Pillow Heaven

I’ve been on the outdoor pillow hunt for some time now and what always stops me is the price tag (the same goes for indoor pillows). $20-30 EACH? No thank you. My first solution was to just try and make one on my own (there are a bunch of tutorials out there for “easy” and sometimes even “no sew” pillows). I grabbed a few pillow inserts from the clearance bin at Ikea, a clear plastic shower curtain liner (to use as the “first”, waterproof layer), and another patterned curtain for the decorative “outer” pillow case.

And then I got to check out and decided that I didn’t love the patterned curtain enough to make a bunch of pillows out of it, so I opted out of buying it, thinking I’ll just find some other fabric along the way. Fast forward a few weeks- I still didn’t have a patterned fabric I loved and I only had a vague idea of how I would turn a shower liner and a few inserts into nice outdoor pillows (oh, and add in some anxiety about sewing machine issues and broken needles).

This is about the time that I stumbled on this post from YoungHouseLove and this pillow caught my eye:medallion pillowI really liked the pattern and colors (even though I’m not normally a red person) and figured that I could at least go and see it in the store and if I ended up liking it just as much there, then I’d be willing to shell out $14 a pop for a few. After all, we’re nearing the end of the outdoor season and as much as I’d love to try and craft a few pillows on my own, I’d rather have some already-made to enjoy before it’s time to put all of the outdoor things away for good.

Patio Umbrella

According to the Lowes website, the pillows were out of stock everywhere (and not available online) except for a store about 30 mins away so I took a road trip out there just to see what they actually looked like. #committedtothecause I was really hoping that the light blue from the online picture (above) was more teal than baby blue in person and fortunately enough, it was! I had taken a seat cushion from our house to see if they would go together, so here’s the combo back at home.Outdoor Pillows 005Here’s what sealed the deal: all of their outdoor pillows and accessories were marked down from $14 to $7 each! That was all it took for me to go pillow crazy… I grabbed the two medallion pillows they had left, as well as two navy/floral patterned ones, and two darker teal striped ones. After seeing them back at home on our patio, I could not be more pleased with the outcome… here they are in action.

Outdoor Pillows 001Outdoor Pillows 003

Recently, I bought super wipeable (aka. outdoor friendly), woven navy placemats so I am thrilled to have some pillows that will tie in with those too!Outdoor Pillows 008

Let’s zoom in on those wide striped ones in the back…Outdoor Pillows 007Outdoor Pillows 004And just for kicks, I put up the umbrella for big-picture purposes. 🙂

Outdoor Pillows 009I think it’s safe to say… we’ll be keeping the pillows. Definite pros (if you’re hunting for some yourself): outdoor proof, cheeeaaaaap, they go really well together, and they’re a good size (not to big and bulky, but not too puny either). I think my favorite part is how they layer into the colors and patterns that we already have going on out here. You can see in the photo above that we’ve got a bunch of different patterns already- some small and tight (like the circles on the seat cushions) and some larger (like the floral in the navy pillows). But they all tie nicely together because they are in the same color family- the teal accents in the medallions relate to the seat cushions, while the navy mimics the color of the florals. The striped darker teal acts as a good foundation for everything and the whites in everything brings in the bright white of the table and bench.

Outdoor Pillows 006

So this is how our patio/backyard is looking these days and we’re lovin’ it (buh-da-ba-ba-ba). It’s all set for you to come on over for a picnic or a campfire…Outdoor Pillows 010

So go ahead- make yourself at home! We’d love to have you. 🙂


Painted Pots and Feathery Fireworks

If you take a look at the basics of our backyard- the walls, the brick patio, the stone patio under the bench, even the seating- everything is pretty neutral in color.

Outside 114In general, I think this is a good thing because it allows us to add shots of color here in other ways. Take the seat cushions and umbrella for instance:

Patio UmbrellaBut if you look closely at that picture above, you may see another one of my recent color projects… here, let me get a close up for you:house 035Sure, you can get a pretty colored pot at any Home Goods, Target, or Lowes/Home Depot, but let me challenge you to do this first. Try and see if there is something in your backyard (or pile of junk in the garage or shed) to which you can give a little TLC to get the same results. I say this because here’s what this pot originally looked like:Painting a Pot

Plain ‘ole brown terracotta. Boring and dirty, but not beyond salvaging. All I did was grab a can of spray paint from HD that I thought would look nice with what we have going on in our backyard and gave the pot a little makeover.how to

To start, make sure you clean all the dirt off first for a nice, smooth finish!Crafts 010Because I couldn’t take all of the dirt out to do the inside (I had already planted stuff inside), I had to come up with a makeshift shield of cereal boxes and newspaper to protect the plants and dirt from getting their own coat of blue. Painted PotI’d rate my system as functional, but not superb. Hopefully you have more freedom to paint the rim and inside more effectively than I did. All painting issues aside, the pot came out great and looks completely different than its original “outfit”. For $4 and an hour of time, I’m not complaining. 🙂house 044I also took it upon myself to grab a darker hue and try it out on a smaller pot of roses. Unfortunately the roses weren’t in the mood to cooperate with a photo shoot, but here’s a picture of the mini-pot process for you.

Painted Pots

But back to that big planter with the summery plants…house 039I was thrilled to bring back some more of those “feathery fireworks”  to the mix(I’m coining that name because that’s just what I think of when I look at them… but if you’re on the hunt, you may have more luck searching for “Celosia”). In addition to those, I perused Produce Junction, trying to find something else that caught my eye. And I stumbled on these cuties!house 036They’re called Portulaca and they instantly hooked me with their bright, almost neon colors. I think they’re a type of succulent and they do really well in a full-sun spot outside. These might be my favorite plants we have because of how bright and colorful they are. Makes me smile every time I see ’em.house 047

So there you have it- a quick way to add some color to something you may already have! And for the sake of a plant update, here are a couple more:

1. The Room Addition with the climbing Clematis: doing about the same, but not much growth. I’m wondering if it’s going to take to the shallow/rocky soil. Hopefully so because otherwise, we’ll have to turn to Plan B for a natural wall covering. Oh, and I still have to install that fourth wall. Gotta get on that.Adding a Room 0122. The Garden Bed: doing just fine, especially with the addition of some mulch (thanks to a suggestion from a reader)! Here it is in all it’s dark and handsome glory:photo 12b. The tomato plant has produced a few nice tomatoes, but we had no luck with the peppers. Boo.photo 2Ok, enough garden-y things. Hope this put a bit of color in your day! Come back tomorrow because I’ve got updates galore on the outdoor pillow hunt. Here’s a clue: I may or may not have scoured various Lowes stores for these pillows:

medallion pillowTo be continued…




TOTW: Under My Umbrella- ella- ella

Phinally (hey yo, Philly)… we got an umbrella!!! Remember this post?Grills and UmbrellasWell, the last piece of the grill-and-umbrella puzzle is complete! Here she is:

Patio Umbrella

This purchase did not come easy, as you know from reading the beginning of the tale. It was one of those I-stalked-every-Target-I-came-across situations looking for the dang umbrella at a decent price. The issue was that some (my hometown included) Targets sold the exact one we wanted, but at $65- which just seemed really steep to me. Other Targets had them for $49, but in different colors/patterns (same line, though). It took me forever to find one with the right combination of price and desired style. I even asked our Target to price match the one we wanted with the lower price we were seeing at other stores, but they couldn’t do it without proof.outdoor 106

So I took it upon myself to snap a picture of the marked down price and we took it to a Target in Delaware during one of our visits to Mitch’s family…Patio Umbrella

VICTORY! They agreed to price match the one we wanted to the price in my photo and as an extra bonus, buying it in DE earned us no additional tax. Can’t argue with that. I about sprinted out of the store before anyone could change their minds and make me give it back. Crazy, I know, but I have been on the hunt since Memorial Day and Targets have long since switched out their summer stuff for school supplies so I was getting panicky. As a visual, just picture me doing the Carlton all the way out the door and to our car…

In general, I think waiting ended up being a good thing because it made me think more about the color/pattern choice that would be best for our back patio. Outside 119Originally, I had my eye on this white and teal striped umbrella:

target umbrella

…but after thinking it through and buying our chair cushions, I realized that patterned cushions and a striped umbrella might be too much, especially because we also wanted to add some extra pillows down the line as well. I snatched a plain teal cushion (to mimic the look of a plain teal umbrella) during one of my manymanymany visits and held it up next to the cushions we had bought to test my theory.Patio UmbrellaYep, in the end, the plain teal won out over the striped white.

Patio UmbrellaHere it is online if you’re in the market for one. I’m glad we went with our final choice because it really does compliment the existing patio stuff nicely, without competing for attention. Patio Umbrella

So.much.teal. I’m in love!

Patio Umbrella

It phinally finally feels like we’re rounding the corner to a finished patio! Here’s an updated version of our to-do list, for those list makers out there (I’m a hardcore list-er).

  • Find and purchase bench See it here.
  • Purchase table with lots of potential seating See it here.
  • Find and purchase seating for at least 10-12 people  See it here and here.
  • Purchase a grill See it here.
  • Purchase an umbrella
  • Build a mini-patio under the bench See it here.
  • DIY solution for hiding the air conditioner and misc. garden supplies See it here.
  • Weed and plant new flowers in garden bed See it here.
  • Edge garden bed  See it here.
  • Weed brick patio
  • Figure out a way to better camouflage Christmas lights
  • DIY a birdhouse and hang
  •  Figure out how to plant a mini veggie/herb garden See it here.
  • Decide on plants to fill hanging baskets and empty pots
  • DIY or purchase accent pillows for seating

Home stretch, baby! Stay tuned the rest of the week… we may just finish up the entire list of patio updates! Three cheers will then be in order. Followed by more Carlton dancing. 🙂 So what’s going on in your backyard? Any last minute updates happening just in time to pack everything up for the fall/winter season (no, the irony has not been lost on me…)? Hah!