Friday, August 16, 2013

Backyard Transformation (Warning: picture heavy)

Hi again!!!  This blog post has nothing to do with Stampin' Up! or crafting.  This is about our backyard and the massive transformation it has undergone over the last number of months.  After lots of delays and a few setbacks it was completed about a month ago.  And at the end of all of this we have nothing but high praise for Bromar Landscaping, JWS Woodworking and DesignSolarWave and Paradise Pools for what we now consider our backyard getaway.  The planning process and lining up who would do the work began last summer.  And my recommendation for a job like this is to get your tradespeople, plans drawn up etc, months in advance.  Especially if you want things done right.  If you wait until spring, you might be disappointed, these guys get booked up really fast once the snow melts.  

First are the "before" pictures.  These were taken a couple of days before they broke ground, the first week of April.  You can see the stakes marking what goes where.  And how cold and desolate everything looks.  Bye bye grass.  

During the process Mother Nature had other plans.  When they were digging the pool it snowed and snowed.  Then when the landscapers started excavating it rained and rained and rained.  We had a wicked freezing rain storm, and lots more rain.  I think we broke a few records in terms of how much rain we got.  And we expanded the job even more.  Since they were doing the walkway on the garage side of the house, why not re do our front steps and driveway as well.  I will have to post those pictures later.  The pool was filled with water and completed while I was in Salt Lake City, just in time for the hottest week of the year around here.  

And below is the completed project.  New gardens, that I will add on to as time goes on and I see how these current plants do where they are.  Next year we will get some container gardens set up. Maybe some hanging baskets etc.  And of course some decorative accessories.  Right now its a blank canvas, and I will use this coming off season to plan and figure out what I want.

First is our pool house.  The pump etc is behind it and inside is the breaker panel, a bench and storage shelves.  We will use this house to store toys and cushions when not in use, pool chemicals and gives people a space to change as well.

View from the back of the property.  The cabana off the house has a series of solar panels on top that we are using to heat the pool. And gives us shade since our backyard has all day sun.  We also had them dig the deep end a few feet deeper for safer diving.

Dave's skyshed works perfectly with added pool and patio elements.

The lounge area with the (now closed) cantilever umbrella for shade when needed.  I have spent a few days out there getting some sun while I was sick.

The fireplace. And you can tell by the towels etc., we getting lots of use of the patio.  Love the seating area here.

The BBQ/bar area under the cabana, we can now BBQ 12 months of the year hopefully.

View of the yard from the back door.  Ahhh paradise.

One of the setbacks occurred when we had to fire the original fencing company.  The chain link needed remeshing for the pool by-law code so it is no longer climbable.  And we decided to do a cedar privacy fence from the gate area to just past the hot tub.  The original company made promises and never showed up.  So we fired them.  We contacted JWS, who originally built our cabana, and they showed up within a few days and finished the job within the week.  And they did an amazing job, including custom lattice and archway.  

Hot tub area.

Fireplace is ready for some s'more making.  This has been getting used at least a few times per week so far.  And the nights have been unusually cold for this time of year.

Hot tub at night, the lights change color.  Kids love the lights.

The pool lighted at night.  Two spotlights in the pool itself and lights sunken into the patio around the pool.

We also had lights installed underneath the step going from the lower patio to the upper pool patio, can't have our guests tripping up the stairs at night.  And it makes a gorgeous statement.

And these are the solar panels.  So far they have kept our pool warm, anywhere from high 70's to mid 80's, depending on the sunlight we get during the day.   We haven't had to use the gas heater at all yet.  Which is a huge savings for us considering how big of a pool we have.

And that is our little piece of paradise in our own backyard.  We are more than happy with the end result.  Thank you for stopping by and visiting my little corner of the blogging world.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What's in That Really Sweet Backpack

Hello everyone.  Its been awhile since I last posted.  I have very very sick.  Just finished a round of antibiotics for a kidney infection which was on top of a really bad flu bug that just didn't want to go away.   Saw my Doctor yesterday, things are looking better but I am to go back to the lab for some more tests on Monday just to make sure the antibiotics killed off all the bacteria and that my system is back to healthy and strong overall.  I haven't been this sick in a long time.  Dave and the kids have held down the fort quite nicely the last two weeks.  Everybody remained fed and had clean clothes.  House needs some work, my standards are little different than the rest of the family. lol.  But all in good time.   

Now I am getting back to the swing of things in my real world and it dawned on me this morning that our oldest, Laura, is moving out in 2 1/2 weeks.  Yep, time to push my first baby bird out the nest and watch her learn to fly on her own.  She is off to University to study Astronomy and Astrophysics.  And yes, I am one proud mama.   But she won't be completely alone at University, two of her cousins will be going to the same University and we are hoping she is in the same residence building as one of them. 

But I first want to post pictures of this gorgeous packback and all the goodies inside that I received from Stampin' Up! while at convention in Salt Lake City.  Believe me, this back pack is very full.  We received the cost of our registration fees back in just free product, probably more.  

First the backpack.  Gorgeous.   

Peek inside, I stole a silver streamer that was part of the closing celebrations on the Saturday.  We had fireworks, and silver streamers and confetti falling all over us.  Sooooo much fun.

We received a beautiful silver pen and a lanyard for our name tag.  These sweet tags are from my upline's upline, Jamilla.  My upline is Denise, and Denise's upline is Jamilla.  At the end of convention the entire team met up at the Olive Garden, arranged by Jamilla, and we ate and ate and drank to celebrate the end of a fabulous convention.  And Jamilla made for each of us a sweet little baggie full of Christmas tags.   Thank you so much Jamilla!!

And there was of course Prize patrol.  We each were given a wrist band that was a colour from our main catalogue.  I was Sahara Sand.  And my colour won this sweet prize from the Holiday Catalogue and Main Catalogue.  It is the Magnificent Maple stamp set, with a package of Muslin Bags, and our new 3/4" Chevron Ribbon in Crushed Curry.  I am thinking little treat bags for table settings during Thanksgiving.

This package is full of make n' takes that we could make at convention or at home.  I decided to make mine at home.  And nope, I haven't gotten around to them yet.  LOL  Its summer, and I have a new pool to enjoy.

Couple more make n' takes, a MDS card, and a muslin bag.  And nope, haven't done these up yet either.  LOL

We also were given copies of the new Holiday Catalogue, which went live August 1, of course the Main Catalogue, and some special offers for Convention attendees for some stamp sets and office supplies such as business cards etc.

Our book with convention details, bios on the presenters, and of course a space for note taking, and lots of notes were taken.

All these stamp sets were handed out throughout the convention.  Sweet!!!

Our new Real Red Goodie Gear Simply Created along with Oh, Goodie Stamp Set.  Hello Christmas!!!  My favourite time of year.

July's Paperpumpkin kit.  Ok, I confess, when it came to Paper Pumpkin, I had a hard time wrapping my brain around getting the subscription.  It just didn't appeal to me at first.  I was able to see some of the early kits, and I wasn't sold.  I knew lots of people who loved their kits, and thoroughly enjoyed getting their monthly subscription in the mail.  But I thought it just wasn't for me.  At convention, they offered us a free Paper Pumpkin kit if we could write down what we would use this kit for.  Well, I took one look and knew, this would be a sweet mini album to send with Laura to University.  So she won't forget us little people back home.  And one of the first things I did when I got home, was sign up for a monthly kit from Paper Pumpkin.  And they made it really easy with the Pumpkin Deal.  Just go to the Paper Pumpkin website HERE and enter the code PUMPKINDEAL, and get your first kit for $12.50 as opposed to the usual $24.95. Taxes and shipping included.  This amazing deal ends August 31.

A sampling of our new Undefined kit (make your own custom rubber stamps) as well as Seasons of Style Washi Tape and Witches Brew Washi Tape.

And this back pack and goodies inside is what made my luggage a little heavier going home.

Thank you for stopping by and visiting my little corner of the blogging world.  Please, feel free to leave comments or questions.  I love hearing from you.