Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Show & Tell: Outdoor Updates


We have two big outdoor projects we're working on finishing up before winter, a paver patio and fence. The fence goes in tomorrow (woohoo!), and we're slowly working on the paver patio when we have time.

Part of getting ready for those two big project was two little projects. We had that huge 1980's satellite dish in our backyard next to the future paver patio. With a little WD-40 and a breaker bar, I was able to get the screws to come off the metal pole. Once I had the screws off, we lifted the dish off with my father-in-law's tractor. The pole got the same treatment as the other satellite dish pole. Now we have two lamp posts that will light the way to the new paver patio. (Click here on my post on creating a DIY Solar Lamp Post)

The second project we used the tractor for was pulling out these huge poles at the front of the property. When we first moved in there was this set of poles that created a sort of entry. We needed to get the extra poles out before we put our fence in. We finally got them pulled and out and filled in.

The paver patio is pretty much a big hole right now. 

My daughter decided the future patio needed a fire pit. She made a circle of rocks and added some wood. 

I'm looking forward to sharing our awesome fence once we have it in!


Sunday, July 19, 2015

DIY Sunday: Personalized Backyard Swing

Good Day Mate!

Today's project is a pretty simple one. Our photographer posted that she was looking for someone to make her a swing. I couldn't get the task done fast enough for her purposes, but I thought it was a pretty fun idea. I have been working on my woodburning skills, and thought a wooden swing would be a fun way to practice.

Since this was a test run project, I didn't want to buy a bunch of supplies for it. I went through my scrap pile and found a small piece of solid wood paneling I had left over from my DIY desk project. (Click here for the project).

I looked for quotes about children and play. I found this one from Einstein. I love the idea that play and exploring the world is education at its finest. That's one of the of the reasons I love living in the country. Our entire family has spent less time watching tv since we moved out here. I freehanded this design, but I used transfer carbon paper on another woodburning project I did (See my instagram account for that project)

Once I did the wood burning, I stained the board. This was a learning lesson for me. I'll make sure I do a much lighter stain in the future so I don't completely cover the design I painstakingly burned. I finished the board with a couple coats of outdoor varnish. I also learned that instead of just one hole on each side of the board, I really should have done two holes so the swing would be more stable.

The swing is already a popular spot in our yard.



Thursday, July 16, 2015

Show & Tell: New Rock Landscaping and Edging


We finished up our big summer project this past week. We have rock! Woot Woot! When we moved in, there was a ton of loose rock all the way around the house. I think it was in an attempt to do some landscaping when the house was put on the market. We thought about removing all the rock. After clearing it from a 5x5 section of the yard, we decided that job really sucked, and we didn't want to do it all the way around the house.

Since the rock was staying, we had to add some edging to keep the rock in one area. It was mayhem every time we mowed. I'm genuinely shocked we didn't have a window taken out from the lawn missiles that went flying.

Using the power of Pinterest, I saw this idea for using two brick pavers to create an edge that was easy to mow right up next to. The edge wasn't terribly hard to put in, and we had that job done after a few nights of hard work. Since we went all the way around our house, the job took around 500 pavers. Since we extended the rock area to create a more uniform look, we needed to put down some landscape fabric. I can say, I would rather lay the edging ten times over than deal with that landscape fabric. It was a hot from the reflection of the black, and I could never get the landscape pins into the fabric since they kept hitting old rock.

Finally, we added in some ornamental grasses that should grow rather tall in the next couple of years. We bought 13 tons of rock and moved it all over to the house during the course of a week. It wasn't a very fun job, but the result was a nice uniform landscaping job around the house. I think next year I might remove that dogwood bush in the front and plant more grasses, but for now, there is quite the improvement. All the pavers and the 13 tons of rock cost us around a $1,000.00. I don't know how much landscaping fabric I ended up using, but probably 5 or 6 rolls. The final expense was the grasses, and I got those 50% off when our nursery was closing for the season.

Check it out!

As you can see, we added quite a bit of rock to the front and back of the house. We thought a more gradual curve would look better (and frankly, it's much easier with the pavers). 

 It's worth spending the extra money and getting both the 3 and 6 foot wide landscaping fabric. I used the 6 foot when the curve swung out and the area was larger, but the 3 foot was nice when the path narrowed. It's easier to have both sizes so you're not trying to make the wrong width fit in the opposite area.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

DIY Sunday: Office Chair Cover


It's one of those crazy hot days here in the midwest. We have piles of landscape rock sitting out, waiting to be raked. However, we have spent the day inside napping and watching Netflix. Sometimes it's nice to have those days even if you're son insists on watching Spiderman cartoons on a loop.

I had a few hours free an evening this week, and I tackled a project I had planned for a couple of months now. When I started working from home, I bought the most comfortable office chair I could find in town. However, those office chairs aren't exactly the most stylish. Not to mention in the summer it was sticky and in the winter it was cold.

I picked up new fabric on sale from Joann's during my office remodel (Click here for the remodel post). I honestly didn't start the project because I thought it was going to be difficult. I couldn't have been more wrong. The entire project just took a couple of distraction filled hours.

DIY Office Chair Cover


Fabric (My fabric was the extra wide upholstery fabric. I took the rest of the bolt which was around 3 yards. I used a coupon and got the fabric for relatively cheap)
Sewing Machine & Thread
Staple Gun
Allen Wrench (or another appropriate tool to take apart your chair)

Total Cost: Approximately $25.00


1. Take Chair Apart

This is easy if you just bought the chair since it's probably already mostly taken apart. I have been using my chair for a year now, so I had to try to remember where all the screws were hidden, but eventually I got everything apart.

Since the seat is going to be stapled on the bottom side, there's no need to remove the wheel base. When I took everything apart, I had these pieces: 1 back, 2 arm rests, 2 arm rest padding (the fabric part) and the base. I took note on where all the screws came from as I took the chair apart.

2. Sew a Cover for the Back

The only piece that needs to be sewn is the pouch for the back piece. It's a relatively easy sewing job. You're simply going to measure the front, back and edge. You will leave the bottom part of the "pouch" open. Once you have the pouch done, you will need to mark where to make holes for the screws. I decided to reinforce the holes to make sure there wasn't extra wear through the fabric. Once you're done with that, hand sew the bottom shut.

The testing the size of the pouch to make sure it fits okay before taking everything apart. 

Marking holes for the screws, and cutting holes for each.

3. Wrap the Fabric around the Seat and Armrests

You will wrap the fabric around the seat and using a staple gun, attach the fabric to the bottom of the seat. Pay special attention to the corners. You will repeat the process with the fabric on each arm rests. You will want to take a sharp set of scissors and cut holes where ever screws need to go into the fabric.

4. Put Everything Back Together

Put everything back together. You may need to use extra force since the fabric might interfere with the screw hole. However, you should still be able to get everything back together the same way. Then enjoy your new custom chair!


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Bathroom Paint: The Sequel

Happy Thursday!

I have been painting like crazy over the past week. I painted the upstairs bathroom yellow over the holiday weekend. This week the downstairs bathroom got some much needed love.

I haven't done a thing with this bathroom since we moved in. We don't use it except to brush the kids teeth, and I hate the dark dungeon shower. Eventually we want to pull the wall out and put a glass shower in, plus add in some much needed lighting. However, right now, we're just doing a bit of a face lift.

So, when you have a dark dungeon bathroom, you paint it dark blue, right? Okay. Maybe it doesn't make all that much sense. However, the downstairs is the "man" territory, so I wanted it to be a masculine color. This color is called "Bungalow Blue" and is by Sherwin Williams.  I wanted to do stripes somewhere in the house, and I decided that the wall I want to remove was the perfect place to use them. Hint: When doing stripes on the wall, use a laser level. Also, always do a first coat of the underneath color (white in my case) over the tape edge and let it dry. That will keep the color from bleeding. 

I'm really happy with the results. I also found an old mirror at a garage sale for $5.00, and it works great with the masculine theme and is way more fun than the builders grade mirror that used to be there. I want to replace all the flooring downstairs with that tile that looks like wood (with a heated floors underneath), but I see that getting done around the time my daughter graduates from high school.

Finally, I want to replace the vanity sooner rather than later. (It's a cheap plastic one) Check out the two options I looked at. Which one do you like?

The "Traditional" Option

The "Modern" Option
 (p.s. this one is my favorite)

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