Monday, August 15, 2016

Weekend Warriors: Two Weeks of DIY

I don't know what's gotten into me, but I've got some serious DIY fever.  Actually I do know what's up: my grandparents are coming to visit! The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of spontaneous activity. 

My DIY fever kicked off when I decided I could not stand the wallpaper in the kitchen for one more night and — luckily — the glue was so old and worn, the wallpaper came off easily in sheets with just little tugs. I removed all the wallpaper in the kitchen and the scraps of backing paper in probably the equivalent of 1.5 hours after work while Sean made dinner. It's shockingly satisfying.

I also removed the cafe curtain on the hall window and now the room is insanely bright. 

Next up: a renovation (no, seriously!).

Meanwhile, I've been on the hunt for a while for the perfect lilac pillows for the living room to pull out some of the purple color in our painting. I looked EVERYWHERE, both at brick-and-mortar stores and online, and found only a few options. Then I happened to walk into World Market and they literally had a display right in the front of lilac velvet pillows in exactly the size I wanted, on sale. I don't ignore fate, so I brought home three pillows and seeing them every day has been delightful.

I had so much weeding to do but there was no way I was even attempting it before 5 p.m. when it got cooler, so I decided to tackle a long-delayed project indoors: hanging my beloved silhouette collection in the guest room. I did a practice layout first in the living room, and took a picture so I'd remember the arrangement. 

I also replaced our side table lamps with these modern brass beauties. I'm kinda in love. 

One of my favorite silhouettes: a watercolor painted silhouette of Oprah by my friend Sarah, who embroidered a pretty silver earring on top.

Another favorite: this custom Bill Murray silhouette gifted by my friend Bret.

And since I had all the hammers, drills and nails handy, I decided it was time to make our entry functional. When we moved in, there were already some screws in the wall in random places, and I basically plopped a mirror and my "mail box" up and left them in the same spot for almost two years. Now, we finally have a functional layout, with this cool zinc mirror from Target that my husband says looks like armor. 

All of this is just practice for our next big project: a kitchen reno. Not planning to actually DIY very much of that, but I have spent the summer pinning inspiration and fine-tuning my design ideas, which hopefully I'll share soon here. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Slow-Going Deck Makeover Vol. 2

Previously, on The World's Slowest Deck Makeover: I explained how we took probably 3-4 weekends to complete the simple task of cleaning, stripping and staining our deck. Next up: Dressing it up!

Last year, I searched far and wide for patio chairs I really liked. None of the sets I saw really appealed to me, and many were well out of my price range. So when I saw the Poinciana metal chairs from World Market, I was so excited! Alas, I shouldn't have been too excited, because those beautiful coral-red chairs faded to the color of Creamsicles within just 2 months of summer sun exposure.

First I tried cleaning them, which helped...a bit. But the damage was done. These chairs were never going to be fiery tomato again. In addition, since we ended up using a red-toned stain for the deck, I wanted to go brighter and cooler with the chair colors and have more contrast.

So it was settled! Time to spray paint. Hot tip: Spray painting takes longer than you ever think it will. It will take more cans that you ever imagined (it took me a can per chair)! Also, you will, despite all efforts to the contrary, end up spray painting your plants. Trust me!

I decided to go with beachy colors: mint, royal blue and lavender. This is a between shot, before I started the last royal blue pair of chairs. All in all, this was probably about 8-9 hours of cleaning, sanding and spraying, because you have to allow the paint to dry between coats. I also had a Classic Amber problem where, possibly due to humidity, the final clear coat caused the mint paint to bubble and I ended up sanding and painting those chairs again. Womp womp.

Once the chairs were complete, I shifted focus to my biggest dream — rigging up romantic patio lights. I read many, many Pinterest tutorials and landed on the idea to place 8-foot poles in planters filled with Quickrete (a fast-drying cement). First, we had to drill holes for eyehooks. Then we mixed the Quickrete while one of us held the poles in place.

I had a grand idea that I would put smaller planters inside bigger planters and top them with annuals. But when we put the smaller planters inside the bigger ones, they of course leaned dangerously and it was clear we'd need something with heft to keep them upright and the answer came to me: play sand! I bought four bags of play sand, filled those bad boys up and they stayed put during a gnarly wind storm. The only problem will be figuring out how to store all this stuff during the winter. Eep.

And, the finished product: our multi-colored chairs are very beachy, which is appropriate when you live this close to the beach.

Our lights are lovely, and we even picked up matching uber-cheap plastic Adirondack chairs from Harris Teeter on super clearance!

At long last, we have a functioning party-ready deck, just in time for crippling and oppressive heat. Can't wait to actually have a party out here!