Variety Pack: Outdoor Version.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hey, all right!  Let's catch up on a spring, summer, early fall's worth of yard goodness!

Of course I did not get as much done outside as I had wished this year per usual but I, huh, yeah, upon reflection, I did actually get several things handled.  Back pats, a short curtsy.  Never enough though, never enough.

Let's start with spring.  As I wistfully write this on a rainy (thank goodness, finally!), cloudy, cool, dark fall day....Bring back summer!!

Mike asked his boss Ken to make us some chairs.  Well, wait, lemme start over.  Ken had been making Adirondack type chairs for himself, then for folks at work and as Mike hates my favorite black metal chairs, he asked Ken to build us a pair.  Ah marriage.

Speaking of which though, we celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary this summer.  Nine.  Like um, how  ....  time?  Where'd it go?!  In the fun column, that's where.  But wow, that was fast.

Then again, my parents just celebrated their fiftieth.  Yeah.  Five-oh!  They travelled to San Francisco to visit my brother and his family, so I zipped out to join the celebration.  Happy 50th and many many congratulations to my folks!

Good stuff but back to outside.....

Ken fashioned us some chairs which was nice.  He gave them a coat of primer which nnnnnnn, mmk, I was hoping to stain and seal so they'd last longer but so it was.  It was considerate of him to take that time saving step for me.

custom built Adirondack chair gift
I know, I need to clean the siding, I know.
Instead of stain, I hit up the Rustoleum section of Menards and bought a custom tint bright n' happy light teal-y blue, heh "aqua" says the label, and slapped it on.  Ken seemed rather flabbergasted that I did that, not sure why.

Anyway, to protect the feet ends further I picked up a can of that rubber spray,* wrapped some painters tape around the ends and gave 'em a spray.

chairs painted light blue

It doesn't seem to stick well on this surface but as long as we aren't dragging the chairs all over and scraping away, it should be fine.  The rest of the can went on Finn's water bowl stand.

The chairs are big, heh, suburban yard size big but they're nice on our spiffy lil' patio and will be great for fire pit evenings.

As I had rolls of outdoor fabric already squirreled away, I ordered up two inch foam online and speedily made some cushions.  One-by pine, yeah, it's uh, not the comfiest on one's butt after a stretch of time.

Usually I stitch string or cord into the cushions so they can be tied to the chairs in case we get lazy and don't bring them in at the end of an evening.  It gets windy here.  Heh, I know, I'm rolling my eyes.

I was fresh out of tie line,* a theater kid favorite, which way sucks but saw Menards had a sale on those paracord bracelets,* eight feet of cord on clearance for like stupid cheap, ninety nine cents I believe.  Can't beat that, done.

paracord bracelet
Still lovin' the office "wallpaper" I am!
The cushions were fashioned my usual way, a strip of fabric around the sides stitched to the top and bottom, a dimensional rectangle.  Somehow I managed to not screw these up and the process went atypically smoothly.  And so then our butts were happy.  Yay!

painted wood Adirondack chair with custom cushion
Sadly the paint is chipping; we didn't have a harsh summer at all.  Hm.  Confused.
But don't worry, if you're a fan of those black metal chairs, I still have them, busted seat straps and all.  Heh.

Next in the yard, I unfurled some sod over the pit o' gravel finally.  Yes yes, I know, I know, my math sucks; I didn't purchase enough.  Go figure.  I had to get one more roll.

rolls of sod for dry well
Hey look, it's my GSD shadow!  Proooobbably shoulda cut the grass first but didn't.  Lame.
I indeed threw some sand down first, as were the instructions way back when.

sand on top of dry well
Ah yes, sand.  And no, we did not address the pathway.  Yet.  Still.  Mike says next year though he said that last year.
But now the yard doesn't look like a construction site, so that's good.  It felt very very odd to water that sod!

not enough sod for dry well top
Heh, I really am a math loser.
Oh!  Oh!  The same day I picked up sod at Menards, I picked up a peony plant which it appears I already told you about!  But still!  Swoon.  So excited, I can't I have lilacs and peonies?!  Yesssssss.....Who's a happy girl?!?!  Me!  Me!

But alas, I suspected it would be eons before the little guy would boast big gorgeous smelly flowers which made me sad.  Very sad.  So sad in fact....

On another pass through the plant section, which ok, happens every time I'm at that darn store in spring and summer which ok, is ahem often, I found a different area of peony plants, larger ones that were in bloom.     !!!!!

Now, I can easily blame Mike for this as he asked for tomato plants.  And the tomato plants required a trip further into the garden department.  So that forcibly caused me to meander.  Uh huh.  See?

Right, so duh of course another peony plant came home with me that day.  What can I say?  Now I'm an extra special extra happy camper:  two, oh wait three, lilac bushes and two peony plants.  Heaven.  Heav. En.

peony bloom
Oh yes.  But no, I still have not dealt with the garage electricity, as evidenced by the uh big gray wire there.
Cannot wait for next spring is the understatement of all time.

close up of peony bloom
You cannot tell me you would have walked away from that.  I mean, c'mon.
My next task was staining the deck.  Oy my goodness.  Heh, it's amazing how large things suddenly become when you do things like that!  Because me, to ensure the stain coated the sides of the boards properly, I did this task by hand crawling around with a brush.

deck before stain
Before.  I kinda miss this.
Now.  I assumed the stuff I had put on last year was long gone, way worn away.  When it rained, water soaked right into the wood which got me super nervous, hence the decision to stain.

Picked up this stuff from my handy second home:  Paramount Exterior Penetrating oil stain in Kona brown.

image of Paramount deck stain

I espied the sample on the wall first of course.  It looked good.  A warm red brown with depth.  I texted a photo to Mike, he approved.

stain color not nice
Ummmm.....maybe it'll change as it dries.....?  Did it dry already??  Um.
Two very full afternoons and a sunburnt back later, the deck's coated.  And dammit, it's orange.  Like that (imho) mundane deck orange you see everywhere which is absolutely not the color I thought it was going to be.  Like at all.  Man was I very disappointed.  Very.

finished deck stain
Sure, ok, I know.  I married a ginger but orange is my least favorite color (no offense babe).  Orange as in orange the color, not my beloved ginger man.  Right, anyway....

Mike said, "well?  Maybe you can redo it again next year in a different color."  Aw great.

deck stain finished
Yikes.  Not terribly pleased, I am.
Maybe I'll have to as despite the fancy schmany product claims, this stuff is coming off and it did not appear to do it's penetrating oil stain thing all that deep.  Grrr.

Is it because there are remnants of the stuff from last year?  Who knows.  I'm upset.  Did I ruin our cool deck?!  Uuuuggghhhhh.  I sure hope not.

So guess we'll see what happens after a winter.  Oh yay.  Sigh.

Oh.  Heh.  Our uh, fancy pants back door awning?  A little update...Somehow dirt and water and crud builds up inside at the ends.  Yeah.  That way sucks and looks unattractive.  Not sure what to do about that yet.  Heh.

dirt in awning
Seriously.  First, how did dirt get in?  Second, how the heck am I supposed to get it out?  Yeah.  Neato.
Well this is looking to get lengthier than I expected.  Maybe I split this into two.  Wah'll just have to come back and read the rest of the warm weather season stuff!  Can't believe the warm weather season is over.......sniffle.

For our Variety Pack recipe today, I gotta say, I have been on a rockin' cake roll lately, in that I've managed to try out some pretty awesome recipes.  Happy tummies in the Chicagoland area.

Since it's apple season, you gotta try this cake:  Apple Yogurt Cake with a Cinnamon Sugar Streak.  Omg.  So good.  SO good.  So good in fact, I may make it again immediately after we finish the one we're working on.  (I did.  First time I've ever repeated a recipe that quick.)  No joke, it is that good.

If Mike out loud tells me something is good which heh, is not terribly often, by golly, sound the bells, it's a winner.  If he mentions it every single time after eating it?  Holy cow people, what more reason do you need?!

I sub'ed canola oil for the olive oil but that's the only switcheroo I made.  You gotta try this cake.

See you super soon!

*The Plasti Dip, tie line, and paracord bracelets are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.

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