Friday, September 14, 2012

Boob Tube Rebellion & DIY Porch Lights

Why did I make these buckets of awesomeness in the middle of the day when my house was a wreck and the toilet needed plunging?? Because that's what crafty crazy people do when they're trying to postpone the inevitable. What's inevitable, you ask (or didn't ask)?? 
The cold, that's what....

You know what I dread most about the cold creeping into my days? It makes me feel LAYZEEE.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE fall, I long for fall, I daydream of fall during the 100+ degree days when the wind whips my hair to shreds and my skin feels like sandpaper.  But, despite those warm temps, summer puts me in a "get it done" kind of mood.  Followed by a "drink it cold" kind of mood.  But, that's not where I'm goin' here...

What I mean to say is that there's a distinct shift internally that takes place in me when the cold sets in. It's a shift toward baking....lots and lots of baking, big pots of soup, big sweaters to cover the soup and the baking, flannel jammies on at 5:00 p.m. and my fanny fixed to the couch.  Sometime the couch time is reading, and sometimes it's tubing.  Damn the tube!!

Well, this year I'm rebelling against the cold and the tube.  My first step of action is to try and extend our days outdoors. I thought that maybe if I could entice our children to sit out on the deck and star gaze or read with me under some blankies with some cocoa I might be a hero - one who saves us all from the temptation of evening television or endless, mindless snacking. A hero who establishes a habit of something, other than wanting to watch TV, when the freezing cold kicks us back inside. Here's what I came up with:
We don't have a fancy outdoor fireplace or fire-pit.  Lord knows I'm saving every little shiny dime in hopes of being able to build a house one day.  So, ambiance had to be purchased on the cheap.  
Here's my list of supplies:
1.  Galvanized buckets (I used 3)
2.  Scrap fabric or ribbon (scraps because Hobby Lobby is forever away.)
3.  Pillar candles of different sizes (cheap Dollar Store/Wal-Mart ones.)
4.  Glue dots or other adhesive
5. Pine Cones (from the yard)
6.  Sand (stolen from the boys' sand pile)
Each bucket cost around $10 to make.  Too much?? Consider the unlimited uses for those galvanized buckets after you retire the porch lights!  Now, for the assembly:
You might think that Home Depot has the best deal on these buckets, but I suggest you shop around.  I found mine for $6.99 at Tractor Supply.  Just one of the many perks of living on a farm and actually having a reason to shop at T.S.!!
Okay, I'm gonna be honest here.  If I had it my way, I would have used burlap ribbon, because I have a thing for burlap right now. But, ya know what?? I'm 60 miles from any store that might actually sell burlap ribbon, so I found this fabric in my scrap bin, and  pulled a Tim Gunn and made it work!

Pinking Shears - chosen for this type of material, because it doesn't fray in a pretty way.
"Ribbon" dimensions: 43" Long x 5" Wide (it's up to you, I just wanted to cover up the big "Behrens" sticker, since I'm too lazy to scrub the label off.
I'm not really the bowsie type.  So, I just tied a square knot.  I'm sure there's probably a more uptown way to dress the bucket, but this suits me just fine.  I also added a few glue dots around the top edge to help secure the fabric.
Next, fill the bucket 3/4 full with sand, while your kids run around the yard or the neighborhood scrounging up some pine cones.  Then, with the buckets full, do a couple of bicep curls and say to yourself, "I'm crafty and I'm fit!"  Finally, center the candles in the sand and surround with the pine cones.  Even better if you have some cinnamon oil to apply to the cones to make them scented!

After hauling the buckets out to the porch, I grabbed a bunch of old blankets and some quilts, a few of the books that we're all reading and placed them by the patio furniture.  At this point, my boys were giving me a great big "HUH???"  Until they saw the candles....then they got that glazed over pyro look, and I began to wonder just how good my idea actually was!
Last night the older boys had football practice, so Henry and Charlie and I stayed home to do some yard work.  After baths, I found Henry staring out the classroom window.  Then, he turned to me a sweetly asked, "Mamma, when can we go outside and light the candles and you read me a story??" 
Gasp!! NO show-show (his TV lingo)?? Woo-Hoo it worked!!...
 I won't remember watching cartoons for the hundredth time with Henry, but this - this I will remember. 
I just hope it will last!


  1. yay! Beautiful! Those are some grace-filled inspirations!

    1. Thank you, Melody! You are the breakfast warrior - I feel inspired to try some of your recipes!

  2. OK, this looks awesome and something I can totally do. Thanks!!!!

  3. Beautiful time! A ballet in Paris, a dinner/theater in Italy, a polo event in England, could never replace this precious memory with your family. Susan, you truly do small things with great love.

  4. Oh my gosh ... I love that so much! What a perfect spot to cuddle up and read a book.

  5. Thanks! We stayed up and read last night and all of the boys loved it!

  6. These are some seriously cute porch lights!! Thanks so much for linking up to the Weekend Blog Walk! New follower :)

    Have a great weekend!

    1. I appreciate the follow, Jaime, and look forward to visiting your website often!

  7. Those porch lights are beautiful and a great idea for family time!

  8. Hello from The TT Diaries your newest follower from the weekend blog walk. I love love love this idea. Although where I live in apartments (hopefully not much longer) they would have a freak out if I tried to do this.

  9. I love it! and $10/bucket is nothing considering the quality family time you're getting out of it!


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