Thursday, September 29, 2011

Still not the Yard of the Month

Time for some follow up...  Last time we check in on the yard, I shared our scary blank canvas and a super sweet illustration of what will come.  So how did we do?

A bit better, eh?

I know these shots don't do a lot to highlight what happened, mostly because I like to buy baby plants and let them grow into bigger plants.  Baby plants are less expensive and easier to plant since you don't have to dig a big ass hole.

So lets take another look at that sweet drawing I did...
What you can see in the above pictures is that the hydrangea has been moved and we have added two more hydrangeas, we have planted four hostas, we have plated a ton of daylilies and 3 rose plants.

And a closer look at each area...

We got these beauties out at the Greensboro Shrub Nursery.  I believe that are called "fancee."  Luckily, they are fairly sun tolerant, so they should be able to handle the PM sun they will occasionally get hit with and these babies can get big.  I love big hostas.  We need to add more to fill out the area some more, but just these four make a pretty big difference.

The one hydrangea we already had is the endless summer variety.  Sadly, the Greensboro Shrub Nursery didn't have anymore endless summer's, so we picked out another blue/purple variety.  We'll see how this all works out when they bloom.


I ordered our daylilies from Smokeys Daylily Gardens.  We went with a mixed lot and was able to get 25 fans (or baby plants) for pretty cheap.  I am really pleased with this purchase.  The plants came fast and were in great shape.  I can't wait to see them next spring when they are in bloom.

I knew I wanted to plant roses in this area because they can tolerate the afternoon sun.  After planting two knock out roses in the past, I was ready for something a little less easy care and a little more ROSE!  After doing some research, I mostly settled on David Austen roses.  These roses are know for their old rose charm (fantastic sent and beautiful shape), while still being disease resistant.  All roses came from Chamblee's Rose Nursery.  The roses arrived in excellent shape and best of all, they are potted, not bare root. 
The Winchester Cathedral rose is noted for its bushy appearance, old rose sent and double blooms. 
The Evelyn rose is named for Crabtree and Evelyn and mimics their awesome light rose sent.  And I love their light yellowy, pinky soft color.
This baby is actually the only non David Austen rose I purchased.  Named "sea foam," it is an earth kind rose.  Earth Kind roses have been cultivated to grow well in a variety of soil types, which reduces their need for soil amendments, fertilizers and pesticides.  Also, they have been bred for drought tolerance once established.  I am super excited to see how this one does.

And that wraps up our fall planting.  Clearly we still have loads to do, such as adding a new layer of pine needles, keeping up with the wedding and filling in the empty areas some more. But at least for now, I don't feel like our poor yard is such a barren wasteland.

Anybody else tackling some fall planting?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Time to check in once again on the living room saga.  Remember where we were? 
And just a reminder to where we started...
I started by taking down all of the existing prints (duh!) and quickly realized a little problem.  You see when Seth and I painted this room, we were short sighted.  We didn't consider that we would ever change anything, so we just painted over the picture hangy things.  Which meant when I removed those do-dads, We had an ugly white blob.
Whoops.  And to make matters even more complicated, we didn't have any paint left over and we didn't write down the paint name.  Home owner fail.  So I made a quick trip to Lowes and grabbed every brown paint swatch I could find.  Seth and I held them all up against the wall and found the one that look right.  I think the name has to do with a seal.  Who names this shit?  So another trip back to Lowes and I was able to buy an itty bitty of the paint color.
This is totally awesome.  And as you have probably guessed, we have this no leftover paint/ don't know the name of the paint problem all over the house, so I plan to eventually get itty-bitties for all the rooms of our house. 

Anyways, back to our saga, I dabbed some paint on the white spots and it dried perfect...
See can't tell, unless you're looking for it.  And if you are looking for it, please stop.

From here, the rest of the project was easy-breezy.  I mean really, hanging a picture isn't rocket science.  Without further ado, I give you the final product...
LOVE!  The scale is much better and the asymmetrical alignment looks much more grown up.  Plus I love how the blocks in my art play off of the squares in the Kandinsky print and the colors are similar to those in the Klimt.  I call this a major win.

I still have plenty left to do in this room, such as update the mantel arrangement...
That will also include doing something about that ghastly fireplace surround.

And hang new curtains....
The red just isn't working for me anymore.

And do something to make the bookshelf not look so cheap-o...
I really like what John and Sherry did here.  Now I just have to convince Seth....

And I have to make our upholstered coffee table not look so sad...
No brilliant ideas here yet, but I'm sure I'll figure out something...

Stay tuned as the saga continues....

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Not the Yard of the Month

Our cute little neighborhood association holds a yard of the month competition each month from April until October.  Seth and I are in no danger of winning that award.  I am slightly embarrassed to admit that our yard has only gotten worse since that post.  Really, it's not so much my fault.  This summer has been hotter than hell and dry.  That did nothing to improve our yard.  So that leaves us where we started, with a big blank scrubby looking yard...

See?  Well, really not see?  There is nothing except leaves and a scant layer of pine needles.  Sigh.

But don't disgrace- there is a vision...
Okay, so clearly this is my house and yard.  Stop laughing.  I know you're just jealous of my mad paint skills.

So lets start with what we have.  Starting left, Seth and I planted a whole bunch of lilies and glads, which are great, but they bloom for about 2 weeks and then dry up.  Sad face.  We then have 2 camellias, pretty evenly spaced in the yard.  We also have a dogwood.  We have a poor hydrangea planted on the other side of the dogwood.  Baby gets too much harsh sun.  In front of the hydrangea, we have some (8ish, 10ish) day lilies planted.

A quick note on why things are hard to grow in our yard.  Our house is oriented towards the south.  Which is a good thing, normally.  However, our nice, old, established neighborhood is full of nice old, established, massive trees.  These trees block the sun until about 3pm.  And then our yard gets full on  southern summer sun until dark.  Just imagine staying in your nice cool air conditioned house and the running outside, naked with no protection and standing in the dead heat until dark.  You ass would be fried and so are our plants.

So with that in mind, onto the planting plan...  Starting on the right this time, we are going to move the hydrangea to a more protected space.  We will then fill in that spot with some roses.  Roses are actually pretty hardy and afternoon sun helps prevent certain types of mildew.  In front of the roses, we will fill in with more day lilies.  The hydrangea will move to the fence line between the two camellias.  Two more hydrangeas will be added so that no one gets lonely.  In front of the hydrangeas, we will fill in with hostas.  I know this seems risky given our sun situation.  But, hostas can be pretty sun tolerant and because a big branch from the oak tree hangs over this area, I think they should be a-okay.  That brings us all the way to the left, which I haven't totally figured out yet.  Right now I am thinking a mixture of coneflowers...

And just to keep you in suspense, I can reveal that Seth and I have spent the last 2 weekends planting.  Check back early next week for the results.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Easy Art

As I mentioned in this post, although I love our cozy TV room, the decor strikes me as a little on the college side of things.  You know, too small art that we bought at the local poster sale...  Sadly, moving the furniture around really highlighted our decor problems.

The biggest problem area is the spot where the couch now sits.  Before, this wall was easy to overlook with our too-cramped furniture lay out.
See not so bad...  With the lamp and dresser the wall decor doesn't look so bad.  At that time I had even thought about adding some really tall something to fill in the space below the middle picture.

But once the couch came to live on this wall...
Yikes...  Clearly with the size of the couch, those sweet little college purchased prints were just not going to work.

I totally loved Sherry's cheap-o idea to use paint chips to create something lovely.  However, I didn't have a big ole basket of paint swatches lying around and I didn't think my local Lowe's would appreciate me grabbing paint swatches just to make some art, so I figured I could paint something.

I started by gathering my supplies- cheap-o canvas, 10 monochromish  paints, a paint brush and some measuring implements.  I measured my canvas into 2 inch squares...
I know those marks a bit hard to see, but I did want to keep my pencil lines on the light side so I would be sure that my paint would cover them.

I didn't want this to look at all patterned, so I just got to work filling in squares...
2 colors down...  You can see on the edges that I went over my lines a bit.  I wanted to be sure that my mat and frame wouldn't show any white spaces on the edge of the canvas, so I eliminated the white space.
Just about 1/2 way done.  You can see that I added some metallic gold.  LOVE.
3/4 of the way done and I've added a bit of metallic bronze.  I was careful to make sure that the gold and bronze squares didn't land next to each other.  That seemed like it may be too much.
And framed.  LOVE LOVE LOVE X 1,000,000

I really am thrilled how this came out.  I don't have the steadiest of hands, so I was concerned about painting outside the lines.  My lines are far from straight, but by moving slow and using a small brush, I did a-okay and I love that it isn't absolutely precise.

All in all, this project ran me about $30, but the frame and mat were $20.  All in all, not bad for some cheap-o art and a fun afternoon of painting.

Tune in next week to find out how it all looks on the wall!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Raw Kale Salad

Now before you go all, "eewwww raw kale" on me, I promise you that kale, raw or cooked, is delicious.  If you haven't tried it, you should (yes, mom, I am looking at you).  And if you have tried kale, try it this way.  You'll love it.

This recipe comes from Happy Health Life- Thanks Kathy!

Start with a nice big bunch of wash and shredded kale, make sure you remove the tough stem in the process...
Kale, Yum!

Now mix up some dressing...
This dressing is:
2 1/2 tbs tahini
3 tbs rice vinegar
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbs olive oil
2 tsp maple syrup

Next toss your dressing and kale together and add toppings....

Based on the recipe I added:
3 tbs sunflower seeds
1 granny smith apple
1 avocado
1 tomato
1 can of juice packed mandarin oranges
1/2 red onion

Arranged all pretty like...
And a close up of all the prettiness....
In the slightly annoying words of Rachel Ray, YUM-O

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Closet Saga Continued

When last we touched on my obsession with shoes and a too small closet, I had coerced Seth into helping me install a second shelf for shoes.  Catch up on that fun here.  Clearly that was a step in the right direction, but far from finished. 

A couple Saturday's ago, Seth had planned a day with at the cigar store and I seized my opportunity to finish updates to my closet.

I started by pulling everything (except some shoes) out of my closet...
 YIKES!  This is why I waited until I know Seth would occupied all day long....

 No hangy stuff to get in the way...
The plan was to bust out those back shelves and add 2 new hangy racks, thus freeing up a ton of space.  So that I did...

Goodbye nasty shelves!

From there, I popped in a way back hangy bar.  To get the right distance from the back wall, I took a hanger and placed it on the wall, providing me with the amount of distance from the wall I would need to have enough space to hang things.  Did that sentence even make sense?
Installing hangy bars is super simple.  You can buy the little cuppy things that the bar sets in from Lowes for super cheap.  They just screw in and you can set your bar in.

In no time, I had my new hangy bars in.  Now, I know what you're thinking, how is this gonna work?  Two bars?!  How will I get to the back bar?  Strategery, my friends, that's how.
I packed the back with items I rarely use, like my wedding dress and the prom dresses my mom sent to live with me.  If I do ever need these items, I can push the items on the first bar out of the way.  Not terribly easy to do, but it'll work.
As I lost valuable shoe space by knocking out the shelves, the second hangy bar got a hanging shoe rack and it also currently housing all hoodies.  Once winter rolls around, I'll probably switch out the hoodies for sun dresses.  So easy and organized.  I swear, I impress myself sometimes.
And finally in the front, I added a hanging sweater thang, as they were previously living on a shelf.  The bonus is that my sweaters are much easier to access now and as sweaters are a year round thing for me, this is good. 

Just as an additional reference point, the old shelvy area/new hangy area, would be to the left of the closet.  Not a great design, as it it totally inaccessible.

This project was actually completed a few weeks ago, and I am shocked, but pleased, to report that this area still looks like this.  Good design is usable and allows for things to easily stay organized.  WIN!