Monday, July 20, 2015

Shabby Chic Table Runner

I've been on the hunt for a table runner for my dinning room farm table for quite sometime. While shopping with my mother, we came across a burlap runner with dollies and buttons on it. I fell in love with it until I flipped over the price tag. To my dismay it cost over eighty dollars. We continued shopping and I looked at it one last time before leaving the store.  I had dreams about that runner after saying goodbye at the store!! It haunted me that I didn't buy it.  Weeks later my mother told me she bought a burlap runner that had fringe at the ends.  She wanted to attempt to make me a similar table runner like the one we saw in the store. After a trip to Michael's and Ana's linens we had everything we needed to create this amazing shabby chic runner.

 Two of the dollies were handmade by my grandmother who lives in Mexico.  I'm a very lucky lady to have my mother incorporate them onto the runner. 

My mother used a variety of lace in the runner.  Some of the pieces are new and others are vintage. The vintage pieces were a surprise and definitely make the runner even more special.

Similar to the vintage pieces of lace, my mother had a collection of antique buttons she also sewed on. 

I got a little teary eyed when I saw the finished product. My mother went above and beyond creating this unique runner.  I love how our inspiration came from a purchase I missed out on and now the one I own is priceless. 

Make it Spicy and Shabby,

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What You Should Know Before Building a Wood Fence Yourself

Three months ago I didn't know anything about building a fence. My boyfriend and I had gone back and forth about whether to pay someone to build it or do it ourselves. These conversations went on for about a year. Our fence was falling apart and was being attacked by carpenter ants. We had preformed quick fixes several times after posts broke and panels blew off in a storm. Our home backs up into a busy street so blocking noise and gaining privacy were some of our goals.  A big and tall fence was what we wanted, but bigger and taller meant a larger price tag. We did the cost analysis and for the fence we wanted, we knew we could save thousands by building it ourselves

Our project began Memorial Day weekend (when there was flooding in Texas and it rained for 10 days straight) and ended 4 weeks later with heat reaching 98 degrees. We estimated 2-3 weekends to build the fence but because the crazy weather conditions we took longer then expected.  After completing the fence, I felt an extreme sense of accomplishment.  They're several things I learned from my experience and some things I wish I knew before starting the whole experience.  
Here's a list of things to consider before building your own fence. 

Getting Started:

Permit/ HOA 
Check with your city on whether a permit is needed before building. Also find out what the city standards and restrictions are. I believe our permit cost around $20. If you have an HOA, I recommend you reach out to them at least one month in advance to see if you need to fill out a form or get permission before building. We had to submit an application and it took over 6 weeks to get approval to build a new "structure". 

Property line
Know where your property line is. This one is important, make sure you are not building on your neighbors property. When you (or your neighbor) go to sell your house they will survey the area and you could have to knock down your fence, if a portion of it is on your neighbors property line. 

Have your electric and gas lines marked
Several days before you are ready to dig make sure to have your electric (Internet, cable) and gas lines marked off. It's free to have your lines marked by the city and it could save you thousands of dollars.  If you accidentally hit or slice a line you could be liable for any charges incurred fixing the line. 

Preparing to Build:

There are many different types of fencing.  Depending on your neighborhood and where you live, fencing options may be more common than others. Variations include chain link, aluminum, wood, PVC, vinyl, and wrought iron. 

If you decide you want a wood fence you need to consider how you want the pickets. I'm sure they're several variations but I'm only familiar with board on board and stockade fence. Because we wanted privacy we decided to go with BOB. BOB fencing is more work and you'll have to do more measuring with spacing and board overlap. 

Type of Wood

As you probably know, there are many different types of wood. You can do your research like I did but cedar is the way to go. Cedar is more expensive then other woods and that is why many home builders opt not to use it. Pros of using cedar; bugs like carpenter ants and termites don't like to eat it.

If you choose a stockade fence make sure to consider board shrinkage once the wood dries. The spacing between your pickets will start to grow and the boards will not seem as close together as when you put them up. 

Well... how tall do you want it? Consider how close you are to your neighbors and what your surroundings are.  Make sure to check with your city building codes to insure you are not building a fence too short or tall. 

Posts/Poles (metal/wood, are you going to dig new ones, digging out the old ones).
The most common poles are either metal or wood. Metal poles will last longer as long as they don't rot.  Metal will also withstand weather and wind damage a lot better. 

How are you going to dig your old posts out? Well I'm sure there are secrets of the trade when it comes to getting your old fence posts out. The only one I know of is to buy a fence post puller. It will save you a lot of heart ache later. I would recommend trying to dig out one of your existing poles out a couple days in advance to see how hard or easy it is. This will prepare you for how many "muscles" you need on hand to help you out. You never know how much concrete is around the poles and you may even need a jack hammer. 

How are you going to dig new holes? If you're keeping the fence the same size and height it'll be easier to reuse your existing holes. If you are building a taller fence (do the research) you'll want to have longer poles and you'll want them deep into the ground about 2-3ft. We built a 8ft fence and dug them 3ft in the ground. 

To Nail or Screw?
This particular topic was something my boyfriend and I argued about. Nails are quicker and easier to use when building, especially if you have a nail gun. I couldn't wrap my head around having to individually screw hundreds of screws into the fence. This brought up another issue of having to borrow several power drills from friends and family. 

Here are the pros of using screws: They will not "pop" out of the wood overtime. They will keep the structure intact and secure longer. Down the road if you need to replace pickets it will be easier to unscrew them without the integrity of the wood being ruined. 

Cons: Screws cost more and it will take longer to screw nails into the fence. 

If you do choose to got with screws make sure they are specially coated to avoid rusting. Deck screws would also work. 

Picking stain was the fun part in my opinion. I love the color of dark wood. We read a lot of reviews and picked out a local Texas company to buy our stain from. If you are going to hire a company to do your stain you may want to ask them about the average life of that particular stain in your area. Living in Texas we get a lot of sun and some products last longer then others. 

Stains should last 3-5 years if they are applied correctly with the proper two coats.

Finishing touches (gates and trim)
So you want to build a fence, have you thought about the finishing touches? The finishing touches are like icing on a cake. And for fence building the icing would be trim pieces and gates. We decided that the extra money we saved by doing the building ourselves we would put into the "icing".  Once we added the top cap to our fence it looked really high end. Then it continued to look even better after we added the trim pieces and arched the gates.  

I hope this post prepares you for your fence project. 

Make it Spicy,

Sunday, July 5, 2015

DIY Wine Bottle Lantern

Ultra-Pure Paraffin Lamp Oil
Wine bottle Wicks (Amazon)
Empty Bottle

This project is pretty self explanatory:)  I recommend using a funnel to add the paraffin oil to the  bottle to avoid a mess. Once the oil is inside the bottle, add the cork and wait 2-3 hours before lighting. This lantern is perfect for providing light indoors or outdoors. 

Make it Spicy,