Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Garden Party: Before & After of a Before & After

Behold, the easiest DIY ever.

For our Garden Party, we had invited several folks who had never been to our house before or who hadn't been over in a long time.  For those with fuzzy memories of what the backyard used to be, we wanted to provide some before shots!

At an estate sale a few weeks before the party, I picked up a couple 8x10 frames for $1 each.  I really wish I had taken before before photos because the frames were from the early eighties shrink wrapped with the 'fake' family photos still in the frames.  Pretty entertaining images.  A third frame came from an oooooooold earring display I fashioned a few years back.
On a pretty day while the mister worked on finishing our roof deck, I set up a spray painting workshop to bring new life to some of my displays, plant pots and the picture frames!  Since we've been accenting the yard with a bold red, I went with it and brightened the frames up with the same color!
I also partially set up the canopy to let it dry off in the sun from its bath from the day before.
Once the frames were done drying, I printed up three photos of the yard from our early months here on white cardstock, put some hangers on them and hung them above the food tables so people could gander upon the progress while they filled their plates!  :)
I know, ridiculously simple!  DIY projects don't have to be super inventive, complicated or out of the box to be effective :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Full Moon Comfort Blanket

I'm sitting here waiting for my ride to the airport trying to find things to keep me distracted so I don't think about flying in a few hours.  I used to be so good at flying and now, I'm just a big pansy.
I've done quite a bit of traveling around the world throughout my young years and when I would find myself getting anxious about being so far away from my family, friends, pets - my comforts - I would always try and find the moon and remind myself that it's the same moon that they would be seeing.  
That thought always made the world seem that much smaller to me, that much more connected.
I think about it now even though I haven't been traveling as broadly as I once have.  I wonder how my students deal with being away from their comforts for so long.  I wonder if the moon comforts them too.
Sometimes when people here talk about how different places are from here and how vastly different the people are all over the world I want to say to them, "But we all see the same moon!  We can't be that different!"
Sometimes I am cheesy, yes, but isn't that appropriate when talking about a ball in the sky made of cheese?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

To the Next Quarter!

Today is my widdle sister's birthday!  I'll be hopping over to her coast in just a few short days to celebrate with her, meet her new *afreakingdorable* kitten and take nonsensical pictures :)  It should be glorious.  
Happy Birthday Af!  See you soooooooooooon...

One of Those Outfits: Swept Back to High School

Anyone who has known me since high school knows that I had quite the thing for broom skirts.  Meaning they are all I wore for YEARS.  Seriously.  I'm pretty sure I didn't own a pair of jeans through the ages of 15-18.  I've heard in later years, actually, that some people I went to high school with thought I dressed as I did due to religious beliefs.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  I just liked being comfortable and different from everyone else.  

In college I slowly quit wearing broom skirts so I started to get rid of my massive collection of them (40+!) to make room for new pieces in my wardrobe.  There's only a few special ones that made the cut.  Over the past few years, I've been missing many of those skirts like CRA-ZAY but I'm not sure I'd still wear them like I used to.  

A year or so ago, I picked up a short broomskirt from somewhere random and still wear it all of the time.  I kept it in the back of my mind to start keeping my eye open for old broomskirts to shorten when I found a few gems for pennies!
The first skirt I shortened was a patchwork skirt that I LOVE.  Many of the patches need a bit of mending until I can wear it to teach in so for now, it's an around the house type of garment.  I wore it a few weeks ago to help work on the backyard progress.  
I just took some random self-timed pictures since the mister was a bit busier than I ;)
The second skirt is this black and white polka dotted number.  I am SO pleased with how it turned out but, as an XL skirt, I really need to take it in just a smidge.  I don't think it would have stayed on without that belt!
Now THIS was a fun skirt to teach in!  And spin in ;)
I did shorten the third skirt, too but I think I want to make it even shorter before I wear it!  I'm thinking, with its palm tree motif, that it would make a perfect bathing suit cover-up skirt!  

So for close to $3, I got three new summer skirts that no one else on my block has.  Now that's a fact my high school self would be elated with :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Garden Party: DIY Garden Flag!

One of my many DIYs for the garden party was to make a new flag!  When we moved in, we had a month long debate as to what that pole in the yard was.  I was adamant that it was a tetherball pole but the mister swore it was a flag pole.  Well he was right and I was wrong.  Big surprise ;)
For the past four years, an OU flag has hung out there.  I'm not a fan of exterior sports paraphernalia but I let the flag in the backyard slide ;)  While we were working on things for the party, we noticed how tattered the ol OU flag was looking and somehow I convinced the mister to let me make a replacement instead of buying a new one!  Yay!
 I dug around my fabric drawer until I came across this vintage material that I LOVE.  It's a slicker fabric, much like a typical flag and I had large amounts of it so it was the winner!  
 This project took maybe one hour and was so satisfying!  I just laid out the fabric over the OU flag and cut a giant rectangle, leaving about 2 inches extra on each side.  Then I folded the hem over twice so you couldn't see frayed edges and sewed.
 I wanted the end that would hanging from the pole to be nicely reinforced so I found some scraps of some other vintage fabric that was a bit thicker but that didn't clash with the flag fabric.  I just folded the end fabric over and sewed down!  
 Finally, I knocked in some grommets to match where the clips would hit and I was done!  By the way, I'm not sure I've ever shared how much I LOVE making grommets!  Large, small, whatever!  I just love putting them in!  I'm weird and I'm ok with that :)
 I could not be more pleased!  Like I said, SUPER easy and fast and worth it!  Now I want to make more for different seasons and one with a beast mascot on it :)
Unrelated to the flag but related to this post is the matter of my dress I was wearing!  For the past few years I've made quick stops at Garden Ridge at the beginning of summer to stock up on their summer dresses.  I know, Garden Ridge?  Dresses?  Seriously!  They are no more then $10 and have ALL sorts of styles, colors and sizes!  In fact, I'm wearing a different one today :)  I encourage all of you frugal and fashionable ladies to check them out!

Garden Party: Party Time!

Once your party is all set up, you just need folks to set it in motion!  Party away!
We stayed up until almost 5 in the morning!  Part of me wished we'd made it until the's been so long since I've done that...

Garden Party: Making it Happen

Since we got our new fancy schmancy fence a little while back, we've been busy planning a party to celebrate the backyard's new facelift!  A garden party to be exact!

The party has now come and gone but not without a ton of photos :)  We kicked things off mid-afternoon on Saturday and pretty much invited the world!  We had around forty family and friends join and and we couldn't be more grateful to them for celebrating with us!  I'll break up the recaps in a few posts beginning with the set up, some DIYs, my outfit and then the actual party!

First things first - set the date and let your guests know!  Since summer schedules fill up quickly, we set the date further than a month out but we wanted to make sure everyone knew in time!  That also gave us a goal date to finish up little projects around the house.  

Food wise, we didn't want to break the bank and we didn't want to be working on food during the entire party so we made things simple.  Hot dogs galore with all of the fixings, salad made from the garden, chips and salsa made from the garden, LOTS of ice cream, shrimp munchies (with EASY homemade cocktail sauce - just ketchup and horse radish!) and hummus and dippers!  We set up a few tables near the grill and under some before pictures that we hung to put all of the food and drinks on.
 We didn't want to exclude anyone so kiddos were more than welcome!  I convinced the mister to let me set up our canopy for a kid zone.  I'd love to do something like this again but would spend a bit more time making it look a bit more polished and put together.  It certainly did the trick though!  I laid down a few tarps and topped those with a few old comforters.  We hooked up a fan out there as it was quite a toasty day!  I picked up some bubble wands, soaker balls and water guns which all hung out in a bucket full of water. This is the one area of the yard where we don't have much grass growing so the canopy helped hide that :)
 We bought a beautiful stained glass piece from a fellow artist at Blue Dome and hung it above the garden, flanking it with a few old red candle holders I bought at a garage sale many, many years ago.  I sewed up a flag specifically for the party but will go into more detail about that later :)  

Next to the table and chairs you see was the hammock which was, of course, quite popular.  Many chairs found their way around the hammock and it became the place to be in the later hours :)
  The mister finished up the roof on the deck the night before the party and now I'm ready for a rainstorm so we can take advantage of the shelter!  The deck has been a loooooooong project that we're so excited to almost be done with!  We'll be screening it in for our next project :)

The mister hung some of our clamp lights on the edge of the desk so games could be played after the sun went down!  Lots of ladder ball and washers were played!  I was hoping my limbo game would also be used but it stayed in the box for this party.  Next time, next time ;)

Where you see the mulch below will be a flower bed once our seedlings are ready to go in the ground!
So there's the organization and set up!  I hope you'll come back for more on the garden party!  And maybe you'll leave inspired to throw your own!
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