Tuesday, June 7, 2011

And They BBQ'd Happily Ever After...

There were only three small items left to complete in the backyard before the final celebration could occur...

1. The outdoor chandelier:

Because...uh...every yard needs one? Okay maybe "need" is too strong a word. You see, I was garage-saling with Caroline and Ellen a few months back and we happened across this terrific chandelier for only $5!

Here's the chandelier with it's primer coat.

Sure my Mini Cooper was already filled to the brim with a table, a stool, boots, shirts, and other miscellaneous treasures obtained at rock bottom prices from the previous 9 houses we'd stopped at...

But it was ONLY $5! I had to have it. The owner looked kind of sheepish when he accepted my fiver and handed me the chandelier. We both eyed the frayed wiring, the flaking gold finish and the bent bulb holders. I could tell he felt guilty for pulling one over on poor little innocent me...

But I had a plan.

I had no intention of ever sending electricity through the dang thing and yet I was counting on it to cast a romantic glow to desert evenings. 

How you ask?

Easy. I hot-glued cheap solar lights to each arm after spray-painting it the same turquoise as my bistro chairs.

I removed the spikes from the solar lights and embedded the tops in hot glue.
This is the view looking up from the hammock.

2. The patio table:

We used to have a large glass and metal patio table but I hated it because it was just too big for our house which meant I was forever squeezing around it to get where I was going outside.

Remember that table I mentioned a minute ago? My idea was was to use the top from a coffee table I'd snagged at another garage sale and the legs from the side table I bought with Ellen and my sister.

I confess that once I'm in garage sale mode, I don't always check my purchases thoroughly (the bargain-haze sometimes clouds my vision). So this great "butcher block" top I thought I could refinish, turned out to be particleboard and cheap veneer. I was sad.

Of course I didn't discover the veneer until I started sanding...

But I still needed a patio table. So I went ahead cutting the legs down to create the right height.
And of course the ends chipped off when I flipped the table over to test for level...it was a "Monday" project :(

And then I painted it using the leftovers from the blue stucco wall and the turquoise spray paint.

Pretty much I was so irritated by the whole thing that I was unwilling to spend even a dime on more paint.
3. The desert garden steps:

Since we moved to the desert I have developed a sincere interest in desert plants - specifically cacti and succulents. Now you can buy a wide variety of both at the local garden centers but I must have been going on and on about my new interest because friends have started giving me extras from their gardens...

I decided since they are pokey plants, I'd keep them outside the Chihuahua wall (keeing the vet bills low) on the rocky hill where they would get plenty of sun and have good drainage (it seems it's easy to drown them - the plants not the Chihuahuas).

My new barrel cactus and Aloe Vera - thanks Bill!

The only problem was I couldn't get to them easily to maintain them.

Clearly I needed steps.

So I began to collect up all the boulders we'd unearthed during the excavation for the backyard.
You can just see the steps on the right though the Palo Verde branches.

The steps lead neatly up to the top walk next to the prickly pear.

And then the burgers were a'grillin, the fans were a'spinnin, and the adult beverages were a'flowin.

Pat, Matlina, and Annette enjoyed their MaiTais at the Tiki Bar.

Jessie, Dave and Patrick relax on the covered patio.

Ken kept a close eye on the proceedings.

And Ellen finally got to sit down after helping with darn near every step in the entire project!

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