I don’t know about you but, after this year’s brutal winter, I am welcoming summertime with open arms! Today I thought I’d share with you two cool summertime ideas that will help your family grow closer this season.
The first is how to build a campfire using only one log and some lighter fluid. It is a cool idea I came across in Cabin Life magazine. Below is a quick video tutorial I put together a few summers ago on how to do this.
Using this method, our campfire burns for more than three hours. It’s also a great conversation piece for our guests and a good way for us to use up a large log we would have otherwise needed to split before burning.
The second idea is the Summer Bucket List. Our family has turned this into an annual tradition. It’s so much fun to see what the kids dream up for us to do each year. At the end of summer, we typically get most or all of our list checked off! Below you’ll find a free, printable Summer Bucket List you can use for your own family adventures.
What adventures do you have planned with your family this summer?
I love to change out the throw pillows in a space because it’s one of the easiest – and thriftiest – ways for me to freshen up my décor for the season. I’ve been sewing my own throw pillows for years and have gotten it down to about a half-hour science (per pillow). I even started adding zippers to my pillows so I can remove the covers and throw them in the washing machine. (I have small children. Need I say more?)
Recently, I combined two of my favorite thrifty things – paint and a painter’s dropcloth – to create stenciled, outdoor throw pillows for my Adirondack furniture. You can view my full, step-by-step tutorial in the Paint+Pattern Design Magazine here.
If you have any reservations about sewing your own dropcloth pillows, I can reassure you that you can do it! I am not a precise seamstress and I’ve been able to produce these consistently with minimal difficulty. Why not give it a shot this summer?
The time has come for us to restain our wraparound porch. It’s another project we’ll be tackling on our own, since we’re living rich on less around here. 😉 Considering the size of our porch, I’m foreseeing this will be no small project. So I’m breaking it down into bite-sized pieces and spreading the work out over a few weeks.
Our porch wood is still in pretty good shape, with only a few small areas of chipping stain and spots of mildew. That means the preparation work has been fairly minimal. In fact, the best piece of advice I can offer regarding an exterior restaining or repainting project is to tackle it before the finish is so deteriorated that you have to spend days scraping and sanding the surface.
After researching the best way to prepare an old deck for new stain, I came up with three key steps, which I’ve detailed below. Or check out the following video to see exactly how I prepared our porch for new stain.
Step 1: Pressure wash the area to remove dirt and chipping paint or stain.
Pressure washing quickly removes dirt, loose paint and built-up grime, improving paint adhesion as a result. Use caution when spraying around windows. Also, avoid directing water up under the siding laps, and keep the nozzle at least 12-16 inches from the wood, so it doesn’t splinter it.
Step 2: Scrape and sand off any leftover chipped paint or stain.
Flaking paint must be removed or the new paint on top of it will eventually let go, too. Make sure the surface is dry first. Then with a sharp scraper, follow the grain of the wood with long strokes. Be sure to pound down any nails sticking up and follow that up with a good sanding.
Step 3: Kill any mildew.
A pressure washer and water alone will not kill mildew. Since mildew can bleed through and ruin a new coat of paint or stain, it needs to be dealt with. I used the homemade mildew wash recipe below coupled with the HomeRight® Deck Washer Flow-Through Broom to tackle our porch mildew quickly and easily.
Homemade Magic Mildew Wash
1 gallon water
1 quart laundry bleach
1 pint rubbing alcohol
2 Tablespoons Murphy’s Oil Soap (or other non-ammonia detergent)
After mixing this concoction up, I used the deck washer flow-through broom* to brush it on. (Remember to mix this solution outside or in a very well-ventilated room). Then I attached a garden hose to the broom and turned it on. The broom’s stiff bristles loosened and pushed the debris, while the water jets blasted the area clean.
After these three steps, be sure to let the surface dry really well. Then you are ready to apply that beautiful new coat of paint or stain! I’ll be changing the color of our porch floor and using solid color stain. So stay tuned for that project coming soon.
In the meantime, enter below to win your own HomeRight® Deck Washer Flow-Through Broom! It has a 13” bristle broom with water jet nozzles and a durable three-piece aluminum extension handle with foam grips. It’s a two-in-one deck washer that can also be used to scrub clean: patios, driveways, garage floors, pool areas and any outdoor space that needs deep-cleaned. Or if you can’t wait for the giveaway, you can purchase a broom here.
Special thanks to HomeRight for sponsoring this post and giveaway. I’m thrilled to be a brand ambassador for Homeright and, as always, all thoughts, opinions and projects are my own.
* Links to products in this post are affiliate links. Purchasing though these links will not cost you anything additional, but a small portion will come back to Living Rich on Less, helping me continue to provide great, free content. Thanks in advance for your support.