Category Archives: out in the yard

****PaRtY on the Patio!****

Here’s our FIRE PIT!  I don’t refer to it as a regular fire pit because, well, it’s a long story.


But here’s the thing, fire pit season in Dallas is October through maybe April.  It’s just too hot to snuggle up to a campfire here already. So May through September meant topping the fire pit bowl with a piece of wood and loading it up with tons of candles just so we weren’t sitting in the dark and talking to each other’s silhouettes.

Until now!…


We added patio lights, and I’ll show you how we did it….



Level up four 8’ posts in four buckets and add a little Quickrete.


I considered using sand instead of the concrete, but mosquitoes love wet sand, and it just didn’t seem stable or heavy enough to support tall poles.

IMG_3326Add enough concrete to fill a third of the mixing bucket.



Add a little water at a time.

And then mix it up with your handy dandy thing-a-ma-jig that attaches to the drill….IMG_3325to a pretty thick consistency.  

When you fill your little buckets, consider who will be carrying them around when they are stored away.  I filled mine half way and have enough room to drop in four-inch pots of flowers to hide the cement. But, eh, I really don’t care if my cement is showing.


The cement was sloped down from the pole toward the sides of the buckets.  After the cement was dry, we drilled holes though the sides of the buckets at the lowest points so the water would drain out…again, preventing blood sucking skeeters.




Add four hooks…042

and then the lights!  We chose the clear bulbs.






Tip: lower your lights into a bucket to store them away.


Now, I have a place in the backyard for a couple strands of pennant flags.



I used a paper pattern, Heat & Bond, an old Rachel Ashwell shower curtain, and pinking shears.  There are 44 pennants in all, and they are alternately attached on both sides of the top band.



After the triangles were cut, I cut 1” strips off the shower curtain and sewed the ends together creating two strands that were 25’ long.  I found the center of each strip/strand and then attached the first two triangles on each side of center so that they would cross each other over the fire pit without bunching.   I then attached the remaining triangles working out from the centers.   Here is the intersection….



That’s it. Easy peasy.

Pretty fun and Pinteresty too! 






Filed under DIY, make it or fake it, out in the yard

Spring Fever

Ok. So I might’ve told a little, teeny, white lie… Saying that  “I’m Baaaaaak” may have been a bit much. But I’m just drowning in homework and I bit off more that I can chew with particular class load.

But I’m here now and have some yumminess to share!!!


We  popped over to The Crow Asian Art Collection and saw some BeaUUUUtiful art that I couldn’t take pictures of to share with you, except for a few outdoor pieces.


Where I would like to sit and do my homework…what am I saying?!  I mean SLEEP. This is where I’d like to take a nap or maybe be meditate and pray…after my nap.



ROAR!! Is that the Dwarf of Ignorance under his paw?


Did you know that is not a knot of hair on the Buddha’s head?  It is a cranial protrusion that signifies wisdom….but it’s still covered in hair. This example is before The Six Dynasties Period…you can tell by his open robe….the Indian influence….I learned that at school- 75 pages of lecture notes and that’s about all I retained.


I managed to pop into Paper Source on a Sunday before the crowds at the mall and spend my birthday gift certificate!  Thanks Frarefrow!


And found this bowl at Anthropologie. Isn’t it kind of SPECTACULAR!? 

In a delightful, shy, jade green. Used a g.c. for it as well.  Whoot!


These lovely people brought me some treasures from their flea market! They know me so well….


The oldest jar EVER with the loads of little treasures inside!


We chased sunsets while waiting for the salmon to bake.


And remember me telling you that my daughter was selling flowers to get to summer camp?  Well, her grandmother…..let’s just say, bought TONS of flowers.


My darling sage bloomed…probably jealous of the…


roses nearby.



But when I put them together….so sweet.


Celebrating Hubber’s new job (again) where the frozen margarita machine was invented. Sooo good, but soooo high in sugar.  Tequila and sugar= massive headache that same night.


Did you hear about all of the Tornadoes in Texas? They would NOT leave.  The big chunks of red would not budge.  Scaaaaarrry!  My daughter was on the golf course for her District Championship (which they won) swinging her clubs high in the electric air. As a mama, I was a little on edge that day.


Last but certainly not least….BUNNY BAIT!!

Pinterest got me again, and my girlfriend…the one that gave me the flea market treasures, made it first and swore it was awesome so we tried it and Tracy was right, so it’s official, Pinterest makes you fat.


Here’s how to make a HUGE batch….

4 bags of Tender White microwave popcorn

2 bags of Easter M&Ms

24 oz of white chocolate

about 3 cups broken pretzel pieces


Mini marshmallows (optional)

Break the recipe down into batches according to your largest bowl. I had to break it down into 4 batches

Add to your bowl: one bag of popped corn, 1/4 of the M&M’s, 1/4 of the pretzel pieces and then drizzle on 1/4 of the white chocolate that you melted in the microwave on medium and stirred every 30 seconds.  Fold and fold using a spatula to avoid breaking the popcorn up . Scrape the inside of the bowl as you go. Lay the batch out onto wax or parchment paper, sprinkle on 1/4 of your sprinkles and let cool and harden. Add some marshmallows.

DSCN2741 DSCN2742




This recipe made 18 of these gift bags!


This Easter is going to be sweeeet!  Get it? Winking smile

Have a Lovely Easter!

see you soon



Filed under Field Trip!, Food, out in the yard, Pinterest

turn a fire pit into a FIRE PIT

Summer is almost over!  I mean, honestly, you can’t even call this summer. Summer is warm days, grillin’, and swimming.

Lately, here in Texas the pools are too hot, the propane tanks are dangerously close to exploding, and thankfully, the cicadas are too hot to make it sound like Hades.

So, like washing a car to make it rain, here is an outdoor project to bring on the cold fronts! 

Here’s how we turned a rinky dink fire pit into a big sexy FIRE PIT!

This is the fire pit equivalent to padding your bra, or extensions in your hair,

or whatever they say about a sow and her ear and purses. 


You’ll need (upcycling everything was easy except the cedar and rocks):

A cheap fire bowl and the ring that supports it. Ours was a 30″ bowl (you won’t need its legs)

metal mesh that your rocks wont fall through,

sheet metal pieces,

staple gun,

deck screws,

brackets, unless you’re good at toenailing,

wood for skeleton, we used 4×4 for the main legs, 1×1 pieces to hold up the mesh and rocks, and 2×4 for frame pieces,

wood for the skin, we used cedar for the vertical skin,

and the top where we rest our feet and drinks is pressure treated 2x6s mitered together.

Flat black spray paint, we happened to have grill paint on hand

black rocks- check the fountain/koi pond/water garden supply store

outdoor stain

our finished box base measures 53×53

the added top is 57×57

and 19″ high, but go with what you prefer…measure your coffee table to start and adjust for the width of the boards that you’ll use for the skin. Ours is 5 boards high..see below 


rinky dink… in need of padding.


Above: legs are 4×4, runners and their corner braces for added strength are 2×6, the ring sits on 1×1, continue to fill with more 1×1 to support the mesh .

We also added sheet metal pieces to cover any wood that was near the bowl. Leave a little air space between the wood and metal.


remove the ring’s legs if they’re too heavy.

Notice the brackets that join the horizontal pieces to the legs.


add mesh and paint it out black.

Add cedar skin, cover the raw corners with wood corner trim, add the 2×6 top using 1×1 supports underneath for added strength.


Add rocks.

Get some wine. Call some friends


fyi: if it’s too hot for a fire, plug the hole with a plastic bag and a brick,

fill halfway (not too heavy) with play sand and add 20 mason jars with tealights!


And in case you need a sexy little patio to put it on:

 Using string and stakes, measure a 12 foot by 12 foot SQUARE into your lawn. Use orange paint to transfer measurements.

 Cut around edge with a sharp shovel. Till up the rest to a depth of 2.5 inches or the height of your stone plus 1″ of sand.

 Line the inside of excavated area with green plastic lawn edging. Stake it into place with the supplied anchors. Make sure the top of the edging is level with the  dirt, not the top of the grass.  You don’t want to feel the edging with your bare foot. Ours is about 1/8 inch below the top of the stones.

Lay landscaping cloth/weed blocker out, cut, stake down.

Cover with an inch of sand. Use a 2×4 and level to get it all level. Stamp and level, stamp and level.

Cover with 144  12″ concrete stepping stones with no space between stones.

Fill all the cracks with more sand using a push broom. Keep adding and pack tightly by hand. Use a puddy knife or thin tool and be patient.  This is the most time consuming part, but most important. It took me almost two days!

Stain it if you like.  We used a stain that had a brownish/taupe undertone to knock down that cement gray color

 Four years later…

Our pecan tree landed on it during a freak wind storm so The Hubbers had to rebuild the top.

I’ve restained the firepit since then as well…less orange, more brown.


So there you have it. Bookmark it, make your supply list, keep an eye out for scrap skeleton wood, get ready for home improvement sales, and check the ‘Oops Stains and Paints’ every time you’re in the paint section.



Filed under DIY, make it or fake it, out in the yard

it’s the little things

Right now I’m reading One Thousand Gifts  by Ann Voskamp. I discovered it on another blog that i frequent.

The cover is what sent me to the bookstore, but page 17 is why i paid for it.

Voskamp describes her church, “here I remember Love and the Cross and a Body, and I am grafted in and held and made whole”.

I’m on page 49 and have cried three times…. so far.

It seems she is learning to be thankful

for the little things,

she begins a list.

She writes, “37. Windmills droning in day’s last breeze

54. Moonlight on pillows  […].”

I have soft rolling lumps in my throat that happen in lieu of tears…until the tears just come.

I have to do a little weeding in the flower beds today while the trees shade the entire yard.

Contemplate what I’ve read thus far.

Pray and then meditate. (aka talk and then just listen)

Then journal….what I’m reading, what I’m seeing…and hearing.

I’m seeing a little gecko chillin in the shade of my Japanese maple, bees checking out my lamb’s ear, white butterflies jacked up on high calorie nectar, the african iris blooms that bob up and down in the breeze, my dog napping on the cool grass.

it’s the little things.


First, gesso, then a wash of green water color and splatters on top. The fern, green ephemera, paper lace.  I paint a dogwood blossom, cut it out, paste it in.  Add a frame of brown paper. Another little frame and the dragonfly….don’t dragonflies always seem to be the embellishment on the scene?  The rabbit was cut from a greeting card from QueeanbeeDoralea.    (credit: Silin-Palmer).

Still meditating while gluing, cutting.  Better than doodling or staring into space I guess. Coffee got cold.

Time to go. Errands to run. Break is over.

Tomorrow, a list for me? 1000 things?  That’s a lot of things…..hmmm…I don’t know where this book will take me, but right now I want to start a list.

#1.  Grace

#2. ??


Filed under art journal, Journal, out in the yard, peace, hope, or luv