Jul 25, 2014

Hot Dog

Hot dog on a hot night doesn't want to go for a walk...


Jul 24, 2014

The Dresser in the Office

When I got my fabulous "new" white dresser, we moved my old brown dresser into the office. We need to figure out how to make room for it in here or somewhere else. It's a great kid's dresser so I don't want to get rid of it. For now it sits next to the radiator, with artwork on top.

The fabric kite print was recently unearthed from my childhood. The clouds are actually puffy. It's totally 80's and I love it. Like the dresser I have no idea where I want to keep it, but it's precious and must be kept safe.

Jul 23, 2014

Reorganized Closet

It’s not really fair for me to just show you pictures of my closet post-organization... But I’m too ashamed to show you pictures of how bad it was before. It was bad. The pile of shoes on the floor was so high, new shoes would just roll down the hill and block the doors from closing. There were bags everywhere. Piles of clothes on piles of bags on piles of shoes. A pile of scarves cascading down the shelving, draped over more bags.

I put off reorganizing the closet in anticipation of the new dresser. Why bother until I knew what I had to work with? For example, I used to have to store my jeans on the upper shelf and every time I wanted to take a pair down, a whole pile would fall on me. Now all my jeans fit in a dresser drawer sized for adult clothes. It’s a good day.

To whip my closet back into shape, I also did a massive clean out. When I swapped dressers I pared down the drawers into the usual donate or rag piles. I went through every hanging piece, every drawer, every basket, every box, every shelf. I was ruthless with old shoes (donate or garbage!) and spineless with bags (they totally went into a tub in the attic). I got rid of a lot of stuff.

And it was totally worth it. The dresser isn’t over-stuffed. The hanging clothes have room to breathe again. The floor is clear, the shelves aren’t stuffed to the brim. And the closet doors still look amazing with the color wheel knobs...

Jul 22, 2014

Trash Can Shed

Wiley raccoons + a plethora of Walmart gift cards = splurge on a trash can shed!

Now we get to be one of the few elite houses on the block without garbage strewn across the driveway in the morning. Not that I don’t enjoy picking up mussel shells stinking in the hot summer sun of course. Our best tactic against the raccoons have been dirty diapers on top (seriously!) but since we rely heavily on cloth still, we don’t always have a bunch at the ready. Also our town has strict regulations on garbage can size and style, we aren’t allowed to get the kind with the fancy locking mechanisms. Old or new, the local raccoons are pros at getting the lids off the cans.

We’ve wanted to get a trash can storage shed for a while. The cans are ugly and they stink in the summer. I don’t like Ollie playing near them in the backyard, I don’t like it when you can see them from the street. I don’t want to attract animals into the garage and honestly the garage is too far away to be practical. The raccoons pushed us over the edge when we had walmart giftcards to burn. Mike put it together over the weekend - with Oliver's help of course.

It’s much bigger than we thought. The good news is that it holds way more than we thought it would. The bad news is that it takes up a lot more space on the driveway than we planned.

We tried it against the gate, but we didn’t like the way it looked blocking the wood. The contrast was too stark.

While we lose parking room on the driveway if we put it against the house, it looks better. It’s also a lot more practical for throwing out the trash being next to the side door. Hooray for hidden cans and trash-free mornings! Take that raccoons!

Jul 21, 2014

New Master Bedroom Dresser

I am the proud new owner of a white vintage dresser for our master bedroom. My old brown dresser has been problematic for years. It was my baby dresser, so the drawers are sized for children’s clothes and it barely held like two pairs of pants. I had to keep way too many clothes in the closet, which led to a very messy and overflowing closet. Not ideal.

The “new” dresser is from my Dad’s house, he’s decluttering to make room for new beginnings and was more than happy to let me have it. It was actually my great-grandmother’s from a long time ago, so it’s solid wood. I didn’t even have to refinish or repaint it because my sister already did all the work a few years back. It’s in great shape and the drawers are much more generously sized for normal adult clothing. I love the vintage hardware and it looks really good with Mike’s white dresser.

At first I wasn’t sure how the room would look with yet another mirror in the corner, but the large mirror that sits on top of the dresser actually makes the whole room seem bigger. It reflects light back from the windows and brightens up a dark corner. It does feel a little vain… Mirror, Mirror on the wall...but everything looks better with it there, so we’re keeping it.

Still on the to-do list is pictures… remove the old nails, touch up where the picture frames chipped the paint, maybe put up one or two by the door. I also want to style the dresser a little more too. Maybe revisit the old shelf idea I had a couple of years ago. Then I need to move onto the office, where the old brown dresser currently sits empty. I don’t want to get rid of it since it’s perfect for kid’s clothes, like when Oliver is older, but for now we have to figure out how to make it work.

Jul 18, 2014

The First and Last Time This Will Happen

It took 2 years, but this finally happened:

Yep. I put Georgia in the stroller like a complete crazy person. We were on a walk, she was hot and didn't want to walk anymore, Oliver refused to sit in it... so I put her in. She even fit with the 5-point harness!

As thrilled as she looks in the photos (I'M THE BABY NOW!), it didn't last long. She wanted out as soon as we started moving again. Which is probably for the best because I got some strange looks from the neighbors.

Jul 17, 2014

New Butterfly Bush

So… the mailbox garden. We are eager to start, but we’re still waiting. Like most municipalities, our town never starts construction projects on time. They sent us a letter stating that street construction would start 10 days ago, and we haven’t seen any sort of truck or equipment yet. They spray painted X's on some trees down the street trees and that's it. I’m more eager than ever to get our street repaved and have new curbing put in because we have our first shrub for the new mailbox garden.

It’s a butterfly bush! It will be the perfect base for the garden to add height and interest (and attract butterflies!). We have some other plants in the backyard that we’ll add as well (autumn joy sedum, echinacea), but we’ll have to add a few more things too. Maybe some bulbs in the fall.

Jul 16, 2014

July Yardwork Progress

It’s mid-July and I’m still not done with all my garden bed mulching. It’s a little pathetic. I don’t know how people get it all done, I really don’t. The only good news is that I finally got all of the most critical areas done. I finally got around the shrubs and the rest of the trees (including the surviving little river birches in the back), the blueberry bushes and tackled ⅔ of the hedgerow of thujas along the side fence (the parts that the neighbors can see at least). It looks much better and is no longer a nagging thorn in my side.

I still have to widen the garden beds and mulch around the astilbe and lilies… but I think those are less of priority. I widened the rest of this very long garden bed by quite a bit this year and I’ll get to these last two sections eventually… but for now they are fine. If Mike hits either of these with a weedwhacker or lawn mower its not the end of the world. And I’ll get to the rest of the thujas soon enough too. Maybe when it’s a little less hot outside?

At least my efforts in other places have kept the weeds from growing out of control. We still get weeds, but it’s only the most aggressive ones (crabgrass, milk weed, violets, etc.) and they are spread out enough I can usually just pick them out in passing.

Jul 15, 2014

July Garden

The garden always looks best in July, before the powdery mildew and blight sets in and makes the plants look ill and stringy. Right now everything is green and lush and growing rapidly.

The tomatoes are tall with thick stalks and covered in flowers and tomatoes. It’s a giant mass that reminds me of our first year in the garden when the tomatoes grew taller than 6 feet, it was wild. We had our first tomato of the season, a bloody butcher (which are earlier than others). It was delicious of course. Soon we’ll be inundated with tomatoes - I can’t wait.

The cucumbers are growing like crazy, they are so thick and wild I’m constantly pushing them back onto the trellis. There are tons of flowers and teeny cucumbers, as long as the powdery mildew holds off this should be a great season. The carrot plants look good, my one musk melon vine is finally starting to grow. The watermelon vines are enormous and taking over, though there are no signs of flowers yet.

The zinnias are blooming and look beautiful. They aren’t very tall yet but I know by the end of the end of the summer they will be taller than me. I’m filling vases up inside and they are quite charming. Only two snapdragons survived the pill bugs eating the sprouts and they don’t seem to be doing very well. The two experimental sunflowers I planted are HUGE, it’s pretty wild. And lastly the dahlias are blooming and we’re enjoying those flowers inside and out.

The herbs are all doing well, the basil isn’t doing as well as last year but I think it’s the heat. The peas died off when the intense heat kicked in, but I knew it would be a shortened season for them since I got them in so late. We still enjoyed quite a few and the green beans are now taking over the strings. Half my lettuce shot up in the heat, but the more heat-resistant variety I planted is still going strong. The swiss chard is also doing well.

The strawberries this year were fantastic. We had enough dry days (low humidity and less rain) that almost all of the berries ripened beautifully. We had a ton of strawberries this year and it was wonderful! As soon as the strawberries ended we moved right into the raspberries. After such a brutal winter, we had more die-back than usual on the existing raspberry canes, so we had fewer blooms this year than in years past. The raspberries we did have were delicious and wonderful though! Next up will be the blackberries, any day now they are set to ripen.

The lemon and lime trees are covered in little lemons and limes from their second blooming, plus a few larger ones from the first bloom time. Hopefully the larger fruit will ripen soon and we’ll enjoy the rest in the fall. The fig trees are healthy and growing in the back. The Chicago Hardy is still compact, but it has to build its root system this year. The Brown Turkey Fig tree has been rapidly growing since it came back up from the ground. Since it died back all the way, I’m not expecting any fruit this year.

Peppers (in pots)
The patio peppers are doing well, they are growing and blooming and producing peppers. We’ve already harvested two jalapeno peppers.

Jul 14, 2014

Pink Dahlia Wreath

Last week I shared the yellow flower wreath I made for the front door, but I also made a second wreath out of some leftover silk flowers. I had an abundance of pink dahlia silk flowers I didn’t know what to do with, and since I was in a wreath making mood I decided to continue. I didn’t have another wreath form, so I made one using the wired stems.

Then I just added wire to the backs of all the pink dahlias.

And finally I wired the dahlias to the wreath form. Done!

I think this one will be really pretty to put up in the spring. For now it's hanging out in my living room. I don't do a lot with pink, but it's such a pretty color.