Sunday, May 30, 2010

Summer Backyard Makeover

I am a little behind on my gift projects and my blog posting. And when I say "a little", I mean, stupidly, embarrassingly behind. These past couple weeks have been crazy hectic and I just haven't been able to get myself organized. I'm getting ready to go back to school in a few weeks, my stepdaughter was visiting from Texas (and Big Daddy and I finally got to meet our little 5 month old grand-daughter!), I've been plugging away on a few projects (posts on these to come soon!), I'm leaving in a couple days for a week-long road trip (woo-hoo!), AND we hosted a BBQ for my in-laws to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversery this weekend. Yeah, I've been a little busy.

In addition to all of this and in preparation for summer and aforementioned BBQ, Big Daddy and I decided we needed a backyard makeover. First, a little history: I hate yard work. I mean, really hate. I would rather have an ugly, weed infested yard that I hate to spend time in than to do yard work. And that has basically been what's been happening for the past several years. In the past, we have rarely used our outdoor space just because it has been so ugly and so much work that I didn't want to bother with it. Because I hate yard work...did I already mention that?

So we decided that this year would be the year to get the backyard in ship shape. I had a lot of grandiose ideas but I wanted to keep the makeover within these parameters:

1. Reuse as much stuff as possible
2. Spend as little money as possible
3. Turn the backyard into someplace that relaxed me rather induced hyperventilating fits.

And that's it. Sounds simple enough, no?

Well, simple, I guess. Time consuming and exhausting, definitely.

First, we hired a landscape company to come and rid the yard of about 5 years of neglect. I wish I would have taken a before picture but I was just so excited that someone else was going to be doing all the crap work, it completely slipped my mind. And then Big Daddy and I went to work with cleaning up everything else. Here's a few before pictures:

This is the deck area immediately outside the dining area. It's a long, narrow deck that leads to the backyard and deck and is really just a weird and unusable space. Here's a view looking towards the back deck:

Here's some more "Before" pictures of the back deck:

The gazebo used to have an old non-working hot tub in it. It hadn't worked in a few years and it was too expensive to fix and/or replace. So we just left it there. Until a couple moths ago when we finally had it removed.

And now for the after pictures:

Yes, that is a putting green. No, it wasn't my idea. Big Daddy is just beside himself with giddiness over this addition. When we went to Home Depot to get the supplies, the sales guy was high-fiving Big Daddy and telling him how awesome he is for putting a putting green in his yard. Seriously.

This is an actual golf course ball washer that we found at Goodwill awhile back for $15.....nice!

A million times better, no? The main things we did were lay bark throughout the back yard, add the putting green, paint the deck furniture and gazebo (it used be a butt-ugly redwood color), added a few plants, and got rid of a ton of crap. And now I love it. And just as soon as it stops raining and warms up a bit, we can actually start enjoying it :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

It's Getting Hot in Herre!

I hope there's a fireman around here, because you are smokin'!

OK, that was lame. I know. The above picture is a close-up of the fabric I used to make a gift for a good friend of mine. She sorta has a thing for firemen. So I when I found the above fabric, I KNEW I I wasn't quite sure what I was going to make with it but, come on, check out that 'stache!

But then I found this pattern from Vanilla House Designs for the Friday Night Apron:

Perfect! After much consideration over what type of coordinating fabric to use, this is what I came up:

For the life of me, I could not get a good picture. I keep blaming my poor photography on bad lighting, but I'm thinking it's my camera. Yep, definitely my camera. Not me. So here are a few of the random shots I took. They're not all that great but it will give you an idea of how it turned out.

I think it turned out pretty good and it was a HUGE hit! You gotta love a cheesy, beefcake fireman!