Category Archives: Outdoors

Simple Ways To Spice Up An Everyday BBQ

Last Friday,  I made a little return visit to KATU’s AMNW morning show and chatted through a few simple tips for throwing a backyard BBQ. As we all know, parties can be quiet elaborate these days, but I tried to keep my tips super easy and turn-key.

Once again, I’m hecka relieved I didn’t pass out or do anything totally silly (except for say the word “exactly” like a million times) on LIVE TV. Whew!

Also, you can find the downloadable BBQ invite, and strawberry lemonade/s’more labels mentioned in the segment here. And, if you are looking to order personalized napkins, coasters, or cupcake holders like the ones featured, email Heather Lawes at Paper Dolls at [email protected].

See you tomorrow, friends!

How to throw a successful garage sale

I survived.

I made my TV debut yesterday on KATU’s AMNW morning show and I’m happy to report I somehow kept it together and didn’t lose my cookies on live television. Whew! I filmed a piece on throwing a successful garage sale and chatted through 10 of my personal yard sale tips. Since I know many of you don’t live in Oregon, here’s the video for your viewing pleasure.

 10 Garage Sale Tips

1.)    Purchase pre-labeled garage sale stickers and price your items to sell.

  • Pre-labeled stickers make pricing items easy and can be picked up at most local stores like Fred Meyer. Also, price your items to sell and be realistic about what an item might actually sell for.

2.)    Stock up on change for your cashbox.

  • Make sure you have plenty of change before the sale starts. It’s a  good idea to have $40 in 5’s and $20 in 1’s as well as some change on-hand.

3.)    Market your sale.

  • Post a free ad on Craigslist under the “garage sale” section and include all of the sale details as well as photos of a few of the main items you’ll be selling.

  • Make 3-4 simple, but bold signs and place them around your neighborhood. Just include the time and address of the sale on the sign – no other details are needed!

4.)    Watch the weather forecast

  • Sunny weather equals more foot traffic and happy shoppers. If you can, watch the weather forecast and pick a day/weekend that won’t be rainy.

5.)    Organize/merchandise your items just like a department store does.

  • If possible, group like items together. For example, all kitchen items should be in the same area. Shoppers are usually looking for specific items, and this way, they can easily find what they are looking for without having to dig around.

6.)    Have a buddy.

  • Team up with another family or friend. It makes the set-up and the actual sale more fun and it’s also nice to have someone helping shoppers and someone else manning the cash box.

7.)    Expect early birds.

  • A handful of people WILL come early to your sale, especially professional pickers. Decide beforehand if you will sell items to them before the posted sale starting time.

8.)    Stow away cash as you make it.

  • It’s a safe bet that you’ll make  a few hundred dollars at your sale, so just to be safe, don’t keep all that money in your cash box. Every hour or so, place a good amount of money inside, in a safe place.

9.)    Be willing to budge on prices, especially after 2 p.m.

  • People come to garage sales for deals and be mindful of that. Be ready to barter with folks.

10.)   After the sale, reorganize your items.

  • Create two piles

                i.      Items to be donated

               ii.      Items to be stored

  • This way, you’ll feel organized immediately after the sale and you won’t be tempted to put the stuff that didn’t sell back in your garage.

Are you guys planning on hosting a garage sale this spring or summer? They are a lot of work, but it certainly feels good to clean out those closets. And the extra cash is nice too!

DIY Outdoor Dining Table

My pals are like sisters to me. They are near and dear to my heart and I adore each and every one of them. We’ve been through lots of life transitions together, with the most recent one being becoming first-time home owners. Because a good portion of us now own humble abodes, we are always swapping decor finds, home improvement stories and tips.

 With that said, I’m over the moon excited to introduce you to my dear friend Jess. She’s a talented teacher, a mother of one darling girl with another baby on the way, and her and her husband(Justin) are fixing up their 1950′s ranch style home. She’s constantly trying to balance her husband’s very modern taste with her more traditional style. Jess is doing a wonderful job of balancing both design styles and she’s graciously allowing me to share the DIY outdoor dining table they built together just a few weeks ago.

Behold the beauty…

DIY outdoor table table-after

Jess and Justin’s step-by-step DIY table:

1.) Pick up a large metal door. J + J purchased their door at The Rebuilding Center in Portland for, get this, $15!

DIY outdoor table table

2.) Next, they needed legs for the table. J + J picked up four hair pin legs in vintage teal for $30.00 total. Again, if you live in Portland, they purchased the legs at City Liquidators.

DIY outdoor table table

3.) With their old door and vintage legs in tow, J + J picked up a few screws and a heat flange (to replace the door knob hole) for a total of $1.50.


4.) Back at home, J + J removed the door hinges from the door and attached the vintage legs.

DIY outdoor table table

5.) With the table construction complete, J + J carefully striped the teal paint off the door with “crazy harsh non-earth friendly chemicals” as Jess puts it.

DIY Outdoor dining room table

DIY Outdoor dining room table

The result? A stunningly unique and upscycled outdoor table…

DIY Outdoor dining room table

And as for the chairs, J + J picked those up at City Liquidators as well. Quite the find, eh?

To recap, this beauty of a table cost a total of $46.50. Can’t beat that!

Jess, thank you for being such an inspiring woman and friend. Your home is a true reflection of the beautiful person you are.

How to Stain a Deck

We’ve stained our deck three times since we moved in (once per summer), and we finally have it down to a science. It’s an afternoon project that makes a BIG difference. And you feel accomplished…a rare feat in home improvement!

Here’s my quick and dirty how-to-stain-your-deck-in-an-afternoon directions:

1.) Power wash your deck. Do it. It makes a difference. Sure it’s a pain and you might not have a power washer handy, but borrow one. It creates a nice “blank slate” to work with.



2.) Clean and scrub. Give your deck a nice long bath. We use Behr’s 2-in-1 Wood Prep mix. It gets rid of the grim and truly preps the wood for a new coat of stain. Hose off your deck to get rid of any leftover suds and let the deck completely dry.




3.) Stain away. We chose Behr’s Semi-Transparent Deck, Fence and Siding Wood stain in coffee. Our deck is fairly old, and we’ve found that the darker the stain, the easier it is to cover imperfections in the wood. We use one paint brush for those hard to reach places and one Shur-Line Deck Pad. This is a must-have. I repeat, this is a must-have. It spreads the stain evenly and makes staining easy. Trust me on this one – I refuse to stain anything without one.





4.) Let the stain dry for a few hours. Then step back and admire your work. And of course, ENJOY the finished product.



As for the rest of our backyard…I’ll be showing you soon!