It has been a while since I have done any major home improvements. The patio was my last great feat, and to be honest, it was tiring. I can assure you though that I am craving something new to do. I have been organizing the basement little by little. There are still things that I would like to put into plastic containers, but I am getting somewhere. My boyfriend and I were lucky enough to stumble across a gold mine a few weeks ago in the form of someone’s trash. We found plastic shelving, a large piece of peg board, working extension cords, and some other little trinkets.
Anywho, I am pleased to present the newest addition to my house-the workbench! I did take a part in this project-I stained the darn thing, and helped choose the wood from the pile at home depot. I also may have held a few pieces together while Adam attached them, but he gets all of the credit. I will say that, like most things, it is a work in progress. Eventually the peg board will be behind it, and some other little additions will be made here in there. But I can tell you that this thing is SOLID. I recommend building one!
The plan came from this handy site: http://www.familyhandyman.com/workshop/workbench/how-to-build-a-workbench-super-simple-50-bench/view-all
Making some initial cuts
Bottom shelf frame
Securing table top
Basic model created
Stool obtained from someone’s trash-perfect size! -Marker board will eventually be attached.
Stain for protection, which really ended up looking clear.
Adam and the cat on the (almost) finished product.
Here are some pictures recapping my first outdoor party at my house. It is absolutely wonderful to finally have an outdoor living space and even better to have friends and family to share it. I take no credit for the … Continue reading →
FINALLY!-I am pleased to announce that my (approx.) 225 square foot brick paver patio is complete! While I don’t have a final count on labor hours, sweat, and tears, I can certainly tell you that the project was quite physically demanding. My legs are bruised and my muscles are sore, but at least now I have a wonderful outdoor living space! Digging sod was an absolute nightmare, and as with anything, my skill improved drastically over time. The initial cuts took ages in comparison to the rest. I kept thinking that my next step would be easier than the last, but that really was not the case. I wanted to be thorough and do it right. So-here is the breakdown of my construction process. My next post will have all of the pictures.
1. Spray-painted the ground to get a general idea of the shape. I ended up putting a bit of a curve on the outside.
2. Pounded wooden into the ground and ran mason’s line across the space. Determined the proper slope needed for drainage, and raised line accordingly.
3. Removed sod from space. (That was a grueling process filled with sweat and tears.)
4. Watched as birds of all kinds gathered to feast on the bugs in the large pile of dirt. I saw blue jays, cardinals, and an extremely pregnant robin.
5. Installed edging. A lot of people wait to do this until the end. I used the edging, however, as a guide, and it ended up helping tremendously in the screeding process.
6. Ordered limestone gravel. This stuff is fantastic! It is also quite heavy, so moving it from one side of the yard to the other in a wheel barrow was interesting to say the least. Spreading the gravel created a solid foundation for the patio.
7. Ordered over 1000 bricks from home depot. I had these delivered directly to my backyard. I still have quite a few leftover so I will let you know what I do with them!
8. Ordered sand. Sand is a miracle worker. Working as both a leveling agent and base, the sand sunk between the gravel and smoothed beautifully.
9. Screeded the sand with two connected 2 by 4′s. This was one of my favorite parts. I felt like I was building a giant sandcastle. In fact, I have enough leftover sand to build one the size of a dog house.10. Laid the bricks. I used the herringbone pattern. I love the variation and interest that this pattern provides.
11. Rented a wet saw made for masonry from Home Depot. I saved all of my cuts for the end. This was new for me. I did alright for my first time. My boyfriend did a little over half of the cuts though.
12. Spread additional sand with push broom in between bricks. Sprinkled with the hose.
Some notes: All-in-all, the patio project was a great success. While it was physically demanding and required a large amount of patience, all of my hard work was well worth it in the end.
Approximately 85% of the labor was done by me, however, my dad stopped by here and there to help oversee the project. He had built a few of these in the past so had a better idea of the technicalities involved. My sister and her boyfriend helped fill the space with gravel, and my boyfriend helped with the brick cuts (and lifting that wet saw!).
After viewing the lovely Spring exhibit at Phipps Conservatory on Saturday with my mother and aunt, it was time to address my own garden. On a very rainy Sunday, my mother and I ventured to the local Home Depot on a very important mission-to obtain mulch, boxwoods, and some perennials that would give my garden a more permanent solution. Seeing that my plant knowledge is extremely limited, consulting the mother was an absolute necessity. As we trekked around a very wet, outdoor portion of Home Depot, she helped choose beautiful flowers that she knew would compliment my house.
Audrey guarding the plants and Lewis in the window!
With two full carts, we headed to the car, hoods up and soaked with rain. Nevertheless, we arrived at the house and began to plant. I have read mixed views about gardening in the rain. It was only sprinkling and the ground was not flooded so we went ahead with it. Audrey the poodle was very excited about the addition of flowers. For some reason, she has always loved them.
Mother and I planted and planted until everything was in the ground. We finished it off by mulching the beds. This made all the difference.
Front of the house
I still need to buy another bag of mulch to finish the deed, but I am happy to say that the front yard looks lovely. The grass will be coming in soon enough to cover the muddy spot, and hopefully at some point I can finish the beds off with some nice stones to edge.
View of where the concrete slab once existed. Now I am growing grass there.
Next project-BACKYARD BRICK PATIO-stay tuned!
The grass if finally starting to grow where my concrete used to be!
After a cold and drab winter that lasted way too long for my taste, I am happy to finally say that SPRING IS HERE! I love Spring-the colors, smells, sights, temperature, sounds, the anticipation of all that follows. You may remember that in the fall, my dad and Adam helped remove the way-too-thick, concrete slab that had been situated beneath one of my circus awnings. Once the concrete was removed, and the gap was filled with dirt, it left an unsightly blank spot in my yard. You also may remember from last year, my beautiful annuals that Aunt Kip had given me as a house warming gift. These flowers flourished and took over the world, at least, the world of my garden. Amazingly, they continued to bloom all the way into October. One day, they turned into a giant pile of dead and I pulled them out, seemingly in one tangle, and proceeded to lazily throw them into my lower flower bed (the dumping ground).
The winter brought a fair amount of snow, and when the ground was covered, my house undoubtedly looked like a greeting card. But, once that snow melted I was left with a barren wasteland of death. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic. As soon as we began to experience better weather, I attempted to plant grass on the large rectangular area of the former concrete slab-No luck to start but in the past 2 weeks, I have begun to address the issue again and little by little the grass is peaking through the rough, mostly clay ground. When I moved in last April, my yard was in bad shape. There were several stumps that my uncle and cousin were nice enough to remove, outdated railroad ties lining the garden, and terrifying, alien-like spike weeds invading most of the yard. This year, I am happy to say that the grass is noticeably healthier both aesthetically and by touch. I mowed the lawn for the first time this season two weeks ago, which was rather exciting.
Over the past week I have been making small changes to my family room and boy have they made a difference! Since I moved in, I have not been satisfied with the family room. It is really hard to configure a room, especially in an old house with furniture that I inherited. My previous post shows the change that I made to the fireplace screen. I must say, it now looks brand new. I am quite pleased with my $5 fix, but the screen just wasn’t enough. I have been keeping my eyes out for something to put above the fireplace for some time now, yet I knew that it was not in my budget. I didn’t want something overwhelming that would make the place feel cluttered. So, while I was at my dad’s the other day I spotted a large mirror that was not in use. A few days later I asked if I could try it out in my family room. Well, I’m happy to say that my fireplace finally looks complete. It may not be ideal but I worked with what I had and ta da!
Once the mirror went up, I realized that the opposite wall was blank. I read somewhere that a mirror in a room should reflect something interesting (like artwork) on the other side. So, I took the decorative plate that had been sitting on the fireplace mantel, and hung it on the opposite wall. It was no simple task. I made a plate hanger out of two thick wire hangers. So, next on my list is gardening and the patio construction.