Thursday, August 28, 2014

More Mulch…

It seemed as though the mulching would never end.  That’s what happens when you are dealing with a huge new garden area with no grass, four new planting beds and a bunch of mud.  It takes a lot of mulch to cover all that area.  We started back in June with the first huge trailer load.  My whole family came to help unload it.  That first load covered the big hill bed almost all the way and the shady corner.  After two more loads from Mama’s truck, we were left with a bit of the hill, the creekbank bed, and the left side bed.  So, once again my family all came to help and John brought another trailer full of mulch two weeks ago.  Don’t I have the best family?  I just ask and they appear with work gloves and wheelbarrows and trailers!  :)  Yay Guthrie Power!

Since I had already taken pictures of Guthrie Family workday 1, I skipped that part on workday 2.  So all we have are the after pictures! 


What is with all these leaves!  I did not order those! :)  Also the bushes are looking kind of dead-ish.  I’m giving them a chance to recover before I pronounce them.





While we were at it, we replaced the tiny cherry tree on the corner with a corkscrew willow tree that Mama got on sale at Lowes.  The pretty flower in front of it is cleome.  There are two of those on this side and they are blooming like crazy!


The creekbank bed needs more flowers, but at least it has mulch now!


In other creek news, Mama rebuilt her tiny dam and it is trickling merrily now.  Hope it doesn’t wash away again!  We also cut back a bunch of branches over the creek.  I tried out my new rain boots in the water and they are swell.  It was fun splashing in the creek and cleaning up a bit. 


This is the opposite corner by the creek.  It’s what we call “the mound” which was basically a pile of weeds/dirt/roots that was left after we cleared the land.  It’s eventually going to settle into a flat spot, or so I’m told. ;)  For now we are just hacking down the weeds and planting in front of it.  I’m also piling corn stalks on top.  It’s very picturesque. :)  I’m planning to put a compost bin here on top, just to add to the attractiveness. :)


This view is looking back toward the willow tree.  The corn didn’t do very well, and a lot of it was eaten by the deer.  I did get a few really good ears, but most of them were small and poorly pollinated, so hopefully I will do better next year!  Despite my efforts to keep them away, the deer also ate all of my tomatoes.  Boo!  I did get a few jalapenos and bell peppers… guess deer don’t eat those. :)


This is the lily and forsythia bed on the left side.  We are eventually going to add more to this bed, maybe some roses or some more crape myrtles.  We’ll see…


The lily bed runs up and meets with the shady corner.  The mulch basically loops the entire border of our property down here.


And in the middle we have the island which has a pink weigela bush (pronounced why-gee-la) and some butterfly bushes.  We are also going to add a couple blueberry bushes on the other side of the birdhouse.  The birds will love that, right? 


Back up the hill the mulch is finally finished.  We still need to finish our little rock bed around the tree and add some plants! I’m thinking some creeping phlox.


After all the mulch was unloaded the men drilled holes in my steps and pounded in rebar so they won’t be falling down the hill.  We have a bunch more steps to set now, too.  Stay tuned for that.


Our next project down here is to tear out the garden (which is spent, except for the tomatoes, which are just being eaten by the deer) and till everything!   Then we are going to plant grass for the lawn and rye in the garden.  Still lots of work but at least the mulching is done!  (For a while…)  Okay, stay tuned!

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Monday, August 25, 2014

A Metal Roof

You may have noticed the sad state of our roof in past posts.  People (namely my father) have been telling me I need a new one for a while now.  Lucky for me, my brother-in-law Josh is a professional roofer.  He convinced us to go with a metal roof, which is more durable and will last longer than traditional asphalt shingles.  We are the first in our neighborhood to have a metal roof… trendsetters! 

Josh and his team came Saturday morning to install our new roof.  I want you to know that I woke up at 7am to get these pictures for you!  Well that, and my sister and my nephew were along for the day, so I had to get up to play with them! :)

We sat outside and watched the transformation.  First step:  roll out felt underlayment on the existing roof.  Our existing roof was needing to be replaced but not so bad that we had to tear it all off and start on the bare wood.  So they just put the new roof over the old one.  The felt was hammered into the old roof.  Riley didn’t like that part, she hid in the bathroom the whole time.  Bandit was under the bed. :)


Next, trim away all the shingles that overhang the edges and the gutters.  Don’t make a mess or you are fired! :) haha!  They didn’t make a mess, actually, that’s what the wheelbarrow was for.


Next, start putting the metal sheets on the felt.  These were screwed down.




After all the roofing is on a particular section, cap the edge with a piece of trim called a “rake” or gable trim.  There’s also a little piece of trim around the chimney.  When the whole roof is finished, a ridge cap goes on the very top peak of the roof.

Next you drill holes for the ice breaks along the edge of the front and back.  Ice breaks are these little metal pieces that line the edge of the roof and stick up a bit so after it snows and the snow/ice start to slide off a very slippery metal roof, it will be broken into small pieces before falling to the ground.  Without ice breaks the snow will come sliding off in one giant piece and if you happen to be walking under the eave at that exact moment, you will be crushed by the falling snow.  How dramatic!  Alternatively if no one is walking under, the giant wall of snow will crush my hydrangea bushes.  So hopefully the ice breaks will prevent that.  Anyway, drill holes, then put a dab of Storm Blaster sealant in each hole before screwing in the ice break. 


That is all, you are done!  Josh and his team finished our roof in two and a half hours!  And now I don’t have to worry about replacing my roof again for 40 years!  Can’t beat that warranty!  :)


The new black roof looks so nice with our black door and shutters. :)  Now I just need someone to come pressure wash my gutters!


It’s such an improvement over our old roof, which was really looking rough.  See?



Yay!  Thanks Josh and your team for your very hard work!

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Disclaimer:  If I inadvertently forgot any steps or used incorrect roofing lingo, it is because I am not a professional roofer.  And I was in the house playing matchbox cars with Ruger for most of the morning, so my note-taking may have suffered.  If you are in the market for a metal roof and you live in the NC Piedmont, contact Classic Metals at (336) 248-2474.  They know how it’s done!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Forest Art for the Den

In the last issue of Lowes Creative Ideas magazine, there was a living room that caught my attention.  It was called Be a Little Bold:
The teal walls and fresh green accents were calling my name!  But it was the art over the mantel that I really wanted.  After a little research on their site, I discovered the art is called “Forest Study I Crop”.  And it just so happened that the day of my discovery, the 24” x 36” print was on sale for 50% off!  Score!  So I bought it with plans to build my own frame and hang it over the mantel in the den.
When it arrived, I realized that 24” x 36” is pretty large!  Unfortunately that wasn’t going to fit nicely over the mantel.  Then I realized I could hang it on the opposite wall where my secondhand prints turned fabric art were hanging, over the turquoise cabinet.
I decided to frame it with a simple thin wood frame and a 1 1/2” mat, similar to the inspiration photo.  After pricing some custom mats for a print this large, I thought perhaps I could make something myself and save some money.  That’s when I landed on an idea:  a wooden mat!  I went to Lowe’s and checked out the decorative trim aisle and found 1 1/2” lattice strips.  When mitered at the corners, they could substitute for a mat and layer like a frame within a frame over the art!  I bought a couple pieces of oak 1” x 2” for the actual frame. I also picked up a piece of clear acrylic to cover the art.  Glass is cheaper, but it’s also heavier and harder to work with since it can easily chip or break.  I will spend the extra to get plastic that way I don’t have to worry.  And you can easily cut it with a table saw (or you can get your Papa to do it for you!) :)
Once we had all our components, Papa helped me with the building process.  We cut our mat pieces first to fit the art.  Then we measured the thickness of the mat and the glass and cut a 3/8” wide channel in the back of the frame pieces for the mat/glass to fit into.  That way the mat and glass would sit flush with the back of the frame, just like a commercially-made frame.  Then we carefully marked our measurements in the outer edge of the channel and cut mitered corners to fit our mat/glass.  Next, I sanded all the frame pieces and rounded over the edges so they would be smooth.  We carefully glued our corners together and shot a few brads in each end to keep it all together.  Since the mitered corners of the mat were only 1/4” thick and I didn’t think glue would hold it all together, I decided to paint the mat before assembling it.  I stained the frame Bombay Mahogany (what else?) and painted the frame a soft muted turquoise color to match the art.  I used watered down acrylic paint for the mat so you could still see the wood grain through it.  After everything was dry, I laid out the mat and taped the corners together on the back.  Masking tape held the whole thing together nicely!  The weight of the art and acrylic sheet will keep it from falling apart later. 
Then came the frame assembly!  I decided to put the mat on the outside of the glass (rebel, I know!) to highlight the wood grain and also because my art was so big, I didn’t want to leave any air space between the art and acrylic.  The weight of the acrylic sheet keeps the paper from wrinkling and sagging.  If you are using fine art I wouldn’t recommend putting the glass right on top of the artwork, but mine is just a poster print. 
Assemble it upside down:  frame, mat, then acrylic, followed by the artwork which I taped to the frame with painter’s tape.  Hopefully that will keep it from wrinkling and sagging in our humidity, we’ll see.  Then I taped a piece of brown kraft paper on the back with masking tape to seal it all up.  Add a hanger and some wire to the back and you are done!
I think it looks great in here with all the blues and greens!  And I spent around $75 for the whole thing, which is pretty good for such a big piece of art.  Now we can finally get rid of those hand-me-down frames! :)
Yay! :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Updating the Office

I have been hard at work this past week refreshing the office with new paint and stain and accessories!  The office was formerly painted a pale gray.  But it was so light that it always looked bluish to me.  It was supposed to be gray! 

It has been almost three years since I painted it, and the flat paint hasn’t really worked for me.  I can’t get the marks off the walls, so I figured it was time that I could try again.  This time I picked a nice medium gray color (Steeple Gray by Olympic) that was a shade darker and more gray than the previous color (Silver Threads by Olympic).  I also bought satin paint, so I could easily wipe it clean.  After clearing the room, I had to carefully maneuver our massive desk halfway into the room so I could crawl under it to paint the back wall.  #giantdeskproblems  Then I painted the rest of the room, moved the desk back, and painted what was left.  :)

Once the walls were finished, I decided to put a couple coats of polyurethane on our desk top (since it was all cleared off).  There were a couple of worn places where we run our computer mice around.  So I lightly sanded it with 320 grit and brushed on a couple coats of satin poly.  Then I realized that the rest of the desk was gloss poly.  Ugh!  So I had to go buy more poly and start over with the sanding and applying.  Needless to say, three days into this and not having our desk, I was getting frustrated so I quit after one coat of gloss.  It really needs one more coat, but I’ll just put that back on my to-do list.  Haha! :) 

While I was out shopping for polyurethane and lamp shades for the bedroom (since I stole to give to the living room) I spied a gray lamp with a gray trimmed drum shade!  I knew that would look awesome on my desk with the new paint color.  It really freshens up the space! 


Since I had the bookcase emptied and pulled into the other room, I decided now was a good time to refinish it as well.  I had always planned to stain it Bombay Mahogany to match everything else in the room.  And even though is particle board with a paper backing, I transformed it with a couple coats of poly-shade.  I think it turned out pretty nice!  It certainly looks more expensive than before, and it now matches the desk.




The gray paint also looks great with the velvet chair in the corner.


All in all, I am happy with how the room turned out.  Hopefully we won’t have to paint again until this room becomes something besides an office! :)  Now, I can turn my attention to other projects, including some new art for the den.  I’ll be back, but in the meantime, you can find me here:


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Friday, August 15, 2014

Living Room Side Table Update

Yikes! It’s been almost a month since I’ve posted here.  Don’t worry, I have been hard at work around the house and yard, as usual. :)  We’ve been picking beans and corn and weeding and spreading mulch down in the new garden.  And I’ve been repainting walls and refinishing furniture in the house.  Today I am bringing you one of those house projects—refinishing the side table in our living room.  This is a project I have been wanting/needing to do for a while now.  We got this side table secondhand from my boss six years ago when we moved in and it fit perfectly between our two large couches.  It has been neglected over the years, used and abused, and was in need of attention.

The other night while I was on the phone (best time to receive inspiration) staring at the scratches and water marks on the top, I thought, why not start on that tonight?  So I did.  I took it to the basement (which is wide open and ready for projects now that we got rid of our broken ping pong table) and promptly started sanding off the old finish with 150 grit on my palm sander.  When I took out the little drawers I noticed there were screws under them to connect the frame to the table top… Hmm… I decided to take those out and see what happened.  Then I found more screws on the other side and a whole row of them around the back!  Turns out the “corner hutch” part of the table was only screwed on (no glue!) which meant that I could easily remove it.  Eureka!  I had never really used that area with the shelves and drawers and it was a bit outdated so I thought I would see what it looked like without it. 

I finished sanding it down to the bare wood and got rid of all the scratches that evening.  Then I suggested to Michael that we leave off the top part and just have a simple flat table instead.  He was skeptical, so I carried it back upstairs for a visual.  We both loved the new open look. 
I filled in all the screw holes with wood putty, sanded those and then began restaining it with our favorite Bombay Mahogany polyshade.  I did two coats on the whole thing then an additional layer of color on the top so it would be nice and dark.  I figured the most light would hit the top so it needed to be the darkest area, plus you can’t really see the apron and legs anyway behind the couches.  After the polyshade was dry I put on two coats of satin polyurethane.  Then I waited for that to dry before carrying it back up to the living room. 
Then came the accessorizing… my favorite part (except maybe sanding, that part was pretty fun, too!).  I had to try out a new lamp shade (that I stole from the bedroom) and I loved the update!  I added a brass bowl of TV incidentals and some dried hydrangeas which tie into the colors in the lamp shade.  Plus I added a plant from the den (something for Bandit to chew on). 

While I was reorganizing this side, I decided to spruce the other side, too, where I added a fern (more things for Bandit to chew on).  Luckily these “Kimberley Queen” ferns are only $4.50 at Walmart so if this one doesn’t like my TLC (total lack of care) I can afford a new one to replace it down the line.  I love it, it looks so fancy!  The little urn we found in a pile of junk my neighbor was giving away for free.  My mother carted off the whole lot of stuff which was mostly gardening supplies and old pots.  But I snagged this little jewel for myself… hooray for free stuff!

And since we are doing the living room tour, I must show you my new mirror that is over the side cabinet.  Mama got this mirror from a friend and then mentioned that I might want it... well, yes, yes I do!  Thanks, Mama!  Isn’t it lovely?  I like how the curvy part at the top mimics the curves in the front of the cabinet.  It’s way nicer than our old blah rectangle mirror.

Before I go, you know you want to see the before and after of the side table, right?  Here you are:

Lovely!  Now that the living room is finished, I can get back to the other room that’s in progress… the office.  I repainted the walls and I am working on staining the bookcase.  As soon as it’s done I’ll be back with the details!  I have lots of work to be done before summer is over! 

Thanks for stopping by!