Monday, April 26

No mercy.

Well Saturday ended up being a perfect day to tackle some yard work. Sunny, not too hot...perfect for some extreme landscaping. We made a trip to Lowe's Friday night to pick up a few more supplies, and it turns out they were much needed. A pair of bypass pruners and a hacksaw were by far our best purchases. The results of the day far exceeded our expectations. We tore through the front yard, pulling up weeds, vines, dead and half dead trees. A few times Dave shouted over to me, How about this one? Can I tear it down? and I yelled back yes without even lifting my head. Get rid of it all!

We met a few neighbors, who all informed us that nothing had been done in our yard for quite some time. We are in fact, the eyesore of the neighborhood. I met our next door neighbor who told me she'd planted shrubs hoping they would quickly grow taller than the mess in our side yard. Her plan didn't work so well. The side yard, which is a slope that expands about 30' out from the garage, is a total disaster. We pulled quite a few small, dead oak trees, some large bushes and fallen branches. The leaves on the ground are at least a foot deep.

Clearing out of the side yard actually exposed a lot of sunlight on that side, as well as tons more Daylilies and a large clump of something that may or may not be Peonies. I'm thinking this side yard might really expand our plant possibilities, it gets sun pretty much all day. I'm thinking a big lilac or two might fill in nicely and add some color over there. So many thoughts.

I also finally spray painted my resin urn. I found this on the street in Brooklyn a few summers ago and have been meaning to clean it up a bit ever since.

It needs a plant of course, but at least it's one thing off my to do list! More work to come this weekend. I'm plotting some things for the backyard too, I'm just trying not to get ahead of ourselves.

Friday, April 23

Lawn Service.

I'm starting to think we have the worst lawn on the block. We are almost surely the only people who haven't had their lawns professionally serviced, in the neighborhood, and possibly even the entire town. Perhaps if we only needed some minor clean up and manicuring, but we are far beyond that. I can't imagine what it would cost to have someone come in and do what needs to be done. We'd surely be spending a fortune. I prefer to get my hands a little dirty anyway. How else am I going to start my summer tan? I always thought lawn companies were for especially bad cases of crap grass, weeds, etc. Although it would be nice to come home one day and magically have it all done, we're ready and willing to roll up our sleeves and put in a little (a lot, a whole lot) of work.

It looks like the weather is going to hold out for us, at least for Saturday. Sunny and 70. Perfect! The good thing about having a squirmy, almost but not quite housebroken puppy is that we are up really early these days, even on Saturdays. So here we go. Another trip to Lowe's tonight to grab a few more supplies and we'll be ready to work. Hopefully I'll have some good before and after pictures on Monday. The forecast is calling for rain on Sunday, but we have more than enough to work on inside if that's the case.

Also in the plans is a proper compost bin. Even with a rude note from our elderly neighbor (did I mention that?) about putting our "trash" in the woods, and something about this being a "neighborhood and not a farmland!" we will be proceeding with the composting of our fruit and vegetable scraps, etc. Since compost bins can be quite expensive I'm planning on rigging a regular black trash can (thanks for the tip Manny!) with some ventilation holes and some wire mesh to keep animals out. Although I would really like to put it right on the edge of our lovely neighbor's lawn, unfortunately there isn't much sun on that corner (I'll be sure to make my defiance of her nasty note known in other ways).

I can't wait to check out the plants at Lowes. I've been noticing what the neighbors have coming up and what seems to work in the shade. All the same things that my research has told me will do well; bleeding hearts, azaleas, hostas, ferns. I really want to get some color going. I really want to find a spot for a lilac bush, or two. The few flowers that have come up have been quite sporadic. One single red tulip, one cluster of hyacinth, a lone daffodil. At least now I know these early spring flowers will still bloom, I will be putting in quite a few more bulbs for next year. There is a massive cluster of Daylilies growing in the back, I can't wait for those to bloom.

Wish us luck!

Friday, April 16

Sweet, sweet Anthropologie.

I ventured yesterday for the first time into the "new" Anthropologie in the mall. Although it opened several months ago I knew I needed to stay away. This has long been one of my favorite stores, a mandatory destination for whenever I went to NYC. So now there is one less than ten minutes away. Eek! It's too much, too full of beautiful, interesting little things. Forget the clothes, as lovely as they may be, I tend to look past them and go straight for the housewares and the stores unique displays. I fell in love with a few things (ok I'm totally lying, I want everything!) I'll share a few of my favorites... I would die for this Louisa Settee, with beautifully swirled blue cotton and linen upholstery. Only $2500? Hell, I'll take two!

Now this is much more reasonable, with the creamer and sugar dish for under $20. I don't think the picture even does it justice. The little touches of green and the delicate texture are just so lovely.

There was one thing that I just couldn't leave there, well, make that two things. But I had a vision of how to turn these otherwise expensive dinner napkins into some much more economical throw pillows. I bought a set of these... I plan on backing them with some sturdy off-white cotton that I have already, and taking some fiber fill off my mom's hands. She's offered it up so why not. I love, love, love this Ikat fabric. It's really soft and the fringe is already there so one less step for me. Time to bust out the sewing machine!

Thursday, April 15

It's deja vu all over again!

The bathroom. The half bathroom. That tiny little room with only three little wallpapered walls, is becoming a small nightmare. I feel like I'm making progress, but not without some damage to the drywall. It is definitely starting to resembling the dining room. For some reason I am intent on finishing this one first. It's so small, it should be faster. Right? Please let it be faster! We have a really neat paint color picked out and now that brand new mirror is just waiting to be put up.

This is now my mission. That and the yard, the kitchen, house breaking the puppy...I could go on. Ahhh..not enough hours in the day, and not enough days in the weekend!

Monday, April 12


I can't say enough about Ikea. Bright, cheerful, wonderful Ikea. Maybe it's the Swede in me, but I love my rare visits there. Now having the space we do in the house means many of their brilliant storage pieces are lost on me. But if I lived in a cramped New York City apartment I imagine it would have floor to ceiling Ikea bookshelves and closet units, all meticulously designed to make use of every square inch of space.

Our mission on this trip was to look for some tables and chairs for the deck. We settled on the Lacko chair, Sleek, sturdy and best of all, stackable so they fit in the car. We also picked up some deep bowls that we've been on the hunt for, perfect for pasta and noodle dishes. We stocked up on utensils, a zester, some tongs for the new grills, a whisk (to replace the one I broke a few weeks ago trying to beat a cake mix by hand). We grabbed two of these... One in green, and one yellow, to use outside for holding cold drinks.

We also bought some new door pulls for the kitchen cabinets. They were marked down 50% and are sleek, brushed nickel finish, perfect to reduce the amount of brass in the kitchen. They'll work now on the current cabinets, and if we ever get around to replacing those we can switch these ones over.

My favorite purchase has to be this mirror, It's tilted in this picture so it looks oval, but it is perfectly round, with a solid stainless steel edge that gives it a bit of an industrial look. We're hoping it will work in the half bath downstairs. If not I'm sure we can find a spot for it. For $30 it was well worth it.