The Yard Continues. Plus, Mini Project: DIY Concrete Door Stop.

Thursday, May 14, 2015



I know.  I've been busy with work related things.  Which yes, helpful to the ol' wallet, not complaining.  The returning job returned which I hope is getting close to done.  Then my pal Geoff rang me up, asking for a design for a food space at NeoCon in The Merchandise Mart.  So that's monster cool.

So, um, yeah.  Haven't had much time to do much of anything except squeeze in dreams about all the things I'd like to be doing to the house.

My folks came down for Mother's Day which was super nice.  They brought me a card from Finn (and themselves) plus a lilac.  A lilac!  Awww yeah, one of my mega all time, lifelong favorites!!  Peonies make for a near tie there at the top but lilacs....Loooove 'em.  And my folks know that, so that warmed me.

new lilac plant
Thanks Mom and Dad!!!  Um, yeah, niiice weeds, huh?
Two years ago I bought a lilac at the end of the season off the discount dying plant rack at Menards. It reminded me of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree in a way:  so sad, wilty, trying to hang on for that one special person.  It broke my heart so I brought it home.  I'm a sappy sucker, yes.

It was growing but Mike despised it, especially where I had put it.  He coerced me into digging it up by replacing it with the Japanese Maple we got last year.  Which, by the way, is looking fabulous.  We were fretful that it wasn't coming back this year but whooooie, suddenly it's alive and thriving!  *Insert lil' fist pump here.*

new Japanese Maple tree
Go maple!  Go maple!  Compare it to last year (the link above), go ahead, I'll wait!
But that sad little droopy lilac is still clinging to life in a pot.  Didn't help that Finn kept playfully chomping at it over the winter, snapping off its tender twiggy arms.  Poor thing.  I am in it to win it though, heh, however silly it may seem.  It did give a small bloom this year, so there.

Charlie Brown lilac plant looking sad
Poor little thing.  So sad.
But yesterday, rather Tuesday night, Mike expressed his utter exasperation for the yard, tip top front all the way back, mentioning that he should not mention that he planned to go to Menards on his day off (yesterday).  His plan was to go early enough in the morning so as to not have to bring non-early-riser me.

Too bad he woke up later than he anticipated and had to take me.  Ha ha, waahh waahhh!  ;)

We've had a long standing disagreement about weed killers.  They scare me, I don't like them, and despite intolerable, blight-on-the-landscape raging weeds everywhere, I will not purchase nor use a weed killer.  Mike feels the opposite.  We agreed to never use one while Hailey was around and I was pushing to continue that trend with Finny being here.

But.  Mike opted to postpone the deck off the garage as well as sodding the back yard as, well, funds just won't shake free.  That's ok.  It is what it is.

So.  But.  That meant he wanted to use weed killer in the back and toss down grass seed.  (The only seed we've ever had luck with is this one.)  And spray the weeds all the way up front by the newly planted free ferns and sprinkle grass seed there as well.


I had to acquiesce unfortunately.  He wore me down.  I did not go quietly nor willingly.  I annoyed the snot out of him for it.  He did try to assuage me by getting us another lilac (!!!) because, well, symmetry based on where I kinda temporarily planted the one from my parents.

second lilac bush
Lilac two!!  Holy cow, so thrilled!!  The neighbor to the west gave me those huge green onions yesterday, just offered 'em up.  Maybe because we said we'd share our grass seed with them but still, nice of him!  We like our neighbors.
Mike also got us some chichi planters and plants for the front porch to dress it all up s'more.  Neat!

porch planters with plants
One of two new matching planters!  Fancy schmancy!
Don't panic -- Finn is absolutely not allowed in the backyard for at least a week.  Unfortunately for him.  And us.  Spazzy runner-in-crazy-circles boy that he is.

Oh, here are the ferns growing out back by the patio, by the way!

ostrich ferns growing

more ferns growing
Happy dance, happy dance!  Free gorgeous ferns growing!!
Meanwhile, with the weather improving I had forgotten about the cacophony of door slamming indoors when the windows are open.  Luckily, and thankfully, we can get a nice cross breeze moving through the house, especially upstairs, but that results in lots of heart-stopping banging.

I've seen sharp DIY concrete door stops online in numerous places so I thought, eh, why not try to make a few?

So I did.  Well, one so far.

Didn't come out nearly as sharp but hopefully it will do the job in a stylish manner.


Total cost:  free for me, or again I should say pre-paid, as I already had everything.  If I ran out to buy everything solely for this project, it would run about $22.00.


I trimmed down the pint container and sprayed the inside with mould release spray for added assurance of easy removal.

can of mold release

Using a few leftover random pieces of pallet wood I had from the pantry floor, I boxed in the container in the hopes of keeping bulging sides from ya know, going blooorp, bulge.

concrete poured in form

Next, mix up a small batch of concrete.  Dump it in, tap the thing on the counter a few times, bang on the sides to wiggle out air bubbles.

Using a craft stick, I suspended the eye hook in the concrete until it set.

suspending eye hook in concrete

I was hoping to reuse the pint container several times as we have copious slam-happy doors but alas, no such luck; I had to peel it open.  The door stopper sat for a few days catching some air after which I strung the rope through the eye then hot glued some of the leftover rubber gasket onto the bottom.

And ta-da!

concrete door stop diy

Door stop!

concrete door stop

Speaking of doors, I swear, I'm gonna get on that door project for the hall bedroom!  I swear!  I know it seems like I'm lying now as I keep saying words and not doing action thingies but I swear!  Really!!

The rest of my day looks to be free and clear -- off to do stuff!

*The items bearing asterisks-sssszzzss are Amazon affiliate items.  Mwah, thanks!


  1. Another thing you may want to think about....
    some people do not care for the bland look of a cement/concrete block.
    SO....get out the paints, wallpaper, fabric of any kind(scraps), and decorate it!
    why look at a boring, bland colored block, when you can decorate the heck out of it?
    Limits to the decorations? one is only limited by their imagination.
    is this going to a child's door?
    this would make a great project for the wee ones...
    seriously, if you decide to decorate this block, there is no such thing as a wrong way to decorate. kind of like "Military Intelligence"....does not exist. : p

    1. Thanks for your comment here and at Hometalk -- all great suggestions indeed. I personally like the look of bland concrete but the possibilities for a decorative touch are indeed endless!


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