Thursday, July 28, 2016

Blue and White Alfresco Dining

After I freshened up the furniture on the screened porch I was anxious to make a blue and white tablescape.

Blue and white table 1

We eat supper out here most nights although we have had to eat inside several times lately because the heat has been unbearble even with the fans going.

updated porch dining area

My first thought was to use my blue willow but you can see from the photo below that the blue willow clashes with the blue and white cushions. Ugh!

blue willow clash

I moved on to plan B.

blue and white table 5

I used square blue plates on top of round white dinner plates. Both of those were purchased at Homegoods several years ago.

blue and white table 7

The woven willow chargers were purchased online from Nell Hills some time ago and the bubble glasses were purchased from One Kings Lane. The flatware is another weakness of mine, vintage silver plate.

blue and white table 4

The vintage double hapiness ginger jar was purchased in a second hand store for $10.(FYI I am told by my resident Chinese major that while the double happines character is a Chinese character, it is never used in the Chinese language except for decorative purposes. You would never use that character in a sentence. You can file that under “fun facts to know and share” that cost me a lot of money to learn!)

blue and white table 6

The little pagodas were purchased separately even though they are just alike. I splurged on the first one for $59 at a beautiful design studio then I lucked up when I ran across the second one on a clearance rack at TJMaxx for $5!!! Yes, you read that right. They are identical except that the $5 is missing one of the tiny foo dogs on the front. You would never know unless you examine it very closely. Apparently I did not get that in one of the photos.

blue and white table 8

blue and white table 2

I love it when a plan comes together!

blue and white table 3

If you missed the post on the porch update you can see it by clicking here.

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I will be linking to Thoughts of Home on Thursday, toTablescape Thursday, and to Grace at Home. Click the links for lots of inspiration!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Updating the Screened Porch at the Summer Cottage

I recently updated the fabrics on our screened porch at the summer cottage. They were beginning to get a little worn looking after 7 summers.

porch furniture with new fabric

When we were planning to build our little summer cottage one of the things at the top of our “must have” list was a screened porch. Because our lot is pie shaped our house is only 30 feet wide and 40 feet deep. We insisted on a screened porch all across the back on the lake side. Actually we have double screened porches. I had originally drawn the porch to be 15 feet wide by 30 feet long but the builder talked me into 12 feet wide. His reasoning was that 15 is an odd size for lumber and it would cost less and be less labor if I went with 12 feet wide. 12 feet wide is sufficient but 15 would have been even better!

screened porch

We spend a lot of time out here and eat most of our meals here too. We love the view of the water.

lake view

If you have followed and read this blog then you may already know that I don’t change things very often. When I find something that I like I buy it and I usually keep it for a long time. If you compare the new fabric to the old fabric you will notice that they are almost identical. I searched and searched for a fabric that I love but kept coming back to the old stuff. The new fabric is not identical but it is very close.porch furniture with old fabric

The photo above shows the old fabric. When I found that fabric it was the end of a bolt and there wasn’t enough so I had to use a solid color for the backs and bottoms of the cushions. This time I was able to get enough fabric for everything. While the old ones were not torn or worn out the color was a little faded and dingy looking with a little mildew on it. These cushions stay outside 6 months of the year and are stored inside 6 months of the year. It is outdoor fabric. For the new cushions I did take time to put in invisible zippers so that they can be washed if needed. The old cushions did not have zippers. I found the fabric online at  They had a great selection and I was able to order samples for $1.75 each before making my selection.  I was very pleased with my purchase although shipping took longer than I expected, more than 2 weeks.The name of the fabric that I chose is called Snow Leopard by P Kaufmann. (If you missed my dining room update using PKaufmann fabric for wallcovering you can see it here.)

porch furniture with new fabric 3

The new fabric had to coordinate with the blue paint on the house without clashing and I think this one does that pretty well.

screened porch seating 1

In the photo above you can also see the old curtains that I used. There were very inexpensive sheers from Ikea, maybe $5.99 per pair! I don’t see those on the Ikea website any more. Those were hung with rings on tiny nails. For the upgrade I went with the cotton Lenda curtains from Ikea. They were $19.99 per pair when I purchased them. Now they are a little more.

Ikea Lenda curtain panels

So far the curtains have held up very well. They are not outdoor fabric and I did not add waterproofing or any weather protection.

brackets for curtain rods on porch

I used the Betydlig brackets and the Hugad rods from Ikea.

curtain rods for porch

All of my Ikea purchases were made last summer so I don’t now if they are still available. If they are not, I’m sure that Ikea has an affordable alternative.

porch furniture with new fabric 2

I also made new cushion covers for the dining chairs. I didn’t realize how much the cushions show up due to the tabletop being glass.

new cushions for dining chairs

updated porch 2

updated porch cross view

updated porch dining area 2

updated porch dining area

updated porch

I plan to do another post with a fresh tablescape and another more instructional post on putting the porch together step by step.

I hope that you are enjoying this hot summer as much as I am!

I will be doing a follow up post on creating an outdoor room step by step. I hope you will come back to read it too.

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I’m linking to Metamorphposis Monday, to Inspire Me Tuesday,  to Wow Us Wednesday, to Thoughts of Home on Thursday, and to Grace at Home. Click the link for lots of inspiration!

Monday, July 18, 2016

DIY Beverage Stand Workshop- the Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

This is NOT a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

After seeing a social media push by Home Depot about a “Do It Herself” Workshop for building a beverage stand I decided to go online and sign up. Since I love a hands on project, I thought it was something that I would really enjoy.

Beverage stand image from Home Depot

photo from Home Depot

The image above was used by various bloggers to encourage participation.I followed a blogger’s link to register then I received a confirmation email reminding me of the store location and time. I arrived at my local Home Depot store at 6:15 for the 6:30 workshop and stopped at the service desk to inquire as to where the workshop was inside the store. Both employees at the service desk were working with other customers so I had to wait for several minutes. When it was my turn I asked about the location. Neither employee had any knowledge of a workshop that night. After I told them that there was a workshop they tried to convince me that there was not then one employee stepped out to the store entry to “check the sign” and came back and told me there was not a wokshop beause it was not on the sign. I insisted that there was and told her that I had an email confirmation.  She asked to see my phone to see the confirmation. After reading my email she decided to call a manager. Apparently the manager had no knowledge and told her to call someone else. After the second phone call she told me to go to the saw where they cut lumber.By this time it was 6:28. I proceeded to that area and seeing no signs of a workshop I asked an employee. That employee sent me to another saw at the very back of the store. There I found a group of 4 women and shortly afterward our instructor came up.  We were working around a lumber cart with a large piece of plywood laying on top. Said lumber cart is not a stable surface as the two center wheels are bigger than the wheels on either end and thus wobbles up and down. Our instructor, who was very good, told us that we had a very limited amount of time and that one beverage station would be built and that we could take turns using the air nailer, as the materials were already cut. Each of the ladies there had a very odd look on our faces and the instructor asked us if we thought each of us was making one. While the website registration did not explicitly state that each participant would be building a stand to take home, we all thought that we were when we signed up for the workshop. That issue has since been cleared up on the Home Depot website registration page for DIH workshops. The instructor told us that the materials for the project cost $38 each so we would build one then we would draw numbers to see which lady would take home the project. I wish that I could say that the class went smoothly from there but unfortunately it did not. Other employees in the area were busy bringing in stock from a truck and putting it away so our instructor was interrupted by other customers several times. We finally decided to continue without his supervision while he helped a customer. As we were building I looked at the materials.

materials for the beverage stand

The photo above shows all of the materials with the exception of the 10 quart galvanized bucket but also includes a piece of scrapwood in the lower left corner. The instructor said that the store was out of stock on the buckets but should have one the next day. Is it just me or did they not know for weeks that the workshop was coming up? The instructor told us that he found out a 8 PM the night before that he would be teaching the workshop. Maybe I’m over the top here but how much trouble would it have been to have a folding work table, maybe a bottle of water for each attendee and perhaps a small token or coupon for each lady. Silly me, I thought Home Depot was trying to build relationships with potential customers. Instead, it appeared that we were a major inconvenience to employees trying to bring in stock.

I asked the instructor why the materials were so much. His answer was that if you purchase a piece of plywood that is 2 feet by 4 feet it runs the price up since it is just a few dollars less than a full sheet of plywood ( which is 4 feet by 8 feet). So I ran the numbers in my head and figured that if 4 of us purchased one piece of plywood and shared it that each of us could have a project for less than $20 each. I asked the instructor if that was correct and he said that it was. He even showed us a lower grade of plywood as another option that was less expensive. I also asked him if he could cut the wood if we bought it and he said that he would. I then asked him if we could use his nail gun to put them together. He said that we could not because he had to help put the stock away and we could not use the nail gun without an employee with us.  My only regret is that I did not get the phone numbers of the other ladies so that I could invite them to my home for our own workshop and allow them to use my tools. None of them had an air nailer but thought that they would be able to improvise.We decided to purchase the materials using the lower grade plywood. I think our final price for materials was $12 each but that did not include the bucket since they didn’t have any buckets! When I went back to purchase a bucket I think it was $9.99.

legs for bevarge stand

These are the legs for the beverage stand. I actually used screws instead of the small finishing nails so that it would be more sturdy. I don’t have step by step photos as I didn’t have my tripod and couldn’t take the photos and hold the material at the same time. Christy from Our Southern Home has an excellent tutorial here as she was one of the bloggers who participated in the promo. At the workshop at the store we did not cut the circle out of the top since we did not have a bucket. When I built mine at home I did have the bucket and wanted to cut the circle. This was by far the hardest part.

cutting the circle

As you can see, I drew two diagonal lines on the top to find the center. Then I used a string, a pencil, and a nail in the center to draw the circle. I have completed many projects but have never tried to draw a circle like this. You can also see that that was a disaster! It was ugly!! I could not hold the pencil steady and came up with a very wobbly circle. I ended up doing what I always do; I found an object (probably a plate)with the diameter that I needed and traced around it. It works every time for me. Then I drilled a hole for my jigsaw blade and carefully cut the circle.

beverage stand close up

I painted it black since the other furniture on our screened porch is black. I set this geranium in the bucket when it’s not being used for ice.

beverage stand with added molding for  a finished edge

If you look closely in the photo above you can see that I added molding to the top edge for a more finished look.

beverage stand complete

The beverage stand makes a nice addition to our screened porch.

In summary, I was very disappointed in my Home Depot experience. I think that they missed some good opportunities in a big way. After the workshop I saw many other comments on social media that other participants in other locations also had negative experiences while a few had wonderful experiences. I do hope that the Depot will work to improve the workshop experience at all locations.

I’m linking to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch, to Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Throught Life, to Thoughts of Home on Thursday at Decore to Adore and to Grace at Home at Imparting Grace. Click over for lots of inspiration.

I hope that you are having a wonderful summer!

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