By Jessica Godart
Summertime is the best time to relax outside and enjoy the beautiful weather with friends and family; so why not spend an evening watching your favorite movies in the comfort of your own backyard? These tips and products can help you create a cinema just outside your door.
Of course you’ll want the best quality to put up on your own big screen and with the Samsung Blu-Ray Player you can hook it up to your projector and pop in your favorite movies to enjoy on the lawn.
Samsung BD-F5700 2 Channel Blu-Ray Player
You’ll probably want something big enough to get the best quality out of your movie, but small enough to fit in your backyard. This 100-inch screen fits that perfectly and gives you the option to move it wherever you would like with it’s foldable stand.
100-inch D Tripod Portable Projector Projection 16:9 Screen 87×49 Foldable Stand 1.3
It’s a good idea to make sure your projector delivers the right resolution for the size of screen you plan on using. Research your sizes before purchasing.
Epson V-S230 SVGA 3LCD Projector
Yes, the projector offers speakers but just in case they aren’t loud enough, be sure to have a back up sound system.
Panasoni SC-HTB370 2.1 Home Theater System – 240 W RMS
If you run out of blankets and pillows, some lawn chairs work great for movie seats. With a cupholder and comfy back, you won’t need to get up for the whole movie.
Room Essential Backback Folding Chair
For help installing check out the local stores that sell the products you’re looking for. For example, Best Buy offers full installation of your products for a starting cost of $149.99.
By Jessica Godart
With the hot summer sun starting to appear, tan lotion isn’t the only thing that decks need to be repelling. After a long winter and lots of snow, decks are sure to have become worn and faded by summer’s start and in need of a fresh coat of color. If you’re looking for a DIY project for a day, head out with these products that are sure to make your deck beautiful again.
Olympic 1-Gallon Multiple Solid Exterior Paint
Linzer 12 in. Deck and Water Seal Roller
Wooster 1 in. Angle 3/Pack Paints All Pro Series Brush
3M 2-Pack Chemical Respirator
Working Hands Long Cuff Extra-Large Neoprene Gloves
For extra assistance, check out Lowes’ helpful tips to deck staining.
By Anjelica Michael
Suzan Meredith and Jennifer Mangum of Redecorate Today share with us how to invite spring into your home.
1. Paint your front door.
Suzan just painted hers using Benjamin Moore’s color Teal 2055-10. “It has a lot of depth and darkness, so it is sophisticated. When the sun hits it, it is full of energy and fun,” she says. This will brighten up the entrance to your home and have guests
feel the bright side of spring as soon as they walk in. This can add a much needed pop to the front of your house as well, making it stand out in your neighborhood.
Give your patio a pick-me-up by incorporating some color. This decorating pair recommends the color of 2014: Radiant Orchid because it is gaining a lot of popularity. But if you aren’t a fan of this color, try another color from Pantone’s Spring 2014 line including choices like Celosia Orange, Dazzling Blue and Freesia.
3. Remodel something!
Nothing like a new room for a new season. Take on a project to bring light into your home after this chilly winter. Been putting off re-doing your bathroom? Now may be the time. Suzan and Jennifer suggest bringing on a professional to help to get exactly what you want, “Let your designer help you get it just right.”
To learn more about Jennifer and Suzan’s services, visit their website at redecorate-today.com
Looking for some more DIY? Meet two bloggers who know your home isn’t perfect, but will give you some tips to make it beautiful.
Shaunna is a mom from Troy, Ala. who emphasizes the home, not the house. She wants to improve your home and how you live in it. She specializes in fun projects like furniture painting and collecting vintage furniture. On her blog, she also has an online shop where you can buy some of her vintage finds and her own line of chalk paint. She wants to teach her followers to embrace imperfections within your home and have fun while doing it. Some of her projects include a lofted fort bed for her son, and how to turn an old dresser into a flower planter. Shaunna also passes on her wisdom of trying what may seem like strange products, like milk paint, which may seem intimidating to newbie painters. But she holds your hand as she takes you through a project so that you can try new things as well.
Find Shaunna’s Blog “Perfectly Imperfect” here.
Elsie and Emma run this next blog just for fun, but they aim to give inspiration for your life and home. While this isn’t a home-centered blog, they have a great home section with DIY home projects to add a little bit of your personality to your home and beautify your space. They think that even if your space is a mess, there is a way to make it better. Some of their projects include handmade jewelry bowls, typographic art and DIY bronze succulent planters. This is a casual blog run by a group of friends, so the projects are simple with a lot of photos to follow along with. They believe the best things are hand-made, and that is reflected in their décor, crafts, photography and beauty tabs on the home page. This is a great blog to ease into hand-made home projects for a beginner or someone who cannot devote weeks to a project, which can be fun if you are in need of a creative outlet in your free time.
Take a peek into “A Beautiful Mess” here.
Posted by Editorial / Friday, March 14th, 2014
By Janeé Williams
Get your creative juices flowing at the Northern Virginia Mini Makers Faire, sponsored by the Community for Northern Virginia Innovation Fund. Allow your creativity to run wild as you collaborate with inventors, hackers, crafters, artists and DIY’ers from across the region at this family-friendly expose of innovation.
Although this is the first Mini Makers Faire in Northern Virginia, the movement began in 2005 in San Mateo, Calif. and now has faires across the United States and other countries. The goal is to inspire creativity with hands-on activities. The faire will include local entrepreneurs, craftsman and investors and is for all ages. Even the makers of the show range from 12-92 of age.
“All kids – and adults – need more encouragement to follow their curiosity and be innovative problem solvers. The Mini Makers Faire celebrates working with raw materials, engaging kids’ minds and helping them to become critical thinkers,” says Brian Jacoby, president of Nova Labs, which will provide all the tools needed for these hands-on workshops.
The Innovation Fund supports and upholds innovation and programs that promote creativity, inventiveness and new design throughout Northern Virginia. The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia looks to continue nurturing innovative ideas and solutions in the region, drawing interest from many local entrepreneurs. Tickets for the faire, which will be held at Reston’s South Lakes High School and Hughes Middle School campuses, will run between $5 and $15 if ordered online. Tickets for the day of the event will run between $8 and $20.
With more than 100 booths, you will be provided with several hands on projects to try and explore. You won’t get bored. Projects like aluminum aerogami (a combination of origami and model airplane building from aluminum cans), 3D scanning and printing, solar-powered cars, hand-spinning yarn and spy gadgets from the International Spy Museum are some of the projects that you will see.
Northern Virginia Mini Maker’s Faire
11400 South Lakes Dr., Reston, 20191
Sunday, March 16, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Tickets: $5 pre-orded for children, $15 for adults; $8 for children and $20 for adults at the door
Reupholstering seems like one of those heady jobs reserved for the designers on HGTV, but it doesn’t have to be. And you can do it with simple tools you most likely already have at home. —Cassandra Sturos
Tools: Screwdriver, Power screwdriver, Hot glue gun, Plenty of hot glue, Scissors, Permanent Marker and Wooden Utensil.
First find a chair you want to reupholster. Local thrift stores can be hubs for great finds. Measure the length and width of the cushion so you can purchase the new fabric you desire. I also added a fresh coat of paint to the chair first to bring it into this decade.
Next tip the chair over and unscrew the cushion from the chair. Usually the fabric is stapled in around the edges and can easily be ripped off from around the wood behind the cushion.
Once the old fabric is removed, lay out your new fabric smoothly and aligned the way you wish it to look on the front of the cushion. Place the cushion with wooden back (wood facing up to you) in the center of the fabric.
Slowly pull up an edge of the new fabric and hold down tightly to the back where you will hot glue it to the wood. I use an old wooden utensil to then press down on the hot glue, so as not to get burnt and make sure the fabric adheres to the wood.
Pull up a little piece of fabric at a time, tightly so there’s no loose fabric, but not so tight that the cushion looks pinched. Slowly glue around the edges of the fabric around the whole wooden base of the cushion.
If you cover the screw holes, which you might, mark with a permanent marker to easily locate when you screw it back to the chair.
Once you have applied ample glue around the edges to hold the fabric down, trim the excess pieces.
Flip the cushion over and voila, it has a fresh new fabric.
Screw it back into the base of the chair. I use a power screwdriver for this, that way I can also screw through the fabric that I had previously marked with marker, so not only the glue holds the fabric on, but the screws will also now hold it tight to the chair.
As someone who loves crafting, DIY and home decor projects big and small, I am constantly picking up new products for my adventures in art. My latest project was diving into the diverse world of chalkboard paints. There are quite a few to choose from as it happens. After narrowing it down, here are my top recommendations for creating wonderful chalkboard creations.
Quick and Easy Sprays: Both Michaels and Home Depot offer terrific chalkboard paint sprays at reasonable prices. Michaels offers Krylon brand in both black and green sprays in a 12-ounce can for $6.99. I used a 50 percent-off coupon (check their online ads for coupons every week that you can use on your smart phone) making the paint only $3.50. Home Depot, offers Rust-oleum Brand in an 11-ounce can for $3.76 in black.
After having wood cut at Home Depot to fit into empty frames I had around the house, I sanded the wood and sprayed with chalkboard paint. I tried both brands on different boards and both came out wonderfully.
When painting with any kind of spray paint, it’s a good idea to spray from a few feet away so the paint won’t bubble. If it does start to bubble, dab the spot with a dry or slightly damp paper towel and re-do the spot when you apply your second coat of paint. It is always wise to apply a second coat for a polished finish, but especially so with chalkboard paint as you’ll want a nice smooth surface for writing on later.
If you don’t have any empty frames to make chalkboards, just omit the frame to create a chalkboard. Simply buy a sheet of relatively thin flat wood (available at Home Depot or other home improvement stores), paint with the spray, drill two holes in the top for some heavy duty twine or ribbon and voila. You have a chalkboard to hang.
Chalkboard Paints in Color: For another chalkboard I chose to try Home Depot’s can of chalkboard paint that you can have tinted at the store (no additional cost) to one of 12 different colors. This was also Rust-oleum brand but costs a little more ($9.67) but you get 30 ounces. This can is not a spray, so you will need to buy a paint brush and take a little more time, but it’s completely worth it for the variety of additional colors you can choose from.
I chose peapod green. After spreading out plenty of newspaper on my kitchen floor, I got to painting. When using a paintbrush versus a spray paint, it takes a bit to get the hang of not glopping on too much paint and evenly spreading out the strokes to create an unblemished texture. I did three coats with this paint, waiting for each coat to dry before starting the next coat. This took less than an hour and the finish was just as pleasing as the spray paints, but now I had a new color. The benefit of buying a can of paint instead of the spray is that you can do a variety of chalkboards in your home without worrying over a major mess from a spray.
Try painting the inside of a door for grocery lists and your kids measurements. Or square off a space on a wall in a playroom to paint; then affix a frame around the chalkboard for a doodle space for your children.
Mini Chalkboards: If you don’t want to fuss with chalkboard paints, but love the look for other household items, go small and simple with chalkboard stickers. Michaels offers chalkboard stickers in different sizes and shapes that you simply stick to whatever surface you please and have make-shift signage.
Try a sticker on a vase and write, fresh flowers, or a jar filled with Hershey Kisses and write, have a kiss. These stickers stay put nicely, the only downside is the chalk doesn’t show up as brightly as on the other chalkboard surfaces, so write out your words and then go over one more time with the chalk so the words are visible.
Note: I would not recommend Martha Stewart’s chalkboard paints. I purchased a small bottle of the multi-surface acrylic chalkboard paint and tried it on a vase, however, after every coat, the paint seemed to clump even after many attempts to smooth it out. While Martha Stewart has other home decor products I would highly recommend, when it comes to chalkboard paints, hers isn’t one of them.
For chalk paints that are not chalkboards but create a fun chalkboard-esque look for furniture in your home, check out local shop, Stylish Patina in Falls Church. They have an exceptional selection of colored chalk paints that are perfect for home decor projects.
By Cassandra Sturos
Now, for the DIY-er, try these quick, easy and inexpensive ways to make your own fall décor with mostly household items you already own. Be prepared to be impressed.
The first thing to do is go out into nature—why wouldn’t you, this is the perfect time of year for it—and gather these necessities:
(If you have kids, they will love helping you with this)
Find branches that aren’t humongous (2-4 ft should do) with other branches stemming off the main branch. The leaves shouldn’t be too dried out, or they will crumble as soon as you try and work with them. Pick ones you think look nice, and vary the sizes, ranging from little to big ones.
For your crafting you can use these at-home items that are probably already being recycled or gathering dust somewhere in a linen closet.
-Glass milk bottles
-Old Fashioned Glass soda bottles
-Any jar, vase or glass container
For your paints:
I recommend fall colors that will work doubly well, not just for the Halloween season, but all the way through Thanksgiving (even into Christmas if you’re creative).
I chose these colors from my local Michaels and Home Depot:
Now it’s time to get painting!
I chose to do the wine bottles in the Metallic color (choose whatever color suits you). To get the labels off of wine bottles, purchase Goo Gone or soak in soapy water and then scrub off with a sponge. The soap really helps in getting the labels off. If you don’t get all the labels off it will make your paint job look a little less polished.
I painted the branches black except for the smallest one which I painted with the orange glitter. I also painted all the pinecones in orange glitter.
Then I painted my leaves in varying colors and quickly flipped them over to press on a piece of paper. This helps to have the veins in the leaves more visible through the paint, which is neat.
Flip over your branches when dry and paint the other sides.
Putting it all together:
Once everything is nice and dry, you can start decorating. I placed the two large black branches inside the two different sized wine bottles I painted metallic. I then spread out some fake cobwebs over the branches. I attached a glittery spider and cut out a bat from a piece of black cardstock paper (which is thicker).
I used black and orange string to hang the bat, once I punched a hole in the top. Feel free to make additional Halloween or fall shapes such as leaves, turkeys or a witch to hang from your branches. I placed the glittery gold branch in a small glass soda bottle (unpainted because I liked the way it complimented the painted wine bottles) and took one of my painted leaves, punched a hole in the top and tied it around the neck of the bottle with twine, for extra festive flair.
I took my newly glittered pinecones and placed them in a square glass jar with one gold painted leaf on top. I tied some fall-colored ribbon, (found at The Cottage, in Leesburg) around the jar in a bow. Voila!
Lastly, I took the remainder of my painted leaves, taped them down to a white piece of paper and placed them in a gold frame I had lying around the house.
Your three relatively simple, speedy and definitely cost-effective pieces of fall décor are ready to wow.
When Halloween is over, swap out your cobwebs and spiders for turkeys or leaves proclaiming what you’re thankful for on your painted branches.
For Christmas: Save your bottles and find more branches to paint white and attach with ornaments.
The additional crafting items I found for this project, like glitter spiders, black paper, string and cobwebs were found at Michaels Arts and Crafts Store.
By Cassandra Sturos
Looking for some tips on how to fix up your homestead? Check out these Northern Virginia bloggers, who are building a strong following with their savvy DIY skills.
These married home innovators turned blogging sensations invite you into their house (in Virginia) and their young love, which handily enough is the title of their blog: Younghouselove.
Check out their savvy home decorating tips and tutorials, along with loads of other fun ideas on painting, crafts, DIY projects, money-saving tips and more. This blog has so much to offer for the DIY-er that it could make your head spin, but in the good overwhelming way.
Start by taking the house tours of all three homes that the couple has now lived in, all the way up to their current home and check out the before and after pictures. Then to feel inspired, start in on the projects section (which is ample) or take a peek at how the couple used their knack for craftiness on their wedding day. All the home decorating excitement offered in this blog will have you itching to put down the remote control, find a paint brush and hot-glue gun and get artsy. http://www.younghouselove.com/
Pretty Handy Girl
Brittany Bailey, who grew up in Northern Virginia, A.K.A the Pretty Handy Girl is pretty modest, because she is more than pretty handy, she is downright impressive.
Besides taking on home repair, electrical, lighting and plumbing projects, Brittany went into labor with her second son while trying to fix a bathtub at eight and a half months pregnant! Now that’s a can-do spirit!
But don’t be put off by all the handiness, because Brittany gives great step-by-step instructions on all her home projects and how to build up your tool kit. She even owns power tools (and has tutorials on how to use them) but encourages you to start out basic and embrace becoming handy. And there’s no better way than by cruising her sight for ideas from holiday creations to installing a toilet seat. http://www.prettyhandygirl.com/
Sometimes it isn’t enough to look through mainstream furniture magazines or walk through the dining ware section of department stores. Instead, with so many interior designers and stylists now providing their advice through the blogsphere, we have different unique perspectives that provide the inspiration we need to spice up our homes and closets at our fingertips. For ideas on investing in beautifully decorated homes, whether vintage or modern-chic, here are a few online destinations to get your brains stirring up a creative storm.
By Kate V. Comfort
Smoked meats have an additional layer of savory flavor that takes good meat to “Ohmygod, you HAVE to try this!” Kick up your backyard barbecuing with a relatively cheap, easy-to-build, not-an-eye-sore backyard smoker.
14” conical-shape terra cotta pot
14” squat, azalea-shape terra cotta pot
terra cotta planter (feet)
8” hot plate (with exposed electric coils)
13.5” grill grate (or charcoal grate, from a Weber)
small steel tray
flavored wood chips
1 washer (sized to fit thermometer)
Put pot on top of terra cotta feet (or bricks) raising the pot a few inches off the ground allowing for ventilation below.
Place hot plate flat, electric coils up, inside the tall terra cotta pot. Feed the electrical wire through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot.
Place metal tray filled with wood chips directly on top of coils.
Place grill grate on top of pot (should ideally be 6 inches or more from heat source and wood chips).
5) Place the squat terra cotta pot upside down on top of pot containing the grill contents securely so that the edges meet and the inside will remain sealed.
Place grill thermometer through drainage hole of squat terra cotta planter (now, “lid”). Secure with washer.
Turn power source on and set hot plate on high. The temperature should climb to between 250-300 and remain there throughout the smoking process.
Ensure the hot plate does not have a safety automatic off switch after reaching maximum temperature.
Do not open the planter more frequently than every 2 or 3 hours, doing so will cause accumulated smoke and heat to dissipate.
Always place meat with fat cap (side with fat) facing upward. This will allow the melting fat to baste the meat over the course of several hours.
Use caution when heating this smoker in the winter: Drastic temperature changes may crack the terra cotta or prevent the smoker from achieving appropriate temperatures.