Thursday, August 29, 2013

Room Swap-Part 1

I wrote last year about wanting to switching rooms with my daughter when she left for the Navy.  She left in July and a few weeks later I was working on getting settled in.  I had to fit all of my furniture and crafting supplies in her closet and on one side of her room.  Her stuff just got piled up on her bed so I could get the room I was moving her stuff in ready.  It was a tight squeeze and a bit of nightmare.

room swap

You can see here how I pulled up the carpet in her old room as I went along in the process.  The carpet in the room I moved her into is in reasonable shape.  Just shampooing the carpet, patching walls and some paint and I was on my way to working on my new art space.

Before:

006

After:

013

I have always wanted to paint my daughter’s room pink.  She wasn’t having any of it-she had wanted black in her old room and that was not going to happen.  I had compromised and painted her furniture black instead.  Well since I wanted a pink craft room I decided to test the color out in her space.  She doesn’t have to love it since she will only have to live in it when she visits.  I picked out a bubblegum pink and got busy.  When I moved her black dresser in it just look too heavy and dreary so I stripped all the old paint off of it and found some hot pink spray paint.  I left the knobs black along with the mirror that goes along with it.  All of her black accents look pretty good.  I’m happy with it.   I just wanted her to have a pretty space to live in when she visits.

In her old room I had to work my way around and remove the old carpeting.  I know I want a hard surface flooring in there.  My budget does not allow for that right now and I just didn’t want to live with carpeting that was past it’s expiration date.  After I got that done I was able to arrange what I had into a workable area.

room swap 

I kept my eyes open on craigslist for another desk or table.  In the meantime I transformed the closet into a book nook/art gallery.  I love it, but I certainly miss all the storage and the ability to close the door on a mess.

Before:

closet transformation

After:

004

I continued to work around the room counter clockwise.  My husband was out of town a lot (lucky him), and I didn’t want to push it too hard doing this all by myself (he did help me out with the shelving on the sides ).  To give better support to the shelves on the sides of the closet we used 1x4’s screwed into the wall studs.  Unfortunately the studs didn’t quite line up where my shelves did, and since I thought it would look awkward to have the support sticking out we carried it across the back of the closet.  I wasn’t thrilled with idea of having white stripes going across, but in the name of progress went along with our plan.

During:

closet transformation

I had a aha moment and decided to add another 1x4 across with some molding to make a narrow shelf space to display books, art and whatever.  Since this wasn’t a planned feature  I had to make the best of the corners as I could.  I added narrow crown molding to the bottom of the 1x4-it’s not very noticeable, but it did make a difference in the overall appearance.

closet transformation

After I worked my way around the room I finished reupholstering my two chairs.  It’s been over 10 years of unhappy fabric choices and giving up on the whole process.  I’m not thrilled with my fabric choices this time either-but hey-they are done!  Someone better than me will have the job next time.

closet transformation

I am still living with the subfloors until we can afford to put flooring in here.  I may paint them in the meantime….just not anytime soon.

If you like this post you may also like:

Bathroom Makeover

Comments appreciated and welcomed.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Garden Platform Cart Project

While browsing Pinterest for shed ideas I came across this pin of a garden cart that can be used as a platform.  I hate dragging out the ladder outside when something is just out of my reach and wobbling around on land that is not level.  There were adjustments made to the original plans-I just don’t have access to the specific wheels used.  I really love it and it only took an afternoon to build it and paint it.

platform garden cart

It took one sheet of 1/2” plywood and 3 2x4’s-we chose to use pressure treated lumber for this project.  We also picked up a couple of tires from Harbor Freight.  It was just a matter of cutting everything to size and screwing it together with a couple of lag bolts thrown in for good measure.

platform garden cartplatform garden cartplatform garden cartplatform garden cart

After making a template and transferring it to the plywood we cut out the handles per the instructions.  We agreed that the handles would not stand up to the weight of this cart.  I actually prefer the replacement handles for a wheelbarrow that we bought instead.  We were going to cut them down to size until my daughter held it up the entire length of the cart-I liked the way it look and I think it will give the handles more strength.

platform garden cart

We need to do some more tweaking to get it level and more stable.  The wheels need to be spaced farther apart.  The brace we put in on the handle side needs to be removed as we keep hitting our shins on it using it.  It is very heavy and a bit unwieldy at times, but it has saved our backs and been very useful in our yard.

platform garden cart

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:

Ongoing Shed Project

Scrap Wood Garden Bench

Ongoing Shed Project

Back in June before my daughter left for Navy basic training we decided it was time to start planning and building a shed to clear out all of the garden paraphernalia out of the garage.

The daunting part was getting permission from the HOA and permit from the city.  The guidelines were not bad after we made a call to find out what we needed to do.  Since we are just DIYers reading the property blueprints and trying to figure out where the property line is was a bit of a headache for us.  Our property is a pie shape butted up against three neighbors with a t-box behind the properties.  Since we couldn’t figure out the scale on the blueprints we had to use the dimensions given and measure off of our house so we would be well within the guidelines set by the HOA and city. 

Since all the properties on the golf course are open with no fencing we have to show what the structure will look like from the t-box, neighbors and front street.  We roughly marked out the area with posts and string.  My husband had to stand next to it so I could take pictures, otherwise the area marked out was not visible. 

It’s an area that was thick with vegetation.  The former owners had planted Azaleas, Camellias and other perennials.   It is also home to three good sized Oak trees.  We mostly ignored it when we first moved in.  It was too hard to move through.  Hurricane Ivan cleared a lot of it out and we lost a very large Oak tree in the back.  It continued on it’s own.  A few times a year my husband would work his way in a few feet and clear stuff back with the weed eater.

shed

We got our approval and started clearing vegetation to make way for the foundation.  All together I think it took us about 6 days in all to clear the entire area of weeds, vines and four Azaleas that were in the way of where we wanted to build.

We mixed in some fun like babysitting my grandson.  I think my daughter probably misses him the most and he doesn’t quite understand where his Auntie Evie is.

grandson

Both of my youngest kids have helped out with this project.  My daughter and I did most of the clearing with a final push from my husband towards the end.  Invaluable help and the scars and memories will last forever.

After watching quite a few videos on foundations for sheds my husband and I decided to go with one demonstrated by Jon Peters from YouTube.

We found our four corners for our 4x4’s and squared them off using the 345 method.  Next we attached our 2x6’s and leveled them.shed foundation

I’m really condensing what we did-the video was a great tool and his directions and guidance are superior to what I could restate here.  We cut the 4x4’s level with the 2x6’s.

shed foundation

Next came the lag bolts.

shed foundation

Even though we are using pressure treated lumber we decided to keep the area covered with a tarp to help keep the area dry.  It’s a good thing we did because the rains started without abatement after we got the foundation finished.

shed foundation

Time for the joists.  We took a mini break and built this handy garden cart-another Pinterest inspired project.  It needs some tweaking after using it, but it really has turned into a handy item.

shed foundation

2x6’s, 16 on center with some blocking to follow.  We staggered the blocking to make it easier to attach to the joists.

shed foundation

Then it was time for my baby girl to go. 

navy basic training

She wore her tattered, paint stained shorts to leave in.  I wasn’t happy about it at the time, but writing this post it warms my heart that she did. 

My husband and I finished up the foundation with pressure treated plywood.  That’s where the project stopped for awhile.  The rains started and my husband needed a break so his broken rib would heal.  A final day of playing in the pool and too much roughhousing from my daughter. 

We have four walls framed.  The two larger walls are under the tarp outside and the two smaller ones are inside.  The final dimensions will be 12’x8’ which is plenty of room for our garden equipment.  We need to make a few more decisions before we lift the walls in place.  I sure wish my baby girl was here to help us with it.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Busy Week Part 3-Gutter Gardening

gutter gardening
Thanks to Larry Hall from YouTube I couldn’t get the idea of growing my own vegetable garden out of 5 gallon buckets.  I had spent most of my day going to antique and junk stores with my son.  The prices were not what I was willing to spend and I kept thinking about this idea and how I would rather spend money trying it out than on some over priced junk.   I had shown a few of his videos to my husband-he was impressed, but not in the green light kind of way.
We didn’t get home until 3:30 in the afternoon and I showed my daughter what I was talking about.  She was enthusiastic about helping me with it so we headed off to the Home Depot again.  The supplies needed for the irrigation system are simple-2 lengths of 2x4 10’ pressure treated wood, 1 10’ length of vinyl gutter, and two end caps.  I couldn’t find the screws and rubber washers called for in Larry’s directions so I just bought the screws sold for the gutters (2 boxes of 25 each).  I didn’t buy any glue-the gutter end caps I bought snapped on with a foam gasket.  I figured if the screw holes leaked I would just stick some caulk on the screw heads.
We laid the 2x4’s out and put the gutter caps on.  Screwed the gutter on the top edge of one 2x4 about every 6”, and worked the same way on the other side.  I was thinking we might have to dig in the scrap pile to find a few lengths of 2x4’s so we could get it outside, but it was it surprisingly sturdy.  I had to add a few bricks leftover from my path the even it up where the ground slopes. 
The next list of supplies include net pots used in hydroponics, 5 gallon buckets, potting soil, hole saw, and plants.  I didn’t want to hunt all around town in search of the net pots that I doubt are sold here locally.  I also lack patience for ordering online, besides they are too spendy for what they are .  My solution was going to be plastic drink cups with holes or slits cut into them, but I couldn’t find any with the right diameter.  He calls out for a 2 7/8 hole saw which I forgot to buy at Home Depot.   Walmart had 2 1/8 so I had to find something to work with that size.
gutter gardening
Guess what we had for our dinner that night?  My daughter managed 4, I had 3 and my son refused to eat more than one-I think he grabbed a sandwich afterwards and disappeared from sight.  I didn’t want to mess around with a craft knife and cut out holes.  Since the plastic is flimsy it is hard to drill.  We ended up grabbing a swimming noodle to jam in there for some resistance.
gutter gardening
I drilled my holes in the bottom of my buckets-I figured 8 would fit nicely on the gutter.  I took the drilled yogurt cups and filled them with potting soil-firmly.  Soaked them until the water was running through the drilled holes and put them in the holes in the buckets.  I used two scrap 2x4’s to prop my buckets off of the ground.  I Filled the buckets with soil and tamped down in the center of the bucket to encourage the wicking action.
gutter gardening
Planted my vegetables and watered them until it was draining out of the bottom of the buckets.  I did one at a time so I could place them on the gutter as I went along.
gutter gardening
My work station:
gutter gardening
We started actual work at 6:30 at night and finished up around 9:00 pm.  It probably added a 1/2 eating the yogurt and drilling the holes in the cups.  This area of my yard is part sun so I am hoping for the best.  When my husband gets home from his trip I want to disguise the buckets with some lattice-I don’t want any hassle from my homeowner’s association.  We had a good rain the day after, and I need to figure out how to prevent some of the splash back on the siding.  I know my husband won’t like the mess it is making.
gutter gardening
I planted 3 different kinds of tomato's, a couple of different cucumbers, green peppers, orange peppers and one blueberry plant.  If it works out I’d like to go buy some stair risers and go vertical with two more gutters.  I’m hoping to plant some broccoli in the Fall.
Comments are welcomed and appreciated!
If you like this post, you may also enjoy:
Raised Garden Bed 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Busy Week Part 2-Scrap Wood Garden Bench

scrap wood garden bench
My husband had a hoard of wood that needed to be reduced.   It mostly consisted of 2x4’s and 1x6’s.  There were some other pieces I would have liked to have used, but I’m not comfortable crosscutting wood on the table saw and avoid using the circular saw.  I wanted an easy project for my daughter and I to complete in a day.
We saved the longest of the 2x4’s and put the various scraps in order of length.  We cut down 4 lengths of 2x4 @ 18” for the legs using our compound miter saw-I love that thing!   We then attached the two longer pieces of 2x4’s cut down to 47” using 5 screws on each leg.   I used two l8” 1x6 for the side pieces.
scrap wood garden bench
After that it was just a matter of cutting the rest of the 2x4’s to 18” and spacing them out with a carpenter's pencil.  We managed to fit 13 boards on top.  I secured the two end boards with 2 screws on each side and the rest we used one on each side.  My daughter didn’t like the way the legs looks even though by that point the bench itself was very sturdy.  So we grabbed a few more boards that were left over and found two that fit inside the legs.  It did help give the bench a more substantial look.
004 
My daughter will be leaving in a month for Navy basic training so this is a special time for both of us.  I’m thrilled that she is wanting to spend some time with her Mama instead of only hanging out with her friends until her ship date.
scrap wood garden bench
After that it was time to get painting.  My son joined us at this point-he wanted to go swimming and hurried us along.
scrap wood garden bench
We added some decorative wrought iron we found on sale at Hobby Lobby.  It really didn’t need anything, but we enjoyed putting them on.  I may tone down the contrast with some more paint at a later date, or remove them. 
wicker chairs
Resting and enjoying a job well done.  You rock Evie!  I’m loving our little seating area.  I bought the two wicker chairs from Goodwill for $8 a piece then promptly went and bought two cushions (that I still have to modify) from Walmart  for $30…oh well I feel justified  with the money saved on the chairs.  I still can’t believe how expensive outdoor furniture is.

Comments are always welcomed and appreciated!

If you like this post you may also like:
New Trellis and Steps
Quick Chalk Paint Makeover

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Busy Week Part 1-Garden Path

My husband went out of town for a week.  My goal was to finish one project before he got back and I managed three with the help of my kids.
garden path
I wanted a path from our new stairs on the deck to the lawn to keep down the mud and divert traffic away from the sprinkler head.  My first choice was to use a concrete path mold that I have, but the small area would have been too difficult to work in especially around the steps and local Azalea bushes.  I took my daughter to Home Depot to have a look around.  We chose these flat paver bricks at around 60¢ each.  I had some perforated bricks (fired bricks with holes in the middle) on hand that I used for the edging.  I initially bought 40 to help gauge how many I would need, and three bags of paving sand to level areas and use as filler.
I had a lot of weedy, spongy root mass to remove in this area, along with some root removal.  We mainly used a hand tool with a weed hoe and cultivator in one-I don’t know the name of it.  It was the perfect size to bury the perforated bricks level with the paving brick, and is a gem to use in removing the spongy root mess.  Unfortunately I stepped on it and broke the handle.  It was a cheap tool I have had for several years.
garden tool
I started out with the paving bricks on level soil.  I didn’t worry too much about having to compact the soil or having a gravel and sand base.  With this just being a simple garden path I think any unevenness will  add charm and character.  There were quite a few high and low spots and we worked with what we had.  After laying out the supplies we had I guesstimated that we needed another 48.  I went over by 15-better than under and another trip to the store!  After we laid out the path we took the perforated bricks used for edging and buried them *somewhat* level with the paver bricks.  When we got near the stairs I had my daughter begin filling the gaps with the sand mix.  There simply wasn’t enough room for two.
garden path
I had to improvise around the steps.  With the big roots from a nearby tree and some substantial ones from nearby Azaleas and the sprinkler system it didn’t fit as neatly as I would have liked. 
garden path
I added some pine bark mulch and that helped a great deal with how it visually looks.  There are areas where I need to lift some bricks and add more sand.  The perforated bricks are taking up  a lot of sand as well with it washing into the holes.  I think this will be a summer long project of picking up sand and adding it as needed until all the crevices get filled and things settle in.
garden path
garden path
Comments are always welcomed and appreciated-and hey if you know what that garden tool is called let me know-I need a replacement!

If you liked this post you may also like:
New Trellis and Steps 
Big Box Update 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Big Box Update

smelling lavender
I’ve had a few years now to find what works best in the big raised box we put in a few years ago.  Plants that do the best are ones that can take direct sun.  The lavender has really found a home around the bird bath.  My roses are doing well.  They never really quit blooming and since I hate to prune back when there are blooms they have become a bit leggy.  This year I am going to try and prune as I go to get them to fill out some more.  I’m hoping that with using the Bayer all purpose feed that they will take the shock of it well.
raised garden bed
I added some Delphiniums this year to try and break up all of the green.  The green in the lower areas is Apple Mint.  It really fills out the area nicely and helps keep the weeds down.  It makes it very pleasant to work in the box due to the smell.
raised garden bed
I had added some Pansies this last winter so there would be some more color.  They are still doing well so I just added some Impatiens to keep things filled out.  It  is really hard to get a good picture because of the size of this box.  I still really love it and it is one of the best projects we have completed in the yard.





raised garden bed

If you like this post you may also like:
Gardening-The Big Box Build
New Trellis
Comments are appreciated and welcomed!

Friday, May 31, 2013

New Trellis and Steps

I love it when hubby has a long weekend and is agreeable to a new project.  Our back deck was in serious need of some TLC.  The yard side of it is lined with some beautiful Azalea bushes.  In one area they were about 6 feet deep and difficult to maintain.  It also made any deck maintenance a hassle.  We also discovered that a black racer snake had made it his home and he was becoming a nuisance.   It sucked all the joy I had taking care of our backyard-every movement was the snake sneaking up on me.  My husband wanted to just get rid of the Azaleas…I don’t think so!  We made a compromise and decided to take out part of the Azaleas to make it easier to maintain, and hey while we are at it why not add some steps and a trellis to make the deck more interesting.
deck trellis
deck trellis
I had to get low to cut out the Azaleas and make a curved path into the deck. It took us a full day to clear out the weeds, stumps and dead limbs in the area.  I think we managed to fill 12 large bags minus the azaleas.  I don’t have many before pictures.  As usual I was thinking more about getting the job done and not about a before photo.  This photograph is from May of  2009 from the deck side.  It shows how dense the bushes were even back then.
azalea
The Azaleas in full bloom in 2011:
azalea
From the deck side in 2011:
azalea
Here is the path I cut in and before we cleared all the debris:
pruning azalea
We needed to clear out more than I had intended so my husband could move the sprinkler head.  That was a bonus because we had been having trouble with a circuit of them and when we discovered a break in the line that we otherwise would have never found had it not been for this project-hurray!
My husband got the sprinkler moved and fixed and proceeded to cut out the railings so he could build the steps.
deck steps
path deck steps
Getting the steps in place-he used three risers and not just the two shown:
deck steps
He put in two more beams and a handrail-I guess he thinks I’m clumsy.
deck steps
He created a notch on the lower beam so the trellis frame could be fit inside of it.  I had pulled some different pictures up on Pinterest and showed him the different design ideas that I liked.  One of them was a window feature cut out of the trellis material.  He framed it out with leftover trellis pieces.
deck trellis
After he got the trellis sides built it was time to pull it together with the top pieces.  I used a Frisbee to get the curve and he cut it out with a jigsaw.  We assembled it by laying it down on the deck and lifted it in place to attach it to the stairs.
060
deck trellis
While he was busy with that I got the job of refinishing the deck.  I wanted to try one of the products designed to fill the cracks and resurface it.  I chose the Rustoleum brand.  It did not work for me.  It was like trying to paint with concrete.  I simply do not have the aptitude to use this stuff.  I had big blobs of sand everywhere.  I used it farther than I should have thinking I would get the hang of it.   It just didn’t work out for me.  Home Depot refused to take it back because it was tinted.  Thankfully Rustoleum stood behind their product and issued Home Depot a credit so I could get my money back.  This is a close up picture of it AFTER I had tried to scrub and scrape it off.  It does have great sticking power.
deck resurfacer
Since I had already prepped the deck to use this stuff with paintable caulk I was stuck with using porch paint to  refinish it with.  So far it is holding up pretty good and doesn’t feel as nasty as deck oil.  I used Olympic dark grey porch paint and my husband found a flat automotive primer in a spray can that is a perfect match-it sure came in handy getting all the fiddly bits in on the lattice work done.
deck trellis
I’m very happy with the transformation and can hardly wait for hubby to build me some planter boxes so I can plant my climbing roses and Carolina Jasmine…and maybe put in a fountain before we lay down a foot path.  Oh, and fix the sprinkler I may have stepped on a few times trying to get this thing painted.  I feel blessed and happy that he agrees to these projects of mine and for two great kids who helped pound nails and paint cracks in the deck.