Signs of Progress: A Garden Update

The handsome fellow pictured here is Jerry, my cat. He’s prowling through the lemon grass, blueberries, and hollyhocks while I do some basic garden maintenance. Jerry is probably just as curious as I am about who has been nibbling the flowers off of my squash.

I hadn’t planned on doing a garden update so soon. I figured it would be a monthly thing, but then we had a lot of sun followed by a lot of rain and more sun. Those things led to major transformations. I’ve started to get some ripe cherry tomatoes, and I’ve got one tomato plant so huge it will be taller than I am before long. I can’t even imagine the size of the fruit that will come off of it later this summer.

I also got some trellises and tomato cages to try and contain the squash. A trip to my favorite nursery also yielded some sugar baby watermelon starter plants. Of course, there’s not much room in the beds so I put them in the strawberry patch and just outside the raised beds. I also took a couple of seeds from a spaghetti squash that I cooked and planted them. Now I’ve got a couple of sprouting plants. I think I may have to relocate one of them.

It’s really amazing to watch your food come to life. I keep thinking about being a little girl when McDonald’s used to hand out seed packets with Happy Meals (it’s almost too ironic to handle, I know). One year my mother and I planted pumpkins and watermelons. I don’t think the watermelons went anywhere, and the pumpkins got infested by bees. But here I am, probably 25 years later, with a veritable produce section in my backyard. Continue reading

A Memorial Day Makeover

Long before I even moved into my house, people started giving me stuff they no longer wanted. For instance, my aunt gave me a couple of end  tables I wasn’t particularly fond of but they did the job. But this week I decided it was time to start tackling some of the furniture rehab projects I’ve been planning.

Tables before being painted, but after a light sanding.

First up on the agenda were the tables. They have some weird nooks and crannies on the legs, so I figured spay painting was the way to go. I turned to a blog post about spray painting furniture on Young House Love for advice. I wasn’t really sure what color I wanted to paint the tables, and there aren’t that many Rustoleum Universal colors to choose from. I knew I wanted to do my patio table one of the hammered finishes, but I didn’t know what I wanted the end tables to look like. I didn’t think glossy would go with my other furniture, but there weren’t many satin options. I wasn’t convinced the metallic options were good for these tables but then I figured, “Hey, it’s only paint!” So my cousin and I picked up some of the “Aged Copper” paint and went to town on the end tables.  Continue reading

My Quest to Be a Guest on the Nate Berkus Show

The dining room is coming along nicely, though it could use some more accessorizing.

At the end of September I bought my house. I went from living in a tiny one-bedroom apartment to living in a two bedroom house, with an office, and a sun room that doubles as another living/family room. Considering I bought the house all by myself, I’m sure you can guess that there wasn’t much left over to furnish or decorate the house with.

While I was waiting to close on the house I started hitting tag sales, thrift stores, estate sales, and craigslist on a mission to find the things I needed for the house. Occasionally I even bought things at real stores. I found a table on Craigslist and was lucky enough to find matching chairs on the side of the road. Score! I  got a couple of cute chairs — that I someday plan on using at the kitchen table, when I find one — at an estate sale, where I also picked up a bedside table. I found a cool old telephone table at a tag sale that I decided would make a good nightstand for the other side of my bed. Eventually I got a living room chair on craigslist and an extra couch practically appeared on my doorstep thanks to my resourceful family.

Most of my rooms are still a work in progress. I’ve got all sorts of projects, I want to take on and big ticket items I’d like to buy. But time and money are short. So I’ve decided I want to get on the Nate Berkus Show. Nate is adorable and I feel we share a deep affinity for all things blue. But his website is conspiring against me. There are several shows I want to apply for, but it won’t let me upload photos.

Foiled again! Continue reading

Nesting for the Holidays

I’ve got three more days before I’m off for almost a week. It’s been a while since I could sneak in more than a long weekend, because of the logistics of my job. But thanks to a lull in the production schedule, December is a good time to take an extended break. I can’t wait!

In the meantime, I’m totally going into Susie-Homemaker mode. Last week my friend and I had the first in a series of craft nights, and we made a bunch of terrariums. (My “Gift Ideas” Pinterest board is filled with crafty ideas.) I’d post pictures, but they’re for gifts and I don’t want any friends to get a glimpse of their gifts. This weekend, though, I’ve been on a roll. Gift-wrapping was just the beginning. Tonight I made a bunch of cookie dough and froze it. I’ll bake it later this week and bring a batch nextdoor to my (very) elderly neighbor. I also finally got around to sorting my totes so that they could be labeled and stored appropriately.  Continue reading

The Befores

I didn’t get any pictures of the interior of the house in its worst state. Cobwebs the size of cargo nets, plastic “brick” walls, something that only vaguely resembled a kitchen, a tub “sunken” beneath the floor, and bare studs all through the upstairs. More recently, though, I’ve been trying to track the interior progress. Soon…so very, very soon… I’ll have the “Afters.”

 

Continue reading

Green Design = Cheap Design

I haven’t been a good blogger lately. I am completely and utterly preoccupied. This house buying thing has completely taken over my brain. More accurately, decorating the house has taken over my brain…even though I’ve got another month before I can even move in. Part of the problem is that I’ve decided to use as much secondhand stuff as possible.

I’m doing this partly for budgetary reasons. When you’re going from a tiny apartment to a grown-up house, there are a lot of things to buy. When you’ve just ponied up a giant chunk of change for a down payment and closing costs, it’s hard to justify spending thousands more on new dining furniture or a guest bedroom set. So, it makes sense to put in the man hours to track down good deals on good used furniture. But I’ve also got green motivations. Continue reading