Showing posts with label Outside the Nest. Show all posts

Back & Forth

Our girls absolutely love to swing.  They’d eat, sleep, and p-double-o-p swinging if they could.  I imagine it’s a past time most kids share.  Lucky for them, for their first birthday last year Grandpa and Grandma bought them two of these swings.  Unlucky for them, we literally just hung them last week.  We’ve had them stored away in the attic over the winter in hopes that this spring we’d have time to hang them.  The plan was to find a solid branch or two in the front yard and hang them from a tree.  The other part of the plan was to paint them so that 1) they’d sort of match the house a little better since they’d be right in front of it and not detract from curb appeal and 2) so that they were more gender neutral since Sebastian would probably share his sisters’ love of swinging one day.

So, finally and with some spray paint specially made for painting plastic (by Krylon), the swings went from this:

with this:
photo 1 (2)

to this:

As you can see, we ditched the front yard/tree swings idea after a good friend gave us their old swing set.  Now all the fun is in the backyard.  (Side note:  If you’re on the market for some swings and not opposed to a little DIY, check these out.  Our original plan was to make two of them but by the time we could have gotten them done with everything else on our plate, the girls (and boy) would be inhabiting them in high school.  Not cool.)

Unfortunately, I’m not enthused with the spray paint.  Even though it’s made for plastic, it has seemed to easily chip away in areas where plastic meets plastic, like where the safety bar meets the bottom of the seat.  The seat itself however has held up pretty good so far.  It’s withstood a few rainstorms and a week of being outside in the heat.  Time will tell if it’ll hold up for the long haul though.  I’ll keep ya posted. 

I used one can of spray paint per seat and could’ve used more.  I’ve found that as much as I like the way that Krylon sprays in a line vs. a circular spray like Rustoleum and other spray paints, it doesn’t seem to cover as well.  One can would probably have been good enough per swing had I used Rustoleum but since it sprays with a circular spray, it may have been tough to not have the swing look blotchy.

Either way, the kids really don’t care what the swings look like as long as they move. 

And move they do.

Made by Amanda

Y’all know how much I love spray paint, right?  I’ve probably written your eyes off about it already.  So, you can imagine how excited I was when a super-creative, super-artistic, and super-beautiful high school friend of mine posted a picture of this playhouse makeover on her Facebook page:amandaplayhouse2

Here’s what the kiddy abode looked like before:amandaplayhouse
Spray.  Paint.  Love it!

Amanda has two girls (woot, woot!) and definitely revved up the girly factor with some fun feminine spray paint, don’t you think?  I’m smitten!  I’ve been hatching this idea to hunt down two identical fisher price-esque swings on craigslist, spray paint them white, and hang them in the big oak in our front yard and after seeing Amanda’s plastic-meets-spray-paint transformation, I’m even more excited about finding those swings!!

Anyone else taken spray paint to outdoor plastic?  Anyone else going to after seeing this?  Me, me, me!!!

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Thank you Amanda for letting me share!

Adios Christmas

I may not have changed out of the yoga pants I wore to bed last night, but I fed both girls (six times each), changed 2,483 cloth diapers, ate too many cookies, indulged in my daily cup ‘o joe and a coke, and made this:wandgk 033la

Which means that, up until this afternoon, our front door looked like this:
wandgk 019 
Yes, we are those neighbors that keep our Christmas decorations up alllll year long…nope, just kidding.  Just this year…

While perusing the endless abyss you all know as Pinterest, I stumbled upon the prettiest tulip wreath from Etsy.  Needless to say, as much as I wish I had 48 bucks to spend on a wreath, I knew I could do it myself.  And so can you.  It’s easy peasy.  In case you’d like to, here’s what you’ll need:wandgk 014

I bought everything at Hobby Lobby yesterday because they were having a 50% all their floral.  The sale ends this Saturday, fyi.  (Michaels is having the same sale, however I really wanted magenta tulips and they only sell light pink and red in that color fam.)

First, bend each stem down at the base…  wandgk 016

and, using a wire cutter (mine is on the handle end of our needle-nose pliers), cut… wandgk 017

until all stems are separate. wandgk 018

Then, starting on the inside, place individual tulips around the entire wreath by sticking the ends amidst the branches.  Make sure you don’t stick them all the way in; you want a few inches of the stem showing. wandgk 020

Once you’ve done the inside, stick some tulips around the outside of the wreath.  They should stick out a few inches from the outer circumference of the wreath.  Also, make sure that your stems point out at an angle, they don’t have to follow the direction of the wreath exactly.  And don’t worry if the tulips aren’t evenly spaced or sticking out the exact same length, imperfection is pretty in this case.  :)wandgk 021

When you’re done placing tulips, carefully turn your wreath over and use a hot glue gun to glue each stem to the closest branch.wandgk 022

And that’s it!  You’ve got yourself a brand new wreath that will usher in spring faster than you can say “groundhog”!wandgk 033 
Tulips:  $12 (50% off sale)
Grapevine Wreath:  $4 (with a 40% off coupon)
Hot glue and gun:  already had
Trip to the attic to stow Christmas wreath:  50 calories
Total:  $16
(Side note:  I wanted a big ‘ole wreath at 24 inches, but you can also get smaller sizes which means you won’t need as many tulips, which means less moolah, which means…well, you know.)

 wandgk 032


P.S.  It’s party time!!!  Linking up with Gingerly Made!  See lots more craftiness over yonder!

Flip It

A few weeks ago, on a gorgeous, sunny Saturday, Anthony and I decided to go on a date in our own back and front yards.  Winter had come and gone and spring left it's mark of leaves (yes, down here, leaves fall in the spring...and fall...and winter) and dried up flowers in our lawn and the once-pristine pine straw beds we built up last fall looked no more like well-groomed landscaping but more like leaf heaven. 
Here's a glimpse of the mess:
I'd been eye-ballin' this mess every time we left the house and passed by it on our way down the driveway, not looking forward to the soon-to-be day we'd have to go out there and hand pick those pesky leaves out of the beds, one by measly one.  We had plenty of pine straw still in the beds, so that wasn't a problem...just the leaves. 
Well, that day came - our yard duty date - as I mentioned above.  Anthony mowed and edged while I put on my gardening gloves, squatted down on my haunches, and began the tedious task of picking and picking and picking and picking and...  After five minutes of that, I was done.  My quads felt like I had just run five miles and I was simply wasn't feeling productive.  So, I switched up my technique.  I thought, "What if I just pick up small sections of pine straw and shake 'em a little?  Would the leaves and dead flowers just fall out leaving the pine straw behind?"  It was worth a try.  So, I picked up the first little section of pine straw, gave it a little shakeroo, and only a few leaves fell out of the bundle...not what I was hoping.  So, thinking I was gonna have to suck it up and start picking again, I threw the pile of pine straw back down and that's when the heaven's opened and angels started singing...well, not really, but I'm sure God was laughing at me.  You see, when I threw down the pile of pine straw I had been holding it landed upside down in it's spot so that the leaves were underneath and all you could see was "fresh" pine straw!  Glorious!  Away I went, picking a section up, flipping it over, and throwing it back down. 
Here's the same bed shown above halfway done:
Sure there were still a few leaves and a little dirt mixed in, but after the first rain the dirt washed down through the straw and I easily picked out the few leaves that were noticeable.  I'm not sure this is the "correct" way to do it but it works!  I convinced myself this way was actually more beneficial to the dirt underneath though because those darn leaves will decompose and leave nutrients in the soil, making healthier dirt for the I off my rocker or is that true?  Anyone know?
So anyway, after about 20 minutes of picking up sections and flipping them over, every bed in our yard could once again be labeled "manicured" and I was drinking a tall glass of ice water, relaxed in our back yard.  I wish every fix was this easy...and free too!

Battle of the Rust

I did it!  I conquered the rust spot on our side, exterior door!  Well, as it goes with rust, time will tell if I really got rid of the problem permanently but for the past week we've seen no signs of intruding rust. 
This is what I started with:
(Sorry for the bad pictures...the door really is white, but I forgot to white balance the camera before I took them.) 
It was a just a little bitty spot but every time we walked in that door it drove us nuts as it was right at eye level.  Plus, we want to sell a 'perfect' house so it's away with any and all, bye, bye rusty. 

This was my plan of attack:
First I did some online research on how to remove rust on metal doors.  The best remedy I found ( said to sand down the spot, clean it with rust cleaner, and paint over it with oil-based paint or primer (as water-based may just irritate it more - hence why it's probably bad in the first place because that's what we used to paint over it last year.) 

So off to Lowe's I went to pick up these:

Then I went to work.
First, I sanded and let me tell you, it was an arm work-out.  The spot had some bubbling so I sanded down until it was smooth and then sanded more until all of the rust was gone.  This is after sanding:
Next I cleaned the spot with full strength CLR...but forgot to take an 'after cleaned' picture.  But, since I had sanded all the rust off, it really didn't look that different cleaned.

Out came the oil-based primer and on went four coats of it over the course of the next three days.  Spacing it over three days was to ensure each coat was completely dry.  I painted four coats because I wanted to make sure that baby was completely covered and protected.
After each coat I lightly sanded the area with a less coarse sanding block to make sure I wouldn't have any paint lines since I was putting on so many coats.  Then I waited...and waited...and waited.  A week went by and no rust had reared it's head from under my oil-based shield so I went ahead and painted over the entire area for the flawless look I/we had been waiting for.

And there you have it!  No more rust!

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Now that that's taken care of, spring cleaning in our laundry room has come to a close and I'm moving on to the kitchen...even though at the rate I'm going it'll soon be summer cleaning.  :)

Porched Pillows

Yay for you-tube how-to's, home decorators sewing books, and sewing machines...especially mine!  With those things I recently created my first-ever, 'real' pillow cover!  By 'real', I mean normal/sewn/minus bonding tape/like-the-kind-you'd-find-in-a-store pillow covers unlike the ones I've made in the past that you can see here and here.  
I would write up a tutorial but one - I don't have enough time at the moment, and two - I'm pretty sure I made up my own sewing rules during the process.  But they turned out AWESOME and they were so easy to make!  If I had my way, and enough pillows (and time) at my disposal, I'd probably make at least one day!

So anyway, as you all probably know by now, our dining area doubles as a workstation:
It's complete with iTunes and my beloved Bernina - the sewing machine given to me by a friend who didn't have a need for her anymore.  As far as worldly gifts go, she's probably the best thing I've ever received! 
So back to the topic at hand, you can see the two measured and cut-out squares of fabric waiting to be sewn to two other squares which had yet to be cut out.  (And yes, that long, yellow thing is Anthony's drywall square that I used to make sure I had some perfect squares...I have yet to go get an actual sewer's I've said before, you use what you got, right?)  As fabric goes, I used a half-yard of the floral fabric ($5 at JoAnn's) for the front side and for the back side, I used a Target tablecloth I found for $4.  All in all, (considering I used about 1/4 of the tablecloth) these pillow covers cost me around $7.  I already had thread and Scotch-Guard, which I sprayed 'em down with since their perch would be our porch.  :)
So, after threading, cutting, ironing seams, and sewing, this is what they looked like (inside-out) when I was finished:
I know they look a little 'un-square' in the picture because of wrinkles but in real life they're almost perfect!  It wasn't until I turned them right-side-out that I started jumping for joy and letting my happiness be known through screams of delight.  Then, after my happy tantrum I ran outside with Scotch-Guard and covers in hand, sprayed 'em down, let 'em dry (5 minutes), grabbed my yard sale pillows, stuffed 'em inside, and ran outside to adorn our free, made-over wicker chairs.  (P.S.  I'm not exaggerating when say write "ran"...I was way too excited to leisurely stroll.)
Here are my accomplishments:

How cute are they?  My heart melts every time I look at them.  :)

So, for fun, I thought I'd give the grand finale in porch pictures, showing how far it's come in the past 1.5 years.

Here's the "ewwww" it looked like from move-in day to almost 9 months later:

And here it is today - always waiting for a couple of coffee mugs (or sweet teas) and some relaxed rears to make themselves comfortable:
Now that's what we call 'Southern Comfort'.  :)

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By the way, I'm itchin' to paint the porch ceiling a pale blue so we can become true southerners and also to bring the sky a little closer...I just haven't told Anthony my idea yet.  What do you think?  Do it or don't?


This is a story about a rod iron bench we inherited from our very good friends...actually, we asked if we could have it.  :)  It was sitting unused (missing quite a few slats) in their backyard and they had replaced it with another bench.  Liking the idea of making it the subject of one of our projects and thinking it would look rather nice on our porch (which at the time was bare), we snatched it up and brought it, down the street.  Then starts the project.

First, we broke out all of the remaining, deteriorating slats and got it down to the bare iron.
Then, I'm assuming that by looking at the worn-nature of the iron and knowing me, you can probably guess what came next...
Yep!  Spray paint!  Hammered brown Rustoleum spray paint to be exact.

Here's a great picture showing the difference between what's painted and what's not...I love spray paint!

After it was spray painted, it took temporary residence on our front porch, waiting to be completed.
I know, it looks a little funny without the actual 'bench' part but time got away from us in finishing it.
So on our porch it sat until Anthony came home one day with a thrown out wicker set I quickly took under my wing, which took over the porch and moved our little, unfinished bench to the backyard where it sat unfinished for 5 months...until last weekend.

After quickly measuring the lengths the slats should be and the slots they fit into, we headed to Lowe's Saturday morning to pick up some wood.  We decided to grab pressure-treated wood over other, nicer, unfinished types because, since the bench is outside and will be subject to the sometimes crazy weather of the South, it will last much longer and is made for the great outdoors.  Plus, it was a quarter of the price and wouldn't need to be stained or polyed (pollied?  poly-ed?  whatever, you know what I mean.)  Homeward bound we went with our 4 planks of wood (costing us $12), all set to be cut in half when we got there.

Two sawhorses, a circular saw, a drywall square, an hour, and two beans later...
and we have ourselves a finished bench!  The pressure-treated wood gives it a rustic look that I can't wait to dress up a little with some throw pillows!

Herb update:  The herbs we planted last weekend are sprouting!  We're happy to announce that just because a seed packet says it's seeds are only meant for planting during one season, doesn't mean they won't come up the year after!  Aka...don't throw out extra herb seeds from this year just because they say they'll expire!  Use them next year!  :)  (Disclaimer:  this works for oregano and basil (so far).  We can't speak for other seeds.)

Spring Has Sprung & the Beans Have Begun

Yep, it's here!  The cold weather, bare branches, and brown landscapes are all a thing of the past!  For us it means not only do we (in saying "we" I mean "I") have to start spring cleaning (which of course I'm going to write about since projects are at a minimum...and because I have a rhyme to my spring cleaning reason this year) but also that we get to spend time outside primping, pruning, and planting! 
That's exactly what we did this past Saturday.  We finally had a weekend home (the past three weekends have been spent in hotel rooms) so we took advantage of the gorgeous, 74 degree weather, and went on a date in our very own backyard. 

Here's what we accomplished:

Herbs planted - cilantro, basil, and oregano.  Amazingly enough, the chives we planted last year survived our quite chilly winter, whereas the other three were dead by November.  Not wanting to waste (or spend more moolah), I used the rest of the seeds left over from last year even though on the package it says they're only to be used for the 2010 planting season and expired in November 2010.  Well, using my maybe crazy reasoning, I thought "Well, they're only five months past expiration so I'm gonna give it a whirl."  I let you know how, and if, they grow.  :)  Anyone else have luck with expired seeds? 

We also got on the tomato train again this year and planted tomatoes.  The tomato plants we planted last year turned out so great that we couldn't not do it again!  Except, this year we went with cherry tomatoes.  Not sure why we didn't do that last year but we use those the most and find them more flavorful than the big ones.  One change from last year - I spray painted the pots to add more color to our backyard.  I felt like the gray color they were blended in too much with the gray-green paint on our house.  I contemplated painting them a bright color but then went a safer route and with navy blue to match our chair cushions, thinking I'd add color with flowers.
 Notice the little table between the two chairs in the background?  :)  Well, you see, we have a pile of bricks left to us by the previous owner that just sit near the side of our house and so I had this bright, maybe a little cheesy, but FREE idea to stack some up, place a round stepping stone I found behind our shed on top, and create a little place to host a pot of flowers...just don't have the flowers yet.  :)

So far, our little backyard oasis is coming along.  A big thanks to our hand-me-down patio set (hailing from the houseful of college boys Anthony used to live with), the $5 cushions on the patio chairs I found a few years ago at our old grocery store at the end of summer, the hand-me-down pair of white chairs, the hand-me-down charcoal grill, and various pots soon to be filled with tomatoes, herbs, and flowers.  All we need is some Beller Beef and we'll have our own vacation spot at home!  It's going to be a great summer!

P.S.  That's not all we did in our backyard last weekend.  Find out later this week what other project we finally finished!