Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sweet Summer

Don't you love summer? There is something wonderful about the long evenings, the greenness, the ever changing shadows of sunlight through leaves. We have been having a lot of perfect days this summer, only about a handful that we actually needed the air conditioning.
Flower pot in the backyard.
Today I thought I would share a tour of the backyard with you. I think I mentioned before, there was no landscaping when I bought the house, just one bush. But I didn't mind, we have plans!

View from the backdoor and Kerri watching for bunnies
This is it! We call it our postage stamp yard! To the right is my garage (1920s style, barely big enough to fit a car) and to the left is the neighbors garage. It certainly doesn't take long to mow! We have plans for another raised garden bed and an apple tree in the back corner.
View towards the house
The cement patio kind of drives me a little crazy. I don't know why a curve was thought to be a good idea. Someday I might tidy it up.
My favorite part of the backyard, the neighbors oak trees. They cast such lovely shade on the house and yard.
 We decided to go with raised garden beds. So much easier to weed. We are also trying to keep our gardening low key(we can get a little carried away!) and not let is get so much that we can't keep up with it.
 Lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, cucumbers and marigolds.
 These kits from Home Depot work really nice. A snap to put together and they can be added together for taller or wider beds. We choose them for the no tools required assembly and the untreated cedar wood.
 Even though we planted marigolds and the bed is raised, it doesn't stop the bunnies!

Meet Benjamin and Charlie Bunny. They love the backyard too! I have never seen bunnies play until now, hopping in and out of the garden bed, running circles in the back yard.......and eating the bean plants!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Unexpected

Every once in awhile I do something and end up with a really amazing picture. Usually I don't know what I do, but this time I had the camera on continuous while rotating it. Not sure if I could do it again, but it is pretty cool......

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Front Porch: Before

 I always get too excited about a finished project to do a proper "reveal". So today I am going to show you a few sad before pictures. There really wasn't much to be done to the porch. We spruced up the walls and trim by slapping on a coat of paint. In this picture is a bit hard to tell, but that is indoor/outdoor carpet on the floor. Of course, that went.
 In true old school style the carpet had been glued down. We sanded, chipped and scraped away at it when we had the odd moment. But it wasn't until last Labor Day weekend that things really got done! My brother had purchased a power scarper and volunteered to try it out on the floor. It was amazing! The paint and glue went flying everywhere! (Safety glasses and a vacuum a must) The scraper finished the job in about an hour and all that was left was a bit sanding, priming, and painting before it got too cold. I had forgot how late in the year this got done, how time flies........
This year all that needed done was furnishings and window washing! We discovered windows like being clean, they operate so much better. I hadn't realized how important clean windows were before, but after washing off decades of dirt I am determined it will not be years before these windows see soap and water again!

For all the pretty "After" pictures see the previous post.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Front Porch

Welcome to my porch!
It has been so exciting to see it all come together. And as with most projects a lot of sweat, love and thought.
So after a lot of painting, pinterest trolling, discussion, several trips to the fabric store and a bunch of sewing it is done!! 
When I first bought the house, I wasn't sure if we would even use this area, but this year it is our favorite place to be! It is even Kerri's favorite place! A few evenings ago we ended up having a impromptu gathering out here, so fun to all be able to enjoy it. It was a bit of a squeeze fitting ten people, but we didn't mind! 
Before- peeling brown paint
The wicker settee and chairs are a Craig's List find. They were in desperate need of a bit of love. After a good washing, a bit of string to repair some problem spots, and a couple of coats of paint they are good as new. (I was thinking about painting them a color, but the minute I saw the drab brown I longed for white!)

All the pillows and cushions I made last weekend while waiting for the floors to dry. My sewing station was in the kitchen and I had to dash around the house every time I needed to measure! I love how they turned out, just like I imagined. The blue sets of the white perfectly and gives it such a crisp summery look.

This is Kerri's chair. It is on loan from my sister Becky (otherwise it would have gotten a coat of white paint too!) Whenever anyone is out sitting on the porch, you will find her here keeping an eye on the neighborhood.

My sister Mandy had cotton canvas shades that she didn't need anymore, (which happened to be the perfect color!), so she kindly donated them to the project. I know the seats are going to get a lot of use so I wanted a heavier fabric to hold up.

Couldn't resist sneaking in another Kerri picture, she is just so cute in her chair!
The pillow covers are regular cotton quilting fabric as I couldn't find a print I liked in decorators fabric. I also decided to invest the time and money into putting zippers in all the covers so we could wash them.  At the rate we are using the porch I think we will be glad!

 Another new feature to the porch are hooks to hold the solar light mason jar lanterns. Previously the lanterns had just been on the table or window ledge. Then I saw this idea and happened across some old hooks in the basement. Perfect!

 I love how they look at night, the wonderful spheres of light they cast. So cozy!
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
You know where I will be, Enjoying my Porch!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Shellacking Floors (Again!)


This weekend we were so busy, I am tuckered out! I was so excited about the extra day off I kept adding projects to the list. Ha! At the top of the list was re-shellacking the floors! I posted about the floors Here and Here previously.
Before - with all the furniture moved to one end.
The floors didn't fair very well this winter, especially in front of the door where snow and salt was tracked in. After mulling it over while waiting for the weather to warm; I came to the conclusion I made a few mistakes.
Mandy and I hard at work.
 (Mistake #1) When shellac is old it doesn't dry properly. Thus it is very important to get a good can of shellac, unfortunately it also has a very short shelf life. If the can is bulging or looking like it might explode in any way, pass it by! Shellac should also look like coffee with plenty of milk in it and not separated looking. (Mistake #2) On the back of the can it states, do not thin. I completely ignored this statement and thinned it out with denatured alcohol according to advice I read on the internet. (This was suppose to help it go on smoother.) Not good at all. Even though we did three or four coats the first time around, it wasn't even as thick as one non-thinned coat! There was such a world of difference this time. 
First coat on one side.
I must point out we love our wood floors, but didn't expect them to come out perfect. The floors are 90 years old and had paint splatters, pet stains, thousands of staple holes and discoloring from the sun. But we love them the way they are! And are happy to coexist with them. 
After- and so glossy!
One of the wonderful things about shellac is, unlike other finishes, you can add another coat at any time. When you apply another coat is softens the layer beneath and melds together. This is very good news for scratches and scuffs as applying a coat over them makes them disappear! (The very deep scratches didn't disappear completely, but they do look much better.) It also enabled us to do one side of the room at a time and one can't tell where we stopped or started!
After- second side.
  We used a gallon and a half of shellac on the living room and dining and it took us two days. The living room and front hall the first day and the dinning room and hallway the second day. About every hour and a half to two hours we would apply another coat. Then we let is dry overnight before shuffling the furniture to the other side. We are so excited to have it done! It is heavenly on bare feet! Though we have noticed if the humidity is high it gets a bit sticky, but it should harden completely in a week. (In a perfect world we probably shouldn't have moved the furniture in for a week, but ah well!)
After- through the front door.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Life is just a bowl of Cherries!

 I always associate the month of July with Cherries. Probably because that is when they are in season and because one of my favorite July 4th memories involve cherries. 
One July 4th on our way home from up north, we happened to drive through downtown Milwaukee at the perfect time. We could see along the shoreline about five different locations lighting off fireworks.  I remember oh-ing and ah-ing over the fireworks while munching on cherries. The best way to see fireworks, no noise and the perfect view!
 For my birthday this year Mandy bought me a cherry pitter.  (For more info and where to buy.) I was so anxious to try it out! I have been waiting months and months for cherry season to arrive. Finally it is here!
The pitter has prongs that push through the cherry and pop the pit out the other side. It is very easy to use and though it splatters a bit, it is a lot cleaner then doing it with a knife. So far we have been eating them as fast as we pit them. But eventually I am sure I will get around to making a cherry something. 
 (I got a little carried away with pictures as I discovered the sequence setting, my new favorite!)












We have discovered that pitted cherries get eaten twice as fast un-pitted cherries!

Do you have a favorite memory involving cherries?