We had hoped to knock out that last little project for the shed but it just didn't happen. After looking around the yard we came to the sad realization that nearly all of our roses needed cutting back to about 4-5 inches from the ground. There was also a small dead peach and pear tree that needed to be dug up and discarded. I also dug up a patch of lavender that was dead dead dead. There wasn't even any roots left.
Over the last decade or so in this area, we have moved from a zone 4 to zone 5. I know I was planting and growing plants that normally would not be available in this area. This past winter tested that and now you see dead trees and bushes everywhere.
My neighbor who owns a nursery says he does not sell red bud trees because we are right on the zone edge for growing them. He said that they can live for 25 or more years and then in one cold winter it can die. I've always wanted a red bud so I purchased one about 7 years ago. Based on his recommendation, I planted it on the south side and in a protected area.
The tree prospered. I trimmed and pruned it into a lovely shape and it's location was perfect. About 3 weeks ago I noticed that it had not bloomed yet. I then started to look for blooming red buds as I drove around on my errands. Not one blooming red bud was spotted. Last week I noticed several little flowers on my tree and today there were a couple of tiny leaves budding. I will be shocked if this tree makes a full recovery.
The weather has been cooler than normal. I noticed a lot of the local farmer's fields have yet to be plowed or planted because of the standing water. I am just now seeing people plant their annuals. My tulips just started blooming last week and the black walnut trees are just starting to leaf out.
We planted our tomato plants yesterday which is a good 3 weeks behind normal planting for us. It might be August before we are eating BLTs.
So in between the tomato planting we started cutting back the roses. We have a lot of roses most are Knock Out, Carpet roses, and climbing rose bushes. My neighbor's Seven Sisters climbing rose is now just several long twigs when it used to cover and hide a 6-8 foot section of fence. My beautiful Joseph's Coat is dead and I am holding out hope that when we cut it back that it starts to regrow.
My hands, arms, and legs are covered in pin holes from the thorns. I tried to wear gloves but the gloves just got caught on the thorns. I was wearing flip flops and even stepped on thorns. AND if that wasn't bad enough.....the mosquitoes have hatched and they were hungry. I'm either bleeding from the mosquitoes or the thorns.
R says he is going to try using the electric hedge trimmer to cut back the roses. Our hope is that the trimmers can cut back the roses to a manageable height and then I can go back and cut the remaining dead portion off with my snippers. We figure it can't be any slower than the method we are using now.
Our dead limb piles are down to just one and today we reduced that by half. Fingers crossed that it doesn't rain tomorrow so we can finish our burning of dead limbs. I'd like to get those out of my sight so that the ugly reminder of this past winter can fade.
The shed is looking so cheerful. I love annual flower planting time. The results are instantaneous. Immediate gratification is nice after working on some slow motion projects......i.e. kitchen desk area.
The color palette for this year's flowers were based on the flowers that I received for Mother's Day from my son and daughter in law. It's a new color (dark wine) for me and I'm liking how it looks against the dark gray.
The pots on the wall are sitting in plant hangers that I purchased on clearance like maybe 5 years ago. It is so nice to finally get them hung. I think I paid like 6 bucks a piece for them. The clay pots I had in my stash.
The large faux cement pots were also purchased about 5 years ago on clearance. I purchased 8 of them. I'm trying to remember the price and I think they were regular priced at around 59 bucks and I got them for like $12.99. The garden center was completely sold out of everything except for a few half dead trees and these pots. I was driving a small SUV and I am so surprised that I actually was able to get all 8 in the vehicle.
The wrought iron chair was a curbside treasure. Can you believe it? It was originally white and had a vinyl teal cushion. I painted the chair in a satin black and tossed the vinyl cushion. It could use another coat of paint but the weather is far too windy to spray paint.
The tall ground cover to the left of the shed is Lily of the Valley and they are just about ready to bloom. The scent is beyond description. It ranks right up there with lilac. Please do not look at the yellow dandelions.
Tomorrow we are going to try our best to start the last small project for the garden shed. It is a gilding of the lily type of project. Not necessary but it will make a BIG difference in the overall look of the shed.
I painted the garden shed doors yesterday and used the new Spekter Pro paint brush to paint the muntin bars and all I can say is....I'm ordering two more so I have spares.
This paint brush made painting the muntin bars a breeze. I went fairly fast because I knew I needed to use a razor blade to get some old paint off the glass from a previous painting. Even then I hardly got any paint on the glass. I could paint two sides of the pane with one loading of the brush with paint. The paint also flowed nicely and covered evenly without leaving deep brush marks in the paint.
The brush comes to a point in the center and this worked nicely for the corners and getting close to the glass. It really made moving the paint around easy and the paint went where I wanted it to go. Have you ever had a brush that the paint does not come off the bristles correctly?
The handle was so comfortable. I think it was because it is round and you could hold it like a pencil. It just felt natural.
The brush washed up like a charm and even the dried paint washed out with a little extra help from my fingers.
I can't give this brush enough praise. It really is the best paint brush I have ever purchased. I was really dreading the painting of all the muntin bars on ALL the windows but I can see that it will be far less of a head ache.
The only problem with this brush is that I have no idea where to buy them except for eBay from a seller in the UK.
The doors of the shed are painted and they look great. These doors were FREE off of Craigslist and I must say they are better than I could have imagined.
We are currently working on several other projects for the shed and should finish up another one tomorrow. The final touch will take several more days and then it is time to move on to the front of the house.
I always love it when I get an unexpected check in the mail UNLIKE an unexpected bill which lately I get more.
Rarely, do I go to a store to shop for clothes. Come to think about it, the only stores I physically go to these days are home improvement stores, hardware stores, and lumber yards. Since I shop online, I try to utilize award programs or online coupons when possible. One of my favorites is Ebates. So far I have received over $114 in checks from Ebates for items I was going to purchase whether I received money back or not.
For once my crappy photography skills worked in my favor, by obscuring vital info.
Here's how you, too, can start saving. Go to Ebates using this link (I get credit for sending people as you will, too) and sign up. When you are ready to buy online, go to Ebates and see if that online store is listed. Click on the store link and it will take you to the store's online shop and will automatically credit your Ebates account with whatever % cash back your online store is offering. Once you reach $10.00, Ebates will automatically send you a big fat check.
ALSO....once you have made a $25 purchase using Ebates, you will be given a $10.00 gift card that you can chose from Macy's, Kohl.s, Target, or Walmart. If you are a couponer....you could take that Walmart or Target gift card and pair it with coupons and a sale and end up with a basket full of goodies for very little $$$$.
Currently, until May 19th, some stores are offering up to 15% cash back. Also, if you are planning a trip, Ebates offers cash back on travel using Expedia, Priceline, Travelocity, and more.
Restaurant.com is one of the online sites currently offering up to 15% off. That's one of my favorite sites for restaurant coupons. eBay is another online site and heavens knows I buy on there occasionally.....LOL.
I've been very happy with Ebates. On a side note...if you are worried about getting spam Ebates is not one of those sites that spams you every other day.
Painting a divided lite window or door is tedious work. There are multiple methods that can be used and of course each have their own merit.
Tape off the glass to protect it from the paint. But taping takes time and you run the risk of peeling some of the paint off with the tape.
Paint on a protective film on the glass and then peel it off after you have finished painting. Again you have the time invested into painting on the protective film.
OR paint as neatly as possible and then use a razor blade to scrape off any excess paint. This method just takes time and finger cramping to complete.
The third method is usually my method of choice but when I look at all the window sashes, storm windows, and doors that need to be painted the thought of any scraping with a razor blade makes my fingers hurt in anticipation.
A while back I ran across a paint brush on eBay from a seller in the UK that I think might help eliminate a lot of my scraping.
I haven't tried out the brush with paint yet but when I did a dry run, it felt like I would be able t control the flow of paint nicely. There is also a nice point in the center of the bristles that should make getting the paint in the corners a lot easier.
The brush also felt nice to hold. I have a few brushes that for the life of me just do not feel right. I'm not sure if it is the shape of the handle, how the bristles are angled or not angled, or how it is weighted. I wish I knew what it was so I could stay away from those brushes.
I am forever amazed at my husband's eyesight. He can spot the tiniest of items while speeding along at the max speed limit. I've been in the truck with him, when he has slammed on the brakes, slid into a dirt driveway, thrown it in reverse, and backed out before I can even say "what in the hell are you doing?" I know now not to even ask.
Well today he came home and said, "look what I found in someone's trash." Not seeing anything I said "what? is it out in the truck?" He said "no. Hold out your hand." I immediately think....oh boy he's found a large diamond ring or a large ruby ring or a large diamond necklace. Notice how all my gem fantasies are all large.
Imagine my surprise when he hands me this......
Now being a gear head myself, I can appreciate a cool gauge. The first thing I noticed was the shape. Oval is rarer than the traditional round shape and I mentioned that to my husband when all of a sudden it hit me. "Oh my gosh.....this will work perfect in a pizza oven or a solar oven!"
This is a temperature gauge. See the thermocouple sticking out of the back.
So like all the other odd and ends that we have stashed away for future projects....this too will need to be stashed away. I still haven't found the lock set and door handle for the kitchen door that I set aside so I wouldn't misplace it. I know it's somewhere in a yellow cigar box but where is the question.
Now back to my husband's eyesight. He can spot the smallest of things on the side of the road but doesn't see the empty toilet paper roll or the coffee that he has spilled all down the front of the white cabinet or the trail of saw dust he has brought in from the work room. Shaking my head.
If you are wondering why he didn't bring home the entire outdoor grill, it wasn't because he didn't want to...believe me. He loves scraping them. The older ones are cast aluminum and bring a good price from the scraper. But his truck was full of bags of black wood chips.
Has anyone built an outdoor pizza oven or a solar oven??? I have some solar oven plans pinned on Pinterest under my Build Board.
During the many rain storms, we stop working outside and slowly try and finish up the kitchen project. The 'to do' list on the desk/cabinet/shelves project is getting shorter and shorter. We are down to a handful of small items such as move an electrical wire and install an outlet box, cut and nail support boards in the corner desk area, and install the top and top edging. AND of course we still have to fill nail holes and nicks and sand the doors, rails, and stiles.....and because we used reclaimed wood, there are a lot of nail holes etc.
We might have changed our minds about the open shelves holding my cookbook collection. Today we had the brainstorm idea of maybe baskets or boxes on slides for veggies and fruits. We have a pile of pallets that we picked up last year and we could make them out of the pallet wood. I'm thinking 6 boxes with three on each shelf. Let me see....... potatoes, onions, apples, pears, tomatoes, and whatever else is in abundance at the moment.
I have no idea what is going on with the bottom of that photo.
And of course the ankle update. I already know that I am not going to enjoy wearing this ankle splint. They talked about a boot but I kind of talked them out of that. They seemed to think that would be more to my liking but it would be too claustrophobic for me. I can barely handle this on my ankle....it's hot and just yukky. This is going to be a looooong 4 weeks.
That's a really close up photo of the kitchen floor. It actually doesn't look too bad considering we removed two layers of vinyl, 1 layer of underlayment, and some black stuff that probably came off the original linoleum. It smelled horribleand I read somewhere that they used horse hoof glue. Once that stuff was gone the old house smell in the kitchen went away. Of course, it still needs a final sanding, staining, and clear coat.
The doctor says to stay off my feet. Yea right. This is the time of year when we can either make progress or we can let the yard and exterior get away. We mowed today and luckily the brake pedal is on the side with my good foot.
Speaking of the yard. I spent 3 hours picking up twigs and branches last week. We had a storm move through here last night and it looks like I haven't picked up a single twig. That tells me that there will e a rain of twigs all summer because of the damage done to the trees this past winter.
Yesterday we made some progress on the cabinet desk unit. We really like how it is coming around and so far we have a little less than 15 bucks invested into it. The one thing I am noticing is that I am going to have A LOT of counter space and one can never ever have too much counter space.
Another thing I have noticed is that there will be a lot of sanding and filling of nail holes. That's the downside of reusing lumber. Of course the upside is the cost savings.
The photo below shows the board that connects the two cabinets and forms the front of the desk.
We still need to tweak one of the doors, add the handles, add the magnets that keep the doors closed, add boards to support the counter in the area of the desk, and of course finish the open shelves.
And look at these little faces. R has started feeding them the gravy from canned cat food. They love it. He uses the lid to a coffee cup for a dish. They are really starting to get around and are just about to go over the side of the box. Time to get a taller box.
We made very good progress on our cabinets today. There was a late start because we made a run to buy black mulch that was on sale today. Twenty bags were purchased today and we might purchase another 20 tomorrow. The mulch is used only in 3 areas but they are large areas. R thought we used 30 bags, just for the hosta bed, the last time we bought mulch.
Once we arrived back home, we unloaded and then started on the cabinets rather than raking. The wind was blowing fairly briskly and the thought of chasing leaves around the yard in temperatures that are below normal for this time of year was not high on my list today. So inside we stayed.
The cabinet doors still need to be attached but that is not a big thing. We added more blocking, installed the toe kick panel, and finished the inside of the book shelf area so that it is ready for the shelf. There is a piece of base board that needs to be cut for the corner and I think I can find a piece in the wood pile. Then there is also the panel that we need to fabricate to connect the separate cabinets and which will form the front of the corner desk. We will need to play around and find the correct height because like Goldilocks it has to be "just right". Not too high and not too low.
This then leaves the wood for the shelf and the top of the desk and cabinets. Unfortunately our wood pile does not contain these pieces and we will have to make a lumber run. With that lumber run it will be the first $$$$$$ spent on this project. It had to happen eventually, but we still feel good that it was in the latter stage of the project rather than the first step of the project.
The kittens are one month old today and my how they are growing. They are walking around their box and starting to look over the edge at unknown territory. Mama Patches and Aunt Sasha are still very very attentive. The kittens crawl all over their Aunt and are happy to curl up next to her just like they do with their mother. Sasha actually jumps to their beck and call at the very first whimper where as Mama Patches is trying to wean her babies from constant attention. As any good aunt does......Aunt Sasha is spoiling her nieces and nephews.
We've made good progress on the desk & book shelf project in the kitchen. Our wood pile is getting smaller and smaller as we use our wood from previous demos. I spent quite a lot of time today looking for 1X wood that could be ripped to the correct widths for stiles and rails.
The photo below shows the single cabinet before we installed the door. This cabinet will be to the left of the corner desk.
And here it is after we cut down an old door.
We were able to install the rails and stiles on the right side cabinets before we quit for the day. R wanted to watch the Detroit/Royals game that was on TV at 6PM.
It is very difficult to get good photos because the wood just soaks up all the light and makes some detail not even detectable. This is one of the main reasons I want to paint everything bright white.
The cabinet building will probably be on the back burner on Sunday and Monday because the forecast is for NO RAIN!!!! We need to rake so whenever the weather is accommodating for raking we will rake until the leaves and branches are all picked up.
One of my 2012 Christmas presents, from my husband, was this vintage water cooler.
He says that it is getting harder and harder each year to find me something different. I would say this is very unique.
R found it at a local antique shop. He said he was unsure exactly what it was but knew he had never seen one before. After closer inspection he realized it was a vintage water cooler but it was missing the glass water bottle. He thought that would not be a big deal to find because you see them all the time....right? More on that later.
What makes this water cooler so unique is the spill bowl. We have also seen similar set ups with a ceramic top instead of a bottle but this one did not have a top. I was thrilled with the gift and set upon looking for a glass water bottle to finish it off. It was then that I found that the price of water bottles has skyrocketed or they just knew I was looking for one.
I found several very large ones but they were bigger than the crock part and just would not look correct. Every bottle that I came across was at least 99 bucks so I kept looking. I finally found one on Etsy for $49.00 with free shipping. I pulled the trigger on that one and waited for it's arrival.....and waited.....and waited.....and waited. It never arrived and the seller had to refund my money. My guess is that the bottle broke along the way and was disposed of by the post office. The seller sent it parcel post which tends to be ground shipping and slow.
Over the last year I have looked on and off for a water bottle. Since the water cooler was stored and not ready to be displayed just yet there didn't seem to be a rush. I also wanted a certain style of water bottle. The bottle had to be a 5 gallon or smaller and I liked the bottles that have a design in the glass.
I finally found one on ShopGoodwill.com for pick up only. I was momentarily bummed about pick up only until I saw that it was located in Grand Rapids Michigan. So yesterday 'The Mom' and I drove to Grand Rapids in the rain to pick up the bottle.
Tomorrow I will disassemble the water cooler and store it until the kitchen is painted. R is going to sandblast the stand so I can repaint it and the water bottle needs to be cleaned with some Lime Away.
On a side note.....I stepped on the air hose to our nail gun this afternoon and twisted my ankle. The hose and floor are very close in color and I didn't see it when I was cleaning up for the day. I heard a loud crack and thought for sure it was broke but it's not. It hurts and it's swollen but I can walk on it so all is good. I'm going to try and garner some sympathy and see if R will drive to the nearest 7-11 and get me a Vernors Slurpee. Only Michigan people will probably know what Vernors is, but if you are ever in Michigan, make sure you try a bottle of Vernors. Do not chug it and I'll leave it at that.