Friday, October 31, 2014

mad hatter's daughter

Halloween is always a very busy crafty time of the year at our house,
and this year, I was not the one doing most of it!
I did some helping but Miss C. came up with all the ideas for her costume
and she did a lot of work.
This year she is the mad hatter's daughter:

Of course the first thing she needed to do was to make a hat.
She saw some tutorial on YouTube and started cutting recycled cardboard boxes.
We recovered the cardboard with some peacock velvet, added some feather
and glued it to a headband.
Once the hat was completed, she needed a top,
she found some fleece that she liked and that went well with the velvet of the hat.
I used the easy top pattern from Sewing Clothes Kids Love,
I purchased the book a while ago and finally used it.
I sewed the Imke Shirt without the hood, but with 2 layers sleeves,
it was fast, easy and it fits her very nicely.
And here are Miss C. and some of her girlfriends,
she had fun editing the pics and putting masks on her friends!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

backyard Halloween decor

With the stone patio done and the pile of wood gone,
we are finally ready to do some backyard entertaining.
And Halloween is the perfect time to have friends over for drinks and snacks.

We built a table out of the old deck,
 there is still some wood left, even after building sheds...
it is about 3' high, perfect height to put down a drink and mingle,
(also great to do some wood work outdoor!)

I decorated it with some cool metal crows, gourds from the front yard 
(the deer ate all the tomatoes, but left these alone!)
terracotta pumpkins, and a neat chalkboard easel
that I built following this tutorial from Shanty 2 Chic,
with the size similar to this easel from Cottage in the Oaks.

For drink, we chose some wonderful mead from The Orchid Cellar, crafted locally in Maryland.
At first I was not so sure about mead, but after tasting a few of theirs,
I am a believer! We came home with 4 different ones, my favorite one is "Castellan",
Mon Cheri's is "hunter", a spicy mead.

Northern Virginia and Maryland have a large number of small wineries, 
at a perfect driving distance from the DC area.

Under the table, I put some crates to dress the large empty space,
I have never blogged about the finish top crate,
I built to store all my baking pans,

Now the only thing left to do is lit the fire,
sit down and enjoy the evening...

Happy day!

link to the StoneGable

Sunday, October 26, 2014

stone patio

Now that fall is here and most of the mosquitoes have moved on,
we are really enjoying our new patio.

For the last couple of years, we had been dreaming of tearing down the old
and large wood deck and replacing it with a nice stone patio.
While we like doing a lot of DIY, we felt it was best to contract out this job.
Considering the amount of gravel, sand, concrete and stone that went into this project,
it was totally justified.

To cut down on the cost, we removed the deck ourselves and recycled most
Because the summer was wetter than usual, the contractor was a little behind schedule,
so we lived with a very slanted ugly patio for a while, 
but that did not stop us from enjoying the outdoors.

I was able to take a few pictures from the inside (recovering from illness)
while the contractors were working.
Apparently they were very pleased with the amount of shade of the backyard,
obviously they are not the ones pick up the leaves right now!

First they filled in and leveled the area with a very large amount of gravel,
then they covered it with a metal grid and attached rebar to the house.

Finally the cement was mixed and the stones were laid.
After a few days of back breaking labor on their part, we had a beautiful patio.

I had to wait a couple of months before painting the wood pieces they installed against the shed,

but now it is done....

And we just love it!
The surroundings are still unfinished but not all projects need to be completed at once. 
I already have ideas for next summer,
and I have all winter to plan it all.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

huge progress in the backyard

After taking off the deck during the spring,
(you can see the beginning of the all event here),
we were left with a lot of wood.
At first we thought it was mostly rotten,
but it turned out to be mostly nice wood,
so we decided to keep it and reuse it.

It sat in piles in the backyard until the heat became more manageable
and the contractors were done installing the new patio
(story for another day).

We came up with a few projects but the 2 mostly completed ones are
a wood shed and a bike storage area.

We have quite a bit of firewood from trees that were cut from our backyard and
Until now it had been stacked against the fence,
looking sad and wet!
So we needed something to stack it better and to keep it dry,
much more useful for the winter.
We also needed a new place to store the kids'bike,
we do not have a garage and our little shed is already quite full.
They ride their bike to school everyday,
so an easy access was important, and once again,
it needed to be a dry location,
it rains quite a bit in the DC area!

Both of our constructions were based on the same design,

How to build a wood shed

We roughly followed the plan/directions.
We used corrugated metal sheets for the roof, so the width was limited to 8 feet.
We did not use much wood for the back as it stands close to the wooden fence.

The sides of the bike storage area are more solid than the plan
 as we wanted it to be weather/waterproof.

We are planning on covering the last triangle on the side,
it has been raining a lot lately making it very challenging to complete the project.
But overall the bikes are dry and the firewood looks so much better and drier.

There is still a lot of work to be done in the backyard before
it looks good, but right now it is much better,
and some of the finishing touches will probably take a couple of years.....
Happy day!

Coffee, bunny and Easter eggs

Can anyone have too many bunnies, really? OK, maybe, but I am not there yet! I changed my cocoa station from last winter to a spring coffee ...