Refurbishing Our Outdoor Lights

One of my husband Chris’s hobbies is to refurbish vintage Coleman lanterns.  He finds them through various sources, corroded and tarnished, and by the time he is done with them they look better than new.

Left to right: A kerosene-burning Coleman Model #249 from November of 1955 with a nickel-plated brass fount; a Coleman Model #L427 Quick Lite with a mica globe from March of 1926; and a Coleman Model #200A from August of 1962

But the steps he takes to transform them cross squarely into “mad scientist” territory, with cauldrons of chemicals bubbling away on the stove.

Still, there is no arguing with the results.  And recently he’s put his slightly terrifying talents to work on a couple of our home’s long-neglected light fixtures.

Our Sad-Looking Outdoor Sconces

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We found our two craftsman-style outdoor sconces years ago on a closeout table at Rejuvenation.  They were identical except that one had amber glass shade panels and the other had white panels.  But the price was right, and they were a great style for our old house.  So we bought them despite the mismatched shades.

They were lacquered brass, but over time the lacquer wore off and the brass became corroded.

One was hanging next to our back door,

And the other one next to the “people” door on our detached garage.

There is a fine line between a nice vintage patina and a finish that just looks tired and corroded, and to us they had crossed that line.

These fixtures had been bugging us for a while – both because of their sad state and because we wanted a back-door light fixture that matched our charcoal-colored door.

So Chris decided to try his hand at refurbishing them.

Disassemble, Submerge, And Dry

The first thing he did was to remove the sconces from the wall and then remove the glass shades from the sconces and any screws and other hardware that came off easily.

Then came the don’t-try-this-at-home part of the project:  He mixed a ratio of one teaspoon of citric acid powder per one litre of water and set it to boil in a large pot on the stove.

Then he submerged the light fixtures and small metal parts he’d removed (but not the glass shades) into this steaming witch’s cauldron and let it simmer for about a half hour to 45 minutes, turning the fixtures when needed to make sure every part had its proper boiling time.

This step had me Googling “Is breathing citric acid vapors safe?”  So is it? Not really, especially in large amounts (whatever that means).

I opened the windows and stayed well away.

(Health and safety concerns aside, Chris tells me that diluted citric acid is a great compound for removing corrosion from brass and some other metals, although he changes the water-to-citric-acid ratio depending on which metal he is cleaning.  Seems that further research is key here if you actually feel compelled to experiment with this compound.  Use caution! And one important caveat, when working with brass, is that the citric acid bath does turn brass pink, so the brass needs to be polished after its bath with brass polish and/or super fine grade steel wool.)

 

 

Anyway, he eventually removed the parts from the cauldron and rinsed them in fresh water.  Then he dried them in the oven at 200°F for about a half hour.

Finally they left the kitchen.

Steel Wool And Paint

The hot citric acid bath had removed much of the corrosion, but Chris still went over all the metal pieces with #0000 super fine grade steel wool.

This created a smooth surface on the fixtures. They were starting to look so much better.

 

Chris cleaned off the steel wool residue and spray painted the fixtures with Rust-Oleum Metallic Paint and Primer in One in Oil Rubbed Bronze.

Then, in another don’t-try-this-at-home moment, he put them back in the oven for 30 minutes at 200°F.

He let them cool and put the pieces back together, being very careful not to scratch any of the pieces in the process.

He also needed to re-engineer a bracket that held one of the glass panels on, as it had broken off. And, on one of the fixtures, he replaced a strange twist-and-pull socket, meant only for florescent bulbs, with a new socket that could accommodate LED bulbs.

The Glass Shades

The shades were the easy part.  They just needed a light cleaning with a spray-on window cleaner.

The Result

Before the refurbishing, these light fixtures were drab and easy to overlook.  Now they have more presence.  I love how well the new color works with our back door.

And the new color provides a nicer contrast to the shades.

I’m glad that we didn’t need to buy new light fixtures.  To me, it’s much better to refurbish what we already have.  As with his vintage lanterns, Chris made these light fixtures look better than new.

 

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Tips for Starting A Bed And Breakfast

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Are you considering starting a bed and breakfast for travelers? If so, there are some important considerations to make before diving in. A bed and breakfast can be a profitable business with the right amount of planning, but owning and running a bed and breakfast is not for everyone.  Like all business opportunities, there are pros and cons. This post covers several important steps to having a successful bed and breakfast.  

1. Finding The Perfect Property

A bed and breakfast is typically a place inhabited by the resident innkeepers and the guests who rent guest rooms for several days or weeks. The right home needs to be spacious enough to comfortably accommodate these two groups of people.  When searching for the right property, consider factors such as how much room each person needs and their own private spaces within the house, like bathrooms and bedrooms. 

Common areas, such as dining rooms and lobbies, also need to be spacious enough to accommodate guests and innkeepers.  Also consider room flow, floor plans, and off-street parking.  Look into zoning ordinances to make sure any property you are interested in can legally be transformed into a bed and breakfast, and that it complies with safety regulations.

2. Pay Attention To Detail

A bed and breakfast should be attractive and well-kept at all times. You want to make sure that your guests feel as relaxed when staying with you as they do in their own homes. This can mean having fresh flowers in the rooms along with placing chocolates on pillows before guests arrive. Other ways of keeping up standards include regularly cleaning common areas such as bathrooms and kitchenettes while also ensuring each room is cleaned thoroughly after every use and that towels are changed regularly and toiletries are replenished as needed.  

Consider what amenities you would like to offer that would attract guests and put your bed and breakfast ahead of the competition.

Have a plan for what you will offer for breakfast.  Will it be a sit-down breakfast at a large table at a set time, where guests will share their travel experiences with one another as they enjoy the breakfast you cook and serve to them at the table?  Or will you offer smaller tables and a breakfast buffet where guests can walk in and serve themselves at a time convenient for them?  Will you offer room service?  Whatever you decide, you or someone you hire will need a practical plan for providing breakfast to guests – and a genuine interest in cooking and meal planning – to make this work.

3. Advertise On Online Platforms 

Since it is easy to advertise online nowadays, you should consider this option when trying to market your bed and breakfast. Several social media networking sites, including Facebook, can help attract guests who may be interested in staying with you. Also, try putting up posters around town or advertising breathtaking virtual home tours on popular websites, like Airbnb.

4. Utilize Booking Systems 

To avoid having guests show up unannounced, a bed and breakfast owner should make it a point to utilize booking systems. These provide your guests with the ability to book reservations in advance through secure online platforms that can be accessed from anywhere. This way, they will know if you have rooms available before making plans for their trip, which ensures greater convenience on both ends of things.

Using these tips as a starting point, it’s important continue your research if you are considering opening a Bed and Breakfast.  Talk to innkeepers at successful Bed and Breakfasts and learn from them.  Join online groups specializing in hospitality.  Learn everything you need to know about opening a Bed and Breakfast from a business standpoint. 

Read, listen, and learn, and you could be well on your way to beginning this exciting new venture.

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3 Tips For Avoiding Garden Hazards

In our region, we never know what winter might have in store for us.  Weather forecasters recently warned us that we could experience something I’d never heard of before:  A “bomb cyclone.”  Luckily, by the time it crossed the coastal mountains, it didn’t amount to much more than a strong fall storm.  But it did bring a lot of branches and even trees down in our area.  So I thought this contributed post was worth sharing.

The following is a contributed post. For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Our gardens are a part of nature and the outdoors.  So it just goes to follow that gardens have the same inherent hazards as other outdoors spaces.  But sometimes it’s easy to forget this – particularly during the cold seasons when we are less likely to spend time in our gardens.  

But a little maintenance can go a long way in helping to prevent or minimize garden hazards.  And the good news is that the more we do this, the more familiar with our gardens we become, and the more easily we can identify issues ahead of time. 

But does this take a massive investment in time and energy to get right? What are the potential issues we should be looking out for? What elements do most people miss ahead of time? In this post, we hope to answer some of those questions and enable you to feel as if your garden space is safer and more secure.

Here are three areas of your garden that you should regularly check:

1.  The Stability Of Your Garden Path

The stability of your garden path will determine how easy it is to walk in your garden, especially during wet weather when walking on your grass may not be as ideal. Cracked patio slabs, uneven wood chips, or improperly placed stepping stones can cause someone to twist their ankle, fall over, or worse. Or paths might become slippery in the rainy season because of mildew buildup.  For that reason, regularly inspecting your garden paths and making changes where appropriate is key.

2.  The Health Of Your Trees

The health of your trees matters. With a tree service company, you will be able to prune, identify rot, take down problem trees, stop rot problems from spreading to other greenery in your garden, and plant tree lines carefully in a manner that doesn’t hamper the structural integrity of your garden. Having healthy trees also helps prevent falling branches – or too much debris accumulation. 

3.  Garden Fencing

Garden fencing is always installed for a reason, but it can be easy to forget that reason if the fencing is not carefully maintained. For instance, a hole that your dog may have had time to unearth could potentially lead to them escaping, or allowing your neighbor’s pets in. A low enough gate could be climbed by a trespasser, whereas higher, privacy fencing may be more worthwhile – particularly if you wish to let your children play freely in the garden. A strong, secure gate can also prevent pets from going in or out – and prevent your children from leaving the garden unsupervised.  Choosing the right fence for your needs and taking care of it is key.

Every garden is different, so the above list is by no means complete.  It’s a good idea to take some time to assess the unique needs of your own garden.  And then you’ll be able to get the best from your property, and its exterior, no matter what.

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5 Reasons To Buy A Second Home

Almost every time I travel, I play with the idea of buying a second home wherever I happen to be.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this.  It’s fun to dream, so today I’m sharing this contributed post with reasons to buy a second home.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

It can be one of the hardest things to save for, but a house that becomes a home is always a worthy investment. For some people, however, one home is not enough. Whether they need a city space to live in as a crash pad for after work, or they buy a home abroad as a holiday house, a second home is always a tempting adventure. Owning more than one house can also be a sound way to invest money, and a long term retirement plan is important if you want to ensure that you’re not out of pocket in later life. 

Some people choose to buy raw land and have a second home custom built for them, while others buy an existing property and renovate it.  If the second home is far from their main home, some people may choose to rent nearby, in places such as these 2 bedroom apartments for rent, while they are overseeing the completion of their second home. 

So, why should you go ahead and buy that second home? Here are a few of the main reasons: 

1.  To invest savings

Financial markets and housing prices are always bumping up and down, but in the long run it almost always stabilizes and appreciates. You need to think about how you would use your second home and what it would be for, whether you’d move out of the city or not. A beautiful house in the right setting is a valuable asset, so you’d almost certainly be making a sound investment.

2.  To help fund your retirement

You want to be able to retire one day while you’re still young enough to travel and enjoy life. When you have a second home, you may be able to rely on the money you’d earn from selling it to help you to retire. Because, one day, that house may be worth more, and you can sell it to help fund your retirement years.  Or, you could sell your main house when you retire and live in your second home.



3.  To rent it out

If you want an asset because the housing market is favorable, the best thing that you could do is rent it out to others for a few years. A beach house, for example, is a wonderful setting and you could fill it with tenants while you’re not using it.  Just be sure to check local zoning laws to make sure that vacation rentals are allowed in the area that you’re interested in.

4.  As a fun retreat

Really, if you can afford a second home, you could buy one so that you can get away from it all any time you want to.

5.  You just want one

You may want to live in the holiday home and rent out the city home or vice versa. Maybe you want to be closer to family at certain times of the year.  Or maybe you just want a change of scenery.  Whatever your reason, buying a second home is often a wonderful investment.

Wherever you want your second home to be, do thorough research on the housing and rental market in that area.  That way, you can feel confident that you’re making a sound investment.  And then you can have fun renovating and decorating your second house to make it feel like home!

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The Benefits Of Garden Water Features (Plus 3 Examples!)

I can sum up the water features in our garden in one word:  Birdbaths.  We have four of them scattered in various locations.  I love the quiet elegance they lend to a garden, and the birds actually use them.  During the extra-dry summer that we just came out of, I made sure to keep them clean and filled for all the little creatures that rely on them.

I’m always playing with the idea of having a larger, more interesting water feature.  So today I give you this contributed post, which dives deeper into the concept of water features in the garden.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

 

Why add a water feature to your garden?

It’s a question many of us are posing as we look for new and exciting ways of improving our outdoor space.  Maybe you want to try something different, adding new things to your garden that can enhance its aesthetic appeal and create a unique atmosphere. 

This is where a water feature excels like no other. There’s a real sense of tranquility that’s brought to your garden by various water features. It’s the sound of the running water that creates a relaxed atmosphere and transforms your garden into a mini paradise. The right water feature can complement your garden’s design and improve the aesthetic. Water features also have the advantage of attracting wildlife, which can add to the feeling of tranquility in your outdoor space and make you feel at one with nature. 

In short, garden water features are highly beneficial! The next question is: What water features suit your garden? Not counting pools, here are three examples to consider:

 

A Garden Pond

Adding a little pond can really elevate the mood of your garden. It looks beautiful, you can add fish to it for a splash of color, and pond maintenance really isn’t that challenging. You can choose how big or small your pond is depending on the size of your garden, and it really helps your outdoor area come to life. 

 

A Fountain

Garden fountains can add a real touch of class to your garden, and there are so many different design ideas to choose from. Regardless of your garden’s theme, you are bound to find a fountain that matches it. Now, you can listen to the soothing sounds of the water trickling from the fountain while you’re relaxing or doing a spot of gardening. 

 

A Bird Bath

Perhaps the simplest and most affordable of the three water feature examples, a bird bath works perfectly in smaller gardens. Having said that, it’s just as good in bigger ones, and you can find loads of glorious designs that suit your home. The whole point of a bird bath is to attract lots of cute little birds to your garden. They will add color and movement, along with the wonderful sounds of birdsong. 

The beauty of water features is that you can pretty much go as simple or crazy as you like. If you have the space and budget, you can install massive water features that really grab people’s attention. Or, you can go down the opposite route and choose scaled-back designs that still add a real touch of beauty to your garden area. 

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Fall Porch Decor With Hop Vines

The hop vines that grow along the south side of our house are both a blessing and a curse.  Every year in late winter, I pull out massive amounts of trailing underground hop roots in the hope of keeping these vines under control.

The vines usually recover quickly from this setback.  Stronger than before and out for revenge, they are soon back to swallowing up the sunny side of our house.

Hops trying to get in through our dining room window.

But the hop cones are such a beautiful, fresh green when they emerge in late summer.  And they are rewarding to work with.

So today, I’m sharing a couple of my recent hop projects.

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A Hop Garland

The hop garland was surprisingly easy to make.

I simply measured how long I needed the garland to be and then weaved a few hop vines around one another until I had a long enough garland.  Hop vines like to wind around each other naturally anyway, and they almost feel sticky to the touch.  So it was easy to get them to stay woven together.

Hop vines naturally wind around one another.

In the few places where I could not get them to stay together naturally, I just tethered them together with biodegradable garden twine.

The key to success is to do this project when the vines are still green and pliable.  It’s no good trying this once the vines have already dried.

 

 

Then, using clear fishing wire, Chris and I suspended the garland from small hooks that are already installed on our porch ceiling.

There were a few larger hooks, just above the porch entrance, that also came in handy for hanging this garland.

I weaved in extra clusters of hop cones where needed for a fuller look.  When necessary, I tied them on with biodegradable garden twine.

 

This was several weeks ago.  Now the cone clusters have dried and mellowed to a soft caramel color.

And we added pumpkin string lights to the garland.

 

The garland is now brittle to the touch, but it’s holding up very well.  It definitely helps that it is under cover and, for the most part, protected from the rain.

The little hop headpiece that I made for our porch lion looked good at first.

But, since it was not under cover, it suffered in the weather and ultimately had to be tossed.

 

A Hop Wreath

Several years ago, I made this hop wreath using a metal wreath form as a foundation.

My hop wreath from a few years ago.

It was a fun and exuberant wreath, but now I know how to make an all-natural wreath using no metal forms, wires, or other manmade elements.  The beauty of an all-natural wreath is that, when the season changes and I no longer need it, I can just toss the whole wreath into the compost bin and get on with my life – no need to separate it from a metal wreath form first.

I started by clipping some of the grape vines that grow on our fence and weaving them around one another into a wreath form.  As with the hop vines, grape vines are easy to work with when the vines are still green and pliable.

A wreath form made using grape vines.

I just tucked the ends in until they were secure.  The grapevine wreath form didn’t have to look pretty since it was going to be partly covered by the hops anyway.

Then I cut a length of hop vines.  These vines had woven around one another while they were growing, so they had already done some of my work for me.

 

Then, for lack of a better description, I just weaved, folded, and tucked the hop vines securely onto the grapevine wreath.  It took a little bit of trial and error, but it was fairly easy.

There is nothing manmade holding this wreath together.  It is just vines wrapped around one another.

The front door is very protected from the elements so, like the garland, the wreath mellowed into a golden caramel color after a couple of weeks.

 

A Little Viola Pumpkin

This isn’t a hop project, but I thought I’d share another little piece of my porch decor:  This simple little viola pumpkin.

I cut the top off of a sugar pumpkin and hollowed it, scraping out the seeds and some of the pumpkin meat. (The meat I’d removed made a nice side dish with our dinner that evening.)

Then I cut a drain hole in the bottom of the pumpkin.  I planted the violas in a small plastic container and placed it inside the hollowed pumpkin. A bit of moss conceals the plastic pot.

The hollowed pumpkin probably won’t stay fresh for long, so having the violas in a plastic pot will make them easier to remove when the time comes.  I know some folks use bleach or other substances to keep their pumpkins fresh longer but I don’t because (1) I’m too lazy, and (2) I like to compost my pumpkins when I’m done with them, so I want to keep them all natural.

More Fall Porch Decor

The rest of my fall porch decor is not exciting and, as you will see, our porch furniture needs a facelift – badly!  But here it is anyway.

 

 

 

(In case you’re wondering, the white box in the photo above is our Ridwell box.)

Now to plan:  Should I revamp the existing porch furniture or replace it with something new, perhaps one of these looks?

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5 Tips To Make Moving House A Breeze

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Moving house can be incredibly exciting, especially if you’ve found the home of your dreams. But relocating also involves a lot of preparation and endless hours of packing boxes. If you’re preparing for life in pastures new, here are some tips to make moving a breeze. 

Give Yourself Time

Unless you have to move suddenly, it’s hugely beneficial to give yourself plenty of time to get sorted. Once you have a date, you can write a list of everything you need to do in the old house and tasks to complete before you move to your new home.  Then figure out a plan of action. Begin packing as soon as possible, starting with items you won’t need in the period before you move. 

Enlist Expert Help

Whether you’re moving to the next street, a new town, or a different state, it’s wise to enlist the services of professional companies. Search online for reputable businesses and try to find a firm that specializes in the services you need, for example, moving heavy or valuable items or cross country moving. Read reviews and testimonials, get quotes, and ask neighbors, friends, or colleagues for recommendations. It’s also an excellent idea to join social media groups and ask members of the local community for advice. It can be reassuring to book a firm based on recommendations from people who have used them in the past. 

Organize A Clear-Out

Moving house is a fantastic excuse to declutter and organize a clear-out. There is no point in filling moving vans with items you haven’t used or even seen in years. Take the opportunity to throw away, donate, or sell anything you don’t want to keep. If you have possessions that you do want to hang onto but won’t fit in your new home, you could rent a storage unit. 

Packing And Labeling

When it comes to packing, it’s always beneficial to have a plan in place. Work through each room methodically and fill boxes with similar items. Label each box so that you know what it contains and which room it needs to be delivered to in your new house. Keep valuables or anything that is fragile or precious to you with you. 

Tying Up Loose Ends

Relocating doesn’t just involve packing all your stuff, hiring a truck, and moving boxes from A to B. You’ll also need to tie up loose ends and undertake some administrative work. Contact utility providers to settle bills and change your address, let your doctor and dentist know that you have moved, and change your address with the bank. Redirect your mail and cancel any deliveries to your old house. It’s also beneficial to make sure your new home is ready. You may want to arrange for a new broadband contract to begin before you move in or ensure that your utilities are sorted in advance, for example. 

Moving house can be an upheaval, but there are ways of lightening the load. Take these tips on board to make moving a breeze.

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A Mound of Baby Tears – And A Garden Update

The garden project I’m about to share isn’t spectacular, but I’m sharing it anyway because it’s a simple project with endless possibilities, and there is plenty of room for experimentation and creativity.

Then, keep scrolling for a late-summer update on my new planting area.

Baby Tears For A Tapered Urn

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Some time ago, Chris and I came across a large and classic terra cotta urn that had been kicked to the curb.  The base was badly cracked, but Chris knew he would be able to mend it.  So we took it.

It wasn’t until later that I realized that the urn had another issue:  Its wide round opening tapered almost immediately – making it impossible to find a plastic pot with the right dimensions to work as a liner for the inside.  Since I wanted to store the urn in a protected place in winter, it would be important to have a liner for it so I could easily remove the contents first.

So I started using a half-round wire hanging basket cage with a coconut liner to line the inside.  Its circumference was a good fit for the mouth of the urn, while the tapering walls of the urn supported it.

So, in spring, I would usually fill it with good soil.

And plant it with annuals.

This past spring, it sat (mostly) empty again – waiting for me to plant more annuals.

But this time I wanted a different look.

I remembered the absolutely adorable DIY succulent mushroom planters I’d seen over at A Crafty Mix.  To create the mushroom top, a half-round wire hanging basket, with its coconut liner, was placed upside down and planted with succulents.

And I started thinking:  What if I put a second hanging basket upside down over the basket that was already in the urn, filled it with soil, and planted it?

I had a hanging basket on hand, so I placed it on top of the urn to see what the shape would be.

Interesting!  The only problem was that I didn’t have a coconut liner or the right cute succulents on hand.  But there was a pot of baby tears in the no-man’s-land behind my garage.  The hardy little plants had survived the winter.  I just needed to remove the dead plants and the weeds from the pot.

Once I cleaned up the pot of baby tears, I turned it upside down and emptied the contents, which came out in one big clump, into the wire hanging basket.  (Of course, if the baby tears had not created such a dense mat, this would not have worked.) I pressed the soil/baby tears clump tightly into the basket, trimming the clump where necessary to make it fit.

Now the baby tears were upside down and pressed against the wire of the basket.  I tightly packed plenty of good potting soil into the hollow middle of this mess and watered it thoroughly.

Then I carried the basket over to the urn, quickly flipped it upside down, and placed it on top of the soil-filled basket that was already lining the urn.

Because I did this so quickly, not much of the packed soil fell out.

I connected the two baskets together with clips.  Now they were joined as a circle, although only the top basket was showing.

There were holes and bald spots in the new baby tears “mound.”  So I added more soil and additional plugs of baby tears where needed.  I also added a thin grapevine wreath to the circumference to give it a more finished look.

Now the mound just needed to fill in a bit.

Baby tears grow well in the shade, so we moved this urn to a shady spot outside our garden shed.

The baby tears mound has thrived there this past summer.

 

As I said before, not spectacular.  But, as someone who likes topiaries, I am enjoying the neat and manicured look of this pot – especially in a garden that is otherwise chaotic by the end of summer.  And I was able to put this together in minutes with materials I already had on hand.

Maybe next year, I will try planting the mound with something else.

This is not the first time I’ve joined two hanging baskets to make a circle.  This hanging garden sphere ended up hosting two birds’ nests!

A Garden Update

You might recall that, back in April, I shared my makeover of a large planting area in my garden.  I was in the early stages of transforming this area.  I had removed many of the existing plants and done a bit of landscaping.

The area then looked like this.

Because it was new, it was pretty sparse.  The Spanish lavender and geranium starts that I had placed around the gravel center circle were still tiny.  The dahlia and peony tubers I had planted had not yet emerged from the soil.

So what’s happening now?

While the peonies didn’t do much this summer (nor did I expect them to in their first year), the dahlias went crazy. The lavender and geraniums thrived as well.

 

 

 

 

I planted Swiss chard to add first-year color to the sparser parts of this new area.

And a couple of recent arrivals are these zinnias,

and this variegated dwarf Joe Pye (which hopefully will be less prolific than the full-sized Joe Pye I used to have here).

Joe Pye blooms late summer and early fall. The bees loved our old Joe Pye so much that I felt I needed to give them something in its place.

But the symmetry I had hoped for on either side of the urn did not happen.

The look is still incomplete and chaotic.  So, come fall, I’ll relocate some plants and rethink others.

But there is something going on here that I like:  Now that the area is less densely planted, we get a little “peek-a-boo” view of the back patio.

 

 

There is a madrone that separates the back patio from the planting bed.  Unlike its rambling, trailing counterpart in another planting bed, this one has been growing up instead of sideways – with beautiful branching.

At this time of year, its bark peels away to reveal fresh green wood underneath.  After it’s done peeling, the bark with turn a rich brown and become so smooth that it will look polished.

I like how the two areas seem more connected now, and I also like how the unique, sculptural branching of the madrone is more noticeable.

So, whatever changes I make (and there will be changes), I will keep that in mind.

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Have The Home Of Your Dreams With These Simple Renovations

My recent living room makeover wasn’t a huge remodel.  It wasn’t even particularly imaginative. The biggest change was a new coat of paint. Yet it made a huge improvement to my home and the way I feel about it.  Now I want to keep going and repaint every room on the main floor!

So this contributed post, about simple changes that make a big impact, really spoke to me.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Have The Home Of Your Dreams With These Simple Renovations

Do you want to improve your home but don’t know where to start? Consider starting small.  Sometimes small changes are all you need to breathe fresh life into your home.  So, if you want to fall in love with your home again without spending a fortune, this post is for you! It will go over some simple renovations that will have your house feeling new in no time.

Apply A Fresh Coat Of Paint

Applying a new coat of paint is a cheap, simple way to update any room.  You can also peel off wallpaper before repainting your walls. 

The best time to paint is when the weather outside is warm and dry so that your fresh paint will not peel or crack—plan for at least a week of drying time before moving furniture back in. Laying plastic on floors and using a drop cloth to protect the floor will help contain any mess. Once it’s dry, you’ll be pleased with the beautiful transformation that a fresh coat of paint can bring.

Install New Lighting

An easy way to make a space feel new is with some simple light fixtures. Swapping out a fixture can change the mood of your home in seconds. Make sure the fixture is large enough to cover most or all of the space without being too overwhelming or detracting from other elements in the room, such as a fireplace.

It would help to balance lighting between ambient, task, and accent lights, so make sure you keep that in mind when selecting fixtures for different parts of the room. Select fixtures that complement your décor, but don’t feel limited to them. Be sure to hire a professional to install your new light fixtures if you are not experienced at doing this task yourself.

Replace An Old Roof

Some of the most important tasks to take on when having an old house renovated are those that will make your property more energy-efficient. Of course, the priority is usually a new roof as it can save you heating and cooling costs. 

There are many different types of roofing materials available, but asphalt shingles are often a good option because they last longer and are less expensive than some other materials. And sources like Affordable Home Services can make roof replacements cost effective.

Add A Mudroom

There are so many benefits to having a mudroom.  But even if there is no room in your existing floor plan to add one, try designating some wall space near your front or back door as a space for an organized “drop zone” for keys, sunglasses, gloves and jackets. Most importantly, provide a place for wet or dirty footwear. This can reduce the amount of dirt, mud, and other debris tracked into your house, so you won’t have to clean house as often.  

Invest In Your Entrance

The entrance is the first impression that guests have of your home.  If possible, make sure that your entryway has a welcoming feel. A great way to do this is by investing in a new front door or repainting your existing one and adding upgraded door hardware.  Try adding decent-sized plant containers on either side of the front door or an attractive outdoor chair or bench near the entrance.

Conclusion

The home of your dreams might be closer than you think. With just a few simple renovations, you can make any space feel like the place where you belong and want to spend time with family and friends every day. 

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4 Great Ideas For Improving Your Home’s Exterior

Today’s contributed post is on one of my favorite topics: Curb appeal.  At my house, there is always room for improvement in this area, and tip number 2 reminded me that I really need to step up my game when it comes to exterior lighting.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

4 Great Ideas For Improving Your Home’s Exterior

We often hear real estate professionals talk about the importance of street appeal in buying and selling properties.  That’s because street appeal is your home’s public image.  It’s the story that it tells about itself and its occupants.  And that means something whether or not you’re selling your home. 

As per the U.S Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey, homeowners spent $522 billion on home improvement projects from 2017 to 2019.  And, while much of this money and effort was spent on interior improvements to homes, improving your outdoor space is equally essential.

But improving your home’s exterior doesn’t necessarily have to be difficult.  Here are a few simple tips.

1.  Upgrade Your Front Door

First impressions typically begin at your front entryway, so having a dazzling front door is a guaranteed way to boost your home’s curb appeal. Thankfully, you can explore numerous ideas to make your front door attractive. For instance, giving your front door a new coat of paint can refresh your home completely. Alternatively, you can replace an old and unappealing door with a more eye-catching option. However, unless you plant to repaint your exterior, always choose a new front door based on your existing outdoor color scheme.

You can also upgrade your front door hardware to enhance its look. And if you are considering redesigning your entryway or front door, it is always best to add a personalized touch that reflects your style. As such, you can hop over to this page to consult with experts for durable, customized doors to improve your curb appeal.

2.  Invest In Exterior Lighting

Proper outside lighting is a must-have to boost your home’s exterior. For starters, exterior lights increase curb appeal and can even help you get more cash for your house when you decide to sell in the future. Indeed, the National Association of Home Builders reports that excellent exterior lighting can increase your home’s value by up to 20%. 

Outdoor lights also highlight exciting landscape or architectural features at night, so they are worth the investment. In addition, these lights increase safety after dark since well-lit exterior spaces deter criminals. You can select strong lighting sources if you want a highly illuminated space or opt for solar lights and small lanterns for a soothing and relaxed atmosphere.

3.  Revive Your Roof

Your roof is an essential aspect of your home’s insulation and weatherproofing system. But your roof also significantly contributes to your home’s exterior appeal. Therefore, a roof revival might be necessary to transform drab roofing into an aesthetically pleasing asset. Generally, your roof’s condition and age will determine whether replacement is needed. As such, take a critical look at your roof and consider repairing or replacing it to improve your home’s exterior.

4.  Install Window Boxes

 

Window boxes are undeservingly overlooked when homeowners consider ideas for sprucing up their home’s exterior. However, the classic window box remains an excellent exterior design feature that can add a distinct touch to your house and make it genuinely stand out. You can select a window box made of metal, wood, vinyl, or fiberglass, depending on your preferences. Then, hire a professional to anchor these boxes properly, reducing their chances of failing in the future. You can also consider planting some colorful mix and match flowers to make your exterior brim with life.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Dressing Room Remodel