Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Landscaping update

I'm pretty sure I start each summer with the same post (I know it's mid-July, sorry!), it goes something like 'once the garden centers open for the season, I feel the itch to landscape!' This year was no exception.  We had a few things die over the winter and cold spring (my roses, a maiden grass, a tall daisy) but other than that, things are looking good.  We got our annual pile of triple ground mulch from the Mulch Center, it's so damn beautiful when it first gets dropped off.
The kids 'helped' me spread it around, it was worth the mess to see them covered in mulch and laughing.
I love the look of new mulch! 
I wanted to spruce up a couple areas I thought were lacking, so I searched for a planter that would fit this weird ledge near our garage.  I found the perfect one on Wayfair, it is like it was made for this spot. 
I planted some annual grasses in there.  The planter is lined with styrofoam too, so they will stay alive longer in the fall. 
Another new addition to this area is the little Ikea table and chair set that we bought in Minnesota.  We found it in the garage, and decided to just set it up on the drive as a makeshift patio while the kids ride and play on the sidewalk.  We don't park in the left side, so this works for us - and I think it looks cute!
 Rules, there are no rules here!
I also wanted to add a planter in the back by our deck.  Found this modern concrete-look composite one at Home Depot, love it!  I'm considering adding a couple more along the deck, electrical is buried there, so we can't plant in the ground. 
You might notice a hot mess to the right of this planter.  Yeah, that is a dumb ass project that I'm not sure what I was thinking when I did it.  We basically had a mud pit at the bottom of the deck, it made a huge mess on the wood and got walked into our house. 
We thought it would be cost-efficient to just remove the grass and some soil, and put in a little patch of paver base as a 'patio' until we did an actual patio.  I got to work on this silly plan. 
It went surprisingly fast, I got all this done in a few hours.  I planted some Stepables plants on the sides, but it turns out that paver base is very painful to walk on.  Duh! 
We made it work with an old door mat until I picked up some (but not enough) rubber pavers for the top at Menards.  It looks awful, that's for sure!  We intend to add a large paver patio next year, so this will hold us over until then. 
Other additions to the yard include a sweet raised garden bed that we made out of cedar.  I can't wait to share how we did it, it's been amazing to have endless amounts of cucumbers, and our corn is so majestic! 
We got a random apple tree from a friend who saw it posted for free online.  We aren't sure what kind it is, but we think it is an upright variety because of how the branches are pointed up.  We will see what happens!
So, things are doing well around the house and we've been lovingly watering the crap out of everything since we haven't had any significant rain for a long time.  Here are some yard shots, it's pretty fun to see how things are filling out. 
A close up of this year's planter in the front...I like it, but it's a little high maintenance and you can't see the Cordeline in the back anymore.  One day I'll get it perfect!
We found a new hibiscus that we couldn't pass up this year, so there will be another large plant taking up room in our house this winter.  Ugh, I just can't help myself!
We have a fun project happening soon, hopefully I can share it before another two months goes by!  Happy July!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Changes downstairs

The last time I shared our family room, it looked like this:
Everything has looked pretty much like that since 2016, then we decided to change up the layout this spring.  The couch was too far from the tv, and there was a lot of space in the front of the room that got all crapped up with kid stuff.  So, we decided to move our shelves together near the far end, and move the couch forward to create a kid area that can't be seen from the door.  Here it is now:
The baby buggy in the corner now lives in the playroom, and in it's place, I put a couple old school desks I found at Goodwill.  I added to the 'coloring nook' with a gold plug-in pendant from World Market. 
The rest of the area behind the couch is sort of a jumble, but I guess that is the point!
I have tried to get some stuff on the walls, too.  I was so tired of looking at a big blank wall above the sectional, so I got a 20x30 made of my favorite image of the boys. 
It was obviously way too small for that spot as a stand-alone image.  See this blog post on my photography site for more info about how I found that out the hard way!  Instead of the picture of the boys, which I moved above the desks, I decided to get these canvases from Target:
These are the proper scale, and I love the retro look of the well as the beautiful colors!  I plan to fill in the sides with gold framed prints to keep with my 'black, gold, and wood' theme throughout the house. 
A vintage cane chair (set of two, actually) that my neighbor was throwing away is living in here for additional seating.  I would love to reupholster it, because the fabric isn't in good shape.  I've also thought about painting it!
You can see I put my white Goodwill mirror from the Russet street house on that back wall.  I'm not sure it will stay, but it's nice to get it out of the garage for now.  The half moon table underneath it is absolutely a placeholder for something better when I find it.  A curtain in the doorway of the laundry room is a nice way to cover the mess with no fuss.  This brings me to my real issue....the color of the doors in the lower level.  They used to be an orangey wood, and I intended to paint them white to match the trim. 
But after I primed (with BIN) and painted the inside of the bathroom door, I got to thinking that maybe Urbane Bronze would look nice on the outside of the door as well.  So, I did my thing and ended up with a nice dark door.  PS - painting over BIN is a dream, it sands perfectly smooth and paint sticks to it like crazy!  Also, I never remove hardware, and always do the insets of a panel door first. 
There is only one coat on the outside of the door, because I'm not sold on the color.  This photo was taken before the mirror was added, but this is a good representation of how it looks during the day.  There is a good amount of light down here, so I'm not worried about dark doors making it look dark.  I do think it might make the old parquet floor look orange, but that may be the other door throwing me off. 
Also, I know it was popular five years ago to do interior doors this color, and I don't want to be 'dating' myself.  I do like the way it looks when opened into the bathroom!
We only have the bathroom, playroom, and door to the garage.  You can see at night how much more orange/yellow the floor looks.  However, I'm not sure white doors will be much better!  
I do love the idea of dark doors from a cleaning perspective, since my white doors upstairs are filthy from the kids.  Along with my walls, but that is a different story.  So, what do you think?
Next post, I'll be taking it outside!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Glass shower, you are high maintenance

Hey, guys!  It's been a minute since I posted.  Most of my projects have been on hold because around the time of my bathroom makeover post, I suddenly had Ashford home with me after 10:30am everyday.  (Side note - what the heck is up with 'half day' kindergarten, which is really only 2.5 hours?)  I found out real fast he didn't like being bored with me all day, and I was about to lose my mind, so now he is happily at the YMCA after school in their great after-school care program!  And I can do things again, like work on my photography business.  And clean.  And clean.  And do laundry.  And clean.  I got to thinking about our master bath today, and how much I love and hate our glass shower.  Love using it, hate cleaning it.  The glass always looks like this, even though we use a squeegee after each shower. 
I tried everything on the glass.  Windex, CLR, Limeaway, Kaboom, Scrubbing bubbles, etc.  Nothing touched the hard water stains.  So, I got on Amazon and saw what was available with great reviews.  This product was highly rated, so I bought it. 
It's got a kind of minty smell and it also a mint color thick gel/paste.  You put it on a cloth or paper towel and buff it into the glass.  I did test it in a small area by the sink wall to make sure it didn't scratch, since this is a mild abrasive.  Being that it is meant for glass and other surfaces, I wasn't expecting any issues - and didn't see any. 
I didn't think it required that much effort, but if your stains are really bad, you might need to use some elbow grease!
After you rub it in, you just rinse it off and then remove any streaks with Windex or similar glass cleaner.  I can't believe the difference!
I swear it feels brighter in the shower, too.  I still need to perfect everything with the regular glass cleaner, but it is awesome to have all those spots gone!
Some before and afters (some taken with light on, some off):
Now, I need to tackle the grout and caulking around the tile.  Ugh, never ends!  I hope to have something more fun to share soon.  We made some changes to the basement, and I need an opinion on our doors.  Have a great week!