A New Path with DIY Stepping Stones!

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Hi there Friends!

Slowly progress on the side yard is happening.  In this hot weather, it’s been harder, since who wants to be cooking themselves in the sun?!

Baking… well, that’s another story.  I’ve been having fun “baking” my very own stepping stones, after failing at finding any round ones around my neighborhood home stores.  And, you know what?  It’s totally easy.  I LOVE this project and it’s got my mind spinning… What else can I do with a bag of Quikrete?

Plus it’s sooooo cheap!  A bag of concrete costs less than $3, and most of the supplies I found at the dollar store.  For all my stones (10 large and 26 small) I spent about $35 dollars!!

So, let’s dig in and I’ll tell you how I made these super cute ROUND stepping stones.

Supplies:

  • A bag of Quikrete
  • A Mold; in this case I used CAKE PANS!!
  • Cut up pieces of chicken wire.  I had left over hardware cloth, so I just used what I had lying around, and I’m sure you can dig up something in your garage that’s similar.
  • Vaseline or Petroleum Jelly
  • A bucket and mixing stick
  • A tarp was a nice to have, but not required

For the majority of these, I went down to the dollar store.  One small vaseline jar was enough for 20+ stones, and I was lucky to find a bucket, tarp and cake pans there, too!  They only had 9″ though (and I purchased 7 of them to make a bunch faster).  After making about 14 stones, I knew I needed some larger ones mixed in.  For that, I used these cake pans I found on Amazon.  They are super big, beautiful and still look great – even after using them!!

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In fact, the largest pan was so big, at 14″, I didn’t even use that one.

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Now this can get pretty technical – HA!  Not.  I scooped out some Quikrete into the bucket, and added water until I could mix it up into a thick batter.  I measured nada.  Slather your pans with vaseline and then pour in about half way up.  Next, add the chicken wire…

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Then fill it up with the rest of the concrete.

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Let it dry for a day.  You guys, listen to me here.  Make sure to take your new stones out of the mold the very next day.  I didn’t do this one freaking time and it took me forever to get it out of the pan, and actually, I broke two of them trying to get them out.  Learn from my mistakes.  Okie dokie?

What to do while they dry?  Well, prep the area of course!

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I had decided to use some decomposed granite to create a base and filler for my new stones.  You don’t have to do this, but it’s how I made mine.

Once your stones are dry, literally just turn over the pan and let ’em slither out.

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They will get stronger and stronger, so just let them chill for a few days or in my case, a week or so.

Then you can play around with your pattern…

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The big stepping stones were something I had in the back of the house… so I used a few of those and then filled in with my new stones, making sure that they were all on the same level and at the same height… easier said that done.

As you can tell, at this point I only had the 9″ stepping stones made… it just wasn’t enough.  Right??  Tweak, and tweak, that’s what we do.

Then I just filled in the space in between with more dg.  I wet it down really well, and then tapped it down.

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This path is done!!  And so tough.  I can push a wheel barrow through it, no problem.

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As you can see I’m still finishing up this whole side yard, but at least I can cross this little project off the list!!  YAY!!

This was where I started…#Progress

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Now what to do with that dirt next to it?  I’m taking a minute to pause… since I’m having a bit of an internal battle…Artificial grass?  More rock?  Succulents?  Mulch?  I have an issue with all of these options.  What say you?

Hopefully I’ve inspired some new bakers out there!!

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Happy Floral July!

Red, White and Blue!  Whoot whoot!!

Oh, how I love you liberty, freedom and democracy.  I also happen to like fireworks very much… not that they really have anything to do with the above, but as a symbol, they’re pretty much the coolest.  (Ya, I did just bust out a mom-ism.)

Why not celebrate the 4th with flowers that look like fireworks?!?  Flowers + Fireworks = Insanely better than Zombies + Austen.  And much more patriotic too.

These are all drought tolerant… I’m really testing my flower skills here, courtesy of Annie’s Annuals, which can be shipped all over the states… actually I love their site.  You type in the parameters and zone, and they spit out a list of beautiful green stuff that will work for you.  So without further ado…

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With a name like Blow Wives, how can you not plant this sucker en masse?

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Allium Schubertii has blooms over 12″ across!

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Gymea Lily has stalks that are  over 20 feet tall!  Yes, you read that right.

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Dianthus arenarius are different… a sea of tiny flowers!

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Selago Serrata

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Garlic Chives, who’da thunk?

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Red Hedgehog Agave is big and bold!

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Showy Milkweed has huge clusters of flowers.

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Cephalophyllum pillansii

These are just a few fun flowers that really caught my eye!  I especially love the fact that they can all thrive in the heat with low water needs… there’s literally nothing I love more than an independent flower.  Who’s looking for another needy thing in their life?  Not me.

Have a wonderful 4th.  Put that memory to the test with a recital of the Pledge of Allegiance.  Still got it??  You go!

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An Update to the Side Yard

Hi there friends!!

Here’s a quick update post about our little side yard.  It may not be all that exciting to some of you, then again, with all the lawn hating going on these days, you just might be very interested.

More lawn gone, you ask.  Yup.  Seems to be a trend around here.

Of course, here’s a part of my yard that I so BADLY wanted a lawn.  In fact, we tried everything to grow a strong, lush, green lawn and in the process, we spent lots and LOTS of money.  None of it held up very well since the soil is pretty much the worst ever.

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This second picture was one of those time where we kinda had a lawn.  This was right after we put in the ficus all around the fence to cover our neighbors ripped privacy screen, which drives me Gwen Stefani BANANAS.  That screen has died.  Let’s just bury the thing already.  Amiright?!

That little slope was also once the home of a huge pine tree that was knocked down in a crazy windstorm.  Needless to say, over the years there have been a few changes… some are working, some just ain’t.

The plan was easy.  Dig up the dirt about 3-4″.  Cover this with a steel mesh to deter any gophers.  Add in a retaining wall for the dirt and to make the hill look legit.  Add a drip system to the side greenery and hill.  And then grade the whole play area with decomposed granite.

Now, we have this.

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The frog?  A vintage find from an old park.  The plane?  From Costco – Where else?

Let’s break it down, shall we?

The retaining wall?  Each wood piece was $20 and we needed 14 = $280

The mesh I bought here and needed 5 rolls for a 700 sqft space, $66 x 5 = $330

The landscape edging, $20 for each piece x 6 = $120

Drip stuff (I can’t tell you every piece here) was $200

The big cost?  The DG was $25 a scoop and $50 for delivery.  I bought 12 scoops for $385

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And then of course, there’s the labor portion of the whole thing.

I didn’t lift one. single. finger.

Digging out, refilling, leveling the whole thing was $500.

Capping the old lines, and adding in the drip system $100

Putting in the retaining wall and edging $100

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All in all, it was a cool 2 grand.

With our goodies put back, it’s like our very own playground.

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I love it so very much.

It’s funny, the hub doesn’t really get too involved in my grand schemes, but when I told him I was thinking of doing this project he definitely eyed me suspiciously.  He didn’t say no, but he wasn’t enthused either.  Now that it’s done, he’s beyond thrilled.

It just looks so clean.  Weird word, I know.  But it does.  It’s intentional now.  This space makes sense.

We are thinking of adding a few more shade sails, flowers, and benches… you know, the fun stuff!  All in due time Watson!

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Inspiration for Arrow’s Room

TGIF!!

This week I started the fun process of creating a blank slate in Arrow’s room.  You can see all the before’s here.

I’m not entirely sure where I’m headed yet… But I know what I like when I see it.  Are you the same??  I’m pretty sure that I’ll have some hand-drawn wallpaper look – I’m just obsessed with how awesome it looks.  I’m also thinking that I’ll do that myself… maybe… probably.  Unless, I break down and just buy the teepees below.  So. freaking. cute.

Penguin Wallpaper, Teepee Wallpaper, Stylefiles

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Blog Lovin’

Other than that, I’m very drawn to a color palate of blue, black and white.  I’m going to paint the dressers white, for sure.  Should I add legs?

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And the crib will get a make-over into a toddler bed.  I just love the one here.  Mine won’t have round edges, but I’m determined to figure out something where I can use the crib I have and transform it into something more modern.

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Land of Nod 

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Amber Interiors

My hope is to update the room so that the bones are solid and that the fun comes in with bedding and accessories.  I think a little calm would be nice in a house full of boys.

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Target – Pillow Fort

Just yesterday I was looking for the paint that I used originally in the room (actually there are 3 colors!!) and I could only find ceiling paint.  Arg.  I wasn’t planning on painting the whole room, just the two walls that need it.

That’s what happens when you open a can o’ worms.  You get yourself some surprises.

More to come.

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8 CHEAP Beauty Products I love and 5 I’m dying to try!

Yo there!

It’s summer and hot, like so freaking, unbelievably hot.  And my kids want to play outside.  Non-stop.  Outside.  Is anyone hearing this?!?  Outside in the sweltering hell that is Southern California right now.  Honestly, why are kids so dumb sometimes?

My therapy in all this is a trip to a nice air conditioned store, where I can usually indulge in a teensy fun buy.  I LOVE to try new products, but I’m especially thrilled when they’re actually great.  So, I thought it would be fun to share a few cheap products that I swear by!

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Terracotta Foot Scrubbers, L’Oreal Lip Pen, Micellar Water, Liquid Eyeliner,

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Kirkland Shampoo/Conditioner, Goody Stay Put Elastics, Grapefruit Scrub, Anti-frizz Creme

That foot scrub??  Awesome.  I love it.  I used to buy plastic ones for the summer at drugstores and they sucked, didn’t work well, and got tossed after a month or two.  Not these.  They also look waaay cuter hanging in the shower.  The lip gloss is so easy to put on and wear.  I’m not much of a make-up wearer, so I like things that are easy and work – this is the best!  Micellar water, where were you hiding?!?  This is a new product that I grabbed on a whim and have been using for about a month.  It’s perfection… so key when I’m lazy about washing my face at night (which is just about every night #reallife).  The eyeliner… again, I’m no good at make-up and I was good at using this.  The first time.  Hella ya.  And it stays put, but washes off without chemical grade ingredients.  The shampoo/conditioner is like a surprise score.  Costco doesn’t sell it on-line, but cummon, we all know you go there at least once a month.  Grab a bottle and read the label… paraben and sulfate free, Cool, Vegan, huh?, Gluten free, Um ok.  I never knew I’d need a vegan shampoo, but that’s got to be a good thing, right?  Just try it.  After I wash with fancy Kirkland, I rub in some Garnier anti frizz into my damp hair, then let it air dry.  It’s not sticky or oily, like almost every other anti-frizz I’ve tried, oh and it only costs 3 bucks!  I think everyone and their grand mammies uses the Yes to Grapefruites/Tomatoes/etc brand.  I especially like this scrub and use it once a week… I also like the tomato one, but don’t use it as much… so if I had to pick, I’d go grapefruit.  The hair ties are a no brainer – they hold my hair in a pony tail.  Nothing else works as well.  Nothing.  I buy these in bundles, use them twice and then toss.  They are so cheap, I use ’em like disposable contacts.

Omg, that was long.

But are you so excited about your next Target trip?  Yeah, me too.  And actually, I have a few things that I really want to try.  These are not all cheap though.  Dang it.  But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to try.

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Womfy Anti-wrinkle PillowBellaflash Hair Removal System, The Wet Brush, Issa Toothbrush, Eyeliner Tool

Recently I was getting my hair done and my girl says, What, you don’t have a Wet Brush?!  That’s all it took.  I need one.  Stat.  Maybe the next day (or three) my mom says to me, What you don’t have an anti-wrinkle pillow?!  You guys, I weelly need this.  Anything with “anti-wrinkle” is pretty much on the list.  An at home laser hair remover?  I’ll try that.  A toothbrush with no bristles?  Yup, that’s my jam.  And a tool that’ll make my eyeliner even easier to use?  Is it my birthday yet?!

Okay, now that I’ve bared my cheap loving soul, please share!  What are some of your favorite budget products??

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