How to Seal Coat a Driveway

This is step two of our driveway renovation project. If you haven’t filled your driveway cracks, you’ll need to do that first! These are the two least sexy projects we’ve done, but they were absolutely necessary to prepare for this winter!

Seal coating the driveway was considerably easier than filling the cracks. But waiting for everything to dry took FOREVER. Alright, not forever, it took about 3 days before we could drive on it. But in dog life, that’s 21 days.

IMG_3049

We started off by cleaning the driveway with this cleaner/degreaser, found at Home Depot. It hooked directly into the hose and was so easy to use! Screw it on, turn on the hose, and let it rip!

After the driveway has been thoroughly coated with the cleaner, you’ll need a large outdoor broom to scrub! Don’t kill yourself. Just scrub enough to see the white bubbles appear. When you’ve covered the driveway, you’ll need to rinse everything down with hose water.

First wait step! We did this on a cool, overcast day. So it took about 2-ish hours to dry.

IMG_3087

Here’s the sealer we chose. There’s a bunch of different options at Home Depot, but we went with the option that would best seal our very dilapidated driveway. We used two containers. Follow the instructions on the container to figure out how many square feet you’ll need.

My head DIY assistant poured a straight line of the sealer across the top of the driveway. Make sure you’re wearing DIY designated clothing. You will ABSOLUTELY get your shoes and clothes dirty. Do not wear a pair of shoes that you love, you’ll be sad.

IMG_3094

Squeegee time! This little guy is awesome. It was right next to the sealer at Home Depot. Basically, pretend like your cleaning car windows. Except the car window is huge and you’re standing on it. Brian was running back and forth from side to side on the driveway and pulling the sealer with him. There were some large blobs at the top where he first poured, so in this picture he’s pulling the extra down towards him.

Originally I was dipping the brush roller in the sealer tub and painting the sides of the driveway. We wanted to be a little more precise on the edges so we didn’t loose sealer in the grass and ultimately kill parts of our lawn. But it was going so slow. Brian had the genius idea to use a Chinese food container to scoop the sealer so I could pour it out as needed. He’s brilliant. And hot. Also, that’s my super serious DIY face that I apparently make for every second of every project I’m working on… according to my hot design assistant.

IMG_3102

I sealed about 16 inches in from the sides all the way down the driveway. You can already see the difference between the sealer and the asphalt disaster we were up against.

IMG_3105

Here’s the driveway after one coat. We waited another 24 hours and put on a second coat. Then waited 2 days before we drove on it. The weather was pretty cool when we did this and we wanted to make sure we got the best results possible.

Just to give you an idea of where we were when we started take a look at this before picture.

IMG_2396

Now take a look at this picture I snagged on my way to work. This was the morning after the second coat.

IMG_3126

Hello, gorgeous.

 

 

Right on Time

We’re so excited about all the amazing advances that are happening at our home and in our lives. God has been exceedingly and abundantly good to us and we’re overwhelmed by His faithfulness.

We’re excited to announce after 5 years at Clemens Food Group Brian’s time there has come to an end. He has been extended an outstanding opportunity and accepted a position with Campbell’s Soup. I’m so proud of his leadership not only in our home, but at his place of employment.

IMG_2049
This vision is for a future time. 
It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place.    It will not be delayed. Habakkuk 2:3This transition took longer than we would have preferred, but we know that God’s promises are true. Waiting is not something we do easily, but we have lived in confidence and expectation that one day this vision would come to pass.

IMG_2048-2

God’s timing is always perfect and we know He always works things out together for our good! Brian is excited to start his new job with his new timepiece as a constant reminder that God is always on time.

If you like Brian’s watch you can enter to win a $100 credit for a Jord Wood Watch by clicking here. Everyone that enters will receive a $25 credit, but one person will take home the $100 prize!

Brian loves his new watch and receives compliments on its uniqueness wherever we go. It’s light weight and is made with excellent quality. Every watch comes in a beautiful wood protective case with a care package and instructions to care for your wood watch.

IMG_2053

Enter here to win $100 towards your own! Check out all the Jord styles, you’re sure to find something you’ll love!

 

Wood Arrow Decor

A few months ago I made a custom decor piece for my sister’s birthday. She’s been obsessed with arrows for months and I wanted to give her something special. I made a wood canvas with 3 arrows and wrote her kids names on them.

I posted this picture on my instagram of the finished project and I was so overwhelmed by the awesome response I got.

FullSizeRender-2

One of my very good friends is having a baby and when she told me the nursery theme is arrows, I knew I needed to make something for the new little man.

I used a table saw cut the wood and the same guided template I created when I made my sister’s decor to make the individual pieces. Normally I start projects with unpainted or unstained wood, but this was a large scrap piece I had from a previous project. I never used to be a hoarder. Actually, I get great joy out of throwing stuff away. I hate clutter. But I have a really difficult time throwing project scraps away because they can always be used int he future for one project or another. ANYWAY….

IMG_1628

I made cuts according to the guide for the set of 3 arrows I was working on, but then my creative juices took over. I scrapped the guide and started to work out this vision I had in my head. I was so excited about the layering look in the arrow head I could barely contain myself on the driveway as I was assembling the pieces.

I moved my operation from the driveway to the basement so I could stain and paint the wood. It was pretty windy the day I worked on this and I didn’t want grass blowing onto the wood while it was drying.

I played around with a couple different color patterns, but ultimately, I went with something I thought looked rustic-chic. My friend told me she painted the nursery shades of gray with a mint green accent color. I went with a rich colored stain and white to balance it out. I played around with the placement of white versus stain, but ultimately I went with the stain on the bottom. I tried putting it between the two white arrows, but it was too stripe-looking and immediately annoyed me. So I opted for this unbalanced look, which ironically looks incredibly proportionate because the brown stain is so much heavier than the white paint. Funny how our eyes and our brains play tricks on us like that, right? Or maybe I’m just a crazy lady.

I carried the color scheme through to the next decor piece to make them feel like a set. But I gave this one some flare because it was screaming at me to do something fun.

I fastened each piece with wood glue, but to be safe I used the nail gun to really secure all the wood pieces together.

Here they are in their sweet new baby boy home 🙂

IMG_1841FullSizeRender-2 copyFullSizeRender-2 copy 2

Also, here’s this little guy that I hand painted. It’s the same stain color, just a different take on the arrow theme!

FullSizeRender-3

My friends make the sweetest babies! I’m so happy I got the opportunity to be a part of this little Prince’s world before he has even entered it. He’s going to be a mighty little boy!

Dog Rope Toy in 15 mins!

How long do toys last in your house? 18 mins? Yeah, us too! The Royals have accepted “tuff toys” as a personal challenge. Dog toys can be ridiculously expensive, even when you catch a sale at Walmart. But anything seems overpriced when it lasts for less than an hour. So here we go.

Brian and I have a bunch of old jeans that desperately needed to be retired. Instead of throwing them away, like they actually deserved, we turned them into a pit bull rope toy. Also, it was a really good excuse to go buy 5 new pairs of jeans. Here’s how it’s done:

First, you’ll need an awesome dog(s) to love and adore and give them all the cookies they deserve. Then get some old jeans you don’t want anymore. You’ll need to cut off the pant legs, so turn those old jeans into some daisy dukes… then throw them away… those shorts don’t lead to good decisions.

You’ll need to cut the pant legs open. You can cut straight up the seam. Open up the plant leg, then cut into strips. I was able to make 9 even strips.

Take the strips and group them at the top. You’ll need to squeeze pretty hard to tie a knot.

Then group the strips into groups of three and braid! Make the braid as tight as you can make it. Knot again at the bottom and you’re done!

Enjoy puppy play time! Please monitor your pups while they play! This DIY toy, like regular rope toys will fray. But look how happy the Royals are!

The Time I Made A Diaper Cake

So let me just start this off by confessing my deepest frustrations with Pinterest. It’s been a while since I’ve DIYed something I saw. While I was in the process of making this cake, I remembered why I stopped doing Pinterest Projects. I can’t handle the pressure. I get angry when things don’t turn out just like the pins. Ever see those #PinterestFail pictures? There is an entire community of people that are brave beyond measure, who have taken their Pinterest Fails and posted them for the world to laugh at.  Google it if you’re having a bad day. You’ll thank me. You’ll laugh until you cry, or pee. I guess that part depends on your personality and your level of voluntary muscle control.

Here’s my story. I was going to a baby shower and my mother-in-law thought it would be a cool project for me. Never having done this before and forgetting about my love-hate-relationship with Pinterest, I thought, yeah, definitely looks simple enough! For the most part it was. I read a lot about how other people did their cakes and combined the parts of what I thought would work for me.

Step 1. Go shopping, yay!

Everything in this picture is from Walmart. They’ve got great quality for the price, and also, it’s 1.5 miles from my office. Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Alright, so, get yourself a box of diapers. I think there are 189 diapers in one box, which is approximately a one-day supply for tiny people on an all liquid diet. You’ll also need some cute baby things to decorate the cake, and ribbon. (NOT PICTURED, BUT VERY IMPORTANT: Some from of string. We’ll get to this.)

IMG_1542

Step 2. Get a base. One of the first things I read is that you’ll need a base. GOOD ADVICE. You’ll need a huge piece of cardboard or something sturdier depending on how hard you go on decorating. These cakes get HEAVY.

IMG_1544

I used half a Chewy.com box from Duke and Duchess’ food. The other good piece of advice I found was to use a paper towel rolls as your center support. Tape that down to the cardboard so it doesn’t move while you’re building.

Step 3. Here’s where things got real.

IMG_1545

Come to find out, you don’t just line them up and then wrap the ribbon around them. No, no! This is the step where I discovered lies and deceit. Your bottom layer is going to be around 80 diapers. At one point I forgot what I was doing and thought I was playing dominoes. Do you know what it’s like to have 80 diapers falling all over the dining room floor and trying to keep the dogs from stealing them? I must have said “don’t touch that” and “drop that right now” at least 10x. Also, you need to put this section upside down. The part that goes around the baby’s waist is not strong enough to hold the diapers upright, thus, the diaper avalanche all over the floor. So I re-strategized my plan since everyone on Pinterest is a liar. The picture above was the most diapers I could get together without them falling all over the place. There are about 20 in the picture above.

Step 3 continued. New game plan: TWINE.

IMG_1546

I don’t remember why we had twine, but this saved my butt (see what I did there?). Wrap them up really tight because this will help condense all the diapers and give you a nice, firm BOTTOM 😉 to keep building on.

IMG_1550

Now, you can flip them back over and start making a nice crisp, layered look. At this point, I realized the twine was going to be the best thing ever, so I wasted no time tying up this layer. You might need an extra set of hands for this. All these diapers are a lot to hold in place and tie at the same time. I enlisted Brian’s help for this part. After I got it knotted I went back and filled in any spaces with extra diapers. The top layers will sit much nicer if your bottom later isn’t crappy (couldn’t help myself).

IMG_1551

So it’s starting to look like a cake, but it’s not as neat at the ones I was trying to mirror it after. I think my biggest issue was that I used every diaper. Most people made smaller cakes and kept diapers to the side. But this looks like organized chaos and I thought that was kind of ironic 🙂

Step 4. Add the ribbon.

IMG_1553

Step 4.1. Add more ribbon for a styled look.

IMG_1554

Step 5. Decorate!

You might need safety pins to hold your little baby items in place. The flowers were a fun add because they hid some of the imperfections that were driving me crazy. When you’re happy with the look, or you feel like it’s as good as it’s going to get, cut away the extra cardboard!

Here it is in all of it’s baby girl glory at the shower! It actually came out pretty nice.

IMG_1573

For the most part this was a fun DIY after I got over being lied to by everyone who has ever made a diaper cake before. This was definitely outside of my wheelhouse, but it was a nice brake from house stuff!

Cast Iron Pasta Bake

This recipe is such a quick and easy favorite in our house. I always have frozen gravy (yes, it’s 100% called gravy) on hand, so this is really easy for me to make, especially when I’m in a rush.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cup Gravy
  • 1 lb Pasta
  • 3/4 c Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 lb Hatfield Sweet or Hot Sausage
  • Splash of white wine
  • Olive oil to coat the pan

Here’s how it’s done:

While the water for the pasta is boiling, start cooking the sausage in a hot cast iron skillet. You don’t want the sausage to cook 100% of the way, so make sure you’re paying attention to it and turning it every few mins. Add a splash of white wine.

img_0557

Admittedly, I hated cast iron skillets when we first got one. It freaked me out that you can’t clean it with soap and they are obnoxiously heavy. But they are awesome to cook with, so I’ve been converted. I’m not trilled that we have FOUR. But they are really great. If you don’t have one they’re definitely worth the investment. You can pick one up at Bed Bath and Beyond for $20.

fullsizerender-2

Don’t worry about the sausage not being 100% cooked, it’s going to finish cooking off in the oven! Cut them up into quarter sized pieces. While you’re cutting, preheat the oven to 35o*.

Don’t forget about the pasta! Put the pasta into a large mixing bowl and add the gravy. When you’re finished cutting the sausage add that and the 1/2 c of cheese to the bowl and mix!

Then put the pasta, sausage, and cheese back into the cast iron skillet. Add the rest of the cheese to the top!

img_0571

Put it in the oven for 20 mins. Here’s the final result:

Enjoy!

Christmas Card Display

Joy to the world, Christmas cards are on their way! Cards are one of the best Christmas traditions out there. Admittedly, Brian and I do not send out our own card. My parents take serious pride and joy in sending out a massive card with all 12 of us (people, not including dogs), on there.

Growing up my mom had a special basket (still does) designated for Christmas Cards in the middle of the kitchen. I always loved looking through it to see how families have grown from year to year. However, since the cards are in a basket the one on top is really the only one that’s visible.

I can’t and will not take credit for this DIY because one of my dear friends has done this in her kitchen every year since I’ve known their family. I borrowed this idea from her, but I love it so much I think everyone should do it if they don’t already!

So here it is!

img_0560

I love this because I can see all the cards at one time! and it adds some Christmas cheer to an otherwise un-decoratable pantry door. These are just the cards that we’ve received so far, but every time I walk by my heart is so full! I can’t wait for more cards to come!

Here’s how I did it…

What you’ll need:

  • Decorative Ribbon
  • Packing tape

Thats it!!!

The ribbon was $3 on sale at Big Lots for 12 feet. How can you go wrong with that? I can use the rest of the ribbon to wrap presents since there’s still a little less than half left.

Unwrap the ribbon and tape the end to the top of the inside of the door. You could probably use a push pin if you don’t mind puncturing a hole in the door, but the tape works just as well! Let the rest of the ribbon fall to the floor. Wrap the ribbon under the door and pull up, then cut! The last step is taping the bottom of the ribbon to the bottom of the door! Now you can tape the cards directly to the ribbon.

Merry Christmas!

 

Stair Railing Update

Here’s our stair rail.  Not the best, yet far from the worst. Again, this is just another piece of 1980’s builders grade material that plagues our house. I’ve been drooling over some updated railings I’ve seen circulating the internet. So I decided to give it a much needed welcome into the new millennium.

IMG_3486

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Sander
  • Wood finish remover
  • White semi-gloss paint
  • Wood stain of your choosing, I chose Kona
  • Scraper
  • Painters tape
  • Old sheet (this will never go on a bed again)
  • Old dish towel (this will never clean dishes again)

Eventually we’ll be removing the carpet and doing wood stairs, but until that happens I wanted to protect the carpet so I won’t have to look at stains incase that project gets pushed back.

Use the painters tape to tape around the spindles and cover the carpet. I had a little helper for this step 🙂

Then take the old sheet and pull it through each spoke. The tape is for the white paint, the sheet is to protect the carpet against the wood stain.

(This sheet was on my bed in college. But it has been given a different purpose in it’s new life here at the Halle House. It has been a part of every project we’ve ever done. There’s 5 different colors of stain on it and probably 4 different colors of paint. When I said “this will never go on a bed again,” I sincerely meant that. Use one sheet that you can dedicate to all your DIY’s.)

IMG_3491

Take your dish towel and cut it in half.

Use one half of the towel to apply the wood stain remover to the railing. WEAR GLOVES. This stuff is no joke. If you have a paper cut and get this in there, you will feel the death of a million bee stings in your hand.

The can says “apply liberally.” I thought that was a joke, like “lather, rise. Repeat.” It’s not. It will not remove the stain properly if you don’t slodge it on there (slodge might not be a word, but you know what I’m getting at). You will know when the finish is ready to be removed when it starts to bubble up. Give it about 5 mins.

Then scrape it off! Once you remove the finish, you can sand the rest of it down. Here’s what the railing looked like after the finish was removed and sanded. It’s not as dark and polished as it was before. It looks raw. Make sure the surface is smooth.

Note: When you’re sanding, move with the grain of the wood.

IMG_3495

I vacuumed after I finished sanding. Wipe down the surface to remove any small dust particles. I also vacuumed the surface of the railing with the vacuum attachment. I like things really clean 🙂

With the other half of your dish towel, apply the wood stain. Use latex gloves if you have some. Stain is incredibly annoying to remove from your skin.

IMG_3496

Welcome to the new millennium, wood! Let that dry for a few hours before you start painting the spindles. It’s better to work when the stain is tacky and not wet. It will take a full 42 hours for the stain to completely dry. An oscillating fan will speed up the process.

This part is pretty straight forward… paint the rest white.

Here’s the finished product!

IMG_3508

I’m going to paint that back wall tomorrow eventually.

Chalk Paint Recipe

  • 1 Cup latex paint
  • 1/4 Cup Calcium Carbonate (can be found at home depot)
  • 1/8 Cup of water

MIX THOROUGHLY!

As long as you’re using these ingredients, you can play around with whatever texture feels best. Also, all paint brands are different (I prefer to use Behr) so the consistency will change depending on what you’re using. Watery mixtures are difficult to work with. They require a lot of coats and are VERY drippy, which I find incredibly difficult to work with when you’re aiming for a smooth surface. Add more Calcium Carbonate and paint, and use less water if you run into this problem.