Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sand in your crack

Title too much?  Sorry.  We are having a soiree in August at Casa Hilton. That is my new last name, isn't it fabulous?  This party will be primarily on our patio, so we did a little 'spruce up' last weekend.
The obvious problems were disgusting dirt...
...and completely missing polymeric sand in between some pavers.
So I divised a concoction for cleaning the pavers before we redid the sand.
I remembered that I had bought this masonry cleaner a few years ago to clean our basement concrete before painting, and I thought it would work well for any tough stains on our concrete pavers. I threw a big scoop of Oxy Clean in there as well, because Oxy Clean is the BOMB!  This mixture was super bubbly. 
We did buy a heavy duty scrubber on a long handle for this job.
Then we used the hose to rinse off and push the dirty suds to the grass. This was kind of a long process.
We waited a few hours for the sun to dry everything up, then put our polymeric sand (we had an entire bag left from the original construction) into quart baggies with the ends snipped off for application.
I realize most people just sweep it into the cracks, but that is what we did originally and I was not impressed with the longevity of the sand, so we did it this way to make sure that each and every crack was filled. (HA!) The difference was extremely gratifying.
Polymeric sand is supposed to stop weeds from forming, but sadly this isn't completely the case. We spent a lot of time pulling little baby weeds out of the cracks.  Wop wop.  We ended up with a lot of excess sand when we swept the remainder off, but that's ok.
The final step was to lightly wet the entire patio and then hope that it doesn't rain for 2 days afterwards.  We did get a light sprinkle of rain, but mostly the weather cooperated! 
It all looked so nice when wet, I was hoping it would dry perfect as well.
And, it totally perfect as it will get, anyway!
I'm SO happy we took the time to redo the sand and clean the pavers. 
Wanna come hang out?  Shoot me an email!
(Taken with my new toy - a sweet fisheye lens!  Don't mind the stupid recycling bin...what an eyesore...)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Roses

We planted the new rose bushes where the mums used to be.  I came home from work one day, and my lover had the holes already dug for me!  All I had to do was direct the placement, swap out the locations when I changed my mind, help refill the dirt, add fertilizer, and mulch-fluff.  Holla!
The roses we chose were recommended to us by the 'Weeks Roses' Rep at a wonderful event we went to at our favorite garden center in June.  I have to get pics up from that, it was fabulous! 
'Easy Does It' has plentiful blooms, is mildew and disease resistant, and beautiful peachy orange blooms that smell pretty.  'Rio Samba' is a little less mildew resistant, but the blushing yellow color was too hard to resist. 
They were a little wilty from the transplant, but I was thrilled when they were all planted and mulched.  Due to the cold Wisconsin weather, the tags recommend to sink the root ball a couple inches below the ground.  I put ours somewhere between 1 and 2 inches down.
I made sure to keep the mulch away from the main stem to avoid any excess moisture on the bottom leaves.  Roses don't like water on their leaves, and I take care to water them without 'sprinkling'.  
I can't wait for them to fill out this space with beautiful color!  The best part is the flowers bloom on long stems, so I can actually cut them and use them in vases.  That's awesome, since I have a slight addiction to buying milk glass vases at Goodwill.  Ooops!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hot summer cleaning

I noticed a little while ago that my beloved Moorish Tile rug in the dressing room was getting a little too worn in the places I walked all the time.  Mainly, the entrance to the room and in front of the dresser where I primp myself on the regular.  So, I decided to flip the rug so it would wear more evenly.  This was pretty annoying to do. 
We decided instead of moving the dresser out of the room, that we'd just have Shaun lift it up while I shimmied the rug out and back in.  It actually worked really well, and saved the trouble of me cleaning off all my crap from the moving the dresser.  Guess what I found behind the bookcases holding my tops?
Awe yeah, that's the good stuff.  There were tons of hairy dust bunnies dangling from the walls back there, too.  No wonder I walk into this house and have allergy fits!  This was behind the tall mirror:
Since that mirror is light and highly mobile, there really isn't any excuse for this!  I'm seriously the messiest fashionista you've ever seen.  Consider me reformed.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A useless light switch no more

My guest room had a light switch, but no light.  I hated it because any time I had to go in there at night I would flick the switch and nothing happened.  After THREE years I still did that.  Redonk. 
I decided one day to buy a fabulous flush mount light and hire someone to install it.  I only paid $88 for it, by the way...holy price increase, CSN! 
When it came in the mail, I stared at the ominous light cover thingy and decided to just go ahead and do it myself.  I'm cheap, and I'm definitely no stranger to installing lighting.
Wiring in old houses is always a fun endeavor.  Of course, I got exactly what I was old mounting strap...
...and cloth wrapped wires in a very small light box. 
I didn't know if the new light would fit on the old mounting strap, but I decided to just make it work.  Midway, I threw on the power to make sure it would light before I went through all the work to put it up. 
Success!  Ten swear-inducing minutes (or 40, whatever) we had figured out how to get the screws to line up on the old strap.   
And shortly thereafter, it was mounted safely to the ceiling.
I lined up all the parts to the light shade and dutifully read the instructions.   
The diffuser and sides of the shade were frosted glass, so they were kind of hard to fit in there, and didn't fully line up.  Oh well, I put this joint facing the window!
Gotta love that sweet circle pattern!  Here she is all finished. 
And lit up. 
Ah, I love having a light - even if it's a little small and not that 'exciting' in the room.
Our upstairs ceilings are only 7.5 feet, another charming feature of our 1937 home.  We only have dangly lights when there are things placed underneath like a bed, prevent "light crashing."  I think I found the best flush mount under $100, and it lights up the small room nicely.
Doesn't my light look very similar to this pricey Shades of Light version?
Yup, it's practically identical.  I'm so glad that install is over, and now I can visit my extra linens and cocktail dresses in the closets without crawling over the bed to turn on the lamp.  Score!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Got a minute? Stain something.

So, I think I'm the queen of "hey, I know I'm only weeding and planting stuff, but....I think this wine barrel planter looks shabby so I'm going to stain it RIGHT NOW at 7pm"...observe:
It was not good.  Maybe some people like weathered silvery wood, but I was sort of depressed looking at it.  I stained it in 5 minutes using the last little bit of stain I had left, and ran out before I could finish the inside...whoops!  
Ahh!!!  It's so much better!  Like looking at a toned and tan Ryan Reynolds instead of a glittery vampire!  Here's another closer shot - pale and angsty before: 
Warm and bubbly after:
After the stain dried for 2 minutes (who's counting?) I sprayed the whole thing with some spar urethane.  I used it when I planted flowers and then stained the planter they were in, and when I restained our bench last summer. 
It's nothing to write home about, but it's better than nothing.  Lest you should think I didn't plant anything in the barrel, I just ran outside and took this photo (at 8pm) of the vinca and coleus I planted there.  They look much cuter with the sun out!
As for my ridiculous blogging absences, I've been really busy being a newlywed this summer.  We've been doing a lot of this...
(not smoking, just drinking and paying homage to Bob!)
and some of this:
(hmm...appears to also be drinking...)
and this:
And of course, there was this shining moment last Saturday:
Do you think this is why I've been having a heck of a time getting up for work Monday mornings??  Either way, we are having a great summer and hope you are too!
ps - don't you love the free filters on Picnik??
pps - have you kissed a dog lately?
ppps - ok, I'm done now.