Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Outdoors Doesn't Like Me

We've been in this house almost...fifteen years. I think?  Yeah, I'm not good at this stuff.  But my office is being moved from the town we live in to a town about twenty miles away.  The main highway is under construction and the drive would go from about ten minutes to about forty.  That's depressing but the job is a good one and a lot less stressful than my previous job.  I've already told my boss she's stuck with me.

However, my husbands job is already about twenty minutes from the house on the south side of town, mine is halfway to his, about ten minutes.  We're hoping in the next couple years we can move to a house closer to his work and ultimately a bit closer to mine. 

To that end, there are some improvements that need to be made in order to give the house more long term curb appeal.  The front yard is... bleh.

So!  This weekend I decided the yard needed to be improved. The lot is sort of a pie wedge shape with a small backyard.  My front yard is fairly large and screwed up.  Flowerbeds either mud or overgrown with grass.  I wish this was a mini yard.  It might take me longer but it would be easier on my back.

Let's get one thing straight.  I don't like annuals.  I don't like to pay a bunch of money for something that'll just die in one season.  So I go for perennials every time.

Just one problem, and this is an irony considering I live in Texas, I've got a yard full of oak trees and it's full of shade.  There are not a lot of shade loving perennials.

So I went to a very nice place called Calloways and bought perennials during my lunch on Friday.  We had a lot of rain Friday night so I didn't feel bad about letting them sit on my porch until this morning.

By the way, I've mentioned that North Texas hates me?  There's nothing quite like being exhausted, aching because digging and raking are not my thing, and having your eyes foggy and watering.  Not to mention an alternately stuffy and drippy nose.  How does that even happen? Aren't those two things contradictory?

But I did get all four flowerbeds finished. At least as much as I could.  I'd like to add a few more plants but that can wait for a while. 

I've also mentioned to screw up my back, but I don't have to do anything in the yard for a while.  And as I'm writing this being inside seems to help my eyes and nose to normalize.  So I'm at my regular level of North Texas hating me.  I'll take it.  It felt like my yard was declaring war.

 The grass on the edge of this bed is actually a decorative grass that gets little purple flowers when it blooms.  It tends to take over and I'm not thrilled with it but I didn't have the energy to get ride of all of it.

This spot got hastas, foxglove and yarrow, with some space for the day lilies to grow in.
The area below is below one of the front windows and was basically a mud pit.  The big bag of dirt built up the bed some and hopefully it'll drain better. 

The stones don't look gorgeous but I'm told ajunca takes over so hopefully the stone will be hidden.  And the stupid weed tree cut down and killed.  And I added some impatiens since they were cheap.
 
A hasta, some hydrangeas and some petunias.
 I broke my rule about annuals because Home Depot had a sale, four medium pots for ten dollars. So I got eight pots for twenty bucks and each pot had about three plants in it.  So they filled in a few places nicely and added some contrast.

This is near the corner of the driveway and is one of the only spots in the yard that gets full sun, so Shasta Daisies, lavender and...
 Yeah I just blanked out on what the flowers in the middle with the purple stalks are called. 

This was about four and a half hours worth of work, not including hauling and shopping.  I've got some sort of grass that puts down roots and sends out shooters that also take root.  I think its Bermuda grass but I can't be sure.

All I know is that its irritating and clearing that tiny space seemed to take forever.  I really need to get some more soil and add it to the flowerbeds before I bring in any more plants.

That will be far in the future.  The only saving grace of today was that it was only in the mid sixties today and I didn't get heatstroke.

Maybe tomorrow I'll have the energy to get back to minis.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Staining the Built Ins

Happy Easter everyone! 

Hope everybody is having a good weekend.  I had Friday off but I was lazy and went and got my nails done instead.

Yesterday and today I worked on my built ins some more.  I did my bricks for the hearth and the back of the fireplace.  I did inch long bricks and about a third of an inch wide because I wanted them to look a little more substantial than regular bricks.

I didn't want to paint the bricks until I had the wood stained so I got that done today.  I used the Rustolium American Walnut stain and so far I like how it looks.  Once everything is dry I'll add some poly and then work on the bricks.

I'm not sure about the color for the bricks, but I'm thinking a brownish red?

But here's what I've got so far.



I did the window seat built in as well. 


My only issue with the stain is that the bronze handles and knobs I bought might blend right in.

The other project I worked on is a cabinet for my farmhouse sink.  I love this style sink and I can't have one in my real house.  But I have to make a custom cabinet in order to use it.  It's a little rough right now but it'll work once I get it polished up.



And that is the extent of my accomplishments for the weekend.

I also got to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Patriots Day.  My husband also brought home Rogue One but we haven't watched it yet.  From what I've heard of the movie I'm not sure I want to. 

Hope everyone else is having a great weekend.  Talk to you soon!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Not Much Progress...

...Because Boots 'n' Shoots.

For all those who are not from the DFW area, Boots 'n' Shoots up here is a charity event to benefit our military veterans.  The restaurants I work for are really involved in it and provides the meals for the skeet shooting day as well as other things like volunteers from our restaurants and accounting office.

This year I got to go and help on Thursday.  The shooting portion I volunteered for took place at the Dallas Gun Club.  It was a really fun, if exhausting, day.  I got to meet some wonderful people, learned a lot about how to call skeet shooting scores and remembered that I'm over forty and not used to spending nine plus hours on my feet.  I was at a station with two of the waitresses from our Arlington Babes and they were fresh as daisies at the end of the day while I was ready to fall over.  Oh to be twenty again.  Or at least have my twenty year old body again.  I worked in food service back then and standing for twelve hours was just what I did.  Of course I also weighed about a hundred pounds less.

I only got a little bit sun-burned and when I got home I didn't do anything for the rest of the day.  I barely got up on time for work on Friday.  I feel like I'm still recuperating today.  So I'm going to dye my hair, relax and plan for my three day weekend coming up.

Hope everyone else has had a great and productive weekend!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Window Openings

So just to give you folks a laugh I took some pictures of my new window openings. 

I started out by drilling holes at each corner of my opening and then used a very narrow handsaw to cut through the MDF.

You know how people say they can't cut a straight line?  I'm one of those people.  With a scissors I can usually follow a drawn line at least.  With a handsaw?  No.  Not a chance.





The good news is that when I put the windows in they line up nice and square and the goofy holes are hidden by the trim.  And I don't need to cut any more holes.  Yay! 

The fireplace will be centered between the two smaller windows and the built ins will be just below them.  The larger window is just inside the bathroom.  I'd gotten a bunch of that size in a lot on Ebay.  I've got some of the plastic 'water' that I'll put in the windows so no one can see in.

For the exterior I've got my stone for the wainscoting.  My plan is to take the Grey/Brown Cut Stone Veneers and mix them with the Brown and the Grey.  So I have a mix of all three colors.

Brown

Brown/Grey

Grey
Then I'll have clapboard for the upper portions of the house.  I have no idea what color to paint it though.  Most of the Craftsman Houses I've seen that have stone wainscoting tend to be a khaki green.  I'm not too sure about that.  I'd like to find something in a dusty turquoise, pale with brown undertones maybe?  To reflect some of the tile on the inside.  And cream colored trim. 

The chimney is my other concern.  Not sure if I want to use the same patterns of stone for it.  Colors yeah, but maybe in fieldstone shapes?  Something to think about.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Score! My Loot Has Arrived!

I'd like to start by saying that Brae is bad for my wallet.

You see, she makes these great miniatures and does these awesome shows that are ONLINE and thus accessible to someone like me who does not go places.  So when she posted about The March Miniature Show I had to go and look.

Yeah... so I did more than look.  But I got some awesome stuff.  Things that I wouldn't have the first clue about making.

From Taffy and Me Creations I got some really cute modern shelf kits.  And a couple of wall art frame/kits.  I think one of these might end up in the Craftsman Tiny House and a couple may go into the Downtown Loft.


Sorry about the glare. I could not seem to get this to behave.



Wendy's Miniatures was another place with some gorgeous things and I got a couple of cloisonné boxes and two little statues for shelves in some lucky house yet to be determined.








And from Bee Tree Miniatures I got the sweetest little terrariums and a beautiful orchid, plus an adorable bonus daffodil.  Thank you Pim!









I also went on Etsy for some gorgeous turned jars and bowls from The Helmers.  I was having  major trouble showing all the details so I cheated and copied the photos from their site. 










I'm set the fireplace aside for now since I'm waiting on some corbels to support the mantel.  Planning on making more cabinets and I ordered a few more just in case. 

I'm at the point where I need to figure out how I'm going to hinge the back wall anyway.  But I also need to cut in some holes for extra windows on either side of the fireplace and one for the bathroom.  Plus the door I'm using is slightly smaller than the kit door so I need to fill in the gaps as well.

The tricky part was placement.  I had everything all draw out for the windows and realized that the upper openings of the standard kit windows were all on the same horizon.  I want the same for my added windows.  Erasing pencil and redrawing took a bit but I'm nearly good to go.

I figure I'll trace where the walls meet the floor to get a good idea of my floor space and make the window placements with tape or colors.  Then I can take the whole thing apart.

I do all that and I can start working on the outside of the house.

So far my biggest problem is figuring out where I want the stair case.  Maybe on the opposite side of the bathroom's back wall.  My other option is a ladder.  I'm still thinking on that.

Hope everyone else is having fun this weekend!