Florida Life, The House

Our Oasis

The photos yesterday really made me aware of how much time, energy and MONEY we have put into beautifying our backyard over the past three and a half years since moving into our house. Since there was so little that needed to be done on the inside and since we live in Florida and so much time is spent outside, the backyard has been our focus. I just thought it would be fun to compile some before and after photos to truly appreciate the changes. I tried to take a series of photos with the same viewpoint.

Before (1)
After (2)
Before (3)
After (3)
Magnolia Falls House 051
After (4)
Before (2)
After (6)

And just for fun, here are some more photos of the rest of the backyard from different angles. It’s amazing how much the plants and trees have grown and really filled in.

After (5)
From the far corner of the yard, looking back at the house.
After (9)
This is walking into the backyard from the side of the house, standing by our shed. This cute little doggie is my new best friend that I am dog-sitting this week while her owners are on vacation.
After (8)
Here’s looking back at the area that I was just standing at on the right, by the shed.
After (7)
This is our grill area with the privacy screen Carl built, covered in luscious Jasmine vines.
After (10)
Looking at the lanai from the grill area.
After (11)
Looking at the pool from the walkway.
After (12)
One more view because I just stand stand the gorgeousness.

We have one more major project happening in the backyard sometime in the next month (stay tuned for an update) and then I think we will really be done. There really isn’t anything else that we can possible do but just float around the pool and enjoy!

Florida Life, The House

Pool Update

Magnolia Falls House 051
Our pool/backyard when we first moved in.

A basic plaster pool has a lifespan of about 10 to 12 years. Our pool is now about 14 years old and the plaster was showing signs of wear and tear, especially on the edges.


Here’s a close-up of the damage around the pool.


So I convinced my husband to bite the bullet and pay the professionals to resurface our pool over the past month. It was about a two-week process. They started with draining the pool and cutting around the edge of the pool tiles (I’m not sure why they do that…after all, I’m not a professional). By the way, to replace the pool tiles would have been an extra $2,500 so we opted not to do that. I don’t mind the tiles that are currently around the pool. 


Then came the acid washing of the pool surfaces.


Next came patching and plastering over the entire surface of the pool.


Finally it was time to resurface the pool. We paid extra money to use a cool, variegated pebble finish instead of plain plaster. The pebble finish has a 25-year plus lifespan so we will definitely not have to resurface the pool again as it is extremely doubtful we will be in this house in another 25 years.


Here’s a close-up of the pebble-finish.


The last step was to fill the pool!


I really like how blue the pool looks now. It’s a deeper blue color the deeper the water is.


While the pool guys were working on the pool, I spent some time refreshing my directional sign. It’s amazing how faded and muted the colors were after just a few years in the Florida sun. I repainted each one and used my cricut this time for the lettering…so much better!


Here’s another view of the sign.


While I was at it, I also refreshed was the oars that were mounted on the fence.


Now the backyard is all ready for summer! Who wants to go swimming?


Crafting, The House

The Windows

In the last blog post, I posted these two photo with a sneak peek of my latest projects…

It’s our new old windows that we brought back from Memphis. Sue and Karl replaced the windows in their 40-year old house this year and saved us some for some fun projects.

The first project was this pair of windows that I put over our outdoor seating area. I found some tropical prints to adhere to the backs of the windows for this whimsical look.

I found those cute candle holders at Hobby Lobby to flank the windows and give some atmosphere when entertaining.

I love the new look!

I placed another window on the fence by our fire pit area and affixed some colored starfish.

I love this look too and it’s finally cooling off enough that we may be able to have a fire soon.

One last window went over our master bed, decorated with a wreath and flanked by candle holders again.

I like how the window and picket fence headboard give a sweet, cottage feel.

I really had fun decorating each window in a unique way in three different areas.

Which one is your favorite?

Crafting, Homemaking, The House

Weekend Project

On Saturday, I posted the following on Instagram…

That was the kiss of death because shortly after that my sewing machine died. After trying to fix it, then giving up, borrowing a machine from my neighbor and watching numerous YouTube videos to figure out how to work it, I was finally back in business.

What was I working on? Remember these outdoor lanai curtains from painter’s tarps I made early last year after seeing them all over Pinterest?

What the Pinterest posts failed to tell me was that the humid Florida weather would make them look like this in just under two years…

curtains (1)

curtains (2)

Because they are so big and bulky, I can’t really wash them. Plus, even if I could, they’d be extremely wrinkled and need to be ironed and that’s just not going to happen. When I accidentally buy something that needs to be ironed after washing, it immediately goes into the donation pile. Ironing is just not my thing…ha!

So after trying to figure out a replacement solution, I had the inspiration to make new curtains out of shower curtains, which would be moisture and mildew resistant. However, they were too short right out of the package so I had to find a water resistant fabric to make a border at the top, which I found on clearance online.

After about 8 hours on Saturday, I had beautiful new replacements. Here is a comparison of the old and new curtains…

And here is the finished product…

I love them so much! And because this material is so light weight, they can be easily washed in the washing machine with no ironing needed. Hooray! I am really hoping that they will last longer than the other ones.

The only negative is that the fabric on top is only one sided. So there is no pattern on the back side.

But I still think they look better than the dirty, moldy tarps.

I started another project this weekend too which I will be sharing after I finish them up (there are some hints in the photos above if you are observant). Stay tuned!

The House

Have a Seat Update

The new couches have arrived! Let’s remember what it looked like earlier this week…


And this is what it looks like now, (sort of because the color is really off)….


This is the other angle…


But this is the best part….


A double reclining couch, so now Carl and I can both stretch out our legs! And that last photo is the best representation of the actual color.


Did you also notice that I got a new rug? A larger rug also enabled me to push the furniture back further. The previous couch had to be placed just so to cover a large hole left in the carpet by the previous owners (they gave us a carpet allowance to pay for that but we haven’t quite gotten around to replacing all the carpet yet). This new rug is not only beautiful, but it covers that annoying hole.

We lost some seating going with two couches instead of the sectional. But for the 85% of the time that it’s just Carl and I relaxing and watching movies together, we will be enjoying our new couches.

Praises, The House

Have a Seat….

When we moved to Jacksonville almost three years ago, we left behind our 15 year old family room couches and Carl’s beloved recliner since they were worn and not in the style that I was going for in Florida. I found a nice imitation leather sectional and new accent chair for the family room and I painted/restained our old tables for that room.


Since Carl gave up his recliner, I let him have the use of the corner lounger section on the right side in the following photo.


That left me with the section on the left. So for TV viewing, I had to sit with my feel resting on a cushion on the coffee table (you can see the cushion peeking out from under the table) or lying on my side.


It was functional but not overly comfortable, especially for me. So a few months ago, when I noticed that the material covering the couches was starting to disintegrate, I started dreaming of a replacing this crappy set with something that was more comfortable and durable.

Here is the worst section on the back of the sectional….


And here is what the entire seat cushions look like across the sectional….


I returned to the store where I bought it, just because it is the closest furniture store to our house. When I told the saleswoman my sad story of needing to replace crappy furniture just under three years old, she said “let me pull up your account.” After looking at it, she said “oh, you paid for the 3-year protection plan.” We NEVER pay for the protection plan so I was surprised. Yay, me for thinking ahead to this very moment! I was even more surprised when she said “we had a lot of complaints about that set. We don’t work with that manufacturer or carry any imitation leather products anymore. Since you paid for the protection plan and it is under the 3-year warranty (just barely), we will give you a store credit for 100% of what you paid for that crappy furniture.” Okay, maybe she didn’t say it exactly like that but you get the point.

SAY WHAT?! Thank you Lord! I just love those cool little blessings when you least expect them. I was prepared to fork over the full amount for replacement furniture and here we are getting all of our money back after using the furniture for 3 years because Kristy-of-3-years ago made a great financial move in paying the extra $100 for 3-year protection. The new furniture arrives later this week so stay tuned for new photos :).




The House

Let the Sun Shine, Part Two

After receiving all of the renderings from the awning company, we fell in love with the Bahama Shutters. I used Photoshop to create a rendering with the Bahama shutters and a red door awning.


That was the clear winner! However, we did not fall in love with the price. After doing some investigating, I found that we could order the Bahama Shutters on our own and Carl could install them, saving us over $500 dollars.

This spring, Carl installed the Bahama Shutters.


We love them! They have made a huge difference in the heat coming into the house, with no noticeable difference now felt in my office. Since we got them 3/4 of the way down the window, there is still plenty of light in my office and I can still see out my window while working, which is really nice.

Earlier this week, after about 8 weeks in production, the door awning was finally installed. We actually didn’t go with a bright red as shown in the photo above. The guy said that type of fabric with a solid color is more likely to show fading and wear. The fabric we choose is actually a very fine black and red tweed that he said would hold up in the sun much better.


Here is a photo of the whole front of the house.


You can see the extra shade the awning is providing in the afternoon sun in the photo below….the top two-thirds of the door is now shaded. Time will tell if the heat at the front door is kept at bay with the awning.


This is what the awning looks like when walking out the front door.


Side note: I’ll be so glad to NOT see Anthony’s pick-up truck parked on the driveway when he and I drive it back to college next month! After having it sitting out front for the past school year, I’m not going to miss it!

It’s nice to see my glass door once again, without the paper shade covering it.


We are really happy with our improvements to the front of the house. Functional and pretty…a winning combination!