How To: Summery Yarn Wreath

Remember the last wreath on our door?Spring Wreath

Well, it was nice while it lasted, but I got bored of it. So, now we’ve got something new going on out there…Wreath 012This wreath was super easy (and fun!) to make and because there are probably a million tutorials out there on how to make something similar, I’ll give you the simple FOUR WORD how-to. With any luck, this will take you 4 minutes to read and you can spend the rest of your day dreaming of what color yarn you’ll use for your own. So, here we go:GatherGATHER your supplies. I used a 16″ foam wreath, three colors of yarn, and a hot glue gun. Oh yeah, and some scissors. GlueGLUE as you go and once you finish a color.WrapWRAP your yarn tightly around the wreath. Choose whatever patterns and stripe sizes you want!Wreath 006And wrap, and wrap, and wrap…Wreath 007HANG that baby on your door!HangOh, and how about a BONUS: I grabbed the “T” we used from our last wreath and re-purposed it to add some interest to this one. Easy peasy (you can find letters at any craft store- I got mine from Michaels).Wreath 012I know it’s kind of summery, but I could eat pumpkin things all year round, so mixing seasons doesn’t send me into a tailspin. Within reason, though- I don’t do Christmas music in October. I mean, can we let Halloween and Thanksgiving breathe a little for cryin’ out loud? Ok, coming off my soapbox…

Although it’s kind of an ode to summer, I think the colors play nicely with autumn-y themes as well. Can’t wait to get a pumpkin out there and officially welcome in the fall.summery wreathGo team Autumnal!

Fire and Ice (and Christmas Lights)

Hey Everyone! How’s your week going? We spent this past weekend (well, actually all last week)… on vacation! Surprise! We stole away to the Bethany/Rehoboth Beach, DE area for a few days and it was the best vacation ever. Plenty of relaxing, adventuring, and even a bit of homey stuff (aka. I was drooling all over all the beachy decor options, wishing we had a beach house to decorate). More on that later this week (I hope- if I can get my act together and upload the pictures/videos), but for now I’m here with a few quick patio updates for ya. As you may remember, this is what it’s been looking like these days:

PillowsActually, “updates” might not be the best term for today’s post… rather this is a closer look at a few things that we already had, but I never took the time to highlight. The first being the table that you can see better in this photo:

Outdoor Pillows 010Remember our Thomas House Rules? We roll out the red carpet for pieces that can do more than one thing. Double functioning, you say? Come on in. And this is no different… at first glance the table looks like a regular square coffee table, but there is more than meets the eye to this baby. Table by day…

Patio Chairs 019…and fireplace by night!

Lights 012We got this fireplace/table situation last fall, after our wedding. It had been something on our registry that was not gifted to us, but we knew we’d get tons of use out of it so we went ahead and got it for ourselves after the fact. I wanted to wait until we had a full season to really use it before I recommended it to anyone. Before we get into what we like/don’t like, here is the actual product:

Fire Pit

The Leisurelife 4-in-1… so you already saw two of the four features in action (table and fire pit). This piece is super versatile because it can also be a cooler for drinks:Vacation 252

And a grill for cooking:Vacation 254

Needless to say, it definitely fits our multi-functioning rule and it has been the perfect size (petite, but big enough for a decent sized fire) for our compact patio. All in all, a HUGE win for us. Now let’s get to the pros and cons (keeping in mind that it has been in use for a full season now).

Pros:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Frame has held up to all sorts of weather (rain, snow, etc.)
  • Comes with lots of “extras”: cover, fire poker (self-proclaimed technical term), grill insert, smaller grill insert for wood, metal mesh “lid”
  • Great size- not too big, not too small
  • Durable fire pit insert (this is what we use it most for and it has held up wonderfully)
  • Ascetically pleasing (dark/neutral design works well for outside)
  • Lots of bang for the buck- I mean, it can do four flippin’ things for crying out loud!Vacation 255

Cons:

  • The tiles are not secured into the frame by any glue, adhesive, etc. (We are super careful not to hold the lid or tilt the table at an angle that the tiles could fall out and break)
  • Smaller grill and fire poker have rusted (but we attribute that to having to leave them out in the rain due to lack of indoor storage)
  • The cover ripped (but this could have been operator error- some water froze on it this winter and we tried to take the cover off without letting it thaw first)

So, would I recommend this to anyone? YES, totally. Oh, and by the way, I’m not getting any perks or reimbursement from Target to say/write this… we have just really enjoyed the piece and wanted to share with anyone who might be in the market for something similar. It has provided us with hour after hour of cozy conversation space, s’more roasting, and game playing.Outside 141Would I buy it again? Yep. For our needs and space, a mobile, multi- functioning piece has fit the bill perfectly.

So that’s the fire and lights part of the post title. The Christmas lights? Well, that’s pretty self explanatory. We just grabbed a few white light, green wired sets (we had TONS left over from the wedding) and swagged them across each of the fences. They are plugged into an electrical outlet by the door.Vacation 235

At one point there was some talk about trading the fence lights in for a bigger bulb-ed version like this one from Target- this might happen down the line, but for now these guys are doing the job just fine. For the tree, we decided against draping them on the outside because we didn’t want our neighbors to have to look at a large glowing blob of lights every night. Instead, we wove them in and out of the branches on the inside, snaking them up as far as we could get them. The effect has been (I’m sorry, but as corny as this is, there’s just no other word for it)… magical.Lights 004Lights 007

Looks like fairies, right?! We keep the tree limbed up pretty far so that people can walk underneath and sit under and around it. It has been great because even though there’s a tree on our property, it doesn’t away any “living area” space. In face, it’s become a great umbrella and an even greater cozy nook when it’s all lit up. And yes, we are very careful with the fire/tree situation. We never have the fire underneath or even close to branches, never let the flame get too high, and we’re always outside or right in the kitchen when the fire is on.Lights 012

So that’s the scoop on some of our unsung patio heroes! See you later!

-Leslie

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!

-Leslie