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Thursday, July 18, 2013


Two kids under two and garage sales? Only if you're an addict!

I'll blame it on my mom who went every weekend when we were kids. So much so, that when my younger brother Matt was little, he asked her if she bought him at garage sale!

So it's in my blood I guess, and here in Iowa, sales start on Wednesday! Having my younger sister along makes it FUN and manageable with little kids. 

This morning, we hit up a couple sales and I found a few good deals! Take a peek!

A set of nautical style sconces for $10.00. Should I replace THESE in T-mans room with them?

A vintage gourd style lamp in the prettiest mint color ever.  I think it'd be awesome with a black lacquered shade.

 I was more then ok with handing over a total of 3 bucks for it. Especially since it reminds me of THESE lamps that retail for over $200.00!

But the best find, was actually for my little guy.  A vintage Radio Flyer tricycle for $8.00.  He doesn't reach the peddles yet, but is happy to have mom push him up and down the street!

I picked up a few little nick nacks and dishes that I probably don't need but couldn't pass up:) All in all, I think it was a success and did minimal damage to my wallet!

Any of you into the garage sale thing? I think you either love it or hate it!
Monday, July 15, 2013

Building a retaining wall

We're still working away at our retaining wall.  It's some serious back breaking work!

I'm excited about how it's starting to look.  At first, I was afraid it would look too rustic, but I think once we put new siding on the garage and have plants and flowers growing I'll love it even more.

To get this thing built, we have a system going where I pick out the stones, wash them off and then lay out a course the way I'd like them.  Cam comes behind with mortar and makes it permanent!

Once the stones are set in mortar, we allow the mortar to harden a little and then go back and smooth it out.

We need about 2 more layers on the back wall behind the garage and then we can start building the wall around the front.  This wall is what you'll look at from the deck.

We had some extra help on Sunday from Cam's brother in law, Jimmy.  He's in the middle of his own house project, but still finds time to help us out!

With this part of the retaining wall, we're going to do something fun and build in a seat.  Some day we'd love to entertain on a regular basis and so having extra seating in the back yard will come in handy for bbq's and bonfires!

The plan is to make it look something like this (minus the forest growing behind it!):


The retaining walls will have enough space behind them to fill with plants and flowers.  I'm thinking that I'm going to keep all the plants and flowers limited to a simple color scheme of various shades of green, blue-grey and purples.


We're still a ways away from planting anything, but it's fun to scheme up ideas, right?
Sunday, July 14, 2013

Christmas in July Sale

Hi Friends!

Just letting you in on a good deal from one of my favorite companies, Graphic Image.  They're running their yearly, one day, Christmas in July sale, with 50% off site wide! I own a few of their products and love them!

With summer, there's always at least a few weddings to attend. If you're looking for a fun and unique gift for a new couple, Graphic Image's guestbook would be perfect.  Every couple should have one for their new home and it's even better since you can have it personalized with their new name!

The sale lasts TODAY ONLY, so start shopping now!

I'll try to post again later today with more details on our backyard project...Check back in!
Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Exterior update

Look at this mess!

That's the current view of our back yard. It's such a disaster, but we're trying hard to whip it into shape!
When we built the deck a few weeks ago, we decided to keep going with the landscaping and get as much done this summer as possible.
We're starting to lay a flagstone patio, since growing grass in our backyard has proved to be almost impossible!  You can see the first few pieces we've put down so far.

Flagstone is usually $$$$, but we found a rock quarry that had a rip-rap pile, where pieces that don't fit on their pallets or rock left over from jobs are thrown into a corner and sold for 1/4 of the usual price. You have to dig through it and load it yourself, but it sure saved us a lot of money.

Plus, we found these stones in that same pile!

It's flagstone that's been cut and smoothed/polished. Cam has cut them down to shorter lengths and we're laying them as a walkway from the deck to the garage.

When we're finished laying the stone, we're going to plant ground cover in between the stones to get a look similar to this image. So pretty right?

Around our sad looking garage, Cam started building a retaining wall with limestone.  We have piles and piles of this stone! Our original foundation was built with it, and when we tore off half the house/added the addition, we saved all the stones. They've been piled up behind our garage waiting until we had something to do with them.

Cam dug down around the garage, leveled the ground, added sand and started laying the first layer of limestone.

This is the back section of the garage where he's got a row down and has mortared between the stones.

The garage is an eyesore right now, but our whole house exterior used to look just as bad. It's a good reminder of how far we've come! New siding and shingles (down the road) will help take care of the ugliness.

Our house before we sided! Here's the AFTER

While Cam's been working on the patio/retaining wall, I've started staining the deck.  We're using an Australian Timber Oil by Cabot.

It's dark, but has a nice sheen that I prefer over the typical opaque stains used on decks. Also, our hardwood flooring inside will have a dark stain, so to carry it outside helps connect the two spaces.

It's a slow moving project, since I can only work on it in the late afternoon when the deck is in the shade. The direct sun will dry the stain too fast and leave a mess of brush marks.

I've been brushing the stain on two boards at a time so that I can start and stop as needed.
Usually with stains you apply them and then wipe off the excess, but this oil seems to soak right in. One less step is fine with me!

So that's where we're at with our landscaping to date. Still SO much to do, but that's the story of our life :)  It hasn't been ALL work the last few weeks though.  My mom came through town and left my youngest sister with us for the summer.  I love having her company and help with the kids! My brother and his wife also came for a weekend visit!

 Us girls hung out with the kiddo's and put the guys to work!

It's pretty obvious that T-man adores this Uncle Phil!

Having them here was a highlight to our summer for sure!
Once the yard work is finished (or mostly finished), we have a big job lined up for inside.

Pretty sure you can guess what it is!