Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bee Balm

Hi friends!

My Bee Balm poked through last week! I didn't even know that we had these flowers, because they were gone by the time we bought our house in August.

They are my favorite flower in bloom right now. I have never seen Bee Balm before, and I didn't even know what it was. I love the fact that they look like little fire crackers! I may have to cut some and bring them inside.

So guess what? I have 3 days off in a row! Today I had big plans to get out in the garden by 7 and keep going on a project that I'm making great headway on. Well, I woke up at about midnight (just a leeetle bit earlier than I anticipated) and couldn't sleep the rest of the night. Aching knees, followed by a sore throat, scratchy respiratory and an eye infection. The eye issues I can live with, it's kind of a normal thing in my life. But I couldn't find any Ibuprofen and that's what kept me up. Damn my knees, I shouldn't have been so hard on them yesterday. Ugh, so I finally fell asleep at about 6 this morning and just got up at 10. I'm still not sure how I'm feeling, but it's definitely a little bit better. And the sunshine is calling my name.

Anyway, if things don't go downhill, I plan on going home for a couple of days. Home as in Illinois. We'll see. I'm pretty excited. :)

So back to this garden thing. Being the thinker that I am (which is mostly provided by my long drives to and from work) I've decided that I should really just focus on being outside in the summer and inside in the winter. What I mean by that is that I don't care if the trim in the living room gets painted or if the wall paper in the hallway gets torn down. I will save that for winter and rainy days. For now I need to spend as much time outside as possible. I think I'll be happier that way.

I have a lot of ideas for the gardens. Mostly expansion projects. Documentation to come, of course.

Okay off I go, I'm heading to the 50% off sale at the hardware store. For plants and garden stuff. :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Flokati Washing.

This weekend I managed to accomplish one thing and one thing only.

I washed our 10' flokati rug that rests on the living room floor.

I was going to take it to the laundromat, but I realized that it was going to be damn heavy when it was wet. So I used some woolite and a hose and called it a day. It's hanging on an old clothesline base. Of course it would have gotten cleaner if I put it in a washing machine, but at this point it just needed to get done and it's good enough for now. I really dislike leaving my house on days off if I can avoid it. Unless I've got money burning a hole in my pocket...then it's fun to leave.

Now I just need to finish painting the trim in the living room and find some window treatments and the room will be FINISHED! It will be the first finished room in the house. Photos to come, eventually.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Drive, Etc.

There have been some gnarly storms rolling through lately.

In the past week, I drove by 2 that I really, really wished I had my camera for.

So last night when another started to sweep by, I told Joe I wanted to go for a drive.

And off we went.

It wasn't half as great as the other two skies, and I hardly got a single okay photo. But I still had fun.

Lately I've been practicing the phrase "live in the moment" in an effort to enjoy life a little more. It seems to be working. Or at least it does at the moment...

I bought these at a store in town the other day. Secretia (Purple Heart) may just be my new favorite plant.

It only blooms in the morning.

But it still looks pretty the rest of the day.

I love the vibrant colors, even though my camera doesn't pick purple up very well.

I guess that's what photo editing is for.

So while I was writing this post, I got bit by a fire ant and it feels like my leg is...on fire. I didn't think fire ants lived around here. But now I'm pretty sure that they do...

Friday, June 18, 2010


Today when I was trimming the bushes around our house I decided that I want the bushes to go away.

I already had that in mind for these little ones in front of the porch, but I mean I want all of them to go.

Even the ones on the side of the garage.

I'm not a big fan of bushes or shrubs and they create more work than they're worth. They don't really go with the way I want the house to look, either.

Maybe a nice rock garden on the side of the house and some flowers around the other parts...but not all these monster shrubs.

I probably wont get around to it until next spring so I don't know why I'm talking about it now. Probably because there is nothing else to blog about and it's the only thing I have recent photos of besides the cats. Today has been a long day. I spend my days off alone and I usually like it, but today I couldn't wait for Joe to get home because entertaining myself gets old sometimes. And now that he's home, we're bored together. I'm in one of those moods that I don't feel like doing anything...but I want to do something. Good thing I'm leaving in an hour to meet a friend.

Oh and PS- yeah. We have ugly grass. Next year will be better...we got a little caught up in the fire pit thing this year and didn't get around to fertilizing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


One of my favorite things to do in our little town is to go to the Black Earth Creek. It's perfect for wading and makes me feel like a kid again.

This is the only halfway decent photo that I took. Ah well, I'll have a new camera soon enough.
Looking forward to:
+Going dancing on Friday.
+Yard and board games on Sunday.
+Stand up paddle boarding next week (Joe's first time!)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rummage Sales

As you have probably realized by now, I'm a sucker for rummage sales and thrift stores. I don't think there is much else that makes me happier than a good second hand find.

Part of it is because I have a love for things. The other part is because I always end up cherishing the things that I buy second hand much more than I cherish the things that are new. And of course I love the prices, too. I could go on, but you get the idea.

I'd say that 90% of everything I own has been collected in this fashion.

My parents came for a quick visit while Joe was out of town last week, which is awesome because I'm not much of a fan staying in the house by myself at night. They arrived on the perfect day...the first day of the village-wide garage sale. Hmm, I just realized that it's fun to say village rather than city. :) Another perk of buying a house where we did.

Anyway, enough chit chat, here is what I've spent my last hour dragging in from the garage and photographing:

Belt, $0.25. I haven't worn a belt in 6 years. I forgot how great they are. Notice the bats with hearts...cute! I have to say that I'm starting to drift a little more towards my "rock" edge again. I thought this was sweet and it's probably one of the only white clothing items I own.

Wooden tea box with painted details. This box is neat. I don't usually collect these colors, but I couldn't pass this up for $0.25.

I also got this great tablecloth a couple months ago for $5 at a thrift shop. It's huge and perfect for summer.

Butterfly plant stand. You can't really tell in the photo, but there are little marble things for eyes, antennae and wings. $3.

I wasn't going to buy this, but my mom said that I had to because it would go well in my kitchen. Okay okay, I'll get it. Even if I don't use it for tea, the cups are a good size for shot glasses. Heh heh. And I can always use the tray for something else, too. A little more than I wanted to spend, but still a decent deal at $5. And Joe likes it, too.

I saw this and needed it. I love the glazed honeycomb pattern. $0.50.

These birdhouses came from a woman who also had a bunch of free plants that I picked up. Some ferns and day lilies. Anyway, the bird houses were $1 each. We'll repaint them. Although, I have to admit that the colors do remind me of something my grandpa would have chose and they definitely remind me of something I'd see in a yard up north. The cart was brought up by my parents. My mom found it at a sale and offered the woman $20 for it. My mom told me that she didn't know if I'd have a use for it. When I saw it I didn't really want it. They got it for us thinking that it would make a good tool chest, but to be honest, the idea of a tool chest makes me cringe because that would mean I'd have to put my tools away which just isn't something that I do. And then it occurred to me- this is perfect for the birdhouse building station that I want to make. And so it stayed. It will go through a slight remodel...I'm sure you'll see photos of the process. Anyway, it's metal and heavy and is on locking casters.

And last but certainly not least. A swinging pod chair, in near-perfect condition. It does need a little bit of work, but nothing too major. My mom spied this from the road as we were driving and I have to admit that it took every bit of power I had to walk and not run. There was a Grandma with her Grand kids looking at it and I thought for sure that I had arrived a few seconds too late. But to my relief, they walked away. It was marked at $40 but I got it for $30. What I haven't mentioned yet, even though I've been meaning to for some time now, is that I already have one of these. I got it this winter. It's in bad shape and needs work. I found it on Craigslist when searching "wicker"and knew it was a great find at $20. My parents were in on that find because I didn't have a big enough car to pick it up, so when my mom saw this one she was like "Erin! look!". She knows me well. Anyway, this chair is for indoor use and my other one will be for outdoor use as soon as I put some work into it.

I should also mention that the guitar was given to us for free at a picnic when I mentioned that I wanted an acoustic guitar. At the end of the picnic, I found it in the car. Joe knew about it but I didn't. That was 4 years ago. I finally started playing about 4 days ago. It's not the best guitar in the world, the hardware seems a little cheap to me (which is why i never touched it to begin with) but it's a Takamine Jasmine and it is fine for now. I still need to take the sticker off it.

So, my Etsy money is now completely depleted. That's alright. It's my fun money and I definitely had fun with it.

Have you had any great rummage finds lately?

Friday, June 11, 2010


One of my favorite things about owning a house is being able to collect yard tools.

My parents found this sweet blue wheelbarrow at a flea market.

I'm pretty particular with my yard tools and this one fits right in.

Maybe one day I'll take a photo of the rest.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Pink Is My Fav-or-ite Color.

A lovely pink and red Dianthus:

I like to be outside when it's raining. Owning a rain jacket helps, I'm sure. I went out to take pictures of some newly bloomed flowers while the storm was rolling in the other day.

That's when I noticed that the macro function on my camera has pretty much bit the dust. Drag.

Today I painted more patterns on the wall in the potting room and I also painted some of the trim in the living room. That was pretty much the extent of my afternoon. It's rainy out again and I feel a bit like the weather. I thought about making some coffee (instant gratification, always) but I'm holding back in hopes that some vanilla schnapps and root beer will do the trick. We've had the schnapps for a couple of years and I only drink pop when it's mixed with something, so why not?

Monday, June 07, 2010


Today I was supposed to paint the trim in the living room.

Instead I started painting the walls in my eventual potting room.

I'm using the paint that's left over from the living room walls (which I still haven't shown you, have I?). Eventually I will fill all the walls with different patterns.

I suppose I probably should start on the trim in the living room, though. I'm kind of tired of living in a grid of blue painter's tape and I am sure that Moonshadow is, too.

What have you been up to?

Friday, June 04, 2010

Walk Around the Yard

I took a walk through my yard a couple nights ago and snapped some photos of the flowers that are in bloom.



Day Lily:

Rose, possibly "Summer Wine" but I think it may be something else:

What is this? I haven't been able to figure it out yet:

That's all for now. I missed the early spring bloomers (like bleeding heart...those are awesome), but next year I plan on starting a garden journal.

I've been having a lot of fun trying to identify all of the different flowers in the yard. I think I've learned about 20 different names within the past couple of weeks. I'm starting to think that this garden thing is my calling...more on that later. For now I should get ready for work.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


The fire pit was finished just in time for the Memorial Day party that we hosted.

There is a little bit more work that I'd like to do around it, but it's good enough for now. I need a break from that thing. It consumed my life so much that if I see something as simple as broken tortilla chips, I think of this damn project- because the tortilla chips look just like the shape of the stones and uuugh if I had to fit any more of those things together I think I would have lost my mind.

The grass took a beating during the construction, so I have to work on that a bit. I would like to put in a stone patio around it next year. We'll see if I'm up for that when the time comes.

Project Details:
Time spent building: I don't know exactly, but my closest estimate is about 85 hours. It could have easily been 100, but I really don't care to admit to it taking that long. It's also difficult to come up with a number because I worked on it by myself most of the time, but Joe and my parents helped in the beginning and end, too. So there are a lot of variables that go into the amount of time it takes.
Cost: $450, approximately.
-Stone: $280, with enough leftover to make some nice paths in the yard.
-Concrete and Mortar: $70
-Fire Brick: $60
-Pea Gravel: $5
-Chisel: $15
-Ibuprofen: $6
Difficulty: Moderate. It was an easy enough process to learn but a pain in the ass to execute. It was also very hard on my back and pelvis because the rocks are so heavy to move around and because I had to bend down the entire time.
Tips: Get a chisel right away. I didn't get one until one of the last days and that's what killed me. The store was out of the one I needed at first, so I just forged ahead and kept forgetting to buy one whenever I was in Madison. That was the biggest mistake that I made.
Sources: The stone is from Midwest Decorative Stone and Landscape. Their prices are fair and they have a lot of neat rocks. I've added it to my list of favorite places. The concrete and mortar are from various hardware stores. I also spent a lot of time looking at photos that I gathered online as inspiration.

I'm going to post a photo set on flickr when I renew my pro-account.

I'll be back throughout the week to show you some other things I've been up to since finishing this on Friday.