Lazy in the Woods

This weekend was a nice respite. Erik and I met up with some friends and headed to the woods to relax away from the madness that is life and home reno. We headed up to North Georgia's Cloudland Canyon. It was a beautiful spot with lots of trails to trek. Sleeping was a luxury compared to our other backpacking adventures- we stayed in the friend's RV. Here is our 2 1/2 days in pictures.

I am still working on MANY projects 'round here. I hope to have finished pictures soon!


Progress on the Home-Back

{NO MORE projects, PLEASE! }

It was another scorching day in Georgia and a productive day at the Grubbs' house. Today I had the wonderful hands of my mother in law to help! Mission: Pergola is moving along. Erik and I have decided that we are going to stain the ENTIRE back porch and pergola the same cocoa brown that we used on the front porch. It is going to be a huge job but we know that we would always look back thinking we should have done it. So since I am wonderfully employed as a teacher and still have about 5 weeks of summer vacation I decided to start tackling the massive job.

I started by staining all the new wood since it was already nice and clean.

Today Anita (mom-in-law) came over with her trusty pressure washer. So I went to town on getting the grime of the old wood to prep for stain. While I did that, she worked on staining the top planks for the pergola. It will be easier to stain them now, instead of trying to reach all the nooks when they are already installed.

{ I love this stain color, Oxford Brown by Behr. It looks worn and weathered, perfect.}

By about 4p we were spent and ready to go inside and enjoy the AC. I'm sure I'll have a brush back in my hand very soon- but I'm taking the day off tomorrow.


Simple Update

I must share my favorite tool when it comes to yard work: THE COIL HOSE! It is amazing, especially since we have to drape our hose over a railing to reach all of our plants. The standard hose just kept getting tangled and would break the limbs of a hydrangea near by. Target to the rescue! We got a 50' hose with a multi-head sprayer for $19.99!

But I was using a nasty old plastic pot to hold the old hose. A score from my mother-in-law- a coil basket, for free!!- was a must have. I spray painted it white because it already had some paint drips on it.

And now my new lovely hose has a lovely house to match!

Yay for easy, free fixes!


Growing Away

It's going to be a scorcher here in GA today, 97 degrees! I hope all these new blooms can take it!

Can you tell I like white flowers?


Striped and Clean

Project # 1,934,235,001- our laundry nook. You've already seen how I updated the bi-fold doors that hide it, but it was time to refresh the inside too. I wanted to make this as budget friendly as possible so I made use of lots of leftover paint that I had on hand. There was 3/4 gallon of Glidden's First Anniversary (a warm golden yellow) and an almost full Quart of white paint. The decision was to do stripes! I have never done them but after I saw Sherry and John's bathroom makeover I was convinced. So I used the golden yellow for the darker stripe, and then mixed in the white to make the contrasting lighter stripe. Here's how it went down... 

Step 1: Take everything out! (Except the washer and dryer! I had to maneuver my way around them since Erik aka 'the muscle' was at work)

Step 2: Decide how big to make your stripes. I went with 14.5' stripes, which worked out to be 7 stripes. Then choose which to paint first, dark or light. I went with dark so I taped out the darker stripes. And rolled away.

Step 3: Buy more tape! Once I finished the dark stripes I had to head to Wal-mart real fast like, and snag some more blue tape. Then I mixed the white paint into the can of golden yellow to make the lighter shade. When I taped out the lighter stripe, I overlapped the darker stripes a bit to ensure that the seams where clean.

Step 4: Remove tape ASAP! Remove the tape when the paint is still wet to make sure that there is no peeling. Then I added a small shelf under the existing one for easy, short-person reaching, and some cup hooks to hang brooms and mops.

Now I'm a little happier to do the laundry, but not much.

Project Breakdown:

Paint- free!
Painting supplies- $12
Shelf- free, from an existing cabinet
Shelf brackets- $3
Cup hooks- already had 'em

TOTAL: $15 !!

Etsy Score: Dazey Chic

As the summer continues on, so do the projects. The guest room is next. It is the only room in our house that is still a mis-mash of things. I rushed to get it painted (only 1 bad coat!) and accessorized for our house warming party 3 years ago. With all the other amazing transformations happening around the house, I thought I might as well tackle it too.

So as I am thinking of paint colors, furniture arrangements, etc. I decided to check out Etsy for some original, handmade artwork for the walls. Most of the art in our home is my work, but I really liked the humor of Dazey Chic's work. I just ordered this hilarious print for the guest room:

It should make any visitor smile.

More details for the guest room make-over, and pictures of my latest make-over NEXT!


New Porch Accessories

The front porch needs love too! We have been, and will be, spending so much time working on our back porch that I wanted to show some love to the front as well. Our teak furniture was looking very gray and sad after a long winter, so I got some teak oil and gave all of it a nice new sheen.

{ Doc is very sleepy on the freshened up porch furniture. }

I also had to change out my little boxwood shrubs from my planters- they fell victim to squirrels who were insistent on hiding their nuts in the planters. I replaced the shrubs with these gorgeous Glory Blue Hydrangeas and some vinca. I'm sure they will eventually out grow the planters so I'll have to move them one day. Until then they are giving the porch a nice burst of color.

Privacy is even an issue on the front porch too. Living in a townhome community has its pros, but the biggest con is that you are surrounded by people and houses. To fix that I got this matchstick blind on the cheap from Garden Ridge and hung it for some added shade and a filtered privacy.

The pergola is on pause for the moment but we will be gearing up for more work on it this weekend. We have decided to stain it the same color as the front porch, so I will be on a ladder with gloves and a brush for quite some time... hopefully I'll survive.


More Landscaping, really?!

Yes people, I have a problem (Step 1, check). I must always have dirty hands doing something around the house, most times I just make up things to do, but if I didn't then I would have nothing to write about. But this project was actually a necessity. When Erik and I moved into our townhouse our property line on the unattached side was marked with a DISGUSTING retaining wall. It was raw cinder block, 2 rows too short and just plain u-g-l-y. Of course our builder said he would complete it with stucco to match the foundation but I, thank goodness, didn't hold my breath because as he ran from finishing our development, our retaining wall hopes ran with him. Needless to say, we had to pick up his pieces and finish it on our own.

Here's what we had to start with:

{ Yikes, I know...}

First we tried masonry. Erik got more blocks and added the 2 rows we needed to make the wall level with the yard. 

{ So far, so good }

Then we found a beautiful Pennsylvania slate to top the wall with. However that didn't work so well. The mix of mortar must not have been correct and the stone fell off. Next we looked on Craigslist for an expert to stucco the wall for us. $600 dollars!!! No way my friend. Once again we were left with no affordable ideas.

Erik and his cute head came up with an idea. Paint the wall and put a BIG planter box on top to cover the top and add a place for some annual color. Genius, my man is. So I got an olive green paint to complement the house and painted the wall. Plus 3 BIG pieces of wood and lots of muscle = a long, long, BIG planter box. 

Which I stained the same color as the porch...

And added some amazing begonias to finish off the whole thing.

Here's the price breakdown:

Cinder blocks- free, found them :)
Mortar mix- $5
Paint- $15 (Wal-Mart baby)
Wood- $30
Potting Mix- $16
5 Begonias- $25

TOTAL: $91!!! Must better than the $600 Mr. Expert Stucco was going to charge.

It was definitely a labor of love, but worth it. Now I just need to add some plants to the bed in front of the wall and we are in business!


Hostas Galore!

2 things thrive in my yard: hostas and lamb's ear. I have lamb's eye growing out of every stitch of dirt imaginable, and hostas have popped up all over the yard as well. I was happy to receive several of these little sprouts of hostas from my mother-in-law in early spring this year and last so the collection is quickly growing. But so far this summer they are growing uneven, and due to my OCD, I must have symmetry. So last week I remedied the situation by transplanting ALL of my hostas.

It went something like this...

{ Dig up all hostas }

    { Separate plantings by size }

{ Layout new plantings }

{ All evenly spaced ! }


Finishing Touches

As the rains comes in and out, I am itching to get out and enjoy our new pergola. We have a little more wood working to do (Erik's dept.) but we also have some decorating to do (my dept.). We want a space where we can sit, relax, eat, and hang out with visitors- away from the mosquitos that swamp our shady front porch. This is the plan:

My white outdoor fabric that I scored a great deal on from here, for curtains, is set to arrive any day now. I'm going to use grommets to hang the curtains from a galvanized steel rod- when doing anything outdoors make sure that you use galvanized steel as it will not rust! These will give us even more privacy from our many neighboring back porches. For mood lighting I purchased a string of 5 Red paper lanterns from Target to create a nice glow. As for seating, Erik is going to build a couple benches that can be used for behinds and drinks. They will have removable cushions made from the beautiful Waverly Sun and Shade fabric in Citrine and some accent pillows made from the scraps from the curtains.

I can't wait for it to all be done! June has been and will continue to be Home Project month at the Grubbs' house, so I have even more reno and revamps to go!


When the Cat's Away...

So... long time no posts. I know, bad blogger, but I really needed some 'me time' as my sister would say. With the school year coming to an end and all that entails, -until you teach you will never appreciate summer vacation as much as I do- I was in serious need of some R & R. But alas I return with lots to share!!

As promised way back when, the hus and I have finally started, and almost finished our lovely back deck pergola. Here is the sketch for the project, courtesy of yours truly (Art teacher, remember...):

This is what our deck looked like before on any given blazin' hot Georgia day:

{ Don't you just love how many of our neighbor's homes you can see...}

Not only was it murder on your sweat glands, but our bedroom that looks out onto the deck is a good 10 degrees warmer than the rest of the house because of the sunlight coming in. A pergola would not only give us a nice chill spot but also a cool nest to sleep in.

Our Pergola How-To

1. Take off railings in order to replace yucky posts with more support and height.

2. Add 8ft. 4x4' posts and reattach railings.

3. Screw backer boards to house, cut decorative ends to beams and attach to posts.

4. Fill in the rest of the beams. Add louvered beams for added privacy and more shade.

Here is what we have at the moment. We are still going to add smaller cross beams to the top and I have 12 yds. of outdoor fabric to create even more privacy. More pictures to come...

But tell me: How do you think the Husband did on his first big carpentry project??

I'm biased but I think it's pretty awesome.