Sunday, March 31, 2013

Our biggest project yet...

  This weekend, we decided to tackle our biggest project yet- our missing fence gate and paneling. This was the last link to fully enclosing our property! Between our two neighbors  fences on each side, our concrete development wall in the back, and a side panel the previous owners installed, we had most of the yard enclosed.  

Here's how we installed the last side piece, including a gate! 

  First, dig deep holes.. I mean deep ones. Daniel dug two feet deep for each of our post holes, and three feet deep for the post hole that would hold the gate. 

Mix and pour concrete in the holes. This will help anchor the fence posts when you install the pickets. 

Project manager right here! 

Then, start drilling in the pickets! We originally thought to use nails, but ended up working faster with 1" screws and the power drill. 

Unfortunately, at this point (between putting in all the pickets and building a gate) things got a little tough (and I wasn't snap-happy). 
But, no wonder they say doors are the hardest! We build our gate twice because it wasn't level. Some of the cross beams were too long. Some of the pickets were hung too high. Then, the gate sagged and was dragging in the dirt.

My tips: 
measure correctly
remember to pull out the level
and don't settle!

We had to take multiple breaks because it was hot outside and frustrating! But, we did use a little ingenuity to get everything just right!

These last few photos are of Daniel with the last screw! Wohoo!! Ta-dah!

What do you think? Does it look like my master plan?

Front view

Back view

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March Makeover Month

Daniel and I completed a TON of projects these past two weeks! Take a look at some of the fun we've had during March Makeover Month...

Our breakfast nook has a million dollar view. NOT! It basically gives us a great view of the neighbor's fence. And up until last weekend, was filled with weeds and dirt. We've talked about putting in a water feature of some sort for months, and now we finally did it! A trip to Walmart for the bird bath and pavers, and Home Depot for flowers and mulch, and voila! A room with a view!

-living room-

These two photo collage walls were inspired by my friend, Carrie . She sent me these gorgeous inspiration photos of a blog we enjoy. Ever since then, I've had photo collages on the brain! 
I didn't realize I had so many frames!! Daniel hung all 22 items for me. 
Good husband... :)

-master bedroom-

This next project I've been itching to do for sometime... Our bathroom (and the guest bathroom, for that matter) needed something to feel more cozy and personal. But because we opted for towel hooks instead of towel bars, I can't hang any artwork, there's no room. I couldn't hang a floating shelf either.. also too big! My thought, wall stickers! But... every time I look for wall decals, they are so generic. Sorry, but I don't want to "Live, Laugh, Love" in my bathroom!

What I did instead, was paint onto the wall using a gray sample paint I got at Home Depot. Here's a photo of my "his" and "hers" towel hooks. I've also created a few more, which I'll post a tutorial and my tips and tricks sometime soon. 


Today, I really got creative with the sewing machine! I finally finished my 2013 tea towel calendar. My goodness, did I drag that project out! Unfortunately, no tutorial on this one, but basically I took some leftover muslin fabric, cut to size. Drew on with permanent marker my months and dates. Then embroidered on the saying by Jane Austen "There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort". How fitting.. I'm an incredible home-body and hermit. ;)

My other two projects today were a cat pillow for Yogurt, (I had that yellow and gray left over fabric I was dying to do something with!) and a skirt for myself. 
I made the turquois one today, and the coral one a few days ago. 

The cat pillow directions I followed out of a book, and since my mother in law gave me some extra batting, it was fun and fairly quick to put together. 

The skirts did take me quite a bit longer. I made the one today in two hours. Normally, I like to work quicker, but as I've learned with sewing rushing equals mistakes (and in my case, meltdowns). 

I'll post a tutorial of how to make the skirts too! :)

That's it for right now... I'm so surprised we did so much! 

We had been away from home most weekends since the beginning of February, so I was dying to just stay home and work on projects or sit down and relax. I needed me-time in a big way! 

With the exception of the bird bath last weekend, almost all of my projects were free or virtually free. It's been an interesting season of life for me, with not having a lot of excess cash. God has challenged me to be creative and see where it takes me! 

Have a good week, ya'll... :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Summertime Shell Vignettes

With summer right around the corner, I wanted to make sure our family was ready! Forget Easter bunnies and spring chicks...I've already moved on to sand, shells, and margaritas!

Here's a fun and free project idea to get your family in that beach state of mind! 
(Cue the Australian Gold...)

  First, gather any and all glass containers you have at home. I grabbed some of different sizes and heights to give a unique look. (Bonus points if you can guess where the lidded mason jars came from! Yes, Susanna I still have them!)

 No animals were harmed during the making of these vignettes...
Then, lay out all your shells after rinsing them with water to remove loose sand. 
Daniel was sweet enough to rinse everything for me!

Last, choose a glass container, fill part way with sand, then add shells to layer!

Ta-dah! Beautiful! 

Now each room in our home has a little touch of summer! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My DIY High-Top Patio Table Experience

What do you think of first when you look at these patio tables? 

Up-cycled doors? 

Yeah, right! 

Let me show you how I turned some old doors we had lying around into these gorgeous and fun high-top patio tables...

Ever since we saw our house's massive backyard patio, we knew that's where we'd want to spend our weekend time. 

We had searched and searched and searched for a high-top, or bar-style, table to throw out there. 

No luck. 

We tried garage sales, Craig's List, and tons of different retail stores (ikea, Target, Walmart, etc). 

Nothing for the outdoors!

So, no worries... I have an idea! 

Let's make our own!

Here's how we did it... 

 Grab those extra flat slab interior doors you have. Then, measure the height you want your table to be for the lumber for the table legs. I believe we modeled our height off of the height of the bar stools we currently had. We used 40 inches for the legs of the table. 

Either use strap lumber you currently have, or buy at your local home improvement store. Cut to size. You'll need four legs total per table. 

Screw in the legs using a power drill and some screws
BE CAREFUL since the interior doors are most likely hollow, and therefore can be very soft. 
Our screws went in a little too deep, so we used some painter's putty to fill it in. 

Then, decide on what type of design you want to do for your table. I was inspired by these fun patio pillows from Home Depot. Since I wanted to do stripes, I used painters tape and got to taping! 

Yogurt likes to help out! :)

For the paint, I just had Home Depot whip up some samples of colors I liked. As I work on more and more projects, I love the size of the sample paint
And at only $3 a jar, it's awesome! 

I used about 6 sample jars to complete this project. 
5 different colors, and an extra brown one for the legs. 

Here's one table with the first round of completed striping. 
Check out the hole for the door handle! Neat!

Daniel helped in a big way by painting all the legs for me. 

It took several sessions (trust me, you don't want to rush this project!), but once all of your painting is completed, I recommend putting on a glossy top coat. 

Minwax is my favorite!!! 
I had some left over Minwax Polycrylic topcoat from painting our kitchen table that I used for the patio tables. 

Just brush on one coat, and viola!, you are good to go! 
Just be sure not too get too close to the Minwax; it is incredibly fume-y! 

Our other idea (rather than a clear topcoat) was to buy and cut to size a sheet of clear plexi-glass to rest on top of each table. 

Unfortunately, we ran out of time to find and buy that since we wanted to host Daniel's birthday BBQ party outdoors. 

Everyone loved the tables at the party, so I'm so glad we made them! 

I really look forward to spending more time on our patio and enjoying the upcoming summer!

Day with God 2013

One of the many awesome perks of working for a ministry is the perk of being able to take a paid day off to spend with God. 

How often do we really take an annual quiet day, and spend time listening to what He has to tell us? 

Often when we are in the midst of chaos, and when we need the quiet day the most, we never pause to set aside that time. 

I know I didn't in 2012. 

But 2013 is a different year for me. I've got dreams and a belief that things are going to be better! 

During my time with God, I spent time meditating on a sermon message I heard the day before. It was a message talking about God's promises to Abraham in Genesis 22:15-18.

God promised Abraham that he would bless him beyond his wildest dreams. 

How often do we think God can or will bless us beyond our wildest dreams? 

That we will see as many blessings in our life as their are stars in the sky.

Or grains of sand on the beach...

I know it was hard to see those blessings in my life in 2012. They were there...
...but I chose to focus on the challenges of 2012 and my human emotion of disappointment. 

But as surely as I can see the grains of sand along the ocean, I know that God loves me and wants to bless me abundantly. 

What a fortunate thing that I live so very close to the ocean. 
I can go and visit those grains of sand anytime I need a reminder of what God has done and will do in His Kingdom. 

GENESIS 22:15-18
"The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, "I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed because you have obeyed me."

Monday, March 4, 2013

Cute Catnip Mouse Toys

DIY Catnip Mouse Toy

I had some free time in the late afternoon yesterday, so I decided to create one of my ideas for a cat toy for Yogurt. 

I thought I'd be fun to stuff some catnip and tissue paper (they love that crinkle sound!) inside of a little mouse to give to her to play with. 

So, I grabbed my sewing machine, scrap materials and got to work.. Here's how I did it: 

You will need: 
  • scrap fabric for the body of the mouse (about the size of your hand, for one side of the body)
  • felt ears (about a quarter size for each ear)
  • a long ribbon tail
  • catnip
  • tissue paper (one sheet is plenty)
  • a permanent marker or 2 buttons (for the eyes)

Cut out of your fabric the size you want your mouse to be. I eye-balled a taco shape, or semi-circle, and then trimmed the front more narrow to look like a face. 

Then, cut your ears out of the felt. 

Sew them to each side of the mouse via sewing machine.

Then, with right sides together, you'll want to sew up the body. You'll eventually turn it right sides out, so leave a gap towards the top of the body. 

I sewed from one end to the middle and stopped. Then sewed from the other end to the middle and stopped. When you sew your ribbon tail, you'll want to make sure the ribbon is on the INSIDE of the mouse. 

If you sew it going out, you'll have to re-do. 

Flip the mouse inside out and voila! 

Draw on eyes (or sew buttons for eyes) with the permanent marker. 

Then, stuff with tissue paper and catnip. Finish your mouse by stitching up the hole in the middle. 
You can either hand stitch to make it seamless and pretty, or do like me where I just sewed it on the sewing machine. 

This was so fun and didn't take me long (maybe an hour for two), so I decided to make one for a friend. 
Yogurt's friend, Frodo, also got a catnip mouse toy!

I love it mom!