DIY pergola picnic table

DIY pergola picnic table {Heather's Handmade Life}

When you’re a certified indoor person and avoid the sun like a vampire, it’s a challenge to have children who love (and need) to play outside.

Even with my collection of oversized hats, sunglasses and tubes of fancy sunscreen, I’m all about sitting in the shade. I don’t like to feel hot, I’m prone to heatstroke, and working as a drugstore cosmetician in high school and university left me extremely paranoid about sunburns.

I wanted a spot where I could sit outside our house semi-comfortably to supervise the kids in their little pool. A large umbrella seemed like the obvious solution. But we live on top of a very windy hill, and umbrellas are a joke. (Well, and a weapon, since they’re likely to catapult through the air whenever the wind picks up.)

Picnic table
Here’s the picnic table we started with …

My next thought was a retractable awning attached to the house to cover our (very small) back deck. But those started at $500 and the majority were several thousand dollars (yikes), plus there was a good chance the wind would destroy it anyway.

“I just need some kind of little roof,” I whined to my handy husband on a particularly sunny day. “Just something to cover me. We could almost just . . .” I paused, looking at the picnic table sitting in the backyard. “We could just put a roof on the table! …”

DIY pergola picnic table {Heather's Handmade Life}
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Continue reading in my weekly DIY column, My Handmade Home … 

Work-at-home meal hack

Work-at-home meal hack {Heather's Handmade Life}

When I’m working, I’m completely zoned out and don’t register that I’m hungry until suddenly I’m STARVING and ready to eat anything in sight. I feel like I’m too busy to stop and make something — even if it’s just opening a can of tuna and making a sandwich — so I used to run upstairs to the kitchen and grab a handful of crackers, a bowl of cereal, a granola bar, or another non-meal that takes mere seconds to prepare.

Then I started doing this …

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Canvas grocery bag hack

Canvas grocery bag hack {Heather's Handmade Life}

Yesterday’s post was all about how we packed our carry-on luggage, and today’s is about the kids’ “airplane activity bags” they also carried onboard (since each person is allowed two carry-ons). Instead of hefting around backpacks (which they would invariably load with way too much stuff), I wanted them to have something smaller to tote around.

I had a few of these free canvas grocery bags from Atlantic Superstore, as part of their new online shopping program. (Pssst — if you’re local, I did a full review video on Facebook.) Lots of companies give out similar bags, so chances are you have one or two floating around somewhere.

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