Painting, Painting, Painting!

30 07 2011

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been busily painting the trim in my house.  It has been on my to-do list for a WHILE, but it’s such a tedious, frustrating job, so I’ve been putting it off since I started with the trim in my front hallway and living room a few months ago.

A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to find the motivation to paint my upstairs hallway, and was trying to decide if that was the project I wanted to start – or if I wanted to do something else.

But something other than the hallway caught my eye…this:

The door to my backyard

It’s gets a lot of abuse because Barney is often over there for dinner or when he goes outside, and does a lot of head shaking – which means there’s a lot of drool flung in that general direction.  It was just looking a little tired.

I had my trim paint already, so I thought I’d give this a go.  But I’d recently been inspired – rather than painting it a boring white to match the other trim, I decided to spice it up a bit.

First, I painted the trim around the door and the windows:

I didn't tape around the windows because I could just scrape the dried paint off the glass

Then, I painted the rest of the door the same blue as my accent wall.

What a difference!

This was taken the same night as I finished painting (you can see I have the door ajar).  I put the blinds back up the next day, but of course, they’re off-white (like every surface in this darn house when I moved in!), so they’re looking a little tired too.  I’ll replace those at some point!

But I can’t believe what a difference it’s made! I filled in some holes that had been created by previous window treatments (none mine) and the paint just changes the whole feel of that part of the house. I really love it!

Have you ever done something a little unexpected in your decorating that you really loved? (Or hated?)





Another Quick Update

28 07 2011

So two weekends ago, I mentioned I had a whole list of projects that I wanted to work on:

I could…

  • Powerwash and stain my deck (so far, the forecast is NO rain!)
  • Paint the upstairs hallway (Need to snag my extender for my roller back from my parents)
  • Replace the switch for the fan downstairs
  • Figure out why the fan upstairs is no longer working – is it me??
  • Weed, water, fertilize – this I’ll be doing no matter what else gets done this weekend!
  • Prune the heather which is taking over the front of my house
  • Figure out how to pull out the metal stake next to my mailbox
  • Cut the grass (yup, that’s a definite too)
  • Baking an apple pie with apples I picked up at the farmer’s market
  • Putting in a new handle and lock on my shed – now that I’m comfortable with chiseling
  • Cut back the bush next to my deck even further
What actually got done, you may be wondering….
  • Powerwash and stain my deck (so far, the forecast is NO rain!) – Um, no.  Not even a little bit.
  • Paint the upstairs hallway (Need to snag my extender for my roller back from my parents) – Also no, but I started all of the closets and trim upstairs and finished all the downstairs trim!
  • Replace the switch for the fan downstairs – Done!
  • Figure out why the fan upstairs is no longer working – is it me?? – This was an awesome one. I mentioned it to my dad, who just tugged on the fan cord and it turned on.  Not sure how that got turned OFF, since I never touch it, but I’m glad it was a simple “fix!”
  • Weed, water, fertilize – this I’ll be doing no matter what else gets done this weekend! – Done!
  • Prune the heather which is taking over the front of my house – Done! And this makes me happier every single time I walk out of the house.
  • Figure out how to pull out the metal stake next to my mailbox – Also done! And what a project this was! The metal stake was wedged into the ground by the tree growing nearby, but fortunately broke off just below the surface of the ground. Since it was still pretty sharp (and the kids run around here with no shoes on half the time), I covered the end with a tennis ball of Barney’s that I’d cut a hole in (not to worry, he has a bucket of about fifty, so it’s not a loss to him) and then buried it with dirt.  Presto!
  • Cut the grass (yup, that’s a definite too) – Yup, done. Though I didn’t have to last weekend because it’s been so hot and dry, the grass isn’t really growing!
  • Baking an apple pie with apples I picked up at the farmer’s market – This got done, but not until the following Tuesday night.
  • Putting in a new handle and lock on my shed – now that I’m comfortable with chiseling – Done! This was a job I’d been waiting almost three years to do, and it was such a feeling of accomplishment once it was finished! 
  • Cut back the bush next to my deck even further – Done! I did a bit more myself, and then this past Monday, my parents’ came over with the truck and their mini chain saw and helped me really cut it back.  It’s looking very thin right now since most of the foliage was on the outside, but I was expecting that (thanks to a This Old House episode I’d seen), and I’m so, SO happy that it’s cut back to a better, more manageable size! And my parents carted away all the branches – it took four truck loads to do it, but the last one went this morning! 
And along with all of that, I’ve been priming and painting the trim/closet doors – so far the guest room and the entire first floor (yes, even behind the appliances!) are done and I need to motivate myself to pull off the closet doors in my bedroom and office.  I’ve also been working on a little mini stool project for outside and starting to paint the brass accent around the fireplace – note to all on that, VENTILATE. And wear latex gloves.  And there’s been a few other little things I’ve been up to.  I’ll be posting on more of these projects individually, but I thought I’d give you a taste while you’re waiting!




Wordless…Thursday?

28 07 2011

I know I’ve been delinquent on the Wordless Wednesday posts, and I fully intended to put one up yesterday. Obviously, I didn’t.

I have actually been working on a LOT of home projects, and photographing them, so I will be writing some new posts shortly.  But to tide you over, here’s a Wordless Thursday photo!





What’s on Tap for this Weekend?

15 07 2011

I’ve got all sorts of projects I could work on this weekend, but I can’t tell what I’m most motivated to do!

What projects are you working on?

I could…

  • Powerwash and stain my deck (so far, the forecast is NO rain!)
  • Paint the upstairs hallway (Need to snag my extender for my roller back from my parents)
  • Replace the switch for the fan downstairs
  • Figure out why the fan upstairs is no longer working – is it me??
  • Weed, water, fertilize – this I’ll be doing no matter what else gets done this weekend!
  • Prune the heather which is taking over the front of my house
  • Figure out how to pull out the metal stake next to my mailbox
  • Cut the grass (yup, that’s a definite too)
  • Baking an apple pie with apples I picked up at the farmer’s market
  • Putting in a new handle and lock on my shed – now that I’m comfortable with chiseling
  • Cut back the bush next to my deck even further
We’ll see what actually gets done!




The Current View in My Yard and What’s Next

14 07 2011

I have actually taken some time to sit down and enjoy the garden as it’s progressing – it hasn’t been all work! Both Barney and I are really enjoying it…

The view from the swing

It's no yard crashers, but it's getting there!

He's happy to just sit in the grass and smell the air (and he's being very good not eating any of my plants!)

Barney running in the yard - because a running basset shot never gets old (though I think this might even be my parents' yard!)

So, what’s left to do?

Plenty. But there’s no rush.

I’ve got to figure out what to do in the back left corner – I may not be permitted to put up any kind of structure, though that’s ideally what I want. Something that will block out my creepy neighbor (who in fairness has now absolutely left me alone) because I’d just like the privacy and not having to look at all the garbage in his yard.  I’d love a small pergola type structure that I could put those outdoor shades on – c’mon Ahmed, where are you when I need you?? Yard Crashers would love my yard!

But I may put up some privacy trees instead – Home Depot has a pretty good deal on fairly big ones down here.  I just have to save for them and also motivate myself to dig humongous holes and plant the trees by myself.  Without keeling over.  So that might be a fall-time project, or next year.  I’m also still undecided as to whether I’ll put a little bistro set there, or a fire pit and a couple of chairs.  We’ll see how it goes.

I did discover that those wire towers I love so much are actually a Pottery Barn product, and I can use American Express points to get a gift card there.  Though I then discovered that the towers are actually about five or six feet tall, so that is slightly taller than I was picturing :).  We’ll see what I decide for those!

I’ll also be adding tire “stones” to the yard, and the bench will sit on top of some as well.  I might get them in advance of the bench and just find out the measurements first.  But I’m still thinking about that one too.  I’m also considering one of those screens for the air conditioner, so I don’t have to look at that when I’m outside either.

And the major project I have coming up is staining and sealing my deck.  I’m pretty sure that the woman who lived here before me NEVER did that, so the deck isn’t well maintained.  And I should talk, I haven’t done it in the three years I’ve lived here either.  So I’ll be doing that soon – I have everything I need to do it (I picked a beautiful redwood color!), but it’s a question of it not raining for five minutes down here and being able to do it properly.  So that will have to be a judgement call, and I’m kind of afraid to make it and end up with a ruined deck.

I’m also considering moving the indoor/outdoor carpet out of my office and on to the deck.  I love the idea of an outdoor carpet, and the one upstairs is bugging me because it’s always sliding all over the carpet in my office.  But I’m not sure if I want to do that or not, so that will require some thought as well.  I’d probably have to take it up and store it for the winter, which would be a pain, so it might be easier to leave it the way it is.

So those are the plans! Ambitious, I know, but I’m working on them a little at a time, periodically weeding the garden to keep it looking fresh and healthy, and learning more every day, so it’s keeping me busy. I really didn’t know I’d enjoy it so much!





Garden Miscellany

13 07 2011

I haven’t just been doing big projects in the garden…I’ve also been doing little ones, all in line with the garden plan, though I’ve tweaked it a bit in some spots.

  • I planted two hydrangeas in the pots on either side of my deck – I was going to put in gerberas again, but my mom pointed out that they’re not perennials, which would be easier.  I LOVE hydrangeas, so when she suggested those, I thought it was an excellent idea.



    Blooming, lovely


    Then, not so lovely after three weeks away. They need more water than they were getting!


  • I’ve been trying to figure out what kind of stones I wanted to use for a path around the garden – to and under the bench and similarly over in the other corner (a part I’m constantly reworking because I’m not sure what permits/permissions I might need).  I haven’t seen any stone I like, but I LOVE these recycled tire panels – I think they’re supposed to be used on top of decking, but I brought three home to try and really love them.  Even my pup likes to lay down on them.

  • I picked up a new hummingbird feeder – the old one had lost one of its feeder pieces, so any time I put hummingbird sugar water in there, it would just drip out until it was all gone.  And a lot of it was landing on Barney’s head, since he was standing underneath it, licking sugar water off the grass.  So a new feeder did the trick!

  • I have been looking EVERYWHERE for solar deck post lights and finally found a few I like.  They were fairly easy to install and work great.  I also added some decorative solar lights around the garden beds to light the yard up a bit better. I’ve still got to bite the bullet and have the electrician over to install the two motion sensor lights I have.

    These are at the top of the deck posts on either side of the steps

     

    And these are actually on the sides of the step to light it up directly

    You can see the new solar lights in between the plants

  • I replaced my umbrella – I loved the umbrella I bought last year, but I can be forgetful when I’m stressed out, as I normally am before traveling, so I forgot to close it up before leaving my house for a week.  There was a massive windstorm, which not only blew the umbrella over, but it broke the wooden pole badly enough that it couldn’t be salvaged.  I was really just lucky it didn’t break a nearby window.  It was much cheaper to replace the umbrella, and I did so with another red one, but this was a cheaper metal one.

  • I’m a sucker for windchimes, and although they’re not on the garden plan, I did pick up a couple of cute ones last week for the backyard.  I have metal and wooden windchimes in the front, which I can hear if the door is open, or if it’s very windy, but it’s nice to hear the soft tinkle (especially when it’s so darn windy all the time) while I’m sitting in the backyard.


So it’s starting to be really nice out in my garden (minus the bugs) and I’m actually enjoying spending time out there!




A Super Easy Bird Bath/Planter Project

13 07 2011

A couple of years ago, I started getting the Lowes project magazine, and I can always find some cool ideas in there.  I recently saw a bird bath/planter that was both inexpensive and simple, so I decided I wanted to include that in the back garden.

Of course, when I went to Lowes, it took me FOREVER to find the materials, but that was mostly because they no longer had all of them in the black that they’d used in the example. They did have them in an ecru, which I thought might also work in my garden.  Check out the link above for all of the materials.

They suggest starting by drilling holes into the larger planter for drainage, but in the planters that I got (the exact ones specified), they already had drainage holes where I needed them! So it was easy peasy.

See, drainage!

Next, I put the basket planter upside down into the bigger urn planter.

The only thing I really didn’t like about this project is that we weren’t really securing the pieces of the bird bath together.  That’s okay for the very top piece, so it’s easy to dump out and clean, but since the rest is plastic, it does make it feel a *wee* bit unstable.  The topsoil helped, but not enough in my book.

Next, it was time to put the smaller urn on top of the bigger one, but upside down:

Looks really fancy doesn't it?

Then, I put the terra cotta saucer on top of the inverted urn.

Before putting any soil or plants in it, I obviously brought it outside.

I found that there wasn’t as much room for planting in here as I’d hoped, and the plants I purchased were a bit big, and I didn’t feel the soil was going to hold enough moisture for them.  So that was a bit of a disappointment too.  But it does look good when it’s finished:

Even a certain basset hound liked it, although I scolded him for trying to eat clumps of topsoil, so he wasn’t happy about that part! But the project itself was incredibly easy, quick and rewarding!