Lately, my favorite outfit has been, shall we say, utilitarian:
I must admit, it’s refreshing to throw on the same exact clothes day after day (though I ought to wash them more in between!). No thought required, and I can get as dirty as I wanna. Sort of like being 7 again. My excuse? I’ve got RENOVATION FEVER!
My husband and I renovated our house when we bought it almost 11 years ago, but we barely touched the backyard. Dominated by a giant shed (which had many, many shelves and cubbies and built-ins–I think someone lived back there in the 1970s, yikes), the entire ground is covered in concrete with a bizarre mound in the center. (My neighbor swears it’s Jimmy Hoffa under there.) Occasionally I’d plant a couple of herbs in pots or a raised bed, or we’d add a sandbox for the kids, but it’s never been a nice place to hang out.
But this February, my very-handy uncle and creative aunt came to visit, and in one fell swoop, most of the sheds have been removed. We kept the overhang for shade, and my aunt grabbed some of our old paints and proved what a little color could do! As far as the concrete, my uncle suggested staining the part that is in good shape, and it looks amazing.
Since then, I’ve painted the back walls, the ceilings, stained the concrete floor, and hung lights. My kids and I painted murals, created a chalkboard, built bamboo frames for sidewalk-scored tropical pictures, and planted lots and lots of plants. Every day, I love to go back there and find some other little addition I/we can do. And I’m doing it all on the cheap, using leftover paint and materials as much as possible.
Of course, some things go really well (staining a brick pattern onto the concrete!) and others do not (lovingly restored sidewalk-scored chair fell apart after I sat on it). There’s also a small swamp in the back corner each time it rains–and apparently, drilling drainage holes in concrete is more difficult than it sounds.
But I’m continuing on, and discovering new skills all the time. I’ve always wanted a Tiki room, and so we’re going for it! I found lots of inspiration online, and I’m decorating with a tropical, retro flavor in mind. Doesn’t that sound like fun?!
I’m going to chronicle some of my adventures in a new section on this blog. I’ve found so much inspiration and advice online, I’d like to share my resources and experiences. I’ll take pictures of these projects as I’m working on them:
- Building a Tiki Bar out of reclaimed materials!
- Staining concrete, including an easy brick pattern!
- Making easy bamboo frames!
- Growing veggies in buckets!
- Creating your own chalkboard paint in any color you like!
And these that I have in mind:
- Build a rustic outdoor table!
- Create a living screen out of old wood pallets!
- Make bamboo wind chimes!
- Hang gutters!
- Build a rain barrel!
- Build a compost barrel!
- Spraypainting plastic chairs!
I’ve got my work cut out for me. Come on by and see what’s up!
I have recently rediscovered my kneecaps. It’s like magic: when they show, I think my outfit looks fresher, more modern. When they are covered, I feel more dowdy or frumpy.
I know that’s not the same for everyone, and it’s not even always true for me, but it’s become a new measuring stick for alterations. If a skirt or shorts are not working, I pull it up over my kneecaps to see if that’ll fix it, and often, it does!
Here’s an example. I thrifted this great American Eagle denim skirt that fits well and has a cool worn-in look. But something about it just wasn’t quite right. I didn’t feel cool in it.
So I sliced off about an inch and a half, to the tops of my kneecaps. Suddenly it felt fun and flirty, while still covering enough leg to make me feel age-appropriate and comfortable. Voila!
For this skirt, I did a quick zigzag stitch around the raw edge to keep it from fraying too much while still maintaining the frayed-edge look. I wear this skirt all the time now, a perfect blend of casual and a wee bit fancy.
How do you feel about your kneecaps? Would you show them off? Or is there something else you do to change an item of clothing from frumpy to fab?
Cute, right? I used to dye my hair all kinds of colors (still have a bit of Manic Panic in Cotton Candy Pink–glows in the dark!–and Hot Hot Pink in my bathroom cabinet) but feel funny doing it now, as a 40-year-old mom. But this looks like it comes right out (hm, unless it doesn’t–my hair does suck up color). Even so, it’s sort of funky and sophisticated at the same time.
I might give it a try for St. Patrick’s Day. This weekend is the big local St. Patrick’s Day parade, where people dress up in costumes and drink green beer and catch cabbages from tractor-pulled floats. Only in New Orleans…
Anyway, green streaks won’t look out of place at all–and if I wear green clothes, I won’t notice the chalk dust. I’ll take pictures if I end up doing it!
What do you think? Would you streak your hair with colored chalk?
I saw this t-shirt in Forever 21 today (on my quest for the perfect orange shirt) and thought, 1. How cute! and 2. How easy to make!
The stripes are actually grosgrain ribbon sewn onto the front of the t-shirt. The little bow really adds charm, doesn’t it? Love the color combo, too. How hard would it be to sew trim on a boring old t-shirt?