Screen Porch: Landscaping

We had some final landscaping done around the screen porch. First though we had to get some leaks in our sprinkler system fixed. Not surprising after a big project.  Things were pretty muddy and gross along the side of the porch.  Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the flood when we turned on the sprinklers!  Fortunately our sprinkler company came right out and fixed it up for free! 

Next up our landscapers came in and cleaned up the mess made by the flood and some general clean-up around the porch area, including lifting up the stepping stones which had literally sunk under the mud and dirt so you couldn't even really see them!  They also did a little grading away from the house and re-mulched.  

After all that was done, I went ahead and divided some day lilies and peonies that I already had growing in other parts of the garden and planted them along the edge of the steps and porch.  I am hoping this will be an amazing "before" picture next year!  The door mat is from Target - it's so cheerful and cute!

Here's the view from the gate to the backyard. 

My favorite view is this one from the front yard into the backyard.
 The plants next to the porch were also plants that we already had or which were given to us by a neighbor who was doing some "de-landscaping" in their new backyard.  LOVE free plants!

Hoping they get enough water from the sprinkler system to keep them alive during this mini-drought.
It's really coming together now both in and out.  A few more changes to come.


Master Bedroom: Built-in Television Cabinet

This may officially be the worst documented semi-major project we've done in the house.  Not sure what happened but I think it was partly because Handy Hubby worked on it at random times or when I was away for work so I didn't get to take too many in progress shots.

So, we left off here last time. I think.

So fast forward 2.5 months and we're here.

Handy Hubby added the crown molding to dress it up a little bit.  He also wrapped the baseboard around the base so it's a true built-in.  

 Handy Hubby made the Shaker-style doors using a Kreg jig with a panel inset.

Next up I need to get some hardware.  I think I am going to get something dark to match the curtain rods and dresser hardware.

I first mentioned this project to Handy Hubby over a year ago and it feels good to be almost at the finish line!


Last Minute Teacher Gifts

I'm back after a short hiatus to get through the end of the school year.  My daughter finished kindergarten last week.  It was a whirlwind!  

I had to share the gifts I put together for Elizabeth's kindergarten teachers even though I know most people are done with school.  This translates for your admins, new moms, or other people in your life who need a little pick-me-up. I sent them on the Monday of the last week of school with a little note that they might need a little pick-me-up to get through the last week.  I know I could not be a kindergarten teacher so I really like to reward those that do this very difficult job with grace and smiles on their faces!

In the cup I included a Starbucks gift card, biscotti, and a box of sugar-free mints.

Of course I got everything at Starbucks including the cup. I had some raffia from a gift basket that I stuffed into the bottom, and then wrapped it with gift basket cellophane and topped it with a ribbon.  I opted to wrap them in cellophane so that it would be easy for Elizabeth to carry in her backpack to school.

After talking to a few teacher friends, gift cards and cash are really the way to go.  Teachers don't really want or need any more homemade baked goods - especially during swimsuit season - or mugs/candles/trinkets!  Plus, this is easier!  I also plan to have Elizabeth write a nice note to each of her teachers over the summer so they truly know how much kindergarten has changed Elizabeth for the better - she's more mature and has a hunger for learning which is inspiring for our whole family!  

I got the inspiration from one of my favorite blogs Hi Sugarplum! - Cassie has such awesome ideas for home decorating, DIY, fashion, and gifts!


Elizabeth's Closet Makeover

Elizabeth closet needed yet another makeover.  It was long overdue especially since it generally looked like this most of the time.  Holy cow.

Obviously it wasn't working so something had to be done.  I first pulled almost everything out.  Sorted out things that don't fit any longer and passed along a pile of barely worn shoes to our next door neighbor (a budding mini-fashionista!).  The hanging closet "organizer" wasn't really organizing anything and really was not working for this space.  These can be good for baby's rooms but just don't work well for older children - at least in my opinion.

Next I bought her a shoe cubby from Target and put that together.  I returned all of the shoes that still fit into the cubbies.  Thankfully there were enough spaces!!  I then adjusted the shelves (love Elfa!) so the boxes and baskets would fit in a more organized way.  Finally, I cleaned out all of the baskets which held pajamas and bathing suits and put those back in.  I was able to relocate the sweaters and sweatshirts to her new dresser.  

We even had a basket leftover which we used for slippers (easy to grab and throw in at the end of the day).  We even had room for her baby doll crib (filled with stuffed animal friends!).

The big tub of clothes on the second to the top shelf is all of her winter clothes.  The other bins on the top shelf hold summer clothes that are too big (my little girl is so skinny so it's hard to predict what size is going to work), and the other holds holiday clothes and pajamas - Halloween and Christmas.

I still keep her dresses hung high because I get her clothes out every day.  Amazingly for a 6-year old girl, she really doesn't care what she wears - therefore she generally matches whereas many of her friends don't!

Here's the proud owner.

2 weeks later, the closet still looks the same!  Sounds like a victory in organization!


Happy Father's Day!

I hope everyone is having a great Father's Day!  I think it's a great day to share some time together as a family just hanging out.  

We took him out to brunch at Tallula which was tasty.  I had waffles and Jim had an omelet.  Of course I made everyone pose about a minute before we were supposed to be at the restaurant for our 10 a.m. reservation!

Although we had originally planned to go to the pool, I think we're just going to stay home and enjoy the afternoon together. It's unusually cool - not even 80 degrees!!  Instead, Handy Hubby is doing some odd jobs around the house - maybe the sense of accomplishment will be a nice gift to him :)  We also did some FaceTime with my parents (who just got an iPad) which of course both the kids and the grandparents love tremendously!

Happy Father's Day!


Screen Porch: Side Chairs

I scored a couple of nice side chairs which checks one more thing off the list of things I'd like to get for the screen porch if I stumble on the right things at reasonable prices.  I wanted 2 additional chairs which we could use for additional seating in the couch area of the porch but which could also be pulled over to the table ends for additional seating at dinner time with friends over.

After looking all over the place and finding chairs that were too large, too brown, too small, armless, etc., I finally found what I was looking for at BJs Warehouse!  Who knew?  The added bonus is that the chairs are stackable which Handy Hubby will appreciate when we "winterize" the porch MANY MANY months from now.

The cushions were previously used on my dining chairs which are a little high to use these cushions. I liked them so I'm glad they worked with these chairs because they are the perfect colors and I didn't have to shell out an extra $30 for two new cushions.

Last weekend I snuck out for a little yard sale-ing.  Yard sales pretty much come to a halt here after July 4th so I have to cram it in now!! One of my finds was this fake lavender plant for $2.  Perfect for my black thumb.

We are enjoying the warm days her win the D.C. area.  My son LOVES this sprinkler fire truck he received for his birthday!!  Great gift idea if you are looking for a toddler birthday gift for this weekend!

I owe you an update on the master built-ins.  Hopefully I'll get around to that this week!


Screen Porch: Let's Eat!

I'm happy to say that we are enjoying meals on the porch again thanks to our new table.  We now have so much space to spread out and serve food from the table. Previously, it was hard to have salad plates on the table!!

The table is the Jackson table from World Market and I looooove it.  It's not billed as an outdoor table but I am using it here since it's a really protected porch.  It nearly killed me but I paid full price which I almost never do. BUT, one of my readers is sending me a coupon so I'll try to go back and get a discount retroactively.  What's the worst they can say?

 Regardless, it was worth it.  I love the wood top and metal frame legs.

Surprisingly it even works with the coffee table.

And the bonus is my chair arms fit under the table so they can be pushed under!  Woohoo! It's the little things in life...  Chairs are from Pier 1 if you're curious - they stack and have comfortable arms for long nights of drinking chatting on the porch.

What do you think?  Purchasing any outdoor furniture?

Shared on: Inspired by Charm


Elizabeth's Room: Second Dresser Makeover

I have struggled for a few months with what to do with Elizabeth's room. She has a nice sized room so has plenty of room for everything she needs.  Handy Hubby built her a large bookshelf with loads of space for all of her books and knickknacks (Handy Hubby calls this category her "her little junk").  She has her bed, nightstand, and chair.  She also has a dresser which was handed down to us from Jim's grandmother.

I toyed with putting a desk in her room but since we finished the den right next door, we figure we'll just wait and see whether she does her homework in there or whether she'll do it at the kitchen counter. I'm thinking the latter until she's in middle school then all bets are off.

So, I started thinking about another dresser since her main dresser is really not big enough with only 3 drawers.  Also, the long wall was not really filled.  I looked for a dresser for four months. I wanted to keep the one she has but add a wider one with more drawers. I scoured Craigslist and yard sales. I even emailed Cassie to keep an eye out for me.  Nothing.  Then a few weeks ago, I found this beauty on Craigslist for $50 and only 3 miles away - huge bonus in Northern Virginia!  

Yeah... not so beautiful but good potential and generally in decent shape.  I started by removing the hardware and sanding the body and drawers as much as possible.  Then I realized the bizarre little face plates on the top drawers were plastic and could be popped off easily.  I also removed the bling on the bottom.  Then two coats of white paint (Sherwin Williams Toque White).  I planned to get new hardware but decided to take a thrifty route and try spray painting the existing hardware in Krylon watermelon.  

I think it works with her other dresser and looks really great with her striped nightstand.

I'm still working on some other rearranging in her room.  Hopefully I can show you the whole thing later this week.

Any great cheap furniture finds recently?

Linking to:  Primitive and Proper, Miss Mustard Seed


Date night with Elfa

We had such a great weekend. I went to a HUGE neighborhood yard sale on Saturday where I got some great cheap finds - I spent less than $20!  Because of the crazy storms on Friday night, Elizabeth's soccer and t-ball games were canceled... surprise - a free Saturday!!  So, we took advantage of the low humidity and went for a 10 mile bike ride along the Potomac River.  I know 10 miles doesn't seem like much but for my kids - it's plenty!!  After a yummy trip to District Taco, we swung by the Container Store so I could pick up my latest Elfa love.  I'm officially addicted to Elfa.  

This time I attacked our kitchen closet.  A few months ago, it looked like this on the outside. 

Honestly, the bifold doors were almost never fully closed.  They often were half open or askew in some way. Drove me batty even though I was the culprit 90% of the time. 

So, when we did our screen porch, we had our builder install standard swinging doors.  I am not in any way opposed to bifold doors and we have them in our bedrooms because they save space in the room and allow more flexibility with the furniture arrangements. 

Inside, things were much, much worse. 

I wish I had intentionally messed this up before taking the picture but this is actually not that bad for this closet.  It has been worse in the past.  Something had to be done.  First I cleaned out the stuff that didn't need to be in there or needed to be in the trash (stale chips, anyone?).  Next, it was time to put my most recent Elfa purchases to work...

Handy Hubby installed the standards with standard 3" screws.  

Then I clipped on the shelves which took about 5 seconds each.  No joke. That's why I heart this brand.  45 minutes later and lots of over thinking, here's the result.  

This makes me happy.  This wasn't the only organization project we did this weekend. A certain 6 year old got a little more organization in her room.  More to come later this week.