Spring 2017

It’s already starting to feel like summer where I live which is exciting but also scary.  80° days in April makes me nervous for our usual hot months of July and August.  I’ve already been consistently watering the lawn and my grass already shows signs of stress if I skip more than one day between waterings.

BUT, spring means I finally get to see if everything I’ve planted and slaved over in the last three years is still alive and, spoiler alert, they are!

My apple tree blossoming is hands down my favorite part of spring.  Since I switched jobs I don’t get to spend any quality time in my yard until the weekends but thankfully I was able to catch some glimpses of my pretty tree for a few minutes each day at lunch.

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If my tree is on a three year cycle, this year should be a bumper crop of apples!

Last fall I cut my cleamatises way back to protect them during house painting.  While I tried to be careful, I was really worried that some of the chemical I used to clean the house in my painting prep may have found it’s way to the roots and killed them.  Good new, it didn’t!

The new clematis (on the right) has gone crazy and one shoot has already almost made it to the trellis with more little ones popping up all the time.  My goal is to not cut these back again so I meticulously trained each shoot of the old clematis up a string so it would be evenly spread across the trellis.  And then, wind.  And before I could sort it out and retrain them, their strong little grabbers had already taken hold so now I have a big jumbled mess of clematis that I hope won’t look too bad!

Two years ago I planted a lilac bush and a lilac twig.  Obviously the bush has gotten big (and is ready to flower!) and the twig, while hanging in there, is just not catching up.

I’m debating about digging up the twig in the fall and moving it to another spot and putting in a larger bush in its place so I have a little more symmetry out front.

I planted this aspen tree two years ago and it’s still going strong!  I even have three little shoots coming up so hopefully they’ll all live and I’ll finally have some shade over here…in 10 years…. For now I’m just happy it survived another winter!

My peonies are still alive too!  I really thought that peonies were delicate so every fall I’ve cut them down and covered them with mulch to keep them alive through the winter.  Turns out, they’re tougher than I had thought and I shouldn’t have been cutting them back.  They look okay right now but if I had left them alone, they’d be bushes by now instead of just a few shoots coming up from the ground.  Now that I know this I can save myself some time in the fall and look forward to more flowers next year!

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Finally, last year I bought these tulip bulbs to plant in some flower pots we had at work.  Then I quit that job and never did it and I’m SO HAPPY!  Now I have perfectly coordinated tulips by my back door and they’re my favorite thing.  I’m going to be really sad when they fade!

In addition to all of that, I have some seeds started inside, new hostas around the pine tree and two raspberry plants are due to arrive any day now!  Plus I’ve been working on a project on my tree lawn that’s going to be really exciting so stay tuned!

-A

To see how this spring compares to last spring check out last year’s post here and 2015 here.

 

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Pine Tree Flower Bed

I spent weeks months last year painting my house in an effort to up the curb appeal.  While I was thrilled with how my house looked, I hated how beat up the space under my pine tree looked.

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I knew grass would never grow under the tree so I went to Google.  Google told me that hostas love it under pine trees as do columbines.

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I found the two packages on the left at Wal-Mart and the blue ones at Tuesday Morning.  Then I bought these to hopefully fill in the empty spots.

The problem with planting around this tree is the roots are pretty close to the surface.  I was nervous to dig and disturb them so I had to figure out how to build up some dirt.

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Last week I went to Wal-Mart and bought a bunch of these retaining wall bricks.  I loaded them into my car and then unloaded them in my driveway.  Then I started to build the wall.  The ground is really unlevel and again, I couldn’t dig a trench to put these in properly.  So, they got loaded back into my car, driven to Wal-Mart, loaded into a shopping cart and returned.  That was a lot of work!

While I love learning new things, I really wanted this project to be done so I stuck with what I knew and built a box out of wood.

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Then I scavenged all the flagstone I had around my house (more lifting!) and built a rough square around the box.

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I didn’t have enough stones to do a whole second layer but I think it’ll be okay.  I just needed it to be high enough to hold up a layer of potting soil.

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Then I planted the hostas I have, leaving room for the others to get her in mid-April.

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I’m so happy!  You can still kind of see how unlevel that wooden box is but it’s the best I can do.  I just need these hostas to fill it in and they will hide the box completely….in a couple of years.

Now I need to fill in the dirt spots in the yard with more grass seed and tackle a big project on my tree lawn!

-A

2017 Whole House To Do List

See my very first whole house to do list here!

While I’m really happy with all the work I’ve (we’ve) gotten done in my house, there are still a few big projects I want to do before I’ll feel like my house is done.

entry

Entryway:

  • all that’s left is to update the trip around the door into the living room and around the closet

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Living Room:

  • refinish the floors to match the kitchen
  • install a gas insert
  • replace the thermostat
  • add blinds

(also, how cute are Henry and Prudie??)

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Kitchen:

  • hang ceiling fan.  Fun fact, I haven’t had an overhead light in here since February of last year.  I’ve tried to install one (and several other lights) but something must be wrong with the wiring because no fixture I put up works.  I have an electrician coming this week to hopefully fix this problem!
  • install a light over the sink
  • turn guest room closet into a pantry

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Laundry Room:

  • shorten light fixtures (and change that burned out bulb)
  • replace floor.  I’m thinking something like this
  • install a door between kitchen and laundry

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Hallway:

  • take that dang wall all the way to the ceiling!
  • replace the doors to the bathroom, master bedroom and guest room

bath

Hall Bathroom:

  • new floor, to match whatever I do in the laundry room
  • new tile in shower surround (like this)
  • new vanity and medicine cabinet

guest

Guest Room:

  • new headboard
  • finish the wall (see hallway) so it goes to the ceiling
  • remove second closet (behind white door in first picture) and make it a pantry for the kitchen
  • see what’s under the pergo floors

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Master Bedroom:

  • repaint

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this is Valsapar’s Handspun Yarn.  I love it on the closet wall (middle) but it looks purple in the bathroom (left) and white in the bedroom.  I think repainting will involve priming and repainting everything.

  • decorate, basically I want to stop ignoring this room and to finally make it a pretty, organized space!

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Master Closet

  • repaint
  • look for carpet remnant for the floor

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Master Bathroom:

  • repaint
  • new vanity
  • better organization

This could be a busy year!

-A

House Painting-DONE!

So, way back in September I took a week off of work to paint my house.

All the progress posts are here,  here, here, and here.

But now, it’s done!

Last week my dad finished painting the eaves and I sanded down one window frame and repainted it.

It was in bad shape.  We did paint it before I moved in but used cheap paint that did not hold up, obviously.  I’m hoping that because I sanded it down to almost bare wood and then used a high quality paint I’ll be able to get at least a few more years out of this original window trim.

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The newly painted window and now painted yellow window box has us here:

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Next summer I’ll have to do the rest of the window trim but I’m calling this project, officially DONE!

-A

So This Happened

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The trashcan/recycling space is now being used for what it was intended:

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A DISHWASHER!

My parents generously bought me this for my Christmas/birthday gift this year and my dad offered to install it for me.

I’m sure he thought this would go quickly but since this is my house where nothing ever goes as expected, it took all day yesterday and part of today!

After several trips to the local hardware store yesterday we got it in place and wired only to find the water line was a little too short.  By that time the hardware store was already closed and nobody wanted to drive the 20+ minutes to the next closest one so today my dad picked up a longer water line and now:

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it works!

I no longer have to wash by hand or lose most of my counter space to the dish rack!

-A

This Ain’t Fun No More*

I’m still painting.  At first I was so excited, remember?  Now I’m just over it.

My mom has been helping, thank goodness, I’d hate to see how much I would have left to do without her help!

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We were hoping that we’d be able to get to the tops of the eaves ourselves but it turns out we’re both too scared to be on the ladder when it’s that high up.  I’m working on finding someone I can pay to just finish this off.

I’m working on building some planters to replace the grey flower pots and I want to move that window box inside so I can paint it yellow over the winter.

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That corner is haunting me.  It’s so small but I know it’s going to take the whole day to do.  I also added that address plaque but it’s too big.  I have another one I still need to paint and put up…eventually.

That light blue you see?  That’s all that’s left (except the tops of the eaves.)  Maybe we’ll get it done this weekend!

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The back is totally done.  I climbed up on my closet and got that eave on Sunday.  I wish they were all that easy!

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See that little door up there?  That’s my only access to my attic.  Until last weekend, I had never been up there.  I have dreams of finishing it but looking at it made me realize that it’s going to cost a whole lot more money and time than  I have right now.

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Plus I should probably invest in better insulation before I really pursue that project.

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The good thing to come out of this gross excursion to my attic?  That brick up there.  There’s a square bump out next to my fridge in my kitchen which I suspected was an old chimney and last weekend I got my confirmation.  So, this winter I’m busting down that plaster and exposing this brick!  I’m so excited!

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So there you have it.  If winter runs late, if I can find time this weekend, if I can find someone who isn’t afraid of heights, I just may finish this project this year!

-A

*Every time I paint I sing this line from this song