Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Peter Piper Paved a Patio

So while Matt and Sam spent like a hundred hours and hundreds of dollars and hundreds of curse words on horse shoe pits seen in the previous post (scroll down, forgetful readers), I also made a contribution to an under (never) used area of the backyard which is right beneath the dining room window. I (as usual) do not have a before photo, but picture old muddy mulch where the landscaping fabric is in this photo:
Useless, ugly space.
The area becomes a mini pool after just a few minutes of rain, and takes forever to dry out because it is heavily shaded by the oak trees. The previous owners appeared to just keep shoveling mulch onto it year after year, with no barrier to keep the dirt separate from the mulch.

I took landscape fabric that I bought at the Holla Fo' a Dolla store (it's a Dollar General store, but if I owned a dollar store, that would be the name. No regrets.) for .....you guessed it: $1.00 a roll. Super score compared to Lowe's or Home Depot who charge $12-$18 per roll. IT'S THE EXACT SAME THING, GUYS. I did buy a box of the staples that hold it in place at Lowe's, though. That took maybe 10-15minutes to lay down after clearing the old mulch ( which I did with my arms and legs since Matt and Sam had all the tools for the horse shoe pits....I looked like a frog swimming in disgusting swamp water).

Next I put down my "table" which is actually and industrial sized wooden spool I found on Craiglist for free. It was a pain in the buns to cart over to the house, but I knew it would be worth it.

I also found these chairs on the side of the road:

You win the "Uggo" Contest, friend.

 So I refinished all the seats and left the legs and the back(of the two that still had backs) with their weathered look.

Next it was time for edging, which Matt and Sam did once the horseshoe pits were done, and then 30 or so bags of pea gravel later here we are:
The pavers were at the house stacked near the bbq pad when we arrived, so also free. The will be stained someday for contrast.

I oiled the spool to bring out the rustic charm. Can't get over how well it came out!

 So there you have it; a walkway from our fabulous deck over to a patio dining area from scratch and all for under $200. All there is left to do is plant something colorful in the pallet hung over the fence in the back and get some sort of lighting for that area...maybe market lights, but for now the lights from the breakfast nook and dining room give it a nice ambient glow. And should we have bags of money lying around someday and want to upgrade the material to some sort of paver, the gravel can just be compacted down as a drainage layer, so it will never be a wasted material.

Whole project took maybe 3 hours spread out over a few days since there were extra trips to Lowe's and we were hopping back and forth from this to the horseshoe project.

If you don't have this amount of space to work with for a patio, or don't have the love/hate relationship with being a home owner, here is a link to a smaller scale patio makeover that The Vintage Project did. :)

Off to make a reclaimed wood wall/ drink a beer on my new patio and stare at the wood pile that will become a reclaimed wood wall.....

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Horse Play

The past two weekends Matt has been working on his beloved horseshoe pits; which in his words would be " a cheap, EASY project that will add value to the house". Famous last words. Also an excuse to buy a saw.

There was a lot of sweaty male labor, cursing, multiple trips to Home Depot, and of course, beers.
We're gonna need more sand....and beer....
That is one deep hole.
Men building things.
We used the wood from the old deck.
Matt wants you readers to know how industrious and green we are.
Tell Matt you are super proud of him, readers.

You know some people just stick a stake in the ground and toss horse shoes around it? But but here at Casa de Oh Hai, Austin!, we are all about doing things the "right way"...."right" meaning most complicated and permanent way. So when it was discovered that the holes were dug too deep, I humbly suggested that we use the large pile of limestone rocks in the yard that was here when we bought it and has no purpose besides mansion to the greenbelt's richest insects (Floyd, I'm looking at YOU). I was promptly shut down, how dare I suggest a short cut when we are doing everything the "right way". Okay. But you will need more sand. Fast forward to the next weekend when more sand is being poured in and it is STILL not enough, and then there I am taking buckets of sand OUT of the pits in order to fill the bottom with limestone rocks. What a genius, moneysaving idea! Too bad someone didn't think of it when the pits were empty- oh wait. Good workout, anyway. Here's Matt's stunning pits all finished. No one will say or write that sentence again.
The stake is removable so we can also play washers.
Also so small children (or drunk adults) don't impale themselves chasing Todd around the yard.
The yard is coming together, y'all! Up next: building a patio and walkway. (Project is done, just need to write about it.)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Where Have You Gone, Jamie DiMaggio?

Apologies for the several week hiatus I took from the blog, readers; I know you have been just beside yourselves waiting for a new post.
Yeah, right, says this knowing corgi.
Truth be told, I have been doing a ton of stuff and just haven't felt any of it inspired a witty outpouring onto the keyboard. My mind grapes have gone prune-y, my brain curds are more like brain turds. I partially blame my friend who recently wrote a novel and sent it to me for feedback. All my editorial power is being channeled into his project, leaving none for myself. How dare I help others, says no one. See, I knew you'd understand, fair and wise reader. One reader did flatter me today by sending me this in a facebook message:


with the caption "pretend this says more blog posts please". Thanks, lady, you make me feel special....and desired. Feel free to hit me up on Valentine's day....or anytime I have a good interview and then they tell me I am their 2nd choice.

So what did I do other than give notes on the first draft of a novel which features almost everyone I went to high school with, but no mention of anyone remotely like me (he knows this upsets me, and may or may not appease my vanity in a future draft)? Lots of home projects....

Like this update to the front door:
Before: Cheap, and not well painted.

After: More expensive looking and the design stands out now. 
And from the outside it ties in with the newly painted light and doorbell....thingy,which used to be pink. GROSS. Looking at the photo now, I think staining or covering the concrete walkway somehow will make it even more inviting.

And a $10 side table/cabinet from Goodwill:
I am terrible at proper "before" pics. 
Way cuter!

And this free side table from the side of the road in my neighborhood:
Again, terrible about "before" photos. Brass hardware on the drawer at the bottom.

I get the feeling The Vintage Project would LOVE this. Am I correct, M.?
I love how it turned out, though this house is turning out in more of a muted palette, so I may sell it.  The turquoise was in the garage when we moved in so that was free too. But it's it the office for now, and would be cute for a girl's nursery maybe for someone.

I did more than this, but will put those in a separate post, just as so-so entertaining as this one.