Monday, May 30, 2011

Details of My Garden and Fire Pit Information

When I wrote about building a fire pit, I had no idea I would receive so many wonderful questions and comments about our garden which can be seen in the background of most of the pictures. Thank you!

The sketch above shows the general layout of the raised beds and paths. The garden itself is about 20 feet by 20 feet, with the paths being about 4 feet wide. The 8 foot by 8 foot center square features a large urn surrounded by a formal arrangement of boxwoods, lavender and licorice plants. The four triangular planting beds are where we plant our herbs and vegetables. Our selection is somewhat limited as this space of our yard does not receive as much sunlight as a garden should.

Mr. RDH and I began creating our garden shortly after we moved into our house. After clearing the area of trees and brush, the first step was making a level surface. We built the retaining wall – shown above - and began the fill-in process one load of dirt at a time. Since we do not own a tractor the dirt was taken from other parts of our property the old fashioned way – with a wheel barrow, rake and shovel. Lots and lots of hard work!

Rather than having straight rows of planting beds, we thought it would be much more interesting and fun to have a center square surrounded by triangular beds. To create the beds we used 2” x 10” boards along with 4” x 4” posts and galvanized screws. The bed frames were assembled first and then attached to the posts with the screws. You can see the top of one of the posts in the photo below.

We put down landscaping fabric – to reduce weed growth – underneath the paths and then hammered the posts into the ground to secure the beds. The garden beds were then filled with good quality soil and the garden paths covered in pea gravel.

To make an entrance to we used large rocks we found on our property and an arch which was purchased through Walpole Woodworkers. There is a small space between the outside edges of the planting beds and the caps of the retaining wall because the original plan was to enclose the garden with a white picket fence. I am not sure if the fence will happen or not as we like the ability to walk around all sides of the beds and have not had an abundance of critters eating from the garden.

The space next to the garden where our new fire pit is located was initially planned for a garden shed. Mr. RDH has been drawing plans and I have been saving images for several years now. Overtime somehow our purely utilitarian building has morphed into something completely different and much more involved. We realized it would be years before we tackled this project, thus the fire pit.

The fire pit was purchased from a local landscaping company and included the metal ring as well as the blocks. The name of the manufacturer is Cambridge Paving Stones and I was told it is possible to buy the metal ring separately. As I mentioned before, we have already enjoyed enough s’mores for an entire summer!

I hope I have answered all of your questions. If I missed something please let me know. I realize Blogger has had issues with comments as I have tried and been unsuccessful at leaving comments on many blogs. If you tried to leave a comment or question and it did not work, I would love for you to try again!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How to Sew Curtain Panels with Lining and/or Interlining

Womens Day Budget Decorating / Photographer - Michael Partentio
Stylist - Donna Talley, Regional Producer and Editor for Meredith Publications

I have had this tutorial in the works for a while now and am happy to finally be sharing the method I use for sewing curtains with lining. Although I have tried a few variations, the following is what works best for me – and hopefully for you too!

Please read through all instructions before beginning. This tutorial is for curtain panels using one width (54”) of fabric.

Determine the finished length of your curtain panel. This measurement will be based on the placement of your curtain rod as well as how you will be hanging your curtains, i.e. from rings, through a rod pocket, etc.

For the main fabric you will need the finished length plus 8 inches for the bottom hem and 6 inches for the top hem, times the number of panels you will be making. (I always add a few inches to this number just to make sure I have enough fabric.) If you are using a fabric with a pattern you will have to take the repeat of the pattern into consideration. Meaning, every panel should begin and end at the same point on the fabric. You most likely will have purchase additional yardage in order for all the panels to be identical.

For the lining you will need the finished length of the curtain minus 1 inch (as the lining will be shorter than the main fabric), plus 6 inches for the bottom hem and 6 inches for the top hem, times the number of panels.

Optional: For the interlining you will need the finished length of the curtain minus 2 inches plus 6 inches for the top hem. Most times I only use interlining if I am making silk curtains. Interlining is a felt like material - shown below - which adds weight and body to the curtains.

Cut all fabric pieces according to above measurements. After cutting the proper lengths of fabric, the lining and interlining panels should be cut to 49 ¾” wide. The main fabric should be cut to 54” wide by removing the side edges. If your main fabric needs to be shorter in width in order to remove the edges, simply deduct 4 ¼” to determine the width of the lining and interlining.

Sew Bottom Hems
The first sewing step to making your curtain panels is hemming the bottom of the main fabric and the lining – the interlining is not hemmed. To make the bottom hem of the main fabric, press under the bottom edge of the fabric 8 inches using an iron set to the proper temperature for your fabric.

Fold under and press to create a 4 inch hem. Pin and sew. Repeat for all main fabric curtain panels.

Repeat process with lining - only this time press under bottom edge of fabric 6 inches to create a 3 inch hem.

Sewing Side Seams of Main Curtain Fabric
Using the main fabric, fold and press the outside and inside edges of the curtain panel 2 inches. Fold under to create a 1 inch hem on each side. Repeat with all main fabric panels.

Assembling the Curtain
Place curtain panel on flat surface with right side down (wrong side up).

Optional: If using interlining place interlining on top of panel, sliding edges of interlining under both side hems of the main curtain fabric. Make sure to line up the top of the interlining with the top of the curtain panel. It should be about 2 inches shorter than the main curtain fabric.

Place lining – right side up – on top of interlining and under both side hems of the main curtain fabric. Make sure to line up the top of the lining with the top of the curtain panel. Your lining should be about 1 inch shorter than the main curtain fabric and 1 inch longer than the interlining. By cutting the width of the lining and interlining pieces slightly smaller than the width of the finished curtain panel you should have no problem getting the three pieces of fabric to work together.

Pin two (or three if using interlining) layers in place and sew.

Create Top Hem
Fold and press under two (or three if using interlining) layers 6 inches. Fold under again to create a 3 inch top hem. Pin and sew.

Hang curtains using drapery pins, clip rings or through the top pocket hem.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Painting on a Whim

For some reason, yesterday I decided the mirror over the grain bin in the sitting area of my kitchen needed to be painted. I am not exactly sure why, as it has never been an issue before and to tell the truth I am usually not impulsive when it comes to decorating decisions.

I just took the mirror down and started painting!

The mirror is from Pierre Deux and looked like this before I began.

I used one coat of Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey Chalk Paint followed by a glaze and then a top coat of paste wax.

You may also have noticed the wire container went from white to grey – another spur of the moment decision.

I am happy with the results as the mirror no longer looks “newly store bought” but rather more like something you would find in a vintage shop. The funny thing is that Mr. RDH hasn’t noticed yet. Hopefully he will like it as much as I do.

I was curious to know if you have ever done a decorating project on a whim. If so, what did you do and were you happy with the outcome?

On a different note, I am guest posting today at Remodelaholic. I am sharing my how to age brass tutorial.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Building a Fire Pit

I mentioned earlier in the week that our fire pit is all finished and has already seen lots of roasted marshmallows. From the picture above you can see we decided on a built-in style rather than a free standing model.

Making this fire pit a reality turned out to be a very quick and easy project. I think the entire process took under an hour! We simply ordered a “kit” which included all of the blocks along with the metal ring. The only component missing was the rocks used to fill the bottom half of the fire pit.

Here is the building process.
Level out the ground and use a tamper to pack the area on which you will be building the fire pit.

Use the metal ring as a template to lay the first course of blocks.

Remove the ring and begin adding the second course. The blocks should be staggered so that no joints align.

Test your design to make sure the ring still fits correctly.  Make adjustments if necessary.

Remove the ring and continue the above steps until all blocks have been used.

After the final course is in place, insert metal ring. (Note: the manufacturer recommends using masonry cement to secure the top two courses of blocks. We opted to skip this step as we wanted to have the option to move the fire pit in the future.)

Fill fire pit about half way full with rocks.  Build a fire and enjoy!

Of course no fire pit story would be complete without s’mores!

We had a few left over peeps from Easter and decided to use them up in our s’mores. This was the first time we tried peeps this way and I have to say due to popular demand I was at the Easter candy sale aisle the next day looking for more!

Needless to say, we are looking forward to summer and many upcoming fires in our new fire pit.

If you have a fire pit I would love to know your favorite things to cook!  Please leave a comment and share your tastiest treats.

Linking up with
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch 
Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage
Tip Me Tuesday at Tip Junkie
Saturday Night Special at Funky Junk Interiors

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Family, Freebies, a Fire pit and Features

Yes, this is a long and random title! I have been a little absent over the past two weeks and wanted to catch you up on where I have been, what I have been doing and what is coming up on Red Door Home.

First though, you may have noticed blogger had an “issue” last week which unfortunately meant many of your comments were lost. As I try to reply to as many comments as I can, I apologize if I don’t get back to you because of this glitch. If you had a question which I did not answer, I would love for you to email me or leave another comment.

I was blessed to have my family followed by my husband’s family visiting for the past two weeks. Since I only see them a few times each year, I wanted to be with them as much as possible while they were here. Thus, my blog was a little neglected but I should be all caught up – hopefully - by the end of the week.

The day before my parents’ arrival I was following one of my normal running routes and came across a table with a “free” sign. The table contained an assortment of dishes and other decorating items and I helped myself to the following:

A set of brown and blue transferware dishes, seven glasses, three wooden balls
and two clear glass candlesticks

I will be removing the labels from the glasses, painting the wooden balls and creating a totally free tablescape with these fun finds.

Fire pit

We finished building our fire pit and could not be happier with the result. With all the visitors we have had it is safe to say we have already eaten enough s’mores for the entire summer! I will be showing the completed fire pit area and the entire building process soon.

I wanted to send a big thank you to Kate from Centsational Girl for featuring my living room redo on her Best of the Blog series.

I also wanted to thank Darlene from Fieldstone Hill for using my dining room for inspiration for one of her fabulous ditto posts.

Finally, besides all of the above I was also able to sneak in two painting projects – one already finished but waiting to be photographed and the other half way done. Look for these posts soon as well.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How to Age Brass

Is it just me, or have you also noticed brass making a comeback lately in the design world?

Brass sink, faucet, and light fixture – photo source unknown

I am not talking about shiny lacquered brass but rather the aged, “been around for a while” looking brass.

Brass vase from Little Green Notebook

Having owned my share of brass fixtures, lamps and accessories, I will be the first to admit I go back and forth on my opinion about brass – sometimes I like it and sometimes I don’t and my feelings about it seem to change depending on the room in which it is being used. What I am quite certain about, however, is my dislike for shiny, lacquered brass – the type my table lamp (shown below) is made from.

To remedy the situation I decided to do some internet research to find out how I could age my brass lamp. The technique shown below can also be used for candlesticks, door knobs, etc. – the key is to make sure the item you are working with is brass.

Nail polish remover
Apple cider vinegar
Final stripping pads
Paper towels

Take lamp apart.

Place a small amount of nail polish remover on stripping pad. Gently rub to remove lacquered finish. It is important to use a very fine grade of stripping pad so that you do not make scratches in the metal.

Once all lacquer has been removed, wipe brass with soap and water to remove any nail polish residue. Dry.

Place lamp on towel and slowly pour a small amount of apple cider vinegar over the brass. You may want to place a piece of plastic under the towel to prevent the vinegar from soaking into the table or floor surface. If you are using a candle stick or something similar you could soak the item in a container rather than use the method shown here.

Let sit and add additional apple cider vinegar until desired finish is achieved. I discovered the brass which was in contact with the soaked towel aged fairly quickly. Thus, I kept turning the sections of the brass which had not aged so that they were in contact with the soaked part of the towel.

If your brass turns green – like mine did – simply wipe clean with a damp cloth.

The result – a lamp which now looks like it has been around for many years.

I would love to hear your opinion about brass.  Do you have any brass in your home? If so, where?  Thanks for sharing your ideas and thoughts!

Linking up with
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage
Tip Me Tuesday at Tip Junkie
Tickled Pink at 504 Main
Saturday Night Special at Funky Junk Interiors

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