Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Going outside

It might really be spring this time. I want it to be, at least. We had that one freak snowstorm that comes after some nice weather, and now everything is coming up and the trees are getting leaves again, so I think it's time to think about the yard.

Mr. Man came out to help me take pictures.

The daylilies by the door are coming up nicely. I'll be putting the front sidewalk in that I started and removed last year, so I'll get some mulch around these when I do that.

This is apparently what a hosta looks like when it's coming up. Also pictured: weeds. You'll see a lot of them.

I was worried about this bed. I put it in last year so that the peonies under the cherry tree could get some actual sun. I only got one moved over and it was not super excited to be there. I'm pretty sure it's coming back, though, as are the columbine. And weeds.

These are the peonies I didn't move. I should move them really soon if I'm going to get it done this spring.

Gigantic daylilies in the back.

The sedum is coming up. I might put something else behind there this year. I think there's salvia and coneflower back there, but more coneflower might be in order. Or black-eyed Susan.

Also, we've got a bumper crop of mushrooms coming up. Tasty.

I've given up on trying to get rid of the back bed. I will get rid of that lava rock this year, though. Four years is long enough. My ultimate goal this year is to get some more perennials in and get everything basically where it's going to go forever. Also, I'd like to figure out why I'm seeing such big size differences in the same beds. The hostas especially get progressively smaller the further down the bed you get, and I think the end hosta might be gone forever. Maybe I need something that's part sun at the end instead of full shade. I'd like to add some hydrangea and coral bells in up there, plus maybe something short in the sidewalk bed. I really need to draw a plan.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter 2014

I hope you had a good weekend and a happy Easter! We did the usual: went up to my parents' house for an Easter egg hunt. A good time was had by all, and lots of candy was eaten by all.

Baby Girl found the eggs B hid by the porch first. Once she got the first one, she didn't really care about the others.

Yaya killed time on the tire swing before the egg hunt started. I'm sure he wishes we had one.

Mr. Man was actually pretty good at the egg hunt this year, though I may have given him some hints.

Grandma helped, of course. B put a lot of the eggs in a straight line along the bush line, which made easy pickings for Baby Girl.

She won the egg hunt by one. Only because B wouldn't let Yaya rush around and steal them all, but still. Winner! And then we forgot her candy at Grandma's house. Oops.

Friday, April 18, 2014

I made a dent

I've been making tiny baby steps progress on the garage, but I'm starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

As a reminder, this was the before from the back.

And so far.

I know it's not much--it's just a dent in the mess, but I can see more floor now. It would look better if I could stand B's bike up (it's hooked to the trailer), but it's currently supporting the ladder.

From the front before.

And so far. This is a bit misleading because the trash cans are out at the curb, but again, I can see progress. I can actually stand in the garage now.

The box of books and the table on top of it will be going to Goodwill, and the recumbent bike and the dryer (the real one, not the toy one) will be coming inside.

I had room to take two extra bags of trash out to the curb, and this is what I have left.

This is four or five mostly full bags. Two were already in the garage and partially full, but it took very little effort to fill them up the rest of the way. One is entirely full of cardboard boxes because I have drawn the line on saving empty boxes. I was reading an article the other day where they interviewed an organizer, and she was talking about the difference between the men and women she helps. She said the men always save the box, and, at least in my house, that is 100% accurate. I told B the other day that I was going to throw the Wii box away. The Wii that we have had for three years and could not return even if we wanted to. We had to have a discussion about why I wanted to throw it away and if I really should. And most of the boxes we save aren't even for specific things, they're just random Amazon boxes and stuff like that.

Anyway, my parents have a dumpster so I will take a few bags up there this weekend. I suppose I could take them all up, but I don't want to abuse my dumpster privileges. Soon I'll be ready to move on to actual organization. It's an exciting time. No, really. I was really happy when I realized that the top half of the wall was pegboard and I could see the studs. It'll make it so much easier to hang the brackets for the ladder.

I hope you all have a good Easter weekend!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A bunch of almost nothing

How do you write a cohesive blog post when you've been flitting from project to project, starting many things but finishing none? Well, you don't. Or I don't, at least. Didn't.

I'm still working on the diaper bag--I haven't forgotten. I tried to start it up again, but I forgot that I had bought more lining fabric and hadn't yet washed it. In the meantime, here's the bottom all put together. It goes outer fabric, felt, latch hook canvas, felt.

From the outside.

I wired a light switch.

But the other end isn't attached to anything yet. I'm replacing a pull chain light with a wired light, so I need to take down the old light, take out the old wiring, mount the new junction box, run the new wiring, and wire the new switch. I've done the last two steps, which I'm sure is the right order for electrical work.

While I was waiting for the fabric to dry, I started cleaning the craft room again, which is now really the laundry/storage room. I got this far.

It's only one and a half shelves, but I filled half a trash bag with papers, just from that. Progress! I've watched a few episodes of Hoarding: Buried Alive over the past few days, which has made me a lot more willing to let go of old report cards and user manuals.

While I was cleaning, I found these books.

I have no idea where these came from. They just appeared in my basement, like gifts from the book fairy. They're all from the mid-to-late '70s, as far as I can tell. I also found a bunch of old issues of Better Homes and Gardens, but that's not as fun.

I started tearing up the bathroom floor. About halfway through I decided that my best bet was just to replace the subfloor, since they put OSB and particleboard down. Since I'm not planning to put carpet or sheet vinyl in, those are both worthless to me, and in my opinion neither should be in a bathroom in the first place. There goes my quick and easy redo. I mentioned to my mom that we were replacing the subfloor and she said "You should just take the tub out while you're in there." I said NO. NO MORE SNOWBALLING. I WON'T ALLOW IT. Like I have a say in the matter. I don't. You never do in old houses.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A(nother) DIY fail

I guess this isn't a fail so much as a "I tried something not knowing if it would work, and it did technically work but I didn't like the result." But that's a bit of a mouthful for a title.

We found the side chairs for our living room at the thrift store a few years ago, and I've been putting off reupholstering them ever since. I've seen a few posts around about dying chairs, and it sounded a lot better than reupholstering. So I decided to buy two bottles of Rit dye and give it a shot.

To dye the bodies of the chairs you have to have a hot day and an area outside. It was fairly hot on Saturday, but B had other stuff going on so I couldn't get away to do it. Sunday was rainy, cold, and windy. Not suitable chair-dying weather. I decided to go ahead and do the cushion covers anyway; I had taken them off a few weeks ago to wash in preparation for the dying and I didn't want to put them back on until I'd either dyed them or decided against it altogether. I decided to just get it over with.

The color I decided on was on the Rit Dye color chart, called Regatta. It was supposed to be a nice turquoise. Spoiler: it didn't turn out that way. I wasn't surprised; Rit is best used on natural fabrics and I have no idea what these cushion covers were made of. The formula for Regatta is 2 tsp aquamarine and 1 tsp royal blue to one cup water. Now, if you're thinking that sounds like it should be the powdered versions, you'd be thinking what I thought at first, and we'd both be wrong. The chart says it's the liquid versions, or rather it doesn't say it's the powder versions. Anyway, I had no idea how to mix that up in terms of five gallons of water (a lot of teaspoons), so I added 12 tablespoons of aquamarine and 6 of royal blue. I ended up with this lovely country blue.

My mom bought a couch this exact color from Nebraska Furniture Mart in 1993. Actually, I think you can still buy the same couch there. It had the sweet raised motif too, although it was flowers and ribbons rather than birds.

I tried redying them with the rest of the aquamarine, which was about half a bottle. This is how they turned out.

Pretty much exactly the same. I don't think the dye took at all the second time around. Oh, well. This has just confirmed that these chairs need to be reupholstered. I can see now how worn out the covers are at the corners and around the welting, plus the birds didn't dye the same as the rest of the fabric. I don't think they were really good candidates for dying. I'd like to be lazy and just slipcover them, but we'll see. Starting from scratch is probably the best idea.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Happy weekend!

The kids only had school until Wednesday this week because of conferences. B also has today off, so we're going to go to the zoo. And grocery shopping, but that's not fun.

I still have no card reader, which is fun. It certainly makes posting easier; fourteen steps to complete a project instead of one is always helpful. The past few days haven't been very interesting, anyway. We moved Baby Girl from the high chair to a booster seat, which she is enjoying.

B was even brave enough to give her an open cup of juice instead of a sippy cup. Not much damage she could do at the table, I guess, except to her shirt.

The high chair, along with a bag of baby toys, a bouncer, and an activity table went up to my mom's house for my nephew, so my garage is a tiny bit emptier. Now I just need to deal with the other million things in there. I'll probably clear a few more bags out of there this weekend. I'm going slow and steady, so slow and steady that I'll be finished in 2016. I also need to finish taking up the bathroom floor, work on the diaper bag, wire a few lights, and dye some chair covers. Doable, right?

What are your weekend plans? Hope you all have fun with them!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cheap-ish dog fence

B and I spent Saturday putting up a taller dog fence. We have a fenced yard with standard 4' chain link fencing, but Kojak is part boxer and apparently one of the breed characteristics is climbing fences.

My ideal solution would have been wooden privacy fencing, but we would have to replace the entire fence to do that. So our solution, our far less attractive solution, was this reed fencing, which we bought from Home Depot. We also got a few rolls of 24 gauge wire, but we ended up only needing part of one.

There are no progress pictures because, well, I forgot to take any, and we were trying to hurry because my mom was watching the kids. Putting this fence up wasn't difficult, just time consuming. Roll the fencing out about halfway, wire it at one end, stretch it, wire it in the middle, stretch it, wire it at the other end. Then go back and wire it more to make sure that it's attached well. We did a lot more wiring on the fence we put between the kids' side of the yard and the dogs' side of the yard than we did on the chain link.

To wire it, cut strips of wire about 6-8" long, then make them into a C shape with one arm longer than the other. The easiest way to do it is to have one person on one side to grab the wire and put it where you want it, then one person on the other side to twist the ends and push them down into the fencing. Be sure and put your wires close to the wires holding the reed fencing together; the wire is stronger than the reeds, or at least I assume so. If you don't have another person to help, just carefully push the curved end through first, with the longer arm on top, then thread through the wires on the fencing. This will be a pain until you get the hang of it, and even then it will be a pain. B preferred to curve the wire without cutting it off the roll, then pull it through and twist as usual before cutting. It's a little easier because you have more wire to work with, and it would probably use less wire. He didn't figure that method out until we were almost done, though, but it's the way I'll do any repairs.

Looking toward the garage. I'd like to reseed the grass, but I don't think it'll take. I told B that we'd have to rototill and resod before we sell, whenever that happens, and just hope the dogs don't destroy it. There are a few pavers down to make the patio area bigger, but I'm working on taking those up.

B was hoping it would be less see-through. This is the dog side facing into the backyard.

The long side. B put what amounts to homemade pepper spray on the fence to try and deter the dogs from eating it, but you can see they've already started. I need to find a deterrent spray or something.

The gate. The dogs are waiting for B to come back in. (He took the pictures.) I put the fencing up on the frame of the gate and left a gap where the latch is. I originally left a gap where the hinges were, too, but we were worried Kojak would try to jump out through there, so we lapped a piece of scrap fencing over it. I need to trim the top of the gate piece so it's level with everything else. I trimmed the piece that goes under the overhang of the house with a utility knife; this stuff is pretty easy to cut.

We put the part of the fence that faces the street on the outside of the chain link fence so it looks a little bit better. I'm pretty sure that, per code, this does not count as a permanent fence, but code says that the "good" side of the fence should face the outside.

This was not a super cheap project. We needed seven rolls of fencing, so at about $25 each that's $175. Plus wire, which I think cost about $4 a spool, so that's not bad. The rolls are 16' long, so you might need less. We actually have quite a bit of the seventh roll left over. The whole thing took about five hours, including rebuilding the gate to the kids' side of the backyard, which I screwed up four times.

I assumed they would chew it, although I'd prefer they not, but I'm hoping that it'll be fine if the top two feet aren't compromised. I would like to add some pressure-treated 2x4s every eight feet, with a 2x2 on top of the fence, to frame things out and make them look nice, at least on the outside at the front. B thinks that's a waste, and he's not wrong, but I like things to be pretty.