Saturday, July 28, 2012

New Bedroom Rug

Happy Sunday morning, everyone!

Just popping in quickly to share another super-cheap find at Lowe's.  I've really been lucking out with the rugs there, lately!

It may not be the brightest rug, but it does a great job of subduing the Pink Terror.

It's a little grainy, but you can truly appreciate the 
Pink Terror in this shot.

Here's a closeup:

It's looped, rather than having a cut pile, which 
I find to be a bit easier to clean - at least, 
when one is cleaning lovely things like hairballs.

  Even the cats approve!

Once again, it's not the softest rug on the face of the earth, but for a $19.99 find, I'm happy!

Found any good deals, lately?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Midsummer Night's Garden

Ok, so it's a technically a bit later than Midsummer, but it's approaching the middle of summer here in New England, so I thought it was a great time to see where the Handyverger garden is at.

Firstly, I wanted to update folks on how the outdoor rug is holding up.  The answer is - fantastically!  We've had rainstorms off and on, and I've been really impressed with how quickly and completely the rug dries up.  I was really concerned about lifting up the rug and finding hordes of centipedes and sowbugs making their home under it.  Turns out that's not a problem at all!  Whew.  I recently gave it a quick hosing down, and this is what it looks like now.

Pretty much as good as new!  You may wonder why there's a pot on top of one of my pretty peacock blue chairs.  That's my tomato plant. I haven't been able to harvest a single tomato off it.  Why, you ask?

That's why. Apparently, chipmunks love tomatoes as much as I do, and that's saying a lot.  I'm on the verge of letting Karma outside for a snack.  (Just kidding.  Mostly.)  I read somewhere that hot pepper flakes will deter them.  That's my next effort, since apparently they don't mind climbing up on a chair to get their snacks.  Argh.  Creeps.

Onward and upward, though. My pineapple sage has grown into a large, lush plant, as predicted.  I can't say how much I adore this herb!  It's a lot of bang for your buck: you can use it in cooking, but it also grows into an impressive plant.  Most recently, I used it in a fruit salad.  It was delicious - even the cats agreed.  Counter-surfer Lancelot decided he needed to taste test it.  Turns out sage is a cat-safe plant, so no calls to Animal Poison Control ... that night, at least.

Don't the violas peeping up at the bottom of the larger plant look just darling?

The pink Million Bells are doing quite well, too, as are the basil and petunias I planted.

 These are Phantom Petunias.  The purple is a dark, velvety plum.

A closeup of the gorgeous Phantom Petunias. 

These are the Pinstripe Petunias I'm so in love with.  They're challenging to photograph, it turns out.  I'm going to have to try to get a good picture in the sunlight, because this just doesn't do them justice.  They're definitely this dark, though there are lighter veins of purple that don't show well here.

Here's one of my containers.  That's a Hot Lava coleus in back, with a tri-color potato vine draping over the edges.  Nestled deeper in the pot is an ornamental pepper.  I adore ornamental peppers - I can't resist buying them come late summer, along with mums and other early autumn plants.

Eee!  They're so cute, the little peppers!

So, for the quick walking tour...  
This is the view you're greeted with when you climb the steps from the driveway.

It's a little blurry, but I wanted to give you a sense of the path.  We do need to trim some things back, but I think the wildflowers are just so magical.

This is the view looking back toward the driveway.  The flowers that have fallen over are a HUGE oregano plant.  The bees love it, when it's in full bloom, and I'm all for making honeybees happy!  The plant in the foreground is catnip.  Surprise, right?  The white stones are the beginning of a project to make a more formal bed with the wildflowers there.  I only bought a few bags of the white marble chips to see if I liked the effect. Turns out that I do, but I haven't been able to complete the project.  Stupid money. Stupid reality!

Opposite the coneflowers, catnip and oregano is more of the wildflower garden, which is in full bloom.  The yarrow is fading out, but the black-eyed susans and coneflowers are in their glory.  

I'm so proud of the ground cover plants here.  Near the top, under the largest bunny, is my patch of woolly thyme, started from a tiny plant years ago. It transitions into another thyme right near the light in the middle. There is also some oregano growing near the bunny on the bottom.  

I cannot believe how much coneflowers spread.  We have them all over our front yard!  I think separating them and moving some elsewhere in the yard is a project for this autumn.

Here are a few more of my containers... I'm completely in love with potato vines, too, it turns out.

This is a Marguerite potato vine, along with a Marginata Magenta Madagascar Dragon Tree - and marigolds!  These marigolds were a super-cheap find at Lowe's, since the 6-pack annuals were nearing the end of their viability.  Aren't they cute, though?

And here are the steps to the front door.

 I think the slate steps need a good power-washing, and I can't wait to paint my front door, but the plants certainly do make things more welcoming.

So, there you have it.  How's your garden coming along?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Adding Colors (Sunroom Edition)

I find that I tend to find a color I love, and then I use it all over in a room, without much in the way of an accent color.  Most recently, my New Favorite Color has been various shades of turquoise - teal, aquamarine, peacock.   Whatever you want to call it, I adore it, and I've been recently adding it to my dining room and living room; I've decided to work another color into the mix, but that will have to wait for another post.

Our three-season porch, which I like to refer to as "the sunroom," is one of my favorite rooms in the Handyverger house.  I've shown pictures of it before, with its slate floors and white walls and lots of windows.  When I graduated from nursing school four years ago, we bought furniture for the sunroom.  We bought a table with comfortable chairs we love.  The chair cushions are a rich rust color, the fabric a soft jacquard.  So for four years, the sunroom has been predominantly that wonderful rich russet.

Recently, though I decided it was time for an accent color. I toyed with the idea of adding a gold to complement the russet, sticking with autumn sort of colors, but then I saw a rug that I fell in love with at Lowes.  The rug was only $19.99, so the price was certainly right.  I couldn't quite find a place in the house to use the rug, though, since it was cobalt blue and white.  I passed on the rug, and spent a month kicking myself for it.  A more recent trip to Lowes led to the discovery that there was one more blue and white rug left, so you bet I snatched it right up!  

I still wasn't sure what to do with it when I got home, but then I saw a pillow that inspired me.

It's made by Idari on Etsy, and it was a great price!   When the pillow got here, it was a tiny bit smaller than I expected, but it's adorable!  I bought two, actually, and the color scheme for my sunroom came into fruition.

The pictures are a little hazy - my apologies!  I hope to get some better pictures tomorrow in the sunlight.

You can get a good look at the rug below - it's not the softest on the feet, but I far prefer it to things like jute or sisal rugs.  We try to avoid buying expensive rugs at the Handyverger house, because with five cats... let's just say that I'd cry if I had to clean cat barf off a $1000+ Beni Ourain, as much as I love them!  I'd also cry if they decided the lovely $3000 overdyed Persian rug I loved was a great scratching post.  The things we sacrifice for our children, ha ha.

I'll also ask you to kindly ignore the veneer of cat hair on the chairs.  *sigh*  Story of my life!

I made a quick trip to Pier 1 last week and picked up a few odds and ends on clearance - the giant tray with flowers on it and the pillow in front of it in the picture below.  The tray itself was originally  $44.99 and it was on clearance for $19.99, and the pillows were originally 34.99 and I bought two for $9.98 each - score!

I also picked up a few paper lanterns.  I've been dying to get the peacock lantern, and I lucked out - I got the last one in the store!  The salesguy was nice enough to take it down from the display for me.

 The table runner is a scarf I bought from Old Navy.  I find that scarves are such an inexpensive way to add a hint of color and pattern to a space.

And here it is, all put together!

We had friends over for dinner last Friday evening, and we got to enjoy the newly decorated sunroom.  It was sticky, but it quickly became comfortable when the sun went down and we brought an oscillating fan out with us.

What do you think?

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Fred gets a new do

This post was written as a guest post on DIY by Design - thanks so much, Judy, for letting me post!  I thought it might be nice to share how Fred turned over here, too.

Fred came home with me in April from Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  I think he cost me all of $25.    Here's how he started.

The lighting here isn't fantastic (sorry!), but you can get a sense of Fred's graceful curves and dark wood finish.

Fred is a bit of a veteran, and like any other veteran, he has his battle scars.  I could have sanded the scrapes out and stained Fred, but I had visions.

I had this fabric that I had bought back in April.  

It's hard to tell here, but that's a chocolate brown and off-white canvas - very sturdy.  I've used it in other projects, like reupholstering one of my former dining room chairs:

I found a gorgeous shade of kelly green spray paint (and it's common knowledge that I'm a spray paint addict), and got to work on Fred's makeover.

Fred got a light sanding followed by a quick coat of grey primer.  I sanded the primer once it had dried and began spraying light layers of paint all over.  I'm afraid I wasn't quite as patient as I should have been with this, so I ended up having to deal with some drips.  I sanded those out between layers, and tried to remind myself to sloooow down.  This is what Fred looked like after priming and his first layer of paint.

Looks sort of like he got a camouflage paint job, doesn't it?  Fortunately, that's not the case.

Finally, after many layers of paint, Fred looked like this:

 At this point, Fred spent about a week drying in the garage.  When I brought him back out, I noticed some spots that needed another coat of paint, and of course, I couldn't just leave well enough alone.  I went and got all fancy.

That's Rustoleum's Hammered Copper spray paint, with a little creative taping - the feet were just screaming for a pretty detail, don't you think?

After yet more drying time, I brought Fred inside and upholstered him.  I didn't manage to get any during shots (since I don't consider myself an upholstery expert), but I used a layer of foam topped with a layer of batting to soften the edges.  One thing I do want to point out, though, is that I removed the legs to get the folds around the corners right, and I pulled the fabric very tightly while I was stapling.  I think that's the key to having a piece that looks - if not professional - tidy.

Here's the final product!

 Isn't he hawt? 

 And this is about when the cats started helping.  See the tail on the left of the photo?

Yet more help from the cats. 
So, there you have it: my table-to-stool makeover.  The stool is pretty sturdy, and I think it looks adorable in my entryway.

Apparently, so do my little helpers!  Fortunately, cat hair comes off quite the canvas fabric easily with a little lint-rolling.

Sharing at:
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