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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Photo A Day {#17 of 30 Before 30}

Probably a couple years ago I stumbled across the Photo A Day challenge from Fat Mum Slim on Instagram. I got into it. It's fun! But I've never been able to consistently take a picture for several days in a row. I'd forget or not be able to come up with an idea.

It's something I really thought I wanted to do, so I put "complete 2 straight weeks of photo a day" on my 30 Before 30 list. And...I did it! Here's the result:

It was a fun challenge to complete, and I had even more fun than I have taking pictures for the challenge in the past. The difference was that I tried to take a more relaxed approach. The pictures don't have to be perfect, and it's a lot more fun if you do it just for you and not just to try to get as many "likes" as possible. I've also realized that I'll probably never be an "every day photo taker", but I still enjoy posting photos when I can. 

You can follow along with me and see my original posts here on Instagram.


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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Chair Fiasco 2015 {#5 From 30 Before 30}

I had dreams. Oh, did I ever have dreams. Our dining room chairs had 3 layers of paint on them and were looking sad, so I decided #5 for my 30 Before 30 list was going to be refinishing those chairs. I was going to strip the paint, sand them, paint them...really do it right.

'Was' is the key word here people.

First, I tried just sanding them. If I did one chair a week, I could get them ready in about a month. I know technically it wasn't impossible, but it wasn't happening. It just wasn't.
That little bit of sanding on that chair in front took me hours.
So I searched Pinterest and found that using a certain paint stripper was the way to go. It worked soooo great and made it soooo much easier. 


So funny. 

It did help. I'll admit that. It was much, much easier than sanding alone. But there was still sanding that would have to be done due to the shape of the chairs and the stripper was still leaving paint behind AND it was only a week before I needed them to be finished. 

It was hopeless!

We gave up. I gave up...and bought new ones. Inexpensive, never been painted, so much easier, new chairs.

And I'm not sorry. Not one little bit.

I've learned something about myself. I am not a furniture refinisher. Nope. Probably never will be. I'm just not patient enough. I'd much rather buy it all shiny and new. Or already refinished and new to me. That's just how it's going to be.

And the new chairs? Well, they look great. They're very close to a match for the table, and we probably saved money once it was all said and done. They were less than $25 each since we happened to buy them during a Memorial Day sale.

And, hey, they make a cute prop, too. Can't complain about that.

I'm counting this one as complete.


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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Backyard Makeover {#3 In My 30 Before 30 Series}

When we moved from an apartment to our new home in November of last year, we were excited to have a backyard again. The problem, however, was that it was a total mess. What once was probably covered in rock was now rock with a lot of dirt mixed into it...or maybe dumped onto from the looks of things once we started digging. I really wanted to be able to use the yard, and, more importantly, I wanted the boys to have a nice place to play outside. 

So in April, with the goal of finishing for Little Brother's birthday at the end of May, we got to work. 

First up? A sandbox.
But it couldn't be any sandbox. No, I've been dreaming of a certain sandbox since I saw it on Pinterest several years ago. 

Being the super fantastic husband that he is, Jeremy made my Pinterest dreams come true and built one of these with help from my dad. The best part is that the benches fold down and become the sandbox cover. It's easy enough that Big Brother can open and close it himself, and it's a great way to keep animals out when it's not in use.

Next, we needed a little retaining wall. Once that was built, we moved most of the rocks into that area. It was a crazy, big pain to move them. Once the top layer of rocks was removed they were embedded in mud and dirt. We did our best, but if anyone ever digs up our grass, they're going to find some rocks under there. Getting them all out just wasn't happening!

The rock and wall turned out great, though, and is a great place for our storage bench. 

Next came our little patio area. We used individual pavers to create it. The fun part here was getting them into the yard. The only way into our yard is through the house, so I carried a little over 100 of them one by one through the house. It was quite a workout for the day!

Finally, came the grass. We debated on putting grass in the yard at all since there's not much room to store a mower in the yard, and we wouldn't want to push one through the house and down the stairs to mow. 

We really liked the idea of the boys having grass to play in, so at my sister's suggestion we bought a push mower that would fit in our storage bench. It does the job and is pretty easy to use. I've even mowed a couple times!

Oh, and let's not forget the flowers!
I've always wanted to have a flower bed overflowing with flowers, and this year, I got my wish (and completed #4 on my 30 Before 30 list).

It turned out great, and we're enjoying it very much!


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