Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dear Bill...

...I know that you've been putting in some long hours at the office lately.  And on top of that, I know that the stress of trying to decide what on earth to get me for my half birthday this week is just consuming you.  I'm writing to provide some less than subtle assistance:).  Most Some of the time, I don't ask for much, but this is not one of those times.  This request is a 'biggie'.  Really, really big.  Here's what I'd love for my half birthday: two nails in two walls in our sun porch.  Both nails are guaranteed to hit wood, and will never, ever, ever be taken out of the wood.

I'd like one just above the door to our deck:

 Here's a close up of the proposed nail location:):

We'd be able to tell the time in this room, if I placed this wonderful Target clearance ($7.48) clock in our sun porch right above the door:

And I'd like one more nail here above the dry sink that we need to redo sometime soon:

I'd be able to hang a pretty family picture here.  You'd love it.  I just know it.  Here's a close up of the proposed nail location:

I know you love the wood walls in our sun porch, and you want to protect them from a future of swiss-cheese-ness.  And I know it's only one room in our entire house, and that's why I'm only asking for 2 nails.  Two tiny nails that will never, ever be pulled out.

What do you think, hon?  Cross one thing off your to-do list:)?  Half Birthday Present for Beth.  Done?

Love you...even if you say 'no' to the nails and come up with something even more amazing to surprise me with on my half birthday.  And I know that we've never, ever celebrated half birthdays before, but why not start now...with two little nails:)?


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Swim Suit Inspiration

This post is random.  I admit it, but this swimsuit is so amazingly cute, I can hardly stand it!  I picked it up at Target (No surprise there...Target and I are BFF.) for $3.74.
Seriously, coral, aqua, white would be the perfect color combination for a little girl's room.  I love the ruffles at the top and the ribbons by the legs.  I could design a room around this.  Easily.  In fact, if I didn't just finish up Lucky's room recently, her inspiration hat might have been replaced by the swimsuit.:

In saying that, I'm by no means tired of her new room:

I still really love it!  In fact, I've got a few new projects that we'll be working on in the next few months.

The owl on the right needs a good coat of spray paint to stand out more.

I decided that the bulletin board wall is a little busy looking, so I'm thinking of making a change here.

Finally, I have an idea for this unfinished canvas.

So much inspiration.  So many projects.  So little time.:)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Making Plans with Ana White

I've been a big fan of Ana White's blog for quite awhile.  She is a mother living in Alaska and is an amazingly creative and talented carpenter and designer.  She posts plans for all of her creations in an easy to follow format on her blog and allows others to post about what they are building based on her plans.

Since our extremely busy August is coming to an end, I'm looking forward to September and the potential to fit in a carpentry project or two.  Bill is already planning on making garage shelves to help us organize our garage once and for all.  Here are a few other projects I'm looking at:

Book Shelf Ledges
Made from Ana's plan found here
Cost: about $10 for an 8 foot shelf

Factory Cart Table
Cost varies based on casters
I'm on a major 6 inch diameter caster hunt currently.

Chalkboard Cubby
I'm thinking about making another large framed chalkboard using hardboard like this one in our dining room, but I like this cubby chalkboard too.

I can't wait to get started!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lovely Landscaping At Last

In this post, I wrote about our landscape plan for the backyard.  We did not stick to our plan.  We ended up renting a sod cutter on a Friday afternoon, and we were able to keep it through the weekend for the cost of a one day rental.  On Sunday afternoon, we decided to cut up the sod on the other side of our yard.  We made the decision not because the first side was easy, rather because the work was so darn hard.  Honestly, the prospect of renting a sod cutter next year to do it all over again wasn't something any of us wanted to consider.

We figured that it would increase our landscaping cost by about $400 for the additional edging, black dirt and mulch we would need, but that cost dropped to $200 when we had enough mulch on hand from our initial order to cover both sides of the back yard.  Where would we have put all that mulch if we didn't do the second side?  We had a nursery calculate the amount of mulch needed based on our landscaping plan, but our beds were a little bit narrower than the plan suggested to allow room for our play set.  We probably put the mulch down a little bit thinner than our mulch calculations allowed as well.  It all worked out in the end.  We did the bulk of the work over the course of 4 days and then did some additional work in the two weeks that followed.

Here is our backyard landscape plan:

Unfortunately, I didn't take many pictures while landscaping.  I was in 'get er done' mode and didn't want to hold people up while I snapped photos.  I would have loved to have some images of our 13 cubic yard mulch mountain in our driveway, of Bill operating the sod cutter, of my dad digging mini-trenches for the edging to go into and of my brother planting the plants (sometimes using a drill to break up the rocky soil near the base of our house.)  Also, I would have loved a picture of me hauling the dirt and sod up and down the hill on the side of the house.  And finally, a series of each of us worker bees 'before a shower' and 'after a shower' would have been hilarious.  We got so unbelievably dirty!  I did take pictures of our work, however, so those will have to do:

Right Side Before:

 Right Side After:

Back Area Before:

 Back Area After:

Left Side Before:

Left Side After:
We're still working on getting a few adirondack chairs for this area.  We bought 4 unfinished ones at Home Depot and we're in the process of deciding whether to stain or paint them.

This area needs more plants.  We've added one hydrangea since this picture was taken, and I brought another hydrangea home two days ago to be planted.  

Herb Garden Before:

Herb Garden After:

Herb Garden Aerial Shot:):

Patio Area Before:

Patio Area After:

Landscaping work is grueling work.  And if there is anything I learned, it's the importance of using and wearing the right equipment.  We were smart and paid $120 for a sod cutter.  I wasn't smart about wearing the right shoes for the job.  Running shoes make wheel barrow runs from the front to back yard easier, but work boots would be best for everything else, especially shoveling.  Also, I only used work gloves that fit for the last day of our 4 day landscaping party.  I was so worried that a heavy wheel barrow full of black dirt was going to slide out of my loosely gloved hands earlier in the weekend.  We ended up finding a perfectly pink pair of work gloves at Home Depot for me for the last day of our 4 day project.   

We love our new backyard, and we're excited to take a break from landscaping work...until next year:). 

Here's an overall before:

And after:

We added solar lights to the new beds and they look so amazing at night!

And because there are already approximately 1000 pictures already in this post, here are a few more!!  Enjoy these 'Lucky Charm' pictures from the week:).

And with that, have a fantastic weekend!!  

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Good Deals = Future Project Fun!

I haven't done a post about some of my good 'deals' like this one (West Elm/Target) or this one (Pier 1) or this one (thrifting, antiquing and craigslisting) in awhile now.  It's not because I'm not shopping.  Oh no.  I'm just not shopping quite as much because I've been in the yard more and more yard work = less time to blog about my finds, so here's a quick round up of some purchases I'll be working with in the near future:

And some close-ups!

Heywood Wakefield Children's Chair 
$1.99 Goodwill

Vintage Books
$0.15 each Goodwill.  See this post for more information on my cheap book collection.

I'm especially excited about this book:

Check out the shorthand pages:

Drum Lamp Shade
This shade matches one I purchased a couple months ago
Target $6.24 (It was marked $12.48 but rang up $6.24, 75% off clearance)

Floral Garden Stool
Target $17.48 (75% off clearance)
I don't love the flowers on it, but I think a little spray paint could make it really nice

Bill rolls his eyes every time I walk into the house with sticks that I spend money on.  I didn't feel bad walking in with these two bunches though.  The set of 3 bamboo poles were $2.58 on 75% off clearance from Target and the shorter sticks were $1.28 on 75% off clearance from Target.  Cheap, cheap!

Houndstooth Chenille Fabric
I found a bunch of this at Joann's marked with a red tag for $12/yard.  It was supposed to be on sale 50% off the red tag price, but it rang in at $3/yd and I had a coupon to take an additional 10% off my entire purchase including sale items.  I got several yards of this upholstery grade fabric for $2.70/yard!

20 inch x 20 inch Canvas Pair
$13.99 each. On sale 50% off at Michael's, and I used a 'take an additional 20% off your entire purchase' coupon on them, making them just over $11 for the pair!

IKEA Ribba Frame Pair
Normally $14.99 each at IKEA, but I picked up the pair for $10 each in their original wrappers at Goodwill.  I was planning on picking up a pair anyway, and I saved $10.  Yes!

Deer Pair
$1.99 each at Goodwill (I believe these are $8 each at Michael's).

I'm thinking it's time to get to work!!  Is anyone else having luck finding some deals at GTJM (Goodwill, Target, Joann's or Michael's)?