Entries from March 23rd, 2012

Impulse Buy and Ramblings



I made an impulse purchase the other day from Pottery Barn. This cool striped outdoor rug was calling my name. It was on sale and I had a rewards certificate and a coupon burning a whole in my pocket… so in the cart it went. It’s on schedule to arrive today so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I love it.


We have a lesser seen deck area that I don’t think I’ve shared very much of, which is funny because we spend so much time out here. If you seen some of the overview shots of the yard on other posts chances are that I was standing out here snapping pics. This deck is the main outdoor area leading directly off of the living room and kitchen. We use it almost all day everyday when it’s nice outside and sometimes even when it’s not so nice, it’s really an extension of our living space.  But it’s been looking a little sad lately with the peeling paint and general underwhelming atmosphere. I’m actually secretly happy that the paint peeled though. I wasn’t very fond of the color it was beforehand anyway. It’s just the perfect excuse to freshen it up a bit.  This place sees alot of action in the summer months so I’d like it to be more inviting.

Deck 1

We’ve been reluctant to do any work on the deck because we know somewhere in the future we plan to add a small addition where the deck stands now and rebuild a new one beyond the addition. I’m getting tired of the blah looking space though and plan on freshening it up a bit with some paint, elbow grease and some accessories we can reuse in the new deck space when that time comes.

We’ve been biding our time and are going to work with what we have. Including the inherited outdoor furniture from the previous owners that we plan on making it work in the space for now. It’s still in winter mode without any cushions.


You can see a shot of the deck from down below, see how massive that deck is to paint. Yeah not a fun job for something we plan to change up some day hopefully soon. I’m also not set on a paint color yet, kind of at a loss what to do. Painting the railings white might change up the look a lot.

Also for the space, I picked up some of the cute terra cotta pots while I was at Home Goods the other day.

Flower Pots from Home Goods

I think the largest one was $19 and the others went down from there in price. In my mind they were a bargain so home they came. I’m excited to fill them with some flowers and bring a little life to the deck.

Deck 2

So that’s all for now, anyone else have any spaces they can’t wait to change up. Are you biding your time working with what you have? Have you made any impulse purchases?

Well I’m off for the day. Hopefully this beautiful weather we’ve been having holds out for just a while longer.

Horchow’s Albino Zebra Rug: Look for Less



From time to time I find great items I’d love to have but are out of my price range. What I love even more than that is finding a great compromise to get the look for less. I thought I’d share my latest look for less find. This time it’s Horchow’s Albino Zebra Rug shown below. I don’t know about you but I love absolutely everything in the Horchow catalog but have never been able to afford anything out of it. At $459.00 for a 5’6’” x 7’5” it’s not one of their priciest pieces but I’m still not willing to pull the trigger.


via Horchow

Especially when Grandin Road’s Spello Zebra rug has the added benefit of outdoor durability and at $249 for a 5 x 8 rug I can have the same look for almost half the price.


 via Grandin Road

Now that’s what I call smart shopping.

Summer Yard Plans



Hi everyone, Happy Spring, we’ve had wonderful weather and it has prompted us to head outside and get to work.  The past weekend involved lots of time spent outside and a trip to Home Depot to buy some plants and trees. Early spring is a great time for tree planting right before the leaves bloom.

High View point Lake View

But before I share what we’ve been working on outside I want to share what we’ve had in mind for the yard this summer and beyond as it continues to evolve and grow into a backyard retreat. When last we left off on the yard I had promised to share some plans we have to finish off the area of the yard that’s closest to the lake. Right now we have large amounts of white stone blanketing the entire area down there.

On of the least pleasant aspect of living on the water is spiders. Can I just say ew, ew eeeew! We have all kinds, small ones, HUGE ones and lots in between. We have what are called Fishing Spiders they don’t bite and generally stay in the water but can scare the begeezus out of you when they pop up out of no where. I won’t post a picture of them here because they make me cringe just to see them, but if you’re brave you can check one out here.  They are creepy, crawly, generally gross and the white stones make perfect spots for them and other random insects to crawl and hide. Needless to say we’re a little anxious to move the stones and confine them to the paths and walkways instead of spread out near the water.

Backyard plans with notes copy

But enough about spiders let’s take a look at my little preliminary drawing of how we’re thinking it’s all going to lay out. Of course some things will likely change as we go along. We’ll probably do some additional tweaks in other areas as well and our plans tend to get adjust over time but we always like to begin with a general idea of where we’re going to get things rolling.

#1 in our annotated sketch above is to move the vegetable gardens, we built them the first summer we moved into the house. They were great there for a while but we think they’d be better located just beyond the fence as you can see below. It’s pretty much dead space down there and needs some love. It’s a good spot to keep the vegetables tucked out of sight but still maintaining relatively easy access to them.

Back Yard

Admittedly it’s looking a little rough right now, but it’s been coming along slowly but surely.

Back Yard 2

#2 on the list is to add a new garden in front of the pool area, where the little guy is playing, and moving the pedal boat of course. We’re all about snagging some additional “lake appeal” wherever we can.

Although we love having a pool it sort of looks like a can of tuna especially with the cover on and all closed up for the winter.  The garden in front should camouflage some of that it will be rounded to match the curve of the pool. We’ll plant some tall flowing grasses some perennials to add color and maybe a few bushes which should go a long way to break up the gray exterior walls of the pool.

Back Yard 3

#3 and #4 on the list, include adding some seating areas along the “sea wall” You can see dirt in the photo below since the lake is still low from the winter. But during the summer the water sits right against the wall.

Back Yard 5

We’re going for something like the image below, with an additional larger area off to the side for a possible fire pit and a walkway with a floating dock that will lead out to a platform for sitting right on thee water. Picture Adirondack chairs, fire pits and dipping your toes in the lake as you drink in a cool refreshing glass of ice tea while simultaneously drinking in the view.

image via

#5 is all about adding some additional greenery and lushness through some much needed grassy areas. We’re really looking forward to the natural cooling properties of some lush green grass over the hot spidery stone that we have now. It’s incredibly hot in the summer due to the lack of shade and the reflective properties of the water and the stones are not helping that fact. We’ll also probably need to add some shade from a combination of trees and umbrellas to make it more comfortable during the hot summer months

#6 and #7, are about rounding up the white stones and moving them into manageable pathways, because let’s face it there are far too many of them to remove them all and not to mention we’re always down for using what you’ve got to keep costs down.

Back Yard 4

Along the path we’ll probably have another garden to break up the expanse of the privacy fence, which is way over 100 feet long and in desperate need of some shrubs to soften it up.

Hopefully all that will go a long way to add to the use we get out of this space. We love being outside and during the warm summer month we probably spend about 90% of our free time outside enjoying the lake and working on projects which we actually like to do. We’re definitely not just about the indoor projects around here outdoor projects top our list of things we love to do as well.

So is anyone else enjoying some lovely early spring weather like we are? Are you itching to take your project time outside? Do you like gardening or do you prefer other kinds of outdoor activates? Do tell.

The Weekend



The Weekend, Blooming Trees

Happy weekend everyone and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, We’ve had a wonderfully mild stretch of weather here. The trees have taken notice and started to bud. Next week looks like it’s going to be more of the same. We’re keeping your fingers crossed for lovely weather and an early spring.

Well I’m off for the weekend talk to you soon. 🙂

DIY Handmade Paper Flower Bouquet



DIY Handmade Paper Flower Bouquet

With Spring a mere 7 days away, I’m more in the mood for colorful blooms then cozy knits. My paper flower love affair all started with this pin of some fantastic Coffee Filter Flowers via the always inspirational Design Sponge and led me down the rabbit hole of paper flower pinning all of which you can see on my aptly named Stuff to DIY board.

image via

So I started with the coffee filter flowers but I did a few things a little differently. I felt like I wanted to do something different than using paint to to dye the coffee filters, I thought about it for a moment and decided food coloring would probably work wonderfully instead of paint. It totally worked, I think my dyed version turn out pretty darn well.

DIY Paper Flower Bouquet 4

There’s 3 different types of paper flowers in my bouquet, Paper Peonies original tutorial here, Rolled Rosebuds original tutorial here and Poppies my own take on some of the general tutorials I found. I’ll detail each one below so you can see what I did similarly to the original tutorials and what I found worked for me that’s different. Shall we get crafting our own paper flowers?


  • 60 coffee filters
  • Yellow and red concentrated gel food coloring
  • 3 bowls
  • Wood floral picks
  • Green floral wire
  • Green Floral Tape
  • Scissors
  • Brightly colored tissue paper
  • Black tissue paper


The paper peonies are gorgeous on their own and probably the most time consuming of the three that I tried. If you get an assembly line going they’ll go quicker. The results are stunning and worth the time.

To start dying your coffee filters you’ll need a whole boatload of coffee filters, 60 to be exact, 3 bowls and food coloring in yellow and orange. I used the concentrated gel kind which I found in the cake decorating section of Michaels craft store.

Coffee Filter Flower Tutorial 11

In each of the three bowls place 1 cup of warm water. In the first bowl add equal parts yellow and red food coloring until you get a nice deep orange color. In the second bowl of water add 2 parts yellow to 1 part red food coloring. In the third bowl add only yellow food coloring.

Following the original instructions via Design Sponge I placed 10 coffee filters in the darkest color, 20 in the mid-range color and 30 in the yellow. Let them set for a few minutes, the longer they sit in the dye bath the more vibrant each of the colors will be.

Once I was satisfied with the color I removed the coffee filters and wrung out the excess water. Then I separated each filter and left them out to dry. Just FYI they’re pretty slopping and ugly looking when wet.

Tip: to speed drying you could use a hair dryer set on low or hang them in front of a fan.

Coffee Filter Flower Tutorial 13

Once they were all dry I sorted the stacks by color then separated 10 to a stack. You should have 1 stack of the deepest color, 2 stacks of the medium color and 3 stacks of the lightest color. Next fold them in half and then in quarters, into a pie shape. Cut the rounded edges, more jagged cuts into the deepest color graduating to shallow almost rounded cuts into the lightest color coffee filters. Finally make a small snip in the pointed end so that there will be a small whole the center of your filter.

Here’s where my version differed a little again, I used wooden flower picks instead of straw for the stems of my flowers. I liked how the picks had floral wire at the top of each pick which made attaching the petals to the stem easier than using the masking tape and straws method suggest in the tutorial.

I selected 1 of the darkest dyed coffee filters folded it up in the middle twisted the based and attached it directly to the wood pick, winding the wire tightly to secure it to the wood pick.

Coffee Filter Flower Tutorial 12

Then I placed 1 of the medium dyed filters, sliding it onto the pick through the hole I cut in the center, then crimp around the wooden stick and attach with floral wire. Then I repeated for 1 more medium dyed filter and 3 of the lightest dyed filters.

In total I had 1 dark filter, 2 medium filters, and 3 of the lightest filters wired to your wooden pick. Then I wrapped the whole stick in green floral tape to cover the wires and entire wooden stick. Repeat for each paper peony, when I was done I had 10 full flowers.

Coffee Filter Flowers 2

The paper peonies were gorgeous, I almost want to kiss the original person who though of this because they’re that pretty and addicting to make.

Once the peonies were complete I decided some pops color in the bouquet would be a nice touch. The hot pink flowers are cut and rolled to make small rosebud flowers. They were so simple and far less time consuming than the peonies. I think the combination is stunning.

Paper Flower Bouquet


The rolled rosebuds are infinitely more simple when compared to the paper peonies, but none the less gorgeous.

DIY Paper Rosebud Tutorial 1

Start by cutting a strip of tissue paper about 3 inches wide from the short side of your piece of tissue paper. Roll the long end in approximately 2 inch segments the entire length of your tissue paper. Cut one end of the paper rounded and unfold

Start crimping back and forth accordion style scrunching up the center of your flower to form the tight bud, then continue to roll the entire length

DIY Paper Rosebud Tutorial 2

Attach to a floral wood pick with wire, wrap the entire base of the rose bud and stem with green floral tape to secure and finish.


The poppies are a hybrid version of the  paper peonies it’s similar principle but different materials and much different results. I think they play nicely in combination with the other flowers.

DIY Poppy Flower 3

For the petals, start by tracing and cutting out 3 circles onto your sheet of tissue paper. Stack the circles together and fold into quarters creating a pie shape. Cut the rounded end of the pie shape so that the ends are wavy. Snip just the tip of the point to create a hole in the center of your tissue paper circle.

Cut a small square out of your black piece of tissue paper. Place a small ball of tin foil in the center, wrap around the top of your floral pick and secure with wire.

Place 1 piece of your now cut petal rounds onto the wood floral pick through the center hole you snipped in the first step.

DIY Poppy Flower 1

Crimp your tissue paper petal onto the floral pick securing with green floral wire, repeat for 2 more petals. Wrap the entire wood stick including the wired base of the petals in green floral tape to secure tightly.

DIY Paper Flower Bouquet 5

I have to say these turned out soooo much better than I expected. I’ve had to explain to everyone who has walked in the house that they were made from scratch by me and not flowers stems I bought and put in the vase. I’m a little stupid giddy over them and I’m tempted to pet them lovingly each time I walk into the room.

There’s so many possibilities for these paper flowers, like create a few and set them into everyone’s glass for a dinner party or create a fun center piece, decorate for a party and even make them into napkin holders with a little modification. The possibilities are endless.


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