July 30, 2013

An Arbor and A Bench

Our backyard has been a work in progress since we moved in.  When we moved in, I was glad we "technically" didn't have kids, even though I was pregnant.  It wasn't fit for kids to play in or people to hang out there.  It was atrocious!  Every year, my husband and I tackle more and more of it to turn it into the backyard oasis we want it to be.  Last year you might remember we laid a LOT of stone for a patio and walkway.  This year we hatched a plan to build a bench and arbor behind the patio to provide more seating.

My husband and I sat down at the dining room table and talked about and drew up plans for the arbor.  He even provided me with directions from a woodworking magazine on how to do the arbor.  I didn't really follow those.  I'm not good at following directions.  My hubby would agree. 

I started with laying the stones across the bottom to build the base.  By the way, aren't those stones just lovely?  What makes them even lovelier is that they only cost the sweat and muscle of my husband!  He went to go buy them at Lowe's and they had discontinued them!!!  So, the smart man my husband is, he asked what they were going to do with the display ones and they told him that they were going to throw them out!  He asked if he could buy those and since they weren't in the inventory anymore he couldn't...so they gave them to him, if he was willing to work for it.  SCORE!!!  If I can tell you anything about us, we aren't afraid of work and getting sweaty.  So, by far, this was the cheapest trip to Lowe's we have ever had. 

After the first few layers of stone was laid, I built the bench, since I had an exact measurement of the length of it.

I used cut copper pipe as spacers in the bench.  Copper pipe was also used at the top of the arbor.  We chose copper because of how beautiful it is and how it will change color with age.

I plan on having a vine crawl up and over, so I planted a star jasmine.  It grows fast, smells amazing and produces lots of clusters of white flowers.  It's not currently flowering, but when it does, it will smell heavenly back there.

Even though I did most of the construction for this project, I feel like it is truly a joint project as my husband and I planned it out together and he acquired all the necessary items for the build.  He also broke a stubborn stone in half for me. 

Now the kids have a place to sit when we invite friends over to sit around the fire with us.  Mmmm, now I want to eat some smores!

I also feel like we are nearing the finish line for our backyard makeover.  It's been a 5 year marathon so far.

July 25, 2013

Embroidered Pencil Cup

I have always loved Southwestern Design, but haven't been brave enough incorporate it into my wardrobe too much.  But I did find a way to put it on my art desk.

I found this pencil cup at Dollar Tree, for (gasp!) a dollar!  Plus tax.  : / I had the embroidery thread from my mom.  That plus a needle and you have all you need to decorate a pencil cup.

I doubled up the thread because I needed it thicker.  I would have used yarn, but I gave it all away after I failed miserably, AGAIN, at attempting to learn how to crochet. 

I made sure my stitches covered up the tail, so the inside of the cup wouldn't look too shabby. 

I did this without a plan, knowing that I wanted to incorporate at least one arrow.  I ended up with two because I liked it so much and one stripe. 

Are you dying to try this yet?  I want to do another one.  I might have to go back to Dollar Tree tomorrow.

July 22, 2013

Make Your Own Washi Tape

I have jumped all over the washi tape craze, but sometimes, the cost is a little much.  On the wish list for my birthday, I asked for white artist tape for the sole purpose of decorating it.  Thanks to my awesome hubby, he got me everything on my wish list.

If you want make your own washi tape, take strips of the artist tape and place it on the wax paper.

For what I wanted to do, I used a mini mister, india ink (or liquid water color) and water.  For the black, I filled my mister up 1/4 of the way with water and added 15 drops of india ink.  I sprayed the tape and let it dry.  As my son Maben would say, "Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!"

India ink is waterproof, so once it's dry, you shouldn't have to worry about it smearing.  For the colored tape, I used liquid water color the same way I did the ink.  I used the liquid water color because it is what I had, but if I wanted it to be more durable, I would have gone out and bought colored india ink.

How gorgeous is this watercolor?  Love it!

I used the tape to attach some photos and feathers to the side of my metal supply cabinet that is in my art/craft room.

Have any of you ever decorated your own washi tape?  Want to try it now?  I can think of a few more ways to decorate some white artist tape.

Markers, stamps, splatter paint, ect.  Hmmm, maybe I need to do another post with all these ideas.

Sharing this over at:
Sugar Bee Crafts: Take-A-Look Tuesday 
Not Just A Housewife: Show Me What Ya Got #130

July 19, 2013

{PIN}spiration: Stained Glass Bicycle Wheel

When I saw this bicycle wheel over on Pinterest, I about flipped out with excitement!  It is seriously one of the coolest things I have seen in a while.  I had to recreate it in my own way. 

I didn't do an exact recreation, I typically don't.  I use it as inspiration.  I decided to do various geometrical shapes.  The great part was, I angled enough in the same direction that if the wind catches it, it will spin.

I have my friend Bobbi to thank for the wheels.  I was over at her house one night and told her about it.  She is as crazy and creative as I am, so the very next morning, I found bicycle wheels on my front porch.  How awesome is that?!?!?

So, this particular stained glass bicycle wheel is adorning Bobbi's front yard as a thank you for all the wheels she gave me over the next few days.  Now I need to make one for my yard. 

July 16, 2013

Colorado Vacation: Panorama Point

This was by far the best view I have seen in a long time.  Panorama Point was located not very far from where we went camping in Golden Gate Canyon State Park

The unfortunate part is that this panorama doesn't do it justice.  With the way the cloud cover was, it's hard to tell in the photo, but those are some gorgeous snow topped peaks in the background.

Panorama Point gives a view of approximately 100 miles of the Continental Divide.  There are approximately 20 peaks within view and some passes.

There was even a free tourist telescope to get a better view of those beautiful Rockies.

I can't think of a better backdrop for an Independence Day family photo.

My family.

My sister's family.

This also begged for an HDR (high dynamic range) photo (below).  What is HDR?  It is capturing several images at different exposures and then merging them with computer software to show the lightest and darkest areas of a photo.  I use a free software to do this and you can find the newest version here.

Unfortunately it's not available for free anymore, but if you search for free HDR software, I'm sure you can find one that is. 

And that wraps up the photo show of my awesome family vacation.  Anyone want to whisk me away back to Colorado for some more camping?

July 15, 2013

Colorado Vacation: Birthdays and Family

The best part of the vacation to Colorado is that I got to see 4 (yup 4!) of my 5 siblings (we were missing one).  Actually, to break down all the family I got to see, 2 brothers, 2 sisters, 2 sister-in-laws, 1 brother-in-law, 1 nephew, 2 nieces and a partridge in a pear tree.  :) 

Everyone but my little brother was able to come to my birthday get together at my sister Julie's house.  As I posted previously, I got to meet my newest niece.  So precious!  It was also fun watching the older kids play, bringing all the cousins back together.  Excited to know my missing brother will be adding a cousin to the mix this fall!

All the cousins, so far.

Happy 32nd Birthday To Me!

My birthday wasn't the only one.  My niece Jordie celebrated her birthday just two days after mine.

A far better looking birthday girl than myself. :)  She was a princess for a day and finished off her day at Chuck E. Cheese.

Happy 7th Birthday Jordie!!!

My little brother was also able to make an appearance before we hit the road for home.  

This is how a new dad does pics.  He will eventually get the hang of photos with wild and crazy kids I'm sure.

I was able to see long time friends and show off most of the old stomping grounds.  I got lots of relaxation and quality time with family.  I am feeling very recharged after vacation and have quite a few creative ideas that I want to produce and show off. 

But, before all that happens, I have one more vacation post and this shameless sisters photo. 

I love my sisters!

July 11, 2013

Colorado Vacation: Camping

View from the dirt road before we got to our campground.

Camping was most definitely the highlight of our vacation.  It was our kids first real camp out.  Prior to this camp was always set up in the backyard.  We stayed at Golden Gate Canyon State Park.  It was beautiful and our accommodations at the Aspen Meadows campground was pretty nice.  Our camp looked out onto a meadow where we had been told that it was common to see deer, elk and sometimes even moose.  I think we were far to noisy for anything to bed down or travel near while we were there.

The meadow.
We went camping with my sister Julie and her family.  Our oldest brother Scott even joined us for a night.  It was a lot of fun and the best part (at least for me) was to be completely disconnected from technology.  I was the only one with intermittent cell phone service and I didn't care.  The boys I know were feeling the disconnect and wanted to leave the first day until we  busted out the s'mores!

After a few rounds of roasting our marshmallows and eating s'mores, the kids didn't want to leave.

The funny part about our camping trip was the weather.  My sister, she is cursed!  It either rains or snows every time she camps.

Within minutes of the above photo being taken, it started to rain.  My brother-in-law, Joey had a tarp handy to cover our stuff with.  Thankfully, my luck with great weather must have been countering my sister's bad luck and the rain never seemed to last too long.  It did cool down the air though.  Good thing we could all keep warm near the fire.

Joey and Julie

It was nice to kick back and relax.  I did a few paintings and took a lot of photos, my husband likes to relax with books.  He finished that in the two days we were camping.  Seriously, a little jealous sometimes, it takes me forever to read a book!

The boys did get pretty soaked when they went to go explore the wet field, but I don't think they minded at all.

My nephew Jonah.

Good thing we kept a good eye on Colton, he blended a little too well in his dinosaur jacket and camo pants.

We tried our hand at fishing, but we all failed pretty miserably at that, even though we were assured the fishing hole had been recently stocked.  Jonah caught a small grass carp, but that was it.  Maben did get pretty good at casting his line.  I will have to take him fishing again at one of the near by ponds. 

My family is pretty good at being silly.  The last day while packing up we all were still having a lot of fun and loving life.

Colton, my niece Jordie, Maben and Uncle Scott's bunny ears.

My brother Scott and I.

My boys, right before we left camp.
This week, after returning to our normal lives, both my husband and I are longing for the slower pace, lack of technology and the beautiful view of the mountains.  Having grown up in Colorado and my husband spending much of his adolescence in Colorado and Wyoming, when we get a taste of those Rocky Mountains, we usually long for them for quite some time.

July 10, 2013

Colorado Vacation: Giant Dandelions

Not really a giant dandelion, but the seed head of yellow goatsbeard.  I think giant dandelion sounds more magical, especially to this girl who wished a thousand wishes on dandelions. 

The kids had to give quite a mighty blow to set the seeds flying in the wind.  They were very excited once they were.

How I love those puffy cheeks and seeing my children take a break from the playground to enjoy nature.

July 9, 2013

Colorado Vacation: Red Rocks Amphitheater

My absolute favorite place to escape is Red Rocks.  I grew up right down the road in Lakewood, CO.  I distinctly remember being able to hear the music from one of our houses in which we lived.  You could see the trail of cars coming down Dinosaur Ridge after the concert was done. 

This is a place that I have no only seen concerts, but escaped to.  On a clear day, you can easily see downtown Denver.  I have run the stairs, snuck in at night to look at the stars and just hung out and listened to people take full advantage of the natural acoustics. 

Where I am standing here at the top, in my day, was always referred to as God's country.  What a beautiful view.

My kids had a lot of fun climbing the rocks behind the stage.  This was a favorite place of mine to curl into as well.

The one thing that took me by surprise (as I haven't been here in over 10 years) was the new visitor's center and museum located at the top of the amphitheater, situated behind the "God's country," seating and located one story below. 

This area of Coloado is known for dinosaurs, so it was cool to see some tracks and the jaw bone of a T-rex that you could touch.  Take that normal science museum!  No getting kicked out for touching the specimens.  I like that.  Just proof that Red Rocks gets better and better.

Inside the museum, one of the walls was lined with lists, sorted by years of which bands headlined shows here.  Many of the greats played here.  The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix to name a few.  I took a photo of this one, since it contained one of the concerts that I saw here.

With Red Rocks being nestled above the small town of Morrison, CO, the overpopulation on Denver hasn't quite hit here like it has other areas.  I remember seeing wildlife here in my younger years, but not quite like this.

A mule deer came down the edge of the seating, along one of the boulders and popped out (surprising a few people) from behind a drink tent. 

Good thing I can switch lenses quickly.  I didn't want to get too close to the deer.  I've seen, When Animals Attack.  So glad I have a telephoto.

I also identified a new bird for Maben and I.  This is a Say's Phoebe, a type of flycatcher.  We saw quite a few of these diving and weaving in the air and then retreating into small holes in the rocks.

All three of my boys enjoyed coming here.  I am glad that I could share one of my favorite places on Earth with them.

A list of the bands that I have seen here:
AFI, Poe, Jane Jensen, The Odds, L7, Social Distortion, The Offspring, Goo Goo Dolls, No Doubt, Bush.  I'm sure there are a few I have forgotten, as it's been around 15 years since I have seen a concert here.

I also got to watch one of my brothers and both of my sisters walk across that stage for graduation.

Have you ever been to Red Rocks?  What was the occasion?  I would love to know. 

You Might Also Like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...