Top Social

War Has Officially Been Declared

5.24.2010

Rabbits are no longer welcome in our yard.

It rained a lot last week.  Like a cold week of April rain in May.  It was weird but it was a good excuse to get things done inside and deal with the stress of the end of the school year.

But one afternoon I got home from work and noticed all the pink roses were laying on the ground at the back of the yard.  The roses that were among the plants that I had spent an entire weekend preparing a bed for and planting.

“Wow it must have rained really hard last night to knock all those petals off of the roses”

Then I walked out there and saw this.  I guess the stem right under the flower were the tastiest.

IMG_1003

And it made me very angry.  As in hoping the rabbits were bleeding internally from the thorns.  If we did not have a solid six foot fence around our yard, I would have thought that we had a deer problem.

Obviously with the rain, my number one rabbit repelling/killing team was not spending a lot of time outside.  Failures.

IMG_0010

When it finally stopped raining I went out to spray Liquid Fence to deter them.  And I found even more damage.  Which made me angrier.

IMG_1010

But, I have had success with this product in the past.   You have to reapply it every time it rains, which gets really old.  And it smells like a mixture of rotten eggs, puke, and toilets.  Two reasons why it is not a product that I look forward to using.

I was serious though so it applied it over all non-edible plats while muttering things like “die rabbits die.”  And even though the direction of the wind kept changing, dousing me in eau de rotten eggs that took two showers to get rid of, I was satisfied that I had foiled the mangy rabbits.  Victory!

The next day I walked over to the vegetable beds and witnessed this.

IMG_1011

I refuse to spray liquid fence on the spinach because even if it was suitable for human consumption, I really don’t want my salad smelling or tasting like a toilet.  So I spayed some on the dirt in between the rows of spinach in the hopes that it may work.  And I laid some chives from my previously overgrown plant around it randomly.  Because in my mind, rabbits don’t like the smell of onions.  Probably not true, but in my agitation I was not thinking that straight.  And it sounded good.

According to my scientific google search, cayenne pepper and human hair also are good repellents.  But call me crazy, I again hesitate to put that all over food I hope to eat.

Sigh. So I think we are going to have to make a chicken wire fence around the raised beds to keep them out.  As well as to keep out one of the rabbit repellers who has shown a recent affinity for strawberries fresh from the plant.

IMG_1013(1)

Fence….Ugly? Yes….but probably will be necessary. 

Because I will win this war one way or another.

I hope.

Photobucket

Happy Birthday?? (and some ugly pictures)

5.20.2010

Derek’s birthday just might be cursed.

Last year the dryer busted a couple of days before.  So he was the lucky recipient of a brand new washer and dryer.  Every man’s dream.

This year he was fortunate to get something even more expensive. 

Any guesses what glamorous item it was?

IMG_1004

ohhhhh……

IMG_0996

ahhhhh…..

At least we got a cool new touch screen thermostat out of the deal (and some touch-up painting).

IMG_0984

So yes we have a new furnace and AC.   And I bought Derek some of his favorite candy and wine (wrapped of course) in case that beauty in the yard was not thoughtful enough…

And for anyone who has had to decide on a new system when it was 102 or minus 10 outside you have my respect.  There were so many options and so many choices that I don’t know how we could have made a decision quickly.  I think we made the right decision both financially and comfortwise (at least according to our spreadsheets)…..but who knows.

So in that thread I wanted to share before pictures that don’t have an after.  And won’t anytime soon.  Unless maybe we find a winning lottery ticket.

Why?  Because I don’t want to just show all the pretty parts of our house on the blog and pretend like the others don’t exist.  And because the master bath was next on the to-do list until it got bumped by a non-working AC.  So to look on the bright side, it’s ugliness is going to be celebrated.  And I want to make you smile on Friday.

Because I know pink always makes me smile….

IMG_0991

No? Or maybe some red to go with the pink and teal?

IMG_0987

Or maybe some pink and blue vinyl and nasty carpet around the vanity, tub and shower?

IMG_0988

If that did not do it, the Baskin-Robbins wallpaper that I shred occasionally for stress release could.  Obviously working out is not relieving stress since my motivational calendar is from last August..

IMG_0986

I know…the the shiny brass and scalloped sinks can brighten your Friday…

IMG_0989

We have talked about doing some minor things to make it a little better like replacing hardware, stripping wallpaper and getting a new window covering.  But we are planning a major overhaul involving moving the tub and shower so we worry that anything we do will just be throwing money away before the real remodel.  So it looks like the day we moved in….with some new wallpaper shredding. 

So did I make you smile….or maybe cringe?

Photobucket

And So It Begins (Edible Edition)

5.17.2010

I just may have the garden planted.  Took awhile and I still may add a couple of things here and there, but overall it is ready for the “before” picture.

Last year was a lot more labor intensive with building the raised beds and planting everything from scratch.  So compared to that fun, this year was pretty easy.  And I even had some of my plants come back.  And I strategically moved the others around to help combat disease and bugs.

I also stuck pretty closely to the original plan.  Except there was no room for cantaloupe and asparagus…and Derek threw another random pepper in the cart.

So I will stop babbling and share the beginning of the 2010 gardening season-

Bed #1: Raspberries

IMG_0958

Yeah this is the “before” picture.  They have really taken off and I am so excited that I will be able to get fruit of them this year (and that they are hiding ugly the electrical box per my plan).  Tying them up to the trellis was a long and thorny morning so if the birds get to the berries first I will be very peeved.

IMG_0959

 

Bed #2- jalapeño, other random pepper, beans, red onion, yellow onion, spinach, and leaf lettuce.

IMG_0960

IMG_0962

I planted the beans from seed and they are just starting to sprout-IMG_0961

 

And the Bed #3- strawberries, tomato, bell pepper, more beans, green onion and snap peas

Let’s just say the strawberries cam back with a vengeance-IMG_0967

IMG_0969(1)IMG_0968

As did the green onion.  The flowers look pretty….IMG_0964

But it needs some serious dividing as it is taking over other plants.  Supposedly the best time to so this is after flowering and I am counting the days.IMG_0966

Speaking of flowering edibles…who knew that sage could be so pretty?  Good thing looks good because I have no idea how to cook with it.IMG_0956

All the other herbs (cilantro, lavender, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and mint) are happily in their pots on the patio.   But already are so much larger than when I planted them.

We also added a grape trellis to the side of the patio….I am a little nervous because from what I read the pruning protocol is very specific to get fruit.   So this falls in the “experimental” section.  Hence the tags still on the plants….once I take them off I am committed in my mind.  I know….weird.  So they just might be on there all summer.

IMG_0971

And to go with the beginnings of the garden, I am happy to report that we have already eaten a small portion of this years bounty.  It rained  a l l  weekend here, but I sloshed through the yard to get this to add to dinner (and dessert).  Note to self-backyard drainage is probably another upcoming expensive yet unglamorous project.

First garden harvest 2010

First garden harvest 2010

First garden harvest 2010

I am so excited to start the almost daily trips out there to add to our meals.  And I can’t wait to see the “after” pictures.

Stay tuned for the spring pictures of the rest of the landscaping….I am happy to report that the perennial beds are looking a lot more full than last year.  Not that would take much.

Photobucket

A Dog’s Life

5.12.2010

In the quest to slowly but surely get the master bedroom to being officially an “after”, I knew we had to something about one of the last eyesores in the room-the dog beds. 

IMG_0637IMG_0636

The current ones were plaid, old and furry.  But they are a necessary evil.

Because you can’t just take away their beds because they are ugly.  Well I guess you could, but that would not be very nice.

And you can buy some cute dog beds but they were never the perfect size or color for our space.  And what fun is buying them when you can easily make them?

So a little while ago I bought some fabric I loved for this purpose.IMG_0633

(In case you are curious…the fabrics are Summer Soiree by Paula Prass and Two by Two Stripe by Michael Miller)

Horribly impractical with the white being perfect to exhibit mud and the black a magnet for dog hair.

But oh well….I told myself that is what a washing machine is for.

I made the beds very simply. I just measured the space, added a couple of inches for seam allowances and the depth of the pillow, and then constructed it just like an envelope backed pillow.  In other words exactly how you could make a pillow case for a pillow form.  Super quick and easy.  And a perfect beginner sewing project.

Here is the back on one bed with the overlapping fabric.

IMG_0972

Then you just have to stuff it with something soft and washable. 

You could make a matching pillow form with muslin and polyfil for this purpose.

Or you could be green (and cheap) like me and find something laying around to stuff it with.  Because let’s be honest anything that is soft (for the dogs) and washable (for you) would work.

So let’s just say that you melted a king size duvet insert trying to stuff it in your washer which turned out to be too small.  Not that you (or I) would be dumb enough to do that….we are talking hypothetically.  You could cut that in pieces and stuff your beds with that.  Hypothetically of course.

IMG_0973

Whatever you use does not not need to be perfectly sized.  Just shove it in there and you get this….

IMG_0974

or this….

IMG_0976

Perfectly smooth….no.  But cheap and honestly our dogs have more fun shifting and digging at the lumps to get it to their liking.  Smooth beds are boring.

And if you have extra fabric you could make a little pillow for their head.  

IMG_0979

Winter had already shifted the pillow for her liking….but of course would not lay on it as soon as the big bad camera made an appearance.

She was however happy to try both beds before determining which was to her liking.

IMG_0980

Which one do you think she should choose?  Is she more a chevron or stripe type of girl?

Photobucket

How-To: Outdoor Rolling Cart

5.06.2010

In re-designing our outdoor space, I realized we were lacking some storage.  Sure there were tables, chairs and a sectional, but no place to just set stuff. And while the garage was just a few steps away through the interior of the house, I learned quickly that it was just too far in the summer and therefore I just plopped things on the ground.

So we needed a flat surface to set stuff.  And it as luck would have it, we had a perfect awkward space for this storage to fit into.

IMG_0931

It had to be pretty and look like furniture.  I was envisioning a simple slatted console-table like thingy.  That I could set stuff on. In a fun color. 

That was the very thorough description I gave to Derek.

He took it a couple of steps further and designed and made this-

IMG_0947

A double decker rolling cart.

Backing up……

After I explained my master vision we headed off to the hardware store for some lumber and outdoor stain.  After much debate and price comparison we decided to go with cedar because it was not that much more expensive than pressure treated wood and I could treat it with color right away.  And it smelled nice.

And by much debate, I mean we put wood on the cart and then exchanged it for a different kind three times.  The Home Depot guys would have thought we were crazy if they did not know us so well from our frequent visits.

Anyway, we spent about $60 on wood.

Now for the Jenny version of the how-to (with pictures of course):

We made the frames for the shelves-IMG_0926

Added the slats-IMG_0927

Screwed on the legs-IMG_0928

Assembled the layers and added the wheels-IMG_0929

Simple right?

Well for the more technically inclined here is the Derek version with fancy schmancy measurements-

The cart is three main pieces.

The upper shelf is made completely of 1 x 4 boards.  The slats are 1x4 of 16 ¾ in length.  There are 9 of them spaced approximately ½ inch apart.  The long sides are two 1x4 boards hooked together.  The outer board is 7 inches shorter than the inner board (29”).  The inner board is 36” long.  This allows 3 ½ inches on each end for the vertical 2x4.  The short sides are connected with a 1x4 that is 11 ¾ inches long.  When looking at it from the short side you would see the 1 ½ inch side of the 2x4, then the ¾ inch side of the inner 1x4, the 11 ¾ inch 1x4 and then a mirror of the other side.  This totals out to 16 ¾ (1 ½ + ¾ + 11 ¾ + ¾ +1 ½)

The lower shelf is made the same way except the two outer slats are cut shorter to fit within the vertical 2x4’s. 

The vertical 2x4’s are however tall you want to make them.  Our cart is 37” from the bottom of the vertical 2x4’s to the top of the upper shelf (not counting the wheels).

OK enough of that…back to the pictures.

After the cart was assembled, it was my turn to take over with filling the nail/screw holes and sanding-IMG_0933

But happily we were going for a rustic outdoor look so not that much sanding was required.

Which is good because sanding is not rated as one my favorite DIY tasks.

I then finished it in an opaque stain in Shipmate Blue.IMG_0935

Ultimately I would have loved to do a semi-transparent stain in blue, but I could not buy it in a quart.  And I did not feel so strongly about it to justify the extra cash.

After two coats of stain we got this-IMG_0947

Or should I say this-IMG_0949

On a typical day I plan on housing most of my gardening supplies here so they are not just scattered around the deck. 

But it also can be used for this purpose-

IMG_2964

IMG_2966

Or for sangria...or a bucket of beer…..or lemonade.  Or setting the mint plant on there and whip up some mojitos.   Or a serving table for food.

Or a fiesta…

IMG_2968

Confession- I was tempted to set up all of these those little vignettes and take pictures to illustrate the many uses of the outdoor cart.  But a) it would have been obvious that I had a little too much free time and b) my neighbors were in their backyard….they probably would not look at me the same after seeing me rearrange beverages on the cart six times and then snap pictures.  Especially at 8 on a weeknight when it was just the two of us outside. 

But I did capture the cart in all of it’s wheeling glory without causing neighborly concern.  It makes a perfect BBQing accessory-IMG_0954

It was super easy to construct (or so I am told) and cost less than $70 for all the materials.  And I love the pop of blue. 

It looks perfect in the completed outdoor space and I love the functionality.

Outdoor space 8/10

Outdoor space 8/10

 
Photobucket