I Won a Copy of The Nesting Place!

You may have heard recently, but the Nester just released her new book last weekend! In the weeks leading up to the book’s release date the Nester has been giving away copies on various blogs around the blogosphere. I’ve entered a few of the giveaways in hopes of scoring a copy. One such blog is The Inspired Room, a blog I have enjoyed following immensely over the past few years.

book

I WON!!! Can you believe it?! I can’t wait to read the Nester’s book and have Caveman read it too!!

Last night I told him about winning the book, Nester’s journey in writing the book, their family’s story of moving so many times, where they are now and her vision for their new place. I’m so happy he’s interested to reading it too, even with me. I told him about her principle, It Doesn’t have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful (#idhtbptbb) and how I want to incorporate this principle, together with him, in our home. Caveman agrees and is completely on board.

After a little over 10 years together, we’ve gotten better at communicating in general lol, but also communicating our dreams and desires for our home and lives together. Or maybe it’s that we’ve gotten better at actually listening to each other, either way I’m embracing it. I thank God every day for our family, our lives together and for the growing up I’ve certainly done in those years.

While we haven’t moved since we bought our home 10 years ago this May, we have remodeled it in different phases throughout that time. Our poor hall bath has been repainted twice so far and needs another paint job now. As Caveman said just this morning you can only pause for so long on home improvement projects before something else needs to be done or redone! My style and tastes in design have evolved and changed to such a degree that I would love to repaint the entire house now, but especially our master bedroom. Maybe this year? I hope so, but if not that’s ok too. Right now while Caveboy is little I’m trying to stay focused on this phase of our lives because he’s already 4 1/2! How does this happen? It seems like just a few months ago I was bringing him home from the hospital!

ETA: Today’s Joy Dare prompt is 3 gifts about your home for which you are thankful! How fitting!!

1.) Our home offers us protection and shelter from the elements.

2.) Our home has come a long way from the day we moved in, but I know it’s not as good as I hope we can make it!

3.) It’s small, so that just means we have to make conscious decisions about what we put in it and purge often!

What are 3 gifts about your home you are thankful?

Once I receive my copy, I’ll be sure to post a full review of the book here. I’m sure it’s going to be awesome though, I mean I’ve read her blog for years and completely love it so this book is pretty much guaranteed to be a hit too!

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Part 3: Operation Outdoor Spruce Up – The Deck

In honor of Memorial Day and to kick off the summer, I wanted to follow up with a few of 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 and then yesterday I debuted Part 2, where Caveman upgraded our rotting board sidewalk to a brick sidewalk.

Today is all about the Deck and the area around the deck. NOTE: Picture heavy post!

BEFORE:

new_walk3, Deck, DIY, landscaping

Best BEFORE view I have of this side of the deck and the landscaping around it.

Around the sides of the deck there had been dark mulch with some hosta plants but we took those out temporarily because Caveman wanted to add more dirt and pebble rocks instead of the moldy mulch. Also note our old sliding glass door in the photo above. The right side, behind the wind chimes, was fogged up when we bought the house. We’ve wanted to replace that door since before we moved in but kept putting it off for various reasons.

sideyard_before2_sm, Deck, DIY, Landscaping, Home Improvement

Side Yard/Old Patio BEFORE: View 1

This is where our old failed patio was located (and the grass was taking over), then it was Caveboy’s giant sandbox for a while. Instead of there being a huge expanse of paver bricks like before; Caveman wanted to incorporate a few matching elements from the rest of the yard like a brick sidewalk and red mulch along with the pebble rock.

sideyard_before3_sm, Deck, DIY, Landscaping, Home Improvement

Side Yard/Old Patio BEFORE: View 2

Best view at ground level. Please pretend there isn’t a chain-link fence in the way.

sideyard_before_sm, Deck, DIY, Landscaping, Home Improvement

Side Yard/Old Patio BEFORE: View 3

When there was mulch & hostas around the deck, we had also planted Flame Grass; which promptly took over! It went into the yard, under the deck and down both sides of the deck. I had made an attempt at removing some of it towards the stairs when this photo was taken, but I gave up after a few hours and I had only move 1 foot! Caveman finished it up!

As I’m sure most people do, we wanted a back yard where we could come and enjoy the outdoors; play on the grass, maybe barbecue and hang out with friends. I think we’ve achieved that back here now.

Deck_newSidewalk_sm, Deck, DIY, patio doors, Outdoor Projects

AFTER: Deck, complete with new door!

In this photo you can really see the pebble rock landscaping really well as well as the new Patio Doors!

New_patio_doors, patio doors, Deck, DIY, Outdoor Projects

We love these doors!! You can open them up to add a whole new outdoor room!

We mostly only open these doors wide in the spring and fall due to the humidity and heat in the summer, but we couldn’t be happier with them. The built-in blinds are so wonderful. The previous owner had lace curtains in front of the sliders for privacy. We never could find anything we liked to replace them so we lived with them. Now no more lacey curtains and plenty of privacy!

deck_sideyd_After_sm, Deck, DIY, Landscaping, Outdoor Projects

AFTER: Deck & Side Yard – View 1a

New sidewalk on the right to match the left side, and fresh coat of deck stain on the deck.

sideyard_After_sm, Deck, DIY, Landscaping, Outdoor Projects

AFTER: Side Yard – View 1b

I’m sorry about the super bright sunlight in these photos. Right where the shadow line falls is where the red mulch is separated from brown pebbles.

sideyard4_after_sm, Deck, DIY, Pebbles, Brick, Red Mulch, Outdoor Projects

AFTER: Side Yard – View 3

Hopefully you can see the difference better here.

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

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

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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