Apr 27, 2015

Outside This Week

So much to do, so little time these days. The garden and yard are coming together in tiny pieces. I need to carve out some bigger chunks of time to do some serious mulching and get the raised garden ready for planting.

In the meantime, the fig trees have been unwrapped and look like they are still alive (there's green wood in the twigs).

We are out of twine but I wanted to put together the pea trellis and didn't have time to run to Home Depot. I decided to use leftover green yarn - hopefully the vines can grab onto it. The peas have sprouted but are still tiny.

Also the tomato seedlings are getting really tall! Over the weekend we had temperatures dip below freezing two nights in a row and some snow flakes, so we definitely need to wait until couple of weeks before planting the garden this year. (And that's probably a good thing considering how behind I am on the yard!)

Apr 22, 2015

Basement Light Progress

Mike got some help in the basement with the wiring for the lights and since then he's made some good progress in the small snippets of "free" time we've had these days. Mike decided to do 4 lights in the front half of the basement in the "living" space  to make things nice and bright.

They all look the same, and it doesn't look very exciting, but to me it is! After almost 5 years, this part of the basement is going to be well lit! Hopefully this weekend Mike will have a chance to make some more progress.

Apr 17, 2015


Georgia might not be able to sit in the new comfortable canvas chairs, but she can certainly use them for shade.

Apr 16, 2015

Master Bedroom Project: Matching Nightstands

I’ve been looking for nightstands for our master bedroom for years, but could never find anything that fit my criteria. They had to be wood, with a drawer and a shelf, fit in our small bedroom, match our furniture (be white, a dark wood stain or paintable/stainable), and be under $50 each. It seemed like an impossible task to find something that wouldn’t cost a ton of money… so we’ve just lived with what we have (Mike has his childhood nightstand and I use a TV tray with a basket underneath).

Then IKEA came out with their new Tarva line. Paintable/stainable pine furniture at a great low price, and their new nightstands had a drawer and shelf, and were only $40 each! It was the main thing I wanted to go get when I went with a friend to IKEA a few weeks ago (when I got the rolling plant stands and chairs).

I was really excited about getting the Tarva nightstands… until 2 nights before the scheduled IKEA trip. That night our neighbors down the street had a huge pile of furniture on the curb for trash pickup. While we were walking the dog I got a closer look and noticed that they had 2 white nightstands on the street. They had a few minor dings that needed repainting and maybe a touch of wood filler, but overall they were in good shape. They also have a drawer and an extra-tall shelf.

Since I was going to have to finish the Trovast nightstands anyway, free definitely won out. The nightstands have been sitting in our basement ever since, waiting for the weather to warm up so I could patch and repaint. The nightstands also need some new hardware, and since they were free I think I can definitely spring for something from Anthropologie. Sorry about the bad basement lighting in the photos...

They’ll look even better with patching and fresh paint and new hardware. I just need some warm dry weather to make it happen.

Apr 15, 2015

Stairwell Gallery - New Portrait Is Up

Oliver's gorgeous new portrait is finally up on the gallery wall in the stairwell. I was going to put it in a bigger frame with a mat until I realized his adorable baby square one isn't matted either, so I wanted them to match.

Apr 14, 2015

New Chairs

I mentioned yesterday, we emptied the garage of most of the patio furniture. I always like having plenty of places to sit and relax, especially when we have family/friends/neighbors over. My love of comfortable seating options has lead to a couple of new chairs outside. I've always LOVED folding canvas sling chairs - they are just so beachy and summery and very comfortable. A few weeks ago when I was at IKEA they had these MYSINGSO chairs at a "get ready for summer" special... I clearly couldn't resist. They fold up nicely for easy storage in the garage and the canvas is easily removed to be washed. They are my new favorite chair because they are so comfortable.

Oliver also now has his own Adirondack chairs in light blue to go with our turquoise ones. They were on sale at the Christmas Tree Shop (weirdly enough I was there buying garden gnomes for work) and at $6 each I had to grab a couple. As Oliver gets older and braver and wilder, his other plastic chairs are starting to make my nervous. They are taller and much less sturdy, and as he starts to do crazy things all I can see is him toppling off one onto the driveway or patio pavers. These little chairs are very squat and the thick plastic is very sturdy, so it makes me feel much better!

Apr 13, 2015

Spring is Here!

It was a busy weekend. Finishing our taxes, preschool application paperwork, lots of errands, lovely dinners with our families. We spent a lot of time outside enjoying the beautiful weather, finally tackling the yard cleanup and pulling most of our outdoor furniture out of the garage. While emptying the garage we found the dianthus I potted last summer and just threw in therein the Fall... and it was still alive! I was totally shocked, it was in the freezing cold, without water and light for months.

I got pansies planted out front in the porch rail boxes, in color-shade order of course because I'm crazy like that. It's just so nice to have some color outside. Things are going to start blooming soon, but this definitely tides me over in the meantime.

In the back raised bed garden, the spinach didn't come up. Again. I planted it in ice-dirt, but nothing sprouted, the conditions weren't right. So instead I reused the space to do my first round of lettuce and then I also put some peas on the other side of the same bed. I need to get some twine for the trellis, but the post is in the ground.

As for the rest of the backyard, we still need to do some serious weeding and mulching, but we have lots of beautiful plants that are going to come up any minute now. I do have some flower seeds I need to sow soon, but we're making progress!

Apr 10, 2015

A Few Things From the Week

Wow, it's Friday already! It's another one of these crazy weeks, though I'm hoping things are going to calm down really soon. As long as we can all stay healthy (warmer weather means less germs going around right?) we can power through.

Let's start off with Easter weekend! That was a lot of fun for us, we spent a lot of time cooking and eating and spending time with family.  Oliver's grandparents got him the sweetest stuff for his Easter basket, including a full suite of North American animal figurines. They are so cool - he now has a group of wild pigs, a family of foxes, a herd of deer and a wolf pack. He also has a suite of mini animal figures that are teeny tiny and super cute.

Things are finally warming up a bit outside, we're trying to stay on top of the yard. Mike put down the crab grass preventer and fertilizer on the lawn, perfectly timed on a warm spring evening right before 4 days of forecasted rain so it was well watered in. The plants I ordered in February finally arrived, asparagus and a butterfly weed bush. The asparagus went in the back bed by the deck and the butterfly weed went into the mailbox garden, as per this yard plan. Neither is much to look at right now though...

Things are coming alive outside. Spring bulbs I planted in the yard last year from a gift basket are coming back up (though I don't know yet what survived). The crocus continues to bloom. My forsythia and quince have fat buds. The autumn sedums are coming in too.

Mike's also been working on lighting and outlets in the basement. What started as one light and one outlet has turned into multiple outlets and 4 lights. It's going to be nice and bright down there by the time he's done. Now we just need to get our lawn mower serviced, finish our taxes this weekend, finish the preschool applications and schedule an over-sized trash pickup for the last of the junk in the garage. And I'd like to plant some pansies in the porch rail planters if there's time... though enough time seems like a long shot these days!

Apr 3, 2015

Happy Easter!

At some point I swear I will be better about posting. Last week was crazy. This week is crazy. Next week will be crazy. It’s just hard to keep up sometimes. Last week we had preschool interviews scheduled… and then Oliver got sick with an ear infection and a bad cough, tummy pains and a fever for 3 days. Work was missed, daycare was missed. Interviews cancelled and rescheduled for this week and next. I’m nervous we could be spending our summer (and even the fall) on wait lists. My jawbone fitness tracker died, my favorite jeans got a hole in them. A red popsicle melted on the living room rug and I can’t get all of the stain out. Georgia pulled a muscle in her leg and can’t go up or down stairs and has to be carried everywhere. Then over the weekend I caught Oliver’s cold and it’s plagued me all week, when my regular daytime job has been extra-hectic and freelance projects that should be finished kept popping back up. Our house is SUPER messy and I had to work half of last weekend. I don’t want to sound like I’m whining, it’s all minor, but lots of minor things still add up to feeling overwhelmed. Laying down black plastic and putting together simple plants stands becomes the highlight of the week.

Easter is this weekend, our plans are simple. Stay healthy, clean the house enough for family to come over, make brunch ahead of time and enjoy the holiday. We’re going to dye eggs with Oliver, wear bunny ears, go on multiple Easter egg hunts, and spend time with family.

Oliver’s Easter basket is pretty simple this year. Every year he gets a fun felt basket. Inside this year he gets a chocolate bunny, classic jelly beans and mini cadbury eggs. He also gets a fun stuffed blue bunny and bubbles. The Easter bunny is also leaving a small toy (amazon box didn't arrive yet), but nothing fancy since his birthday is coming up in June.

Georgia also gets a toy and the only treats that don’t bother her sensitive stomach, but I ran out of time to give her pretty packaging. I’m pretty sure she won’t mind though.


(White lace metal container is from my recent trip to IKEA, part of the skurar series - $2.50 on clearance!)

Mar 31, 2015

Rolling Plants Stands

Last weekend I went with a friend to do a big IKEA shop. I had a really long list, mostly little things that are just so much cheaper and better at the IKEA marketplace. Like their big fat straws in bright colors that are perfect for smoothies. And tea lights and colorful napkins.

The main purpose of our trip were some kid-centric things for Oliver (potty training seat, a crib sized pillow + cases because he hates big twin sized ones, a couple of birthday toys, replacement kid plates because half our other set went missing) and stuff for our master bedroom project (which I'll get into in another post). I also wanted to get inexpensive plant stands on wheels. We have one and it's fantastic, but they were so expensive on amazon I never bought more until I realized IKEA had them for like a third of the price. THEN I found these on clearance for $2 each. JACKPOT. Now I have enough rolling plant stands for all my big pots! (Sadly they don't have these on their website.)

They came together really easily and seem surprisingly sturdy. It's so nice to be able to easily move my heavy trees and plants around now for vacuuming. It will be even nicer when I can roll them outside to get sunshine when the weather warms up. I won't keep them on the stands outside though once they go out for the summer, I'm not sure how they would fare out in the elements full time.

I still keep the pads underneath the stands in case of water leakage to protect the floor. I don't mind if the stands get dirty, but I definitely need to protect our wood floors!

Mar 30, 2015

Early Garden Work

Spring is coming one of these days. The snow melted (well... 90%), the crocus are blooming. The air is still winter cold but the sun is strong. The garden beds in back were finally snow-free and soft enough for me to stake the black plastic sheeting down.

Usually I do this in the Fall so I don't have to worry about a million weeds in the Spring, but this year we struggled with yard cleanup with my injured ankle. I've been carefully watching the garden so I could put down the plastic as soon as possible. It will not only prevent weeds, but it will also warm the soil.

I also planted spinach seeds. For the past two springs I have planted spinach and nothing has come up, but I think both years I sowed the seeds too late and the soil was already too warm. This year I was breaking up ice chunks in the dirt, so if they don't sprout this year I might give up. (Though 3 years ago we had a fantastic spinach crop, so I know it's now hopeless in the right conditions...)

We still have a ton of leftover yard cleanup to do too. Dead plants, grass and leaves to clean up, deer netting and fencing to fix, fig trees to unwrap. Everything needs a thick fresh layer of mulch. The lawn needs crabgrass preventer (very soon!) and fertilizer. I just need the air to warm up a little bit more so we don't freeze when we stay outside too long!

Mar 26, 2015

Finishing the Master Bedroom

Our next big project is finally finishing our master bedroom. Like the upstairs hall, we got it to a good place but didn’t quite finish it. We’ve decided that now would be a good time to finally take those last steps.

Our master bedroom is small but comfortable. We’ve made slow, thoughtful changes over the past few years to improve the space, little by little.

When we first moved in, our furniture didn’t fit in this room. The closets only allowed for a small full bed between them, not our king, so it was a very tight squeeze for our furniture. We lived with it for one day, banging our knees and turning at funny angles, then called our contractor.

We made some big changes - we converted the overly long hallway into the closet and moved the doorway. We took out the original closets that took up floor space where the dressers are now. From there we put down carpet and moved our furniture back in. Mike built a radiator cover. We added a few finishing touches that made the space feel homey - curtains, a large floor mirror, artwork.

Recently we replaced my old dresser with my new white one and the room is really starting to feel so close to finished. It made me realize how close we are - why not finish it all the way?

So that’s where we are now, planning out the final steps. Here’s what’s left:
  1. Repainting. After doing some touch-ups with the wrong can of paint, I need to repaint the walls
  2. Crown molding around the ceiling
  3. Matching nightstands
  4. Picture ledge over my dresser mirror for photos
  5. Finalize/Rearrange artwork