Archive for April, 2011
Note: This is a retroactive post that I cobbled together in December of 2011 so I could make this page full of monthly recaps for the entire year (our first in our new house!). Yup, I’m just a bit type A. So here’s what we tackled throughout the month of April – high school yearbook style.
Most Outdoorsy: Digging Out The Liriope That Covered Nearly 80% Of The Future Patio Area
Most Domestic: Making Sue The Napkin into Sue The Pillow
Biggest Crybaby: Sharing Clara’s Terrifying Slash Miraculous Birth Story
Most Likely To Result In Cursing: Having An Epic Battle With My Sewing Machine And Squeezing Out A Party Banner
Hoppiest: DIYing An Easter Basket For Clara
Most Illuminating: Finishing Off The Freshly Built Console Table With Some Lamps & Other Accessories
Most Eco: Getting A Rain Barrel On Earth Day
Most Mature: Making New Wood Look Old
Most Likely To Result In Paint In Your Hair: Painting John’s Sister’s Apartment (along with making a photo wall for another relative and another DIY baby book)
Biggest Relief: Finishing The Big Console Table Build
Best Editing: Removing One Of The Most Oddly Placed Lights In The History Of The World
Most Well Hung: Finally Completing Our Hallway’s Double Sided Frame Gallery
Most Type-A: Hanging Two Mirrors-Turned-Dry-Erase-Boards In The Office For Compulsive List-Making
Least Type-A: Confessing My Goo-Related Secret (ok, and rectifying it with some good old fashioned elbow grease)
Biggest Metal Heads: Tweaking A Large Set Of Iron Keys (and hanging them with twine as art)
Most Rebellious: Painting A Chair (yeah… it didn’t work)
Biggest Procrastinator: Organizing Our Closet (it only took us four whole months)
Biggest Slob: Sharing A Tour Of Our Not-So-Perfect (aka: Pretty Darn Messy) House
Least Successful: Attempting To Save My Brutally Injured Ceramic Dog
Note: For those reading this post during happy hour, feel free to turn it into a drinking game and take a sip every time you read the word liriope. Or maybe just a half-sip. Don’t want things to get crazy.
That’s right, in the words of Cee Lo we said “forget you” (yes, we prudes sing the PG version) to the insane ten-ish rows of liriope. And John only had to dig about half of it up thanks to two friends of ours who came over to help / steal some for their own homes in the liriope digging party to end all parties (we were happy to repay them with all the free liriope they could grab). Everyone used the shove-the-shovel-under-each-clump-and-step-on-it-to-pop-it-out method, and it worked like a charm. I think with three people the whole thing took a total of around 2.5 to 3 hours. And I got to hang out inside with Clara, except when we were making various patio-digging appearances to boost morale and bring ice water to the crew.
After the dirt settled we were left with a nice bare area that will soon become about two-thirds of our patio (the brick path still needs to be removed before we can begin digging out and leveling the soil for the next phase of the project which involves tamping, gravel, and sand).
So although we have a lot ahead of us, we’re just happy to finally be getting started after lots of talk. And there’s something about looking at a newly bare area that enables you to envision things so much more easily (like, say, a patio) that you couldn’t quite picture as well with all that dastardly liriope around.
We already shared this odd little photoshopped sketch to give you a vague idea of what we’re envisioning…
… and when it comes to the materials, we’re planning to use cobblestone pavers very similar to the ones in our driveway…
… but in order to get the best deal we priced some out at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and a local place called Southside Building Supply. The local guys won out with the best price per square foot by around 40 cents (and happily had just a two day delivery turnaround), but we’ll share more info, photos, and prices of the actual pavers once they arrive and we (hopefully) get ‘em laid (that’s what she said). And you know we like to overshare when it comes to the deets, so here’s the boring stuff that we did first for anyone at home who’d like to
play along with us patio-fy with us:
- talked for way too long about possible dimensions and even used a garden hose to map out possible shapes
- schlepped around to those paver places that we mentioned above to find the best deal (more on that when the pavers arrive)
- called Miss Utility to confirm that there’s nothing buried under that area that we could dig into and somehow ruin (Miss Utility might be the local name, but they’re a public service group who contacts gas and water and electrical companies who then come out to mark things that are underground)
- dug out that pesky liriope (but we still have to remove the brick path, dig out more dirt, level things, add gravel, add sand, etc)
- made sure our bank account could support a pretty pricey project (well at least to us – the stone and other supplies like gravel, sand, & tools along with delivery costs may be around 1K, but considering we paid nearly 3K for our last patio, which was smaller, to be put in by the pros just weeks before our backyard wedding, we’re psyched to hopefully save a lot by doing it ourselves this time)
Thankfully we got confirmation that there’s nothing lurking under that side of the house from Miss Utility and we think we’ve even finalized a plan when it comes to cobblestone paver type as well as patio shape. More info/pics/sweating/rambling as we go. In the meantime, have any of you guys laid your own patios complete with digging, leveling, tamping, and lots of gravel and sand? We’re obnoxiously excited about it. Seriously, we need to get a life.
Psst- We announced this week’s contest winners, so click here to see if you’re one of them.
Psssst- Liriope, liriope, liriope. Just kidding.
Duuuuude. I got back on the proverbial sewing machine horse. What? You haven’t heard that expression. Whatever. The point is: Sue the Napkin is now Sue the Pillow! Or more accurately Sue The Pillows (yup, I made two of them).
Here are my materials:
- Four Sue The Napkins (I originally got ten when we found them on clearance at Crate & Barrel, but I picked up four more so I could make two pillows using four of them and still have ten leftover to use as dinner napkins).
- Oh Brother (my
trustysewing machine, more on him here)
- Two old pillows to use as the “inside” of my new Sue pillow covers
- A needle and some brown thread to sew one edge of the pillow shut by hand (that way I can easily seam rip that last portion to free the pillow inside and make a different cover down the line if I’d like).
I’ll spare you every detail, but I basically just stacked two napkins on top of each other with the good printed side touching (and the back of the fabric showing on the top and the bottom of the stack) and used my sewing machine to sew three of the four sides completely shut while it was all inside out like that. I even turned the corner and did about an inch or two on each end of the remaining fourth side while they were still inside out on the machine. Then I removed the napkins and turned them right side in, stuffed a pillow inside my little napkin envelope (which now had the printed side facing out), and stitched the remaining expanse of about 10″ closed by hand with my brown thread (which blends in surprisingly well).
mentioned complained about before, I’ve ironically never had an issue with sewing by hand (it’s like painting by hand or demo-ing by hand, both of which I can do – I only have issues when I rely on a maniacal robot sewing machine). But as much as I whine about the ol’ new sewing machine, it did me right for my little pillow party. Am I a professional seamstress? No. Can I sew three straight lines without ending up with a birdsnest-looking-pile-o’-thread? I did this time. Strike up the band! Cue the fireworks!
And on the surprisingly-not-as-annoying-as-I-thought-it-would-be side of things, it only took me about four commercial breaks during Modern Family to whip up both pillows (so maybe about 12 minutes total? I was watching last week’s episode by the way, so don’t ruin this week’s for me).
Then I just stitched them closed during Bethenny Ever After (this took me much longer than it should have because I kept stopping to stare at the screen and guffaw at my imaginary BFF). But all in all, they look
a lot less demented much better than I expected. Actually – dare I say it? – like real pillows.
Oh and as pretty as the pillows look when they’re all fluffed and photographed for the blog, more often than not they really look like this. Because Burger makes it a personal goal of his to squish every pillow in the house into an ugly little blob. But he’s cute so we deal with it.
Sometimes he even stops to nuzzle Sue, as if to say “you’re my favorite napkin-turned-pillow too.” It’s always nice to get pillow validation from an eight pound chihuahua.
So that’s the tale of Sue The Pillow(s). Have you guys sewn any napkin pillows lately? Did you die over the whole Gloria hair-rings/earrings thing on Modern Family last week? Me too. Can’t wait to watch this week’s episode tonight.