504 Main by Holly Lefevre: outdoors
Showing posts with label outdoors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label outdoors. Show all posts


Angels and Monsters in the Garden (Outdoor Fun)

This is a crazy easy and super fun project that (almost) anyone can do...and it is pretty cheap (and I have shared this before here...but it is too good not to share again!). I first did this project with my son when we moved into our house 8 years ago. I had quite a few of (single) fence pickets left over from our "keep the doggie from jumping the fence project," and we knew no one in the neighborhood yet so my imagination was the source of entertainment for my son.
We loved being outside in our garden, so we grabbed our fence pickets, paint, and all sorts of other objects and goodies and made garden angels.
This is a more recent recreation of that project!
(I was not a crazy blogger back then)


Fancy Up Your Outdoor Space with Chalk

I have a ton of outdoor projects "almost finished."
(if you read this regularly, you are probably not surprised!)
The weather has decided to not cooperate in my patio furniture makeover- very hard to spray paint in wet soggy weather!
But at first sign of the sun -
I will finish it up and reveal it next week
(fingers crossed).


I have commitment issues...sometimes...no, not really...well, maybe I do.
For my backyard fence,
I found the perfect {temporary} solution.

I love to entertain and there may be a party or two in the future,
so I really wanted something fun and interesting for this barren back fence.

I figured since I am dressing up the playhouse, and then eventually will get started on the gardening...my fence needed some accessorizing...it was looking lonely. My son and I attempted to create some visual interest by creating a "tee pee" based on one we saw at Earthbound Farms...but ours never took off (the dog may have had something to do with that...it just may have been his favorite place to, um, relieve himself).

Anyway, every morning when I open the blinds in our bedroom I look outside and see a blank fence...so I had a BRILLIANT (if I do say so myself) idea.



Step 1. Determine layout. I used an allover random pattern for this larger stencil.

Step 2. Tape stencil to fence (I simply used masking tape)
Step 3. Apply chalk. Now for this step, I sometimes used the side of the chalk and rubbed and sometimes had to use the tip to fill in. It is not perfect...and that is OK!

Step 4. Repeat as often as necessary.

NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN EXACT SCIENCE. Based on the roughness of the fence (and your own desire for "perfection) your results may vary. I LOVE the way this looks on my back fence - rustic sunshine!

I live in a pretty foggy wet coastal area, and the one stencil remained for months and months!
For a party, you could easily do this a day or two before.

Next up...I am trying a chalk/stencil rug!
Or what about a whimsical path to the front door?

Now of course I could have painted the stencil on...
but I thought by using chalk, I could be playful and fun...
imagine the possibilities.
Best part...when you want a change, just whip out the hose.

I live in a pretty foggy wet coastal area, and the one stencil has lasted for almost a week, so for a party, you could easily do this a day or two before.

Next up...I am trying a chalk/stencil rug!

Do you LOVE chalk!?
Have any crazy ideas for chalk at your house?
Do you have any unfinished outdoor projects?



Pretty Painted Pots

5 continuous days of summer sun in Pacific Grove  - almost unheard of!
We have been playing outside long into the night and soaking up all the outdoorsy-ness we can. My daughter has been wanting to have her own garden - something she could take care of herself.
clay pot group
She also has a thing for butterflies and when she saw my Patio Paint Reusable Stick On Stencils from DecoArt she was smitten! I decided we would paint some small pots and use the stencil to start her little garden. The pots are small enough for her to move around and just too cute with the stencil!

Now, we had some disagreement…she wanted her pots to be pink, purple and yellow…but I stepped in and we went with a color scheme that “matches” our house (we are about to sell this place and we need "have some serious style!").

clay pot duo
You will need the following for these pots
clay pot supplies

The DIY here is super simple!
clay pot paint

Paint your pots…
leave them all one color
or once dry, paint a contrasting rim.
plan clay pots

Once dry, remove the stencil from the sheet an place it on the pot.
The fact that these stencils are sticky backed and
adhere to the surface being painted is such a HUGE bonus!
clay pot stencil 2

Paint stencil.

clay potpaint stencil
Remove stencil.

Let dry!
I also painted a couple of pots I picked up at Target on clearance!
clay pot black

Fill with your favorite plants and flowers!
clay pot duo

Now this is a super simple craft that can be used for you home or
keep a few around and present them as hostess gifts for all those summer parties!

Here is another painted pot project I did with the Patio Paints last year…
one of my Favorites!
single pot on porch
This post is written and created at 504 Main by Holly Lefevre

disclosure: this post is made possible through my affiliation with The DIY Club


Blast from the Past! My Favortie {and Quirky} Wreath

I just had to share one of my favorite project of all time...
my ruffled screen wreath.
I am back playing with screen again...
so I thought this is the perfect time to share this tutorial.
I did this a long time ago...
so the photos are few and far between
(I have learned a lot since then)
Click HERE for a pdf tutorial

  • Wreath form {I used a dollar tree form, 9” – Straw, because that is what I had. You can also use Styrofoam}
  • Paint {for wreath form} – I used gray spray paint to match the screen.
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks {or regular glue and A LOT of holding and patience.}
  • Screen – 28” x 84” Brite Aluminum Screening
  • Pearls {crystals, buttons, your choice} – I used a bag of mixed pearls from the craft store – cheapo ones, not necessarily jewelry making quality. I also used the range of colors in the package rather than just one color.
  • Nylon Thread
  • Needle
  • Gloves, optional – to protect you hands

***NOTE***The screen is pokey and can hurt. I did not wear gloves, but you may want to.
1. Paint the wreath form gray or silver to match the screen color. Let dry.

2. Cut 4-5 strips of screen approximately 7.5” wide and the width of the screen       {28”}

3.Lay the screen flat. Fold one edge of the screen up approx. 1/2”, and then up another 1/2”. Slightly unfold the second fold – it is a guide.

4. From the opposite edge fold the screen until the bare {unfolded edge} meets the crease {where you folded up the 1/2".

5. You should now have a double thickness length of screen about 3 “ wide {with protected edges}.

6. Repeat with all 4-5 lengths of screen.

7. Now we are going to ruffle – actually almost pleat the screen. Good news is the screen holds it’s shape really well…so this part is easy.
a. Accordion fold back and forth in about 1” folds the length of the screen.

b. Repeat on all lengths.

c. I found ruffling each piece separately worked better – easier to handle than having them all joined. You could join them all before you ruffle if you want {step 8}

8. Once all the pieces were ruffled, I joined them together by folding the edges of the ends onto one another {I promise I will add some photos}. This kept any pokey edges concealed. A quick shot of hot glue helped hold it too.

9. At this point take your length of screen and place it around the wreath form. This is where you make your final determination how ruffled you want your wreath to be and can cut off what you do not need/want. I used 4 ? lengths of screen for mine. DO NOT GLUE IT YET.

10. Grab a needle and the pearls – Thread the needle with a long length of nylon thread. You also want to leave a long length of thread at the beginning for tie off when you are done {secure it while sewing the pearls on}.
a. Begin by going through the first pleat, about ?” from the top fold. {see above photo}.

b. String one pearl and then go through the second pleat. Continue sewing and adding pearls until the wreath is complete. You are essentially sandwiching one pearl in between each pleat.

c. You can pull for tightness and ruffling as you go, but be sure to keep your beginning tail of thread secure - you do not want to pull it through.

d. This will also be how you make you screen form the circle for the wreath.

e. When you get to the end, lay your wreath on the form, just to be sure and then tie off the ends. Because the thread is clear, I also sewed it off around the piece of screen a few times.

11. Now it is time to hot glue the screen form to your wreath form. I used generous amounts of hot glue to ensure it stayed.

12. For the hanger, I used a piece of floral wire and attached it to the back. Ribbon would also work really well.

Embellish the wreath any way you want!
This blue flower is actually a pin,
but the sky is the limit!
Wait until you see my other screen projects…
who knew screen could be so fun!

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10 Fun and Creative Tips for Decorating Your Winter Porch

I dream of a home with a wrap around front porch.
Of sitting in a rocker, sipping lemonade (or coffee),
and watching the kids play.
Well, my porch is a little less grand that wrap around at the moment...
but that should not stop me from enjoying and decorating it, right?

I am so please today to have a guest to give me (us) some inspiration!
Jessica Phan is a designer for Balsamhill.com, and she has some great tips and ideas for your front porch during these cold days!
10 Fun and Creative Tips for
Decorating Your Winter Porch
The holidays may be officially over, but the cold days of winter are here to stay – for the next couple of months, at least.

While we spend less time on our porches during winter, it does not mean we should let the chilly weather take over our outdoor decorations. After taking down all the colorful Christmas accents, all that is left is a bare and unexciting front porch that gives nothing to entice guests. Re-claim the beauty of your front porch with these tips:
  1. Hang a colorful wall art.
    Welcome guests to your home by placing a vibrant piece of art on your front porch. It can be as simple as a welcome sign or as elaborate as a winter wonderland scene that you painted. Hang your artwork near the door for your guests to see and to break the monotony of a gray weather.

  2. Use a decorative outdoor floor mat.
    Great for wiping off dirt, ice or water from shoes, outdoor floor mats also make for pretty front porch decorations. Choose a waterhog floor mat in bright colors to leave winter shoe mess outdoors and to give your front porch a delightful splash of color.

  3. Cover porch furniture with warm-colored fabrics.
    Front porches can be enjoyed even during winter by making some tweaks on your décor. Make yourself and your guests as cozy as possible by layering fabrics over porch furniture. Cover your swing or bench with a colorful plaid blanket or quilt and throw some cushions for a nice touch. The furniture covers should be able to withstand the chilly winter days but still be comfortable enough for everyone to rest on when the weather is warm.

  4. Prop up winter sports gear near the door.
    Don't let the cold weather get you cooped up inside your home. By placing old sleds or snowshoes near the entrance, you are reminded of all the fun you can have outdoors.

  5. Display winter wreaths and garlands.
    Although you have taken down most of your Christmas décor, you can leave the wreaths and garlands on the door for a colorful front porch decoration. Real or faux, wreaths and garlands bring a rustic vibe to homes. Evergreens look stunning on any door or window, but you can also choose artificial berries on grapevine for a countryside appeal.
  6. Highlight the beauty of your front porch design with lighting.
    Ambient outdoor lighting makes a huge difference on the appearance of your front porch at night. It makes your home appear cozy and inviting. To illuminate your front porch, hang lanterns on a clothesline or drape mini lights on porch railings. Make sure that your lights are approved for outdoor use.

  7. Add a sound element to your front porch design.
    Outdoor home decorating is not all about visuals. A subtle sound like the tinkle of wind chimes or the clanging of bells makes a front porch even more enticing.

  8. Paint your door.
    The chilly winter air and snow-covered outdoors bring a dreary atmosphere to homes. Combat the winter blues and the monotony of the landscape by painting your door in vibrant shades of reds or greens. The change in appearance of your entryway boosts not only your mood, but the overall look of your front porch as well.

  9. Highlight your greenery and blooms.
    The cold winter days may be unforgiving on vegetation, but some plants thrive during the chilly season. Winter-blooming perennials like daphne, winter jasmine, hellebore (Christmas rose), pansies, winter creepers and primula give life to an otherwise dull winter landscape. Plant them on small containers or window boxes to give your front porch a splash of color.

  10. Create an outdoor winter vignette.
    Put old tables and benches to good use by placing various winter items and baubles over them to create a winter vignette. Spread evergreen on the table and bench. Bring out unused clear vases and fill them with artificial snow and snowflakes.
Your front porch is the first thing that greets your guests when they come and visit your home. Make it as enticing as it can be by updating your décor to reflect the winter season.

Thank you to Jessica and Balsam Hill for sharing these tips!
Here is a little more about Jessica...
Jessica Phan is a designer for Balsamhill.com a purveyor of high-end artificial Christmas Trees. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area is perfect for her because she has a wide range of interests, including Art & Design, Fashion, Photography, Painting and Thrift Store Shopping.


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All images (other than top porch image) were supplied and sourced by Balsam Hill and all content was provided by the company. No compensation was provided.


Create A Fall Oasis with HGTV.com Contributor Dan Berger

I adore being outdoors.
Perhaps because I am a native California girl, and have always
been spoiled with good weather year round.
Where I live now, Fall is actually the best time of the year.
So we are soaking up every second of our gorgeous Fall weather, and also taking this opportunity to "gussy up" the backyard so we can enjoy
our little piece of heaven a lot more.
(I wish this was my house and garden..its not...it's Dan's work!)

Now, while I love the outdoors, and live in an area blessed
with amazing weather...I am guilty of neglect.
I just keep telling myself I like that natural overgrown look...but NO MORE!

I was already anxious to begin the process of transforming our backyard and deck into our personal oasis, and then I was presented with the unique opportunity to interview Garden Designer and HGTV.com contributor Dan Berger. Dan's unique and creative approach to garden design has landed him appearances on over 25 episodes of HGTV's "Landscape Smart." He has also worked with This Old House and been featured in Sunset Magazine, in addition to numerous features in newspapers and other publications. Dan, a fellow Californian, is the owner of LandPlan Landscaping.
After chatting with Dan, I am even more inspired to get my own plans in action. He has some great advice for everyone  because no matter where you live there are steps you can take to enjoy the great outdoors this Fall - in any way you choose, from gardening to reading under a canopy to relaxing in a hammock - you can create a personal oasis.

The questions I asked Dan were definitely inspired my my own "issues," BUT they can help us all! Dan was great and so full of information. We covered everything from some very basic plant do's to creating a fabulous space in your own yard...or deck...or patio.

Some of you may be saying I don't have the money or the time to create a new space...but the space does not have to be entirely new or cost a lot of money. You do not have to cut down the trees to make way for a new patio or build a waterfall or redesign the entire property. You just need to create a space that feels warm
and inviting not only to you but to your guests.
In fact, one of my favorite things Dan said was
"It is about the people not the money."
Now let's get to it!
Oh yeah, and enjoy the GORGEOUS photos of Dan's work along the way!

An outdoor room or oasis is special. It connects you and your guests with nature and each other. As you create your space use natural elements - gorgeous cedar, water features, etc. to facilitate that connection to nature. Make your space inviting and people will be drawn outside and you will create a sense of camaraderie.
1. Create a space for you...for something you enjoy all the time. If you read, create a magical place to read, if you knit, do the same...if sitting and listening to the birds or the waves crashing helps you relax after a long day...if hosting dinner parties al fresco is your forte...do it - make the space work for that and your life.

2. Find and determine a good spot in your yard/deck/patio...then decide what it needs...a fire pit, a covering, "walls" for privacy, etc.

3. Start small and let it grow. You do not have to tackle the entire project all at once, especially if it is a major transformation. If you do, the whole process can be overwhelming and an oasis should bring joy...not stress.

4. Decide on the type of space you want: Is it for the kids (if you can call that an oasis!), is it for entertaining, is it a private space for you (or you and your spouse to relax)...for you to paint or create? Once you make the distinction of the type of space you are trying to create, your plans and the space will come together.

5. Define the function of the space and determine how it relates to what is happening inside the house. Select a spot that has a relationship to that. Think of the outdoor area as a room - an extension of the home, but don't forget about practicality. If your entertaining space is 200 yards from your kitchen, will it make a lot of sense (or be easy/practical) to serve a meal there regularly. It does not mean you can't but maybe it make more sense to serve lighter fare (coffee/cocoa and pastries or mulled wine and cheese) in the space.

For this season, as the air begins to chill, comfort is key...and that means warmth is essential. If you are cold or uncomfortable you will be distracted and not enjoying the space you create.

Warmth can come in a simple form...a cozy blanket or comforter or it can be a beautiful fireplace or even a portable fire pit.

Support that feeling of warmth with the food and drink you serve as well as the colors, music, and decor you add to it.

In colder weather, you may need to consider some type of an enclosed structure to protect yourself from the harsh weather and temperatures. At first it may seem a little "much" but when you think about the peace and joy that space can bring you it may be well worth it in the end.

Additionally, you may be thinking there is no way my guests are going outside...it's cold. Entice them...draw them out there. Create a space so inviting and magical they simply cannot resist. They can't help but venture outdoors to explore your oasis...and then they may not even want to leave!

If you are thinking what I was thinking...here's your answer. I am a mom...I have a play house a play structure..most of my outdoor area is for the kids...BUT I should be able to claim a space for myself. As a mom (or dad) we need a spot for us...stake your claim.

Think about what you do and who you are and use that to inject personality into your space. Dan emphasized, ""Whatever you can do inside to distinguish and differentiate your space you can do outside."

For example one photographer created a wall..and in essence it was a gallery wall. He blew up some of his photos and hung them outside. It was beautiful, enticing, and he could easily change out the art when he wanted. What a unique way to display art and bring yourself into your space.

If you practice a particular craft, such as beading or pottery, decorate the outdoors with your work.

If you are not a "creative" person, add a collection to the space - bring your milk glass collection outside for awhile. Create a nook to show off your tea pots and serve up some fancy teas! Create vignettes to showcase pieces that are so very you and make your space an extension of that.

If you are a cook/baker/chef - whip up your special cookies and make your signature coffee beverage and serve it in the oasis. An amazing afternoon treat.

Little things like this will bring your energy and personality into the space and guest will feel the warmth...and they will know it is yours.
My first thoughts when we scheduled this interview was to grill Dan on plants. (This may not be my strong point) So, for those of us with a black or brown thumb, I had to ask what type of plantings we should be looking for. Here are some GREAT tips.
  • Dan suggests to look for low maintenance plants. The trick to is get them established, but once you do that, you will have success.
  • Be sure to also make sure you purchase plants suited to your climate.
  • Create seasons with your plantings (especially in a place like CA where the seasons are not as distinct).
  • Use the colors and type of plants that are available to create a new look and palette for each season.
  • Buy varying heights, widths, and varieties.
  • Concentrate on perennials. Perennials are an easy and inexpensive way to spruce up the outdoors - you can grab small containers for about $2.50 each. Many perennials also flower and do well in shaded areas.
  • Remember it is OK to buy a plant for a season. Let it bloom and thrive and when it is done compost it.
Sometimes getting the plant to grow and flourish is a matter of soil - the right soil is a must, and plants can fail just because of the soil! Take time to use the right soil mixture, and do not overlook the use of pots and containers grouped and placed through the yard. You can even dig a hole and plant the entire pot - this is a great way to ensure the plant has the right soil and it blends right in. (I LOVE THIS!)

When you purchase plants/flowers, look for plants that have buds or are just beginning to bud. The full gorgeous blooms may entice you but the plants life cycle is shorter for you to enjoy when you purchase a plant in full bloom. "Everyone at the nursery may have already enjoyed the plants best moments. Instead buy that plant that has yet to flourish and get the most out of it. (DUH! I never even thought of that!)

CREATE "People Space"
If plants are not a strong point for you (or you cannot grow them at this time due to weather) concentrate on elements that are not plants/living/growing in the outdoors. A non plant/floral focal point is the key. Let the plants be the backdrop not the attraction. Wood structures, water elements, iron ornaments - whatever you love helps define the space as well.

I have to say a BIG thank you to Dan for taking time to talk to me
and sharing his advice and wisdom!
Check out this site where you can get 
"how to build" tips and view more photos: http://www.wrcla.org/  

So...what do you think?
Are you ready to create your oasis?
I took Dan's tips to heart as I designed my Harvest table the other day
and I am so inspired to get in the yard, and enjoy every minute I can outside with the waves crashing and the birds chirping and the squirrels playing in the pines.

All photos are copyright and property of Dan Berger.