Weekend DIY: The Perfect Bonfire

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Nothing is better than a fall evening – sitting next to a bonfire keeping warm. Hmmm…The smell of wood and leaves is better than any candle you could purchase. Not to mention the wonderful scent remains on your clothes reminding you of the good times. Add a few friends, some supplies for s’mores and you’ve got yourself a great ol’ time!

It is true: you don’t have to be a boy scout in order to successfully make a bonfire, but to help upgrade your bonfire experience, use these helpful tips below.

Tips for Making the Perfect Bonfire:

  • Use wood logs, kindling (small sticks), and tinder (wood chips, bark, or newspaper). Gather lots of tinder, for this is what will get the fire started – you’ll also want to make sure you keep it going until it lights the logs. For the complete 411 on building the structure, see this article from eHow.
  • To make your bonfire last longer, use woods such as hickory, oak, mesquite or pecan as these hardwoods burn longer than pine.
  • You can purchase technical grade chemicals online or from fire specialty stores to have your bonfire turn colors. Please remember to take precaution when using chemicals near flames. Learn more about adding color to your flames here.
  • S’mores are a necessity! Purchase graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate.  Also, be sure to find poles long enough for roasting. Yum!
  • Turn your bonfire into a party – invite your neighbors and friends. Play bonfire games, sing favorite songs, and make sure you have lots of food!
  • Want to have a fancy-smancy bonfire get-together? Check out these ideas from A Beautiful Mess blog. They went all out for their bonfire and included a variety of chocolates, pre-dipped graham crackers and added fruit to their s’mores.

(Source: A Beautiful Mess)

Need a firepit or chimenea to save you the work and time of digging out a spot for a bonfire? Check out what’s available from Willard & May in our Outdoor Heating products.

Happy Weekend!

Weekend DIY: Tailgating Game

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Football season kicked off a few weeks ago and that means a few things: 1. Sunday afternoon watching your favorite teams battle it out 2. Fantasy Football anyone? and 3. Tailgating before heading into the stadium!

While Corn-hole Toss has become a popular favorite amongst tailgaters, we think we may have found their competitor! Have you ever tried to Irish Bowl? The idea of the game is this: knock down numbered blocks (called standers) out of a ring by lobbing round pieces (called pelters) at them. Lowes Creative Ideas explains how to make this game as well as where to score all of the lumber pieces for tailgating fun. Check out their site for the complete Irish Bowling DIY.

Here is what you’ll need:  (1) 2″x4′ poplar round dowel,  (5) 3″ black vinyl numbers, 1 through 5, (1) 3″x3″x36″ square poplar, 12-ounce Valspar spray paint: yellow and gloss white, Green Top Sail Turf, Utility scissors, String, Nail, Permanent marker, and Saw.

Block_Dowels_Target_Models(Source: Lowes)

Are you a die-hard Tailgater? Check out Lowe’s other tailgating ideas here.

Happy Weekend!

Weekend DIY: Backyard Zipline

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We having a feeling that after you build this DIY project your yard will become the neighborhood kids’ favorite backyard – whether that’s a good thing or bad thing, your kids will totally love you!

Now you’re probably sweating trying to figure out what this project is, and you may just sweat while doing this too. Your weekend project is… *drumroll* creating a Backyard Zipline – from the blog How Does She. Seriously, how cool would that be. It’s like your little sliver of Hawaii in your own backyard! Not only will your kids love you for making this, this would totally be fun for you to try out as well :)

(Photos: How Does She)

Here is what you’ll need to complete this project: Dowel for the handle, a pulley, and a rope. The instructions for this are very simple and easy, but we’ll let you head on over to the How Does She blog for all the details!

Happy Weekend and Happy Labor Day!

Weekend DIY: Crane Garland

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Summer’s almost over, but don’t let that stop you from celebrating outdoors while it’s still amazingly nice out! So now you are asking what you can celebrate… here are a few ideas:  kids going back to school, back to semi-normal routines, football season, new episodes of your favorite shows starting back up – really you can find a number of reasons to just celebrate the good ol’ life you have.

So now that you will be celebrating something this weekend, here is a quick way to spruce up the decor on your patio. Check out these cute little ombre cranes that float along garland that we came across from the blog Camille Styles. She includes easy diy instructions on how to craft up these little beauties and you don’t need an art major to do so!

You’ll need these few basic supplies to get going, but head on over to her blog for the complete step by step instructions and helpful photo! Supplies:Origami Paper, scissors, needle, clear wire, crimp beads, and a pliers.

(Photo Source: Camille Styles)

Let us know what you’ll be celebrating in the comments below – Happy Weekend!

Weekend DIY: Backyard Movie

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One of the best things in life are summer nights – whether it be sitting by a fire roasting s’mores, playing yard games with the neighbors, or looking at the stars on a hill. If you are looking for a new activity to add to your summer nights, consider creating an outdoor movie. We’ve found some great instructions for building the screen and also some recommendations on how you’d project the movie and add sound.

Why not create this DIY outdoor movie this weekend, and enjoy it this summer and for many summers to come?!

outdoor movie
(Image Source: PotteryBarn)

We found these instructions on how to build the screen from PotteryBarn. Here is what you’ll need to build the screen: (2) thick, white queen–size ironed flat sheets, a Top pole 1.5″ diameter x 10′ long, Bottom pole 3″ diameter x 10′ long, rope of two different thicknesses, (2) tent stakes, sewing machine, and an iron.

Here are their steps to assemble the screen: Step 1. Start with two queen–sized flat sheets which have been thoroughly ironed. Sew them together with white thread so the long sides are joined creating a tube. Step 2. Insert the 1.5–inch diameter pole and let the fabric hang down.  Step 3. Attach thicker rope to the ends of the top pole so that it can be attached to a tree. Step 4. Once attached to a tree, slide the thicker pole through the tube created by the sewn sheets so that it creates a weight at the bottom of the screen. Step 5. Attach thinner rope to the ends of the bottom pole.  Step 6. Insert two tent stakes directly beneath the bottom corners of the screen, tie the thinner rope to both of the tent stakes and pull taught. This will insure that the screen doesn’t sway in the wind.

As for the projector and other helpful tips, here is some advice we found from the blog, giverslog:

PROJECTOR. When choosing a projector, remember this: the bigger the screen, the better the resolution you need to be able to see the image. A High Definition Projector is your best bet. Look for something that has an HDMI input and you should be in good shape. Beyond that, as you increase the price of the projector what you generally find is the brightness level of the projector increases. That will allow you to start your movies earlier in the evening, which may or may not be worth the extra money to you.

AUDIO. This is where most people skimp. But this is the part that makes the most difference. It doesn’t do you much good to create a giant image and then force your guests to guess what the people are saying. That said, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make a great sound system. This is not a place where you need surround sound or high quality speakers, volume is more important than clarity. I live in a place where no one cares if I am blasting my system at 11pm while watching The Bourne Identity (or Pride and Prejudice) but even if you have neighbors that don’t appreciate the volume, you still need something that can project the sound to your guests. Without walls to reflect the sound you typically need more than you would indoors.

I would suggest that you get a stereo receiver or old sound system that is around. People want surround sound in their homes so this is something you can pick up cheap on craigslist. You then want to find some speakers. Again, these do not need to be high quality speakers that you would use in your home theater in your home. I looked on craigslist for DJ speakers and went with some of the cheapest I could find.

BLURAY. If you can show your movies in bluray, do it. As your screen gets bigger the image quality is stretched. DVD’s produce about 500 lines of resolution, bluray gives you 1080 lines of resolution. That is twice as much picture that you are going to stretch. If you can’t get your copy of Anne of Green Gables on Bluray (they don’t make it, I have looked for AmberLee’s sake), at least pull out your bluray player to project the DVD. Most Bluray players try to convert the image and double the lines that are produced. You will still see a difference between that and Bluray, but it will be much better than just playing the disc on a laptop or old DVD player.

Don’t forget to add plush seating, bring out blankets and create a yummy popcorn snack to enjoy while you watch your movie! What a great way to end a summer day :)

Happy Weekend!

Weekend DIY: Rock Box

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Remember those good ol’ summer days you’d spend as a kid in the sandbox, building castles, creating roads, and riding your toy dump trucks around? And if you didn’t have a sandbox, then you were missing out – don’t let your kids miss out either! It’s time to get out your tool belt and get to work! Many parents, mothers especially, cringe at the thought of sand because once you play in it for a whole minute, it is in every nook and cranny of your child – not to mention those outdoor cats that sometimes use your sandbox as a litter box (so gross!).

If those things concern you, why not try this unique idea of building a Rock Box to avoid the mess! This project comes from the blog Young House Love, in which a mom and dad duo write about DIY improving your home on the inside and out.

diy rock sand box

Their idea for this rock box came when they had just finished building a sandbox for their daughter – after doing so, they realized how messy it was, and were concerned with the materials within the sand that they used. To keep their daughter safe and mess-free, they replaced the sand with pea gravel rocks and now call it a rock box. Their little girl now loves the rockbox even more than the sand – who knew?

To make a rock box for your child(ren), here is what you’ll need: (2) 2×10 framing lumber (cut down to 5′ lengths – they can do this at the store for you), 4 smaller pieces of wood to use as stakes, waterproof deck stain, weed block, square ruler, shovel, pea gravel (20 bags), a drill and decking screws.

For the complete how-to and tips, read their “Sandbox Chronicles” on how to make the rock box. They also have a post on how to make a cover that securely attaches to their fence. Also, read their reasoning for replacing the sand with pea gravel. Here are a few photos from their blog on building the rock box:

make a sand rock box
make a sand rock box
make a sand rock box with a lid cover
rock box diy
rock box diy
(Photo Source: Young House Love)

Happy Weekend and happy rock box building!

Chimeneas – Outdoor Fireplace

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Create the neighborhood evening hot-spot in your own backyard by adding a Chimenea! You may ask, “A Chima-what?” I’m sure you’ve seen these patio ornaments during your last trip to Mexico or in western movies…the Chimenea actually originates from Mexican Tribesmen who developed a way to simultaneously keep their families warm and cook, all while keeping the rain off of their fires. Recently, these Chimeneas have gained popularity in the world of outdoor decor since they also make a wonderfully affordable fireplace/firepit. Also, unlike the Mexican Chimeneas, Chimeneas today are crafted out of durable deluxe clay and are made to last and use outdoors year-round – even in the northern areas.

mexican fireplace chimenea garden chiminea

Chimeneas are an easy way to add warmth, light, and comfort to your backyard space. The long-lasting Chimeneas from Willard & May can be enjoyed year-round when placed amongst your garden, on your patio or deck, in your pool area and even while camping. Use your wood burning outdoor fireplace to add an inviting ambiance, warm-crackling flames, and a delightful wood burning aroma to your backyard space. You can also burn pinion woods (a hardwood pine found in the mountains of the southwestern United States)  as a natural mosquito repellent!

CHIMENEA CARE TIPS
– Use the included metal stand as this helps to prevent the clay from retaining moisture. Your Chimenea will last longer if kept above the ground and allowed to breathe.
– Use a 2-3″ barrier of sand or pea gravel in the base of the wood burning area. Do not build a fire directly on the clay.
– Cure the Chimenea fire pit by building 2-3 small fires prior to regular, prolonged use. Allow the clay to cool completely between firings for at least 4-6 hours.
– Use newspaper or kindling to begin all fires. Never use starter fluid, charcoal, or artificial logs in your Chimenea.
– Keep your Chimenea free from water by protecting it during rain or freezing weather. If water does find its way inside, replace the sand and allow it to dry completely before starting another fire. Apply a non-flammable water-based sealer annually.
– Chimenea will get very hot during and after the burning process. Children should be supervised in the vicinity. Also, keep Chimenea away from roofs, overhangs, and branches and take care when using on a wood deck.

To properly see how you should care and handle your outdoor Chimenea, view the complete Chimenea Care Instructions here.

mexican fireplace chimenea garden chiminea from willard and may store

Included with our Willard & May ceramic Chimeneas are the powder coated stand, the cap, metal grate, and care instructions to get the best enjoyment from your Chimenea. There is no assembly required, just plain ol’ fun and easy! Check out all the different styles available for sale now!

Weekend DIY: Outdoor Twister

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In our last post titled “Memorial Day Party Inspiration” we showcased a few great Memorial Day Party Ideas. Included in that post was a photo from the blog, You + Me of a twister game created right on the lawn – no need for the official game board! We found the original DIY post from another blog, Sassy Style and thought we’d share how to re-create this budget-friendly game!

backyard game twister how to

Here is what you’ll need: cardboard, craft knife, large bowl (or other round object), pen, red, blue, yellow and white spray paint, 1 piece of paper, scissors, and two containers or hats to hold the paper slips.

Step 1: Trace the large bowl onto the piece of cardboard. Then, cut out the circle on the cardboard, so what you have left is a stencil of the circle.

Step 2: Find a large enough space in your yard on the grass (the more level the better although a steep slope can add some extra fun!). You’ll need 1 row of 6 dots for each color (4 colors) – so measure out the 6 circles if you are unsure.

Step 3: Lay down the stencil and fill the area with spray paint. Make sure to spray enough so that it is dark enough to see. Then, move the stencil down, leaving enough space and spray paint another circle, and so forth, until you have 6 dots of each color in a row. (One note: many hardware stores will sell an outdoor “landscape” spray paint which washes off in just a few rainstorms! :)

Step 4: Instead of recreating a spin-board, make slips to draw out of the container or hat. Out of a piece of paper, make small slips that say: right hand, left hand, right foot, left foot, and you could get creative with other parts if you’d like! Then create slips for each color you spray painted.

Step 5: To play, just draw one slip for each container for each turn. Have fun!

Do you have a fun game you play outdoors with your family? If so, please share it with us below!

Memorial Day Party Inspiration

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Hosting the traditional family and friends get-together on Memorial Day this year? If you are still looking for a few fun ideas to make it better than last year, we’ve got some patriotic decoration ideas for you! We recently came across a post from the blog, You + Me, in which a red, white and blue birthday party was documented. Check out some of these great ideas and we hope they inspire you this weekend!

memorial day partypatriotic party ideaspatriotic party ideaspatriotic party ideaspatriotic party ideas
patriotic party ideaspatriotic party ideas
(Photo Source: You + Me)

Have outdoor party ideas you’d love to share? Let us know in the comment section below!