Off The Radar For a Bit! Update of Beading, Gardening and Painting!

Things have been a little hectic for me, as of late. Of course that means my project work sort of falls to the wayside while I attend to other matters. It isn’t anything very interesting or even all that important, but it – along with the fact that my son has been unavailable to me – makes the project work get set aside.

Its funny how much we tend to take things for granted. Well, okay, so I should correct that and say how much “I” take things for granted. My son has been involved with something new for him and it has taken him away from home last week, first for five days and now again for 8 days. It really hits home that I don’t have his help – from simply helping me move and pickup items, but also his expertise and knowledge in the work we do. He also has a great sense of humor and fantastic ideas and I miss not having him around for that and for so many reasons. But mostly because he is an awesome kid and I love himIMG_1934.

I’ve been doing a little handwork with sequins and beading, just to keep my hands occupied. Sometimes it is funny how I will pick up a new hobby or skill, this time, just by making a small purchase to repair something. Now that I have the supplies and material, it seems a shame to not take full advantage of it and use more of the supplies. In this case, it was a great little case of a variety of sequins – colors and shapes – and seed beads. You saw one of my attempts a few posts back, but have been doing a little reading up on how to use seed beads and tube beads and have completed a couple of more projects.

I also have an update on our container gardening. I don’t know why I can grow my indoor house plants without even trying, yet when I make a obvious choice to grow something in a garden or container, I don’t seem to have much luck.  Here is the latest shot of my container tomatoes:

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I actually did manage to get my first ripe tomato, albeit a little small. Oh well. IMG_3291

There are some tomatoes… but they don’t seem to be getting very big. The Kid isn’t faring much better with his sweet corn, the one in the container just dried out and the ones out in the yard are packed a little too tightly (I think). I haven’t been out lately, but once I was out to check on the corn, I took a look at my strawberries. IMG_3293Earlier in the year, I knew that they wouldn’t be doing much this year, so I let them just got to seed. Hopefully get some strong daughter plants and have better luck next year. Amazingly, 90% of the plants were gone! Most of the bed was littered with grass, but I was surprised to see that the plants literally were gone! There was a row of strawberries along the house’s foundation, and they had two mature berries. Okay, you want to see sad?  Here was the total “harvest” from the corn and berries. I told you! Sad.

On the subject of plants, however, I picked up a really big, very healthy plant from CraigsList. Somehow houseplants fare much better. In fact, even trying to kill a houseplant intentionally won’t happen. When we moved from California to Missouri some years ago, I just stopped taking care of the houseplants since I knew they would never survive such a trip. But even after weeks of inattention, they were still going strong. I moved them out to the yard when we had our huge garage sale and offered them to people as incentive for buying our other stuff!

So, this plant I picked up from CraigsList was a schefflera. Only thing “wrong” was the fact that it was growing too tall for the office waiting room it lived in! A bit root bound, so I replanted in a new larger pot with some Miracle-Gro soil and it is now a new center piece in my foyer. The first couple of times I caught the plant out of the corner of my eye from the kitchen or coming out my bedroom, it scared the life out of me, thinking it was some big hulking man or something! You can get an idea of how tall it is by how it dwarfs the china cabinet (which stands about five and a half feet. And during the pickup, I managed to snap off about two feet of the center stalk. It recovered nicely and is already sprouting new leaves and one at the base.

IMG_2375I had to move one of my golden pothos over by the door and now it is going crazy with all the indirect sunlight!

photo 1A quick peek at my garage… I’ve prep’d pieces for painting… the head board and foot boards in the picture will be given the “ombré” effect in pinks. I am hoping to be able to go back to all of my customers who bought dressers and nights stands and vanities and coax one of them to adding this to their current pieces. My first thoughts were that the spindles should be given the same paint scheme, starting at the top with the lightest color pink and then at the rings, switch colors, but that might be overdoing it a bit. (In fact, can’t even find a quick image on Google!) The Kid thinks that each spindle should be a different color, and even did a quick mockup for me:

IMG_0434I think I like that as it goes to the simple and clean look (like the dressers) and it is a lot less work! For a “guy” and for as young as he is, he has pretty good taste. I guess the apple didn’t fall from the tree. 😉

julie

Strawberries and Sweet Corn: Just Getting Started

Spent the last couple of days trying to get ahead of the rain and the water in the backyard. It seems so weird that in one part of the country there is a multiple-year drought while right here in Missouri, we’ve been deluged by rain and experiencing flooding.

We were lucky to get a couple of days when it didn’t rain, so yesterday, we drove out to HomeDepot and bought quite a few bags of MiracleGro garden soil. We figured we get 6 cubic feet of dirt into the hole it would soak up the excess water and we’d then be ready to transplant the corn that we started. The starts were on the verge of outgrowing the starter pots and not looking too good, so the next day we stuck ’em in the ground. I have a feeling that we tried to plant too many in too small of a space, but hopefully through attrition, we’ll end up with just enough.

2015-05-27 17.14.31Kind of sad looking, huh? I’ll give it a couple of days and then I think things will be better. (Keep your fingers crossed.)

I also picked up another flat of strawberry starts while we were at the HomeDepot. Now that the third year plants are already producing berries, I wanted to fill in some of the bare spots, mostly in front. I had initially wanted to put something down around the outside edges of the patch, so that I could access all four sides, but then after thinking about it a little more, realized that I still wouldn’t be able to reach the middle. So instead, I opted to place stepping stones into the patch.

At the end of the last year, The Kid and I stirred up a few batches of quick setting cement and made stepping stones with dog paws in the middle. We had started making them in anticipation of planting a tree for our dog that we lost year before. We were going to burying her ashes under an ash tree and then place the dog print stepping stones out to the tree and maybe around it.

Somehow, we got distracted or busy with other things and we only poured 8 of the stepping stones. One actually still is in the form! So, we pulled those out and set them into the strawberry patch.2015-05-27 17.14.15I placed one at each corner-ish and one sort of centered. That should give us adequate access to all the plants without having to step in the soil or on a plant. Once the stones were placed, we then planted the starts. That went pretty easy and quickly.

Rain has been forecast for the next couple of days. Hopefully it won’t be too hard or too much. The yard is one big soggy mess and I think I have had enough of the gloom. I am ready for sunshine!

julie

PS…for those interested, I am not being paid for nor sponsored in any way for the mention of any products or stores in this post. I just like the way that these particular products work and want to share with you!

Corn and Tomatoes: Traditional and Container Gardening

This will be the fourth year that The Kid and I have attempted gardening. The first year was pumpkins in the ground in the backyard. I think we actually got one little pumpkin. The next year, we bolstered the ground with Miracle-Gro and made an attempt at watermelons. We had tons of flowers but not a single melon! The Kid was seriously bummed.

At the same time, I planted my first strawberry plants in the area under the ‘martini deck’ that hangs off the master bedroom… it gets great moisture and gets great morning sun and then is shaded from the afternoon heat. The second year saw more berries but I knew that it was going to take at least two years to get really established plants and fruit. I lost some of the peripheral plants and want to add some starts, but first need to re-plant some from the back to the front and make a pathway to get around the two back sides against the house. The ground has been so wet that stepping in between the plants has caused my feet to sink low enough in the soil to completely cover my feet and shoes!

Last year, The Kid went back to pumpkins and we did keep a lot more of the vines, but still only three pumpkins. And those were about the size of grapefruit! I don’t know what we’re doing wrong, but we’ve opted to switch to sweet corn in the garden this year. We dumped almost 40 gallons of compost into a large hole and then covered it – once again – with Miracle-Gro soil. Its been a wet spring so we started the corn inside. It is about to overtake its current containers, so I hope that things dry out a bit.

2015-05-12 21.10.52So The Kid is growing the corn, so I opted for tomatoes. After spending the better part of two afternoons weeding my strawberry patch, my knees are screaming! So, I have decided to grow my tomatoes on the back deck in containers. This should help the strain on the knees – damn getting old sucks!

I have a great idea on how to do this container growing without laying out a ton of money. The tomatoes will grown in 5 gallon buckets, gotten for free! Yes, FREE!

I stumbled onto a site that talked about getting these buckets free, so I decided to see just how true it actually was. So, I spent a few hours today trying to wrangle buckets.

My first stop was Panera Bread. They were able to give me 3 5-gallon buckets, they were indeed pickle buckets. They are soaking now to help reduce the pickle smell (I personally do not like pickles!). A second Panera later in the day resulted in being told that we could dumpster dive for them. Not sure I want them that badly.

Then on to Burger King – they said they normally just throw them in the dumpster, but would stack them next to the dumpster and I could come by periodically and pick them up. The manager I was talking with said she would love some tomatoes – wink wink. I will definitely bring her some if I am successful and actually do pick up some buckets from her store.

Next was KFC, McDonald’s and Subway. All of them say they no longer get the buckets, either the food is delivered in different containers or no containers at all. HyVee Bakery (food store) said they didn’t have any but a second HyVee bakery turned up a single frosting bucket that was square and maybe 3 gallons in size. Wendy’s manager was no where to be found but the cashier said they had buckets and they go into the dumpster in the morning when prep is done. I may pop back over there at another time and actually track down the manager. I eat at Wendy’s a lot, so hopefully it will be successful in the future.

I figure that I will grow two plants per bucket and line them up, side by side. On either end I will have another bucket, this one filled with either stone or cement with a 2×2 in the middle. And then I will place screws or eye hooks in the posts and run twine or other thick line back and forth between the posts to create a kind of ‘fence’ which I can then use to support the branches of the plants.

 My doodle of the setup:
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 This initially stemmed from the fact that I could easily lay out a hundred dollars for pots and tomato cages… and there is no guarantee that I will get any fruit! Plus, this seems like a more challenging path to take.
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I hope we can get everything we need to get the plants into dirt. They seem to grow like crazy in the house!

A Little of This, A Bit of That, More of Something Else

Do you ever find yourself pulled in many directions at once? Well, that’s me for the last week or so. I feel like I have so many irons in the fire and yet, never feeling like I am accomplishing anything. At least not accomplishing enough.

I will share with you a project that has been in the works for sometime. Way back, I was given a wonderful gift of four antique phonograph player cabinets. An acquaintance of mine does old fashioned Victrola type restorations and much like anyone who restores things, it often takes two or more pieces to be able to get something that old working again. So, my friend would strip the cabinets bare of the music parts and then not have anything to put back into them.

01414_146BGjp6j5f_600x450I was able to fix up two of the four I received pretty quickly. I love how they turned out. I like one so much I opted to keep it – yes, it was done in my signature red color. But it was extremely handy to have my financial information all in one place and look good to boot! You can read about it here.

This photo shows the four I received. Like I said one sold quickly, and you can see its transformation here.

I did some preliminary work on the other two, but we were pulled in many directions and the other two went into the “To Do” section of the garage. That space was arranged and re-arranged a dozen times. But I knew I would get around to them eventually.

Eventually was this week for one piece. I stumbled onto a color when I was sorting through paint chip cards and have fallen head over heals for it. It is called ‘Deep Aubergine’ and it just screams elegance. So, being (sort of) close to finishing the third Victrola cabinet, I opted for a quart of this beautiful color.

DSCN3384This is one of those colors that is just plain hard to photograph accurately. Trust me when I say that this is a gorgeous color in person. Its a deep brown with just a hint of ‘purple’ in it. But you can see the difference in how it photographs between this photo and this one:

DSCN3385Either way, it is gorgeous! I had to replace the top, it seems that the tops of all this cabinets were the first to go. The right side of this cabinet had a horn that was covered with the dropping front.DSCN3387That piece then can be slid into the cabinet to keep it out of the way (when they were listening to music). I loved the construction and only briefly considered changing it. The other side has an added shelf to use for storage. I think this piece would be nice as a entry way or hall cabinet. I think grandmother’s silver box and the good crystal would fit nicely into this cabinet.

DSCN3386So, I have a number of other projects in the works as well. I stumbled onto a thrift store that had all their clothing marked down to $2… so I snatched up all of the jeans I could find. I spent the better part of the last two days with scissors, seam rippers and razor blades taking everything apart. I am planning to use the fabric to make a denim braided rag rug. I’ve seen a few photos and they just look awesome! I have plans for almost the entire pair of jeans – I am going to use the seams and waistbands with belt loops – I even have a plan for the back pocket label

2015-05-12 21.11.10Sitting and working on this gives me a chance to catch up on some of the old movies I missed the first time around. I love streaming content! I am taking full advantage… we have AppleTV, Roku and Amazon Fire!

2015-05-12 21.10.52The Kid and I are, once again, giving gardening a try. Last year we did pumpkins and the year before watermelons. Didn’t have luck with either of them. This year I am trying tomatoes and The Kid is planting sweet corn. Which of course reminds me, I have to get down and weed the strawberry patch. This is the third year for the strawberries and this is supposed to be the year that they really bear large and flavorable berries.

Oh, and we’ve got the antique chandelier that we rescued out of an abandoned farmhouse. I’ll provide all the info when it is complete. Like I said, we have many irons in the fire… we are constantly doing something around here.

julie

Strawberries! And Another Vanity Restore

First, let me just brag about the crazy awesomeness of my strawberry patch! A couple of weeks ago, the patch was covered in little white flowers and last week I harvested about a pint of sweet berries. Me and The Kid went out last night to check the pumpkin patch and I thought to give the strawberries a quick check! Yowza!

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I did find a couple more of those pesky snails, so it would seem I need pesticide. Or some natural bug killer. One more thing on the TO DO list!

Oh, here is a quick shot of the pumpkin patch. These were started from seeds kept from last year around Halloween and sprouted in the kitchen. We were worried at first that they wouldn’t grow, but should have known better!

IMG_6559I have also been working on another vanity, originally I had hoped to keep it for myself, but the house is already overflowing to stretching the seams! This had a great story behind it, the man who I got it from told us that it was built in US-occupied Japan and was built with old growth oak. There was a lot of beautiful wood in the piece, unfortunately, it had been sitting in his damp basement for way too long and had a lot of wood and veneer damage. So, I salvaged what I could, which was sanded and re-varnished. What I couldn’t replace was replaced by maple plywood and painted a high gloss ivory. The handles were painted a matching color and replace. I also painted the last 40″ square mirror to match and it looks spectacular. The matching bench seat was all oak, so it too, was sanded and re-varnished. I covered the top with a gorgeous two toned upholstery fabric and viola!, perfection!

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Isn’t it beautiful? I love the way the two tones play off of each other. (You can see the reflection of the as-of-yet still-unsold doll house! :-().

DSCN2472A quick shot of the kid helping with the vanity. I am the luckiest mom to have been blessed with The Kid. He is the antithesis of what I was at his age! Thank heavens!

And not to go on and on, but isn’t CraigsList just the best thing ever?! I don’t know what I am going to do with it, but a student of architecture was giving away one of his projects and I had to have it! Not quite the normal scale of 1 inch to 1 FOOT scale that most dollhouses are, none of the existing furniture or fixtures I have will work in this house. And did I mention it was HUGE? It stands about 4 1/2 foot tall and the base is 4′ x 4′ but it is FRIGGIN’ COOL!

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photo 2The Kid has claimed one of the remaining Victrola cabinets and has been working on it. I think it will turn out even better than if I had done the work. He has a great imagination and loves the wood working. If it just weren’t already getting so hot and muggy!

More stuff on the way! Come back soon!

julie

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