Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Our First Project of the Season- Part 5

 Yowzer, you'd think for Part 5 we'd be a little farther along.  It is progressing and looks like a deck now.  It's so much more exciting when it feels like it's all coming together. 
 Posts are set and we've applied some bracing.
 Wow, joists are going on.  It's really starting to come together now.  Very exciting.

 Eventually this will have a rounded edge and the kitchen underneath will mirror its shape. 

If you'd like to follow along with our project here's a link to the very first post, Our First Project of The Season- 2015, and at the end of that you'll find the links to all future posts (I'll keep it updated as we move along).  Hope your projects are progressing smoothly, what are you working on this spring?

Monday, April 27, 2015

What a Mess!

I spent a couple days this past week getting the rest of my flowerbeds cleaned out.  All I had left were the three berms out front and man, were they a mess!  After many wheelbarrows to the burn pile I am now ready for the fun stuff to begin!

Here's a quick look at my mess and how much better it looks now.

I'm embarrassed by how awful my flowerbeds look and how long it took me to get them cleared out.  Usually I get out there during a nice day really early in the season, not this year. 

My husband called this my "weed patch" and he's not kidding.  Look at all them dandelions, they're nearly choking out my poor little Weigela Bush. 

All Better! 

Now that I've got the flowerbeds under control its time to move on to the fun projects.  Here's what's next in line.

First:  A couple weeks ago the electric company was cutting back trees in our area so we hit them up to dump a load of mulch.  I can't remember exactly how many yards of mulch the truck carries but it's in the double digit range, 13 sticks in my head for some reason. 

Did you know your local municipality probably gets loads of the stuff from the electric company and its FREE to the taker?  We lucked out to get it delivered but normally you will need to pick up and on given days they have a loader to load you up. 

Now, before you get too excited I'd be careful using it in your flowerbeds.  Honestly, I wouldn't.  It hasn't been treated and you never know what kind of bugs/diseases are in the trees that have been cut.  I won't be using any of it in flowerbeds but I do have another project in mind to add pathways around the lake so this should give me a nice start.
 Second:  Another project I'd like to get moving on this spring is a pathway between the berms in the very front of our yard.  There is a large circle right behind where I'm taking the picture that will eventually be a willow structure (it's in the works, slowly) and then I want a path leading to a second, smaller circle (the Arb's are a part of it's border).  I haven't marked it yet but I need to get it laid out and start digging.   Here's a quick peek into a little more detail on what I'm thinking for the walkway, hoping to start prepwork this week.  Fun, fun!
I also have plans for a "hanging garden" out here with some planters I am hoping to get started on next week. 
Tomorrow I'd like to share with you some of my favorite perennials.  Every year at "clean-up" time I fall in love with them all over again.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Wedding Shower Fun

What a great group of ladies that got together for a wedding shower yesterday afternoon.  The bride and bridesmaids as well as the mother of the bride and an aunt came from Kentucky to help us celebrate.  Hard to believe that a young man my boys grew up with is getting married in June.  My oldest is talking marriage and wow, do I feel old. 

I had some car troubles today so spent the first part of the shower outside dealing with having my car towed and talking to the Ford Service guy, when I came in they were finishing a game that was really interesting, and hard!  The groom wrote out a story about how they met, their relationship grew and when/how they got engaged.  They copied it onto these sticker sheets and then the challenge, and boy was it ever a challenge, was to put it back in order.  At the end, the future bride reads the story and you see who came close to matching it.  Pretty neat game.

These were the party favors, what a cute idea as well.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

It's not Just for Walls Anymore!

When I received an email from Hometalk inviting me to participate in a new "Share-a-thon" involving Walls Republic Wallpaper products I jumped at the opportunity. I love to hang wallpaper (yep, I'm weird that way) and the new products with updated patterns are simply fabulous.

I had over a dozen patterns to choose from with a variety of color selections. Decisions, decisions! I finally narrowed it down to two, and the winner is Tia (pattern # 97461) in the color Dove.
Now, what am I going to do with it?

Initially my thought was to build a headboard.  I drew out a plan and everything but the more I thought about it the more I decided that kind of defeats the purpose of the challenge for me.  I wanted to make it more of a "use what you have" challenge (and it saved me well over $100 in wood to make what I envisioned, that helped me change my mind as well). 
So, instead, I raided my stash and chose a project that "spoke" to me.  This cute, 50's Art Deco Style Bed jumped out at me so I got to work and started planning my attack!
First thing I did was play with the wallpaper and make some decisions about how I wanted it to appear on the bed.  The paper itself is gorgeous, with a very textural, woven appearance,  it's extremely thick and has just enough sparkle to give it a wonderful shine when the light catches it just right. 
 Then I gave the entire bed a coat of paint, measuring and marking the center.  I opted to run the pattern horizontally instead of vertical, thought it worked better and gave a better view of the overall pattern (especially when the bed is made with pillows, you won't see much of the bottom pattern but the top two will be perfect).

I hung this the way I would a wall, leaving inches on either end and cutting off excess once I had it up (FYI, with thicker paper its easier to cut it down to exact size first).  I found the center of the pattern and cut it to length, marking the center to match up with the mark I'd already made on the center of the bed and using the top of the bed for level.

I have never hung paper without "booking" it first.  (Booking is where you apply glue to the paper, fold the glued sides down on themselves and allow it to sit for about five minutes before you hang, it activates pre-glued papers and changes the texture of the paper making it a little more malleable, more easily ripped, and also makes for a fairly messy hang). 

This paper is a "paste the wall" product and you're advised not to get any glue on the front.  If you've hung paper before, especially with "booking", you know that's darn near impossible.  Well, not so with "pasting the wall".  Very clean process (well, I'm messy and still wiped glue all over my pants, but that's just me).
 Whenever I hang paper I use a knife such as this one and have plenty of extra blades on hand. A sharp knife is a must to cut paper after its up. You'll make a mess of it and shred the edges otherwise.
 I use a roller and also keep a paintbrush on hand when applying glue to the wall or in this case, head/footboard. I noticed with "paste the wall" I wasn't getting enough glue around the edges and had to come back in with the paintbrush and add some, careful to keep it off the front.

 I did do a sample to try and show you why you don't want glue on the front but it doesn't show up very well in the photos. Suffice it to say you WILL see the glue on the front. It's got a different sheen and texture and it WILL stick out like a sore thumb on your finished product. Normally when I hang I keep a bucket of soapy water and clean rags handy, wiping off the glue as I go. There's always glue everywhere. Even then, if you're not careful and change the water and rag frequently you'll still see evidence of glue when all is dried (won't notice it till it dries and its too late so frequently change water and rags please).
Thankfully, this process of "paste the wall" completely rids you of such a time wasting and messy process. Its kind of great!
 Once the paper dried I came back in and added another coat of paint.

 I really love how the bed turned out and can't wait to put it to use. Thanks Hometalk and Walls Republic for the opportunity and the lovely paper.

I have enough left-overs to play around with and have a couple ideas in mind of how to use them. 

The paper was easy to use (love the "paste the wall" process), high quality and an over-all beautiful product. For a variety of patterns, murals and a wallpaper calculator to help you figure quantities visit their website at
 I really wish I had a room right now that I could use it in but the boys (who both have full beds) say it's too girly.  I have a spare room but it's not done yet (it looks only slightly better than the framed walls you see here in the background).  Hopefully when we get that done I can use it and get some pictures of it all dolled up. 

Have you hung wallpaper before?  Any hints or tips for newbies?  We'd love to be inspired by some of your amazing projects if you'd like to share in the comments. 

#Wall sRepublic

Friday, April 24, 2015

My Landscaping Adventures- 9

Today's installation finishes up our previous projects and brings us completely up to date.  Whew!  We've come a long way in our eight year trip down memory lane.  Today is a second concrete retaining wall that I couldn't live with any longer.   Here it is before I got started on it.
This is my attempt to chronicle the progress around the yard dealing with our many landscaping adventures.  Here are the links to previous articles in case you're interested:
My Landscaping Adventures  Getting started in the front yard and an island of rock
My Landscaping Adventures- 2 The island concrete border and a preview of the back patios
My Landscaping Adventures- 3 Back lower patio, firepit and cantilevered staircase
My Landscaping Adventures- 4 Upper Patio, deck and the beginning of backyard plantings
My Landscaping Adventures- 5 Photos of the planting areas we've talked about so far and the beginning of the large bed out by the road
My Landscaping Adventures- 6 A look at the large flowerbed I've added out front, from a few placed rocks to planted berms and the start of a watering system.
My Landscaping Adventures- 7 Vertical Concrete Retaining wall, firepit and pump house. 
My Landscaping Adventures- 8  "Wood" Concrete Sidewalk
I began by adding trees with a vertical concrete mix that I use for other carving projects (here's my first retaining wall project with the mix) and I did a scratch coat for some rocks, I changed my mind though on the rocks and never finished them.
I chose slate tile because I love all the color variations, 12 x 12's to save some money and then cut them down into 3" x 12" rectangles to give it a little more of a linear look.  The slate will represent my water.  This was a very slow process.  Normally when I lay tile I figure out where my first full tile starts on the wall and place a board at that spot and tile on the board, giving it some support, then come back and do the bottom row (the one under the board) later.  I didn't want holes in the wall so I just started putting up the lowest row, allowing it to dry a little before adding another tile.  I could only go a couple high and had to move on, sometimes not even that since I didn't have any support underneath.  I did manage to get most of the bottom row done in one day so that on day two I could come back in, finish off the bottom row and really go to town getting the rest of the tile up. 
 Once I got the "water" in, I moved on to the greenery for the trees!  I found an inexpensive mosaic glass tile at Home Depot with a variety of green, blue and white tiles.  Perfect!  I cut it into odd shapes, trying to keep it going in a linear fashion and lathered it up, sticking it on the wall sporadically, cleaning up excess mortar as I went.
 I grouted everything and then went back in with a white grout to apply some sky and give it a polished look.  This was really easy, like icing a cake.  The grout allowed you to leave lots of texture and pattern in it, really love how it turned out.  I plan to add some plantings along the wall at the base so I could have just left the bottom but it seemed unfinished so I went in with mortar and gave the area under the "water" a nice, evenly spread finish.
 Here's some close-ups.  I also sealed it.  Don't want water getting in and destroying it.  Eventually, with our freeze/thaw cycles, I'm sure I'll have some problems and when I do, I'll just go in and fix it, makes for an interesting, ever-evolving project. 

With that, My Landscaping Adventure Series is complete and we are up to date on all our Landscaping projects around here, so far that is.  This year we are working on a new deck, Our First Project of the Season- 2015 and I have lots of projects to work on in the front flower bed when time allows. 
What are you working on this season, anything fun?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Our First Project of the Season- Slowly Progressing

I keep thinking someday I'll post and you'll be surprised by how far we've gotten. 
Not today! 
 I have to keep reminding myself that slow progress is still progress, right?
Posts are here!   
New header is going up.  That was fun.  I was the only help and believe me, I use that term VERY loosely!  I think I did more whining that helping. 
 That's a heavy board. 
 Only holding it up there wouldn't have been too bad but I'm balancing on a ladder while the wind is whipping it around (it actually blew it over without my weight on it), holding the board up with one hand while trying to finish pulling wire through a little, bitty hole in a board getting heavier by the second. 
I am not that strong! 

The posts need cut down a little so I'm going to have chunks leftover, whatever am I going to do with them?  Throwing around a couple ideas, any suggestions?
Whew!  Now to get the posts up.
Well, two of the new posts anyhow.   
And that my friends is called progress, however slow it might be. 
If you'd like to follow along with our project here's a link to the very first post, Our First Project of The Season- 2015, and at the end of that you'll find the links to all future posts (I'll keep it updated as we move along).  Hope your projects are progressing smoothly, what are you working on this spring?

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