Wednesday, June 26, 2013

New Flower Bed

Back in April Jacob and I installed a long flower garden along the left side of our backyard.  Our yard was basically a blank slate when we moved in.  We added the fence (a must with dogs and being pregnant at the time) and things stayed that way for awhile.  

Last spring we moved 3 peony plants from the front to the back when we had the front landscaped.  You can see them in the picture below, the 4th plant is a tree without leaves and then an azalea....that is where we started.

Two full months later here is what it looks like today!  I wish peonies bloomed all summer!

This is the view off the deck, just to the right of the photo is the swing set.  It was important that it didn't block our view of the pond behind our property that we worked so hard to make visible!


All in all it took less than $150 and makes a nice statement !  I will be back with details on how we installed it shortly.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Deck Before and After

When Jacob and I bought our house 2.5 years ago we didn't realize what bad shape the deck was in.  Our house is only 6 years old but because the previous owners didn't properly stain it and it was built with nails the deck was a mess and was getting worse quickly.  

Here is the before....sorry the pictures are over exposed

And the after:

Let's go back to the lovely before.  The posts were all 4x4's, and had no post caps meaning it looked wimpy and plain.  When you stepped out onto the deck it wobbled and didn't feel safe even though it was structurally sound per several contractors.

This is the awful stain job we were dealing with.  Our neighbors told us the former owner painted it and his wife didn't like it so she tried to power wash it off......  It explained the spotty runny stain.  Awesome.

Let's get right to the afters!  We left the basic structure of the deck to save money and upgraded the posts to 6x6's with post caps for a little bling.  We also added detailed boards (not sure what those are called) and reinforced all the posts into the ground with concrete.  

You can see we added a metal roof under the deck to create another seating area.  The goal is to add pavers hopefully in the near future.  Because the back of our house is west facing it is impossible to be on the deck in the afternoon/evening.  The shade of the deck is invaluable to this Mama who needs to cool off after chasing her toddler around in the heat of the afternoon!

Ceiling fans keep the bugs away and are seriously necessary with the heat in the summer.  The roof is pitched and we are having a gutter installed and tied into our French drain.

The rock pile in the corner needs to go as soon as I get the motivation to put them around my flower bed. ;)  I have to brag on my mom because she sewed the red cushion covers and saved us a bundle.  All the furniture is hand-me-downs and I purchased the flower pillows for some color!

You can see the reinforced 4x4's with 6x6's.  We might eventually do rock around the 4 larger posts.

You can see my toy storage behind the sofa!  I am looking for a console but it works in the meantime.

You can see Miss M's play area.  Her Granny and Papa got her a swing set for her birthday!

This galvanized bucket is from my late grandpa's farm.  He used it to milk cows and I love that I now have it!

Our previous deck didn't have any lighting except the light beside the door you can see in the below pic.  We added stair lighting and post lighting.  We also plan to do do string lights under the deck eventually!

The stain we chose was Behr Tugboat and this picture is pretty accurate.  It is darker than we anticipated but I think it looks nice with the house and let's be honest....we aren't going to have it redone. ;)

We also chose to add a gate, which was a great idea.  We can lock kids in without worrying about them falling down the stairs.   I think we should have added one at the bottom too....which we may eventually do too.  See how the to-do list is still long.  Jacob loves it. :)

This is the area I don't know what do do with.  I kinda think we should have done bench seating.  Thoughts?

One more before and after??  Yes, please!

You can see our grass isn't that great hence the pavers and mulch around the play set in the future!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Barnyard Bash!

M turned 2 this week and while party planning I decided not to go totally crazy like I did last year.  You can read about her strawberry themed first birthday here!  Like her mama M loves all animals and lately was particularly drawn to her farm so I decided a farm theme would be perfect (and fairly easy to pull off).  Gingham and mason jars were my main plan and only purchasing a yard of fabric and some ribbon I think I pulled it off without spending much money!

I decorated my late grandma's buffet with farm animals and daisies.  What you can't see are the favors....a farm book for the babies and a felt farm board for the bigger kids.

I picked daisies in the field behind our house and hit up the farmers market for the rest of the wildflowers.  I used my late grandma's tablecloth to complete the country look....meaningful and free!

Like last year I made the pennants easily with a yard of fabric, hot glue, and red ribbon.  I had 5 around the house, which was the perfect amount.

I layered another of my grandma's tablecloths over a checkered one in the breakfast nook.

I debated on having cookies or cupcakes made but I hate spending money on something I can do.  While they aren't glamorous cupcakes, I felt better about them by adding a cute topper I bought online and printed out.

I realize the foil is still on the blackberry pie (I was rushing to take pics before people arrived).  The dessert bar included apple and blackberry pie with ice cream and a lot of vanilla cupcakes!

I wanted food I could make ahead of time or pull together easily once people arrived.  Our menu included pulled pork sandwiches, pasta salad I made the day before, baked beans, macaroni, a veggie tray, pretzels and pickle dip, and watermelon.  It was easy and delicious!

Again striving for simplicity we did water, unsweetened tea, wine and beer

I couldn't resist this adorable gingham dress for M!  

It was a great party!
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