An anniversary present for my husband

Today is my 8th wedding anniversary. I can't believe it has been 8 years since I wore a really big poofy dress; was surrounded by friends and family; and married the man I had fallen for at first sight. This fall I will have known him 10 years and that too boggles the mind!

Well this year posed a bit of a problem for me anniversary wise. Elliot and I have never really exchanged anniversary gifts (or at least nothing too remarkably large). We've only gone out for dinner on our anniversary 3 of the last 8 years as well. In 2009, we had a candlelit dinner of mac and cheese because I had been laid off for crying out loud. So this year, when we are in the process of doing a big "pay off all our debt" project I certainly wasn't going to go out and buy something to give Elliot, but he wanted to make me dinner, so I had to think of something else. Didn't really feel like baking either as it's extra hot here which didn't put me in the mood for a cake or pie.

So what did I do? Well, I've been bugging my spouse for a few weeks...ever since we finished the swing set (back in mid June) that we need to finish the last wall so we can plant the pampas grass to hide the compost bin from being able to be seen from the street. (If you look at the picture closely you can see the topsoil piled up in the bags in the top of the picture. The pampas grass will go in the triangle of space to the right of this picture (on the other side of the fence to cover the big black compost bin (you can see one of the legs of the compost bin in the bottom right of the picture)).

So today, while my daughter was napping, I started and finished the wall. The first thing I had to do was remove the bricks we had originally put in along the side of the garden. I needed to make a raised garden, so those didn't need to be there. Also, I needed those to contain the side of the other garden (on the left of this picture). So those came out, then I dug out and leveled the ground around the right garden and started putting in the blocks.

I used some remnants of blocks we had pulled out of the ground from when we had removed the falling down shed as the back of the garden (as they are thinner and I didn't want to take up that much space). I was also one block short, so I have to go out and get that, but I placed all the other blocks, and the back ones, and emptied all the topsoil we had into the garden. So now the driveway is clean. After that I buried the bricks half way into the ground (which is good, since you can't open the gate forward with them out all the way) as they are on the rest of the garden and dusted off the path.

PS...it's too dry and hot currently to even think about moving/planting any pampas grass there right now, so it will remain empty until the fall probably when I can divide my large stash of pampas grass in back. That will significantly hide the composter and also will contain the pampas grass enough where it shouldn't take over the neighbor's yard or anything.

Done! Happy Anniversary Studmuffin! I look forward to many more years of projects with you!


Using up old Magnets

Hope you are all having a lovely Friday the 13th! I know I should be hiding under the covers or some such item to prevent disaster, but I had to craft something today because my daughter is an art protegee (as much as a two year old can be) and I must put it on the refrigerator.

How many times have you received some promotional magnet from a bank, restaurant, radio station,  insurance company, etc? You know the ones with contact info or a baseball schedule or something.

I had an overabundance of these at my house, but I kind of hate throwing them away since magnets are kind of expensive when you want to buy them. But, they aren't the most attractive item in the world and I prefer the front of my fridge to be fairly clean. I want only the most important info up there and I still want my fridge to be cute - so the important ones went on the side of the fridge where I could find them quickly and the rest go in a box in my craft drawer.

So, today I determined I needed additional magnets to keep my daughter's drawings up like any proud mama as well as attach the latest and greatest pictures to the refrigerator of cousins and such. I certainly didn't want to buy some, and also didn't want to use these as they aren't, well, cute. You know what that means? CRAFT PROJECT!

First I pulled out a few duplicate pictures that are adorable of my daughter from her first year (cause who doesn't want pictures of  their kids on a refrigerator). And some cute fortune cookies and found objects that I thought were interesting enough to be up there. Then I got out the magnets and mod podge. Then we were ready to roll!

First, I cut the magnets to size, put a thin coat of mod podge over the advertising, put down my new "art" and put a second thin coat of mod podge over the top AND EDGES of the magnet (I don't want them to peel up or get gross as they age).

Then I let them all dry and PRESTO! NEW custom magnets! And no injuries (though using scissors could have spelled disaster on this most superstitious of days). Easy and fast project...as well as bonus- practically free (especially if you already have Mod Podge laying around like me :) )


Fixing a problem - Bathroom Painting

I have one small bathroom in my house (at least one that functions). When we bought the house 7 years ago the bathroom was a rather drab shade of purple. Anyone who knows me personally, knows I have a personal affront to all things purple, so the color had to go. I painted the bathroom a happy blue that was two shades lighter than my towels. You can see the towel in this picture from 2006.

(Quick side step: the ducks...we couldn't decide on a shower curtain back in 2004...so we thought the ducks was the least offensive one. From then we received over 100 rubber duckies before 2006 as gifts, so we got a bit overloaded with ducks by about 2007 so it was time to get rid of that motif and upgrade to something more grown up- that's when we upgraded to a lovely white curtain and such)

The the hick-up we ran into is our towels started falling apart. When we went to replace them with better towels we couldn't find anything in the correct colors. What we found was something more aquamarine than blue. They are lovely towels, but don't match my colors....so that had to be fixed.

At some point I intend to remodel the bathroom to be larger, but that's not in the budget, just yet, but I also didn't want to pay for repainting or adding a stripe or any paint or tile or such to a bathroom wall I intend to rip out. The cheapest way to incorporate colors into a space is with ART WORK!!!

Well, I don't have a lot of funds for artwork and we love using our own art and enjoy photography. Actually in 2009 we were in Puerto Rico for one of my brother's wedding and I recalled there being some aqua in the colors of the water. So I had my picture. All I needed was a suitable frame and such.

The I found this perfectly proportioned plastic frame with glass for $.50 at a garage sale. (I determined plastic would be best because of the lack of warping with moisture). Only, it's rather hideous in color. So I broke out the Martha Stewart Craft Paint. First I did a coat of primer, then white to match the rest of the bathroom. Here you can see the before and after for the frame.

Following that, I ordered my picture to fit it (the total cost for shipping and the picture ended up being about $9). I then framed it and hung it in the only spot where the wall is wide enough. (It really is a tiny bathroom). The aqua in the picture really pulls the towel color into the room and the wall color in as well (see).

Problem solved! Yay! Pretty good for less than $10 bucks for custom art.