...because home doesn't happen overnight.

You saw my house number pillows a few days ago.  I bought ready-made outdoor pillows and simply painted them.  Here’s how I did it.

I gathered the following supplies:  pencil, ruler, fabric paint, fabric brush, small cheap-o paintbrush (not shown), cardboard (not shown) and pillow cover. 

First, I washed and air-dryed each pillow cover.  Always prewash any fabric that will be painted.  Next, I slid a square of cardboard into my pillow cover to catch any paint that might bleed through.

Then I traced a border around the front of my pillow cover using a pencil and ruler.  This was a very rough sketch.  I figured since the pillows would mostly be seen from the road, perfection wasn’t necessary.  (Plus, I’ve given up on perfection since having 2 boys.)  Once my border was established, I free-handed a number inside it.  Again, the number sketch was loose.  If I thought it needed beefed up in a spot, I just drew another line…no erasing…the pencil lines will wash out the next time I throw it in the washer.

I used a fabric paintbrush to trace all outlines of the border and number with black fabric paint.  Fabric paintbrushes have firm and stiff bristles, so you can get a good clean edge.

I purposefully drew large, beefy numbers to enhance their visibility from afar since they’d be outside. 

I filled in the traced outline with one of my kids’ cheap-o paint brushes.  (Yes, the ones they use in those pseudo-watercolor activity books.)  Any small brush with a flat,wide head would work fine.

I followed the instructions on my fabric paint label and allowed each cover to dry for 4 hours.  I repeated all steps to make 4 separate pillows.  (It actually took me about 3 days to get ‘em all done and dried.  I just worked when I could…usually when my boys were napping.)  Once again, the final product…along with a cutie pie…

According to the fabric paint label, I could wash the painted covers after 3 days.  I haven’t done that yet.  There are a few stray pencil marks that didn’t get painted over but you’d never know just looking at them from the road…or even up close.  They should wash away easily in the first wash, so I’m not fretting about ‘em.  I’m glad I made the numbers BIG and dark.  They’re easily seen from the street.  Handy Hubby was the one to suggest painting a border.  I’m happy I took his advice; it gives the pillows a more polished look.

So, there you go.  Easy house number pillows.  In total, this project cost me $45…the cost of the pillows themselves and the fabric paint.  Everything else I already had on hand.  Although we own our home, this would be a great *temporary* house number idea for renters. 

And just for fun since it’s a long weekend…before-and-after shots of the front porch.

  

05.27.10 / Hold the Mayo

I salvaged this chair from the side of the road last summer in the pouring rain and gave it new life with some wood stain and custom cushions.

My boys gave it yet another life last week…as a toy.  I found Layne in the family room preparing an “Everett Sandwich” with the chair’s cushions.

I don’t know about you, but I could totally eat him up.

05.26.10 / No Net

I recently performed a high-flying, death-defying act sans a net…all in the name of house cleaning.  Note the circled window below.  (This picture was taken before our landscaping upgrade.)

That single solitary window has been my archnemesis for the last 2 years.  It’s the window in our 2-story foyer.  The good news is it floods our entryway and second floor landing with tons of natural light.  The bad news is it’s difficult to clean.  As in, it has never been cleaned since we moved in 2 and 1/2 years ago.  At least, the interior side has never been cleaned.  It’s easy enough for me to pop out of the adjacent window (to the left) and hobble across the porch roof to wipe down the exterior pane of this foyer window.  But inside, it’s a totally different ballgame.  That is, until last week.  I dragged Handy Hubby’s extending ladder into the house from the Man Shed.  Then I patiently waited…and waited…and waited…for Handy Hubby to “spot” me on my mission.

Okay, so it kinda freaked me out that Handy Hubby decided to leave his “spotting” post and walk upstairs to snap a picture of me in action.  (Seriously, it might look like I’m smiling but that’s really an “Eeeee!  Get back down here!”)  Normally, I’m not afraid of heights but Handy Hubby thought it would be fun to repeatedly ask me if I had locked all the ladder extension joints.  I was 99.9% sure that I had but that other 0.1% had me shaking in my shoes.

Besides cobwebs and smeared glass, I discovered spider and ladybug carcasses.  That damn windowsill was an insect graveyard!  I don’t recall any other windows in our home attracting so many bugs to die in their sills.  It must have been the profuse light drawing them hither to their final breaths.  (Insects do breathe, right?)  Anyhow, I gladly swiped all the bugs, cobwebs and grime away.  I also retrieved an elastic hair band that my 5-year-old had whipped into the foyer light fixture months ago.  (You know, he likes to pretend my hair ties are slingshots.)  In doing so, I realized how dirty the light was and dusted it off too.  Heck, why not?  Since I was already up there and all.  Nothing like killing two birds with one stone – metaphorically speaking - although I am scared of birds for some reason.  Maybe it’s because they’re always pooping on me.  I know what you’re saying…it’s good luck to be pooped on by a bird.  But I don’t think the person saying that has ever been crapped on by a seagull ACROSS THE UPPER LIP.  I have.  While lying on the beach.  It’s runny and warm and outright disgusting.  Poop-staches are not lucky, people! 

But I digress.  I now have a clean foyer window and light fixture.  And one more hair band for ponytails.

For more details on how I clean my windows, go here.

The sun is shining!  Finally!  Here are the pics I promised, ending the past week’s series:  Takin’ It Outside.  In addition to updating our landscaping with sweeping mulch beds and leafy trees, I planted a few perennials from my favorite local nursery.  I took my camera loaded with photos of our new landscaping and a very helpful nursery employee recommended perennials to fill up some open areas in the mulch beds.  (I’m clueless when it comes to gardening, but I made sure to note which direction each bed faces…south, north, etc….so the nursery employee could suggest the proper plants.)

Under the birch tree I planted a trio of knockout rose bushes.

Just opposite of the roses, on the other side of the birch, is a trio of Little Henry itea (only 2 shown in this pic).

Our happy little sunroom corner with the weeping cherry got a new friend in the way of a hydrangea.  (We’re on the hunt for some natural stones to make a rock path between the weeping cherry and hydrangea back to the water spigot.)

As of right now it has blue blooms.  However, without altering the soil, they should turn to a lilac pink within a year.

Even the Man Shed looks peppier with some perennials.

3 spirea and 1 lilac bush fill in the once empty bed nicely.

A small bed around our mailbox displays barberry shrubs, salvia and a mini-evergreen.

That brings us full circle to the front porch.  I’ve been showing you snippets of the pew’s progress…

Well, after removing the red fabric, cutting down the back, sanding the entire thing, priming and painting…whew!…it has made an appearance on our front porch.  (Thank you, Handy Hubby!)

I couldn’t find a rug quite long enough to run the length of the pew, so I purchased 2 runners from Overstock and laid them end-to-end.  I’m totally in love with the geometric print – not only because it’s modern – because it hides dirt.

The green garden stool came from Overstock, too.  It’s the perfect height for setting a glass of ice water on next to the pew.  The bright green adds a pop of color to an otherwise neutral porch.

I’m always seeing flower pots lined up and painted with house numbers like this…

(courtesy of The DIY Show Off)

But that would require me to keep more plants alive, and I’m maxed out on my Mother Nature nurturing at the moment.  Instead, I came up with an idea to paint our house number onto 4 separate outdoor pillows.  The pillows are from Amazon.  I painted a border and number onto each.  They aren’t perfect…I’m not much of an artist…but you can see our house number now.  They multitask, too.  Because we cut down the back of the pew to fit it underneath the windows, the pillows serve as necessary back support.  I’d like to get a pair of punchy green pillows for the other end of the pew but they haven’t found me yet.

We are so happy to have a place to sit on our front porch now.  And with all the pretty trees and shrubs to stare at, we’re out there more than usual.

Not to mention, it’s a good spot for removing your shoes…

Hangin’ out with your brother…

Driving cars around…

And spying on Handy Hubby in the Wild.

Happy porch sitting!