Monday, July 15, 2013

No Solicitors, Please!

I used to think door-to-door vacuum salesmen were a myth.  In this day and age who would go into the homes of strangers to demonstrate an over-priced vacuum?  To my surprise (and dismay) they actually exist and ring my doorbell on a regular basis.  So do teenagers wanting to sell me magazine subscriptions to earn a free vacation.

I don't have time to read the magazines I already subscribe to.  I love my cheap, store-bought vacuum.  I'm not looking for a new church, lawn mowing service, or newspaper subscription.

Unless you are a child who lives on my street selling cookie dough don't bother knocking on my door.  Solicitors, if you ring my doorbell during nap time you can expect to be greeted by an angry mom.  This is your warning.

I've been wanting to make a sign to hang by the front door for a while now.  Then, last week, Facebook was full of warnings of a woman in town pretending to be a door-to-door book salesman looking for children to kidnap.  I don't know how that story originated or if there is any truth to the warnings, but none the less it prompted me to finally make a sign.

I started with a board from the scrap pile in the garage.  I used a pencil and letter stencils to write out my message.  I liked the spacing and look of it all so I traced my pencil lines with permanent marker.  I knew if I painted over the pencil lines I'd never get the spacing right again!

I planned to paint the board with white craft paint.  Craft paint is thin enough the marker would still show through.  Unfortunately, my white craft paint was MIA.  And I had a sleeping child that I wasn't about to wake to run to the store.  Such is life.  Not wanting to put off this project any longer I found some white spray paint in the garage and went to work.  I figured my perfectly spaced letters would be covered forever, but I really just wanted to get. it. done.  

In my haste I didn't factor in the weather.  It was at least 100 degrees out.  The spray paint was drying before it even hit the wood!  It was all bumpy and resembled a popcorn ceiling.  I ended up sanding all the crumbly paint off and was left with this.

I painted the message and edges with the same royal plum paint I used on the shutters.  Some twine stapled to the back finished it off.  

The sign was hanging on the porch for maybe 24 hours when, right in the middle of nap time, the doorbell rang.  My first thought was, come on people, read the sign!!  Turns out it was my neighbor with free movie rental coupons for the kids.  haha  I guess since she falls into the "welcome friends" category I'll forgive her for waking my son. ;)  By the way, she loved my sign.  I guess she isn't in the market for a new vacuum either.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Places We've Lived Map

I love revamping something old to make something new.  Old, weathered barn wood is one of my favorite materials to make interesting pieces for around the house!  I used old barn slats to make a US map for my living room. 

Here are the wood slats in all their rough and weathered glory.

We took the slats and cut them so they were all close to the same length without being perfect.  I made sure not to cut off some of the broken ends.  I think they add character!  Then I arranged them on the driveway, alternating the rough ends.

I cut two boards to size to hold the whole thing together.

I carefully slipped the support boards under the slats and then used old nails found in the garage to nail the boards in place.

I used a projector and chalk to outline the United States centered on the boards.

I chose Minwax stain in ebony to create a nice contrast.  Before staining I scored my chalk line with a razor to prevent the stain from running.  The old wood soaked the stain right up.

With acrylic craft paint I painted a red heart where we call home.  Then I used silver paint to mark all of the cities we've lived in.  The silver marks look so much like nail heads that I'll probably go back and paint over them with another color.

Barn Wood Map
And here it is hanging in my living room!  I'm so happy with how it looks!

I have a couple boards left and a fun idea for them!  Check back later to see what else I have up my sleeve!

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Little Patio Love

The days are longer, the weather is warmer, and the back yard is calling!  I finally got around to sprucing up our patio post renovation.  The renovation cut our patio space in half since we enclosed the covered side.  I went digging through my computer files to find this picture I took on our first visit before we bought the house  over seven years ago.  The first summer here we took down the lattice, got rid of the bushes, and put up a privacy fence on that side of the yard.  We also hung a ceiling fan and planted grape vines that grew wildly up the posts.

Here is the horrible before picture taken a couple of months ago.  The covered patio acted as a catch-all for anything and everything.  Birds kept trying to nest in the grape vines and ceiling fan and left little presents all over the furniture.  Yuck.  This space was such an eye sore that we barely used it.

Then came the renovation this spring.  We enclosed the covered patio to make a room for our parrots.  At first I was very worried about how everything would work out.  I didn't like the idea of more cheap vinyl siding taking over the back of our house.  However, siding plans changed when we discovered extensive termite damage.  All of the old dirty siding came down in order to make repairs and we replaced it with composite Hardie Boards.  This picture was taken in the middle of the chaos.  Yes, that is a large parrot cage on the patio.

And now, drum roll please.....

We have a functional and visually appealing place to hang out!  I moved most of the furniture off of the patio since space is very limited.  Usually the kids sit at their picnic table in the grass so this is adequate seating for our normal day to day life.  And the patio gets plenty of shade during the day so I can hang out and watch the kids play without scorching in the sun!  

The chairs needed to be redone so I took a deep breath and painted them fun colors (I hinted about it here).  The green color inspiration came from an unlikely source- the kids' legos!  We went with Sassy Green (Valspar Ultra Exterior Paint + Primer).  The purple is Royal Plum, left over from our new shutters.  I was nervous about going so bright but it totally works!  

Our water "bubbler" needs a little TLC still.  The horse tails are spreading and growing like crazy.  Unfortunately, one of the dogs ran through them last week and broke a bunch.

Ryan made a new cooler for the porch with old barn wood we had laying around.  I'll post the details separately.

We finally hung our old bottle opener and bottle-top catcher.  Ryan has had the opener since his bachelor days and he bought the catcher in St. Louis after taking an Anheuser-Busch Brewery tour a few days before our wedding.  It only took seven years to hang it!

The harsh Oklahoma heat hasn't killed our flowers yet!

And my lime tree has six baby limes growing!

We have one more porch project on the radar.  We'd love to cover and extend the concrete slab with bricks or pavers.  We found a ton of these old red bricks and are trying to negotiate a purchase.  Making a patio out of these will be a huge undertaking, so we aren't in any rush!  These things are HEAVY!

The weather is so gorgeous here today that I think I'll have lunch on the patio!  Happy Monday!