Monday, June 9, 2014

How to Install Shutters

Why don't the backs of houses have shutters?


Without shutters, our side yards and backyard seemed unfinished.  So, earlier this spring, we decided to provide an extra special touch to our house's bare windows by installing shutters along the house wherever we could. It ended up being an easy afternoon project.  Here's how you do it!


First, measure the length of each window around your house.  Depending on the location of these windows, you may or may not be able to add shutters.  For instance, we had several windows adjacent to gutters and corners of siding, so unless we decided to cut the pre-fabricated shutters, we couldn't install shutters without running into a space issue.


We purchased black, raised panel Severe Weather shutters from Lowe's.  Each pack comes with two shutters and the hardware you'll need to install them.  They can be a bit pricey, but they are built to last and won't fade or discolor with the sun and harsh elements.


To install the shutters, we first drilled pilot holes into the four corners of the shutters with a large bit drill.


Then, we held the shutter against the siding where we wished to install it.  We marked where each of these holes were by sticking a pencil into each hole and making marks onto the siding.


Once the marks were made, we drilled pilot holes directly into the siding and through the underlying wall using a slightly smaller drill bit. 



These shutters came with black plastic screws to affix the shutters to the siding.  These don't look very strong, but they'll hold up even in the strongest winds.


Then, we lined the shutter back with the pre-drilled holes and hammered the shutter into place.


And that's it!  An installed shutter.


Remember the before?


Here's the after!



What a huge difference shutters make, right?  They add so much character, interest, and depth to the house and there's no reason not to have them everywhere.  So, let's break the shutter-less side yards and backyards and do something special to each of our homes!


What do you think?

You may find me linking up at these fantastic parties:

Monday: Boogieboard CottageC-R-A-F-TCraft-O-ManiacDIY Home Sweet Home,  Get Outta My Head PleaseThe Girl CreativeMad in CraftsMaking the World CuterOur Delightful HomePolish the StarsSerendipity and SpiceSew Can DoSkip to My LouThrifty Decor ChickToo Much Time on My HandsTuesday: A Bowl Full of LemonsCherished BlissCoastal CharmConfessions of a Stay at Home MommyDukes and DutchessesFunky Polka Dot GiraffeI'm Topsy TurvyMommy By Day Crafter by NightNap Time CreationsNot Just a HousewifeSugar Bee CraftsTip JunkieToday's Creative BlogWednesday: Adorned from Above, Free Pretty Things for YouGinger Snap CraftsHome Happy HomeIt's Just Called SpicyJAQS StudioLet Birds FlyLife with the Crust Cut OffThe NY Melrose FamilyRae Gun RamblingsThe Sasse LifeSew Much AdoSew WoodsySomeday CraftsSouthern LovelyThe Style SistersThursday: A Creative PrincessA Glimpse InsideCrafty, Scrappy, HappyHouse of HepworthsJust Winging ItMade in a DayThe Shabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleFriday: 2805The Answer is ChocolateBacon Time with the Hungry HypoCreation CornerFingerprints on the FridgeThe Grant LifeHappy-Go-LuckyIf It's Not BaroqueJust Us FourMom 4 RealMy Simple Home LifeNot Your Ordinary RecipesOne Artsy MamaThe Rooster and the HenSimply DesigningTatertots and JelloWhipperberryYoung and CraftySaturday: Be Different... Act NormalCandace CreationsFunky Junk InteriorsIt's OverflowingIt's So Very CheriNutmeg PlaceSunday: The Crafty CowgirlEmbellishing Life with Homemade GoodnessFlamingo ToesG*RatedNifty Thrifty Things

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dessert of the Week: Grilled Apricot Flambé

There is a Chinese restaurant where I grew up that serves fruit flambé desserts over vanilla ice cream, and they are so amazing that I often dream about them to this day. Evan and I decided to try out our own version of them with fresh apricots the other evening. Technically speaking, this isn't an official flambé recipe -- we don't light them on fire or add alcohol to the mixture -- but they taste just like the real deal. It's also safer -- you won't burn your house down while preparing this decadent dessert. Try it out on the grill sometime!

Grilled Apricot Flambé


Ingredients for two:

- 4 fresh apricots
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 3 tbs. brown sugar
- Juice of one lemon
- Vanilla ice cream, homemade or store bought

Begin by heating up your outdoor grill. Wash and pat dry the apricots.


Cut them in halves and remove the seeds.


Prepare the "marinade" by combining the orange juice, brown sugar, and lemon juice into a small mixing bowl. Stir well for a few seconds, until the brown sugar has dissolved.


Add the apricots to the bowl and let them rest for several minutes.


Once the grill is heated, place the apricots face down onto the grill surface. Baste them with additional marinade.


Grill for approximately 5 minutes and then flip them to the other side. Baste them some more.


Once hot, remove them from the grill and serve them over fresh scoops of vanilla ice cream. (For the perfect homemade vanilla ice cream recipe, check out my favorite here!) Pour a spoonful of the marinade over top and serve immediately.



Enjoy!


Our bowls were empty within minutes, they were so good.  The apricots are warm and tangy while the marinade adds a special decadence to the ice cream.  I'm sure this same recipe would be fabulous with peaches, too.


Hope you'll like the wonderful dessert, too!

You may find me linking up at these fantastic parties:

Monday: Boogieboard CottageC-R-A-F-TCraft-O-ManiacDIY Home Sweet Home,  Get Outta My Head PleaseThe Girl CreativeMad in CraftsMaking the World CuterOur Delightful HomePolish the StarsSerendipity and SpiceSew Can DoSkip to My LouThrifty Decor ChickToo Much Time on My HandsTuesday: A Bowl Full of LemonsCherished BlissCoastal CharmConfessions of a Stay at Home MommyDukes and DutchessesFunky Polka Dot GiraffeI'm Topsy TurvyMommy By Day Crafter by NightNap Time CreationsNot Just a HousewifeSugar Bee CraftsTip JunkieToday's Creative BlogWednesday: Adorned from Above, Free Pretty Things for YouGinger Snap CraftsHome Happy HomeIt's Just Called SpicyJAQS StudioLet Birds FlyLife with the Crust Cut OffThe NY Melrose FamilyRae Gun RamblingsThe Sasse LifeSew Much AdoSew WoodsySomeday CraftsSouthern LovelyThe Style SistersThursday: A Creative PrincessA Glimpse InsideCrafty, Scrappy, HappyHouse of HepworthsJust Winging ItMade in a DayThe Shabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleFriday: 2805The Answer is ChocolateBacon Time with the Hungry HypoCreation CornerFingerprints on the FridgeThe Grant LifeHappy-Go-LuckyIf It's Not BaroqueJust Us FourMom 4 RealMy Simple Home LifeNot Your Ordinary RecipesOne Artsy MamaThe Rooster and the HenSimply DesigningTatertots and JelloWhipperberryYoung and CraftySaturday: Be Different... Act NormalCandace CreationsFunky Junk InteriorsIt's OverflowingIt's So Very CheriNutmeg PlaceSunday: The Crafty CowgirlEmbellishing Life with Homemade GoodnessFlamingo ToesG*RatedNifty Thrifty Things

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Deck Reveal

Besides installing a lattice underneath our deck, I haven't posted much about our deck itself here on Paint Speckled Pawprints. Truth is, not a whole lot has gone into our deck besides a bunch of accessorizing, but even then, it's a wonderful reveal in and of itself.

This is what it looked like when we first viewed our home in August 2011:


And here is the deck today!



We owe our family for most of what you see here.  My mother-in-law surprised us with this beautiful and composite wicker table and chairs last year, which we had found on Amazon.  My mom bought us the umbrella this spring, too, from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.


A little color goes a long way here.  I adore the reds, oranges, and greens among the black patio furniture, white railing, and gray decking.




Evan found that lounge chair in a dumpster in college.  Finally putting it to good use!


To add some greenery to the deck, I planted three majesty palms from Lowe's along the railing.  A smaller pot with a citronella plant helps keep bugs and mosquitoes away.





I installed two of these four-pot herb planters on our house's siding to add some interest and functionality to an otherwise blank wall.  These planters were only $25 each at Lowe's.


To add pops of color and help distinguish the herbs from one another, I made simple orange and red veggie garden markers out of scrap wood and galvanized nails.  Last year's tutorial on how to make herb markers of your own may be found here.



I tried to make use of all space by adding additional herb containers around the deck.  Pictured below is some chocolate mint in an inexpensive window box hanger on the deck railing.


I adore these cute pots, too.




Our solar-lighted offset patio umbrella also allows us to enjoy the deck long after dark.  How cool is that.


Who's ready for a BBQ?  We are very fortunate to have this deck.  It is my spring and summer getaway.


What do you love about your deck?

You may find me linking up at these fantastic parties:

Monday: Boogieboard CottageC-R-A-F-TCraft-O-ManiacDIY Home Sweet Home,  Get Outta My Head PleaseThe Girl CreativeMad in CraftsMaking the World CuterOur Delightful HomePolish the StarsSerendipity and SpiceSew Can DoSkip to My LouThrifty Decor ChickToo Much Time on My HandsTuesday: A Bowl Full of LemonsCherished BlissCoastal CharmConfessions of a Stay at Home MommyDukes and DutchessesFunky Polka Dot GiraffeI'm Topsy TurvyMommy By Day Crafter by NightNap Time CreationsNot Just a HousewifeSugar Bee CraftsTip JunkieToday's Creative BlogWednesday: Adorned from Above, Free Pretty Things for YouGinger Snap CraftsHome Happy HomeIt's Just Called SpicyJAQS StudioLet Birds FlyLife with the Crust Cut OffThe NY Melrose FamilyRae Gun RamblingsThe Sasse LifeSew Much AdoSew WoodsySomeday CraftsSouthern LovelyThe Style SistersThursday: A Creative PrincessA Glimpse InsideCrafty, Scrappy, HappyHouse of HepworthsJust Winging ItMade in a DayThe Shabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleFriday: 2805The Answer is ChocolateBacon Time with the Hungry HypoCreation CornerFingerprints on the FridgeThe Grant LifeHappy-Go-LuckyIf It's Not BaroqueJust Us FourMom 4 RealMy Simple Home LifeNot Your Ordinary RecipesOne Artsy MamaThe Rooster and the HenSimply DesigningTatertots and JelloWhipperberryYoung and CraftySaturday: Be Different... Act NormalCandace CreationsFunky Junk InteriorsIt's OverflowingIt's So Very CheriNutmeg PlaceSunday: The Crafty CowgirlEmbellishing Life with Homemade GoodnessFlamingo ToesG*RatedNifty Thrifty Things

Monday, June 2, 2014

How to Install a Lattice Deck

This spring, we focused primarily on the backyard, and one of our first projects was our deck.  We have composite decking and rails that are beautiful, but the underbelly of the deck itself always looked unfinished.


My biggest issue was that it was a pain to mow the grass both underneath the deck and around the posts.  With that in mind, we decided to install a white lattice and then edge it with a thick flowerbed.  I couldn't wait to begin.


The pups were ready to help us, too.  Let's do this!


First, we measured the deck in its entirety, and purchased lattices and matching lattice joints from Lowe's.  The lattices we chose were a composite plastic material in bright white.  They sell wooden lattices at a much cheaper price than these plastic ones -- considering that these would last a lifetime and wouldn't require painting or staining, however, had us sold.


Using a jigsaw, we cut each lattice to fit.


To attach the lattices to the deck, we first drilled pilot holes through the lattice and into the inside joists of the deck.


Then, we attached the lattices to the joists using lattice screws.


The tricky part was to take into account that the ground is never completely level, so cutting the lattice to fit took precise measuring, a little trial and error, and extra patience.


We were unsure of how to cap this corner piece between the staircase and the deck.  I ended up using garden twine and simply tied them together.  Worked great, and you can't tell the difference from the outside.


To finish the edges between each lattice, we used a plastic lattice joint to make it look more finished.  These joints also strengthened the lattices as we buried the bottoms of each into the ground.


We continued down the length of the deck, installing each lattice and joint one-by-one.


Installing the lattice was a full day's worth of work, but it was surprisingly easy.  We also had some adorable project managers to supervise the project, so that helped speed things along.


Ready for the reveal?  Here's the before:


And here's the after!


This lattice was exactly what our deck needed, and looks as though it's been there since day one.  It adds a special richness to the deck and our backyard.


Lattices are a simple way to truly make decks beautiful.  Hope you'll consider it for your deck, too!


This was the first of several landscaping projects that we accomplished this spring.  Stay tuned for more!

You may find me linking up at these fantastic parties:

Monday: Boogieboard CottageC-R-A-F-TCraft-O-ManiacDIY Home Sweet Home,  Get Outta My Head PleaseThe Girl CreativeMad in CraftsMaking the World CuterOur Delightful HomePolish the StarsSerendipity and SpiceSew Can DoSkip to My LouThrifty Decor ChickToo Much Time on My HandsTuesday: A Bowl Full of LemonsCherished BlissCoastal CharmConfessions of a Stay at Home MommyDukes and DutchessesFunky Polka Dot GiraffeI'm Topsy TurvyMommy By Day Crafter by NightNap Time CreationsNot Just a HousewifeSugar Bee CraftsTip JunkieToday's Creative BlogWednesday: Adorned from Above, Free Pretty Things for YouGinger Snap CraftsHome Happy HomeIt's Just Called SpicyJAQS StudioLet Birds FlyLife with the Crust Cut OffThe NY Melrose FamilyRae Gun RamblingsThe Sasse LifeSew Much AdoSew WoodsySomeday CraftsSouthern LovelyThe Style SistersThursday: A Creative PrincessA Glimpse InsideCrafty, Scrappy, HappyHouse of HepworthsJust Winging ItMade in a DayThe Shabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleFriday: 2805The Answer is ChocolateBacon Time with the Hungry HypoCreation CornerFingerprints on the FridgeThe Grant LifeHappy-Go-LuckyIf It's Not BaroqueJust Us FourMom 4 RealMy Simple Home LifeNot Your Ordinary RecipesOne Artsy MamaThe Rooster and the HenSimply DesigningTatertots and JelloWhipperberryYoung and CraftySaturday: Be Different... Act NormalCandace CreationsFunky Junk InteriorsIt's OverflowingIt's So Very CheriNutmeg PlaceSunday: The Crafty CowgirlEmbellishing Life with Homemade GoodnessFlamingo ToesG*RatedNifty Thrifty Things

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