Patio and yard improvements

In preparation for Sprog’s grad party we’ve been working very hard on cleaning up and improving our yard and patio spaces. I doubt you care about the many hours of yard work and resulting bags of limbs, leaves and grass we carried out for several trash cycles in a row. What you might care about, however, are the things we bought and how we have set things up.

We have two back patios and a covered front porch but for the purposes of this party we only focused our efforts on the backyard.

For the little patio aka my patio, the changes were minor: sunny yellow spray paint for the black bistro set and some fresh plants for the planters.
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On the larger patio aka Willy’s patio
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We purchased a new larger table, which I am obsessed with, and three heavy duty but modern white plastic chairs from Ikea. I also bought 3 woven chairs with arms from Big Lots.

The cushioned glider bench and reclining chair have always been on this patio just in different locations.

As an early Father’s Day gift we picked this up for Willy
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It’s not in its final location in this pic however.

This table was in place of our former smaller glass table with cheapo chairs (2 of which are in the trash after ripping) from Target. The table is still functional and we needed the eating space regardless so I grabbed some new chairs, on sale, from Target and set the whole thing up with the umbrella from my little patio and put it out in the yard.
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Finally, we have a little fire pit area in process. We still need to add gravel or sand or rubber mulch as the ground cover out there but I like the place holder in the meantime.
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Here’s a wide angle shot from my phone that gives you an idea of how all the spaces relate to one another. Our grill is off to the left of this shot and we have a wide swath of grass around the corner to the right of that back table for games of redneck golf, bocce and beanbag toss.
All of it together

Eventually I’d like to have a lattice surround for the pool so it’s not such an eyesore and I am going to make a canvas shade for the little patio as well.

re-use and re-applying myself

In order to get the house in shape for Sprog’s big graduation party, I have been steadily working my way through organization projects and problems areas in our home, of which there are many. One of my final posts on Style Lush asked for assistance making an ugly utilitarian metal bookcase work in our entry way. I’m still working on that area but at least I have made some efforts and some changes to the bookcase

Before:
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Current:
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Close-up on the paint:
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I have plans to get rid of that beat up old picnic basket currently holding shoes and replace it with metal bins of some sort inspired by this
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from Martha Stewart Living magazine but I have had a devil of a time locating what I need. I finally found something similar at Garden Ridge Pottery but they were too small. I really wanted to avoid shopping online if I could help it but it’s looking like that might be my only sure thing.

I’ve also found these vintage metal locker baskets that I quite like and may just have to go ahead and order if I my last store attempt strikes out.

I also intend on an open wire basket for our mail recycling to go on the open shelf above the shoes and some sort of mail sorting system with key hanger to hang on the wall next to the door? Maybe something like this one from Umbra

As for the top, I intend to keep it as bare as possible but maybe hang a mirror on the wall…or layer in a print next to the Stag, not positive how I want to deal with that yet.

framed

I recently got one of the two comparison prints from mpix.com framed and up in the house and I wanted to share the results with y’all.

It’s really hard to show the metallic paper, especially this print, properly in a photo but I have a shot that gives some idea of how much it really lights up when I get the light on it in the right way. It doesn’t look like that all the time, obviously, it only happens when I really tilt the picture and get the light to capture all the golds in the tree.

Far
This is the print as it sits on our mantle. I have it in an 11×14 frame matted to 5×7.

Close
Even the closer detail sort of gives you an idea of how it glows a bit more with the metallic paper over the original shot

Inside a hollowed out tree
(original)

But if I really tilt it into the light (and by light I mean bright sunlight, I had to manipulate this a lot to get this effect today) I can make it do this

Light
The metallic effect is more prevalent on the light areas of the photo. You can’t even pick it out in the darks.

I love it so much that I’m thinking about what other of my nature shots might look awesome with a metallic paper behind it and what wall space I might have left to hang something. Our house has a crap ton of windows and doorways but is short on walls.

my christmas crap (so festive!)

Because we all want to do everything Elizabeth does, I went and took pics of my Christmas crap, but not all my Christmas crap because my house is an utter disaster and I didn’t finish all my projects. I also have NOTHING, nothing, NOT ONE THING under my tree yet but I’m fixing to go to wrap ALL THE THINGS so there’s no time to dwell.

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Mantle, stockings, 1 of 2 Santas. I prefer the old timey Father Christmas style Santas so that’s what we have.

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Close-up on Santa for years he freaked the dogs out to the point that they barked and went nuts every time he came out but in their old age, they’ve finally gotten used to him…mostly.

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Close-up on the red votive holders and snowflakes…there are snowflakes everywhere this year, I just embraced it as a theme.

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My husband loves penguins so we have a couple for him and I got these adorable little trees on clearance after Christmas one year.

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More snowflakes in the entry way and Sprog made our card holder in Elementary school (possibly even Kindergarten) so I pull it out every year.

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The pine cone + ornament thing as seen on Pinterest. This sits on the bar cabinet just off our entry-way. The rest of which is covered in mail and various crap, thus the extreme crop!

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This little set-up is on a shelf above that hurricane filled with pinecones and such and I just tossed another glittery snowflake in to make it festive.

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The top of my bookcase has become my main decorating space since we moved the tv back to the entertainment center. You can see the tippy top of my tallest feather tree on the dining room table in this shot…I have three of them but the table is too tragic to show anyone. So instead I’ll just show you more of the top display instead

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The deer is sitting on a cake plate that I covered with some sheet poly fill to make it look like snow and the ball ornament is sitting on top of a candlestick holder to give it some height.

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This is the other Santa on the bar counter for my kitchen. I kinda love the swoopy candle dampener in front of him.
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The other end of the same counter is the reindeer and sleigh set up. I filled the sleigh with a couple of small bags that I stuffed with poly fill and tied off with ribbon. I also have one of my favorite decorations next to it, my little wire and snowflake trees. I call them my Charlie Brown trees. You can see our tree just beyond, this is a new location for it this year because I didn’t feel like moving the big reading chair. I’m not sure it works…but the set-up of this house is something I am still trying to figure out.
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In the guest bathroom I added the last bit of Christmas (except for Sprog’s room, he keeps a mini tree up year round) by adding this row of snowflakes to the bottom of the mirror.

I also have a red three wick candle in a silver bowl on the coffee table but that’s not very exciting so I didn’t take a pic of that.

day of the dead

If you follow me on twitter or FB, you’ve already seen our costumes for this year but allow me to elaborate on what we did and how we did it a little bit.

First, let’s talk about Sprog.

Deadmau5 costume

Sprog was Deadmau5 for Halloween. Originally he was going to be the LMFAO robot dude from their videos but he changed his mind and opted for this instead. He and Willy made the head from scratch following a tutorial they found on the internet and I’ll have you know that’s a 13 inch hamster ball my child’s head is inside. Of course it’s a bunch of other crap too and I got involved as well (some Just Expressive materials were sacrificed to make the mouth) but for the greatest majority of it, it was all them. I am so happy it turned out so well. They did an awesome job!!

Deadmau5 texting his new girl

He spent a lot of time during the night doing this (he has yet ANOTHER new girlfriend. holy gods) but he also mounted headphones inside the head facing out so he played music and swayed along as he was walking too. Pretty cool.

Willy and I originally planned to be something else but as crap kept going wrong around here, I had to scrap our original plan and then had no idea what we were going to do. Ever since going to Austin for The Blathering, I have been obsessed with The Day Of The Dead folks I saw on 6th that night and decided that somehow I was going to incorporate it into this weekend. I originally thought I would do it for Ren Fest on Sunday but scrapped that plan in favor of Wills and I being a DotD Bride and Groom for Halloween

Bride and Groom

Everything except for the make-up and the colored flowers was already owned or borrowed (we had to ask mom for the ribbon for his skinny tie) All of my outfit is stuff I already had, including the white flowered headpiece which came from Ren Fest 13 years ago. I bought 3 dollars worth of flowers at the 99 cent store and hot glued them onto it.

The make-up is where I really invested the most time and thought. As you can see in Willy’s (above) I went very simple and masculine. I also did it on the fly with no pre-planning when he got home from work. I watched one tutorial for male DotD make-up and that’s where the idea for the top part came from (even though mine is a bit different) but other than that it was all about what I could get done really quickly AND what happened when he moved while I was putting it on his face.

Make-up close up

My make-up I actually did a trial run for but the boys thought the first white stick I bought wasn’t white enough (I wasn’t even going to bother with grease paint given how easily I break out so everything I have on is “real” make-up) so I ran to Ulta and was able to get one I saw recommended in several other tutorials. Otherwise it looks completely different than what I did the first time I played around. One tutorial I saw used a rose stencil on her face which gave me the idea to use lace. That’s what is at my forehead and chin area and I love how it turned out. Other than the lace, everything else was done free-hand and is a combination of eye-shadow, eye-liner, liquid eye-liner and gel eye-liner.

When we got to my mom’s house, people thought we were zombies? I dunno. So everyone was talking and in a big uproar about it and some dude whipped out his iPad and made me take a picture. Later another dude snagged a pic from his from yard. Sprog was THRILLED that people knew who he was. I also totally made a wee child burst in to screamy tears pointing at me even though I saw it coming and tried to turn around before it happened.

We were running super late getting to mom’s so we didn’t have time to stop for food. We ended up running to Schlotsky’s after trick or treating (fave Halloween house let us down for the second year in a row, MAJOR BUMMER) but then had to rush off to take a key to some friends that had locked themselves out of their house. Once home? That’s when the real trick happened. My husband inadvertently locked our black lab in the office. So she retaliated by pissing and shitting on the floor, trying to break into the iguana’s cage (thank god the dog is currently in a cone of shame or very bad things would’ve happened there) and generally destroying everything in her path. She then proceeded to walk through fresh shit in the yard and TRACK IT ALL OVER my newly mopped kitchen and laminate floors. I was cleaning up shit for almost 2 hours after we got home last night. Not happy making, not happy making AT ALL. And it’s like, I would think that I got every fucking paw print and yet another one would suddenly appear. PHANTOM PAW PRINTS OF SHIT all over my house. I don’t even know how she could get them everywhere that she did.

I would like a Halloween do over please. It’s the ONE HOLIDAY I wait for every year!

Halloween 2011 and other stuff

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I shared the inside pics of the house today on Style Lush and as soon as my voice comes all the way back, I’ll do a vlog to put up here that gets more into the details.

I really love how everything turned out this year so be sure to check that out!

As an update to the Sprog/Barbie/Mum sitch, they broke-up on Sunday so no mum will be purchased or made. Sprog was SUPREMELY upset when it all went down but she handled some things REALLY POORLY and he felt like he didn’t want to deal with it anymore. Hugely mature of him to make a choice that made him unhappy in the moment but is better for him in the long run.

In other Sprog news, we got his first progress report this year and he got ALL A’S AND B’S!! I seriously could not be more proud of him and we are all working hard to maintain it. He has a flat $50 waiting for him if his report card comes in looking the same way.
butter headband

In shop news, I’ve added 3 new necklaces (one has already sold) and 3 new headbands to the shop in the past two days. I’ve got some pins in process and will be steadily adding more items to get ready for the holiday season. If there is anything you are looking for in particular please let me know!

Projects and cookery

Over a week since I posted last? I would love to say it was because I was off on some fabulous vacation, or hell ANY vacation, but that isn’t the case. I’ve just been spending my days doing chores, babysitting the nephew
Nephew playing the Wii
making stuff for the shop

(but then not actually getting it really photographed and posted-feh)

making yummy foodstuffs
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and working on some small projects around the house
Our song, for the gallery wall

I’ve also been trying to swim daily. It seems like so much stuff but really I’ve been fighting head and allergy problems again so I feel like I could/should be doing so much more. Plus we had a huge problem last week with Sprog’s dentist and it really messed a lot of stuff up (still not resolved unfortunately) so I’ll need to get on that this coming week.

Tonight we are going to Pasadena for a niece’s b-day and I need to get her gift situation sorted. Her party is actually tomorrow but it’s being held at 3 pm OUTSIDE in TEXAS in JULY and there is no freaking way with all my head issues that is going to happen. I think I would probably just pass right the eff out from heat stroke. Plus we FINALLY have Sprog for our whopping two whole days this month and we want to get to spend time with him doing what he wants to do. Going tonight instead is hopefully a good compromise, I don’t want her to be disappointed.

I hope everyone is enjoying flip flop shopping! Have a great weekend.

I love spray paint

I bought a pair of lamps at TJ Maxx many, many moons ago and have never done anything with them other than plunk them down on a flat surface and turn them on (and off of course, must save energy!). One of the bases started to crack about a year or so ago, you have to love humidity and its effects on wood, so I just painted over the gap and turned that ugly bit to the wall and went on with my life.

When my husband and I re-organized the office so I would have a dedicated work space for the shop, I decided it was time to do something more with that particular lamp.

Lamp 1 of the pair, the one that is still this way.
(This isn’t the cracked lamp, but the other of the pair that is still original)

I knew I was going to paint it and during a shopping trip to Home Depot, I grabbed a deep turquoise/peacock blue spray paint. I repaired the crack with wood putty. I figured that would be about it for the lamp until I found a new shade on clearance at Target for $13.

Now the lamp looks like this

Lamp 2 of the pair after paint and new shade (light on)
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Lamp two (light off)
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Christina has the same shade and has had it on a red base and now on a yellow base. I love that it’s so versatile!

Oh and you may notice on the original lamp it has a different style of shade which is held on by a little ball at the top? All I did to convert the lamp is remove the ball, the shade and then the harp that was holding it up. It’s very simple, the harp just pops right out of the slots on either side of the socket.

The whole project cost under $20 for the shade and the spray paint, I already had the wood putty and sand paper.

hitting the bricks

One of the things about this house, that has always bothered me, is the fireplace. It’s off center (as is everything else) it has some messed up “detail” in the front that I’m sure was supposed to be hip in the 80’s but to me just looks like hillbilly teeth badly in need of braces and has a super odd mantle that seems to have been just slapped on there to compensate for possibly running out of brick. Plus, it was made of the exact same brick as the outside of the house so the word Mexico is randomly stamped in some of them AND it’s like they used all the ones that were just too effed up and damaged to have on the outside of the house on the inside.

Wall before
See? It’s ugly! It’s ORANGE and mottled white in places. It’s WAY TOO CLOSE to that oddly placed window, the mantle is just weird. UGH.

Before I got a wild hair (thanks to Pinterest-I swear, it’s both a time suck and a total motivator) it looked like this

At first I decided to try white washing. I figured half of the bricks already had a bunch of white crap on them anyway, maybe it would look not so bad and save me a bit of work. That turned out like this

Which didn’t feel quite right to me and the husband admitted he thought looked pink. Once he said the words, I had flash backs of living in Az with all the pink washed furniture in the southwest style and OMG NO.

So another few hours of hand-cramping painting with two different sized brushes and now it looks like this

I still need to do something about that mantle, most likely adding some trim pieces to make it look less like some slabs of plywood, but at least the orange is gone and I hope it looks somewhat better.

And even though that “detail” looks even MORE like teeth now that it’s white, it’s like muppet teeth, like Dr. Teeth, right? RIGHT? Please FTLOG tell me it’s not still screaming hillbilly teeth.

New Canvas Print

Y’all know that this:
Sprog @ Lover's Point Monterey
is one of our favorite pictures of Sprog that I have ever taken. It’s just such a seriously awesome moment in our travel history (even though it gave me total heart palpitations at the time) and it’s something special that I thought needed a little more than just a print from Walgreen’s slapped into a frame.

I was thrilled when EasyCanvasPrints.com contacted me about working with them to get a canvas of my own printed. Obviously, I knew exactly which picture I wanted to use which made the whole process insanely easy for me, but if you don’t, they have an idea gallery at the ready to help! Their website is incredibly user friendly and explains each step of the process (there really aren’t many at all) in a clear and concise manner, with helpful visuals, previews and image processing if you need it. It’s even easy to go back and make changes if you make a mistake, like I did. When I initially selected my canvas size, I automatically picked 8×10 not really thinking about what that would mean for the layout of my picture. When I got to the preview and I discovered my mistake, I was able to correct it in two clicks of a mouse. SO SIMPLE!

My canvas arrived in record time and looks fantastic.
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I love that none of the detail of the photo was lost in the printing process and the texture of the canvas even adds to the drama of the print.

Knowing exactly where I wanted to hang it, I selected a printed gallery wrap
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so when you walk by it, the picture continues along the edges of the canvas. I love that I don’t have to frame it and yet it still looks great.

Reasonable prices, easy process, great quality and fast results, I couldn’t be happier with my EasyCanvasPrints.com experience!

The final installation of the canvas print in our bedroom includes a small old-timey map of Monterey Bay and a Monterey Bay smashed penny, since I had some leftover and loved yesterday’s project so much.

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It makes me smile every time I walk into my bedroom.

I was compensated for this review with my canvas print, however, my opinions are my own and had I been unhappy with the process in any way, I would’ve shared that with you.