Back Porch Fun – Water Table

Now that we have a nice back porch we’ve been spending quite a bit of time back there! We put up a swing for our little man, and I built him a little water table. I love the look of those rustic wooden ones, but I wanted to be able to put a lid on top and didn’t want to refinish it each season. So, this is the PVC water table I ended up with. 

EO loves it! He mostly splashes himself and dumps cups of water on his chest and the floor. Occasionally he’s tried drinking from the cups… But I love seeing that grin as he pours another cup of water down his chest! He’s even figured out how to take the lid off by himself. 

There are directions all over Pinterest for how to build this water table, and it was a very simple project – A couple poles of PVC, a bunch of connectors, and a saw to cut the pipes. 

Tony went out for the evening with his coworkers, so I put the baby to bed and gathered my materials. The paper pictured above has my cut list, but I think every single measurment was wrong! Luckily, I had plenty of pipe, and the measurements were all too long, so it was easy to cut them down. 

Then it was just a matter of putting all the pieces together!  

Once it was all put together I used a leftover can of dark gray to paint the table and a partially full can of yellow for the lid of the plastic container, and just finished painting as it was getting dark. My spray can was running on fumes as I used my phone flashlight to see if I got everything! The paint has held really well on the PVC, but it hasn’t faired so well on the lid… I don’t know why. Anyway, it serves its purpose – keeps the mozzies and dust out! 

Here’s to more summer fun!

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Patio Progress – Porch Painting 

Progress on the patio was impeded significantly by the rains of May. You may remember that it looked like this in my last Patio Progress update: 

But it’s nearly done now! Between rains Tony added some guttering to the back porch roof to help divert some of the water. 

He also put down 3.5 tons of gravel, so there is was a lot less space to flood! He installed little borders to help hold the bricks in place, but before he could load up sand and lay bricks, we had to paint the back porch. We were intending to spray the paint on the spindles and didn’t want any overspray to ruin the newly laid bricks. So, we spent a weekend painting. Tony power washed and scraped away the loose paint. 

Whew, that looked bad!

Then we put up the umbrella and loaded the kiddo into the Pack’n’Play while we primed and painted all the railings. 

We had just finished the first coat of paint on the floor as the rain moved back in. It washed all the paint away – major sad face! So, after EO went to bed on Monday and Tuesday nights we finished the floor. 

Tony also made some modifications to the railing and overall layout. In the picture above, you can see he cut out a chunk of railing to create an opening to the backyard that wasn’t there before. He also extended the railing it to meet the house on the driveway side (that’s where I’m taking the picture from) and added a gate.The wood, though, is treated, so we’ll be rocking the two-tone look for awhile as it dries out. Oh well!

Once the paint was finished, Tony added 1.5 tons of sand to the hole and began laying bricks. The actual brick laying went much faster than expected! In just two days he had laid about 900 bricks.

Once all the bricks were down, he rented this loud machine to tamp the bricks down. It really helped make them even.

Then we swept more sand into the crevices between the bricks. We’ll probably have to do that a few more times as well. 

Just a few things left to do before the final reveal – Tony’s working on the brick steps up to the back porch tomorrow, and he’ll use some pavers to connect the patio with the path from the front porch and out the back gate. So, more pictures to come soon! 

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Birthday Boy!

Today my sweet boy turns one! 

We had a little park party with his friends and family over the weekend. 

I did make a couple crafty things for the party – some photo holders, his little tshirt, and the bow tie napkins!

Happy birthday Little Love!

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First Mothers Day

Happy Mother’s Day everyone! Just 356 days ago this amazing, active little boy made me a Mommy! What a tremendous gift. 

EO and I started the day with Mimzy at a 5k. Anyone else think that tshirt design was poorly thought out?

Then we came home to breakfast a la Tony and fresh-picked strawberries for the shortcake!

Now we’re picnicking in the park and taking our new SUP board out for its maiden voyage! 

I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday, whether you’re celebrating your own mother, mothering a human child, or are a pet parent! For those who are missing their mommas today, you are in our prayers. 

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Patio Progress – A Swimming Pool

With the beautiful Spring weather we’ve had recently, Tony and I have spent a lot of time outside. A couple Saturdays ago was Mulch Day. Tony went to get a truckload of mulch while I got EO set up in the Pack’n’Play out front. 

After all the new plants were planted and the mulch was spread, I mentioned to Tony that it might be time to sell the bricks that have been sitting out back for the last few years.

Tony found these bricks on CraigList when someone was digging up their brick patio, but originally they paved a road in some small town nearby. He had this awesome vision of a brick patio off the back porch. Then he got busy with the bathrooms and the library and school and everything else, so they’ve been sitting there ever since. 

I swear there was no ulterior motive when I suggested it was time to get rid of the bricks, but next thing I knew, this was happening:

It took him a couple weekends to dig out the hole, but now he’s ready for the gravel! 

At least, he will be when this swimming pool dries up! I guess this weekend’s rain is a good thing- now Tony can focus his energy on finals while the hole dries out.

PS: If anyone needs fill dirt, we have a ton of it! Come over and take whatever you need!

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Now We’re Cooking With Gas!

Ok, to be fair, we’ve been cooking with gas for some time now. This old oven/stovetop came with the house when we bought it. 

Isn’t the discoloration at the bottom of the oven door a particularly nice feature? It’s burned on. 

As Tony and I have debated aspects of a potential kitchen remodel, one component we discussed was replacing our old gas range with an electric one. I grew up in a home with electric, so I felt most comfortable with it. Besides, I complained to my friend, Monica, “It’s impossible to cook anything on low! Our stove has two settings: high and super high!” 

Monica and her husband rave about cooking with gas, as do most of my friends who cook, come to think of it. So Monica was visiting a while ago and took a look at our range. “I see your problem,” she said. “All your burners are the same size. On most gas stoves you have a couple big burners and a couple smaller ones so it’s easier to simmer.” 

Mind. Blown. 

Anyway, we made do with our old, ugly, superheated oven for another year or so after Monica’s revelation, because it worked. And we’d learned how to compensate for the ridiculously high heat levels (manic dinner preparation). And new stoves are expensive.

Then Home Depot had a sale…

… And this Beauty found a new home! 

Next step is to box in that five inch wide space on the left. I wanted to do it when we put that little cabinet on the right in, but I was waiting to replace the stove first. You can’t see it in the photo, but our gas line comes up from the cellar in a spot that prohibits anything from going right up to that wall. Tony looked at moving it, but the floor joists line up in way that moving the line wasn’t really an option. It’s fine with me though – it will be nice to have a teeny bit of counter space on that side of the stove. 

Now it’s time to relearn how to cook all my favorite stovetop recipes!

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Replacing Glass Shelves 

Thank goodness for three day weekends! Last Monday was Presidents’ Day, and I honored the contributions of Presidents past by taking care of a little project that’s been on my to-do list for three years now. I’ve been meaning to replace these glass shelves with wooden ones since we moved in!

The reasons for replacing these shelves were two-fold: first, glass shelves seem a little dated. Second, and more importantly,  I was always eyeing them to see if the bowing in the middle had gotten worse. I was just waiting for the central support to pull out of the wall and the shelves to collapse in a heap of deadly glass shards! Luckily, that had not actually happened, and I wanted to avoid such a scenario.  

Sunday night was date night, so Little Man was at Mimzy’s. I took advantage of a baby-free morning to sand, paint, and stain the wood for the shelves. Notice, we don’t dress up for staining on the back porch! 

I was using an extremely simple design. The supports (made from 1×2 pine strips) were painted to match the existing opening and would hide the holes from the glass shelf supports. Tony helped me screw the supports into the wall, and I filled the holes with wood filler.  

Then the stained shelves (cut from 1×10 pine boards) could just sit on top of the supports. 

It’s all very stable – no more concerns of fallen shelf carnage. And I took the opportunity to rearrange a few other items with the knowledge that we’re going to have a little walker sooner than I care to think about! Now that Generations frame will be out of reach for a while… At least until he starts climbing! 

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Love is All You Need

Things are getting wild and crazy around here! There’s not been a lick of work done on the house, but there’s been a lot going on!

Little Man is legit crawling now, too. So you’ll excuse my absence, I hope, as I’ve been trying (and failing!) to clean all the things. There’s nothing like a baby dragging himself across your floors to draw attention to just how much dog hair is really down there!!

I have a couple Love themed projects to highlight though, in honor of V-Day coming up soon. This first one EO and I actually made for Christmas. 

The wood was all scrap from past projects, and it had been sanded smooth already, which was fantastic! I just brushed acrylic paint on EO’s foot (1 at a time) and pressed it onto the bare wood. The hands were harder, as he kept balling them into fists, so I let him fall asleep on the couch and carefully pressed his hand to the wood as he slept. I intended to design letters on my machine for the ‘l’ and ‘e,’ but eventually just decided to freehand it. EO watched from his box in the kitchen as I applied a coat of dark walnut stain to each sign out on the back porch. 

Two coats of polycrylic finished it off. EO and I made 5 of these, and the grandparents all loved them!

I’ve been eyeing the sign I made for myself and wanting to do something else with those precious little feet. I decided on a Valentine’s Day shirt – season of love and all! Amazon had baseball tees for a good price so I ordered one up and put cardboard between the front and back layers. I mixed regular acrylic paint 2:1 with a fabric medium (to thin it out so the paint will stretch a bit when the material does) and used a sponge to apply the paint mixture over the top of a vinyl stencil cut on my machine. It’s not perfect. EO scrunched the fabric between his little toes when I put the second foot down, but I’m excited to wear it for Valentine’s Day next week! 

Wishing lots of love to you all! 

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A New Year, a New Mixer! 

Here we are on January 15th, 2017. I’ve just now, finally, taken down all the holiday decorations (thank you, 4-day weekend) and begun to reflect on the last year. For our little family 2016 was expensive (new water line, HVAC, and windows, plus a major truck repair) and emotional (my parents’ divorce, the birth of our baby). I’m looking forward to a fresh start and planning new projects for 2017! 

The long-terms goals for this year include a guest bedroom remodel (paint, chair cover, furniture updates) and an end table that looks like a card catalog for the library. For the time being, though, I’ll be taking on little projects here and there and spending the majority of my free time with our little crawler! Crawling?! It’s crazy, I know. 

Plus, I have to recuperate from that giant wardrobe! …The one that I built to hold all Tony’s tools, but I don’t want to put any tools in now because they will mess it up… Goodness. 

Anyway, here’s my first project of the calendar year:

I’ve wanted one of these Kitchenaid Stand Mixers for some time. When we got married I didn’t cook much, so it seemed silly to register for such an expensive kitchen appliance. Over the last few years I’ve really upped my culinary game though, and I began to dream about one of those beautiful mixers. Tony found one that was nearly new for me for Christmas, and I’ve been whipping up cookies, pizza dough, scones, more cookies, guacamole, baby food, shredding chicken… Basically everything! It’s been a blast. To personalize my new machine I added some subway art vinyl and sewed a cover for the bowl that will keep all my attachments dust free. 

The bowl cover was the first project I’ve ever done with elastic too, so I may have to come up with some other elastic-based projects in the future!  

Happy baking, and Happy New Year to you from us! 

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Merry Christmas! And the Wardrobe is done!!

I hope you are having a joyous holiday season! EO is enjoying his fourth straight day of Christmas celebrations- that’s a lot of paper to try and eat! 

It hasn’t been all elves and mistletoe around here though. I’ve had a big deadline to try and meet in terms of my wardrobe project, and there’s nothing better than a deadline to get a girl’s bee-hind in gear! 

And boy, was I cutting it close on this one! Just an hour before guests arrived I was vacuuming saw dust and snapping these pictures!

I’m happy to say, this beautiful beast is 95% done! All that’s left to do is some trim work, but it’s totally usable for this weekend’s out-of-town guests.

If you’d asked me on Wednesday if it would be ready, I would have grunted out a frustrated “no.” Last weekend mom came over to help me finish painting the doors, so on Wednesday, our first day of winter break, I prepared to install them. That’s when I realized they were an inch and a half too short. For real! I still have no idea where I went wrong. When I called Tony to tell him the problem, I was sure my inlaws would be sleeping in a room still under construction.  Then I told myself to put my big girl panties on, and just get it done. That night, after I put EO to bed, I went to Home Depot for some 1x3s and headed to Dad’s to fix my error. We ended up building a frame with the 1x3s, cutting the MDF doors down even more, and fitting them into the frame. Sorry, there are no photos, because there was no time! We finished the doors the next afternoon, so I primed, painted, and installed hinges on Friday. That left Saturday morning for the install. Thank you, Tony, for routing out the grooves for the hinges and helping me hang the doors!

I am so glad this thing is finally (almost) done. And I absolutely love it. The only problem is that I can’t see it from the hallway! I guess I’ll be hanging out in the guest room a little more in the future.

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