Part 2: Operation Outdoor Spruce Up – Sidewalk Upgrade

In honor of Memorial Day and to kick off our summer right I wanted to follow up with our latest outdoor DIY projects. Last spring I left you with only one installment of Operation Outdoor Spruce Up, part 1, where Caveman installed a play-set for Caveboy.

It’s awesome, we all love it! Upcoming DIY Project: The canopy needs replacing, so I’ll be completing that transformation at some point this summer! I’ll be sure to blog about it when I do, 😉 !

Kids Outdoor Wooden Play-set, slide, DIY, swings

Play-set Summer 2012

So let’s jump right in, shall we?

BEFORE:

The sidewalk/boardwalk to the back “forest” where our dogs are fenced in was rotting down. When we laid the boards we knew it was only temporary solution that got us up out of the mud until we could replace it. One Saturday morning in early summer, Caveman walked in from feeding the dogs and declared he would replace the horrible rotting board sidewalk that very day. We loaded up and when straight to Home Depot; picked up some landscape fabric, came home and got to work. We already had the bricks for the sidewalk from a previously failed patio project.

1st he dug out the area and made sure it was nice and level. He tamped down the dirt and back-filled with sand (we also had on hand). Next he laid down the fabric making sure to leave sufficient overhang on the sides. Then he started with the older, uneven brick in the center using a basket-weave pattern. Finally he added the newer, smooth brick as the border.

new_walk_during, brick sidewalk, DIY

During the Sidewalk Installment (I was baby wrangling!)

See the older board sidewalk behind Caveman? That is what the entire sidewalk looked like. We only replaced the section that was inside the backyard.

new_walk_progress, brick sidewalk, DIY

Back-filling the low spots with dirt and adding grass seed.

AFTER: This is the completed view…

new_walk2, brick sidewalk, DIY

New Sidewalk Up Close!

We have thoroughly enjoyed this upgrade. It keeps our feet cleaner, less mud in our house and is just so pretty too.

Approximate Project Costs:

All in all this project wasn’t that expensive. We did not use anywhere near 100ft of the landscaping fabric, so we were able to use it on other projects – like the flowerbeds around the deck.

new_walk, Brick Sidewalk, DIY

Pulled Back View of the Backyard

Speaking of the deck, sprucing it up is our next DIY project this summer!

MONDAY:

Made By You Mondays @ Skip to My Lou! / Ready, Set, Pin Party @The Girl Creative / Craft-O-Maniac / Sumo’s Sweet Stuff / Creating Really Awesome Free Things (C.R.A.F.T.) / Making The World Cuter / Keeping It Simple / Mad in Crafts / Sew Can Do / The DIY Home Sweet Home Project / Naptime Crafters {1st Monday of the Month} / I Gotta Try That / Moonlight & Mason Jars

TUESDAY:

Today’s Creative Blog / Tip Junkie / Not Just a Housewife / Sugar Bee Crafts / Home Stories A to Z / Our home away from home / I’m Topsy Turvy / Nifty Thrifty Tuesday / My uncommon Slice of Suburbia / Funky Polkadot Giraffe / Mommy By Day, Crafter By Night / The Kurtz Corner / Confessions of a Stay at Home Mommy

WEDNESDAY:

Lil’ Luna / Ginger Snaps / Someday Crafts  / High Heels and Grills / Sew Much Ado  / Creations by Kara / Grateful Belly / Your Whims Wednesday / Seven Thirty Three {Girl Related} / Free Pretty Things For You / Wow Us Wednesdays

THURSDAY:

Somewhat Simple / Fireflies and Jellybeans / House of Hepworths / Katie’s Nesting Spot / Farm House Porch / The Shabby Chic Cottage / A Glimpse Inside / Bloom Designs Online / Thrifty Decor Chick / Jillify It / Reasons to Skip the Housework / ThinkTankThursday / Thursday’s Favorite Things

FRIDAY:

Feathered Nest Friday / Tidy Mom / Sassy Sites  / Thirty Handmade Days / 504 Main / Fabulously Creative Friday / Happy and Blessed Home / Pin Me Link Party

WEEKEND:

Tatertots and Jell-O  / Saturday Nite Special / Lolly Jane / That DIY Party / Home Sweet Home / Be Different, Act Normal / I Heart Naptime / Sunday Funday (monthly) / Weekend Wander

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Part 1: Small-scale Brown Paper Bag Technique

I’m linking up with Katie from Bower Power (whom I adore and her boys are so cute!!) for the Spring Edition of the Pinterest Challenge!!!
Print

wpid-DIY-Faux-Leather.jpg

Last year I debuted the DIY Wooden Frames on our gallery wall. If you looked closely you could see a light blue “A” on the right side, between the larger and smaller frames. I originally got the cardboard “A” from Hobby Lobby with the intent of covering it in one of the endless possibilities I’ve seen on Pinterest. I think I was a bit overwhelmed with all the choices because in the end I simply taping a piece of small-scale, light blue chevron pattern scrapbook paper over it. The tiny pattern was lost and the color just seemed to blend in with the wall as well.

So back to Pinterest I went. I considered a number of different treatments but nothing really grabbed me until… I started seeing other bloggers gluing strips of brown-paper bags onto their floors, check out this Paper bag Floor, stained in a checkerboard pattern or these stair treads or this counter-top to achieve a leather-y look. I was in love and I really wanted to give this technique a try on something!!

Now, we have beautiful hardwood floors that Caveman & I, mostly Caveman, worked very hard to lay; so I’m not covering them up any time soon with this or any other treatment. And our counter-tops are roughly 6 years old, although I hate don’t love them. One day I’m either going to have my dreams come true and completely gut the kitchen or live with ’em until then. Currently I’m living with ’em! 😉 All that said, I really wanted to try this brown-paper bag technique on something….enter my cardboard “A” stage right!

I gathered my supplies together late one night…

DIY Cardboard A, Brown Paper Bag, Faux Leather

Mod Podge, large bowl, Cardboard “A”, roll of brown paper

Tore and crumpled 2×3″ pieces of brown paper (think small scale here)…

DIY Cardboard A, Brown Paper Bag, Faux Leather

tear, crumple, repeat…

Once I thought I had enough, I set the brown paper crumples aside so I could prep my cardboard “A“. I removed the scrapbook paper & tape…

DIY Cardboard A, Brown Paper Bag, Faux Leather

Carefully pealing off the tape…

Then I mixed up my bonding agent – 1 part Mod-Podge to 2 parts Water.

ModPodge

Mixed with a straw?? It was late!

Next I thoroughly wet the brown paper crumples, squeezed gently and set aside. You don’t want to leave them in there soaking because the paper just falls apart.

DIY Cardboard A, Brown Paper Bag, Faux Leather

Removing the papers

At this point I had to stop taking photos because both hands became too mod-podge-y (it a word) to safely operate the camera. But the idea is to take a wet paper piece, put onto the “A” and smooth out. You can re-wet the paper as needed. The cardboard “A” really soaked up the glue! I continued placing the paper pieces and smoothing them out until the “A” was completely covered, front & back.

DIY Cardboard A, Brown Paper Bag, Faux Leather

Completely covered – front & back.

OK, hands washed, glue drying on the “A”; back to taking photos. Here it is completely covered.

DIY Cardboard A, Brown Paper Bag, Faux Leather

The “A” next to it’s former shell, LOL!

This is the end of part 1. I’m on the fence as to move on to part 2 because I hung it back in it’s original spot to see if I liked it without the stain and sealer. I’ve been living with the “A” in this state for a months now and so far I really like it, plus the paper hasn’t peeled up or anything.

wpid-DIY-Faux-Leather.jpg

I know stain and sealer will probably bring out the leather-y look but I’m just not sure I want to do that yet. Maybe I’ll test the stain and sealer on one side and then you can help me by voting for your favorite. Sound good?

MONDAY:

Made By You Mondays @ Skip to My Lou! / Ready, Set, Pin Party @The Girl Creative / Craft-O-Maniac / Sumo’s Sweet Stuff / Creating Really Awesome Free Things (C.R.A.F.T.) / Making The World Cuter / Keeping It Simple / Mad in Crafts / Sew Can Do / The DIY Home Sweet Home Project / Naptime Crafters {1st Monday of the Month} / I Gotta Try That / Moonlight & Mason Jars

TUESDAY:

Today’s Creative Blog / Tip Junkie / Not Just a Housewife / Sugar Bee Crafts / Home Stories A to Z / Our home away from home / I’m Topsy Turvy / Nifty Thrifty Tuesday / My uncommon Slice of Suburbia / Funky Polkadot Giraffe / Mommy By Day, Crafter By Night / The Kurtz Corner / Confessions of a Stay at Home Mommy

WEDNESDAY:

Lil’ Luna / Ginger Snaps / Someday Crafts  / High Heels and Grills / Sew Much Ado  / Creations by Kara / Grateful Belly / Your Whims Wednesday / Seven Thirty Three {Girl Related} / Free Pretty Things For You / Wow Us Wednesdays

THURSDAY:

Somewhat Simple / Fireflies and Jellybeans / House of Hepworths / Katie’s Nesting Spot / Farm House Porch / The Shabby Chic Cottage / A Glimpse Inside / Bloom Designs Online / Thrifty Decor Chick / Jillify It / Reasons to Skip the Housework / ThinkTankThursday / Thursday’s Favorite Things

FRIDAY:

Feathered Nest Friday / Tidy Mom / Sassy Sites  / Thirty Handmade Days / 504 Main / Fabulously Creative Friday / Happy and Blessed Home / Pin Me Link Party

WEEKEND:

Tatertots and Jell-O  / Saturday Nite Special / Lolly Jane / That DIY Party / Home Sweet Home / Be Different, Act Normal / I Heart Naptime / Sunday Funday (monthly) / Weekend Wander

Operation Outdoor Spruce-up: Part 1

Following in the super-huge, will-never-be-able-to-fill footsteps of these iconic DIY bloggers, Katie B and John & Sherry; I bring you the first installment of Operation Outdoor Spruce-up at our house!

Last Monday I showed you Caveboy’s new-to-us play-set, which we thought was pretty awesome. Caveman thought so too but, mentioned something about adding mulch around it soon. Well soon happened to be mid-week!

Pictures are always helpful in these transformation projects, so…here’s the before.

Before – last weekend

And now here’s the after!

After!! – this weekend!

And a different angle!

After – from atop the deck!

No messy construction photos, sorry about that; but Caveboy was attending his very first Vacation Bible School and Mommy wasn’t allowed to leave his sight during this time! Poor Caveman was left home each night to dig & dig & dig and then mulch & mulch & mulch! I am happy to report though the improvement has been enjoyed by all, even Casey our dog!

Thank you honey for such a lovely playground right in our very own backyard!!

Next up sidewalks, patios & door/lighting spruce-ups!

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Blue Jean Pillow Palooza

It All Started With Paint is hosting a Pillow Palooza Link Party today and my weekend crafty endeavors just happened to coincide with the party theme, new pillow covers!! After making my initial pillow covers, I learned a few things. Like how much our little family actually does use these guys all. the. time. I also learned more about the pillow envelop making process or exactly what I did and did not want to do this time around. I knew I wanted them to be spring/summer/fallish friendly and made out of something durable, but soft enough to pass the “head test”.  You know, soft enough you want to put your head down and sleep on them. My guys are not into embellishments…of any kind really.

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Larger Pillows

I found this great denim fabric remnant a couple of years ago and have used it for a few small projects. I wish I had more of it because it is soft & drapey but very durable too. It would make a great pair of jeans! The stripe fabric was a home decor remnant I got at the same time as the denim. I think I originally thought I would make a tote out of the two, but I’m much happier with the pillow covers. More on why one cover has more denim on the front in a moment….

The Lone Pillow

This next pillow will have a mate soon, but for now it is the lone pillow. Enter more remnant fabric that kinda matches the other stripes… kinda right? I picked the muslin and striped home decor fabric up recently at Hobby Lobby. After two broken needles, I had a zipper installed on this cover! There is more stripey fabric there at HL, just calling my name, because I really, really, really want to make one of these babies for Caveboy! He actually needs it! When attempting to play at his little table he tries to sit in his little rocking chair, but its too tall, so then he tries sitting on his butt, but ends up on his knees ’cause he’s too short or standing & bending over the table to play. I’ve had the tutorial for the Land-of-Nod Inspired Floor Cushion by Living with Punks bookmarked and downloaded for a while now, so I really need to get cracking!

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Backs of the Pillows

This is the backs of all the pillows, all are covered with denim. I am all about repurposing old blue jeans into something useful, so when I discovered I didn’t have enough of the denim remnant on the second larger pillow I decided to use the leg from an old pair of ripped blue jeans & I didn’t measure it precisely.

Blue Jean Leg Cut Open for Back of Pillow

All the pillows are made during nap time, therefore these need to be quick & easy projects. For the initial pillow covers I measured exactly, but for these I just used the originals as templates, so I kinda threw ’em together as quickly as I could. I made sure about the width, but not so much on the height. I may go back and make this envelop shorter to match the other and then again I may not.

The most obvious glaring problem with these is that the stripes don’t match well. I was hoping they would work better together but I’m afraid they just don’t. Never fear, I have a couple of options to play with….1st up turning the larger pillows around so only the denim shows

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Look #1: Larger Denim Pillows with Lone Pillow

Option #2: Turn the Lone Pillow around so it blends better with the larger pillow’s stripes.

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Look #2: Larger Stripes with Denim Lone Pillow

I have one more pillow to make to match the Lone Pillow. I’m thinking the muslin needs to be ruffled on that one?!

Go on over to see what others have created, bought or been gifted at It All Started with Paint!

I’m linking up with these fun parties too!

Home Stories A2Z

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Peep Pals & Happy Easter!

Pinterest to the rescue! LOL! Late last week I was perusing Pinterest, not looking for a cute new project for Easter, just minding my own business when BAM!

Original Peep Pal: Pattern by Michael Ann Made

This cute Peeps pattern jumped onto my screen! I knew I just had to make one for Caveboy and his cousins! I gathered my supplies and got busy.

The original pattern is small and can easily be made into a key chain, so knowing that all the recipients are under the age of 3 I wanted mine a little bigger. I enlarged the pattern to about 150% and again to 200%. I ended up going with the 150% size and the kids all loved it! Here they are…Caveboy’s is in the back (in the photo below) and I made it exactly like the pattern. The other two I was running low on felt and time so I omitted the 1/2 inch wide strip of felt for the side of the body and just zig-zag stitched the two body pieces together, then stuffed!

Three Peeps! Happy Easter!

The are super cute and perfect for any Easter basket! Caveboy runs around yelling “Peep Pal, Peep Pal”!, while holding it high in the air.

I want to get some more felt so I can make the original version for myself!

The 3 Peeps!

Hope everyone had a Happy Easter! We also celebrated the true meaning of Easter too! Praise God, HE is Risen!

Linking up with these great parties!!!
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