Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jerry Rigging Summer (or) $7 Screen Door

Summer, of course, means spending time outside. Warm weather is a little hard to enjoy, however, when you live in an apartment complex. What I really long for is a back porch. I love to dangle from a porch swing watching a summer storm coming through. One day...

My back patio is about 8x10 feet, with no covering. I've managed to create some ambience with some easy jar luminaries and some garage sale furniture. You may recall my recent ventures in patio gardening. (Everything is coming along swimmingly out there! The basil is off the hook and the squashes can't wait to be hung.) 

Still, a patio is not a porch. And living in an apartment means little space, and not much flow. Not much air flow either. On those cool evenings, it seems a shame to only get a few inches of cool air through the crack of an open window. And I can't hear my records playing the in living room either. A solution was necessary.

Inspired by commercials for the "magic mesh" and a few pinteresters, I took an evening and created a on-the-cheap screen door. The whole project took 5 things to make:

- length of screen door material $4.50
- tension rod $2.50
- scraps of heavy fabric (from my stash)
- sticky back velcro (from my stash)
- staples 

The screen comes door-sized, but you'll want to check it against your particular frame before any next steps. I needed a little extra length, so that the bottom of the screen could lie like a flap on the bottom. I used some scraps from my bin (jean legs created from cut-off shorts) and created a loop for the tension rod to go through at the top of the screen. 

Had I thought things through more - or, maybe, cared more about the final look- I might have hemmed the long edges and pre-pressed them and simply sewn it through twice in parallel lines to secure it. What I did was weirder and looks a little makeshift but is fine for my purposes. **Be sure to pin well before sewing if your fabric has ANY stretch in it at all.** I learned that lesson as I went. I also learned that pulling out stitches from a screen door simply trims the edges neatly. (Not what you want if your short on length or width, so be careful.)

The final touches came after putting the rod up in the door frame. I cut sticky velcro and placed it strategically to hold the screen in place but not make it hard to enter and exit through it. The door frame is smooth, so that part of the velcro held fast. To secure the half that is on the screen I just popped a couple staples in. Easy peasy.

I love sitting on my "porch" and reading by candlelight, wine in hand, rumba music rolling through my screen door. And I love the extra fresh air and light I can get in my kitchen now without worrying about letting bugs in. I could have spent $25 dollars on a pre-made portable screen door, but I think this was more fun. Plus, it leaves more money for the wine fund.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

New Chair - Drop-by Post

I got this chair in the garage sales the other weekend. Isn't it fab? It's a bit bright, but what's new? My apartment continues to collect bright pieces. So far my living room has an aqua couch, a teal chair, a pink chair, and two bright yellow pieces (a desk and display-type bookcase). I dont THINK it's too much, not yet. I mean, I can't paint my walls, so...

This week I spent a lot of my free time being sick and trying to beat it. Me and NyQuil have had nightly dates. Blogging has fallen by the wayside. So have other things.

Things I DIDN'T do this week:
- blog
- laundry
- call distant friends
- go to the doctor (shoulda done that)
- dishes
- grocery shop

(the last two items haven't been tackled in probably three weeks. It's super gross. I've been eating creatively and off of weird surfaces.)

Things I DID do this week:
- saw local friends
- pretended I wasn't sick
- read The Devil Wears Prada (fun and totally different from the movie)
- started reading Wicked
- made puppy chow

The last item on this list was a resounding success at two separate parties this week. I made some original chocolate and peanut butter chow, but then was inspired to mix it up a bit. The second batch I melted butterscotch chips and mixed in some (unsweetened) coconut shreds for a flavor surprise. I loved the final product and so did my pals. (especially the pregnant type of pal)

This week will be less sick if I have anything to do with it. And I do intend to do a little crafting for a new wreath for my door. Ole Pink Wreath is wearing out its welcome and starting to fade a bit.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Very Tiny Garden

Today was a beautiful spring day. Inspired by the sunshine that taunted me while I was sitting at my desk all day, I spent some time in my tiny patio garden when I got home.

Several weeks ago, I started some kale and lettuce in my makeshift, shoe rack hanging planter. Only one lettuce seed made it past the dirt's surface. That would be the top left spot on the rack. The kale, on the other hand, is making me a proud mama. Today, I split and transplanted my herb starts. I also planted some squash and cucumber seeds. I am attempting to keep the starts better separated by using trisected toilet paper tubes. We'll see how it goes. I'll report back on the progress.

On the way home from work, I passed by an estate sale. Nagged by the momentary images I saw from the corner of my eye as I passed by, I pulled a U-turn and visited the sale. Go figure, I run into my garage sale-ing partner from the weekend, Madison. I found this wonderful school desk to use on my patio. It is just the perfect size for the space and should stand up pretty well to weather.

My porch space is coming together and becoming a more useful and pretty space. Tonight I made a grilled sandwich, served up with some pickle spears. Nothing fancy. Honestly, my food life isn't very fancy very often. I ate dinner and read a book in my little back porch nook. 

Check out my new pickle saver! (another garage sale find) I grew up with one of these constantly stocked in our family fridge. My dad reminded me the other day that my snack of choice as a kid was a big pickle, held in my hand like an ice cream cone, wrapped in a napkin. 

I'm kind of addicted to these no bake cookie balls. I made them loosely based on this recipe. I didn't have coconut or much honey, but they're still tasty- and not that bad for me, really!

Some days, it is really hard to be an adult. I would much rather have spent the afternoon reading a book at the park, on a blanket, sipping on some vino. But I sat behind a computer and clacked at keys. I do love my job, but sometimes I wish I could have a good, long vacation. One day soon. Until then, I will continue to make the most of the daylight hours after I work my 9 to 5. Life is pretty darn good.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My Old Kentucky Home

I'm thinking about Kentucky tonight. Something about the springtime makes me yearn for the hills. I always loved hiking in the spring. The little flowers poking through blankets of dead leaves. The hum of the cicada. Spring peepers. The gushing creek after a storm. Sometimes I hear the highway from my apartment window and imagine it's that spring water trickling over limestone. In dreams, it is.

So, in honor of my "Old Kentucky Home" I threw together a quick slideshow of some pictures of my hometown. Some images are not as interesting to the unacquainted eye, but have great significance to my life there. Perhaps it's the path I walked to school, or the bean tree with the great story. Anyways, I love to show people where I came from. It's one thing to describe the place in words, but I think pictures simply do it better justice.

You can watch my video slideshow here. I did the song for it, too. It's one of my favorite mountain traditional songs, "Pretty Saro".

AND, if you're looking to be further educated on Pippa Passes roadways, you should check out this neato video someone made of their drive from Alice Lloyd to their home, past Hazard, KY. The epic music in the background is actually a super slowed version of Justin Bieber's "U Smile". Nuts, right?

Still to come: more photo documentation of my recent garage sale-ing adventures.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Finding Pretty Things on a Rainy Day

This weekend is the big city-wide garage sale weekend in Tipp City. Madison and I hit up some spots this evening as a precursor to what could be a whole day of yard snooping tomorrow. The clouds darkened ominously, but we got to a few juicy sales before the rain started. Some treasures of the evening?

A Marlbolo Great Trails Rand McNally Road Atlas Wallet & Pretty Blue Scarf. (I suppose there's no NEED for such an atlas in my life. But it's so darn adorable and stylish!)

A Vintage Brass Magazine Rack. I already have a magazine rack, but who could pass this up?! It's so wonderfully vintage and in pretty great condition. I was thinking if it doesn't hold reading materials it will hold craft supplies. Maybe even yarn.)

After our shopping, we went for dinner at Harrison's. Madison labeled our take home boxes. We dashed from awning to stoop trying to avoid being drenched on our way to the car.

The light this evening was beautiful. The sky was both bright and dark. Spurts of sun made the wet sidewalks glimmer like gold. I was so happy to be out and about, spending time with a friend rather than inside, despite the weather.

This week has been a challenge for me. My Grampa Weiant passed away last Saturday. He had been struggling with health issues for a couple years, but it was still hard to believe that he -the most persistent and proactive man I have ever known- could have been conquered by pneumonia. He passed away surrounded by family. I got to say goodbye and I know he was proud of me and my life's path. I am at peace with his death, knowing that he is in no pain and partying with Jesus. Still, I miss my Grampa.

Days like this one -with the beautiful dichotomy of light and darkness- remind me of the importance of the rough patches in life. They press us to rely on faithfulness and trust in God for strength. Grampa took a long time to become the gentle man I knew him to be, God worked in his stubborn heart for years before winning him over. As a result of his darker times, Grampa became a man who invested himself in my life, supporting me through my uncertain years and encouraging me to do things I loved. He also pressed me and challenged me to work hard to achieve greatness. What a fantastic man. I am so blessed to have had 28 years to know and love him in person.
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