Monday, April 30, 2012

Our One Year Blogiversary!

Happy One Year to US! Yes that is right, this time last year, we were packing up the last of our apartment and heading to our friends for the week while we closed on the house.

SOOOOOOOOO much has happened in that last year. While I could use this time to reminisce, I plan on showing our great future by telling you all I've been chosen as a guest blogger for The Budget Savvy Bride. They will be following Max and my journey to the alter. Their introductory post went up today. So many good things in the future, I can feel it.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lawn Lectures

I'm sure our whole neighborhood is ecstatic that the little house on the corner has people who actually care enough to keep up their lawn. We care but oh man is it hard work! Especially regrading a good portion of it.
Thanks to our awesome neighbors, Mike and what's-her-name (its almost getting past the time where its acceptable to ask what her name is again, I might have to peek in their mailbox like a creeper one day), we borrowed a concrete lawn roller similar to this to flatten out the last of the dirt and it was time to start moving on.

"Everyday I'm roll, in in in..."

The next big step was seeding and not just the dirt but all the crazy patchiness you see here.

After a long discussion with a Home Depot associate of our lawn needs, he recommended we try a newer product from Scott's called EZ Seed. It is a seed, mulch and fertilizer source all-in-one. Which with the amount of work we were putting in already seemed like a breath of fresh air when it finally said "EZ"!

He recommended that the ground temperature (about 1" below the surface) was at least a constant 50°F before we applied.  This is to prevent the seed from freezing and to also let it take as soon as possible. Another great reason to choose this product, it grows pretty much anywhere with minimal watering (you still need to water it, it just makes the most of what you do); sun, shade, fill in areas and even straight concrete! Another reason is the warmer it is, the faster the seeds germinate, preventing birds from eating the seeds before the get a chance to start. We were sold. He also recommend we buy the two pound easy application shaker (seen above) and then a 40lb. bag for our needs and just refill the application shaker to save on a lawn seeder. Thanks Home Depot guy! Great idea!

Here is a helpful video from Scott's themselves.

Here is a close up of the seeds and the mulch/fertilizer combination. The long skinny light things are the seeds themselves.

So after applying the massive bag of seed. And giving it a good watering. We waited. And watered and waited. And it rained and we waited. After a week, still no grass.

 We then applied a thin layer of straw over the majority of the areas to help protect and warm the seeds (we do live in Wisconsin after all).

After only a couple days and more rain, we got a few sprouts of grass! Unfortunately it's only growing where we put down the straw but its definitely a start! We have to actually mow the rest of the lawn and are going to place the lawn clippings over as an extra blanket for the seedlings. We might need to apply some more in some spots if its too patchy. We are on our way to a lovely normal lawn! I couldn't be happier! It such a relief coming home at night an knowing that we won't have the "ugly" house anymore. It can only go up from here!

What are your biggest lawn challenges?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Hunger Games (or not)

Hi, my name is Maureen and I'm addicted to The Hunger Games. I would like to dedicate this post to my wonderful friends Kate and Tracy for introducing me to this wildly popular series that is sweeping the nation. I'm not a huge book fan in general, I usually just see the movie, and let's just say it takes quite a bit for me to get into and love a series. I find out about the books a week before the movie comes out (wow Moe, where have you been?). Now I've seen the movie twice and just finished with Catching Fire and starting the last book in the series Mockingjay

So what do The Hunger Games have to do with home improvement you may ask? Food mostly hehe. As you recall, we really wanted a full-size house grill to upgrade from our little apartment-sized one so we could stop "tailgating" in our driveway. We love grilling but believe me, it is not as fun as it sounds. We planned on buying a new grill when we could scrap an extra $100-150 together but with the wedding this year, we just didn't see that money happening. Luckily, my friend Kate, the Hunger Games fire starter (pun intended), and her husband Sean were giving their old one away. 

Our new friend needed a little TLC before he could start "catching fire" (again with the puns) and a little cleaning. First we needed a propane tank to check to see if everything still worked. Minus the ignitor, we were in business.

We picked this up at Home Depot Simple Green Heavy Duty BBQ & Grill Cleaner. Pretty simple really. Spray the foam on. Let it set for a few minutes and then scrub clean. Being it was Earth Day, I was happy it was biodegradable.

After a good scrubbing, we used the power sprayer on our hose attachment to wash all the grime away. Not looking to shabby huh? We even got down to the stainless steel inside.

Max was super impressed the got the "Made in USA" to show on the burners.

After a good power washing, this was our grill ready to give us tasty meals.

Here she is all cleaned out.

After cooking our first meal Key West Chicken on it, we discovered a few cold spots. The chicken was very delicious. When we were buying the propane tank we saw they had replacement burners. We might replace the burner later this spring/summer for about a $30 upgrade.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

DIY Fabric Art

In my house New Year's Resolution post, I said I was going to get some art finally on the walls. Being the former Art major I am, I wanted to create my wall art. Call me stubborn.

Knowing I had a lot of walls to cover, I headed over to Michael's and caught some canvas packs on sale. Buy one, get one free. Sweet. Just what I needed!

I also went over to Jo Ann fabrics looking for some unique and fun coordinating fabrics for my living room. I wanted to start putting art in there since its the room guests hang out in the most. Go figure right? Make things nice for everyone else.

I started by ironing the fabric out smooth.

Then, using the canvas as a guide, I cut the fabric to size so that the fabric would wrap over the entire surface.

Using a spray adhesive, I used Elmer's Craft Bond, I attached the fabric to the canvas. I decided on the Elmer's because it could be used for temporary or permanent adhesion. It stays tacky for awhile and you can move things around if need be.  

Using a credit card, or Qdoba Q card, I started with the center and smoothed the fabric to the edges. I sprayed each corner individually and smoothed again until the whole surface was like glass.

Make sure to cover the area you are spraying. The glue is very tacky. I had fun getting it off my hands. You don't want a sticky mess all over.

Going around the sides of the canvas is a little tricky. The glue tends to spray everywhere. Spray lightly.

Fold the edge down and smooth out with the credit card.

On the edge, fold it flat so it poofs out like a little tent.

Spray the left edge and fold it flat. Then repeat with the right side. Repeat the steps around the canvas until the whole thing is properly covered.

Then let the glue set for at least an hour.

Next was the fun and easy part, decorating. Didn't seem hard yet did it? I took an old book we would never read again, Little Man, What Now?, and tore some pages with a lot of text on them. Sorry old German novel, you just don't get much play at the Anderson house. Anyways, I cut a slit in the paper.

Then using my trusty hot glue gun, put a strip down the side of one of the slit page. Sorry its a little hard to see.

I then glued the edge of the page down and free form cut a circle creating a slight cone or boob-like shape. I didn't mean for it to be a little boob, I was trying to mimic the parasols in the fabric pattern.

I repeated that until I got the desired amount of boobs circles and arranged them in a flowing pattern. I attached them with a ring of hot glue around the outsides of the back and carefully pressing them onto the fabric canvas.

Using scrap ribbon from some of my other projects, I hot glued pieces that danced across the canvas letting pieces loop and swirl around. I did not want to plaster them down so it was a three-dimensional piece.

There you have it, DIY fabric art for less than $10.

Looking for some more inpiration for yourself? Check out DIY magazine's fabric art. Great ideas for art on the cheap. I read their article in their Spring 2012 issue and was totally inspired.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Best of Milwaukee?!

Well the votes are in! You voted us "Best Personal Blog" in the Shepherd Express's 2nd Annual Best of the Milwaukee Web Awards. We feel so honored! This blog isn't even a year old yet. They talk about that a little in the article that there were some that were not even around when the last awards were around (that would totally be me...)

Max and I did not attend the award party yesterday at The Wherehouse (which makes me sad since I've heard the space is amazing) because I was supposed to get my wisdom teeth out. Long story short, I'm now not getting them out until next month (ugh) and I could have gone to the party. Today, I sort of forgot we were up for the award and just shot over to their website on a whim. The winners were posted and I was blown away. We won!

I really am completely shocked and forever grateful. I guess I will have to post more often now to keep my "new" fans interested. Anyone coming in, thanks for swinging on by. We are a little blog about DIY home repairs and the headaches fun that comes with it. Check out our "Open House" to get the whole story about our home.

Thanks again for the award. I'll promise to do my best not to disappoint and keep up the good work. You promise to keep reading.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

2012 Realtors Home And Garden Show

It may just be his job, or the fact he is a super, awesome individual, but our buyer's agent Jeremy Rynders strikes again. When we finally signed the last of the papers to move in, he got us all new door knobs and keys. For the holidays, he sent us a year's subscription to The Family Handyman, a DIY magazine, which Max loves. Then a few weeks ago, we get free tickets to the Realtors® Home and Garden Show here in Milwaukee. The man is awesome! How did he know we were thinking garden upgrades...psychic powers I assume. ;)

My cousin Brian and his wife Megan, who also recently bought a house this November, called up and said they also got free tickets (ok so it might be a "recently bought home" sort of thing, but oh well) and asked us if we wanted to go together. So off to State Fair Park we went.

I was really overwhelmed and jealous by the beauty of some of the patios they had.

Here is a corner pergola over a little corner patio. I'm looking at you, Mr. Fix-It-Mark to tell Max we need one of these over our future patio. Doesn't it just look so cute and quaint. And also functional! The little open air pergola's really cool down a patio with simple shade.

Although not the most functional, this fountain with coy pond was quite cool. Coy pond in Wisconsin? *shrugs

This was a simple solution I think pretty much anyone could do. Hang mason jars with twine from an overhang area. Use pond sea weed (does anyone know the technical term, is it algae?), add water and flowers. Easy decor.

I also found this free-hanging trellis to be very cool. You could easy have flowers or ivy go up and over your pergola that way in a super decorative way. This is by Exteriors Unlimited.

One of my favorite displays (surprise, surprise) was from Stein's Gardens and Gifts. They showed many of the new trendy plants for gardening with the names so you could actually purchase them and not just admire like many other booths had. 

This little pink number called Kalanchoe which are apparently succulent flowering plants. Pretty sweet combining pretty flowers with the trendiness of the succulents.

When doing outdoor spaces you can't forget the little touches like this owl. 

Maybe more of a little tweeting bird fan? I also love the flowers they paired here, Cyclamen.

Another favorite for ground cover and garden filler Fox Red Curly Sedge for some grasses. 

A main feature from the event was 3-D chalk art from artist, Julie Kirk-Purcell. Not gonna lie, quite impressive.

I loved the wrought iron chandelier with the long wax candles for outdoors in this display. Unfortunately, the lady manning the booth was really standoffish so I didn't talk to her. I loved the display though. Note to self: If at a home show and you are the vendor, talking to potential customers draws in business... just a thought.

Some stand out services that interested us, both as home DIYers but also just in general for you our readers.

1. Brigheter Concepts, Ltd.
This company specializes in Solartubes®. Max is obsessed with them and wants to put one with a vent fan in our bathroom above the shower. It gives all the natural light we would need in the space.

2. Haack Architectural Sales LLC
This company specializes in Euroshield®, an environmentally friendly rubber roofing material that really caught my eye. The rubber roofs are at least 95% recycled material, mostly old tires, are much more weather resistant and last 4 times longer than traditional asphalt roofs. Sounds win, win to me.

3. Granicrete Wisconsin
The company specializes in concrete solutions that look and feel like granite or marble, without the cost or the physical weight. This really excited me because they can take laminate counter tops like ours, coat them in a 1/8" concrete layer and then their special coating to give it a granite look without the granite weight. Our old house cannot support such a load.

4. Stein's Gardens and Gifts
Their landscaping design program is amazing. Average price of design service is $300 and you get a $300 plant credit. Can your really beat that? You are buying the plants anyways. Might as well get the professional design service to go with it.

5. Terra Latch
I couldn't find the company name but the product is called the Terra Latch. It is a small plastic clip that allows you to attach terra-cotta pots to pretty much anything you want; fence, deck, side of the house, you name it! I thought it was amazing. If you Google them the product pops right up to order. Average price $5.95.

What was your favorite part of the show? Any of my photos or vendor recommendations inspire you?

I'm in no way affiliated with any of these companies or the Realtors® Home and Garden Show, these are all just observations of their services and my thoughts.
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