Little Cozy Porch: Summer Banners

I love cozy porches.  It’s my goal in life to have attempt to have at least one cozy porch at our house.

I was just thinking today how I love summer because it’s easy to have cute porches in the summer.  It’s really hard (for me, at least) to have cute porches during winter.   So I am enjoying the cuteness while it lasts, because all too soon it will be back to a boring old blah winter porch.

Sidebar:  I don’t love anything more than a freshly painted white porch.  It is beauty in its simplest form.  🙂

Ok, so while we were in Indiana, we stopped at my cousin’s cute home and she had these adorable little banners on her railings.  I took pictures of it so that I could attempt to copy it, because I fell completly in love with her idea.  So Hannah, thanks for allowing me to totally copy your fun idea.  🙂

Mine’s not nearly as cute as Hannah’s, but here’s how I made it.  It took about 3.5 minutes and was a no sew project.  Woo-hoo for not having to haul out the sewing machine!!  Mind you, my banners aren’t necessarily constructed to withstand major weather conditions, but based on last year’s summer I am prediciting a rather uneventful season, so I cheated and made it the easy way.  You could sew the flags on to make it more durable…totally up to you.

Here’s the finished project:


The first thing I did was pick a few sort-of coordinated fabric scraps.  (This project is a great way to use up fabric scraps.)  I cut them into squares using my pinking shears; since I didn’t want to hem them at all, I figured that would be a better way to edge them.  You could hem them with a sewing machine or even with hot glue.  But I’m lazy and used pinking shears.)

Next you measure your porch and cut your twine.  I think I ended up adding about 1 to 2 feet to allow room to tie it onto the porch.  If you over-estimate the length needed, you can always trim it after to have it tied on.

Then I simply laid out all my flags, spaced them evenly, laid the twine on top, and hot glued them into place.  Fold over the flap and press it down til it’s good and glued, and voila!


An easy-peasy, cutesy-wootsy banner.  I think it makes my manly husband want to poke his eyes out, but I think it’s adorable.  And it makes me happy every single time I pull into our yard.  Love it!



Did I mention how much I love a clean, white porch?    Ahhhhhhh.


Easter Pics

 We can’t be dressed up without collecting rocks from the church parking lot.  🙂

Jon’s Reaction to a Yellow Dining Room

If you come to our house, wear your sunglasses. I got the dining room repainted (again) and it is BRIGHT and I love it!

Jon does not.

I guess I forgot to mention this yellow paint makeover to him. We need to work on our communication. Here’s how the conversation went when he surprised me by showing up at home mid-paint job:

(Jon walks in back door. I drop the roller to go stop him from entering the dining room.)

Me: Don’t freak out.

Jon: Now what?

(Walks in and sees the new paint color.)

Jon: WHY yellow?!

Me: It’s gonna be great when it’s done – just trust me! (Jon gives me the eye.). Ok, I know I said that about the gray but REALLY. It’s going to be wonderful.

Jon: Why can’t you paint the bathroom? No one ever sees the bathroom.

(Me thinking: wow, he’s giving me the ok to paint the bathroom next!!)

(I show him my Junk Gypsy room pic that serves as this makeover’s inspiration. He actually likes it…but says that the trim I just painted white would look way better as it had been before. I totally agree…this yellow looks awesome with brown wood trim. Darn it. In an attempt to smooth things over, I offer a compromise:)

Me: ok, I will paint the living room a nice basic neutral color like (blech) beige.

Jon: And no more painting of the trim.

Me: Deal.

Whew. I thought he’d freak over the new color. Pics coming soon…want to get a few pieces of furniture painted first. Maybe I should mention that to Jon before I get started. 😉

How It’s Going

Both kids are sleeping. Jon’s outside chopping wood. And I’m blogging. All is as it should be. 🙂

Things have been going really well since we arrived home…I’m a little shocked by that. I expected to have a hot mess on my hands, and there have been a few insane moments, but it’s been fairly…enjoyable. I won’t say perfect or lovely or seamless, but we’re all getting along really, really well. Abby loves to see the baby and give him little pokes and waves. When she remembers he’s around, she is pretty taken with him, but she mostly ignores him and just does her own thing, which is totally ok. I was so afraid she’d be sad or mad to have another person around the house, but she has just rolled with it. She wanders past him, saying “Hi, Ri!” Super cute.

Jon has been amazing. I couldn’t have picked a better daddy for my kiddos. He is patient and helpful and loving and has made this entire transition 1000 times easier on his wife.

And Riley is, so far, a pretty easy going baby. Another blessing! He might outgrow this laid-back attitude, but I’m loving it while it lasts. His has his daddy’s relaxed nature…thank goodness. Mommy’s uptight enough for the entire family. And he’s an awesome burper. I think we’ll keep him. When we left the hospital, his weight had dropped from 7 lbs 1 oz to 6 lbs 10 oz; at a week old, he’s already back up past his birthweight and is 7 lbs 4 oz, which the doctor is thrilled with. Yay, Riley!

The house is kind of a disaster zone. The garden needs to be weed-whacked, probably plowed under.
And we’re running out of clean underwear. But life is good and we’re enjoying this time.

A Little Bit of Nothing At All

Randomness for the day:

  • If you’re in Burwell anytime soon, stop by the pharmacy and buy one of their Burwell flashdance sweatshirts.  I was freezing my tootsies off last week and impulse-bought one and it’s the best, most comfy thing I’ve worn in a long time.  Worth.  Every.  Penny.  I love it so much that I may or may not have been seen wearing it on a 70 degree day.  I want to get as much use out of it as possible while my belly still fits in it.
  • I’m oh-so-glad I blogged about my little garden tub last week…because one of the dogs dug into it over the weekend and it now looks a little pathetic.  Ugh.   Stinking dog.
  • I feel like I’m starting to waddle.  That’s not a good feeling, especially with two months to go.
  • For the past three nights, we’ve watched the “Hatfields and McCoys” on the History channel.  I will never, NEVER use that phrase lightly again.  If even half of what was portrayed in that show was true, good grief.  What a nightmare.  I’ve never been so relieved to see a series end in my whole life.  Jon felt the opposite: “NOW what am I going to watch?”  He dvr’d each episode, so I’m sure he’ll watch the whole series at least 18 more times.  I just hope he does it when I’m not home.  Talk about gory and depressing and just…ick.
  • Thank heavens for Amish Friendship Bread.   That’s all I’m saying.

The No Frills Homemade Laundry Detergent

It’s cheap. It’s easy to make. And it’s the best darn laundry detergent recipe I’ve tried. Ok…it’s the only one I’ve tried. But it works great for us and if it ain’t broke…we’re going with it!

This stuff works so well that it even gets Jon’s manure-and-mud-caked jeans clean. Gotta love that!

Mom sent me this recipe; it was in their local newspaper, along with lots of other homemade cleaners. I’ve shared it with a couple of people lately, so I thought I’d post it here again (I think I’ve shared it before) in case any one else is interested!

I made a huge batch of it over the weekend, which should last us at least 6 months. I store it in a Tupperware container intended for storing potatoes, but it works perfectly. I use 1 tablespoon per load (maybe a little more if it’s a really dirty load).

Here’s the details:

1 c. Soap flakes (I use bars of Fels Naptha, which you can find in the grocery aisle)
1/2 c. Borax
1/2 c. Washing soda

Mix together and store in an airtight container. The end!

See how easy? And cheap. I’ve never done the math on how much it costs per load, because I stink at math, but since it lasts forever, it saves us a bundle.

I bought a blender at a garage sale to use for grinding up the soap into flakes, but it recently died, so I did it the old fashioned way- grated the bars with a handheld cheese grater. And I have blisters on my thumb to prove it. It really wasn’t terrible; I did a little bit every time I went in the kitchen during the day. I think the blisters were just from doing so many bars (I think I did 6 or 7).

Here’s my bowl of soap flakes and the other two ingredients:


And the finished product:


Hope that helps!

My Favorite Quotes of the Week

A couple of random quotes I’ve appreciated recently:

  •  “Invite people over, even when your house isn’t perfect.  You don’t have to be perfect.  Perfect is scary for us normal people.”  – comment by Angie on Making Couple Friends post at (in)courage
  • “Most people who go to college, for example, they go for four years, and they spend a lot of money to do it, and they don’t get any income during that four years, but what they’re learning is information that will eventually make them valuable to somebody. It’s exactly the paradigm with photography. You have to think of it as college. If you’re just starting and you’re just thinking about it now, expect to take four years of learning the craft, learning some trade behind it, and spend some money, spend some time and resources, and when you come out of that, you will probably be at a point where your earning college grad money.”  Dan Heller, in this interview.  LOVE this thought this week because it reminded me (and reassured me) that it’s going to take time and hard work and lots of learning to make them happen…they aren’t going to happen immediately or over night.  Duh, Jen.
  • “God does not expect me to be qualified, He wants me to be obedient and unafraid.” – Tresia, from her blog post Under Qualified