Thursday, June 14, 2012

Back Yard sprucing

I have really been trying to fix things up around the patio area, without spending any money.  Last week I did buy a couple of ferns because I got the great idea that my bird baths that were buried under ivy would look much better on the patio. 

I planted the monkey grass that is green and white along this edge of the patio but it has yet to take off. 

See what I mean this area really needs some help. 

I had these little fence pieces that I pulled out from my sidewalk area. All of my plants were over powering them on the sidewalk anyway. 

So this is where the little fence pieces were, see what I mean about the plants hanging over.

I got out the spray paint and painted them white. I think they will look good when the variegated grass grows in.

I think they turned out cute and look so much better in the white. 

I put the other fern in this old chair on the porch and I love the way that it looks. 

I hung my humming bird feeder in the cedar tree next to the porch and we really enjoy seeing the sweet little humming birds coming up to drink the nectar. 

I have a few cute little planters out of just some old pottery. I also like old salvaged pieces in the garden, like the one below. 

I planted a few succulents into some old cinder blocks that we had laying around and they are doing quite well. 

This one is so pretty. I have never had these before but I really like them. I love to get my hands dirty but the Va. heat keeps me inside in the middle of the day. I like to get out in the yard early in the morning and late in the evening. This last shot was taken when the sun was going down. 


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Painting the Cocoa Beach House

I went down to Cocoa Beach recently and could not resist painting and knocking some of the items off of my to do list. I painted the back of the house the last time I was there, it looked so good that I decided I just had to get the front done the next time I came down. I brought my painting clothes and my grand children were more than happy to help.

Sarah helped me with stucco patch, we had some stucco that was flaking off and just needed a little to
cover the cinder block that was showing. We filled in a few tiny cracks and a few bug entrances  here and there. Sarah was out there the whole day with me. She was a real trooper.

Ethen on the other hand loved painting, he was a big helper and really did a good job of getting it into all the bumpy areas that are so hard to get. He did all the areas that grandma gave him to finish. See the lovely flesh color that we covered up, yeah!!!

When we went out the second day to start on the front wall we had to do some trimming of the jungle before we could even fit next to the wall to be able to work. Here is the before. 

Here is after we trimmed and some of the painting is done. This ladder we borrowed from the neighbor next door was speaking to Sarah, she wanted to climb to the top and paint. 

"I know I can climb to the top and paint grandma". Oh, ok as soon as I let her climb the ladder you know her mother would walk out. My daughter Morgen kept the cold drinks and food flowing for us for the 2 days that it took us to complete the project. 

Here is the before of the house and bushes.

Here is the after, the bushes grow really fast. I love the aqua awnings they are the originals to the house. I matched the color and painted the garage door the same color. 

This deck above the garage is so dark and you get soaked every time you walk out the door.
I am calling a guy to come and put gutters on the house above the deck I think it will really help. 

Here is the before of the unpainted deck and the front door. The white walls are already a big improvement. 

Here is the after of the painted deck and the front door. I love it the aqua on the garage hardly showed up when the house was a flesh color but now it really shows great. 

Diesel posed for me by the newly painted door, so cute. 

Morgen and I made a sign for the address number and attached it to the deck. Notice that the top  of the deck still needs paint. I painted what I could reach with a step stool. There is always next time. 

Notice the dark brown area under the eves? That really bugged me and I was able to convince the gutter man that he wanted to paint that for me. I love these guys who help me. I know that work is hard to get and I am willing to pay for their services. I will certainly have more work for this guy, he was super nice and did a great job. 

Here are my new gutters and the brown paint under the eves is now white. It really looks so much better.

Here is the house and deck all painted, the gutters and eves painted. I will have to make a list of the things to do for the next trip. This was a very big chunk of my to do list for this trip. Next time we are having a lot of the trees trimmed and deciding what to do with the yard.  But that is another story.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fathers Day Gift

I decided to make something special for someone in time for Fathers Day. He lost one of his daughters last year and I thought it would be great to make this gift for him.
 I decided to use a bunch of yard sticks that I got on sale at Ace hardware here in Culpeper.  They were selling out everything to remodel their store, I can't tell you how much fun I had in there stocking up on stuff.

I started out with a 10x10 mirror from Ikea, I found this one at a yard sale for a dollar it was still in the wrapper. I needed something really flat with a large surface to glue my yard sticks to. 

These are some of the supplies that I used. 

I wanted the yardsticks to look old so I painted them with really watery paint for color and then stain to make them look old. Some of them I stained with walnut and oak stain. After they all dried I started laying out how I wanted them to go on the frame and cutting them to fit. I used a chop saw but they cut really easy even with a little hand saw. 

 I like things to be random and not any special pattern so I cut and fitted all around the whole frame. I numbered the back of the pieces and the number on the frame so I would not get confused when I took them off to glue. 

 I love how old the yard sticks look and I love the different size numbers on them. I gave this about 10 coats of polycrylic after I glued them on. I like it to feel smooth. I did sand very lightly with fine grit paper between several of the coats. 

I think he will like this, he is a wonderful potter and he knows how special hand made items are.  I hope this makes Brian's Fathers Day a little happier I know it is going to be a hard one. 
I need to get busy and make something for Fathers Day for that special someone in my life. 


Monday, May 14, 2012

Ombre Cakes

I decided to try my hand at making some little cakes that I can keep in the freezer and just pull out when we want a quick dessert with dinner. I got out my tin cans again and decided to try ombre cakes. I used a yellow cake mix and split the batter into three bowls.

 I think they look so cute on these cupcake plates that I made out of candlesticks and saucers. I wanted pink, but the yellow cake mix makes it look orange. I used about 6 drops of red food coloring in the first bowl, 4 in the next bowl and 2 in the last bowl. Each can was greased and I put each color into a separate can. I filled them only half way and baked them at 350. for about 30 minutes. 

After they cooled I got them out of the cans and sliced them. I made butter cream frosting, and alternated the dark color then frosting the lighter color then frosting and then the lightest on top. 

They turned out cute and very yummy. I wrapped the rest and put them in the freezer.
 I think next time I might make each layer a little bit different in color so that you can see it better. 
We had one from out of the freezer last night for a late night snack and it was really good and tasted really fresh.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Condensing the Pantry

I gathered a few containers to see what I could do about condensing the pantry.

Like this macaroni, I had two open boxes and a small jar in the 
same cupboard. So I put all three into this larger container that I had.

This container is not working for the sauce and gravy mixes anymore
 so I chose to store them in an old canister that I already had.

This is much cuter than the tupperware I think.

I cook with nuts a lot and keep them in the pantry for 
whenever I need a few in a recipe. 

I figured I could put them all into an easy access container 
and get rid of  these lovely zip lock bags.

I got these containers at Wal Mart and they are really not very expensive.

These are some jars that I already had.  I will make some labels but for 
now I am ok with them like this.

Here is the before of the cupboard.

Here is the after. I had 3 containers of the Hershey's Cocoa so
 I just removed one of the labels and taped it on for now.

The paper plates found a home in a cute basket. They are so easy to grab
 a few when we need them. 

The candy containers are spaghetti sauce jars and I just rub 
and buffed the lids with silver rub and buff.
I think the cupboards look a lot better and I know the multiple boxes 
of things really gave me a lot more room. This was well worth the time that it took to complete, It did not cost me anything since I had all of the containers on hand, I am really glad that it is done.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Painting the Pantry

First I removed everything from the pantry, I can't believe I started to do this today. 

This is where I keep most of the food, I have not organized with pretty containers 
yet but I knew I had to start with cleaning and painting.

The walls were a cream color and so were the shelves but they were very worn. I found some grey oops paint at the store for $3.00 so other than that it was just going to involve some elbow grease. 

I started by priming just the wood surfaces in the whole closet.

This is the primer that I always use  Zinsser in the water base formula. I did not sand because this is already a painted surface but I did wash the wood and then applied the primer. Primer really makes the paint stick to what ever you want to cover. 

 I need to do something about the door knob area as well. I took off the
 knob and primed the worn area.

While I was waiting for the primer on the wood shelves to dry I went ahead and painted the walls in the top area of the closet/pantry. It is a large area that goes up inside the pantry.

 Wow the closet is done and it looks so clean and neat. The white really pops against the grey.

Alison was upset because the Pantry was empty, she didn't understand why I would take all the food out. She kept saying to me "PUT IT BACK"

I didn't really have time to do the lace treatment like the last little pantry, but I am going to organize this like I did the other one. Here you can see what I did on the wall in the little pantry.

It is a slow process for me with everything that I am working on.

 I found a plate and painted it to fit behind the knob, I think it looks a lot better than all that wear and tear on the door.

Alison is happy that everything is back in it's place.

 I did do some caulking around some of the seams of the wood. I hate it when I get it all painted and see this large black space along the nice painted shelf. I am happy this is done and want to get on with the next project. Hope all of your spring projects are going as well as mine are.