Tag Archives: budget patio

In the name of Frugality

In the name of Frugality

Sometimes I make things harder on myself than need be; the more difficult route  seems to call my name.  Yesterday, I spent the entire afternoon and most of the evening working on my patio.  I’ve had visions in my head of a cozy place to sit outside and relax.  Easy enough right?  Well, apparently my visions have expensive taste. The furniture I pictured, well, let’s just say, was slightly out of my already-tight budget.

Plan B. Wooden pallets.  I watch too much HGTV and peruse  Pinterest too much.  The wheels in my head start churning and I mentally start making all these plans to do this and that without really thinking through how I will actually  do this and that.  Searching “wooden pallet projects” on Pinterest is like opening the DYI’ers closet of dreams.  I thought to myself, “I’ve used pallets successfully in the past so why not again?”

palletsThis time however, the pallets seemed heavier and bigger. After lugging them up a hill and onto my patio, I had trouble moving them around.  Their sizes were slightly different, they weren’t conforming to the idea in my head and I was one short.  I flipped them, moved them around and finally decided other things had to be changed on the patio first, which lead to digging up the flower bed,  potting a gardenia and moving the table.  Finally able to get the pallets into a configuration that worked, they had to be sanded; they were a splintery mess.  As I sanded and the sweat dripped from my nose, I thought about my last experience with pallets.  Conveniently, I had not recalled the work that went into it.  I just remembered how pleased I was when it was completed.  I sanded some more, stopped to pull out a splinter and mumbled to myself, “Should have just plopped some patio furniture on the credit card, ugh.”

Back aching and getting a little sunburned, I was finally ready to paint; just plain white and only the parts that showed. At this point, I wasn’t going for perfection.  “I’ll shoot for the bohemian, shabby look…”painted pallets

Painting complete, I spent the next 10 minutes scrubbing paint off my hands and arms.  I’m a messy painter. Then I moved potted plants around from here to there and fiddled with the table trying to get it to sit correctly in the now defunct flower bed. “Great, now I need to get pavers so the table will sit level.”

I had intended to get this far and stop for the day; I would go later in the week to buy cushions. However, when I get on a roll, I can’t sit until it’s done. So, at 6:00 pm I headed out to buy cushions.  I found some on sale and considered what sizes would work best.  I shopped around and found some solar lanterns on sale (I have a thing for lanterns) and headed home.  Anxious to see how they looked,  I didn’t even go inside first.  I pulled them out and started placing them and of course something wasn’t quite right.  Now 8:00 pm, I headed back to the store, returning one cushion and buying three others.  They worked.  Finally, the cozy little area I had hoped for was reality. Tired, bruised, back aching, I took a deep breath and exhaled.  Except for some tweaking I will no doubt do later, I was done and it looked pretty damn good.finished pallets

Yes, my frugality and my “sure, I can do that” attitude may kill me one day, but I  doubt the feeling of accomplishment would have been there had I just gone out and bought the standard patio furniture.  There aren’t many things I do on a  daily basis that make me feel accomplished. Like most people, my job is just that, a job.  It pays the bills.  I love the people I work with, but I push paper all day and stare at a computer.   There’s no creative process.  Maybe I subconsciously look for projects that challenge me a bit.   I use my brain and my hands to create something.  I have something to show for my day of work.  Do I bite off more than I can chew sometimes? Well, all I can say is every project I’ve started, from tiling a back splash to faux painting a living room with a vaulted ceiling, I’ve completed.  It’s an awesome feeling saying, “Yes, I did that.”

Now.. If I just had power tools….