog last week! I was traveling for work and didn't have time to post anything. I'm back now, and I thought I'd pick up where I left off in the patio lights post. While the hubby was working on the patio lights, he also decided to add a garden fence to prevent the puppies from digging holes in the garden (one of their favorite activities).



We didn't originally intend to build it ourselves, so we checked out the options at Home Depot and Lowe's to see if we could find anything that fit our needs. They were all pretty expensive, and they were also fairly short. I was worried our dogs would step right over them and continue digging to their hearts' content.

Scott came up with the idea to build it himself, and it ended up being pretty simple.

First, he bought this 8 ft x 4 ft sheet of wood lattice at Home Depot for $20 and seven 10 ft. cedar 2x4s.

He used his table saw to cut the lattice into thirds, which made each length 16 inches tall.


Then he cut the cedar planks in half to form the frame for the fence. One piece was placed on each side of the lattice and they were screwed into place with his power drill. 


He used the leftover cedar planks to form stakes so he could stick the fence into the dirt. He angled the ends with his table saw for the perfect vampire-killing wooden stake. (At least that's what they looked like to me!)

Once the stakes were drilled onto the fence, it was really simple to put the fence into place. 



 Total cost for this garden fence? $35!

Buying a pre-made fence would have been at least $75, so we definitely saved some money by doing it ourselves. I'm a big fan of how it contains the dirt in the garden and ties in nicely with our cedar fence (my husband's pride and joy).

That's about it for the latest round of patio projects! I'm still hoping to add some new flowers back there, but we haven't bought them yet. Things have been BUSY!

I hope you are having a nice weekend! 


* Checking in on a Saturday night *


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3.18.2012

DIY: Stringing Patio Cafe Lights

We christened the brand new patio lights this weekend with some friends and family!






Let's get right to business and explain how we built the columns and strung the lights!

First, this is what we were working with:



About six months ago, I bought these two wrought iron columns at a flea market, hoping we could use them in our backyard. 


So we started with these two columns, but we still had to figure out to how to rig them so they could serve as two posts with which to attach our cafe lights. 

They needed to be a little bit taller, they needed to have a base and they needed to be securely attached to the ground so they wouldn't blow over in bad weather. 

We lucked into the base because we already had those two wooden crates laying around. If you have been following this blog for awhile, you know that we found 10 wooden crates at a local thrift store. We've been using most of them in our guest room, but we had two available for this project.


So, we had our base. Check that off the list!

The next question was, how do we add some height? And how do we secure the posts into the ground? 

This is where some steel rebar (reinforcing bar), bricks and concrete come into play.  

It turns out the three corners of the wrought iron posts were hollow and just the right size for a length of rebar. Scott drilled three holes into the bottom of the crate and sunk the three steel rebar pieces into the ground. Then the crate was placed over the rebar pieces so that each rebar poked up through each hole in the crate. Then the wrought iron posts were lowered onto the rebar. The rebar extends about four feet underground and six feet up each column. 

They still didn't feel perfectly solid and securely attached to the ground, so hubs decided to add some concrete in the bottom of each wooden crate to glue the rebar, wrought iron and wooden base together into one solid piece. 

Before he did that, he added some bricks to the bottom of the base to give us about 6 inches of extra height on each post. Then he added the concrete around and on top of the the bricks. Now the bases of the columns look like this:


Our plan is to make the rest of the base into a planter so we can possibly have some vines traveling up the columns. Wouldn't that look nice?

Ok, so the columns were in place. The next step was to string the wires from the house to each post so that we could hang the cafe lights. 

We really didn't know how we were going to do this, but where do we all go for inspiration? Pinterest, of course! I found this tutorial for using tension wire to hang curtains and thought we might be able to use this idea for our patio.

Pinterest



That's exactly what we did! (And by we, I mean Scott.) One trip to the hardware store produced all of the supplies we needed, and the husband got to work. 

Let me just say, I would never have the patience to accomplish something like this. The idea of perfect measurements and complicated cable systems just makes me want to throw my hands up in the air in frustration. Scott, however, has a personality that thrives off solving problems and figuring things out. He likes to tinker with technology and will try to repair his own watch and apply his own iPhone screen when he breaks it. That's just how he is! I'm extremely grateful because none of these cool house ideas would ever come to fruition without his analytical mind figuring out exactly how to do it.

Scott used that Pinterest tutorial to create our own system for the patio:









He used a masonry drill bit for the brick wall and a metal drill bit for the wrought iron posts. For the brick, he used a concrete anchor before inserting the eye hook. The wire rope was strung from post to post and a turnbuckle was used to increase the tension in the wire rope.

Once we had the wire in place around the patio, he strung the lights along the wire. We bought two 25-ct boxes of globe lights from partylights.com

Last step? Order takeout and eat it on the patio! Perfection. 

The lights make such a big difference in the patio atmosphere. They add just the right amount of lighting and have a way of turning each al fresco dining experience into a festive occasion. We love them so much already! Scott agrees that it was totally worth the hard work.


We couldn't get my brother to move off the patio that night! He was in heaven with the nice lights, cool weather and the March Madness games on his iPad. 

So what do the nuggets think about the patio lights?


Obviously, Rory is really excited about it. 

You may have noticed that we added a small garden fence around the plants closest to the house. Scott built that himself, and I'll be back later this week to explain that process. We're hoping to deter the dogs from digging holes in that area, which seems to be their absolute favorite activity these days!

* Preparing for rain! *

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3.15.2012

Let There Be Light.


The husband outdid himself yesterday! I came home to this lovely scene on our patio.

He took the plans and executed them perfectly! It looked very complicated and I assure you that I would have never even attempted it. 

It looks amazing and I'm so proud of his handiwork.  He even went for bonus points and built a custom mini-fence for our garden so the dogs can't continue to destroy the plants. More about that later...

I'll be back soon to give you the play-by-play and show you how he did it.

* Happy Thursday *


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3.14.2012

Nice Rack!

I bought a new rack this weekend.

No, not that kind of rack. 

A magazine rack!

I was struck by its industrial awesomeness and simply had to have it! Now it has a new home in my art studio/craft room/office nook. In case you're wondering, I found it at Marshall's.



I knew I had been saving all of those Dominos for a reason! Now I have the perfect place to display them.

If you have really astute observational skills, you may notice there is a different lamp in each picture. I was trying out each one and eventually settled on the one in the first picture. That second lamp was part of a mod-podging spree I went on over a year ago.

I'm sorry these photos aren't the greatest, but things have been super busy around these parts. I only had time to snap a quick iPhone photo.

My favorite part of the new wire magazine rack is that it perfectly complements our new industrial shelf in the dining room. You see both walls as soon as you walk in the front door, and now I feel like they tie in really well together. 

 I have seen these racks popping up all over at Marshall's, TJ Maxx and HomeGoods. Get them while they're hot!

I accidentally dropped a small can of paint in this studio, which proceeded to splatter all over the rug. I have ordered this rug from Urban Outfitters to replace it and can't wait to see how it looks!


Meanwhile, the hubs is hard at work on our back patio project. It's coming out really well!  Since he seems to be doing all of the work while I'm gone, I don't know how many progress pictures I will have to show you. I will, however, do my best to get some beautiful pictures when he is finished. (Except that our dogs tend to destroy our yard and make it hard to get beautiful pictures of the backyard.)

* Wait-and-see Wednesday*







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3.09.2012

Liebster Love

Why hello there, Friday. Where have you been? It's so nice to see you again!

Something cool happened this week! Erica over at Let Why Lead gave me the Liebster Award!


The Leibster Award is designed showcase quality blogs with 200 followers or less (that's me!), and it is so cool that Erica inducted me into the Liebster club. Thank you, Erica. You made my day.

The next goal of the award is to pass it on, so I get the privilege of choosing five blogs to receive the Liebster Award. *Exciting!*

Drumroll, please...

[In my best Oprah voice] "Commonplace Beauty, you get a Liebster! Family Brings Joy, YOU get a Liebster! And you! And you! And YOU!"

I have to qualify this by saying that some of these blogs don't list how many followers they have, so I'm not sure if they are under 200. Oh well, they still get a Liebster!

Commonplace Beauty: I came across this blog when Heather showed her peacock inspired holiday tablescape in the Centsational Girl's tablescape party (you know, the one we entered with our pear green sparkly setting). It turns out her blog is super cute and full of DIY ideas, so you should definitely check it out!

Family Brings Joy:  Shan tackles all things family-related on her blog with grace and wisdom. Plus her house has a Command Central, which makes her awesome. Pay her a visit!

Kendal Jessup Photography: Kendal and I went to high school together, and now she has a fabulous photography business and blog that are worth publicizing. She did our wedding photography, and she was awesome to work with. I love to see the photos she takes and where her business takes her.

Wine Taste Girl: Shannon's super cute blog is all about getting an expensive look with a small budget. A girl after my own heart! Check out her top 10 fashion trends for spring, but be warned– it will make you want to go shopping.

The Fresh House of Belaire: This blog is brand spankin' new and belongs to my good friend Becky. We coach volleyball together, and she and her husband just bought an adorable 50s bungalow in north Dallas. They have major plans for this home, and the renovations have just begun. Follow along!

***

Tomorrow officially marks Spring Break time for Mr. Happy Homebody, and we are ready to go with our patio project (if it would ever stop raining). Other things I hope we hope to accomplish next week:

• Finish the flooring in the guest room. It's the last room standing with the yucky carpet.



• Do something about this curtain problem (courtesy of an impatient husband):


• Finish the set of four doodle chairs:


• Create my own version of this:

Because no one should ever forget to be awesome.





There's just something about this time of year that energizes me to take on more projects and try new things. I'm coming out of my winter hibernation or something!

* Have a great weekend! *


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3.07.2012

There Once Was a Tree...

There once was a big oak tree
It was green and mighty and tall!
Until one day, a big storm blew in
And half of the tree took a fall. 

What once set our hearts aflutter
Had gone and ruined our gutter!






Trees like these need all of their limbs
Or they start to look naked and sad
And in the end, the tree had to go
It was the only option we had. 

Watching her go was the hardest part
We're left with a hole in the grass and a hole in our heart.



Every tree lost is another tree planted
Just another excuse to go shopping
If one were to buy themselves a tree
At what store might they be stopping?

We want something colorful and pretty
To serve as a front yard staple
So what do you think:
Is it time for us to adopt a Red Maple? 

Source

 Ok ok, that's enough rhyming for today! 

As you can see, we had our big oak tree removed from our front yard. We're currently debating whether to replace it, and if we do replace it, what type of tree to buy. 

Do you have any suggestions or thoughts? We live in the Dallas area so it has to be able to survive our climate. I'd love to hear about other trees that don't get too huge and have some pretty colors.




* Happy Wednesday *



 
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3.05.2012

Big Patio Plans for Spring Break

Things are happening around here, folks. My awesome husband, who has been drowning with an enormous workload the last couple of months, has spring break next week.

You know what that means? It means we are going to take on some bigger house projects for the first time in a couple of months. We are VERY excited about it!

If you've been following this blog for awhile, you know that we built a patio last spring. Then we added some rock landscaping and outdoor lighting. The patio has been an awesome addition to our home. We use it all the time, especially this time of year when the weather is soooo nice.


Now we're ready to up the ante with our patio. You may remember when I bought these salvaged wrought iron columns at the flea market back in the fall.


My idea has always been to place these two columns on the outer corners of our patio to create the feeling of an outdoor room. Now it's time to make it happen!

It's been a bit of a challenge to figure out how we can make it work. I have never wanted a pergola because I didn't want a roof to close in the space. I liked the idea of open sky above us when we are eating outside. (Plus, pergolas are expensive!)



Right now, the plan is to anchor these wrought iron columns into these smaller wooden crates we bought at the thrift store. They just so happen to be the perfect size! The plan is to drill some holes in the bottom for rebar that will be placed into the ground for stability, and then the crate will be halfway filled with concrete around the rebar (and to give a solid base for the columns). 

This may not make any sense at all, but we think it will work. And if it does, we'll be sure to show you how we did it. 

Anyway, here's a little sketch of how I'd like the patio to look:


You're looking at an aerial view of the backyard patio area. We want to place the columns on the outside edge of the patio, within the gravel area. They will be attached to the house with some heavy-duty wire in a system like this one I found on Pinterest. The wires will allow me to hang outdoor curtains (the squiggly lines on my drawing) similar to this:

Pinterest



Those dotted lines you see going across the patio in my drawing are cafe lights. I'm excited about that and hope we can make it work! The hubby pointed out that we need to string them horizontally so they don't have to attach to our brick exterior wall and can just loop around the wire "frame" we're hoping to create. 

These plans are somewhat ambitious, but Scott is really excited about it. Whenever he gets pumped about a project, it usually turns out to be amazing. He has missed working on the house lately and is itching to get started on the patio. 

Other spring break plans: lay new flooring in the guest room (the last remaining room with the yucky carpet) and dog-proofing the garden by the patio. The furry nuggets have been destructive lately, digging massive holes in the garden and chewing through wires. They busted one of our outdoor lights and completely ruined the cord that was powering our DIY fountain. I love our puppies, but must they ruin all of our cool stuff?!

So, do you have any big home projects you're working on? I'd love to hear about them!


* Spring Fever*



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