Author Archives: Andrea
A few weeks ago, we had the second “wedding work day” at my parents to prep the yard for the wedding. I was out-of-town on my girls weekend (more on that later), so this work day was all about the amazing gentlemen in our lives.
All photos below are courtesy of my parents. Thanks for documenting guys!
Prepping for the Work Day
Earlier that week, my parents picked up supplies including wood chips and sod for the day. (Seriously, how cute is my dad in this photo?)
They had 15 cubic yards of wood chips delivered fill in the garden paths on the far side of the property. They also picked up sod to lay right next to the brand new decomposed granite patio.
My dad also got the paths along the back side of the property ready for wood chips. This is where the wedding party will be walking to and from the ceremony.
Breaking it up
Once the work crew arrived on Saturday, they got started breaking up the dirt path that was left over after the decomposed granite patio was installed. The dirt was highly compacted after years under a swing set so the boys had to really put some muscle into it to break it up.
Next, Jeremy and my Dad worked on adding a permanent edge between the patio and lawn.
They dug a deep ditch and installed a 2×4 along the length of the patio. Once installed it laid flush with the decomposed granite.
Onto the garden paths
While Dad and Jeremy worked, the rest of the crew started on the garden paths. A layer of landscape cloth was installed first and then the wood chips were brought in load by load.
Teagan the Garden Fairy helped Uncle Nate with his wheelbarrow loads.
Here’s the wood chips installed along the path. The boys laid a nice thick path that with time will flatten out.
Installing the sod
With the edging complete, it was finally time to lay the sod. The soil was raked and wet down first. Then the sod strips were laid down edge to edge with staggered joints kinda like bricks in a wall.
A patch of sod was also laid down next to the citrus trees to cover a bare patch. Once all the grass strips were in, the whole area was watered thoroughly.
It takes about 1-3 weeks for the sod to root to the soil, so it’s a critical time for keeping the grass healthy. My parents have watered daily to keep the entire area moist. It’s important that the sod not be over-watered because it will prevent grass from rooting and potentially cause rot.
Overall, it was a super productive day at the wedding site. We owe a big thank you to Jeremy, Jeff, Joe and Alan for helping us out once again on this epic adventure.
Tomorrow, I will report on our work day from the last weekend. You will be able to see how much the sod has grown in the last few weeks.
First let me freak out for a second! The wedding is in 30 days! Holy $%@#!
Designing Wedding Websites
When my sister got married in 2007, wedding websites were just becoming popular. I designed their site with a romantic feel with lots of bird silhouettes and rich colors.
Since the concept was new, you couldn’t rely on all your guests using the site so our focus was more on supplemental info like cute photos of the couple and their story.
Six years later, it’s become the norm for couples to have a wedding website (look 126,000,000 results on Google alone) so I feel it’s now a very convenient place to list all of your details, travel information and links to gift registries.
For my wedding, I decided to put up a very simple site that focused on our herringbone hearts design. I titled it “for the love” which is one of Nate’s favorite sayings. I didn’t write-up anything personal because anyone wanting more info about us could just visit the blog.
I included one form on the home page that’s a request for song suggestions. It’s always nice to give visitors something to do, plus Nate and I want an epic mix so we are looking for all the help we can get!
I then have three pages off the main page and I will go over each one below.
The first page is a details page. It includes a map and directions to the ceremony site. I also included information on parking, the weather to expect and other ways to get involved.
I decided to create a private Facebook page for our wedding plus a hashtag. Both options give guests ways to share photos, figure out carpooling and just interact.
Here’s what I say if you want to use on your own page.
So much information is posted online these days that sometimes its hard to manage and control it all. Given this, we’ve developed two ways everyone can interact about the wedding online.
PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP
We have found that Facebook is the most common social network that our guests use. We’ve created a private group that all our guests can connect, ask questions, post photos and make friends.
You can join the Andrea + Nate’s Wedding group by going to the group page and click “join group” in the upper-right corner of the page. Once we approve the request, you will see the group listed in the left sidebar and can start posting. We will also send you a request via Facebook once we receive your rsvp if you are interested in joining.
If you use Twitter or Instagram, please add the hashtag #forthelove2013 to your posts. This way users can follow the hashtags plus Nate and I can collect all the tweets and photos as keepsakes. (I mean if the Library of Congress it doing it, we can too!)
Next, I put together a list of hotels for our out-of-town guests. We didn’t block out rooms because there isn’t one hotel that really fits the bill for location, price, etc so we decided to give guests the choice.
And finally we made a registry page that basically links to the different stores we created lists on. If you want to know more about our registry check out our tool list here.
Make your own wed-site
And finally the quick and dirty on how to set up your own site. Let me know if you would like a full tutorial on how I set up our site and I’ll make one.
- Decide where you want your website hosted.
- Self host – requires you to purchase a domain & hosting package.
- Host on a free wedding site, wordpress.com or blogger.
- Set up your account. Install WordPress or platform you want to use (or code it yourself!!)
- Install a template, design the look and write your copy.
- Proof read, proof read, proof read!
- Publish it live and include the link in your wedding info.
I don’t know about you, but I am a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to gift registries. As a guest, I love them. They are so easy and it’s nice knowing you are spending your money on something your friend(s) needs or wants. But, when it came to making decisions for our upcoming wedding, the idea of a registry made us uncomfortable.
So this is what Nate wrote up for our wedding website to address our dilemma:
As most of our friends know, and my family definitely knows, I (Nate typing here) am not a fan of receiving gifts. For the past eight million birthdays and Christmas gatherings, I have only asked for socks and boxers. It seems odd to list those two items for a wedding, plus it would be difficult (not impossible) for Andrea to pull off black socks and XL boxer briefs. Therefore, we have gone the traditional route and registered at the sites below (guests: check out wedding site for the list). If you want to make a gift by hand, that would be fantastic and definitely welcomed. If anything registered below does not scream ‘Andrea’ or ‘Nate’ in your mind, we say rebel against the system and get whatever you like. In no way are you expected to bring a gift, our lives are pretty sweet at the moment. Have fun and peace out.
It turns out our gift registry is a very practical list of things we really do need. Big surprise it’s mostly tools, kitchen stuff and a few odds and ends like a toilet for the prison bath!
But what tools to list?
When I researched tools to add to our collection, I was rather surprised someone hasn’t put a gift registry tool list together before. I had a very hard time finding a detailed one so I compiled our list from a few sources (see source list below) and a little help from people in the know.
Below is a complete list for any couples working on their own registry, new homeowners or maybe just someone looking for a handy gift! This list combines items Nate and I already own and love, plus those we’ve registered for. If you have any other suggestions to add to the list please leave them below. Some could be a gift on their own while others could be combined into one. I hope this helps others in the future!!
Basic Tools for Everyone
I feel these are the essential tools for anyone. I got my own set as soon as I needed to hang frames in my first place!
- Claw Hammer - All you need is a basic hammer, but if you want something extra nice invest in a hickory hammer one like this.
- Screwdriver Set – Screwdrivers are like forks – somehow you always need more. This set is nice because it includes a micro set.
- Allen Wrench (Hex Key) Set – Handy when putting together Swedish furniture. Don’t rely on the tool you get with free with purchase!
- Crescent Wrench - You basic wrench to tighten or loosen pipes or jars.
- Plier Set - This set is handy for bending, tightening just about anything including jewelry. Make sure to get a couple different kinds especially a needlenose.
- Flashlight – Like screwdrivers listed above, it’s an item you always seem to need more of. I really like the LED lights. They are cheap and super bright.
- Laser Level – This guy makes hanging frames so much easier.
- Measuring Tape - Buy one or two… these are good to keep in your bag for trips to the store.
- Utility Knife - Again a basic tool that has so many uses. I often use it for my art projects as well as house related ones. Keep an extra pack of blades on hand to keep the knife sharp.
- Putty Knife – Very important for renter when you need to fill any nail holes.
- Cordless Drill - One of the best birthday gifts I ever got. Get one with two battery packs and a charger if you can.
- Step Ladder – This guy is my constant companion. It’s very helpful especially for those of us under 5′ 3″.
25 Tools for the DIY Enthusiast
Okay now we are getting into the big ticket and specialty tools. A lot of these tools are on our current registry!
- Reciprocating Saw – We are currently holding my dad’s reciprocating saw hostage. It’s great for sawing through small branches, pipes, etc.
- Hand Saw – Another saw that’s helpful for cutting off branches, through sheetrock and cleaning out small openings.
- Hack saw - Use the hack saw for cutting through pipe.
- Hammer Drill – This is also on our wish list. It’s especially awesome for drilling through our concrete walls.
- Palm or Orbital sander – Depending on your need, a small sander is really helpful for furniture restoration and/ or painting projects.
- Good paint brushes - Cheap brushes suck. Invest in a nice pair and take care of them.
- Mallet - The soft cousin of your standard hammer, he come in handy for anytime you need to protect what you are hammering into.
- Basin Wrench - Also called a sink wrench, this wrench lets you get to tighten or loose bolts in hard to reach places.
- Vise-Grip Pliers – These are so useful because you can lock them into place for an extra tight grip.
- Clamp Set - This set is handy for furniture makers or repairers.
- Carpenter’s Square – It’s often important to keep your marks level and 90 degrees. I like this one with the built-in level.
- Pipe Wrench - Another variation of the wrench for pipes.
- Wet and Dry Shop Vac – He cleans up your mess whether it’s wet or dry. You can also use it on your floors like we are doing when your other vacuum breaks.
- Socket Set - Again for tightening and loosening.
- 6′ Ladder - Get one with a pail shelf so you can have somewhere to put tools or your paint can. I use this almost as much as my step stool.
- Saw horses - These guys are sturdy and collapsible when not in use.
- Jigsaw/Skilsaw – Your basic saw for cutting down wood.
- Compound Miter Saw – A saw with much more precision. Very handy for a series of repetitive cuts.
- Brad Nailer/Stapler with Compressor - A nail gun can save you a lot of time and work. Someday we will get one when we add-on to our Master Bedroom.
- Stud Finder - Handy if you have standard framed walls. This guarantees you always find the most sturdy place to stick a nail.
- Staple Gun - I have both a light weight and heavy staple gun. I use both all the time for art projects, furniture making, etc.
- Safety Goggles - I really can’t wait for us to each have a pair of these nice goggles that don’t fog up.
- Work gloves - Nate and I each of a pair of these and they are worth the investment.
- Multi-Purpose Respirator - I wish we just invested in a pair of these instead of the flimsy ones from the get-go.
- Voltage (electrical) tester - Even if you don’t plan on doing your own electrical work, this allows you to test out wires before you do work around it.
More Painting Tools
If you end up doing a lot of painting, here’s a few more items we recommend to make the projects a little easier.
- Paint Roller Frame - These Wooster Sherlock Rollers are the best I have found. Don’t buy the cheap frame that the roller falls off!
- Roller Extender - Necessary for painting a ceiling or high cathedral walls.
- Pan Liners – These guys save you time and water cleaning out your roller pans.
- Painter’s Comb - Use the comb to keep your brushes nice.
- Paint Edger – I really like this tool for finishing the line between the wall and ceiling. I find it much easier than tape.
- Razor Blade Scraper - A simple little tool to clean up windows and floors of paint.
- Paint & Mud Mixer Drill Attachment – Mix up settled paint or mud.
- Blue Tape - You always need more tape!
- Spray Paint Gun – A necessity for anyone spray painting.
- Brush & Roller Cleaner - Again, it’s so important to get those brushes and rollers clean. This little guy saves you a lot of time.
For full disclosure, all the items above are linked to our amazon store so if you decide to purchase through the link we will get a small commission, but most of these items can be easily purchased at your local hardware store.
- Must-Have Tools for Every Skill Level – This Old House
- My Top Ten Essential Tools for DIY Projects – Making it Lovely
- Our Favorite & Essential Tools For DIY – Apartment Therapy
- My 25 Essential DIY Tools - Centsational Girl
- Essential Tools for DIY Projects – Real Simple
- Top 10 Hand Tools Every Woodworker Needs – About.com
- 12 Tools Every Man Should Have in His Toolbox – The Art of Manliness
- The Essential Power Tools – DIY Network
I am a little backlogged with all the wedding projects happening these days, so I’ll be posting a few projects (both wedding and house related) we’ve tackled the last few weeks to catch up.
Starting with our backyard. Over the last month we’ve spruced up the backyard in preparation for BBQs and pool time post-wedding.
I wrote about how I experimented with seeding our back grass patch and the results have been pretty good. I expanded the seeding to the entire right side of the pool.
We’ve been diligent in watering the area daily until the grass came up. It still has a few bald patches, but I’m confident it will fill in with time.
Nate worked on cleaning up the patio. We are still as a loss at what to do with the sections under the windows. The cats continue to kill whatever we plant there so I am now thinking that a denser plant would keep them from using it as their litter box.
I tackled pruning the Meyer lemon and kumquat trees into shape. Both trees had enormous growth after the last pruning.
I took my time with the lemon to avoid cutting off any of the flowers. I expect we will have a killer crop of lemons next winter with so many blooms.
The kumquat was given a major buzz cut and in the process I harvested the fruit to use. We’ve never had so many kumquats.
I didn’t measure them all together but I would say we had 3-4 grocery bags full. We gave a bunch away to neighbors, family and Nate even took in bunches each day to share with his students. We still had so many kumquats that I decided to try juicing them whole.
I threw the entire fruit in my Breville and made two pitchers full of pulpy juice goodness. The rind is such an integral part of the flavor it had to be included. And in case anyone is wondering, the juice tastes like a tart creamsicle which I personally find super delicious. I think I found my favorite thing to do with kumquats.
Fast forward a few weeks later, our apricots are beginning to ripen. I expect I will be harvesting them later this week.
The squirrels already got a few and I want to keep the rest for my greedy self.