Monday, July 22, 2013

Patio Progress

Last week we had poured the concrete for our new patio.

It looked like this when we were done, and we waited a few days for the concrete to harden.

After it was solid, we were able to walk on it. We waited a few more days to put furniture on it.

We don't plan to buy any new patio furniture this summer, we decided we will wait until  next spring to buy anything. We might be able to find some good sales this winter, so we will keep our eyes open.

For now, we are using what we have. Tim's son Patrick bought us this umbrella table and chairs set about 5 years ago when we moved in. It works great for us, it's the perfect size.

The swing was given to us last year from Tim's family. I have plans to paint it in some bright colors soon.

Everything you see in the picture below came from garage sales or was given to us. (Except the dog).
I love free and cheap stuff!

A view from the screened porch:

You may have noticed we didn't get the privacy fence up yet. Since Tim is paying cash for all of the projects we are doing to both the inside and the outside of the house, it will take some time to get to some things. 

For now, Tim put up a temporary fence to keep the dogs in the back yard. The dogs had a blast this last few weeks while the fence was gone, they were able to go from the back yard to the front yard whenever they wanted (after the concrete dried). 

Here is a close up of the temporary fence:

Tim pounded poles into the ground about 4-5 feet apart.
Then he used a roll of wire fence and tied it to the poles with wire. It works great!

In the 2 pictures above, you can see little pieces of concrete laying all over outside the fence. 

After the concrete was poured and leveled, we were left with this giant chunk of concrete to get rid of. 

I asked Tim why they left all this concrete for us to clean up, and he said normally the concrete company would remove this after pouring the patio. Tim got a discounted rate on having our patio poured if he agreed to do some things himself. Removing this chunk of concrete was one of those things he had to do himself.

On Saturday morning, Timmy went to work breaking up the concrete:

He cut it into smaller pieces and moved them to a trailer to haul off. 

One day last week, Tim borrowed this tractor from his dad. He's going to use it to move the giant pile of dirt that was left in our back yard from the patio. There are some big holes in other parts of our yard that need to be filled in with this dirt. A couple of neighbors also asked for some dirt to fill in some holes and ruts in their yards. I think there is plenty of dirt to go around. 

This tractor looks like fun, I want to drive it!

I'll be back soon with more updates!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

July Flowers!

Our flowers are in full bloom! 

Here are some pictures of how our flowers are coming along this summer.

This is the round bed in the front yard shortly after I planted in the end of May:

And this picture was taken this morning. They have filled out quite a bit in 7 weeks. I added mulch about a month ago and it looks much better than the dirt looked.

 This is the bed in the front of the house, just after I planted them in the end of May:

And this one was taken this morning. In the last 7 weeks, I added mulch and also several new plants in this bed. I had no idea the green ones in the front would grow so tall. I grew them from seeds Tim's granny gave me and I have no idea what they are.

The red plants are Scarlet Begonias. I love to plant them every year, they remind me of my hippy days. 

A different view of the front bed, taken this morning. This bed is so big I used stepping stones so I could water and weed the plants in the back. The stepping stones were the ones we dug out of the back yard.

 Tim's granny mailed me some flower seeds in early June. We planted them right away, and they popped up in a few weeks. When they outgrew their pots, I replanted them in the beds. These are my little marigold seedlings back in June:

And this one was taken this morning. I have my first baby marigold! This little flower just bloomed in the last 2 days:

These are my Peace Lilly's back in the spring. They had a rough start this year.  I totally forgot the bulbs were in the round bed and I mowed over them earlier in the summer. I thought they were weeds. 
My poor Lilly's had to start all over again, and by the time they grew a little taller, their blooming season was almost over. 

 I did get one single Peace Lilly flower. We had some bad rains and my poor lonely Lilly didn't survive very long. At this point, I just need to cut the plants all the way down and wait till next spring to see if I have better luck with them.

Here is the same Peace Lilly in full bloom a few years ago. 

One last flower picture.......

I posted this picture last month, but I wanted to post it again because it's so awesome! 
I found this little dragonfly buzzing around my flowers last month. I have never ever seen a dragonfly up close. I have also never seen a dragonfly that wasn't near a lake or a pond. There are no lakes or ponds near our house that I know of.
It was so odd that it was even in my front yard and it stayed there while I ran inside and grabbed my camera. 

I have also noticed a lot of butterflys this summer. I'm happy to see so many this year.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Kitchen - Repainted

Back in May, I started my kitchen makeover. I have had a couple of set-backs, which is why it took 2 months, but it's finally painted!

WE LOVE IT!!! It was worth all the time and trouble.

Going back in time, this is what the kitchen looked like in 2008 when we moved in.
Oh My! Can I draw your attention to the PINK counter-tops and back splash?
We have come a long way from here.
Our original kitchen:

Within a few months of moving in, I had to cover up those ugly pine cabinets. I decided to use black as my base color and then add a splash of color to the kitchen. I absolutely LOVED the black cabinets.
Here is how it turned out:

Please excuse the stuffed chair in the kitchen, I must have been painting the living room when this one was taken.

You can see the new countertop and cabinets that Tim installed between the stove and the fridge.

Just looking at those pictures makes me a little sad. I really loved the way my kitchen looked. It was comfortable and cozy.
My problem with this kitchen color scheme was the other half of the kitchen, which still had knotty pine walls and did not match this half of the room. I couldn't get the 2 halves of the kitchen to go together and I just needed to start over. I'll get to the other half of the kitchen in a minute.

By early May, I came up with a new color scheme from reading other peoples decorating blogs. Ashley from had painted her upper and lower cabinets two different colors, and I liked the look.

After I cleared my new color scheme idea with Tim, I went to work. He pretty much gives me free reign over the decorating of the house, but he has veto power over any idea he hates.

I covered everything with plastic and started with painting the ceiling. It was BAD!! We don't have a stove hood so the ceiling was pretty yellow and even brown in some places. I have no idea when it was last painted, maybe back in the 80's when the house was last redecorated?

This ceiling was one of my set-backs. First of all, I HATE painting ceilings. It hurts my arms and my neck, and it's just no fun.
We bought a 5 gallon bucket of name brand ceiling paint, knowing we will be painting the ceilings of the entire house. I put two coats on, but the yellow and brown stains just kept coming through as it dried. UGH!!

So we bought some KILZ primer and I gave it two more coats. Later I came back through with the ceiling paint again making FIVE coats I had to put on this ceiling. I was not happy, and it's worse knowing it will just turn yellow again until we get a stove hood.

This pic was taken just before I started painting

In the middle of the painting madness.

I got this side mostly finished, and I started in on the knotty pine side of the kitchen.

Going back in time to 2008 again, here is the knotty pine in all it's glory:

I tried so hard to keep this knotty pine. It was really pretty.
Here is the kitchen after I painted the trim and window sills black, and added a few more black touches.

This is my favorite picture of this side of the room.

I liked it, but sadly the walls were so orange they really didn't go with our more modern look on the other half of the room. Believe me, I thought long and hard before I decided to paint those walls. Tim offered to remove the pine and replace it with drywall, but I thought it would be OK if we painted it for now.

First I had to sand all the walls and rough up the smooth and shiny pine.

Then I had to paint the ceiling. It took 3 coats.

Then the first coat of light gray paint went on the walls:

This is where I had another set-back. Some of the cracks between the pine slats were so big, it looked funny after it was painted.
We decided to use caulk and close some of the big gaps.
Between the ceiling, the sanding, and the caulking, this part of the room took a while to finish. Each step took forever.
One good thing, I learned how to use a caulking gun!

Look how good I caulk!

It made a big difference, and we were happy with the results. I was worried we were going to have to take out the pine after all, but the caulking saved the day.

Final coat of paint after caulking the cracks:

I continued on with my painting.
Everything that had been painted black took FOUR coats of paint to cover.

And finally...........The kitchen was finished!!! Well, the painting part was finished. There is still a lot to do in here, but the worst of it is over. Big sigh of relief.

The paint colors look great! It's very bright.
Tim and I both love the way it turned out.

After you look at the paint job, please notice my floor! I scrubbed that floor on my hands and knees with soap, and then I mopped it with pine-sol. That floor is so clean you could eat off it.

Here are some more pics of the room:

We still need door trim for the back door. We replaced the door last year and the trim couldn't be saved.
We also need to go buy some cover plates for the outlets and light switches.

 Along with the painting of the walls, we had a few side projects to do.
We wanted to re-use our handles and locks for the windows. I took them off to paint the window trim, so Timmy gave them new life by spray painting them silver

They look brand new again! These are over 60 years old, they are original and were put in when the house was built.

I needed to get the upper cabinet doors painted. Again, four coats!

We also needed to paint this corner cabinet that holds our TV.

Coat 1..........

 After coat 3............

 And it's back in it's corner!

It was nice to bring some furniture back into the kitchen.
Excuse the sheets hanging on the windows, they are only temporary until we get the curtains.
Also, this a new table and chair set that we got from Tim's mom. This is the 4th table and chair set we have had and this set is staying. The table is the perfect size, and the chairs are comfortable.
Of course, I can't leave them as they are......I'll be refinishing the table and painting and recovering the chairs SOON!
Its a really nice parquet table top and it will be gorgeous again!

Before I go, here are some pictures that were just taken this morning. It's not really spectacular looking yet because I still have to put all my stuff back in, hang pictures, and make it look like people live here.

I'll keep posting kitchen updates as we get more done in here.