Reclaiming My Patio {Spin Cycle}

My patio was lost under willow leaves and sticks, pots and potting soil, and a big green bushy bush. I have a vision of me, sitting outside on my patio with my cup of coffee and reading the paper, just like I’m on vacation only I’m not; I’m at home. With my patio under this mess, however, this vision would never actually become a reality.

(Picture extremely messy patio here…I always forget to take “before” photos!)

I started off by clearing the table of all the gardening implements I dragged out in the spring, and hosing the layer of soil off. I washed it with some natural soap, and hosed it again. Clean and sparkly! I opened the umbrella and swept out some old wasps’ nests that were only half-way built. Those dang wasps keep coming back when the umbrella is closed, so yesterday I sprayed the umbrella with a little wasp killer. I hope that keeps them away!

On another day (this was not a one day project) I put on my leather work gloves and got out the edger. I cut and tore off sod from around the edges of the concrete. Argh! (That’s supposed to be a manly Tool TimeĀ  grunt but it reads more like a pirate growl.)

A neat edge…I am woman, hear me roar!

The next day, I swept off all the old leaves and dirt from under the table. There actually was a patio under all that debris!


The chairs that belong with the table are grouped under the willow tree from our 4th of July party. We never actually sit at the table very much. My next project is to tackle that huge green bush on the right and trim it down. I’m waiting to borrow my brother-in-law’s electric trimmer–I do not want to tackle it with our hand trimmer. I’m lazy that way. On the left of the patio is our vegetable container garden. I’m hoping we get to the tomatoes before the chipmunks do!

My lost patio, found again!

I have yet to sit outside with my cup of coffee, however. Too hot. In fact, it has been so hot (over 100 degrees) that we used our patio table for another project. We melted crayons.

Melting crayons in a muffin tin

Yes, it is THAT hot. (Thanks to OneMommy for the idea!) I may have ruined my muffin tin for making muffins, however. But don’t our new crayons look pretty? (Those are the bottoms of the crayons…the tops look rather melty and dull. The heart shaped crayon in one Emmy made at preschool.)

Lily and Emmy’s new crayons!

Spin Cycle at Second Blooming

Written as part of Gretchen’s Spin Cycle prompt, “Lost and Found”.

What summer project have you been working on?


Silly Bands Holder

Lily is the brains behind this invention. Last summer, she wanted a way to transport her silly bands on our vacation without them getting all tangled up in her suitcase. I looked around the house and handed her an empty toilet paper roll. It worked perfectly! However, that plain brown roll of cardboard just wasn’t fancy enough for my taste. So when the girls had a day off from school last Monday, we fan-ci-fied a couple of silly band holders.

Emmy’s been keeping her silly bands on a paper plate on the top of her dresser. While silly bands don’t seem to be the rage any more, kids still like them. The girls have received silly bands in goody bags for Halloween (see the bat?) and birthdays.

We gathered together our supplies: toilet paper rolls, scissors, a ruler, scrapbook paper, a pencil, paintbrush, and Mod Podge. I had Lily measure the length of the toilet paper roll, and then we added a couple of inches to our measurement. This craft was a great introduction to using a ruler! I also showed Lily how to measure the paper, draw a couple of dots, and then place the ruler by the dots to draw a straight line.

Emmy practiced her scissor skills; holding the scissors correctly and cutting on a line.

Lily is painting Mod Podge onto her piece of scrapbook paper. We wrapped the paper around the toilet paper roll. I made some slits on the excess paper at each end, and folded the tabs in, which helped the edges have more of a finished look.

I held the newly papered roll while the girls painted Mod Podge on the outside of the roll to protect the paper and give it a smooth finish. While I originally wanted to use a sponge brush, the bristles on Lily’s paintbrush gave us a nice texture. We could have made these holders even fancier by gluing a ribbon on the seam of the scrapbook paper, but as this was more of a spur-of-the-moment craft, we bypassed the ribbon. Here is Emmy’s completed holder, doing its job of reining in those silly bands!

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