Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Front Porch Makeover | Paint Project

Over the past few months, I thought about giving my little front porch a makeover. Nothing too expensive. Nothing too drastic. Just... something! Oh, and it had to be a project that I could do myself; no help from the hubby.

Sometimes I have little pockets of free time that randomly pop up, so I try to quickly seize the moment. Luckily I had a Pinterest board that was full of front porch makeover ideas!

Most of my projects involve paint. Spray paint, cans of paint, bottles of paint, you name it - I love to paint! So, you can probably imagine my excitment when I came across a pin that consisted of painting a front porch! Christine, from first home love life created the most fabulous DIY front porch makeover, and I was so inspired to tackle this on my own porch! {you can see her front door project, here}.

My supply list included:
1 Quickrete walkmaker
Painter's Tape
Paint brush, roller brush, paint tray + liner
Dunn-Edwards Paint {2 shades of gray - dark gray for my base, light gray for the stones}
Steel wool {to scratch up the faux stones}
Kneeling pad
Motivating music
2 - 3 cans of Wild Cherry Pepsi

The first step was to make sure my porch was as clean as possible. I swept, rinsed, and scrubbed the entire area where I wanted to paint. Once that was completed, I grabbed my roll of painter's tape, and started taping off every inch that I wanted to protect from any paint mishap.

Paint prep is honestly my least favorite part of any painting project. I'm very impatient, and just want to get started painting already!

 I was proud of myself for completing all the prep work. Dare I admit that it really wasn't all that bad? ...moving on

Now it was time to start cutting in. I decided that rolling the paint would work best for such an open area. Not to mention, it would get done more quickly than if I used a paint brush. But as you can see, the wood siding on my porch isn't flush, and I knew it would be impossible to get in between, with my roller. That's where the paint brush comes in handy. I painted a few inches away from the siding, leaving an even area for my paint roller to finish the job.

*once I was finished cutting in the edges of my base coat, I removed the painter's tape, before the area was completely dry.

 Now... on to the fun stuff!  

I rolled my entire porch & walkway, with Dunn-Edwards Battleship Gray DEC797, and then waited for it to fully dry. Doesn't it look better already?

To make sure everything was dry, I didn't continue with my project until the next day. Once I determined that it was dry & safe to walk on, I continued with the "stone" portion of my front porch makeover project!

I determined the position of the stone pattern I wanted, and I put my QUICKCRETE maker into place. I made sure to alternate my pattern by turning my stone shapes, differently each time. 

Using the lighter shade of gray that I picked up from Dunn-Edwards, Stieglitz Silver DET612, I started brushing on my stones. The QUIKRETE WalkMaker made this task so easy! In fact, when I first started, I thought my stones looked a little too perfect. 

To achieve a more authentic look, I started using less paint on my brush. Then, while the paint was still wet, I took a piece of steel wool to scuff the paint up a bit. You can start to see a difference in the stones, when you compare this picture to the one above it. I was certainly loving how this front porch makeover was turning out so far!

This project took a bit longer than I anticipated. I didn't realize just how long I would be on my knees. {my poor 40 year old, arthritic knees}. After a while, it didn't even feel like I was on a kneeling pad! The crouching, bending, and constant arm motion definitely gave me a work out. I continued with my project, on day 3. Despite all my aches + pains.

The painting portion of my front porch makeover was finally complete! I couldn't wait to start adding all the fun, little touches that I had purchased & refurbished, especially for this project.

Before I started painting, I found these darling topiaries at HomeGoods. I picked up two, even though the two pots were different colors. I had to have them! Plus, they were the perfect size for my small front steps. So, I ended up painting the other pot to match - super easy fix! 

This old milk can was one of my favorite additions to my front porch makeover. A little elbow grease, sanding, painting, and a little vinyl "welcome" sign, was all it needed! 

 This was the before picture...  I'm so happy I saw the potential it had! 

I added an inexpensive door mat, from IKEA, and stood back to admire all the hard work that was put into my front porch makeover.

I really loved how these pink flowers popped, alongside my newly painted walkway! I don't have a green thumb, so I gave up on trying to plant anything, over the past several years. This flower bush has grown back every year, since the last time I planted anything. The flowers also gave me hope that maybe my thumb isn't so brown, afterall. Either way, it was just the motivation I needed to head over to Home Depot, to tour their garden section.

My little guys helped pick out some pretty flowers. With this serious California drought, I made sure our plant choices were drought-friendly. I was pleasantly surprised at the huge variety Home Depot had available!

By the end of our shopping trip, the boys were pretty tired, a little cranky, and so ready to get out of the shopping cart. After a brief meltdown in the parking lot, we loaded up my truck, and headed back home, to start planting.

It took me a few days to get everything planted in the ground. The boys did a great job helping, and they love to help me water, and even sweep the porch. 

 I'm very happy to report that since completing my project, about 2 months ago, my flowers have remained full of life, and are blooming beautifully! And I've even received a few sweet compliments about how cute they think my front porch looks.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Back To School Party Ideas

For some, the school year has already started. My kids will be starting soon... but not before I plan a fun gathering for them! We're going to celebrate the end of a busy, fun-filled Summer, and the start to an exciting, new school year!

I found a free printable set from Catch my party, and printed out tags, signs, circle toppers, and a banner. It all coordinated perfectly for ourback-to-school celebration.

Last year I created a bright & bold back to school celebration. Fun colors, and new school supplies helped get the kids prepped for their first day of school.

Most of my school supplies were purchased from Dollar Tree, or on sale from Target & Walmart.

I found some fun items in the school supply section of Dollar Tree. I created a backdrop from cardboard posters, and filled plastic tote baskets with new supplies.

I thought it would be fun to display some of the back-to-school party favors, on lunch trays. 
New crayons & markers are always a school supply favorite!

Let's not forget the treats! You can keep your celebration simple, by purchasing store-bought cupcakes, like you see here. I set them on top of a mini composition book, and added an A+ cupcake topper, from Creativities Galore.

 Back-to-school never looked this fun, when I was in school! 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Summer Campout Ideas

Have you ever gone on a Summer Campout? My family looks forward to camping, every Summer. We start planning our campout, months in advance. We get the family involved with choosing our campout location, and all the fun stuff that we want to include, such as fishing, and hiking! 
Camping by the lake is one of our favorite spots. We're currently finishing up the planning stages of our 2015 Summer Campout. 

Before our family trip, I thought it would be a good idea to put together a mini Summer Campout party. I felt this would help get the kids excited & better prepared for our big trip!

I set up a fun little spread by a lake that is 10 minutes away from our house. It was the perfect setting for our kid-sized tent, yummy snacks, and a great Summer campout spread! 

I pre packed simple lunches inside of cute camping themed gable boxes. To keep things more organized, I attached the utensils with some twine. 

I popped our favorite microwave popcorn before we left the house, then filled these cute polka dotted treat bags, once we got to the lake. I set the easy to grab snack bags inside of a wired basket, to give it a more outdoors-y feel.

Candy kabobs are a perfect Summer Campout treat. All of your candy is contained on an easy-to-hold stick! There's no mess, and the kids are entertained for a long time. I had our friends over at Sweets from Heaven create a fun campfire kabob, for the campers. I displayed them inside of a weathered galvanized tub. This made it very easy for hands to grab.

Another yummy treat to enjoy while out camping? Cookies! These weren't just any ordinary cookie. These were hand created, and specially painted by our favorite cookier, She Wears The Crown. I love how they included a sleeping bag, a tent, and roasted marshmallows, for our happy campers! I surprised the campers by displaying them on top of real wooden log pieces. 

No campout, or party is complete without cupcakes. Blanca from Creativities Galore created the cutest campfire toppers for our Summer Campout cakes. 

 My family loves to munch on trail mix, all year long. For a little added fun to our normal snack of choice, I had the campers create their own trail mix! I included peanuts, raisins, and M&M's. I displayed the trail mix ingredients inside small pails, and placed them inside of a wooden box. I set out a scoop, and mini snack cups for the guests to fill to their liking! I found a fun camping themed printable set from Printabelle, and added them to our trail mix bar.

I also made sure our campers had a chance to experience S'mores - a Summer Campout staple! While the guests were playing near the lake, I set out bottles of juice, little cups of "fish" crackers, and put together mini S'mores kits. The graham crackers, Jet-Puffed marshmallows, and mini Hershey's bars were displayed inside of berry baskets.

I made sure I had a supply of ready-made S'mores on sticks, for our hungry & adventurous campers. I also included a sign for our S'mores station.

 Our Summer Campout party ended with the happy campers "roasting" their marshmallows. I decided it would be best to save the real campfire for our family trip. Either way, our little camper guests had a great time pretending to roast their mallows over an open flame.

 I'd love to hear about your Summer Campout stories! What are some of the fun activities you include?

Vendor Credits:
Printable Set - Printabelle
Treat bags, snack cups - Celebration Lane
Campfire cupcake toppers - Creativities Galore
Cookies - She Wears The Crown
Camping Gable boxes, and plates - Birthday Express
Wooden utensils, and cardboard flame - Amazon

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Outdoor Movie Night | Teen Beach 2

Summer is here, and the weather has been beautiful! It was a perfect evening to host an outdoor movie night. With the release of Disney Channel's Teen Beach 2, we couldn't think of a better time to host a movie party!

Being the big Disney fans we are, we've been anxiously anticipating the release of Teen Beach 2! And we were so excited to learn that it would be released on DVD, the same day it was airing on TV.  My daughter gathered a couple friends, and I worked quickly on putting together an outdoor movie party.  

Our friends over at Sweet Talk Bake Shoppe made some darling beach themed cookies! I used the outer cardboard cover, from the Teen Beach 2 DVD, and put it in a frame.

No movie party is complete, without popcorn! I dusted off the popcorn machine, and made a fresh batch for our movie goers to enjoy.
I found some smaller sized beach pails, and decided they'd be perfect to serve popcorn in! 
Mini beach totes offered a fun candy assortment. 

I wanted to bring a little of the beach to our party, so I purchased some sand at my local Home Depot. I placed a few scoops of sand inside of a serving tray, and used it as a display for our drinks, pineapple cups, and a beach pail ice bucket.

I also served a couple other crunchy snacks for our outdoor movie party. A yummy snack mix, and goldfish crackers hit the spot. They were served in small party cups, and set out on cake stands & sand. 

Once the movie ended, we would be roasting marshmallows, and creating yummy S'mores in our firepit. As a fun display, I set out Reese's peanut butter cups, and mini Hershey bars inside of a 3-tiered tray, from Pick Your Plum. I also set out graham crackers, and mallows. 

I put together a movie screen by attaching some thin canvas fabric to PVC pipe. I cut strips in the fabric on the top, middle, and bottom. It was super easy to do, and very inexpensive. Not bad for a last minute gathering! 
To hold the PVC pipes in place, I hammered rebar  into the ground, and slid the pipes over the top.  

I thought it would be fun for our movie guests to lounge on pool rafts, while watching the movie, and munching on all the tasty movie treats. 

It was such a fun evening, under the stars! The movie was entertaining, and the guests had a really great time. This was our first outdoor movie night, this Summer. I know it won't be our last!