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.

Jul 11, 2014

Georgia Likes Frisbees More

It's like an advertisement for the Streamtown Beer and Music Festival... except really it was just a freebie Frisbee that our neighbor gave Oliver. And then Georgia promptly stole it. Oliver tried to get it back and an epic tug of war ensued. Georgia won.

Jul 10, 2014

Floral Front Door Wreath

This post is totally little old lady. I’m okay with that. I recently inherited a bunch of really nice, expensive silk flowers (like the kind you find at Pottery Barn, not a craft store). I had more than I knew what to do with and I didn’t want to throw them away for sentimental reasons (they belonged to my mother). I also inherited a wreath form, so I decided to wire some of the pale yellow flowers to make a spring/summer wreath.

I unabashedly love wreaths on front doors. They are pretty, they are festive. I don’t care that they are not in fashion right now, because they will come back. Good things always come back around. I have a fall berry wreath, a Christmas berry wreath, a winter pinecone wreath. I also have a spring/summer butterfly wreath I made, but when I put the new front door knocker on it no longer fit so I hang it on the inside of the door now.

I decided to wire the flowers to the form so I could change things later if I wanted to. Obviously this isn’t for everybody, but I love it.

The yellow flowers look fantastic with the yellow siding too. I think it makes our front door look so cheerful!

Jul 9, 2014

New MailBox

We’ve been planning on moving our mailbox for a while, we just hadn’t quite gotten to it yet. We had the pipes marked, got our digging permit, and then life got in the way (as usual). Then we got the official notice from our town that they were going to start digging up our street for the repaving and new curbing this week (as I’m posting this, one cannot drive down our street!). This lit a fire under us - once they dug up the street we would lose what was left of our pipeline markers and it was the perfect time to make holes in our front yard since they would be making them worse shortly.

We decided to keep things simple with our new mailbox and just make it a little nicer than our old one. Anything fancy or large would look weird with our house. We bought a bag of cement, a pressure-treated 4x4 post, and a new simple inexpensive mailbox. Our existing mailbox had dings and rust when we bought the house. I spray painted it gray and it looked nice for a while, but then the rust started to bleed back through. It just didn’t look good anymore.

Mike built a new box post/stand by cutting up the 4x4 and a piece of leftover scrap 2x4 in the garage to make an angled brace. I was impressed by how quickly he put the whole thing together.

We dug a new hole near the driveway, carefully avoiding the water lines. At first I was disappointed we couldn’t place the mailbox a little closer to the driveway, but then I realized that at least this way nobody (ahem...me…) will accidentally back up into it. We put the post in the hole and made sure it was the right height and plumb. While one of us held the post in place, the other filled the hole with a little gravel (we have a lot of gravel under our deck), and then we poured in the cement and let it set.

While the cement was setting we got rid of the old box. There was so much cement around the post we decided to cut the post instead, several inches below the grass line with the reciprocating saw and just fill the hole back in. We weren’t that careful with the sod placement since the street construction was about to start.

The finished mailbox looks so good!

I also added a pretty house number to the side of the post, but I took the pictures before adding it for privacy reasons. You can just trust me that the black house number looks nice on the bright white post with the black mailbox.

Since the construction company is about to come in and dig up the street, we are postponing the mailbox garden until the new curbing is in since I don’t want them hurting the plants. We’ll have to reseed our lawn too, so we’ll revisit everything once it’s all over.

Jul 8, 2014

Porch Paint Touch Ups

After such a hard winter with so much snow, some of the painted parts of our exterior needed a little attention. You couldn’t tell from the street, but we could see it up close in person.

There were a few patches around the porch posts, railings and the top awning. The porch steps had some winter damage from the snow shovel from all the snow and ice we had.

We painted the steps with a fresh coat of gray porch and floor paint and I realized that I seem to have to repaint the steps every year. Then again, repainting the steps and preserving them for one more year is better than paying for new steps. Which we know is coming, unfortunately.

We also really needed to do the door frame around the side door, it was peeling like crazy. I forgot to take a before picture (I was in a hurry and totally distracted), but it looks much better now.

So much better!

Now it’s just time to break out the can of stain for the back. We need to do restain the deck (it looks awful!) and do touchups on the gate and chairs. Plus I think it would be worth making the new patio table the same color.