Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Garden Tour

I know I haven't posted in forever... I'm undecided about blogging. But here you go. My gardens have been making me happy lately, so here's a tour.

Here is the view of the house from part of our driveway, from the angle of the road. Not very pretty.... I think I'm going to take out the two bushes at the front (not the little tree) so you can see into the bed, and then layer it with hostas, salvia, knockout roses, and peonies. Low maintenance but pretty. Not this year, but hopefully next spring.

Here are a few of the things I've planted in that front bed so far. A peony :) It's actually supposed to be one of the best flowers you can grow in the midwest and they are to-die-for gorgeous, but not long blooming. So I'll probably keep the four or five that I have, but not plant more.

I planted some hydrangeas because they're awesome, but a week or two after I planted them we got our last frost and it almost killed them... They're fine for our winters and will come back next year, but because they were new the cold got to them this year. There is new growth in there and they've grown a lot since then, but probably no blooms this year. Oh well.

My mom and I planted different bulbs last fall, so it was fun seeing what came up. These were a surprise to me: allium! Technically they're onions, but certain varieties have these giant purple blooms that are awesome. I had them in our wedding, and I'll definitely be planting a lot more this fall. I think they're better layered into things because they're really tall, but so cool. (sorry for the weird filter, I put them on instagram and it was the only picture I had of them blooming.)

More bulbs that came up: fancy tulips. Very pretty.

Lamb's ear at the front of the bed. They're low, but really fuzzy and I love the texture. No blooms that I know of.

This is the bed by the front door. I planted knockout roses last year. It doesn't get a ton of sun so they're a lot smaller, but pretty :) I also put petunias in the pot by the door. A friend gave me a moon flower a few days ago in that blue pot by the door. I'll probably bring it somewhere else, and it only blooms in the evening (I think), so I didn't take a closer picture of it. So sweet, though, and I'm really excited about it.

This is the round bed in the front of the house. All the junipers were existing... I attempted to trim their wildness. I kind of like them, though. My neighbor doesn't, and keep telling me to rip them out. Haha. I'm not decided. I planted phlox (done blooming) in the middle. I hope it goes crazy like phlox can.

You can see my neighbors are having a graduation party in the background. With a bounce house.

Here are hydrangeas and zinnias. The zinnias are annuals and should bloom all season long, and remind me of home. They make great cut flowers inside... my mom had them growing up. Hopefully they get big enough to cut. The closest of the three hydrangeas looks like it will bloom this year. I hope so. 

This is moving to the back of the house. If you're looking at that first picture, it's to the left. We have so many beds... Anyway, I planted blanket flowers at the front and they go through phases, but blooms like crazy most of the time. Behind are spirea that hacked to nothing and then transplanted. They're doing really well and look great there.

Behind them is a giant rose that got really big last year but didn't bloom, but this year it is absolutely covered in blooms! Very pretty. You can see our steps down to our basement... I planted knockout roses around them last year. Some have gotten really big.

Here is that rose you can see some of in the previous picture. Like I said, blooming like crazy. I'm so thankful.

Here is one of the knockout roses. It got totally trampled by the guys doing the brick work, but is still blooming a ton. And to the left of it you can see new growth! Good plant.

Here is the other side of the steps down to the basement. More knockout roses. I planted all of them at the same time last year and some went crazy and some clearly did not, but I think they are the best flower. Gorgeous, bloom all season long with tons and tons of flowers, are self deadheading, and you don't have to do anything to them. The best. I highly recommend them to everyone, everywhere.

I will plant lots more next year.

There are a ton of day lillies around the corner of the house that were existing still. All I know is that they are huge and bloom like crazy. I think I'll divide them and put them in different areas around the house because they're awesome.

I was in Colorado and when I came back I had a bunch of produce in the fridge that had gone bad (oops), so I decided now was as good as any to start a compost pile. So for now it's in these big knockout rose pots I had because they'll drain, but I need to figure out an actual pile. The pile needs to be in the sun... that's the challenge, because my sunny places are all visible to neighbors.

I am growing tomatoes. This one is in a pot, but I have two others in the ground. Lots of tomatoes, none ripe yet. I'm excited.

I also have a lemon tree! It's got lemons, and more blooms. I'm very excited. You can see the little lemons growing!

I have the tomato, lemon tree, and some basil in pots on the corner of my back patio.

Some tomatoes growing... I'll have dozens when they're finally ripe. I'm planning on doing canned tomatoes and canned salsa. It'll be great.

I have a mini rose in a pot. It's happy.

My neighbor gave me irises that she thinned... I only got one bloom this year but I'm hopeful. They're pretty. To the right are daffodils that only bloom at the beginning of spring.

There are random vestiges of the previous owners... like this bird feeder.

I have boxwoods growing like crazy... I try to prune them and it takes hours and I fill up wheel barrows full of trimmings, but they continue to look overgrown. Oh well. I like them a lot.

Hostas keep coming up in back. We have a random little pond to the right of these. We're pretty sure it's just breeding ground for mosquitos, so Miles randomly dumps bleach in it.

I planted more hostas in one of the back beds. No sun, and hostas are great for that. And they have little blooms once a year! And zero maintenance. My kind of flower.

I planted some lily of the valley from a friend. And some other stuff.... but the lily of the valley should go crazy which will be nice in that bed. I would appreciate if it took it over and killed some of the weeds... It's one of my many shade beds.

Anyway. Lots of stuff outside. That's the tour!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Piano

I got a piano! I posted last that I wanted a free piano off of Craigslist, and I got just that :) It's in rough shape and probably really out of tune, but it's an awesome piano, and it was free. So I'm excited. I've started to learn to play, and tomorrow I have my first lesson! I told Miles that when we moved up here that I'd become a 12 year old girl: take horse lessons and piano lessons. Now I'm riding a horse and taking piano lessons. Haha.

This is it! A tall upright. All wood. I used a lot of Murphy's Oil Soap and lavender essential oil and cleaner on it. It's a ridiculous story where we got it... from a guy in Northville (a nice suburb up here) who raised guinea pigs and chinchillas as a side job. His house smelled like a cage. He also raised turtles and had a 4' alligator in his basement! Pretty ridiculous, but I totally enjoyed it.

I feel kind of bad for the big strong men we dragged along and my friend Alli, but we got them lots of pizza after. Did you know pianos are really heavy?

We moved it in our friend's truck. So thankful for big, strong friends and a big, strong husband :) We had it strapped down and it didn't move at all once it was in there. Helps to have three engineers strap it down.

Grinnell Brothers were a huge manufacturer back in the day, reaching their peak when this piano was made, in the 50s. Detroit!

The ivories have come off in the places where I'm guessing his kids played/beat it to death. I need to figure that out.

Like I said, lots of lavender oil.

And lots of cleaning. It was in a rather dirty house, so these were from the first swipe.

The bench opens! Of course, right? But it's kind of fun. I'm excited for the day when it's filled with good music. And maybe I'll upholster it into a comfy bench at some point.

Once Miles moved it into the hearth room I covered it with fun crap that I had laying around. I love it. Just temporary but we'll see. Once I put something somewhere it tends to stay there for another couple years.

Plus I got an Asparagus Fern from Lowe's and I was really excited about that. I've wanted one for awhile and they're supposed to like indirect light, which that part of the room has a lot of, so it's perfect.

And now onto the random fun stuff. My wonderful friend had this wingback that she gave me :) Her husband found it on the side of road for dump day and they had it sitting in their basement for forever, and their dog's hair stuck to it horribly because it's velvet. I'm hoping that since it's in a room we don't use a ton and my dogs won't be allowed on it that it will be okay.

And it's got my quilt which I love on it. The quilt has been done for a month and deserves its own post soon.

Also, we're fixing the brick really soon so we can get the fireplace working! So next winter I can play the piano or sit in the wingback with a fire blazing next to me. Sounds pretty perfect to me.

Two pretty, free, new things. I'm happy. And blessed.

I said this was the random section, right? I got this ancient printing press thing at an estate sale, and I love it. For the record, I think estate sales are the absolute best because 1) things are cheap and 2) it tends to be good stuff because the people lived with it for however long and now their relatives just don't care.

Some friends and I threw a baby shower this weekend and I got this pack of tissue puff balls for decoration for it, so it would be fun to find something to do with them. I think they're really cute. I have five, two large and three medium size.

I got a lemon tree :) I've been wanting one for awhile now and finally got one. It's an Improved Meyer Lemon, which are supposed to be excellent in containers and the lemons themselves are supposed to be sweeter than average and delicious. It's three years old, which means that it can start producing lemons now. It's got blooms on it, but I'm not supposed to put it in the sun yet... we'll see. I really hope it grows.

I also got basil and cilantro, two spices I totally love. I also hope they grow :)

I put up these old license plates that I've been collecting over the years, one for the places where we love people. I need an Illinois one and it'll be a lot closer to being complete. Seen any, Jesse? :) I can see them from the front door and from the sink. I like them.

And finally, here's a ridiculous picture of Tucker. He likes attention, and I like to mush his face. Did you know he has a huge underbite? Good dog.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A to do list, kind of.

I almost deleted the blog. I've gotten a LOT of spam comments on the dang thing since last October and get emails with the stupid things every time I get one and I'd just about had it. Then Miles suggested that I put one of those Word Verification things on here so we shall see. I've been resistant to it so far so I apologize if it's slightly more inconvenient if you do comment. I could just delete it, of course. I don't mind doing that.

Because I have TOO MUCH else on my mind. I had an interesting and inconvenient health circumstance from November-December. If we keep up then you know, but feel free to get ahold of me if you're curious.  But anyway, I think since I've recovered from all that I'm overly passionate. About everything. And I was pretty passionate before, so watch out now. Especially if I have caffeine, which makes me feel like I can EXPLODE out of my skin.

And because I seriously love lists, here is some of the stuff I'm excited about/want to do:

-Make a spring wreath. Even if we're supposed to get snow tomorrow it's almost April and time to do this.
-Buy a Meyer's lemon tree. It started here. Then went here, then led to the real thing, which is this.
-Read my Bible more.
-Be more thankful. And intentional.
-Eat healthier.
-Design more. For work and my house. Stuff like this.
-Exercise more. Including walking/running/biking with my dogs. With their ridiculous and awesome new backpack.
-Repair the deteriorating brick on our house. That's a long story, but it'll happen.
-Research composting and build a compost bin. Like this one.
-Get a free piano off Craigslist (like this one, only free) and learn to play it.
-Get to bed earlier and rise earlier. This is not natural for me. Since I was an infant I've been a night owl... you can ask my family. But I need more hours in the day.
-Make a lotion. Like this one, kinda.
-Make my house prettier. Add wallpaper like this and embroider this and build this.
-Do crazier stuff on a horse. Like jump more and this.
-Sew more. Like this and this and this.
-Garden more. Granted it's 20 degrees outside and supposed to snow tomorrow and my gardens will continue to look like crap, but I'd love to plant them and make them pretty. Also, aside from the lemon tree I really want in my girly room and compost thingy outside, I'd like to have herbs in a window garden. Probably in the kind of cute terracotta pots that abound on Pinterest. Wouldn't that be nice?
-Make pillows for the girly room. Like this and this and these and with this on it.
-Keep seeing friends a lot. Intentionally grab the ones who we don't see enough.
-Read again. I just finished this book tonight and it was pretty cute.

There's definitely more but I'll stop for everyone's sake (like travel more and take Miles to Montana, etc). I have too much to do. And I just got back from skiing in Utah with Miles' family which means it's 2:42 am and I'm wired. And bruised, but that's beside the point. I'm afraid to drink caffeine tomorrow for fear of getting fired just to shut me up. Oh the conundrums.

Also, I apologize if you opened up even half of those links, even if I do think they're fabulous. I think I spend too much time getting excited about stuff online, and that's my real problem. If you agree... I don't know if I want you to tell me.

Anyway, hope everyone is doing well and that we get to talk soon. And I've done some stuff I could update on the blog, so we'll see. I made a triangle quilt, which was horrible but I love it. Story of my sewing life... But, it's worthy of a post so maybe it'll get that.

Okay, what I'm trying real hard to focus on:

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14

“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked... Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.” Psalms 84:10-12

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Plates on a Wall.

I know I neglected the blog for a couple months, but I haven't completely forgotten it. Thus, this rather random post. But it's an improvement I made to the house, so there you go.

Plates, collected over the last year or two from various thrift stores, antique malls, etc. And now put on the wall in my hearth room with a fireplace that doesn't work, or my girly room as I keep calling it.

If you've ever been in Susan's house, you'd think I was totally copying her by putting plates on my walls. She's got hundreds. But it was just Pinterest, I swear...

I haven't changed much in the actual room... I'd really like to repair the brick and thus get the fireplace working, because I think the room will be fabulous once it's working!

Here's a close up of some of the plates. The picture is a bit washed out but it was cloudy all day so I wasn't sure what to do about it. I wish I had gotten more colorful plates now that they're all the wall, but I just need to paint the room. Also, I just got generic plate hangers at Lowe's. They cheap and obviously do the job!

One of the plates. Most of them I got for 99 cents at thrift stores.... not too bad :)

Here's all the plates hung up. I put them around the sliding glass door in the the hearth room.

I can see the plates from the hall, which makes me happy :)

Here's a preview for probably my next post... I've been sewing for about a week straight. But I adore the result.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hello Again

Well, hello again. It's been a long hiatus on the blog. But you know... I've been busy. And stuff.

Lots of stuff.

Anyway, for some reason lately I have wanted to do ALL THE PROJECTS. Which, you know I was fairly gung-ho before, so now it's a bit of an issue. For Miles, anyway. But I've done everything in budget, so aside from all the mutual labor, he doesn't have it too bad :)

The main project was the kitchen. I've been wanting to paint the cabinets since we looked at the house since the floors were an orange-y oak color and the cabinets were an orange-y maple color.

So I did. And here ya go, pictures:

Before. Pretty, but lots of orange. Not a cute orange, either...

And now! So much brighter and happier.

I still have work to do, since somehow this one cabinet door didn't get painted, just primed. Looks great.

Aaaand the primer pooled in some places so some of the doors have this (above) nasty crustiness on them. So I need to sand them and repaint them. But it's a lot of work and they look good now, so... ya know. Could be awhile.

Part of painting the cabinets was adding knobs and pulls. 50% off at Hobby Lobby. I love love the pulls.

The knobs I don't really care about, but they go with the pulls better than anything else did and Miles really liked them. They look fine, I just don't love them.

We also installed a new sink and faucet! The color of the cabinets and the sink/faucet were the only things lacking practically in the whole house, so we fixed that :) Miles was the manual labor. Good man.

I wanted a cast iron sink with white enamel... I just found out that my sister bought the exact same sink today!! Great minds... :)

And a close up of the faucet for my sister. Since she still needs to buy that. Brushed nickel since supposedly it's easier to care for than stainless steel (and stainless steel is a PAIN), and we got a pull down that had a magnet so it'll never wear out. Important.

I also updated the gallery in the kitchen. Before it was those botanical prints, which I liked a lot, but my friend Heather came to visit and we found some cool stuff when we went antiquing and I wanted to see it more often. Also, on the right bottom is this brass hammered version of the Last Supper which I got at the one super cheap thrift store that was right next to our last house in Texas.

I've come to the opinion that if it's in my house I better love it. And I don't need to be acceptable for the few people that would see the weird stuff. So. I like ships.

This is one of the projects that Heather and I did. We had a lot of fun. Isn't this cute?? She describes everything better than I could on her blog.

It ended up by the front door. And even though I put some of my stuff on it for the pictures, Miles uses it all the time. See above picture.

And now we're really getting random. I got an English saddle off Craigslist and I just think it's gorgeous :) The lady gave me the saddle, pad, girth, stirrups, and stand with it. Made me happy.

And okay. Here are some pictures of the dogs. I thought it was cute that they went in the only sliver of sunlight they could fine. Then Tucker chewed his bone.

Then he was just ready for the sun. So Molly chewed the bone next.

And this is how the dogs sleep. Under Miles. Tucker can handle any weight, but Molly likes to curl around him. For the warmth and just because they love him.

I've got more projects to feature. So, I'll hopefully put those up soon. I'm back in a groove.