Wednesday, August 31, 2011

2 Blondes and a Truck

 What do you get when you put 2 blondes in a pick up truck? 
Road trip!

My sister had a brilliant idea a few months ago. All she said was, "Country Living Fair. Columbus, Ohio. September. Road Trip!" She didn't need to explain anything further. 

My immediate response was "Yes!" We couldn't be more excited to take this road trip together. Just me and her. No husbands. And no kid(singular) in tow. Just us sisters. We've never done anything like this before. What took us so long?!
(check out the countdown at the top of my blog!)

We will be driving my brother-in-law's enormousness Ford pickup truck (NOT pictured above) to Ohio where we plan on packing it to the brim with great purchases. The only scary part about the whole thing is the thought of me (5'4") sharing the driving with my sister and being behind the wheel of such a monster truck. Don't worry, there will be photographic proof. I can promise you that.

I plan on taking a million pictures to share on my blog and am hoping to make some great purchases. Even if I have to throw my elbows around a bit, tackle the lady to the left of me, and physically jump on the item I am lusting over. And I don't have an aggressive bone in my body! 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Anthro-esq Letters

I love most things Anthropologie. 
And I've always loved these zinc letters and have always wanted one...or several. 

I was browsing in the Paper Source (love this store) and came across their "craft letters". I snagged a lower-case "f" in honor of our last name. I knew I wanted to experiment with it. And for the $3.75 price, I thought it was a bargain! 

I bought some silver paint at the craft store for, get this, $0.59 cents. Practically giving it away, right? I was on a mission to make my "craft letter" to look like one of Anthro's zinc letters. So off I went to paint the cardboard letter with my silver paint.

After 2 coats of the silver paint, it looked like this. Not bad! But it was a bit too...bright.

I needed to tone down the silver paint a bit. So I took some brown paint that I already had and watered it down a bit. I was going to do a "glaze" over the silver paint.

I painted on the watered down paint and then dabbed 
it off with a paper towel. 

This was just the trick to tone down the bright silver paint. It gave the letter more of an aged look and made it look like metal - and not the actual card board. You can see more of the glazed detail here...

I just love the final product!

Here is the project breakdown:

Paper Source Craft Letter.............$3.75
Silver Paint..........................$0.59
Foam paint brush (already had).....$0
Brown glazing paint(already had)...$0
Grand Total...........................$4.34

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pond Project...Phase 2

Warning: This post is lengthy, and I apologize. Per my Pond Project...Phase 1 post, we were left with a muddy hole in the ground. Nice. But after a few days, and bailing out some water with a bucket, the muddy hole dried up! 

 The next step was to put a layer of all-purpose sand on the bottom of the hole which provides a foundation for the plastic liner. You can find this sand at any home improvement or garden center.
Once this step was done we could lay down the plastic liner. We purchased the liner at a local garden center for around $1/sq ft. Make sure to buy more than you need, since you lose some square footage due to the depth of your hole.

After some time spend folding and creasing the liner to be as smooth as possible, we started to line the border of the hole with some of the 1,500 lbs of stone we purchased...remember?

Once we arranged and rearranged the stones (sort of like a puzzle), we could trim the excess liner that stuck out beyond the stones. It's ok if you can't cut it all off since it will most likely be covered with dirt or mulch or 
whatever you have planned around the pond.

And as you can see, we couldn't wait and started to fill up the pond with the garden hose. The hose also helped us determine where the pond hose should be placed to create a trickle of water over some of the rocks in the back. 
It finally looks like a pond!

Next up is to connect the pond pump (you will need an electrical outlet near the pond to plug in the pump). We wanted to have a mini-waterfall effect with the pump water cascading over one of the large rocks in the back of the pond and trickling water back into the pond. To do this you need to feed the pond hose up around some of the rocks at the back of the pond. This is all done to your own personal preference.

Since I despised the original shape of the brick lined garden bed, we removed the bricks and created a different shaped garden bed using some of the rock we had leftover. Ahhh, much better.
 We found a few water plants at the garden center to put in the pond. But the hubs was dying to put in some of these...

Hello goldfish! Welcome to your new home. We opted not to buy the fancy Koi pond fish, and rather the $0.27 cent fish from the local pet store. After we acclimated them to their new environment - which is basically floating the bag they come in directly into the pond and let them float for about 20 minutes - the hubs was happy to release them into their new home. 

As you can see from the above photo, we opted to add some small pebbles to the bottom of the pond. This step can be done before you fill the pond with water, but we like to do things backwards! And another note - the pond water will take a few days to balance out and will become clearer. I promise.

Just to recap, here is the area before:

And here is the AFTER:

 We still have some minor landscaping to do and need to work on improving the grass. 
But overall we are very happy with the outcome!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Farmers Market Favorite

Another fresh cut flower bouquet from the farmers market. I couldn't resist. They make me happy! Hope you are all having a great weekend. 

Stay tuned for phase 2 of our pond project!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pond Project....Phase 1

Forgive the silence....vacation was calling. But now it's back to reality. In the previous post, I alluded to the fact that our latest project involved 1,500 lbs of stone. I'm not lying. 

Let me back up for a second...we have this awkward garden bed next to our screened in porch. It's a strange square-ish (I say "square-ish" because it's not to proportion). It was HATE at first sight. It's random, has VERY minimal plants (per the previous owners) and was lined with brick. Yuck, yuck and yuck. 

This was what the garden bed looked like last summer. 
We planted a hydrangea and put some herbs in the large blue pot. What to do with this garden bed.....hhhmmm?

The hubs and I have always wanted to have a small pond in our yard. My family had one growing up and it was fun to feed the fish and was a great focal point in the yard. Problem solved. Our random garden bed was the perfect spot for one.

So we laid out the garden hose in the shape we liked and started digging...

And digging...

Digging this hole was not easy at all. We have A LOT of clay in our soil which is very dense making it near impossible to dig up. We also ran into numerous large roots that we had to chop out. 
 (A perfect project for the hubs to wear his duck boots...duh)

Several hours later, sore backs and a few (bleeps)
we were finished digging.

A few days later we had an afternoon of heavy rain....
which resulted in this...

Please excuse the poor picture. 
We had a GIANT muddy hole. Not exactly the pond we had in mind :(

Next up was to get some stone for the border of the pond. So off we go to the garden center to purchase a 1/2 pallet of stone. 
Hello 1,500 lbs of stone. 

So how are we supposed to get this home? Delivery was out of the question because that fee was the cost of the stone. We couldn't justify that. Our only option....loading the stone into the back of our car. Not kidding.

Here is the back of our Jeep loaded with stone. It took us 3 trips (a special thanks to my in-laws for helping!) to get all this home. Oh, and don't mind the wiffle bat. The hubs is a kid-at-heart so we are always prepared for an impromptu game of wiffle ball!

Phase 1 of the "Pond Project" complete. Stay tuned for phase 2!