Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Patio Reveal

Hi Everyone! I know I have posted quite a bit about our new patio/outdoor living area this spring/summer - showing you the progress here & there.  Finally, the project is basically complete (at least this year's phase) and we are enjoying it immensely! I thought today was a good day to do an actual "reveal."
So, let's start at the beginning - or a least the point where I remembered to take pictures! This was the view outside my kitchen door before demo began. This pic was taken on one of the days we were dismantling our old Target gazebo and moving everything off the patio so demo could start. Last fall, we took down our swimming pool - we just weren't using it very often anymore.  This left us a sandy patch in our backyard over the winter.  This was filled in and seeded, but in the next year or two we plan on doing something fun in this space - just not sure what that will be yet.  Perhaps a water feature. Out of landscaping $$$ for this year though, so a little grass seed will go a long way! You can read about the construction process here, here, and here.
After a month or so of views like this....

....a totally awesome pavilion and patio area emerged!
We were excited to have our super cool Green Bay Packer brick installed in our bar area floor. You can read more about that here.

We had a cedar & slate tile topped serving bar with privacy fence installed for entertaining - love it and have put it to good use several times this summer. 

We had a second serving bar/potting bench built near the grilling area too. The pink plastic wicker basket holds the dogs outdoor toys in style.


We also have a cedar & tile topped main bar (that you see covered in most of the pics with a canvas cover to protect from the elements) that seats about 10-12 when fully extended.  We love it and it is absolutely gorgeous! We actually bought it at the Wisconsin State Fair about five years ago - Mr.Bluebird loves it  more than me a lot! Lol!  (Now that I have listed our three bars (!) I feel like I might have a problem! Lol!) We do like our bars. (We are from Wisconsin, you know!)

When you first enter our backyard from the street, you pass through an arbor and are met by a fountain and a seat wall with a little sitting arrangement. I picked up the chairs at Pier 1 and I purchased the garden stool for a steal ($29.99) at Marshalls.  I saw the same one the other day for $59.99 - so I guess timing is every thing!  I love this little area. (Ignore the messy pile of wood scraps in the right corner of the picture - we are planning to burn them up in our firepit soon!)

On the opposite side we have a little area with a retaining wall.  I planted zinnias for this summer, but plan on planting something permanent eventually - just not sure what, so I am taking my time! Love the monogrammed outdoor PB pillow - it was on sale, monogramming was FREE, and I had a $10 coupon.  Hooray - with my savings I bought two of their striped outdoor pillows.  The mini chimnea can (and has) burn real wood, but I placed a large flameless candle on a timer in it this year so we can enjoy "the look" every night. See the cool plastic mason jar with the straw? Love those glasses - picked them up at WalMart for under $5.00 each.  Perfect for my drink of choice - Diet Dr. Pepper (surprised, aren't you? since this is a house with so many bars!!!).

As you can see, the grass by the pool is coming in quite nicely.....we still have some landscaping to do up closer to the patio.  This is my new look outside the kitchen door.  Much better!

Our landscaper made a screen for our AC unit - oh happy day! It makes a nice backdrop for our grilles.  Here you can see our existing arbor that you would pass through to enter our backyard.

The pavilion is sheathed with douglas fir on the inside - gorgeous, especially at night with the light on. The outdoor fan came from Home Depot and was $136.00 with free shipping.  Love! And I spent months trying to find just the right one.  I think this is perfect for us! The wires you see in the right corner are for our outdoor speakers, which weren't installed when this pic was taken.

 This is the view from the second floor.  Mr. Bluebird installed the roof himself on Memorial Day weekend. I love that metal roof! You can see our cute little garden shed in back.

Another view from upstairs - this one showing our existing firepit that we decided to keep. It looks like it is filled with flowers, but they are actually hanging from the rafter of the pavilion.

 And lastly, a pic from our 4th of July party.  We brought out our popcorn maker, whipped up some icy cold lemonade and fruity Sangria and had a great time with family & friends.  I know we will host many more parties out here in the future and just the time we have spent eating every day meals or hanging out has been priceless this summer.


So there you have it - the patio reveal!!! I have many other home projects in the works, none of which are close to completion.  I do have a kitchen floor post coming up soon that is both sad & funny! Stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by,


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Friday, July 5, 2013

Cake Balls, Part 2 and 4th of July

Hi Everyone! Can you believe the 4th of July has come and gone? Where is this summer going?!! Slow down this crazy train!!
With that being said, hope you had a great holiday - whether spent with family, friends, or just relaxing on your own. We had a house full of folks yesterday, but were blessed with incredible weather so we were able to use our brand new patio to it's full advantage!
Earlier this week, I started a mini tutorial on making cake balls.  Today......ta da! I give you the thrilling conclusion.
Once you have formed & frozen your cake balls, you simply melt the candy per package directions (I use a cup, because it gives a nice, deep vessel for dipping.  Then you simply dip a cake ball in, give it a swirl to take off the excess and place on a cookie sheet (I usually use foil, parchment, or waxed paper to top my sheet to make for easy removal), and allow to cool.  Sometimes I add sprinkles on top, but after doing a few this time I preferred keeping them plain.  And that's it! Finito!  Always a hit at our parties.

 I also whipped up some of these super cute napkin rings made from chevron burlap ribbon - gah! I love these so much.  I saw a version on a blog and sadly, I don't remember which blogger came up with this awesome idea.  I apologize! (If it was you, please let me know and I will be sure to give you credit). I used an assortment of red, white, & blue napkins I had to make silverware bundles so our guests could do a quick grab & go and have everything they needed once they filled their plates up with food. I used an assortment of star buttons and buffalo coin buttons.

The awesome blogger who inspired my napkin rings is Lucy's Lampshade.  Please check out her blog here. Hers are actually much cuter than mine, as I was unable to find navy and red chevron ribbon.  She made hers to mimic the flag - awesome! Thanks for the idea Lucy!

We brought out our popcorn maker and set up our back bar with a beverage station with lemonade and white wine sangria. This is one of two serving bars we have in our new patio and I LOVE them. Love them, love them, love them.  Have I told you I love them - cuz I surely do!!! A quick story about the white based "Pottery Barn" dispenser.  The base is PB, but I found the Mason Jar style dispenser at World Market, on sale - with free shipping - for only $17.99, as opposed to PB's which was over three times the price.  I couldn't find a knock off base, but the PB one was $24.99, plus I had a $10 off coupon, so I was willing to get the real deal! This combo is one of my faves!  The beverage dispenser next to it is a little cutie that I picked up at Kirkland's a few years ago for way under $20.00 - it has the neatest wicker base.

And of course, food! Have to have lots of it to feed the hungry masses! The table runner is just 3 sheets of scrap book paper (20 cents each!).  We have glass over our kitchen table, so the paper stayed in place and looked really cute.  I especially like the toile in the center.  The mardi gras beads were from the parade earlier in the day - never know where  you will pick up some home décor! lol!

And now, reality.......after a big party comes the BIG MESS! Yikes!!!!!! But it was all worth it - everyone had a fabulous time, hanging out, playing bag toss, drinking cool drinks, and eating yummy food.

So, today, the morning after - I am busy putting away all the serving dishes and giving everything a good scrub.  It's a great day!!!

What are you up to this July 5th?

Thanks for stopping by,

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