Archive for August, 2012

Spray Painting A Little Plastic Basketball Hoop

Hoop, there it is. File this under my weirdest “Dude, Get On That Already” challenge to date. Much like many of our other DGOTA adventures, this mini update involves something that sat around bugging me way too long + a trusty ol’ can of spray paint. But this time it’s not an animal. I know. Total shocker.

John actually laughed at me for this little tweak (and I’m fully expecting you guys to as well), but they say it’s the little things that make ya happy… and seeing a bright red and blue plastic hoop against the back wall of our carport every. single. time. we pulled into the driveway (it was so bright you could see it from the curb) did not a happy momma make. And I know it’s dumb, but I worried the neighbors may have thought it was junky and tacky to have a big colorful hoop in plain sight 24/7 (they all do such a nice job to keep their yards looking nice, and many have kids but their toys are tucked away by evening). So because I’m what my dad likes to call “a strange bird” (seriously, I’ve been weird since before it was cool – wait, it’s still not cool?), I’ll share my odd little DIYed hoop-redeeming solution. Just promise not to compare me to Monica from Friends (I don’t fold my underwear, I swear).

First of all, this basketball hoop is super important.

Why? Because it makes Clara a happy girl. And a happy girl = a happy momma. So I devised a way to:

That plan? A can of ORB spray paint. I mean, would you expect anything less from me at this point? I’m definitely not one of those people who thinks all kids toys should be neutral or white or should match the living room. Clara has a ton of brightly colored toys and I’m even the gal who painted her hand-me-down highchair bright yellow, made her a happy little dollhouse with cheerful furniture to match, and painted her formerly neutral wooden crayon truck sky blue

… but after four months of rounding the block and seeing that red ring of fury on that bright blue stem, I realized there had to be a solution that worked for Clara, the hoop, and the mom. I love that bright colors help with development, but I just decided that one item out of many (this girl’s got toys for days!) that’s not a bright color is OK since I’ve never sprayed anything else of hers a muted color (and have actually added color to muted things, like her high chair and her crayon truck… so hopefully it all balances out). And come to think of it, her very favorite “toys” are rocks and sticks, so ORB fits right into that color scheme.

Sadly I didn’t get a good shot of the basketball hoop in all of it’s primary color glory before my paint-fest (bad blogger, no Oreos for you) but I actually made this photoshopped rendering for ya. How nuts am I? Wait, don’t answer that.

In the “real photo” category, you can actually see it peering around the back of the table in this post. See, it’s even brighter in real life than the one in the rendering. Haha.

And you can see how he looked all naked and ready for a new suit in the back yard (I removed the net part for the spraying phase so it wouldn’t get all gunked up).

The thing was visible from space, I tell ya… and then it wasn’t.

Thank you ORB. For those wondering what I used or if it works on plastic, Rustoleum Universal All-Surface spray paint is made to work on plastic and hold up outdoors – it even has a built-in primer for a better hold (I used the oil-rubbed bronze color of course). Total cost: $0, since I already had half of a can leftover from another ORB adventure. And in the time department, it took under twenty minutes to knock this baby out. Fast and free. Why didn’t I do this four months ago?

Just as I suspected, Hooper is a total looker with his new finish. As for why I went with oil-rubbed bronze spray paint, it ties into the carport light and a few other dark accents around the outside of our house and hides more dirt than something lighter/brighter might. No more “Loook! I’m a little plastic hoop! Check me out!” – just chill aloofness and that “I’m cool enough to fall back and do mah thing without demanding everyone’s attention” vibe. And the contrasting white net makes it easy for Clara to slam dunk (it’s not all flat and dark, so she can still clearly see the basket).

Small personal projects like these are my favorite. They might seem completely crazy to someone else (or maybe everyone else, haha) but they really have the power to make your day. It’s kind of like how I’m a terrible baker and you probably couldn’t pay me to attempt a three layer cake but my BFF does that stuff FOR FUN (really?! for fun?!). To each his own (picture me raising a can of spray paint as if to say “cheers”).

So in summary: Mommy likes. And happily, Clara and Daddy like it too. See how he’s hardly visible from halfway down the driveway now? Life is good.

Way better than this, right? And there are still dozens of bright toys in our midst (seriously, you should see our living room right now).

The cutest part is that Clara apparently has a thing for ORB like her momma. She has even taken to calling it her “so so shiny hoop.” Love that girl. And of course she has a whole bunch of multicolored balls that go with it (they tuck away into that storage container next to it) so it’s not a sad little drab thing when it’s in action. Everybody wins.


Except for Burger. He can’t play basketball. Poor guy.

What small-slash-quirky-but-somehow-woefully-overdue updates have you guys been tackling (or planning to tackle)? Do you all think I’m crazy? Anyone else painting something outside? Or do you have a dog who plays basketball? That would be the most impressive of all.



Finally Finished: Our Deck Furniture In Action

Well, our goal was to get to enjoy our deck by Labor Day and we squeaked in with just a few days to spare. And in case you couldn’t tell, I’m jazz hands excited about it. Don’t ask me what this move is called. John just picked up the camera and aimed it at me and this happened. It’s a pose straight out of Kids Incorporated.

We probably would have taken a rickety card table and some metal folding chairs, so we’re psyched to have found actual end-of-season discounted furniture to put out there for the long haul – but we definitely have more in mind for finishing things off (more on that in a minute). Oh and we mentioned that we have to wait a bit to stain or seal this baby (more on that here) so that will definitely add a lot more richness to the wood so it looks a lot more polished.

As for the process of bringing furniture out there, first we plopped our freshly sealed World Market table down in the middle of the deck (centered between our two zippered seams, which will be a lot more obvious when the wood shrinks up a bit and gets sealed/stained so it’s a richer color). You can see from the pic below that there’s not a giant amount of room on each side of the table, but it’s almost three feet (on each side), which is thankfully workable for us. Each board is 6″ wide, so it’s around 32″ of clearance.

Now let’s fast-forward to the fun part. Not only did we add our acacia wood chairs from Joss & Main (which we think will be a similar color to the deck once it’s stained or sealed), but we brought in some pillows, a runner, and some other accessories. Come on, you guys know I couldn’t resist that stuff if I tried. It’s a sickness. I have pillow problems.

Let’s get close enough to lick that yellow chair, shall we?

On the table we have a runner we’ve had for about three years along with a yellow thrift store dish that I use to hold our napkins and some other outdoorsy items (like our yellow gurgle pot, a woven decanter, and some woven cups – all found at HomeGoods over the years). And as for the fun ikat-ish outdoor seat cushion, that’s from Garden Ridge. They have like three giant aisles full of outdoor seat cushions for anyone who’s on the hunt.

And although the space on either side of the table looks a little tight in the shots above, I was just cropping those tighter so my accessories could shine. Haha. And we’re back to pillow problems. Anyway, here’s a better shot from the side so you can see the room behind the chairs (which are pulled out a bit in this shot, but not all the way):

If someone’s in them it usually leaves around a foot and a half for scooting behind them (with someone in the chairs they usually bump out to the other end of the board that they’re on in the pic above, which leaves around 16″ behind them for scooch-age). It’s not enough room to do a pirouette, but it works for slipping by. Whew. We’ve also talked about pushing the table up against either side of the house if we ever want more clearance, but so far it has been all good. You know we’ll keep you posted if we rearrange things though!

But enough layout chitchat. Let’s focus on the important stuff. Like this yellow ceramic fish that makes my heart sing.

Oh yeah, and we still have those bird napkins from Ikea that we used for Clara’s party. They keep making them so every time we slip through we stock up on more. Can’t. Leave. Without. Bird. Napkins.

Here’s a little makeshift  just-for-now corner that I tossed together (mostly for Clara since it’s a nice little play-zone over there). Eventually we’d love to add a larger seat (preferably something plush) along with some large potted plants to lush up that hard little corner of wood and brick (and keep any children from trying to climb over the chair / hop that railing). And of course that woven toy basket does best indoors, so it’s something I just tote in at the end of the evening.

I borrowed the green drum stool from the guest room (originally from HomeGoods for $39), and actually found that rabbit at Marshall’s last week for $12. I think he’s thoroughly enjoying the new deck. Oh and that cactus thing is Clara’s toy but I totally play with it too (it’s by Plan Toys). And this outdoor pillow is also from Garden Ridge.

We set everything out on the deck yesterday afternoon while Clara was napping, so when she woke up we got to do a big reveal for her. Not surprisingly she said “ooh the pretty pretty deck!” and ran over to the little basket of toys that I had dragged out there and went nuts. That’s my girl. And Burger followed right behind her. See him lurking in the bottom corner? He’s just waiting for his turn with the giant orange ball.

Wait, how have we not talked about the yellow chairs?! They were my dream from the very beginning (back when I made this mood board) and although I heard a few tips that they sold them at Menard’s for something like $39, the best I could find (there sadly isn’t a Menard’s in our area) was $51 with free shipping through Joss & Main. But they came painted with outdoor automotive paint (read: durable) and were sealed and ready to be put out (wahoo! no additional prep work like the table and chairs!) so here’s hoping they hold up for a nice long time.

I worried they wouldn’t be comfy at the table since they might be too low or bulky, but with the added seat cushion they’re just the right height (they were a tad too low without it) and the arms actually tuck under the table, so they can even be pushed in. In the end, they’re the best seats in the house on the deck. Here’s Burger demonstrating their comfy-factor. Rough life he has.

Oh and remember how we mentioned that we were required to add a little extra railing to meet our county’s code? Well it’s actually super handy since Clara uses it to get up and down. Wahoo. Although last night we ended up digging out her old baby gate and setting it up in front of the stairs to keep her and Burger hostage on the deck instead of worrying about them running up and down while we’re out there. Worked like a charm.

 And as for our deck plans down the road, we’d love to:

So there you have our freshly furnished deck (at this point the patio is totally complaining because he was completed last year but still only has two adirondak chairs to his name, haha). Someday we’ll get back to that side of the house again. In the meantime, let’s all just take a moment to soak up one universal truth. The weird little alley that we inherited with our house is no more:

Ding, dong, the alley’s dead!

Oh and see that ugly electric meter on the left of the shot above? Ugh. I’m totally planning to paint it to match the brick like we did back in our first house when something similar was cluttering up our patio. It seems like it wouldn’t make much of a difference, but it’s kind of amazing how much paint can help things like that blend. Check out this pic from this old post back in 2009. They’re not invisible, but they’re a lot less “look at me!” than they were when they were all gray. And in our county you own those boxes, so it’s ok to paint them (it’s always good to call your county and check if you can before you have at it).

Oh and since we’re on the subject of what once was, here’s the old view from the hallway off of the living room and kitchen before Project Deck The Alley began. A nice little rotting balcony complete with some weeds and a straight shot at the air conditioner.

And here it is now. Wahooo! No more weediness, rotting wood, or air conditioner in sight!

We’d love to switch those sliders out with french doors to swank things up – in fact we’re pricing out a few options to see if it’s something we can do now (whee!) or something we need to wait and save up a bit more for (womp-womp). Will keep you posted! And as for what big project we’ll be tackling next, we’re debating between whipping our crazy not-even-functional-anymore basement into shape or adding some wainscoting/board & batten to our yawn of a hallway (not our frame one, the one that leads to Clara’s room). We’ll let you guys know where we land as soon as we… land. Haha.

But let’s end this little deck dalliance with the what’s your favorite part game. I’m the most obsessed with the yellow chairs and the ikat cushions. John loves the giant table that he can’t wait to “fill with food.” Perhaps there are gurgle pot lovers out there? Or you’re like Clara and you’re the most into the $2 ball from Target?

Psst- You can see how we planned, sourced, and built this beast of a deck here and see how we planned to furnish things a while back in this little mood board post.