Monday, June 27, 2011

Wall Art - Knock Off and NEWS

Many months ago I saw this original artwork from the amazingly talented folks at Restoration Furniture and I HAD to have it!!  

Seriously, I could not get this piece out of my head!  

Months of this swirling around in my head!!  Months of a picture of these tiles sitting on my desk.

Originally I had planned to use these in my bathroom.  But not long ago, I made a HUGE decision.  One I have wanted to do for years, but put on hold for many reasons.  But with my unemployment, I decided to start fulfilling the dreams I have for my life, one by one, and to stop just talking or thinking about it.  

-  As those that follow me know, college is just around the corner!  Classes for my Interior Design degree begin August 22nd to be exact!! :)

-  Several months ago I started volunteering at a local Women and Children's Shelter.  I work with the children once a week for 2 hours.  Plus Doodle and I serve dinner once a month.  It is the highlight of my week!! :)

-  And the HUGE decision I recently made (but have always wanted to do).....I am currently in the process of becoming a Licensed Foster Parent!!!  :)

So.....I have been working on turning my guest room, turned office, turned disastrous craft room...into a child's room!!  Specifically, a girls room between the age of this will be the age range I am requesting (because I feel she would blend into our life easier).  

I am becoming licensed as a "Special Needs Foster Parent", not an emergency foster home, as most people think of.  Special needs can mean alot of things, such as, behind in school, slow development, emotional needs, sexual abuse, etc.  Typically, the child will be in my home for 12-18 months while they try to prepare the family for reunification by completing the court ordered milestones...while I work with the child's needs.  If reunification does not remain an option, I could potentially adopt the child or at least provide a home until they can find an adoptive family. 

SOOOOO.....back to my knock-off artwork.  

It was obvious THIS art needed to be my inspiration piece for the new bedroom!! :)

I purchased these tiles at the Dollar Tree, with the little hangers on the back.  

After the fact, I realized you could just hot glue little hangers onto the back like they did, and save a little money by buying cheap tiles from a restore or the hardware store.

And for whatever reason, I didn't take any during photos.  I know you guys are not surprised. LOL

But basically, I just cut a variety of scrapbook papers and aged them and Modge Podged them onto the tiles.  

I used my Cricut to cut out the numbers...using my Sure Cuts Alot 2 Software so that I could choose multiple font types.

And here is how my version ended up!!

When I hung the tiles on the wall, they felt very wimpy.  I wasn't happy.  So, I started thinking of ways to beef up the artwork.  And as luck would have it, I found this picture at the Salvation Army for $2 and it was the perfect size!!!  That never happens! :)

I used spray paint for the frame and the matte.  I used the wall color paint for the center square...which I glazed and antiqued up a bit.  And I used black craft paint to paint the inner molding to help it stand out a bit.

I am completely IN LOVE with how this turned out!!!

It's fun.  It's whimsical.  It's non-committal to any certain "theme". 

Besides painting the walls, the yellow color that used to be in my living room...I've purchased a dark (almost black) denim comforter (from Kmart's Country Living line).  I figured that was neutral enough to make any tweaks once we know the child's personality. And now, added artwork.  

I made the throw pillow out of a $2  double-sided place mat and stuffed it using stuffing from an old it literally cost me $2!  Yay! :)

There's still plenty to do, like find a headboard, refinish my $5 garage sale dresser, etc. which I'll be showing as I finish each know, between fence installing, crafting "No Soliciting" signs, laying pavers and gardening, volunteering, attending college orientation (with BABIES!!), looking for a paying JOB, foster parenting classes, parenting my own child, summer vacation sleepovers, blah, blah, blah..... ;)

I have lots of fabulous garage sales finds to show you, like this huge basket I picked up for $7...that still sells at Target for $40!

But for now, I'll enjoy finally having my knock off artwork!  :)

I will be joining the following parties!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Vinyl Fence - Lessons Learned

I am SOOOO loving my new fence!!  Privacy is a wonderful thing. :)

But as with all projects here at Where Beauty Meets Function....things didn't quite go as planned.

If you missed the first fence post about all the drama of just getting the right materials, read this post first before you read "Lessons Learned".

I was asked where I purchased my fence.  I purchased it at Lowe's.  Earlier in the spring they were having a very nice sale on their vinyl panels.  They are usually $44 a panel, but with the sale I got them at $29 a panel!  That's $270 in savings on the panels!  

What I didn't account for was just how expensive everything else was!!!

The vinyl post cover sleeves were $28 EACH! Did you know that??  I sure didn't before I started this project!  The screws were $6 A BAG (which I needed about 10 bags when all was said and done!) or the brackets for $2 EACH (you need four brackets per panel - except end posts where you only need two) or the treated wood posts that go inside the sleeve cover ($7 EACH)!  Oh, and let's not forget a bag of concrete for each post at about $3.50 a bag and caps for $2 EACH.  

Suddenly my $25 panels weren't so cheap after all when you add almost $45 for EACH post!!!

I needed 18 panels to do my yard!  

I haven't done a final calculation on my fence, but I have estimated it has costs me about $ far.  

I've not included the cost for the picket portion yet or the gate on the other side of the house.  So, I should be around $2000 when all is said and done.

I HIGHLY recommend going to Lowe' if you are looking to install a fence on your own.  This was a GREAT resource.  I will definitely use it again in the future for other projects!!  

So, now let's discuss the lessons I learned about installing a vinyl fence.

This is probably the biggest lesson of all that I learned.  

Are you ready?


I'm joking.  Sort of. ;)

First LessonHave ALL of your materials on hand before you start!  We wasted a lot of time having to run back and forth to Lowe's because I didn't have everything on hand at one time (posts and screws).

Second Lesson - Inspect all of your panels and post covers before you leave the store!  When we started pulling panels out of the shed, some of them were cracked or had huge staples right through the panel.  So, we had to do some exchanging...which also wasted a lot of time.

Third Lesson - RENT A POWERED POST HOLE DIGGER!!!  I offered many times, but my ex kept saying no, he could do it the manual way.  We wasted a lot of time the first two days because he was being stubborn (and trying to save me money).  He finally broke down and let me rent one Monday afternoon.  For $58 we got it from 3:00 pm to 9:30 the following morning.  I cannot tell you how fast the process went once we rented the power digger.  It was absolutely worth a full day's rental cost (which was around $80 I believe.)

Fourth Lesson - Rent a digger with reverse or have a wrench on hand!  We got it wrapped around tree roots on the very first hole!  Since our auger didn't have reverse we couldn't get it to unwrap from the roots.  A call to the rental company revealed a wrench would give my ex the power to reverse it by hand and untangle the auger. It worked perfectly!  And we didn't run into anymore root trouble after that.  But just in case you you know how to undo it.

My ex trying to use a car jack to get the auger unstuck!  It didn't work.

Fifth Lesson -  Build the ground up to your fence!  Let me explain this. 

It was important to me that the top of my fence was level.  But my yard has a slope...not a major one, but when I came to installing a fence it sure felt major.  We could have done a "stair step" method to work with my slope, but I know me and I would not have been happy with this.  Stair stepping would have been fine if I had a large slope, but mine is so minor, a stair step would have looked silly in my opinion.

The options start at the high point and have a huge gap between the ground and the fence in the low spots.  Or the opposite...dig a "trench" for some of the panels in the high spots, but have a normal gap in the low spots.

My ex opted for option #2.  It was the wrong choice because it created A LOT of extra work having to dig trenches!  And it made the fence appear shorter in some spots.

After the fact, we decided that it would have best to create a gap at the highest point and then just bring in dirt to build up the ground to panels that had large gaps.  Lesson learned.


Those were the lessons we learned the hard way unfortunately.  

We both agreed after figuring all this out, we wouldn't be afraid to do another fence again.  We'd just make different choices to make it easier next time.

Some tips:

- Get one of these levels that wrap around the post!  It was the best $5 I ever spent!! 

- Since the vinyl fence panel tops aren't perfectly level, there is some slope to them, you can't measure the level from the top of the panel.  So have a piece of wood that will fit from post top to post top that you can put your straight level on to make sure your posts are level before pouring concrete.

- As recommended in the Lowe's video, we installed each panel as we went.  The alternative is to dig all the holes and posts, then install the panels, which will work fine for a wood fence, because you can self correct any mistakes easier.  But for vinyl, you have to be pretty exact, so this creates a VERY high error rate.  And once the concrete is set, you can't do much to change it.  We already had the panels sitting in the brackets when were getting ready to pour concrete for our next post.  Then I'd screw them in after the post had set.  We did not have any issues with the concrete being too soft of moving...just in case you were wondering.  It was clear out spacing was right because the panel was already in place!!  


I think that's about it!  It was VERY hard work!  I will not lie.  Probably, no definitely, the hardest DIY I've ever done!  But ABSOLUTELY worth it in the end!  

If you decide to tackle a fence on your own, feel free to ask me any questions! I'd be more than happy to give you my take or discuss problems,etc! 

I hope you all have a WONDERFUL weekend!! :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I'm SO Excited!

You will never believe what has happened around here the last few days!

Remember this post from several years ago?  Fencing Drama.

Oh wait!  No, it only FELT like years ago.  ;)

After almost three months of tripping over 18 fence panels, 18 bags of concrete, fence posts, fence post covers, caps, screws, brackets, the lawn mower in the is DONE!!!

OH YEAH!!! :)

Ok, maybe not done, done.  But the privacy fence portion is done. And let me tell you....that is HUGE!! :)

I owe a HUGE, MEGA - THANK YOU - to my ex-husband!!  Seriously he worked so hard for three days during his vacation time to help me install this fence!  

Instead of fully enclosing the yard in a privacy fence.  I have opted to install pickets along the front side.  (And hopefully a trellis with gate here as well.)  But that will have to wait for me to find more funds.  I'm sure you understand. ;)

At least in the mean time, I no longer have to look out my kitchen window or sit in my back yard to see this lovely view.  

The abandoned house that has sit there for 2 and half years empty and unclaimed by a bank/person/city or anyone else who should take responsibility for mowing it and spraying the carpenter bees or any other type of maintenance. :(

I had to trim the tree along the backside.  It looks kind of strange now, so some trimming is definitely in the works.  And excuse the work station table randomly sitting in the yard.  I was SOOO stinkin' excited about getting the fence up I couldn't wait to post about it! 

I can't see a soul from most of the yard now!  And they can't see me either! know what that means, right?

Yep, I can lay out in the nude now!

I'm JOKING! LOL means I can start thinking about borders and plants and flowers!!  Adding a tree.  A patio.  A garden path (even though my yard isn't that big).  All the fun stuff. (No, all of this will NOT take place this year, but a girl has to start somewhere.) 

WOW!  I'm exhausted, and excited, just thinking about it! :)

Do you think I can do anything about my neighbors crooked mailbox that has to sit on my side of the street?

Anywho....I will post "Lessons Learned" later this week for anyone who is crazy enough to consider installing a fence themselves. :)

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Fabric Wreath - Repost

Last week when I was showing off my "No Soliciting" sign, a couple of readers asked about the wreath on my door.  

I thought since that was a post I did waayyyyy back in the beginning days of my blog, before I had many readers, it might be nice to post it again.

And for those that were around back then, first, THANK YOU for sticking around for this long!!  But, I also thought it might nice to show that some of the things I make to actually having staying power around here. :)


Ok, so I’m not one to normally toot my own horn…but I am SUPER excited about this week’s craft! It turned out GORGEOUS!

I’d love to lay claim to this piece of beauty, but I originally saw this idea over at High Heels and a Hammer and fell IN LOVE! Kristen’s wreath is beautiful! And I knew instantly I had to make my own!

So, I sat on the idea for a couple weeks. Then I found the perfect fabric!!

I bought a pre-assembled pack of fabric at Joann’s Craft Store on clearance that was perfect for my personality and red front door!

I paid more for this than I usually would for a project, but, I couldn’t have assembled a better array of fabrics myself!  So, I paid $14.97 for the fabric pack. It was regularly $29.99!! That’s just craziness in my opinion!

And I paid $3 for the ring at Michael’s.

And then is the easy part!

I cut and ripped each panel of fabric 1 inch wide and 9 inches long.

I’m not going to give a tutorial because Kristen did that already and I followed her steps pretty much as she wrote it.

My pile of fabric went from this:

To this: 

I did not have enough fabric for the outer/biggest ring. But honestly, you’d never know if I didn’t tell you.  It’s still super full and you can’t see the extra ring over all the fabric. It would just be that much bigger if you finished off the outer ring too.

And it was that simple!

Time consuming? Yes. I think it took me about four hours to complete, from cutting, ripping to tying. But I sat in front of the TV watching movies with the Doodle, so it was a complete no brainer task.

And I did get blisters on my fingers from the fabric rubbing wear spots when I tied it.  But SO worth it!

Pictures absolutely do NOT do this wreath justice! It is just stunning in person! 

And I’ll pass on a little idea my best friend had when she saw my wreath…this would be beautiful in Halloween or Christmas fabric!! Or think 4th of July…red, white, blue and star hanging in the middle! There are lots of cute wreaths you could make!

This one cost more than my usual craft projects, but it’s still less than $20 and well worth the price tag for the statement it makes to my front door! And I’m positive it can be made cheaper with different fabric choices than I made.

Fabric - $15
Ring -   $ 3
Total = $18