Building a stone pathway

stone_pathway_with_gravelRemember a few weeks back when I said I tackled some heavy lifting projects? Outside of our garage door to the yard there is a stone pathway landing.  It was installed over landscape fabric, but without any sort of gravel base.  Over the years it has sunk. A lot.  As is my typical M.O., I didn’t take a good before picture.  Actually, as is HIS typical M.O., Mr. Midwood got straight to work and started ripping the path out.  In the picture below, you can see what it looked like on the left hand side.

assembling_stone_candidatesOh, do you only see grass?  That is how sunken and overgrown the path was.  We are in and out through this door all day long and by the middle of the summer the grass is worn away and a mud pit develops.  many of the existing stones were too small so we swapped out some larger pieces of stone from our wall and other areas of the property.   After we laid out enough stone loosely on the grass, we dug down about six inches, sloping away from the garage.

Laying_gravel_baseWe had plenty of pea gravel in the landscaping to reclaim and use for a base.

Testing_stone_depthNext we started dry fitting the stone for depth and adjusted the gravel accordingly.

layout_first_attemptWe wanted to lay them as tight as possible for weed control.  I also wanted to get them tight against the mowing strip on the right and the garden bed on the left. A curved edge gives a nice radius for Mr. Midwood to run the mower right over the edge to eliminate the need for weed whacking.  I also chose a mix of stone colors and tried to distribute them somewhat evenly.  Each stone is different with a lot of natural clefting that has to be considered for safe footing.

final_layout_natural_edgeAfter a bit of tweaking and rearranging, I found  a nice layout for the stone pathway.  We still needed to adjust the gravel for the different stone thicknesses and dig out the the edge a bit  to accommodate the irregular stone shapes.  I tried to lay them the same way on the lawn to keep the pattern together.  Thankfully, I took a picture, which helped so much when I was ready to lay them in the final time.

Topped_with_gravelMore gravel…

masonry_supervisor…and close scrutiny.

next_day_pathway_stoneFinally, Mr. Midwood built up the wall around the garden with some of the smaller stones that we had to take out of the path. The above shot is from the next morning.  It looks sooo much better and is a lot more functional now.

By the way, if you are looking for and awesome workout, build yourself a stone pathway or patio.  Full. body. workout.





New coaster designs on the way

I just posted some new coaster designs.  This nautical navy blue anchor travertine stone tile coaster set is available in both of my shops.  Even though I am not into sailing, I am a sucker for the nautical themes.


This navy blue anchor is a classic symbol of sea life and coastal living.


I “gilded” the edges with gold ink to give it the feel of the polished brass findings of a fine sailing yacht.

I have more designs coming soon.



Ikea Hemsmak Collection

I was planning on a completely different topic, but the I got an interesting email from Ikea.  I just opened a new email from Ikea featuring the Hemsmak collection.  How much am I loving this collection?  I try to avoid using plastic for food preparation and storage at all costs.
Here is what Ikea says on their site:
HEMSMAK collection –limited edition
The HEMSMAK limited edition collection celebrates the world of pickling and preserving. It consists of lots and lots of jars, tins, buckets, carafes and bottles that can be filled with all your favorites. Labels and tags in different shapes and sizes, designed by Reykjavík Letterpress, will help you keep track of all your delicacies as well as making your projects more fun. For a few summer weeks you will be able to find all of this under one roof.
I have to leave the country and drive an hour to shop at Ikea, so, sadly, I don’t think I will get the chance to try any of the Ikea Hemsmak Collection items out, but here is what I am loving and why:
The labels.
This collection has some really cool features like these awesome tags.   They are really cute and practical.  The last set works like a perpetual calendar and allows you to just quickly circle the date.  There are even coordinating tags and string for gift packaging.
The bottles.
I love the assorted colors.  Even without the labels, you can color code the contents of the bottles.  Everyone in the family will know which iced tea or juice is where once you establish a coded system.  These are also an attractive way to serve beverages at a party.
ikea-hemsmak-carafe-with-stopper-assorted-color-set ikea-hemsmak-bottle-with-stopper-assorted-colorsIkea-hemsmak-carafe-with-stopper-assorted-colors
The funnel.
I already have a stainless steal funnel like this and it is awesome.  I am glad to see it a such a mass retailer and at a fair price.  Anyone who uses canning jars for food should have one of these.  It has a nice wide opening and fits inside the jar nicely, keeping things really tidy.
Easy to wash. Easy to see the contents.  No worries of chemical leaching or staining.  Yes glass is breakable, but really, it does not break that often even around my house.  And it is something that you can actually leave on the counter or place on the shelf and enjoy the way it looks.
Ikea-hemsmak-jar-with-lid__0373946_PE552386_S4More craftable.
Is that a word? The jars are nice and smooth, without any logos or labels.  This make a nice canvas for vinyl die cuts, stickers and paint designs.
Now, I do have a couple of questions and concerns.
  • It is not very clear as to weather or not these jars can be subjected to extreme temperatures that occur in freezing and canning.  The website says “The jar has an airtight seal, which makes it perfect for preserving…”, but there are no instructions so it is hard to know for sure what level of preserving they are referring to.
  • Also they are available for a limited time, then they are gone.  I would definitely take a standard mason jar lid and/ or rubber ring with me to the store and try to ascertain if there is any compatibility.  I am not saying that is a deal breaker, but best to know what you are getting going in to the situation and plan your use of the jars and bottles accordingly.
  • Why the limited time?  Are they testing the waters for future longer term or year round roll out?  These items can and should be used year round.  With a stronger seasonal emphasis.  I use my Ball canning jars all year for food storage, gift giving and freezer meals.
I have looked for more in depth information, but can’t find any. I was sure there was a blogger out there that would have beaten me to the punch, but I am not seeing the information.  I will keep an eye out for thoughts and pine away for a trip to my Ikea store.