Wicker Wonderful

A few months ago Anthony came home with a pair of wicker chairs and side table he found on someone's curb, just waiting for the trash man.  Even though they were a little beat up, they still worked and he saw the potential porch perches they could be.  :)

You can see them right after they came home here...and after I scrubbed them with bleach.  Even after all my scrubbing though, they still needed some love as much of the wicker on them had unraveled and broken off. 

Well, after searching online and in stores, I couldn't seem to find any replacement rattan (the stuff wicker furniture is made of).  So, as is usual in my life, I took matters into my own, cheap hands.  Two things, duct tape and a hot glue gun, were all I needed to bring our wicker back to reality. 
I used what rattan I had from what had already unraveled or fallen off the furniture, but I didn't have enough to recover the legs.  As you can see above, some of them were in bad shape and needed to be bandaged back together.  I went back and forth from using duct tape to gift wrapping ribbon but in the end decided to go the easy way and use the duct tape since I was already planning on spray painting over it anyway.

Next it was on to spray painting these babies.  Since we're in the South, I would've loved to make them bright and bold and thought about a blue but I wasn't thrilled with any of the blues I could find.  I also toyed around with possibly painting them striped or adding a stencil to the back (things that can be done later).  We planted pink and white flowers in front of the porch so we needed a color that would play off those too.  We also played with the idea of just giving them a fresh coat of white, but decided that there was already a lot of white going on on our porch.  Hmmm...we decided to take the neutral route and either go with taupe or dark brown.  So in the end... 
...we went with keeping it lighter up on the 'ole porch with Krylon's Khaki from Wal-Mart.  Cost:  3 cans at $2.97 each.  This spray paint is my new favorite not only because it's cheap but because it sprays in a line instead of a circle, which covers better when you're spraying large items like furniture. 
Tips on painting wicker furniture: 
-two thin coats are better than one thick coat and ward off drip lines from too much paint
-spray each area at different angles (I stood on each side of the chair - front, back, and sides - when spraying to ensure even coverage)
-since the underside of the furniture isn't seen, I only sprayed a thin coat for protection.  This saves paint and time.  :)

So for around 13 green ones (including paint, a little bit of duct tape, and a hot glue stick) we've got some fine lookin' furniture for our Southern abode we longed for when we moved down here.  Now we just need to find time to have a porch date, sipping some coffee, chatting, and reading...not to mention getting to know our neighbors as they walk by.  :)

Next porch project:  pillows.  I was on the hunt for some well-stuffed pillows to adorn our 'new' chairs at Goodwill when I stumbled upon this little stand, originally silver and gold before I sprayed him white.  For a few dollars he adds a little flair as a plant stand next to the door. 

Anyway, I didn't find any pillows that day but I did find some this past weekend at a neighborhood yard sale that are in great condition and $1 each!  One's pink and one's green, which means they don't fit in to the color scheme we're going for on the porch so I'm going to recover them hopefully this week!  I'm so excited about this project so watch and see what happens!

The best thing about our wicker furniture is that we can spray paint them with the seasons if we wanted.  I've heard of people that spray paint theirs every year just to keep them fresh-looking.  Maybe next year we'll try the dark brown or maybe they'll come out with a blue I like or maybe yellow will be our new favorite color.  Who knows?!  It's fun to have options and be able to change the look of something just with a press of a spray paint can button!  Any one else have any re-vamped wicker furniture?  Do tell!  

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To tell our lovely subscribers that we know our posts are not getting emailed out to you.  We're not quite up to 21st century technological knowledge when it comes to setting up subscriptions and so we're working on it!  Sorry!  Please forgive us...we're really much better D.I.Y.ers with houses, not cyberspace.  :)
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Falling for Pumpkin Spice

It's fall time and that means, for me, that I can finally burn my favorite fall candle - Pumpkin Spice!  I love candles but this particular candle smells so good I almost want to eat it...but of course I don't think wax settles well. 

It's smell reminds me of everything fall brings - falling leaves, red, orange, and yellow trees, apple picking, pumpkins, caramel apples, and everything in between.  Only down here in the south I really latch onto the memories of these things since when I walk outside I'm still blasted by summer.  :)
The best part about my Pumpkin Spice candle though is that it's only 5 bucks at Wal-Mart!  One candle lasts me through an entire fall season and I burn it almost everyday.  The aroma even stays in the air for a good hour after I put out the flame.  (Note:  I've found that the pillar candles Wal-Mart makes in this smell don't burn as well...they kind-of melt away and cave in on themselves after a few hours of burning.)

Oh fall weather, how I miss you!  But, thank you $5 candle for wisping me away into my own 'fall wonderland'.  Anyone else have any favorite fall candles or scents?  I've love to collect more!

'Dirt Art'

So there are lots of different kinds of artists out there.  My best friend is an incredible artist who can work wonders with just a piece of paper and a pencil.  My youngest sister's hair is her medium.  Her hair always looks awesome and I revel in the times when I can get her to do mine.  My other sister is also an incredible artist and great at designing almost anything...I'm thinking specifically of her wedding invitations and the design for them she drew out on a loose leaf piece of paper with a pen.  
That brings me to the title of this post, 'Dirt Art'.  If you hand Anthony a pen and paper and tell him to draw a dog, you'll most likely get an two ovals (head and body), four stick legs, and a little tail...which is pretty much the same thing you'd get from me.  But, if you hand him a shovel and give him a little piece of land, you'll get a perfectly manicured bed.  Throw in some trees and flowers and you'll get an outdoor masterpiece.  Such is the case so far...minus the trees and flowers (they're still up and coming.)  Last week I showed y'all the progress we've made turning our 'weed city' into 'pine straw serenity'.  I also wrote about how we wanted to modify the beds a little and add some more appealing curves.  Well, last weekend my artist went at it.
First, he grabbed an can of blue spray paint we had lying around to mark out where exactly he wanted to add some dimension.  Don't worry, no grass was harmed in this project.  :)

    Doing this gives you a line to follow when you're digging out your bed.  Coloring projects always look better when you stay in the lines.  :)

Then he started making the edge.
   Making a sort of 'cliff' for an edge helps keep pine straw or mulch from overflowing into the grass, maintaining a nice, clean line.  This gives a seamless look to the landscaping.  Many people use brick or plastic edging to separate bed from grass and that works too...whatever floats your boat.

Also, the sidewalk up to our porch lands almost down the middle of our landscaping so to create a continuous feeling, my handsome artist designed the beds to look like they flowed one into the other.  It's kind of hard to explain but let me show you:

In the past two weeks our landscaping has gone from weeds and dirt, to pretty beds, to pretty beds with a little more character, and hopefully next week, to a lush conglomeration of color and definition with curb appeal to boot.  :)

Here's the 'Almost' Grand Finale:

A Bean Review: Number1Direct.com

We're big on reviews:  reading those of others to find out about certain products and, when we have time, writing our own to give our two cents and help other prospective buyers.  Reading reviews can help make or break a decision when it comes to buying almost anything.  Knowing the likes, dislikes, quality, and issues about a product by someone who's already used it or tested it (we love Consumer Reports) is a huge step we don't skip over when it comes to buying appliances and other 'big' things.  In this case, we're going to review a website that sells appliances and other such household items directly from the manufacturer...meaning, a lot cheaper than the big stores.  
If you read about our appliance woes a couple of months ago, you know we recently sought and found new appliances.  After looking for deals at Sears, Lowe's, and some other well-known appliance retailers, we found Goedekers.com.  Their prices were a chunk cheaper and they were running a stainless steel appliance deal with GE - get stainless for the same price as color.  So, after checking out lots of reviews on GE appliances (we decided to just replace everything - fridge, dishwasher, stove, and microwave), we decided to give Goedekers our business.  They had tons of different appliances to choose from, which is awesome but picking which models we wanted (and reviewing particular models) took us a little while.  At the time we order the appliances, they were also running a 'free shipping on orders over $999' deal, which I've noticed they run everyday even though it says it'll end 'tomorrow'.  They also told us at checkout that we'd most likely have our appliances within 7 to 14 days.  Well, two months later, ours came in.  I guess that's the thing with ordering direct, if Goedekers doesn't have the item in stock they'll have to order it in from the manufacturer which adds time to your receipt.  Fortunately for us, the only thing we really needed was an oven since ours didn't work but after saving $500, it was worth the wait.  So, if you're in a hurry to get your appliances, you might want to think about ordering them from this website.  We also ordered 4 appliances so only ordering one might be a completely different situation.  We also had to make a switcheroo on our order two weeks after it was placed and while we were waiting for our refrigerator to get to Goedekers from the manufacturer, which added to our wait time.  We ordered a gas stove and then found out our gas line was too small to run to a modern gas stove...something we should've checked before we ordered...oops.  Luckily, the customer service rep was great when I called her telling her about our mistake and changed our order right away without a problem.
As for shipping, we did read one person's review stating that the appliance he ordered arrived at his door banged up.  We were a little leery after reading that but crossed our fingers and hoped our would be okay.  We also read that you should make sure to check out your appliances BEFORE you sign for them to make sure they're okay to avoid any fees associated with shipping them back.  We took comfort in that and made sure to check ours when they came.  We did have an extra 6 day wait due to the fact that, somewhere along the line, our address was communicated incorrectly to the shipping company.  We're not sure if it was Goedekers's fault or ABF (the shipping company) but we're just glad they got here after being re-routed.  We're pretty sure that's a very uncommon problem though...or we hope.
Throughout the two month wait, we were a little antsy about our order since our credit card had been charged a few days after the order was placed so we made sure to call Goedekers every week to find out the status.  Their customer service was always great and answered every question we had.
So after all that mumbo-jumbo, here are our brand-spanking new appliances all set up, except the microwave which is gonna take a few power tools and some DIY carpentry...not to mention free time which has been scarce in this house lately.  :)

Our final two cents on Goedekers.com:  If you have a little time to wrestle with, it's totally worth the wait ordering direct.  It saved us $500 and our bank account is ever grateful!  We'll definitely use them again if we're ever on the hunt for appliances!

A money-saving/earning side note:  Instead of trashing our old, working appliances, we sold them on Craigslist giving us an extra $200 to put towards the cost of our new ones bringing our total saved to $700!  Now that's what we call a VERY good deal!