What — you thought the shed project was enough? Well, apparently I’m not happy until I’ve begun more projects than can be finished in a summer. You may recall that we’ve had some issues with playful dogs killing our grass, so we’ve decided to pave our yard with as many stepping stones as we can, plant grass between them, and hope. Because we’re on a reuse/recycle/don’t spend kick, we turned to Craigslist to source our patio stones. Searching for “free concrete,” we found several local homeowners who had just jackhammered out sidewalks and driveways and wanted someone to take the pieces away. Three trips yielded about 40 decent-sized chunks that we are slowly placing in the yard. The price was right — free! — which is a big difference from the last time we built a stone patio, when we paid $600+ for materials. And because we’re reusing, we’re keeping concrete out of a landfill and we’re not stripping rock from the side of a mountain.
Of course, if you’re using recycled concrete, you have to expect that the pieces are going to have a rather rustic look, but this suits us just fine. The only downside we’ve experienced is that depending on the source, the pieces vary quite a bit in thickness — it does take awhile to dig a hole big enough for a seven-inch-thick stepping stone! I’ll post more photos when we get it all in. –Mary T.
It’s no wonder we tend to put off the projects in our lives. As promised, we are indeed moving ahead on our modern shed project, but boy, is it going slowly. Case in point: it occurred to us that before we could tear down our current shed, we had to find a place to put the lawn mower, wheelbarrow, and other garden tools. The good news is, we found the solution at Earthwise, one of our local architectural salvage stores.
It’s no secret to anyone around me that I just love this place — it’s filled with items that are fascinating to poke through, even if we don’t personally have a use for them. I’ve seen metal doors that look like they came off an old school building, wooden lanes from a torn down bowling alley, and an entire grand wooden staircase fit for a house about ten times the size of mine. Another great thing about architectural salvage places is that you get the weird odds and ends that the folks taking down the building no longer want — the great old office chairs above, for instance.
Before we’d even entered the building, we were able to scratch two items off our list: the first was an old metal garden shed that we purchased for about 1/4 of what one would cost new. It’s a little rough (it will need some new paint and a new latch) but it has modern lines that will go nicely with the shed we’re building. I was also thrilled to find the very first item on the MD100 materials list — concrete piers that will form the shed’s foundation, for about half what we’d pay at the local hardware store.
Next up: finding a door for our shed. To maximize cool breezes, we’re going to go with a sliding glass door or French doors and rework the MD100 plans to match. I’ll keep you posted. –Mary T.
P.S. As several of our helpful readers pointed out, you can build along with us — the plans are available here.
This post is sponsored by Lowe’s.
We firmly believe in being your own handyman. Whether it’s installing our own back splash tile in the kitchen, renovating our backyard deck or giving a staircase a ombre hue, we regularly roll-up our sleeves and tackle little projects all over our homes. Sometimes things go wrong. Paints drip on the floor. Tiles dry crookedly. Equipment gets rusty. We pull our hair out. No one is happy.
Luckily, there’s a little help to be found via Vine and these handy D.I.Y. videos produced by Lowe’s. The wonderful thing about Vine is that the videos are super short — 6 seconds! — and loop over and over. So if you miss something the first time, don’t sweat it, you can catch the second or third time around. Here are six cool tricks we learned from watching these Vines — though if you start playing around on the social network’s app you’ll find many, many more.
Six Handy Tricks We Learned From Lowe’s Vine Videos:
1. Potatoes aren’t just for dinner — or making crafty stamps! The next time you are dealing with a broken lightbulb in lamp, use a potato to unscrew it without risking a finger cut.
2. Rubber bands have many uses (besides being woven into colorful bracelets for grade-schoolers). You can use them to catch paint drips from a can, or twist out a stripped down screw.
3. For your next colorful paint project, don’t mess with a new paint tray for each color. Simply line your old ones in aluminum foil and reuse.
4. Take the guesswork out of picture hanging. A piece of tape can help measure the distance between holes and get things picture perfect.
5. You don’t need luck to make your tiles line up perfectly. Pennies placed in between the rows of tiles will do the trick until they dry nicely.
6. What could be more dull than a rusty knife? Dip your cutters in some lemon juice for 15 minutes and see how they shine.
Have you discovered any great DIY Vine videos? Let us know and we’ll feature them on Shelterrific!
This is a sponsored post.
Even though our team is no longer in the running, it’s still fun to keep up with what’s going on in the Re-Energized By Design competition. This week, the remaining three teams made over their laundry rooms.
In addition to $500 and energy efficient lighting from GE, the homeowners each received an brand new set of Frigidaire Affinity laundry equipment. These are not your average high-efficiency washers & dryers — this is serious technology in action here. The Affinity dryer will dry a full load in less than 30 minutes, and the washer features allergen reduction and sanitizing features along with having the highest energy star rating. And aesthetically they please, too (though I have to wonder why no one picked the red option).
Love what those scrappy Sayers did in their space with that upcycled laundry drum light fixture. Their creative approach is always surprising, and will be tough to beat in the final round. In the end, the Mendes family’s pastel laundry room didn’t make the cut — that leaves the Sayers and the Reillys to duke it out in the kitchen challenge! who do you think will win?!
This is a sponsored post.
What is Re-Energized by Design, you ask? Well, it is an awesome web series that Shelterrific is excited to be participating in — produced by Puget Sound Energy, it’s all about incorporating energy efficiency into home design. The challenge is this: six teams of homeowners are paired with design coaches and together they compete to re-design 5 rooms with a focus on saving energy with a small budget. Cameras are documenting each leg of the challenge, and with every room one team gets the boot! The prizes are great: a home full of new LED and CFL lightbulbs from GE, a full suite of kitchen and laundry appliances from Frigidaire, and $5000.
I was fortunate to be paired with the Bedford family, who are just delightful. Kristen and her husband Slade have a great contemporary house, fun design aesthetic, and are really willing to completely put themselves into every challenge. This experience for me has literally been re-energizing to me as well, ending a year-long creative rut and getting me back into blogging and crafting and having fun again. I can’t wait to share what we’ve created together.
But as of today, I won’t have to wait much longer, as the first webisode is available at 6am PST at the Re-Energized By Design site — this week’s is an introduction to all the contestants. And stay tuned each week as we reveal another webisode. Also be sure to go to the Re-Energized page on Facebook, where you can enter to win a new Frigidaire appliance like those featured in the challenge!
I have notepads and Post-Its and journals all over my apartment. I don’t keep a diary, but I love the look of a leather-bound book. More often than not, their pages are filled with to-do lists and mindless doodles. Like so many people I know, I’ve fallen hard for the moleskine line of journals. With a variety of sizes to choose from and a sleek and sophisticated look, it’s hard to not find a reason for purchasing one (or three). I’m perfectly happy with my standard black leather moleskine, but that doesn’t stop me from lusting after these funkier patent leather planners. I’m currently on the hunt for a simple ruled journal in that amazing laquered red. Let me know if you find it! — Erica P.
Image via CoolHunting
A couple of years ago, we (and many other blogs) gushed about this lovely KULLA lamp from IKEA. It was brand new, available in a gorgeous blood red, and had this nifty “touch” on-off switch that even a cat could operate. We bought one for our cottage bedroom and have loved it and its three light levels — our habit was to leave it on the dimmest one when we put our daughter in her crib, then shut it off completely when we slinked into our bed hours later. Well, it seems to have lost its mind. It started turning itself on and off and cycling through its degrees of brightness all on its own. Constantly, never stopping. No amount of touching or banging or pleading would get it to stop. Chad took it apart to see if we could easily rewire, and that doesn’t seem to be the case. The entire thing is constructed around this “touch” mechanism. I’m so sad! Is there no way to save this lovely bedside companion? Has anyone else had similar experiences? — Angela M.
Before my layoff earlier this year, my lifestyle was not exactly glamorous, but I also never gave things like buying a round of drinks much thought. Now that we’re paying more attention to our budget, we can’t join our friends on every outing. And yet, socializing over food and drink is one of our favorite things to do! So that’s why I opened the yard last week for a potluck BBQ. We supplied the meat and a small assortment of drinks, friends brought salads, condiments, and plenty of beer. Not only was this a huge success — people arrived early, stayed late, and chatted around the makeshift “fire pit” above (I used a metal flowerpot from IKEA with a few bricks underneath it) — we didn’t break the bank. Even better, because we weren’t driving ourselves crazy by trying to prepare every single item, getting ready for the party was much less stressful than any I’ve ever thrown. But the real sign of its success? One of our friends wants to make it a regular thing, so she volunteered ot host next month! This is recessionista living that I can get into! –Mary T.