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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Before and After - Back Yard

Hours and hours, days and weeks, many trips to the home improvement store, more cash than we wanted to spend, sweat, aching backs, a couple of blisters, an ant issue, a blown tire, stain and gravel and mulch...

I now declare my yard to be DONE! Or at least as done as it's going to get this year because franky I'm tired. And sick of spending money in large chunks. And ready to have fun this summer!
We're keeping our fingers crossed that the seed we threw down in the back yard starts filling in because right now it looks like this. And half of the green you see under those cute 4-year-old feet is weeds. Even with the improvements our back yard is a little scary. And it could use some color and decorative touches, but I'm telling myself I know when enough is enough and I can work on flowers and planters and throw pillows next spring.

So without further ado, the Before:

the front of the house
a view of our back yard, looking out from the deck

the deck and the sun room

the other side of the deck and the screen porch

the same area, but what it looked like in the weeks after Sam dug the hole for the sandbox but then the pile of dirt sat there waiting for us to cart it away, stain the box, and find some sand (man was I missing having Dad and his dump truck around for that one. It's rough finding sand and gravel around here! Oh, and my back and all that hauling and shoveling - urgh)

So what work have we done on the place? Well in the front yard we re-did the mulch and moved some of the bushes. We also put down some gravel under the faucet (for better drainage and because the kids can't mess it up or get messy when they turn on the water).

The gravel also went under the deck (on top of weed paper obviously) so we don't have to deal with weeds under there ever again.

And under the back faucet. And behind the air conditioner. And we finished the rain gutter too - Sam was procrastinating on that last section above the swing because it was so high off the ground.

We installed a fence, all by our little selves! We did the back part in wood and I had to stain it all by hand. That took FOREVER (the better part of 2 weeks, doing it a couple hours every day). The front part had to be vinyl and can I just say - ick! Oh vinyl is pretty and it's low maintenance. But it isnt easy to work with. And the gate...ugh! I hate that gate. And wouldn't you know it, one of NC's crazy thunder storms and those hinges snapped right off. So I take it back. We aren't totally done since Sam has to build a wood gate (which we will then paint white and pretend it's vinyl :) ).

And there's the fabulous sandbox. Those kids LOVE that thing and I really appreciate having it. Because if there's dirt, Ty will dig, and I was so sick of trying to get him (and the neighbor kids when they are over) to quit digging holes in my poor struggling lawn. I also bought that little box to hold most of the sand toys.

The last touch was the patio. We needed something to go under the swing and fire pit. We put this and the gravel in over the weekend. In 90 degree weather with patchy rain. Do you understand now why I'm done? I'm from Utah, people - it snowed there just yesterday. I'm not made to do yard work in the heat. :)

Now look at that pretty fence. Oh and those bushes - they are some I transplanted from the front yard along with a few azaleas I added. The tree is from a neighbor that pulled it out of their front yard so they could put in palm trees (I laughed. The guy just HAD to have palm trees even though you pretty much only see them near the beach here).

More transplanted bushes.

And a view from above because I think it gives you a better idea of exactly how much back yard I have to mow. (Yes I said I. Sam may be in charge of the mowing but so far the 2 times the back yard weeds have bugged me enough to mow them down, I've been the one to do it)

I have to say, it was totally worth it. We've already used the patio and the fire pit to roast this year's first hot dogs and smores (note to us though - this isn't UT and we should do the fire in March or April when it's cooler!). And that screen porch is fabulous. We've had dinner out there almost every night this weekend, and breakfast out there on Sunday. Love it! Now, bring on summer, baby, we're ready for it!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Monogram Wall

This one is just for you Julie! :)
She and I saw this idea while we were blog hopping and chatting online months ago. (original idea can be found here) So we've both been collecting wooden letters and frames ever since. And being the more daring and driven one (prodded along by Jules who wanted to see how it turned out before she tackled hers), I got mine on the wall first.

Kaitlyn is going to be so surprised when she gets home and finds all the photos on the wall. I'm not even sure I've mentioned to her that I was going to put anything there.

Ok, the details:
-the square photo is one that I had done on unstretched canvas (when I got the deal on the shoe one - you had to order in pairs) and put it on some MDF just as I did with the shoe canvases
-the white "K" is vinyl from my machine. I couldn't make it as large as I had envisioned it so that may be something I change out later (after a visit to Audrey's!)
-the argyle "K" is just some scrapbook paper that I mod podged onto a wooden letter
-the smallest frames all came from the dollar store and I spray painted them white. The other frames were already in my collection and were already white.
-I traced each frame onto newspaper (being sure to mark where the hook would need to be placed) and taped the newspaper shapes to the wall to help me figure out the layout before I brought out the hammer and nails.

This covers the wall at the foot of Kaitlyn's bed - the only wall in the room that needed any additional decor. Scratch another entire room off my To Do list Baby! WOOHOO :)

Linking to:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Finishing Touches - Laundry/Mud Room

Time to show off my laundry/mud room! Do you know how happy I am to have 3, count them - THREE rooms entirely done?!

I'm sure you remember the great bench, shoe cubbies and coat hooks my husband installed. But that space above them needed a little dressing up. So I took some photos of our feet (fitting for the mud room, right?) and when I ran across a deal on Artscow I had them printed in sepia on canvas. The deal was for 12x12 unstretched canvas and I decided to pop them off the wall instead of putting them in frames. So I cut a piece of leftover MDF from our closet projects to size (yes I cut it all by myself! I'm getting to be seriously handy with the power tools), painted the edges black, then used spray adhesive to attach the canvas. Lovin' it! (all but that center photo - I couldn't get quite the look I had in mind using the self timer, but it'll do)
Here's the original Before:

And this is how it looks now. Like right now, as in I didn't even straighten up the shoes or put away any of the extra jackets before taking the photo :)

The other side of the room got a few accent pieces too. Above the cupboard I added another one of the room definition quotes (found the printable here) and a bucket I picked up at Hobby Lobby.

And I created a little Laundry Room sign out of scrap wood (painted white then distressed the edges) and vinyl that sits on top of my drying rack. I saw something similar on the HowDoesShe blog and this is my version.

That wall Before:

And After:

The end. :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Finishing Touches - Kids' Bathroom

I finished it, I finished it! I have been sitting on the photos of most of the decor pieces for this room for weeks and weeks now, waiting for myself to get around to the last little bit so I could share it all at once. Well, today was the day I quit putting it off in favor of other things - go me!

The kids' bathroom was actually one of the easier rooms to pull together. I would just randomly run across things and think "oh that's perfect for ____!"

The first thing we did was replace the towel bar with a wall shelf and hooks. We all know it's a losing battle, trying to get the kids to hang up their towels, let alone hang them up and expect them to look good. In fact, Tyler is too small to even pretend he could hang up his own towel. I heard about the idea for using hooks for kids towels long long ago and have been so happy to finally get some myself. Then I ran across a shelf I fell in love with on the Idea Room blog.

Perfect, no? My husband actually agreed and had no problem re-creating one. Isn't he fabulous? He built this the same time he built my fantastic drying rack and it went on the wall as soon as the paint was dry. (see! told you I'd been waiting and waiting to show you!)

For those of you that are now insanely jealous and wanting one for yourself (I know you're out there because I've already had at least 2 people tell me that next time Sam builds anything he needs to just go ahead an make one for them too! :) ), it's not too complicated. We used a wide board for the back (1x10" I think), then used the length of 1x4 for the top. Added a piece of crown molding under the 1x4
and some rope trim around (smaller detail trim is harder to find than you'd think at Home Depot. This piece came from Michael's.) the bottom to dress it up a bit. And of course added the hooks (these are from Target). Then I filled in the holes and painted it all.
Of course, then I had to figure out what to put on top of the shelf. I ran across this bathroom definition printable (free - you can find one for yourself here) and thought it would be fun. So I had that printed the last time I ordered photo prints, matted it with scrapbook paper and stuck it in a frame.
I added a small floral arrangement and filled a couple of cylinder vases with the shells Kaitlyn collected at the beach last week.

And there you have it! I'm so happy with it, now that it's all pulled together. Well, I was happy with it as soon as it went on the wall too, but even more happy now! It probably needs a couple more things to fill out the shelf, but this will do until the right things find me.

For the other wall, I took these fun shots of my kids up to their necks in bubbles in my jetted tub and had them printed on canvas. Then I used my handy dandy vinyl (and Silhouette) to make a couple of flourishes to finish it off and hung it all over the toilet.

Ready for the final Before/After? Ok then.


And After!

Cross another room off the list, baby! Happy Dancing now... :)

Linking to:
Tatertots and Jello

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Week

I know, I know. We're already half-way through teacher appreciation week already. Time is seriously getting away from me lately. But I did manage to throw a little something together on Monday.
Original inspiration (and instructions) for the project found here. I chose a smaller size bead organizer from Walmart and grabbed a few coordinating office supplies from the clearance section and split them in half, since I was making two (one for the main teacher, one for the assistant).

I was shopping with both kids for the candy and couldn't concentrate, or I would have made sure the wrappers were blue or green to go with my color scheme too.

The school sent home a little schedule for Teacher Appreciation week too. On Monday the kids were each supposed to bring a card for their teacher (Kaitlyn did the cutest little notes on her Hello Kitty stationary). Tuesday was chocolate day. I let Kaitlyn splurge for the really expensive candy bars. The note says "You deserve chocolate! Thanks for being such a great teacher." I'm sending the goodie boxes this morning. And tomorrow we're supposed to send a flower (which I still need to go shopping for). The note for that one says "thanks for helping me grow." What are you doing for teacher appreciation?