Home Improvement

Rocks, rocks, rocks and more rocks

{A Smith of All Trades} My House

I’m really trying to improve the curb appeal of our house. I don’t think the house is super cute on the outside, and the yard, well it needs a lot of love. We started boosting our curb appeal with our pretty new doors, but now that that project is complete it is time to move on to the next one.

I won’t claim to know a lot about landscaping. In fact, I really struggle with it. Thankfully, my dad has a total green thumb and quite the eye for landscaping. He’s been telling me for a year now that we need to fix the rock bed that lines our driveway. If you look in the photo above, the rock bed is to the right of our truck… you probably can’t see it because it is covered in weeds. Yeah.

My dad started on this project by himself last weekend, digging up about two feet of rocks and leaving them in our driveway while I worked on weeding in our backyard. A week in Indianapolis kept him away from the project all week, but Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, we went to town!


It takes hours to dig out the rocks and separate them from the weeds and dirt. It’s tough on your back and rough on your hands, but the reward for the effort is certainly visible.

We only got about 16 feet completed, and have another 25 or so to do — thank goodness there is only about 3 feet of rocks on the other side of the driveway!

Anyway, once we dug out a large enough section of rocks, we sprayed the canal with weed killer and laid black garbage bags to act as a weed barrier. Then, we place all of the rocks back into the long section we’d dug out, keeping as much dirt out as possible.


On the left is how the rocks should look, and on the right is the area we still haven’t touched. What a difference, huh?


We only have about a third of the driveway done, but it sure looks a lot nicer!

And, as if we hadn’t done enough with the rocks, we also decided to bring up some of the rocks in our backyard (we have several little rock beds running along our house) to continue our driveway behind our truck. There was already a section of rocks there, but there was about 4 feet of just dirt and no rocks. Many trips back and forth later, and that section is coming along nicely, too.


My little brother was a huge help and was the main rock transporter for this project… that is until we found a snake and the world’s largest spider living in the rock pile. Understandably, he wasn’t too crazy about messing around with the rocks after that.

I won’t be sad when the rock pile is gone and those critters are a little farther away from our house.

Once this project is complete, I am hoping to tackle our crooked lamp post! That thing has been driving me crazy since we moved in a year ago.






Craft Projects, Quick and Easy Crafts

Quick and Easy Heating Pad

{A Smith of All Trades} Heating Pad

Do you ever hang on to something that you should probably toss, but you’re just positive that someday you’ll have a use for it?

I had one of those moments last night– the hubby’s back is a little sore and I thought, “man, I should really buy us a heating pad next time I see one.”

Then I remembered that I bought a bag of lentils a few months ago AND I had an almost-sewn bag that our duvet cover came in — I could make my own!

{A Smith of All Trades} Heating Pad 1

This project is really simply, even if you don’t have a three-sided pouch ready for you to turn into a heating pad. You need fabric, lentils and tea!

Take your fabric and cut out two rectangles of the identical size. Place the fabric so both “nice” sides are touching one another, then run each edge through your sewing machine — make sure you leave about an inch gap in one side so you can add your lentil mixture. Since I had this already sewn pouch thingy, I simply sewed across the one edge (I actually sewed it by hand because I can’t figure out how to use my new sewing machine my sister gave me and I didn’t feel like reading the directions last night — pathetic I know).

Flip your bag right-side-out and grab a funnel. In a bowl, mix an entire bag of lentils (you may need more than one depending on how large you make yours) with loose tea. If you don’t have loose tea, you can cut open tea from your tea bags and mix it with the lentils. I love the smell of jasmine, so I cut open about eight tea bags and dump the contents into the bowl with my lentils.

Stick the funnel into the remaining hole of your heating pad and slowly add the lentil/tea mixture. When it’s full, sew the remaining hole shut!


Throw that bad boy into the microwave for a minute and a half and you have yourself a heating pad that smells super yummy.

{A Smith of All Trades} Heating Pad bag

Fantastic picture of the hubby using it, huh?

{A Smith of All Trades} Heating Pad Neck