Our first San Diegan heat wave hit this past weekend! On Mother’s Day, we slowly watched that temperature gauge crawl from 72 to 85 to 93! We usually don’t see the likes of those types of numbers until fall, but clearly summer is on its way.
Anna Kate and I added these two new style boards to the gallery as an ode to warm weather. And when it does cool back down at night (as it still so often does in the spring), don’t forget that super soft cardigan for layering.
Here’s AK’s board:
It’s already so hot here in AZ, y’all. I know half the country is still thawing, but we are well on our way to Summer! So, I’m dreaming of shorts and sandals during the day, and cute colorful sweaters to throw on in the slightly cooler evenings. These shorts are so fun for Spring, and despite what you might think, the stripes are really versatile. I would wear them with a neutral shoe and bag, and add pops of color with a red sweater and bright bangle.
And as a San Diego tribute to the climate change? Dresses, leather sandals and bold jewelry. I especially adore anything that goes from day to night seamlessly, including maxis in florals and statement necklaces.
I have a maternity-dedicated line up coming soon for all of you mommas out there that are in my same boat – speaking of, today the calendar tells me I have just five weeks to go! Wow. Here’s hoping that beautiful baby girl shows up before we reach 90 degrees again.
Posted in Anna Kate's Style Boards, Party, Spring, Summer, Wardrobe | 2 Comments »
Very recently I received an email from HomeAdvisor with their Top 10 Spring Maintenance Task List. It was a helpful reminder that come spring, it’s time to tend to some of those loooong overdue annual maintenance projects and to finish up some big not-at-all-appealing-but-necessary household tasks (dirty stain riddled patio and clotted gutters – I’m talking to you).
I reconciled the HomeAdvisor list with our own – we have a few big projects that we plan on tackling over the next month such as aerating and reseeding our lawn, restaining several pieces of outdoor furniture, and patching and repainting a few spots in both the kitchen and my office – and we have also just recently tackled a couple of other spring maintenance projects such as washing our windows and professionally cleaning the carpet in our living room and guestroom. None of it is sexy, but so goes the life of a homeowner.
When HomeAdvisor asked me if I’d like to try out one or two of their recommended pros to knock a few more items off of our to-do list, I jumped at the chance to tackle a couple of spring projects that have perhaps waited far too long for any attention. And to have a professional opinion and to complete the work on a time table that was not our own? Huge bonus.
When you have done so much work on your home personally, outsourcing a project to a pro can be nerve wrecking. I have found that the biggest challenge by far is finding someone who comes with solid recommendations, is licensed and bonded, is as detail oriented as I would be, and who is within budget. And finding five of those types of people to compare and choose from? Really tough to do on your own.
Here’s a little on how the HomeAdvisor website works:
My first bit of research was on expected cost. What exactly does one pay a professional to power wash a couple of years of grime off of your back patio and outdoor bbq area, for example? This helpful cost guide breaks out just about any service by local and national average, and gives you a few clues on what types of questions to be prepared with when discussing your project with your potential contractor match-ups.
Turns out power washing a big outdoor area with the appropriate boiling hot temperature for moss/mildew/hard-to-break-up-dirt-spots runs the average homeowner about $323. It’s much more pleasant to walk into a meeting with a potential hire with a price gauge in mind so that you can make an educated hiring decision. Click on the blue title in this Spring Maintenance List to see where various projects fall, and check out even more cost guide ideas here.
I played around with this feature for lots of project ideas before settling on two very much needed items from our personal spring list: fixing a broken gasket on our guest bathroom toilet (nobody likes to go for a roller coaster ride when they sit down) and installing landscape lighting to both provide a little added security and highlight all of the neat hard/softscape surfaces and plants that we’ve worked so hard to build and plant.
Here’s the before of our home when we moved in:
And the landscaping as she sits today:
Yep, painting the retaining wall is totally on our spring list as well, and the trim is a decidedly almost white these days as opposed to the trim sparring wars that the windows are having here. Our neighbors must think we’re crazy.
But that awesome flagstone path would look great with a little lighting, and the olive trees (just a few years old and already so big!) would look awesome with a few spotlights. The side yard? Can’t wait to see how the deck looks with a few well-placed uplighting accents, and I’ll feel much safer at night when I can turn on the lights near our big doors and windows when I’m alone.
Next up was hiring that pro! After filling out a bit of information on the type of project, the specs of our home and our location, HomeAdvisor sent our details off to be properly matched with the folks in their database. The process from my end was easy peasy, and very shortly I had qualified contractors reaching out to me with when they could stop by to bid.
Our landscape lighting contractor pick arrives tomorrow to install the correct transformer and wire the low voltage outdoor lighting throughout the front, side and back yard. Will keep you posted!
And if you want to check it out, here’s the button to get you started:
We partnered with HomeAdvisor to spread the word on their pro matching services, but the opinions and feedback are all our own. Feel free to reach out if you have any further or more specific questions about our experience.
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I have a fun project to share with you today!
I’ve been on the hunt for a neat centerpiece (to either DIY or buy) for the big outdoor table that Kevin built on our new deck and am so happy with how this oversized planter’s box project has turned out. My favorite might be the pops of color in the form of five added geometric hexagons.
Succulents and I get along really well, and they look so pretty all together in one large container! I’ve been wanting to play with them more in our garden in unique ways, maybe even designing a succulent wall along the back bbq area.
The hexagon pattern wraps over the top edges of the box and along one corner as well, I love the symmetrical pattern and how the painted shapes work together but provide their own little bursts of bright, unexpected color.
I was actually inspired to finally getting around to finishing this project by Katie and Sherry’s Spring Pinterest Challenge:
It provided the inspiration needed to pull my materials together and take a couple of hours to build, stain, paint and plant my new succulent centerpiece. The goal of the challenge is to take a pinned idea and make it happen – here’s my pinned inspiration:
Let’s get into the nitty gritty…
The process for building my initial planter was pretty simple. To keep material costs on the low end, I purchased a single piece of 24×28″ plywood from Lowe’s and asked the technician to cut the board horizontally into three strips that were 24×6.5″ in size and the remaining 24×6.5″ piece into two 6.5″ square sides. That used up just about every inch of the wood perfectly (I had just one large rectangle left over).
Cutting plywood often causes freying at the edges so if I had needed a more exact cut I might have opted for real (rather than compressed) wood instead. But this worked out perfectly as the cuts were kept to a minimal and the plywood cost just $6! And all of the cuts were made at Lowe’s so I didn’t have to bring the board home, pull out the table saw and add that extra step to the process.
Thanks, Lowe’s man.
To nail the box together I used small tack nails that I had on hand.
As well as my trusty floral hammer! No need to dig through the garage and pull out a massive hammer from the tool chest, I really love having my smaller-than-average tools in my office and waiting for everyday use.
I placed a nail every 3″ or so along all edges of the box that met with another edge. 32 nails and one finger later, and the planter box was assembled.
To hide the silver tops of the nails, I used a stainable wood filer that we had on hand (but I would say that this step is optional).
And to remove any pesky store barcode stickers (why do they make them actual stickers??), a little Goo Gone.
We have a decently sized stain collection from various projects in our garage so I chose from two of the lighter finishes. I ended up using both the “ash” and “oak” (oak first followed by a quick layering of ash) to give the box a slightly birchy, slightly weathered look.
With the glare of the light it’s hard to see the finished stain coat here, but the coloring came out just as I had hoped.
I stained the first few inches of the inside of the box as well, the rest will be filled with soil and will be pretty much unnoticeable.
To make my hexagon painted shapes, I printed out a basic hexagon outline (using the Illustrator shapes feature) on to cardstock. Feel free to download my copy here. Laying out the cut out shapes in various formations helped me to come up with a final pattern.
Using that pattern as my template, I taped out the various paintable hexagons one at a time.
And slowly filled in the taped off areas with various colors. You can see that I left a sliver of wood showing between each shape, I love that little detail.
Press down solidly on those edges to prevent any under tape bleeding! And as soon as you’ve applied the paint to the wood, pull up that tape right away for a flaw free line.
Next up was planting. I found it was cheaper to purchase most of my succulents in one large prearranged plastic round planter from Lowe’s (that I broke apart and replanted), then supplemented with littler containers and cactus from our garden.
A new, pretty centerpiece that is just the right size for our 12 person table. This will look great in the summer for outdoor picnics and parties – I’m picturing a pretty table set in whites and navy blues, or even pinks and mint greens to compliment the colors of the planter box.
The hexagon shapes are definitely my favorite part.
Here’s a link to my previous Pinterest Challenge projects (including the fireplace facade that has an exciting announcement to make soon, an ombre step stool for Liv, faux gold mercury glass, a chevron cloth napkin project, a painter’s tape stenciled hallway and so many more fun ideas…).
Tags: Accessories, Crafty Solutions, Decorating, DIY, Gold, Home, Paint, Patterns & Color, Pink, Pinterest Challenge, Teal, Turquoise, Tutorial, white, Yellow
Posted in Construction, Crafty Solutions, DIY, Downloadables, Favorites, Gardening, Handmade Gifts, Home, Our Yard, Renovating Adventures | 6 Comments »