Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Finishing up the shed

After we went through all the trouble to move the shed a whopping 5 feet, we did a few other things around it to make it look a little more polished.

Unfortunately we didn't paint the shed itself, but that task is on the 'someday list'.

We did extend the path to the new door location though!

We have black plastic garden borders (these were already in place for the shell path when we moved in and there were some extra pieces stashed behind then shed, score!) that were easy to pull up and move. To 'install' these borders I just dig a 4 inch trench for the border, place the border in said trench, and pack it in with dirt.

When I talked about putting mulch down in our path I also mentioned that I consulted out stock pile of pavers to make a little landing at the door.

On the side of the shed, there was an old set of bars from the house windows that had been repourposed as a planter for a jasmine vine.

I loved the idea, but the bars were so so rusted. All they needed was a fresh coat of paint though, erm...and a good sanding first haha! Since there are no plans of returning this to the window it came from and it will remain outside in the dirt with a plant growing all over it, I didn't feel the need to make it 100% perfect. I just wanted to give it a face lift and protect the metal a little.

I took the jasmine off as gently as I could, but I had to sacrifice a little bit of it because it was wound around itself a little too much. Then I very roughly sanded the metal to get the big chunks of rust and flaking paint off. Like I said, this wasn't going to be perfect, but I also wanted to put enough effort into it as to not make the whole deal pointless.

With the bars sanded it only took me 2.5 cans of spray paint to get it looking a little more presentable. By no means is it perfect, but at a glance it looks infinitely better and there will be a vine growing all over it eventually.

The Engineer helped me move the bars back over to the shed (shockingly heavy) and I replanted the jasmine in front it it and 'draped' it over the bars. I also planted cordyline red sister plants along the shed to add some color :)

The new shed location is so nice and I feel so much better about that corner now that no mans land behind the shed is gone! These last few touches make the whole area much more presentable.

Did anyone notice what is in the background behind the shed? If you follow me on Instagram you know we bought new fence panels this weekend :-D :-D Can't say I'm not super excited for that project ;-)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Because the bedroom needs love too.

Hey guys! Happy Friday! How was your week? Mine is rockin since we gave the bedroom some love. Because it was completely functional, we haven't done anything in there since we moved in. In our first two weeks in the house, we ripped out the innards of the old closet and installed a closet system we already had to give us some extra hanging space and we built Ikea wardrobes in lieu of using dressers.

Sorry for the grainy cell phone pictures...we have weird light in our room and this was a long time ago! The wardrobes fit very nicely in a large alcove on the left side of room.

I did one more project in our bedroom before we abandoned it completely and that was re-facing the closet doors because I could not stand looking at them. True story.

Since then its been pretty quiet. Lets recap what we've got in the bedroom. There is a bed. Right in the middle. Thank goodness because it wouldn't be much of a room without a bed huh? The bed is on the back wall of the room between two windows. It is cozy with a duvet/duvet cover. There was a nail on the wall above the bed where I randomly hung a nice little wood bicycle picture The Engineer got for me when he was down in the Keys. So thoughtful that guy :) This was by no means a permanent home for this little picture, but it was much better than having nothing up there. I bought two long rugs, one on the main side of the bed and the other is identical but at the foot of the bed because we walk there all the time. A side note on the runners - I had to put a rug gripper pad under them because they are slippery death traps on the wood floor. With the rug grip pads there are no problems at all.

I think we were in the house about five or six months when I got fed up with the lack of a night stand and got the pair pictured below (we had one night stand but it was on The Engineer's side of the bed and the night stand that I previously used in our apartment had been reallocated to the guest bedroom because we confiscated the old night stand from there and upcycled it - it now resides in our dining room). You also might take notice of the inconspicuous extension cords on the floor. These extension cords are located as such because there are no electrical outlets on the back wall. Yeah, I know. It is unfortunate. On the left side of the bed we at least thought this through and ran extension cords from the plug behind the wardrobes when we installed them so we would have access to the power. On the right side there is just a cord plugged into the wall. This is a problem we have yet to address properly, for now we have extension cords spaghettied on our floor. On the right side of the bed is one of our floor lamps. There is not a light kit in the ceiling fan and no built in lighting. Sadly, the only wall switch controls the ceiling fan so you have to fumble around with the lamps in the dark to get some light.

Turning around to the front of the room, there isn't much to see haha! We have our other floor lamp and the closet I redid. On the far right is our singular light switch that turns the fan on and above that is an abandoned control panel from an old security system. Thaaat's it. 

We had thrown around the idea of a sofa table for the wall pictured above. However, our bed is longer than the average bed because it has sliding storage at the foot. After some brainstorming we thought a long shelf on the wall would work well. I had also just bought a set of picture frames that I wanted to hang on this wall so the two upgrades complimented each other.

To build the shelf we purchased a long board (from Home Depot) and three EKBY HENSVIK brackets (from Ikea). While at Ikea we also purchased a table lamp with a toggle switch with the hope that it would be easy to turn on in the dark. We didn't purchase the shelf from Ikea because we wanted one that was about the same length of the wall. Additionally, a raw board allowed us to do whatever we wanted to with it. The brackets were white and we decided to stain the shelf with stain we had left over from another project.

The only problem with this was that once a full coat was on, we hated it. It wasn't that we didn't like the color, but it was so red. It was just too much for our room. The bed and wardrobes are already different colors, putting in a red shelf just didn't seem right.

So I sanded it all off and started over. I wasn't even that disappointed because I knew in the end we would be much happier. We knew white would do the trick, so off the stain came, and on white paint went.

With a dry shelf, brackets, and our pictures, we got to work on sprucing up the wall. We first tried to pull the old security panel off only to find that the screws have square heads. Really? We left that there for now, but we are going to try to jam an allen wrench in there or use pliers to get them out before we go buy a square attachment. We still need to do that...

The picture frame set I bought (not my typical style to buy a set like this, but I saw it in Bed Bath & Beyond when we were spending the last of our wedding gift cards and really liked it) came with a paper guide for hanging. SO NICE! We just taped it up on the wall (leveled, of course) and nailed directly through the paper.

We hung the pictures only to find that they weren't very well balanced. I used command strips to secure one corner of all the pictures so they would sit straight :)

We then brought the shelf in and eyeballed where we wanted it height wise. While The Engineer held the shelf level, I marked the center and two outside locations for the brackets with a horizontal line under the shelf. We then mounted the brackets with the top screw directly on these lines (which moved the shelf height up about two inches, but we had accounted for that).

This method actually worked perfectly and the shelf came out completely level. The table lamp we bought was going on this new shelf. We decided to drill a hold for the cord to pass through the shelf to make it look a little nicer. We just used gradually increasing bit sizes until the plug could fit through. The lamp sits directly on top of the hole so we didn't even bother painting the inside or anything like that.

We screwed the shelf to the brackets and pulled the lamp cord through the pre-drilled hole and bam! We now have a wonderful wall with pictures, a shelf, and a little lamp.

I also requested a new comforter for Christmas because the old one was too dark for the room (we had it before we moved into the house). The lighter color of the new one helps a lot. 

We still need to remove the rest of the security panel and put a key hook in its place and secure the lamp cord under the shelf and mount a cord hider on the wall for it. We also need to take care of our extension cords that provide power to our night stands.

I am planning some nice art to go above the head board and I am on the hunt for some furniture to put along the wall on the right of the bed. Perhaps an upholstered bench or a small table and chairs. I shall see what I find! For now though, these simple little changes have made our room so much more lovable.

That's all for now, I have some project prep to work on for the weekend :) Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The start of a garden

Howdy ya'll! I'm pretty excited to share this post because it's about something I've been dreaming about for awhile. The final product is still a long way off, but starting is exciting!

I'm talking about a garden people!!

Having a legitimate garden is something I have wanted for a long time. Sadly it was not an item that was on the very top of the house To Do list. With the work we have been doing in the back yard this month (moving the shed, tending to the grass, and mulching our path) we just picked it up one night because we weren't ready to stop working.

The majority of the yard is pretty heavily shaded but there is one section on the side of the house that gets a decent amount of sun throughout the day. It is its own little area that we didn't have any other ideas for so putting the garden there is perfect! This is also where our lemon tree is located, so it fits the theme well.

We have already done some work on this area. A long time ago we removed the overgrown bushes that were taking up space, we revived the irrigation well, and we moved the fence a little to make use of some dead space behind it.

Bush removal

Fence relocation

Well revival

I had planned all along to build raised beds for the garden. Perhaps one of the main reasons was to make use of the million and one pavers/cinder blocks we have dug up from our yard. 

I still have no idea why there are SO many pavers. We've found all different types all over the yard, some buried under others! We are still dinning them up every time we do something new in the yard. Our biggest pile by far was a stash of old-school cinder blocks. I knew these would be perfect to build a raised bed with. Oh, and they were free!

We started in the garden area by...oh wait, wait, I'll let you guess. 

Take all the time you need. 

You will never guess. Give up?

We started by PULLING UP MORE PAVERS!!! Duh. 

Not sure if its clear, but everything you see in the above picture that appears to be the ground is actually a paver. 

We're total pro's at paver removal though. 

These are all the pavers we pulled from that little area (actually not even all of them, these are only the ones that weren't broken). They never stop I swear. 

We already had planned the general idea of what our raised beds were going to look like and where we were going to place them. We roughly placed the first layer of blocks and played with the shape a bit until we liked what we had. No precise measurements here folks. 

Once we were happy we went ahead and leveled the ground under the blocks and started stacking as we had planned/had enough blocks to build our box three cinder blocks high. Since these cinder blocks are older, their size is a little smaller than the average block you are accustomed to seeing. Because of their odd size, they didn't stagger well in a staggered fashion so we started by stacking on top of each other. 

We had done some reading to determine if we needed to add any support to the walls to prevent the pressure of the dirt and plants from pushing them outward. After deciding that we didn't need to do anything extra, I knew that it wasn't going to work if we didn't stagger the blocks. There was no structural integrity at all. I went ahead and tried to stagger the cinder blocks. I had avoided this the first time around since this creates some gaps but it was 100% stronger and worth the trouble of filling the gaps. 

To fill the gaps The Engineer simply used a hammer to break apart some extra blocks to fit the spots we needed filled. 

I of course made sure that some red pavers we had would fit nicely in the alcove in the front of the bed ;-)

Our next step was to give the bed some height. From some research, I learned that crushed rock or gravel in the bottom improves drainage and also reduces the amount of soil you need to maintain. The only problem was getting said gravel/rock. Where on earth would we come by that?? Oh yeah, that's right. We have a huge pile of it behind the shop that we have found all over out yard that I had been saving for this exact purpose. Silly me. 

I'm serious, this is real life. Free materials are nice though. We crushed up the pavers and rocks to smaller pieces and loaded our box. 

To cover the rocks we used the dirt we dug up form the path in the back. 

BAM! One raised garden box ready to go! For f.r.e.e. Woot! Ok, it isn't exactly 100% ready to go, but its great that we got this far from materials we already had. Things left to do:

1. Buy/make proper soil mix for top layer. 
2. Build a face wall around it for aesthetic purposes (cuz it ain't pretty at the moment).
3. Plant plants. 

We also went really wild and played with some options for a path through the garden. You know, cuz we had a paver or two hanging around. 

Clearly we didn't level the rest of the area haha! Nothing has been decided about the path so don't hold me to it! 

Thanks for stopping by, come back soon to see what else we have gotten ourselves into :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mulching a Path

Happy Rainy Monday everyone. I hope the rain isn't hindering your activities today :)

Last weekend after moving the shed we were on a roll(no pun intended, okay, maybe it was intended) so we dove directly into our path in the back yard. Or lack there of.

Maybe you recall, the old shell path we had in the back yard when we moved in.

Holy cow it was so wide it took up half the yard! I'm really glad we reduced the size. Three feet wide is plenty...9 feet wide is overkill!

I haven't talked much about the yard since we put the sod in a few months back, mostly because we've had some trouble with it. One of our pallets wasn't the best and some of the sod struggled. A section looked like it died completely, but we are slowly but surely nursing it back to health. We had temporarily placed some of the extra sod in the path and we have been using that as plugs in between the areas that are growing back. This finally freed up the path area so we could put mulch down.

We removed some dirt, lowering the level of the path so mulch wouldn't flow over into the grass all the time.

We raked the dirt out to a more or less level state and distributed our 17 bags of mulch. 

Then we simply dumped the mulch and raked it out. 

Viola! One mulch path down. I also placed some pavers in front of the shed for a nice little landing (and no we didn't have to buy any because we have dug up a surplus from the yard (the two on the site are actually inserts I removed from a table I'm upcycling).

This task was simple but made a big difference in the yard. Now maybe we won't track so much dirt back into the house and the yard looks a little more polished.

As a side note, the pictures actually make the grass look worse than it really is.  While it's not at 100% yet, it does look better than the pictures let on. As a second side note, the irrigation pump seems to be doing well. After priming it twice, it has been running regularly, so hopefully whatever was clogging it has dislodged itself and we can move on with our regularly scheduled program.

Once we were done with the path we headed over to the garden area :) Check back for some updates on the progress over there!