Monday, June 27, 2011

Inside Out: My Backyard Deck

I've always loved the idea of making your outdoor deck or patio feel like a room inside your house.  At the same time, our summers are so short, that I'm all about easy and fuss-free living from June to September.  When we have lunch or dinner outside, I set up the food and plates buffet-style on the kitchen counter where we make up our plates and carry them out to the deck.

This is where we spend a good deal of time in the warmer months.

I bought the outdoor carpet last summer and was happily surprised at how it anchored the furniture and brought us a little closer to making the deck feel like an actual room.

The cushions on this cozy little bench under the pergola are new this year. I haven't bothered with cushions until now because the chairs are comfortable- even though they may not look like it, and, I think I would be horrible at remembering to bring them inside during bad weather.  We'll see how it goes!

I've seen many of these mason jars turned candle holders on a number of blogs, but this particular version is inspired by one from The Inspired Room.  Thank you for the wonderful idea, Melissa.

A group of three mason jars placed on a wicker tray makes a nice summery centerpiece.  So far I have only seen the candle light at dusk. I don't sit outside when it's really dark because I'm terrified of bats- and no amount of rational explanations have cured it!

Moving on...

I love ferns and tucked this plant stand in one corner of the deck.

I have another little seating area on the lawn. I used to have a bench here, but it fell apart last year.  The two chairs are more practical because they can be brought onto the deck when we need more seating.

This is a nice sunny spot, and it's relaxing to sit here with a trashy summer novel and have tea- or something cold from the fridge.

Another one of my painted pots.

That's it for the main deck- I just have to show you one final picture of my peonies.  This will be the last one because the heavy rain that fell last week took all the petals off... at least I have the pictures!

We're ready for summer- I hope the weather forecast is good!

I'm joining Amanda's party this week...

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Painted Pots

Last week while Mr. StyleBurb sanded and re-stained our back deck,

I dragged out my spray paint booth to give our mismatched flower pots a fresh look for summer.

I know...  you want one too!
Our flower pots were a mixture of colors and styles- some plastic and some terra cotta. I decided that the best thing would be to unify them with a few coats of soft black paint. We have black outdoor furniture and I love the way black looks with our taupe deck stain.  I used Rust-oleum's oil rubbed bronze spray paint that says it can be used on "wood, metal, plastic, masonry... and more."

Clearly I didn't plan to paint our flower pots when I put annuals in this big planter a month ago!

 Our flowers had to spend an afternoon covered up with a garbage bag.

But everything worked out ok, and I think the planter looks very sharp!

 I've had this large terra cotta pot in my garage for years.

 Now it's holding my tomato plant.  I even have tomatoes!

Every year we buy hanging baskets from the garden center and every year the plastic pots are different colors and shapes.  We have quite a collection.

I removed the hanging apparatus, wiped them down and spray painted a few of these plastic pots as well.

I didn't prime anything I painted- I barely cleaned off the cobwebs- and I have no idea how long the paint finish will last, but I'm really pleased with how they look right now.

This green plastic pot won't make it through another summer- there's a hole in the back...

...but it looks better black, too. I wish my flowers looked a little healthier. I'm hoping they'll fill in and hide the green rim.

I bought some double bloom pink impatiens that needed to be re-potted, so I bought a few of these little cheapy guys at the dollar store.

I spray painted them gloss white and hot glued on some cute lady bug buttons I found at Michaels.

Again, I don't know what is going on with my flowers- they look a little sick. 

If they don't start looking prettier soon, I'm going to spray paint them as well!

I really want to show you how my deck looks, so I'm working on that post next.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dolly's Busting Out All Over!

Peonies are sometimes referred to as the Dolly Parton of the garden

Today is a great day in my garden- the peonies are blooming!  I haven't stopped admiring them or sticking my nose in the middle of the largest bloom for good long sniffs.

I may have even lovingly petted the petals a few times!

I have heard that peonies don't like to be moved, so I was expecting them to sulk for a few years before blooming. (I decided to relocate them to sunnier spot in the garden last fall)....

 ...but 'Dolly' has not disappointed me.

I think it might be a few more years until we get to this point....

 ... but for now I'm thrilled to be able to stop and smell the peonies!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fancy Salad

The other day, one of my favorite bloggers, Melissa, from Melissa's Heart and Home showed us a couple of salads that she enjoys in the summer. They looked so delicious that I decided to show you my favorite summer lunch. My daughter called this a 'Fancy Salad' when I first started making it last summer, and the name has stuck.

I use a premixed medley of baby lettuces and crucifer leaves and then pile on blueberries, strawberries, mandarin oranges, sunflower seeds and sliced almonds. Sometimes I add a chopped hard boiled egg.

My favorite dressing for this type of salad is Renee's Sweet Onion vinaigrette (I should caution you that this dressing is a tiny bit 'vinegary'). Since I eat this salad almost every day in the summer, I have probably used 10 bottles of Sweet Onion Vinaigrette since I first discovered it! I may even be addicted, because I always need to have a spare bottle in the fridge.


 I love to mix sweet and savory flavors - you never know what you're going to get next!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

May and June: The Busiest Time of the Year? Discuss

Are May and June crazy busy months for you like they are for me? There's Mothers' Day, Fathers' Day, multiple birthdays, graduations, school recitals, weddings, showers, the start of soccer and baseball season, tonnes of end-of-year school stuff, gardening....

These are all exciting, fun and wonderful times, but it doesn't leave a person a whole lot of time to get her decorating projects done! Oh well, the projects will wait!

Here's a little round-up of what I've been doing lately.

I've already talked about my youngest daughter's birthday party. I finally found a picture of the girls as they enjoyed the brownie bar I set out for them.  We eat a lot of cake in May and June, so the brownie bar was a fun change!

Then, my oldest daughter celebrated her birthday the weekend after.  She invited some girl friends over for a sleepover. They watched a few classic 'chick-flicks' and laughed a lot! We decided not to venture through the clouds of perfume to take any pictures!

My son invited some guy friends over last weekend to celebrate his birthday with- you guessed it- a sleepover party as well! Mr. StyleBurb took them to a nearby driving range to hit a few buckets of golf balls first. We had a barbeque for dinner (I think my friends in the U.S. would call it 'grilling') and pancakes and bacon for breakfast the following morning.

One thing I'm learning about teenage boys is that no matter how much food you cook, it will never be enough!!

This is our basement the morning after the party- very tidy, all things considered.

In between all the partying, we spray painted some pots...

pots before getting the 'oil-rubbed' bronze treatment
... planted some containers...

 ... leveled the interlocking walkway...

 .... and sanded the back deck so that it can be restained...

Technically, Mr. StyleBurb and my son did the interlocking and deck sanding, however I stood ready to offer cold drinks and helpful hints!  Hopefully, the stain will go on this week, so I can arrange the outdoor furniture and flowers in time for the next few parties. No pressure, though!

So, that's the brief version of what's been going on here- there's still more to do. Yes- we're busier now than we are at Christmas-time!

I know you've all been really busy, too. Tell me, is this your busiest time of the year?