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Front Porch Appeal - July and Thankful for Our Great Country
June 30, 2024

Hello, porch friend!

Welcome to Front Porch Appeal!

July has arrived and summer is surely in full swing. This month is the celebration of Independence Day on the 4th of July.

July is time for outdoor concerts and fun festivals, visiting farmers' markets, enjoying watermelon on the front porch, watching the Summer Olympics (July 26 through August 11), taking vacations and so much more.

In the month of July, we hope to fully enjoy our porches, but sometimes the heat drives us into our air-conditioned home. The yards and flowers need plenty of water to keep them green and vibrant. Kids love running through sprinklers and blowing bubbles.

Welcome to this month's edition of Front Porch Appeal. We are so happy you're here so please sit back and enjoy this month's topics.

Patriotism on the Porch

We like to share our love for this country on the porch. Some years, we decorate in big ways and other years in small ways. But no matter what, July is a great time for red, white and blue on the porch!

In the photo above you can see our red, white and blue pillow toppers, our homemade firecrackers and simple decorations using bandanas.

The 4th of July is an easy holiday for decorating! Red, white and blue decorations are in abundance. Bless the USA!

Even our porch swing gets decorated. We found burlap fabric one year from which we made porch banners and other decorations. We even wove it into the slats on our porch swing.

This photos is from a few years ago; it will be so fun to decorate the brand new porch swing that Dave built for us. I hope to include a picture here for you to see.

What a gorgeous home! The USA flags on the lamp posts surely grace it well.

How beautiful is this porch dressed in red, white and blue buntings and lovely baskets of ferns.

The patriotic bunting adds a wonderful touch of patriotism to this porch!

And here is our beautiful new porch swing that Dave designed and built for us. Ready for Independence Day! Thought you'd enjoy seeing it.

Want an Easy Project for the 4th of July?

See the bandana pillows? So very easy to do. We provide instructions for the patriotic pillow covers on this page.

And here's how nice they looked on our porch. About as easy a project as they come!

Please reply to this email if you make some. We'd love to hear how it went.

Before and After Porch Steps ...

The BEFORE - ouch! The mortar on our porch steps greatly deterioated

Porch friend,

We are reluctant to show you how unattractive our porch steps became over the past eleven years, but it's a happy story with a nice ending.

Our rounded, brick porch steps were once so fresh looking and bright! We received many compliments on them. And they matched the cottage feeling of our home.

But the last few years have really taken a toll on them in the hot Tennessee weather. We power washed them many times, but to no avail. Yes, they looked a bit improved, but surely nothing stellar.

Then we asked contractors to stop by our home to give us estimates on having new front porch steps built. Oh dear, can you believe one estimate was over $4,000? We simply could not justify that.

Then we thought we'd go to something more simple, just basic concrete steps, but that didn't seem to fit our porch either.

The problem wasn't with the brick, but with the mortar. It needed to be replaced.

So Dave bought a grinder for $49 and a diamond blade for $12. He literally spent hours grinding out the old mortar. It was laborious and messy and took a good week, but what a relief seeing that there was still life in our porch steps. Removing the mortar allowed us see that the bricks were fine, it was just that nasty, aged mortar that had to go.

To finish the project, we hired a contractor to put in the new mortar. Honestly, Dave could have done it, but we were happy to let the experienced person do it. He charged $250 which I thought was a no-brainer and he had it done in a couple of hours.

AFTER - our front porch steps with new mortar! They look like new again.

What a difference new mortar makes

Now our porch steps look brand new. For the cost of $250 plus an inexpensive grinder and a bunch of back-breaking labor, we have beautiful front porch steps again.

If only we had done this sooner, but we kept thinking we should simply replace the steps. Now we've given our porch steps new life and hope they last another 10 years looking good.

We wished we had taken pictures of Dave removing the old mortar, but we lost our heads :-) Anyhow, you can see how dramatic the change was.

We think that the mortar just aged with the heat and humidity in the summer, coupled by freezes in the winter. We power washed it at least annually but that didn't stop the deterioration.

If you have unsightly porch steps, we hope our story gives you inspiration to do what you can to revive what you already have, providing your porch steps are safe. we will enjoy our revitalized porch steps for many more years to come.

Like us, may you have some nice porch steps in your life, too.

Want the Perfect Lemonade Recipe?

Our friends Danny and Donna make the best lemonade around. We love visiting their home in the summertime when they always have a pitcher of ice-cold lemonade.

If you'd like, you can have their perfect lemonade recipe right here.

Summer Porch at Our House

As we like sharing our porch with you, we'd surely love to see your summer porch, too. Just reply to this email and send a photo or two. Now that would be wonderful!

To set the tone for our summer porch this year, we first purchased fabric for the cushions. We covered the cushions with the fabric just as if you were wrapping a gift. Then pinned them on the back.

It's all good. Nobody knows and you cannot feel the pins. Makes a cushion cover change so easy.

In last month's newsletter we showed pictures of how to easily recover your porch cushions without sewing.

The yellow floral fabric on the cushions inspired the wall art I painted. Similar yet quite different.

We found the cute potted plants at our Home Goods store. Honestly, we're not into artificial plants so much, but these plants have a special appeal about them. Our porch faces west in the very hot sun; keeping live plants looking nice is an undertaking.

Our neighbor Liz gave us the cute bumble bees!

The small stand in the middle used to be aqua and white, so we changed it up for this year with a new paint color - Behr paint called Sagebrush Green. And now that I tell you about it, I realize that it was just the green we needed to tie the cushions and the wall art together.

If your porch faces west like ours, you know how hot it can get in the afternoon especially. These shades have been a big blessing. We put them down around noon until the porch is shaded later in the day.

These shades help to keep our home cooler, too. We are big fans.

Next to the front door we like to include some complementary wall art, so this is what we came up with.

Of the two pieces of wall art on our summer porch, this one is my favorite. I think it's the colors and the depth. Our daughter-in-love likes the style of the flowers.

Thank you for taking the small tour!

Back Porches Need Love, Too

A peek at our newly renovated back porch. Next month we will show you before and after photos - and it's kind of remarkable the difference. We did it ourselves and hope it inspires you, too!

We'll share more in our next newsletter, but wanted to show you we added wall art to our back porch, too. Painted with acrylic onto inexpensive cedar slats, our little paintings add extra cozy ambiance to our back porch.

Find Joy in the Small Things

Finding joy in the small things can bring a sense of peace and happiness to everyday life.

Whether it’s the sight of a beautiful hibiscus blooming in your backyard, the sound of birds chirping in the morning, or the warmth of the sun on your face, these little moments can brighten your day.

Taking the time to appreciate these simple pleasures helps us stay grounded and reminds us of the beauty that surrounds us.

It’s in these small joys that we often find the greatest contentment.

From Our Treasured Sponsors...

We greatly appreciate your support of our treasured sponsors. Each of them is like family to us and we are very proud of their products. They have been with us for a long time!

Beautiful photo courtesy of

What a sunny, yellow home with wonderful and beautifully crafted balusters, spandrels, cornices and more.

We are very proud of our sponsor, Vintage Woodworks, a leader in handcrafted house trim since 1978. They can assist you in choosing just the right design options for your home.

PCA Products, one of our fine sponsors, takes aluminum screen doors to a new level.

Look at this gorgeous, inviting entry way.

Please stop by their aluminum screen door gallery for inspiration and to see for yourself what they offer.

Isn't this a memorable cottage?

The Porch Store products featured in this photo surely do level up the wonderful appeal of this sweet home.

- Drummer Boy 2.0 panels at the top of the stairs
- Picket Stair Panels
- Hermitage Sleeves and Cap Kits
- Timbertech Premier Rail Kits

We welcome you to take a look at all of The Porch Store products at their website.

They have long been sponsors to us and we could not be more proud.

Till Next Time...

We appreciate this lovely photo from our friend, Jane M, who lives on a gorgeous lake in Maine. One could never tire of that view!

We all live busy lives, so thank you for being in our porch family. We appreciate you.

May you enjoy the month of July and all that goes with summer. We hope there are days cool enough to enjoy your porch. A fan surely helps whether it be a ceiling fan or a box fan.

Please be safe this summer, too. Sending you best wishes for a wonderful month.

See you on the porch.

Our best always,

Mary and Dave

Mary and Dave

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