Monthly Archives: April 2014

Backyard Makeover

A year ago we were deep in the midst of a backyard makeover. Our yard needed a lot of updating and fixing and the results were amazing! It took a couple months of a lot of hard work, but we are so proud. At the time we finished it last year, I didn’t have a blog. Once I started the blog I wanted to post, but decided to wait until the spring to make it more seasonally applicable. Most of what we did has stayed the same throughout this year, but we did have some plants die in the Texas heat last summer and plan to replace those in the next few weeks.

Here is what our yard and patio looked like upon moving in.

2013-02-16 (8) before painting houseYuck. There wasn’t room for the table and grill and people. We tried eating out there a few times, but it didn’t work!

2013-02-16 (9) before painting house

2013-02-16 (10) before painting house

Something had to be done! Once we moved in, we systematically (because that’s the only way I do things…) went through each room and re-did it. It was a year before we finally finished inside and moved to the outside! We were so excited to get started and totally change things back here.

We started by painting the exterior of the house. It was in MAJOR need of a new coat of paint, and a new color. We spent all of February working on that and went from this gross, gray blue to a fresh beige. Look at the difference paint made on our front door area!! Love it. Can’t get over it.

front doors

But, I sure hope I never have to paint a house exterior again. That was HARD work.

So after the paint, we had our patio extended and had a cover built over it. These were the only things that we paid someone else to do. It was just quicker, easier, and better that way.

Patio being extended

Patio being extended

Michael was home the day they poured the concrete and wrote our initials and the date!

Michael was home the day they poured the concrete and wrote our initials and the date, and put Oliver’s paw print in it.

The new patio provided so much more space! I don’t have any pictures of them putting the cover on. But we chose to not have it extend all the way- we left an open area on the end for the grill and fire pit.

In mid-April we began tearing down our old fence on two sides, and replacing it. So much cheaper to do it ourselves (well, for my hubby and neighbor to do it…).  This was a pretty extensive project.

2013-04-19 (2) new patio, now to start on the fenceThat random sheet of metal is one of the main reasons I wanted a new fence. What the heck were the previous owners thinking??

Beginning to tear the old fence down

Beginning to tear the old fence down

Found a snake in the fence!

Found a snake in the fence!

New fence going up!

New fence going up!

With all that done, at the beginning of May we started the landscaping. That involved creating flower beds, picking flowers/plants, and planting!

2013-04-27 starting the landscaping

Michael working on planting shrubs

It took a couple of months to get all the elements I wanted. We had pondered paying a landscape company to come in (and part of me regrets that we didn’t), but we chose to do it ourselves and I think it turned out pretty good! Once everything was done, it is a HUGE change from what we had before. We LOVE it.

2013-07-05 (3) backyard makeover complete!

2013-07-05 (2) backyard makeover complete!

2013-07-05 (4) backyard makeover complete!

2013-07-05 (10) backyard makeover complete!

This was inspired by a pin on Pinterest. The hubs built it and I painted it. I love the fun splash of color it adds!

This was inspired by a pin on Pinterest. The hubs built it and I painted it. I love the fun splash of color it adds!

Coasters I made from Shiner bottle caps

Coasters I made from Shiner bottle caps

My friend Janie made this sign for me. Go check out her Etsy shop- More than Frills.

My friend Janie made this sign for me. Go check out her Etsy shop- More than Frills.

2013-07-05 (8) backyard makeover complete!

2013-07-05 (7) backyard makeover complete!Love our stepping stones 🙂  (Though, it’s been a year and the tiles/stones are coming out of them… sad day)

So, thanks for coming on this (a year late) tour of our backyard!! We LOVE it and it shows that it’s possible to do a really great backyard makeover on a little budget!


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DIY Tray

Recently I made two somewhat small changes in our living room, but that I think made a big difference in how the room feels. One was that I re-did our gallery wall. I’ll be blogging about that next week because it’s not quite done. Today I wanted to write about a tray I made for the coffee table and how I re-organized the table.

I was pretty neutral about our table and living room space, until I ran across this pin on Pinterest:

fccc3bd1af51261f4c556cc7fad6b790I LOVE everything about this living area. So cozy, comforting, and welcoming. I don’t think ours will ever look like this, simply because of color scheme differences and because I HATE  the un-functionality and cluttered look of throw pillows. But, I used it as a template for changing the look of my coffee table.

I decided to do a DIY tray. I went to Hobby Lobby without a firm idea and came out with supplies to stain some planks and make a hardwood floor looking tray bottom.

IMG_5600I bought an unfinished tray, several packages of small planks, stain, paint, and a varnish. I am in love with this paint color and this stain and have used them on some other projects.

IMG_5603Americana Sea Glass acrylic paint and Americana Walnut gel stain. A-mazing.

I sanded and painted the tray, then it was time to do the planks. I placed them in the tray to see how they would fit and I ended up having to cut some down to size. Then I stained them.

Some of the planks before staining

Some of the planks before staining

I did two coats of stain to make them darker.

After one coat, waiting to dry so the second coat can be applied.

Drying after one coat, waiting to dry so the second coat can be applied.

Once the planks were stained and dried I put a coat of varnish on them and then glued them onto the tray using wood glue. The next day I varnished the entire tray and called it done! I am so happy with how it turned out.

2014-03-31 (18) coffee table redo

2014-03-31 (7) coffee table redo

So, since I had a new tray, I needed to add other new things to my coffee table! This is how our coffee table has looked for two years:

2014-03-31 (1) coffee table redo

Definitely not bad, but not exciting. Years ago I bought that spinning remote holder and painted it. It has served us well, but it has a college-y feel. It’s time for it to go. It was also time for the tractor magazines to not be front and center.

I chose four things to put on the tray:

  • The teal candle shown above. I was given it a couple years ago and I love it so much! I’ve only burned it a few times because I can’t bear to see it go away.
  • Coasters
  • The remote control
  • I purchased a mason jar and a burlap flower to put it in

The table felt very empty with just the tray, so I searched on Etsy and found a fabulous runner that coordinates so well with my gallery wall (you’ll see it next week!). I purchased it from The Littlest Bean Boutique. She was wonderful and custom made a length for me.

2014-03-31 (15) coffee table redo

2014-03-31 (17) coffee table redoI love the feel it gives the room and it makes me smile so much. Just so different than what we had before. Much cleaner and not as clutter-y. (And no worries. all those tractor magazines are still there, just not on the top of the table anymore).




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Bathroom Closet Redo

In our master bathroom we have a large linen closet. I’m very grateful for it because it holds a lot, things that we wouldn’t have any other place for. (Though, sometimes I wish we had a shower stall instead of the closet, but I guess a closet is better…. I think). The only problem with this massive closet is that the original shelves were very deep. Things got lost in the back. There was a lot of shelf space, but because of the design it felt like there wasn’t.

(*Disclaimer* It’s VERY difficult to get good pics of this closet.  The lighting is always bad and there’s not a lot of room to get a good angle. So… excuse the bad pics!)



So much randomness lost in the deep shelves

So much randomness lost in the deep shelves

My husband was actually the one who first thought about taking out the existing shelves and building some new ones. It’s times like this that I’m very thankful that he knows how to do carpentry stuff and can get cheap lumber from his job at a lumber yard!

The first step was to take everything out of the closet and find other places for it! That was the hardest part (for me at least!). Then we measured and decided on the width and design of the new shelves. He built the shelves and painted them (I helped on that part!). He took out the existing shelves and braces, then painted the closet. Then finally it was time to install the new shelves! (I’m sure there was a lot more to the process, but I tried to stay out of it. Apparently nagging isn’t very helpful….)

Working hard!

Working hard!

I am SO happy with how they turned out. It’s really the same amount of shelf space, but the different design makes it so much easier to organize things better.

2014-03-06 (1) bathroom closet done

Then came the fun part- organizing everything! We already had some baskets so I continued to use those for medicines, then I used our Christmas card boxes for other storage (yes, we had saved them hoping they would come in handy for something like this!). I love how it came together. Everything is much more accessible. And we have extra space!DSC02370



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Reading List- March 2014

Three books this month, all fiction! Though I have been working my way through a non-fiction book… just not finished with it yet. Stay tuned for that. 🙂

Finding It (Carmack, 2013)- This is Carmack’s third book in her first series. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the previous two. As I first started I pondered just quitting because it was a little too much for me. This book follows a young adult on her journey through Europe trying to find herself, create a life apart from her family, and possibly find love. I found it frustrating as I followed her adventure and her dealings with her past, but in the end it came together and ended well.

Summerland (Hilderbrand, 2012)- Elin Hilderbrand is becoming one of my favorite authors. I enjoy her stories of life on the island of Nantucket and the way she writes telling the same story/events through the points of views of different characters. Summerland is a story about loss, tragedy, and change. It tells the story of the island reeling over the tragic death of two teenagers. As the parents and friends search for answers they each take their own journey of recovery and finding a way to live without those they lost. Overall, it was very good and the ending was really emotional but the “big secret” the book was leading up to didn’t seem that shocking, so it was kind of a let down.

The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane (Harms, 2013)- This is Harms first novel, and you can tell. The writing isn’t always very clear. But that can be overlooked as the rich story unfolds and the reader gets to know the depth of the characters. Three very different women find themselves unexpectedly sharing a life together. It is a simple and sweet novel about friendship, family, love, and living.


What have you been reading lately? I always love new books suggestions!

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