Backyard Creek Ideas

Dry creek on green lawnOne of the loveliest things about our yard is the creek and waterfall.  The beauty and tranquility it creates is fabulous.  Now don’t get the wrong impression!  We do NOT have a large yard or one of those magnificent yards you see on BHG or HGTV!  What we do have, is a son with a talent for landscaping and some big equipment to do the job, AND a natural slope to our lot. However….you don’t need to have all that.  The natural slope is very helpful and it doesn’t have to slope a lot.  And even if you don’t have that there are some landscaping and grading tricks you can use to acquire the slope you need for a wonderful and natural looking creek.  (That is, if you think having a creek in the back yard of someone who lives in an urban subdivision natural).  But you know what I mean.

The trick is to use the natural slope of the ground, NOT to build a mountain or even a mole hill in the flat of your yard.  That is anything but natural looking.

Design the creek bed beginning at the top, level (or almost level) with your existing grade; digging deeper as you go toward the end.  You may have to dig deeper than you might think at first, but remember, you are going to add the pond liner and then fill it with river rocks so it won’t look as deep when the project is done.  You will use the dirt you are digging to form your ditch banks.

Basic materials you need are:

  • Shovels/picks depending on the soil you have.
  • Rocks – varying sizes from pebbles to 6-7 inch to boulder size, and river rock, depending on the look and the affordability you are after.
  • Pump kit (can be purchased from an aquatic & pond store)
  • Heavy pond liner (some experts suggest using carpet scraps to lay down before the pond liner)
  • Black foam (to be used to glue rocks in place and to divert water and seal leaks)
  • Receptacle (to hold retaining water)

When designing your creek, it’s a great idea to take some pictures of your favorite natural creek in the wild or a picture from a great website J.  Take notice of the banks, the way rocks are placed by nature, the plants that grow nearby; the fact that streams do not run in a straight line.  That is the most fun of all.  Creating!

When you think you have all in place and turn on the water for the first time, be prepared to be very disappointed!  The water will go everywhere but where you want it to.  That’s when some patience and work come into play.  The black foam (sold in nurseries, aquatic, stores, and even Lowes garden center) is your best friend.  You will begin to seal rocks together, seal underneath those you have stacked on one another, add some more over here to divert the water over there, and so on.  It will take you some time.  It took us about a week AFTER we thought the project was done, just to get the rocks in the right place.  Remember water runs downhill!  Your “downhill” needs to lead to the end of the creek, where, by the way your receptacle and pump will be with a pipe that runs back up under the ditch bank to the beginning of the creek.

As with any DIY project do some homework.  There are tons of resources out there. Have fun!

Backyard Creek Ideas creek in backyard 2

Layering Decor Ideas and Styles

Layering Decor Ideas and Styles

Layering décor, leaning décor, and even stacking décor ……

        … evolution I love

Wow!  This is such a great decorating technique.  It makes me laugh out loud though. Never in a million years would that have been “OK” when I first began decorating a home.  Everything had to have its own space and not shared by anything else.  And you would never have considered hanging a picture off center to make way for a tall table lamp or other decorating items.  I now have a clock hung off center over a night stand to share visual space with a dried flower arrangement and LOVE IT!!

I love the evolution of decorating!  It keeps things interesting and it allows for envision outside the proverbial box.

These 3 techniques in decorating are fun to practice because you can use literally whatever it is you have around the house.  Do you have a table top or the top of a chest of drawers or something?

  • Okay, go right now and grab 7 items that you like.  Preferably ones with different heights, shapes, and textures, but for now just go grab 7 items you like.
  • Put the biggest one to the back on the side,
  • If you chose some books, stack them in front and off to the side of the first one.
  • Put a smaller one on top of the books or a taller one in back of them and lean one next to the books or to the opposite of the first piece.  (you don’t always have to have a leaner, but you get the picture)

What do you think?  If it didn’t work, go get some more items to work with and keep practicing.

This is one of my favorite ways to decorate and change things up a bit.  And when you get bored with one grouping, switch it out with something else you have.

These starfish have leaned against my mother’s favorite bowl, hung on a wall, and topped my Christmas tree.

Layering Decor layering starfish layering tabletop 2


DIY Potting Bench Project

DIY Potting Bench ProjectMy Very Own Potting Bench… I would have never thought... planting, potting, seeding, starting, and even a little cooking

This wonderfully fun project was a gift from my cutie-pie husband.  I just told him I would really like a potting bench in the garage and he went to work.

I wish I had some “work-along-the-way” pictures, but I don’t.  I’ll break down the components for you though.

Let’s start with the back of the bench.  The “barnwood” is 1 X 6 cedar fencing stained with a gray stain.  Ken dog-earred it with his trusty miter saw and we applied the stain.  So easy, and I was shocked at how much it looks like authentic barnwood.  He screwed it to the walls and it goes all the way to the floor.  That way it forms the back of the bench.

The two countertops are (1) a remnant piece of laminate from a cabinet shop and (2) a remnant piece of granite from a slap yard.  I didn’t care if they were the same, in fact I preferred they were a little different.

The sink is, well…a utility sink from Lowes.  Not much else to say about that.  Unless of course that I am grateful we had the builder stub out a hot and cold water line to the garage.  WOW!  Is it ever nice to wash dirty hands in the garage with warm water.

As you can see, the cupboard doors are made from corrugated tin.  Such a cute look for this project I think.  He still has to put on a rubber protector on the edge of the door.  It’s sharp!

The shelf above the bench is one he made a long time ago and stuck up there and the other organizers and hooks are from the all-time best organizers store ever…IKEA.

Backing up a bit, first we painted the wall an apple green.  I love it.  It’s always bright and cheery and reminds me of summer.

I have loved this, my very own, work space.  I’ll let you in on a secret.  Whenever I cook bacon I cook it on the griddle on my potting bench. That way my house doesn’t smell like bacon for 3 days.  Also, sometimes when I cook a slow-cooker meal I get really tired of the smell of the food after 12 hours!  I take my crockpot out on the bench and we have the most delicious smelling garage on the block!

DIY Vintage Coke Machine

DIY Vintage Coke Machine - NewNostalgia Brought Back to Life

…..our vintage Coke machine

I’ve been excited to share this one with you.

Many years ago we were given this old Coke machine.  It was in our backyard for years and years and we just used it as an ice chest.  The past 10 years, since we moved to a new home, we have just kind of hung onto it. It collected dirt, leaves, old shingles and whatever else my sweet hubby decided to dump on it.  I didn’t have the heart to get rid of it.  I’m sooo glad.

This chest style coke machine is circa 1953.  When we got it the sliding mechanism was still inside but we removed it in order to use it as an ice chest.  That turned out to be okay because in renovating it we decided it was not worth the money to completely restore it to working condition because you can’t buy bottled coke anymore, at least not for a price that would be practical to refill; especially for all the Coke lovers in our family.

Well, as we were (are…..still) finishing our basement I decided I really wanted to incorporate this vintage contraption into our décor.  When I mentioned this to a friend she told me her other friend had taken a metal door that she wanted repainted to an auto body shop and they painted it for her.  We thought it was worth a try.  The guy at Tip Top Auto Body was great.  He painted this just the way we wanted.

The next thing to do was find the decals.  I found a fun website that has all the vintage Coke parts, decals, memorabilia, and other vintage machines you can think of.  We were able to order the original looking “fishtail” Coke decal and a couple other parts we needed.

Although, not the cheapest reno we have ever done, it turned out just exactly the way we wanted.  And we use it to store our vintage 1970’s vinyls!  You know, Doobie Brothers, Elton John, Bread, The Guess Who……….we have had so much fun! Sooo glad we didn’t get rid of those either!  I guess there are SOME perks to my pack-ratting darlin’!

This has been one of our favorite projects.

P.S.  The cute little “made-to-look-vintage” record player sitting on top was a gift to my sweetheart for his birthday last year.


DIY Vintage Coke Machine

Tips to De-clutter Your Kitchen

luxury and very clean empty european kitchenThe KITCHEN………. Is it dé-cor or de-clutter?

What are you comfortable leaving out on your kitchen counter?  Decorations, functional kitchen items, etc.  Me?  I like a nice, clean, clear counter space.  Do I have it?  Generally, no.  Newspapers and the mail, phones and chargers, books and bags usually find their place where I would much prefer nothing.  I could point a finger but I promised him I would never do that in an article.  I do place a decorative item on the counter it is usually flowers or a holiday decoration.  Kitchen appliances are not my favorite countertop décor, BUT, I also don’t want to drag my toaster out every morning either. I guess I choose to have these unsightly domestic devices (toaster, food processor, stand mixer) be handy and within easy reach than to have them tucked neatly into another cupboard and not handy at all.  There’s no way I’m going to haul my kitchen stand mixer from one place to another when I want to use it.  It’s HEAVY!

But here are a few tips to tidying things up a bit:

Sort, toss, organize, put away……..these are the hallmarks of any de-cluttering operation.

Sort ~ this is at the heart of any successful de-cluttering campaign.  DECISIONS, DECISIONS!

  • Is this item trash? THROW IT!
  • Does it belong somewhere else?  Put in a “put away” box
  • Should I donate this? DONATION PILE (I hate the word “pile”, that’s where the need to de-clutter started) so let’s say donation box
  • Seasonal item?  Put it in an appropriate “seasonal” bin

Evaluate the newly vacated cupboards and pantry, dust and wipe all those crumbs and unidentified food particles.  Add some new shelf-lining (I love shelf lining, especially the non-skid kind with the holes.  Particles fall right through and make for easy shelf cleaning).  Also, a good time to wipe clean any jars with sticky fingerprints.

Only a couple things left to do.  Put away all the things in the “put away” box and drive to the donation center in your area and drop off your “donation” box before you change your mind.

Well, to each our own.  I have decided over my several years (I refuse to say “many”) that my kitchen is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy.