Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Fun on the Deck

It is truly summer here. Not only was this past weekend noisy with the sounds of firecrackers and bottle rockets, but it was steamy, hot and humid. All in all, perfect for the Fourth of July.

Lucky for me, my handyman Jack finished work on the new cedar deck in the backyard. It's a little different from most decks, which are attached to peoples' houses, in that it is a lovely 10 x 10 platform near the firepit. I love the way the cedar decking looks, and smells! Maybe it will even help keep the bugs away...

Since the deck took pretty much all of my "summer fun" budget, I had to think creatively for new patio furniture. Even the cheap sets (which are seriously really really cheaply made & look super tacky) are at least $100! So, I went to the large box hardware store and found a 40 inch white plastic table on sale for $25. A stop in the paint department for 3 cans of Fusion brand spray paint for plastics ($4 per can), and I was out the door. I've had a stack of plastic chairs left over from a non-party for a couple of years, which were a very unfortunate old oatmeal color. But now, as you can see in the photo, they have been reincarnated in purple shades with a bright yellow table. Add some pots of flowers and homemade large lanterns, and it is a party waiting to happen!

Homemade Large Lanterns
You'll need the following:
  • Large "crystal" acrylic/plastic waste bin (sometimes found in the bathroom department, clear or colored)--costs about $3 new or less if found at Goodwill
  • Large pillar candle, scented or not but sized to fit easily into the bin--about a dollar
  • Sand, either from your yard or sold in bags for "play" areas--free, or about a dollar per bag
  • Drill with bit made for plastics--hopefully, you have this stuff already!

Using the drill, make 2-3 small holes in the bottom of the waste bin. This will allow water to drain out, if you decide to leave the lantern outside on your deck all summer & don't want to worry about rainfall. Fill the bin about 1/3 full with sand. Smooth top of sand as needed. Insert pillar candle into center of sand, pushing it in a couple of inches so it is sure to be anchored and well below the rim of the bin. This way, if it is windy the candle won't blow out as it will be sheltered--it also makes the lantern "glow" in the darkness. After placing your lantern where desired & lighting the candle, sit back with a favorite beverage and enjoy a peaceful evening!