Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wood, glass and vinly pumpkins, Oh my!

I may be going a little overboard with the pumpkins for fall, but I can't help it! I recently updated my pumpkin topiary with a little bit of greenery from the Dollar Store and I absolutely love it!

Then I found this little wood napkin holder at Goodwill for only $2.38.

I had my ceramic pumpkin and a fall table runner on the table before I found this little guy and it was a pain to take them on and off the table every time we ate.
The napkin holder is perfect because it allows me some decoration on the table, but it is practical because I do not have to take a ton of stuff off of the table every time we use it!
Next up are my glass pumpkins, which I made last year and never showed off. I originally saw these in Family Fun magazine and followed the tutorial to make my own. When researching to find the original article, I happened upon this blog that gives a good tutorial using crepe paper instead of tissue paper.

Basically, you cut tissue paper into strips and then modge podge it to the outside of a glass jar. I had some random Ball jars, orange tissue paper and black construction paper on hand and whipped these up in about an hour. I love the glow they give off with a tea light!

The magazine article also pictured a Frankenstein using green tissue paper, but you could do so many different things, like candy corn, a witch, or even a ghost. So fun and cute! This would be a great project to get the kids involved in as well.
Finally, while cleaning out my mom's garage this past weekend, I happened to find some white dryer duct. My mom told me to toss it, but I walked past the trash can to my car. My family thought that I was nuts to want to keep it, but they knew that I would have something up my sleeve! I saw these adorable pumpkins that Allison at House of Hepworths made out of aluminum dryer duct and spray painted orange. The dryer duct that I had was white vinyl. I love the look of white pumpkins, so I decided to make one first and spray paint it later if I did not like the white. I decided to use materials that I had on hand, so I cut a toilet paper roll in half and rolled it up to make the stem. Then I tied some green gift ribbon around the stem and curled it using my scissors. Finally, I hot glued a leaf (leftover from my topiary project) to the top.

I had enough dryer duct to make 4 pumpkins, though one was kind of short and I burned my fingers trying to pull the two ends together. It was totally worth it! I love the look of the white pumpkins, but I especially love that this whole project cost me absolutely nothing!
I am linking this post to Allison's Hooking up with HOH party.
What fall decorations have you made lately? I would love to hear about them!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall Topiary- A Revision

Last year I made a fall topiary using 3 different sized faux pumpkins and a clay pot. I cut out the stems on the larger bottom pumpkins, hot glued them on top of each other and set the topiary in a pot. It was just the kind of project that I love, quick and with immediate gratification. I loved it! The only problem was that my topiary did not fair well in the home I intended for it. From the time that I first saw the topiaries on another blog, I imagined 2 topiaries, 1 on either side of our front door. Unfortunately, our front door is not very well protected from the elements and the topiary that I made was constantly being blown over and I had to retrieve the pumpkins from rolling all around the front yard!
When I pulled the pumpkins out of the basement to use this year, I immediately glued them together using some liquid nails adhesive. Though the bond felt much stronger, I did not like how you could see the ring of glue around each layer.

I thought about tying some ribbon around each layer to disguise the glue and then I saw a topiary with large leaves layered between each of the pumpkins and a lightbulb went off. I ran to the Dollar Store and bought two different colored strands of leaves. Then I cut the leaves off at the stems and arranged them by color. Finally, I hot glued large leaves around the pumpkins and filled in with smaller leaves on top.

As much as I loved the simplicity of the first topiary, I love this one even more! I have found a home for it in our entryway where all of our guests can see and enjoy it when they come to visit.
I'm so glad that fall is finally here! I have most of my fall decor out, but have a few things that I am hoping to add this year. Stay tuned for a few different diy pumpkins.

Monday, September 12, 2011

More Architectural Art

Over the summer I worked on expanding my letter library for architectural art. I do plan on trying to sell some pieces as soon as I have a variety of letters to choose from. I found that the best way to build up my library was to make architectural art for friends and family members. This allows me to see how the pieces will look and also to practice on technique and see what my actual cost will be.
My mom requested one after I gave my sister the first one that I made in our family gift exchange last Christmas. It only took me nine months, but I finally finished one for her:

Next, I made one for my brother and sister-in-law who are celebrating their 1 year anniversary.

My mother-in-law requested one after I gifted one to my brother and sister-in-law for their recent wedding. I did not want to use the exact same letters, so I came up with a plan to use architectural letter photos from their favorite vacation spot, Pensacola, FL. While on vacation there in March I captured most of the letters that I needed, and filled in with photos of letters that I took near our home on the river:

Finally, Randy and I had a Couples Shower this past weekend. I knew that I wanted to make an architectural art piece for them because it is so unique and personal.

All of the recipients loved their personalized piece, but not as much as I enjoyed making and gifting them!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Curb Appeal

When we first looked at our house and contemplated purchasing it, I was very disappointed with the curb appeal. The house had very dated wood siding that was in good condition except for the dormer windows on the second story, which were rotted and moldy. The roof had been damaged by tree branches that rested on the roof. We also had leaks and water stains on the ceilings. Finally, there were multiple speakers and intercoms from a radio system that was no longer working.
View of front of the house:

View of back of the house:

The moldy dormer windows:

Deteriorating roof:

One of our neighbors recently tore down the house on his lot and completely rebuilt the home. The remaining neighbors all have well-kept and nicely landscaped homes, so our house definitely kind of stuck out like a sore thumb in the neighborhood. I had contemplated painting the house over the summer and even experimented with Sherwin Williams online tools to see how our house would look with a new paint job. Soon after showing my husband the pictures and explaining how I planned to attempt to paint the house over the summer, he suggested that we check into the cost of having the house roofed and sided. I guess maybe he was afraid of the means I would use to paint the two-story exterior of our home, as I usually just paint by climbing on one of our dining room chairs!

My husband had never been one to take on any major projects in any of our previous homes until we were ready to sell. So you can imagine my suprise when after only 18 months, my hubby suggested that we give the house a facelift! My immediate reaction was fear that he was ready to put the house on the market and move on! (That scenario did cross his mind at one point, since we still own the lot that we were originally going to build on.) This fear subsided as we began to do some research into our options for the project.

After meeting with several different companies we decided on Mainstream Home Improvement. We signed our contract and anxiously awaited the start of work on our home. Finally, July 13th, they began work on the roof. It was several days before we saw any changes as they had to remove the old roof and replace several sheets of plywood that were wet and rotten. They also found a gutter between the garage and an addition to the home which channeled water into the ceiling and caused a leak. They removed the gutter and replaced all of the damaged wood in this area. Two weeks later we had a brand new beautiful roof. They began work on the siding the very next week. Unfortunately it was several days again before we saw much of a change. They worked their way around the house doing all of the trim work and soffits before starting on the actual siding. I never imagined that there was so much work to be done to prep for the actual siding! They spent the first full week trimming all of the windows and putting in the soffits.
Soffits before:

Soffits after:

Finally they wrapped the whole house in Tyvek and began the actual siding. When I saw the first pieces go up I could not believe the difference! When the whole project was done, I just wandered around the exterior of the house admiring how beautifully it turned out!

Though we had discussed going with a darker color to create more contrast, we decided to stick with a light yellow very similiar to the color of the original wood siding. As a result of the color of the siding being very similiar to the original color the difference is very subtle at a distance. As a matter of fact, we actually had a person stop on the highway in front of our house to be able to take a better look soon after the job was finished.

Some side by side before and after shots so you can see the changes! The front door:

Garage side:

The roof and siding crews from Mainstream were so professional and helpful. They suggested things like new light fixtures to replace the rusted and bulky flood lights. Since they had to remove the old ones anyway, they said they could put up whatever we provided. They put tarps out all around the work areas so that all of the nails, screws and debris from their work was easily cleaned up at the end of the day. They also swept the yard and perimeter of the house for all metal and debris, which was very nice. The kids and I were outside playing every night after they had finished working and never had to worry about finding dangerous debris. On the last day of the project, they packed away their tools and did a quick sweep, leaving us to simply enjoy our home and not with a bunch of clean up.

One more before and after for ya!

And we have enjoyed it! We hosted a party at our house the weekend before Labor Day and were so proud to show off our beautiful home. We still have many more projects to do: landscaping, tree removal and repairing the driveway, but for now I am content to sit and take in the amazing changes that have occurred thus far.

I am linking to:
Thrifty Decor Chicks September Before and After Party
A Bowl Full of Lemons One Project at a Time

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way by Mainstream Home Improvement for mentioning them on my blog.