How to create an inspired outdoor space that’ll make you swoon

I have decided that I really want to spend more time outdoors this year.  Relaxing, inspired, bug free time.  So I put it on our budget for this spring to find a gazebo tent with screened sides.

As we searched every online site we could, we ended up finding one that was clearanced out for 1/2 off and ended up being just under $250.  SCORE!   Step one was complete, now for how to find inspiration.

  • I started by finding a shower curtain that I could hang on the back wall.  This helped set the mood and color scheme for the decor.  I chose a fabric shower curtain for two reasons; a) they are more durable than many fabrics and have been sewn around the edges and hemmed.   b) they already have holes cut at the top for a rod (or in our case zip ties).
  • Next I found a chandelier at a garage sale.  I found this one for $5.  It works, it was just a less trendy color of brass.   I gathered up other items that I wanted in the tent.  A basket for reading magazines, some twinkle lights, etc.

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  • I found indoor/outdoor spray paint and painted the basket and chandelier in this great deep teal color.  (the pictures make them look different but the color of the basket below is more accurate)

 

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  • We’ve had a coffee table that I made in high school laying around in our garage for years, so we took that out and decided to add repurposed fending boards to the top.  I cut them all down so they overlapped the top by about 3/4″ on each side.  I then faux distressed a few boards with some white paint and painted the legs of the table white.

 

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  • Now that we had all the pieces, we started assembling it all.  My hubby and I strung up the chandelier from the top, center.  Then took these great white lightes and strung them around the inside of the top. We made it so both cords met up on the same back corner and we zip tied an extension cord in the corner.
  • The original back curtain I had bought wasn’t going to be wide enough, so I found 2 more brown ones on clearance and put those on the sides of the middle one.  I love when things work out perfectly; I was looking for something to hang the curtains from in the garage and I found a 1″ piece of pvc piping that was exactly the right length. AMAZING.   So I got a bunch of zip ties and I zip tied every other hole to the pole.  Then we zip tied the bar to the top of the tent at different points.
  • On the table I added one of my hand painted wine bottle torches.  This one happens to be one that was used at our wedding reception luau so it holds extra sentimental meaning for us.
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Here is our finished results:

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A few other side notes – we plan on keeping this gazebo tent together in this part of the yard for years, so we anchor bolted the legs to concrete blocks on each corner.  If you have tent sides you could also place those behind the fabric background to add protection from the weather.  This tent was going to go in a space right next to our future bunkhouse but instead we decided to put on a different side of our yard that is at the top of a hill so it’s pretty windy.  So my hubby put a couple sheets of plywood behind the curtain and anchored them to 2 metal yard stakes.  This helps prevent the curtain from blowing around.  (similar to if we would have backed it up to a fence or building).

We have this one about 20 feet from our fire pit so it’s incredibly relaxing out there.  If possible I highly recommend putting in a part of your yard where you can relax, the original spot we almost put it left us looking at all the projects we still had to work on so we realized it would be as relaxing there.

One more project checked off our list here at the Little house on the hill.  We have almost been here 1 year now, it’s hard to believe.  We are loving every minute.

Wishing you an inspired day!

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Summer projects with photos

We’ve been working hard around the new house to balance getting projects done and relaxing and enjoying being out in nature.  A few of the highlights:

– The day I got in the car and got one block down the road and noticed something looking back at me from inside the car on the dashboard.  It took my brain a few seconds to even register what it was seeing.. then I realized it was a garter snake.  It stared back at me for a few seconds then as I somehow tried to maintain my composure and not crash into the ditch, it then turned and slithered into the dashboard vent.   I jumped out of my car screaming (how you’d expect) and tried to figure out what to do.  And that folks is how I met our first neighbor..  me totally freaking out like the biggest city girl ever.   I ended up leaving our car in their driveway for a few hours until I got up the nerve, put on socks, tucked my pants in, tennis shoes and gloves and marched over there determined not to be beaten by a snake.   It was one of my bravest moments as I got in my car and drove it back home.   Thankfully my husband is a badass and drove the car the next day for me and sure enough, the snake slithers down out of the dashboard onto the passenger foot area and he got it out of the car for me.  My real life HERO.

– Another funny story happened just the other day.  We were painting the house and Bruce brought the car over and we were thoroughly enjoying some 80’s music.  A few hours later he started the car just to make sure that the battery didn’t die.  He walked into the house to check on something and I was on the deck getting more paint and suddenly I saw the car jerk into motion and swerve up onto the driveway and then back down again until a hundred plus feet later it crashed into a tree.   All I could do is watch it happen in slow motion..

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I’m glad that we can laugh about it.  Bruce was able to pull most of the dented area back out and order a new headlight.  Someday we’ll replace the car but for now, it’s paid for and we have a ton of other projects we want to spend money on so it’ll have to do for now.

I’ve been busy with some projects around that house that I’ll be sharing soon.  For now though I’ll share a few fun ones that I’ve managed to take pictures of.    I’m a thrifty gal, I love a good deal.  Boy did we find one with this set.

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  I scored this huge hutch, armoire and queen bed set all for only $200.  Solid wood.   I was so excited.   Of course we painted it all.  Sky claimed the armoire and painted it white.  I claimed the bed and we also painted that white.   And the hutch, I admit I had a symbolic life moment of choice.  I really wanted to go with a bold color and add some fun into the dining room, but my sensible side was telling me to just do it white.  I’m glad I let my fun side win out.

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On the back of the mirror above I also experimented with taking part of the back of the mirror off to give it an antiqued feeling.  I still have lots to learn but it was a fun project.  I then put some neutral wrapping paper behind it so that is what is showing through the clear parts (instead of the chipboard mirror backing).

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This summer has been all about surrendering.  Things taking longer than I thought they would. Being okay in the midst of boxes still unpacked.  Having fun along the way.

As I unpack and set up each room I’m been working hard to only put things in this house that we love and that are part of the life we want to have here.   I’ve been reading, “The life changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo.  Also some books on Feng Shui and decor.   Really trying to hold each item and feel how it makes me feel.  Some rooms have been a slow unfolding for this reason others had to be set up and I’ll continue going through them later.  I’m loving what is happening though as I continue to make sure we don’t overcrowd this house and instead allow room for future great finds on vacations and future projects.

One of my favorite spots in the house.  These pieces are right next to the computer desk area in the living room.  The top one is a shadow box from my Europe trip last year.  A postcard from Germany, my Eiffel Tower ticket.  A rock from the Mediterranean in Nice, France and some coins.  When I look at that box it makes me think of what is possible. The connect to others around the world. Friendships formed. dreams. Feeling on top of the world.

The box below it to the left is one Bruce and I made a couple years ago as we worked to put our goals out into action.  A nature style cabin/house in the background.  In front of it; all our credit cards that we cut up. It was our message to ourselves and the universe that we were doing what it took to make our dreams a reality. That we would be really careful with our spending, save, be wise and it would get us to our home.

The to the right of that, a 2D sculpture that Skylar did a few years back. To me it reminds me to consider the earth, its sacredness but also sometimes let loose and howl.

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I’ll get some before and after shots of more actual projects for my next update.  In the meantime here are a couple other random fun shots.

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Thanks for letting me share what we’ve been up to here.  I can’t wait to share more of the big ones.

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Thrifty Thursday – pallet side table

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Fun side table – from pallets

My hubby is lucky enough to get these great fee pallets every once and awhile from work, we love making fun projects from them.  I was using two tv trays in front of a window to hold our plants, it was time to make something more permanent.  We found some table legs that had been in our garage for years, we never knew what to do with them.  I drew up some plans and had my hubbs help me make this.

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Bruce assembling the top and bracing onto the legs.

Aspen helping out too:

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All finished!  Here it is before I paint it:

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I love the painting part, lots of water mixed with paint to “age” the wood.  Then fun pops of reds, teals, greens, browns, whites.  Partially just colors I enjoy and partially to match our decor.   The legs were a blackish/green when we pulled them out of the wood pile. Originally I planned on painting the whole table white but once it was together I loved the contrast.  I instead added some touches of color to the legs, a bit of copper, browns, and reds. I love the final result:

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This setup means so much to me.  The legs came from my dad years ago.  Aspen helped me paint the flower pots.  The plants are from my ex-father-in-laws funeral. The metal cage used to be my moms along with the lamp on the bottom shelf.  Skylar painted the frame on the bottom left and it has her picture in it.  The silhoette on the bottom is of my mom, the painting behind it is one by Aspen.  And the cardinals on the top shelf were a gift from me to Bruce, they are two cardinals snuggled up together.   Whew, a table build by me and my love and full of meaningful things from people around me present and past.  Love love love.

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Thrifty Thursdays – Pallet fun

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I am amazed at all the awesome things people do with pallets.  I’ve read some incredible blogs about people who have done entire floors of them and they look amazing if done right.  Pinterest is a super fun place to check out more ideas.

When I got my art studio last year I needed a cost effective, fun, artsy table solution. One that didn’t seem intimidating to paint on, drip on and felt like it fit in my studio.

My awesome hubby helped me build a table and shelves. I wanted to share.

You can find free pallets behind buildings; just ask them first.  Almost always they’ve told me to help myself when I’ve asked.  When using pallets also do some research, some are made with toxic coatings, so do an online search and there is plenty of info on what to look for to make sure they’re safe to be in your home.

 

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After I closed the studio I painted the table white so it’s be a bit more neutral:

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I also sell a prints mounted on pallet boards.  It’s been a really fun way to showcase art with a urban/upcycled feel:

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 into this:

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Enjoy!  Happy Creating.

 

Thrifty Thursdays – Covered bench makeover

 

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I absolutely love to find solid wood furniture that just needs a little pick me up.  This looked great in the room it was in but my daughter wanted it for her Paris, hip themed room. So some black paint and funky zebra fabric and viola! Beautiful and new feeling.  Enjoy!

For this one we unscrewed the top from the base. Painted the base with primer then black paint.  Using heavy duty staples I stapled the new fabric to the underside of the top.  Picturing the top as a clock, staple at 12 o’clock, then 6, then 3, then 9.  Then fill in the spaces between. Making sure to pull taught and even.  Screw back on the base and your set.

 

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What are your favorite furniture makeovers? I’d love to hear.

 

 

 

 

Thrifty Thursdays – End Table Makeover

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End Table Makeover

I LOVE to get my hands on ugly furniture and make them over.  Sometimes I do intricate painting on them other times I just need something to match my decor and I know I’ll change it again later.

This is an end table my sweet mother in law gave me, she knew I could find a way to paint it and give it an updated look.  I’m going to be repainting it soon after our home remodel is done but it did it’s job well while being carried around tons by the 3 year old. I intentionally scratched it up a bit when I did it. This gave it a distressed look right away and no one was afraid to use it.  If I was doing a more permanent job on it I would have sanded it well and primed it first before painting.  For what I needed it for just painting it seemed to work just fine.  Enjoy! Do you ever paint paint furniture to match a wall in your house?  Even if it’s a trendy one that you know you’ll be re-painting?  I’d love to hear your makeover stories! Share in the comments below.

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Thrifty Thursdays – New blog series debut

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Welcome to my new Thrifty Thursday blog!

I love to live  life where I save money on the things that I can so I have money to do the amazing things I REALLY want to use my money on. For me that is traveling, and currently paying off the mortgage.   To accomplish those things and still live a good life I love to find unique and fun ways that fit into my lifestyle but also save money, reduce waste or help save something from a landfill.

Here is a BIG difference between me and some other thrifty, money saving bloggers.  I REFUSE to take on a “thrifty, bargain basement mindset”.  I live an abundant life, full of great blessings, family, a business I love and I believe we should surround ourselves with things we love (like art!) 🙂    I think it’s important to know why your saving money, do not fall into a “I’m poor” mentality.  I know people of all income levels that struggle with money, I know people of all income levels that feel abundant and happy.  It seems to be the American way for us to live a bit beyond our means no matter what we make.   I’m putting my foot down.  I refuse.  We work hard in our family to not use our Credit cards, pay cash for things in full and still live a great life.

We are just beginning the process of painting all the trim in our home, next we’ll be ripping off all the sheetrock in our kitchen, living and dining room.  Our house was built many years ago and it greatly suffers on proper insulation.  In the last year we’ve done 2 bedrooms and re-insulated. I can hardly believe the difference.  Since we do it all ourselves, it’s relatively cheap to do. (A couple hundred bucks).  But the savings on our heating and a/c bills are huge without leaks all over the place.  I realized when I found a vine from our fence outside that had made it’s way under the wall and was growing up into our living room awhile back that somewhere there is something wrong.   So today I’ve been home with Aspen, we’ve been painting trim all day.  It was going really good til he went rogue and painted the doorknobs.  He is 3, so ….

I look forward to sharing great bulk cooking recipes, ideas and other cheap food ideas.  I also LOVE to find furniture and other pieces and give them new life.  It one time took me 8 hours to sew a pair of rectangle curtains… so I’m not very talented in that area. However, there is much room for growth.  I have a few basic things that I’ve done in the last few years that have saves us big time. Good think for me I only needed to sew rectangles on those…     I also want to share ideas on how to save money and do other things, like giving up things that it seems like “everyone else” has.   And lastly I love talking about money and the mindset of money.  How to change our thinking so we don’t shut off abundance and blessings from flowing in, how to keep ourselves connected and in the flow of money.

Today’s topic: Clutter and Stuff

Tip:  When you buy, are given things, or receive gifts. In your mind categorize them into these categories:

Lifers: They are things we will use and keep for as long as possible. They are heirlooms, art, some decorative things.

Passing Through: These are things you will need and value but won’t need them forever.  Things such as baby items, toys, baby furniture, etc.  Items for an event (Example; when we got married we had a luau in our backyard for our reception.  We had bought a trellis, some silk flowers that were mixed in with real flowers, other decor, a tiki bar, etc.  Once the wedding was done we knew we didn’t have room for them anymore.  So we sold them all.)   These are things that you can re-sell, donate or pass on to others who need them when you are finished with them.  Don’t mistake these for the first group.  This is where clutter begins, we think because these items were special during a certain time period that we need to save them or hang on the them.  You don’t. Free yourself.  Take some nice photos of them to remember them and let them move on to others who will be grateful for them.

Fillers: These are things that are hand-me-downs, thrift store finds that you don’t love but needed until you can find exactly what you want or afford.  My entire first apartment was filled with these. It was cute but as I’ve gotten older I’ve been able to be a bit more picky about what I surround myself with.  I know really aim to have NOTHING in our home that we don’t use or REALLY love.  We rarely keep stuff anymore just because, or because it’ll do.

Projects:  These are things you pick up to re-do, makeover.  Art projects, hobbies, etc. These are things that make you happy and feel good.   A few years ago my dad after years of raising 5 kids and after my mom had passed away had to analyze his hobbies.  He was realizing he had more hobbies than he did time to do them.  Guiter, building and fixing boats, cars, woodworking, and a few others.  So he picked his top 2 and had to let the others go. This actually helped free him up so he could really dive in and enjoy those.

Momentos:  Yearbooks, photos, old trophies, concert booklets and guides, etc.   Pick a box or tote and make a pledge to only hang onto that much.  This is key for raising kids too.  Realistically they aren’t going to want 7 bins of momentos when they move out someday.  Pick the best, more memorable. Take photos of the others and put them in an album and add that in.

Here are a few things that for me where in the Passing Through group. I had them in my studio last year. It was fun to work on them and fun to see them all find great new homes when I was done with them:

If you have things to sell try ebay, craigslist, garage sales, giving away, consignment shops or donate!  You’ll feel amazing as you start to clear out things that no longer have a place in your home. Plus energetically and physically you’ll be making room for things that genuinely make you feel good.