A little power washing…

goes a long way.

Powerwashing the Patio

Just a little dirt to wash away, no biggie.

I haven’t talked to much about our patio and yard, but we’re fortunate to have a lot of space to work with (unlike the inside of our house) but, it just needs a little love.

As we prepare to host a few summer bar-b-ques we took one simple step towards improving the outdoor area.

I honestly didn’t think to grab any before photos (I’m still new at the blogging thing) because, I really had no idea what an impact an afternoon with a power washer could have in making our patio look ten years newer. So apologies for the lack of foresight, but hopefully the photo below will help give you a better idea.

Powerwashing the Patio 2

Yikes!

And…a few hours later it was practically brand new! Practically.

Powerwashing the Patio 4 Powerwashing the Patio 3We have lots of other ideas in mind for what we’d like to do with the outdoor space, but unfortunately those will have to wait a little while longer. We’ll of course keep you posted as we check things off the to-do list.

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A little DIY project via trial and error…

but, I guess that’s what DIY is all about.

Last week, I sat out to create three small push-pin boards to hang in a row near the desk in my office. Remember? The one we refurbished. Well, as with most projects around the house, thankfully Jeff was there to help. In fact, I looked at him while we were making these and said, “is this what you imagined you’d be doing when you bought this house?” He just looked at me with a scowl, so I took it as a no. 🙂

As the title hints, after a little trial and error we succeeded! The first one had no batting in between the fabric and the canvas, and the second one had too much, but by the time we made the third one it was just right. Needless to say we had to redo those first two failed attempts.

Since I think we finally got it right, I thought I’d share our steps in case you wanted to give it a try.

*Disclaimer: we’re not experts, we’re just thinking of these things as we go along.

1. Start with blank canvases. I started out with three 6×6 inch canvases, but you can use whatever size you like.

DIY Mini Push Pin Boards 1

2. Get a package of batting from a craft store. Lay out the batting and fold it in half to create a double layer that will cover the top of the canvas.

DIY Mini Push Pin Boards 2

3. Measure the batting and cut a half-inch shorter than the top of the canvas on each side.

DIY Mini Push Pin Boards 3

4. Lay out the fabric of your choice, then lay the canvas over the top and cut out enough on each side to fold over the back of the canvas. In our case, we cut an additional three inches on each side.

DIY Mini Push Pin Boards 4

5. Pull the canvas tight over each side and use a staple gun (I found one for $10 at Michaels) to staple each side tightly to the back of the canvas. Wrap it similar to a present, folding two parallel corners in a triangle.

DIY Mini Push Pin Boards 5 DIY Mini Push Pin Boards 6

6. Iron each side on a medium heat using a light amount of steam to help flatten each corner.

DIY Mini Push Pin Boards 7 DIY Mini Push Pin Boards 8

7. Lastly, and this one is optional, but since I was hanging them on the wall we put picture hooks on the back of each board. Those hooks can also be found at any craft or home improvement store.

DIY Mini Push Pin Boards 11

And last, but not least, the finished product…

DIY Mini Push Pin Boards 9 DIY Mini Push Pin Boards 10

I added a few pictures and ticket stubs to start, but I’m sure I’ll add more as I go. My apologies to my family for putting that old photo front and center. 🙂

Also, I found the little rosebud push pins on Etsy, here.

Let me know what you think. Feel free to share any of your DIY tips. I’m always looking for new ideas!

Shut the…

front door. 🙂

Finally, ours now shuts a little better, and looks a heck of a lot nicer. The best part is it practically looks brand new, without the “brand new” cost.

Front Door Before and After

The “before” photo doesn’t do it justice, but the poor door needed some major love. There were plenty of large dents and scratches in that thing that I was more than happy to see go.

On Saturday, Jeff spent most of the day (1) sanding, (2 & 4) priming, (3) removing old hardware, (6) painting, and then doing it all over again on the other side. (Not pictured: the putty used to fill the large dents.) Sure enough by the end of the day the door was looking great and ready to go back on it’s hinges!

Refinishing the Front Door web

While the shiny, new white paint looks great, I must say I’m loving our new deadbolt lock even more. It only requires a 4-digit code! Obviously, keys are so last year. 🙂

Front Door Lock

And best of all, it’s Cosmo approved!

Cosmo and the Front Door

Many thanks to Jeff for doing a majority of the work. I wanted to help, but I was afraid I’d just get in the way. 😉

Checking things off the list…

is all part of the process, or so I’m told.

Sander

Throughout our work on home improvement/renovation projects I’ve realized that sometimes I let my expectations get the best of me. A revelation that probably shocked all of you. 😉 It turns out we usually can’t get everything we want done in one weekend. Life and dogs tend to get in the way. But…I’m learning how to temper those expectations of mine (just don’t ask Jeff how I’m doing, he might disagree).

Unfortunately, I don’t have any great “before and after” shots for you today, but we (mostly Jeff) made some progress on that LONG to-do list of ours. If you can’t tell, this past weekend we took it step-by-step (cue the theme song from the classic TGIF show. Oh the 90’s.).

painting the stairs 2So while today’s update is less exciting, I’m hoping you’ll stick around for the good stuff still to come! If you’re anything like me, patience can be a tricky thing and this home renovation concept is sure testing that virtue.

Cicada invasion…

and they were everywhere around Lake Anna, Va. last weekend!

*Disclaimer, if bugs make you squeamish, I would probably stop reading this post. Don’t worry though, there’s only two photos and they’re not too bad!

2013 Virginia Cicadas 2013 Virginia Cicadas 2

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen or heard (they are loud) so many bugs in one place. At night, at least fifty of them would gather on the deck. I chose not to share those photos with you for fear you would never come back. 😉

Take a listen to them here:

For those who’ve lived in the D.C. area for awhile, this isn’t the first time cicadas have taken over, but for a first-timer like myself it was fascinating. According to reports, the last major cicada invasion hit D.C./Virginia in 2004. I’m sure glad this isn’t a yearly occurrence.

Thankfully, we haven’t seen any in Arlington yet and fingers crossed it stays that way. They’re only supposed to stick around for a few weeks, so hopefully we’ve missed the major rush.

Piper on the other hand, just loved them. She’d probably be content with them all the time. I think she ate at least twenty, and didn’t plan on stopping until we forced her inside (we’re those kind of strict dog parents). Judging by the photo below, all those bugs were making her go a little crazy, or at least crazier than normal.

Piper June 2013

Apparently, cicadas are eaten around the world, and the female ones are known to be meatier. A delicacy Piper took full-advantage of.

No worries, I’m not considering a career shift to entomology, just thought I’d share these harmless little bugs with you. You’re welcome.

P.S. we’re working on the house this weekend! I hope by telling all of you it will force Jeff and I to hold ourselves accountable and check some things of our to-do list.

Chop, chop…

chopped!

Haircut Before and Afterphoto-25Hair Cut

Eleven inches of hair and three years later, I finally had enough to donate. And just in time for summer too! Now, if only the loss of those eleven inches of hair translated into eleven pounds. 😉

P.S. Want to donate your hair too? Learn more about what Locks of Love is looking for on their website, here.