Summer Porch Makeover

Summer Porch Makeover

When we first walked into our (now) home it was being updated by the owner and it was a disaster. But, we had been having NO luck finding an affordable rental home in the Portland area and this home wasn’t quite on the market yet, so we tried to look at it through the mess and see what potential it had. The owner explained some of the updates the home would have (new carpet, new paint, etc.) as we were walking through it. It is an old home and it hasn’t been maintained very well. It could really use new windows throughout, but the instant we pulled up to the mint green home I knew it was going to be our next move.

The home has such personality and character. And, even though there are things I would change (no dishwasher!? only one bathroom!?) I love this little home and will be very sad the day we leave it, even if it is for a better home.

Summer Porch Makeover for a Rental - A Well Crafted Party

One of the areas that I wanted to touch up from the beginning was the back porch area. Being a rental, we don’t want to put a lot of time and money into it, but we did want the space looking better. We have three amazing yard areas at our home and we throw parties outdoors basically from June through November, so updating the space has been on my home bucket list for some time. It took us three long years before we finally got around to it, but it makes me more happy than you can imagine!

Before our Summer Porch Makeover - A Well Crafted Party

Because it is a rental home we were not allowed to make big changes to the space. Ideally the porch needs redone as much of the wood is cracked and broken from not being properly prepared for the Pacific Northwest weather. Normally we wouldn’t even be able to paint, but we asked the owner for permission letting him know that our intentions were to help weather proof the area a bit more and streamline it with the house. The white outdoor paint really makes the porch much nicer and ( I think) will be an overall win for the value of the house when we leave.

We knew that the space would need to include our shoe rack (the boys leave their shoes on the porch area until the rainy season), a rug, our grill and supplies and some of my outdoor entertaining items. I seriously have a problem with buying plates and we have just run out of room indoors and in our garage, so utilizing the book shelf area during the summer months with items that we use frequently made sense. We will need to store much of these items during the rainy months, but I have some fun ideas to make the space festive for the holidays, so I am not worried!

One last look at the before…just so you can see just how bad it was:

Summer Porch Makeover Ideas - A Well Crafted Party

Summer Porch Makeover for Our Rental Home

Something about white paint just makes everything look cleaner and more put together. We chose to go with a Crisp Linen White Glidden exterior paint for the porch area. After cleaning the porch as much as possible we sanded down areas that needed it and just plopped the paint directly on the wood. It took a couple of coats, but the paint went on nicely and looks good!

After our Summer Porch Makeover - A Well Crafted Party

We accented the area with my outdoor entertaining items, a new cart for our grill supplies, a couple free printables and a couple of easy DIY projects. If you are currently reading this on the desktop version of my blog then you might have noticed that I have a small love for these colors. I really like how bright and summery my porch area is now!

My porch bookshelf houses my many outdoor entertaining items in a neat and organized fashion.

Our grill area is much more functional now that we added a little grill cart!

All my outdoor entertaining items fit so nicely on my outdoor bookshelf!

My porch bookshelf houses my many outdoor entertaining items in a neat and organized fashion.


Summer Porch Makeover Highlights:

Many of the updates on the porch area were temporary, inexpensive and super easy. They either utilized items we already had around the house and really just needed a permanent home for or inexpensive purchases that will last a long time.

  • Our new DIY rug was super inexpensive to make and is great for all the foot traffic we have in our back yard area. It can get super messy, but is easy to clean and replace if damaged. (Check back tomorrow for my post on the DIY elements!)
  • We still managed to keep our shoe rack in the area and it doesn’t look too terrible. It helps that the rack is also white.
  • One of my favorite additions to the space was the small grill cart that I purchased from Ikea. The cart has made grilling much more fun and less of a chore. The small little trash can underneath helps with scraps or trash items during cooking or throughout our outdoor events.
  • My DIY Sunscreen and Bug Spray station fit perfectly in the bookshelf. That way, anyone who is over has instant access to skin protection if they need it.
  • A few items that we use for our outdoor dining area are housed up on the bookshelf when not in use just in case there is a sudden storm. All of the items on the bookshelf stay pretty well covered from the elements due to the shelter overhead.
  • We added curtains to the space to help shield off some of the sun and separate the space a bit more. I decided to do the curtains last minute and they are one of my favorite elements of the whole space!
  • I love the lemon print that I got for FREE from Live Laugh Rowe. It says, “Life’s Short. Squeeze all you can out of it!”
  • Part of the reason I was inspired to redo my porch area is thanks to Kohl’s! I was asked to work on a Summer celebration post (coming next week- you don’t want to miss it!) and was gifted a gift card in order to get items to help throw my celebration. I really love my new dishes from the Bobby Flay Home series at Kohl’s as well as the outdoor pillows, beer opener, wire baskets and outdoor glassware. Every time I look in my back yard area now I want to have another party!
  • Pinterest (as always) was a great place for me to catalog ideas for the space. Check out my DIY Outdoor Living Space board for more inspiration!

What home improvements have you worked on this summer? Are there elements here that you could incorporate into your own outdoor space?

Part of the items featured in this post were made possible with a partnership with Kohl’s. Thank you to Kohl’s for helping me entertain this summer. Thanks to readers for supporting the companies that help make this blog bring new content to the interweb. I only promote companies that I actually use myself and enjoy. Please see my policies for more information. 

Updated to say that I’m linking this post up to the following awesome link parties:

Easy Dinner Idea: Stuffed Ravioli Tossed with Spinach, Tomatoes & Pesto

Stuffed Ravioli with Spinach, Tomato and Pesto - A Well Crafted Party

I love eating outdoors as soon as the weather calls for it. A great outdoor meal to me doesn’t always have to incorporate cooking outside (ie grilling) but, it does need to be simple and easy to transport outdoors. The below outdoor meal entree is not just INCREDIBLY simple to make and holds up to my outdoor meal criteria, but also was extremely affordable to make.

When Grocery Outlet sent me a gift card to try out some of their deals, I went in with no idea what kind of meal I was going to make. But, after just a few minutes perusing the aisles and checking out their ad I had a plan in place. I picked up all of my ingredients in one trip to Grocery Outlet and had the meal on the table in thirty minutes after getting home. Today I’m sharing the main course item that took about 10 minutes from start to finish. This entree would be perfect for an easy weeknight meal alfresco!

Stuffed Ravioli Tossed with Spinach, Tomatoes & Pesto

Stuffed Ravioli Tossed with Spinach, Tomatoes & Pesto


  • 1 package of stuffed ravioli from the freezer or refrigerator section of your local grocery store (Get whatever stuffing sounds good to you. I found a spinach and chicken stuffed ravioli that was delicious!)
  • 1/3 of a bag of pre-washed baby spinach from the produce section of your local grocery store
  • 3 Roma Tomatoes (or any ripe tomato will do) sliced into thin wedges
  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons of Basil Garlic Pesto (I used Rising Sun Farms Pesto)
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese, Salt & Pepper to Taste


  1. Boil water and cook stuffed ravioli according to package directions.
  2. While ravioli is cooking, heat olive oil and pesto in a sauté pan on Medium heat.
  3. Sautée tomatoes in the olive oil and pesto mixture for approximately two minutes, until tomatoes are just a little soft.
  4. As pasta is finishing cooking, save back 1 cup of pasta water and then drain pasta.
  5. Add cooked pasta into sauté pan with tomatoes, pesto and olive oil. Add in the cup of pasta water and spinach.
  6. Mix the items in the pan and cook until spinach is just wilted.
  7. Can be served hot, room temp or chilled! Top with parmesan cheese, a little bit of salt, and a few turns of freshly ground pepper.
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This post was created in collaboration with Grocery Outlet. All opinions are my own. Thank you for reading and sharing posts that are created in partnership with brands that help support this blog.Grocery Outlet operates 210+ stores in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington.Visit the Grocery Outlet website to find a store near you and sign up for notifications when their new ad comes out! 

Tips for a Great Outdoor Meal & Grocery Outlet Giveaway

Tips for a Great Outdoor Meal & Grocery Outlet Giveaway

Simple decor for an outdoor meal - A Well Crafted Party

The warmer days of Spring are here and Summer is just around the corner. For me this means that it is time to bring dinner OUTDOORS! Spring and Summer holidays and special occasions (Mother’s Day is Sunday!) are the perfect opportunity to bring a meal outdoors. The change of scenery can help make any meal feel like a special meal. But, not every meal makes for a great outdoor meal. You’ll want a meal that can hold up to the weather, be easy to serve and not too complicated to pack up and bring to wherever you are having your outdoor meal. When Grocery Outlet asked if I wanted to work with them on a post I immediately thought of all the fun outdoor items that they get this time of year, and wanted to throw a little outdoor party in honor of Mother’s Day. Below are some of my tips for creating a great outdoor meal. Check in tomorrow for a few recipes that anyone can make that are great for an outdoor meal!

Quick, Easy Outdoor Meal Anyone Can Make - A Well Crafted Party

What makes a great outdoor meal?

I think that there are a few factors that make for an outdoor meal, including simplicity. Part of eating outdoors should be that the whole meal has a more relaxed feel to it. Even if you are going super fancy and formal, the meal itself can be made simple and easy to eat while still being elegant. Last year I went to a wonderful outdoor farm to table meal that completely hit all my favorite notes of an outdoor meal! Here are my tips for what makes a great outdoor meal:

1. Keep it Simple – The meal does not need to be complicated nor have a lot of steps. The perfect outdoor meal can either be cooked outdoors, or packed up and easy carried outdoors. When planning an outdoor meal you’ll want to keep your ingredient list down (at least the items that are going to the table, if you want to prep a complicated many ingredient meal at home that still carries nicely and is easy to serve then by all means, go for it!), keep the garnishes to a minimum and let the meal really be the centerpiece of the experience.

2. Make sure it holds up to the weather- Besides food safety, considering the weather is important for the overall meal experience. If the meal you are serving really tastes best piping hot then you’ll need to figure out a way to cook or at least reheat outdoors so that the wind doesn’t take down the temp. Or, you can choose a meal that can be served at room temperature or cooled. If it is really hot then you might need to think about whether your desserts or meal items are going to just melt while waiting to be served. Of course, don’t forget about food safety as no one likes food poisoning. Items that are sitting out need to be properly cooled or heated to keep the items out of the danger zone.

3. A pretty setting – Eating outdoors can be a wonderful experience that can make any meal feel like a special occasion. Of course, if that meal is served in a not-so-ideal space and handed out wrapped in plastic it can feel more like a fast food experience than a special occasion. Take a few moments to make the meal special by taking care on how it is served. Even dressing up your picnic items a bit can make an ordinary meal feel extraordinary. When throwing parties in my back yard I often opt to cut flowers from my yard and use my basic dishware from the house. I leave my really nice dishware inside, but the basics can still feel dressed up when surrounded by nature! When I picnic I try to make things nicer by wrapping them in parchment paper and twine rather than just plastic baggies, or serving items on bamboo plates or reusable outdoor plastic plates instead of opting for paper.There are also a lot of great brands of really beautiful paper plates out there that can be perfect for making an outdoor meal feel special.

4. Think about pests – Nothing can ruin a meal faster than a few pests. Supply bug spray, plant bug repellent plants around your yard, or use some citronella candles to ward off pesky mosquitoes and flies. I found these adorable yellow tins with citronella candles at Grocery Outlet for less than $2 and bought a whole bunch of them for my outdoor parties. Not only do they look cute on the table, but they help ward off unwanted bugs!

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for some super easy recipes that ANYONE can make for a great outdoor meal!

Enter to win a giveaway to Grocery Outlet

Grocery Outlet wants to help you serve a great outdoor (or indoor) meal and are sharing a $25 Gift Card with one lucky reader. Grocery Outlet operates 210+ stores in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington. Check out the Grocery Outlet website to find a store near you!

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This post was created in collaboration with Grocery Outlet. All opinions are my own. Thank you for reading and sharing posts that are created in partnership with brands that help support this blog. 

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