Life’s not just about the big things….

Take it easy? Relax?  Well, I don’t.  I like to suck up all my free time doing things.  At home, that time is chewed up my my inability to take breaks and my can do, must do attitude results in numerous side projects.  So, while I take some time to brainstorm my next entry, I want to share some of those smaller projects with you.

FlowerLet’s start with beautifying the outdoors.  Goal in mind, curb appeal. We all know that flowers bring color and life to an otherwise drab space but gardening was unfamiliar territory to me and something I was apprehensive about doing.   What if I pick the wrong flowers for the wrong space? What if everything dies?   What will my neighbors think?

Worry.  As referenced above, this one word takes up an awful lot of my time and has plagued me my entire life. My husband gets major props for helping me change those “what ifs” into “who cares!”.  It truly is a better way to live.  Yes, I want things to look beautiful but let’s save the worrying for something truly worth worrying about and allow yourself to learn by just doing.

Learning by trial and error has actually become my most traveled road while living here.  Both my parents live too far away to physically  assist, no matter how much they would like to.  Plus, why give them the impression that I didn’t pay much attention to what they did to make our home as beautiful as it was while I was growing up and now let’s face it,  I am a little lost in this new world.

I started out with no knowledge and built some things that I have to admit, are pretty okay to look at.  Here’s what I learned along the way –  just a few tips so you can be a bit less apprehensive on your journey to “curb appeal”.

Tip #1:  Ask questions in the flower section. Those people are pretty knowledgeable.

Tip #2: Learn the difference between an annual and a perennial.

Tip #3: Know what plants love sun and what plants prefer shade.

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Tip #4: Ladies, DO NOT get a manicure until weeding, mulching, planting and watering are done.  Which is never.  Gardening and keeping up with a yard is a rough and dirty job. You will get dirt under your nails.  And not just your fingernails.  Somehow it will find its way into your toes, which were covered up by sneakers and socks.  #howdoesthathappen

Tip #5: Be okay with Tip #4.

PS – #donttellmomtheflowersaredead . Just kidding.  Not all of them are. 😉

Moving on.

Typically, new homeowners want to start with a clean slate and prefer nothing but floors and walls when they move in. The story is different when the previous homeowners leave you actual good, useable stuff, as was the case for us.  One of the best things they left behind was an outdoor teak table and chairs set.  All it needed was a good part soapy water/part bleach scrub down and it was as good as new!

Tip #1: A warm, sunny, windless day is best. A beautiful, Spring day calls for a project like this and helps you to feel like you can take on any project. The sun and fresh air can do wonders for your soul after a long winter.

Tip #2: A toothbrush works best for those hard to reach places.

Tip #3: Rinse well and when you think you’re done, rinse again.  Soap really gets in there!

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Tip #4: And this is key. If a chair is weak or broken, DO NOT put it out before fully fixed.  One of our guests had an incident.  😉 Don’t worry .  No one was injured and we ended up only needing 5 chairs anyway because they also left us an awesome bench, which we now use on the end.

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Speaking of friends…….

“Make new friends but keep the old.” Same goes for decorating your home.  It’s fun to buy new stuff but it’s extra special when you can find a way to re-use old, sentimental pieces.  Keep meaningful pieces around.  If not, you will miss them.

I always loved this one bench my parents had and when my mom finally moved she had no use for it.  Perfect timing because our entryway was in desperate need of a typical “entryway item” and this bench immediately came to mind.  Too bad it was black…..and orange and red and blue and brown, each color visible in certain spots revealed by a bad case of peeling.

This project nearly killed me and during it, I would not have recommended it to anyone.  The amount of scraping and sanding it took was incredible and it still needed a couple coats of paint stripper, more scraping and more sanding.  And then it still needed to be cleaned, dried and painted.

Looking back on this project, that once severely strong memory of blood, sweat and tears has diminished partially due to the passage of time but mostly due to how much I love it now.

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Let’s move on to a project I enjoyed from the start.  My indoor faux planter!  I became obsessed with an indoor planter I saw on Pinterest but I never stumbled upon anything that resembled it closely enough or matched the colors and size I needed.  So I made it my next DIY project.

The simplicity of this project was great.  I took measurements of the planned space, got the boards cut at Lowe’s, sanded them down (and bashed them with a bag of nails) to make them look older and then I simply glued the pieces together and set with a clamp.  Okay – it wasn’t exactly the easiest thing I had ever done.  There was some amount of frustration involved. At first the gluing was a sloppy, slippery task. I just couldn’t get the boards to stay in place while trying to get the clamps on.  I ended up with gluey boards (that weren’t attached to each other), glue on my hands, floor and kitchen counter……but with a little time (glued partially one day and partially the next) and a little patience, I finally figured it out and was able to move on to the best part – staining and filling.

I attempted to achieve a more rustic look by brushing cooled black tea onto the planter.  Once that dried, I brushed a mixture of apple cider vinegar & steel wool, which had been soaking in a mason jar for a couple days.

My finishing touches were faux flowers stuck into green foam (cut to fit inside the planter) – both of which I picked up at Michael’s.

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So those are some of my favorite little projects.  And below are some pictures of other fun little additions to our home:

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Tree hammock, courtesy of Amazon.

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Tree lanterns, courtesy of World Market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Jersey Pillow, courtesy of Catstudio.

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Picket Fence Flag, courtesy of Home Goods.

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Our basement set up, courtesy of our old apartment.

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Grill, courtesy of Weber.

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Fire Pit, courtesy of the previous homeowners.

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American Flag, courtesy of our freedom and Home Depot.

 

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