Sunday, July 10, 2011

Yard sale season!

What's the best part about summer?  Yard sales.  In nice neighborhoods.  Can't beat 'em!

The last time my mom was here she helped me clean out and organize our big attic.  Having all that space lets me reinvigorate my dream of collecting furniture as I find it.  Sounds like hoarding, I know, but really... Whenever we have gone out looking for a specific piece for a specific purpose we are inevitably disappointed.  Not the right size, not the right utility, not the right quality, something is usually not quite right.  So in defense of the charge of hoarding, at least we don't buy stuff that we aren't going to use!

We actually don't go to yard sales all that often, at least not like some folks who make it a hobby.  But when we see a few signs in our neighborhood right before the weekend we figure that we can hit a bunch in one morning and increase chances of finding the deal of a lifetime!  We may have found that deal yesterday.  (okay, it wasn't the deal of a lifetime, but it was a pretty wonderful find)

Drumroll...... brrrrtttthhhhrrrr..... our new chair:

As you may already know, Kitteh is king in this house, so when I say "our" new chair, of course I mean his highness's new chair.  It's really nice, high quality, and we got both chair and coordinating antique ottoman for less than $100.  She even threw in a set of fireplace tools.  I'm not worried about the white fabric because if we need to get it recovered it will be worth the $$, given the quality of the chair.  Yay!

Do you yard sale?  Do you have tips/strategies for stuff and hopeful-projects not taking over your home in a clutter disaster?

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Flowers have always been a summer project for me.  Many years have also seen veggie gardens (or makeshift gardens!), but always flowers.  Pots, boxes, spots of dirt next to yet-another-apartment-building.  Since I’ve been in my very own house, though, I have entered the magical world of perennials!

When we bought the house the front yard bushes were atrocious.  Overgrown yew bushes everywhere – blechh.  I have started prettying it up, but it has to be done in stages for both time and $$ reasons.  Bigstrong man has removed two of the ugly bushes (only one per year because it’s HARD!) and I *think* I have replaced them with pretty things.  In the corner I have a project bordered with white bricks that match our house because they were actually part of the house at one time.  The mulch is red recycled tire mulch.  They say it’s safe for gardens but I’m a little wary.  I’m sure it can’t hurt flowers, though, so I’m using these brilliantly recycled tires and I think it looks pretty good!

In the past few days the canna lilies finally started to bloom!  By “started” I mean that one out of 20 or so shoots is blooming, but at least it’s right up front and tall.  Here’s a photo progression from July 3, 5, and 7:
July 3
July 5
July 7

Our next step is getting rid of the rest of the yews and replacing them with another evergreen bush.  What evergreens are out there that aren’t the standard yew or cedar or other thing I think is boring and gross?  Ideas?

Also, I’m still learning how to use this camera Bigstrongman got me for my birthday… ummm, years ago?... how embarrassing.  So any thoughts on how pictures might look better are appreciated!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Taste of Chuck

There are many critters in our land, and all of them find our backyard at one point or another.  Of course, we have a Pup.  She is a fast-moving pup, but she doesn't always have the best instincts with respect to chasing vermin... she doesn't have a bloodhound nose, she doesn't have sighthound eyes, so mostly she just guesses.  It's actually very funny to watch most of the time!  But most of the time we make her wait before she runs out to the yard, so in the crazy case she sees something before it sees her, it has a running start.  Well........ we forgot.

We did not actually see Pup capture the critter, we just saw her nosing it around. I had been in the yard with her only a 1/2 hour earlier and there was definitely no dead critter on the lawn.  Just a note, it was a small Chuck.  I felt bad for the Chucks, I never wanted them to lose a child, just to stay the %#*@ out of my garden.  Once we figured out that it probably didn't fall from the power line (being a chuck, not a squirrel) we think that Pup may be the culprit.  And it's not her style to rip her prey to bits, she's more of a shake-and-smell kind of girl.  Or, she is with ropes, she's never taken on a critter before.  

So now we're hoping that our trash can doesn't get busted into before Thursday.  I sextuple-bagged it.  What the heck else do you do???

Rest in peace, little Chuck.

My apologies for not posting pictures, but, well... gross!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Oooo, pretty lights

Home improvement/home ownership can make you crazy.  Sometimes good crazy, sometimes bad crazy.  I never thought about room lighting, and certainly never thought about semi-modern room lighting (semi-modern being my own made up thingy... maybe mid-century?  i have no idea...).  But now for some crazy reason I want this swag chandelier really, really bad:

Or maybe this one?

I definitely want one of them.  The sooner the better.  No, I don't have a place to put it, I just want it.

So, red or green?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Garden... the Middle

Shouldn't this be "the after" you ask?  Maybe.  But that would be such a silly name for a garden post in late June since really the garden is just getting started.  Of course, had it not been for Chuck & Family I might be gushing about how many snap peas we had, or how wonderful it was to have all that lettuce and spinach before it got really hot.  Unfortunately, we will not see those posts this year, though, will we, Chuck?!?!  Ahhhhhhh, bitterness. 

This morning I will look on the bright side!  After that abominable mess discussed yesterday, Bigstrongman and I went to work.  I think it actually took longer to decide what to do and shop for materials than to actually build it.  My sketches of how it should look scared him so badly, at one point he suggested that I might just not have a productive garden this year.  WOW, I can hardly explain how well that went over with me.  I'd like to be able to say that I took it like a man... well... I will admit that there *may have been* tears [read: tears of devastation].  Lucky for me, he's actually happy with how the fence turned out!

 We made the fence a bit bigger than the last to give me additional working room.  And look!  A gate!  Now I won't have to fall in or out of the fence!  (Yes, I did say it was 2 feet high... what? you don't have feet that catch on things???)
So far the lovely fence has completely baffled Chuck and we're pretty confident it'll stay that way.  In other news, now we're battling japanese beetles in our herbs.  Argh.

Healthy basil:
Japanese-beetle-attacked basil:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Garden... Before-only

Well, Bigstrongman used the camera over the weekend and ran down the battery.  I told him that I'd charge it (since you need pictures, don't you!) but I didn't... *sigh*... so I'm still posting without pics.  Sorry about that!

My garden got a very late start this year.  Not because I was busy, or because the weather didn't cooperate, or because I just didn't prioritize it... nope, none of that.  The hangup was...
Here in Pennsylvania they call 'em groundhogs.  I grew up in the midwest where we call 'em woodchucks.  Whatever you call them, they are sooooooooooooooo cute!
Ordinarily I love to watch them play in the yard.  They're goofy little buggers, especially when the babies are young.  But then they found my garden.  Then they became bad, bad woodchucks.

The woodchucks made me do THIS to my garden:

As if the little 2' chicken wire fence wasn't ugly enough.  All I had to work with was scraps, so I pieced them together and went for broke.  I bet the neighbors were thrilled!  And since those damn little chucks decided to come in on the other side once I artfully blocked off this side, I had to do THIS:

And this:
And when the camera battery is recharged, I'll post the solution!  Because THIS is nonsense, and THIS doesn't let plants grow!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Confessions, Take 1

Confessions already?  It looks that way!

I have changed the blog title about 37 times.  While that IS my usual go-to number for all random exclamations, I think I may have ACTUALLY changed the title 37 times.  Blogspot keeps tracks of these things, no?  So I should be able to prove it?

Actually, I really wanted to call this blog “my morning coffee” but SURPRISE!  Someone already had that name.  Unfortunately it was started in 2005 by a 13 year old girl who posted exactly 3 times.  Doesn’t blogspot monitor this stuff?  Anyway, I first got the idea when I spotted a Mozilla add-on by the same name.  It’s fantastic.  You can set exactly one button (in the shape of a cute coffee cup, of course) to load all the sites you would ordinarily go to when you first sit down in front of your computer in the morning.  For those of you who are thinking “yeah, but can’t you just set Firefox to bring up all the tabs you want every time?”  Well, yes you can.  But I don’t actually want all those tabs every time I open it.  I just want them the first time.  If I open every news and email site every time I go on the internet I would… quite literally… never get anything done.  Never ever.

To make a short story long, Living Real, Living Well seems to be the name I'm sticking with for now.  Any other rockin' suggestions?