This weekend, James and Nancy came to town. James is Jason's dad, and Nancy is James' wife, so Jason's step-mom. They were gracious enough to come through Birmingham on their way back to Florida from their place in North Carolina.
James had his tools in tow, and we put them to work for sure (by they, I'm referring to both J & N AND the tools).
Just like when my parents came to town, we made a list of things we wanted to accomplish by the end of the weekend. Over the next few days, I'll share our list with you, and then show you the result.
Here we go.
Project #1 (aka the BIG project): Widen the driveway/give Jason a designated parking spot
Problem: Our driveway is too narrow for Jason and I to get around each other in the mornings. Jason has been parking on the grass, but I think that looks slightly...um...shall we lovingly say "too southern", I wanted a spot that was separate from the driveway where he could park that looked intentional.
Solution: Mulch parking spot. James came up with this idea. He and Jason built what I call the "sandbox" (minus the sand), but it was basically just a box that his car could fit in. The part that he dives over is just two 2x4s that are nailed into the ground to keep the mulch from spilling out. Jason and James put down plastic and then filled the sandbox with 30 bags of mulch. I thing it looks GREAT!
Project #2: Operation find an end table.
Problem: Right when you walked into our house, your view was the side of the couch, the back of the love seat, and a big empty rectangle. We also didn't have a place to display some of our stuff, like lamps, books, etc. Things that add a "comforting" touch.
Solution: Find a short, narrow, but kind of long table for under $100 that's in good condition and is a neutral color.
I do want to take a little bit of time to go into a little bit more detail about this project. Although it looks like we just bought a table and put stuff on it, that's only half true. I found this table on a local trading site. It was listed at $80, and we bought it for $60, which was really a steal. It's the perfect size for the space (which is fortunate because I did not measure before we bought it). A lot of the stuff on this table are things that we bought to use in our wedding. I didn't realize when I was planning our wedding and registering for things that it works out really well to have one bold color (obviously, that's red) that we used as our wedding color AND as our "pop" of color in our house.
NOTE TO ANYONE PLANNING A WEDDING OR WHO WILL PLAN A WEDDING IN THE FUTURE: Really consider using the same color palate for your wedding that you want to use in the living spaces of your home. It's much more cost effective when you can use things that you might already have for your wedding, or know that you can use something you buy for your wedding in your home. I'm seriously when I say that this little detail has probably saved us hundreds of dollars on decorations for our house...even though we didn't even buy our house until a year after our wedding. It pays to hold onto things and make sure they're multi-use.
I moved the tall lamp that we had in that space to the other side of the room, so I thought we might need a little illumination in that corner right as you walk in. I didn't want to spend any money on a lamp, but I had one sitting in our garage. The base was white, but the shade was pink and green flowers (not cute ones either). I had a little bit of fabric left over from another project and decided to follow the tutorial that I read on Young House Love a while back about how to recover a lampshade. It worked REALLY well, except that when you turn on the lamp in the dark you can see the flowers shining through...OOPS! I'll fix that later.
Okay, next project.
Project #3: Figure out how to work the fireplace.
Problem: We've only ever used a wood-burning fireplace and our fireplace is gas.
Solution: James took the fireplace apart, quite literally, and found where the gas comes out, made sure it was safe, and then taught us how to use the darn thing.