Friday, August 18, 2017

Garden Friday

Welcome back to Garden Friday.
It's been just beginning to feel like summer here,
with temperatures topping out in the low 90's on occasion. 
Before we know it,
we'll be greeting fall's breath of cooler air.

 I noticed this rose blooming,
just as I was taking pictures for this post.
I'm not a rose person,
and the plants that grace the front of the house
will most likely be given away,
as I don't really have the desire to learn about them.
Someone will appreciate them far more than me.

The veggie garden is slowly expanding.
Some sowing was made this week
of beets and kale.
I also reseeded broccoli and eggplant in 6-packs,
because the seedlings had been eaten by something
(most likely worms).
A second planting of buttercrunch and red salad bowl lettuce 
was also done this week,
as I hope to continue to have salads well into the fall. 
The crops on the deck are still holding their own,
and a second planting will ensure that the lettuce keeps on coming!

 Four varieties of tomatoes are doing well in the 5-gallon buckets.
This is a Cherokee purple,
and there are also a roma, brandywine and Arkansas traveler growing.

The jalapeno seedling I got from a vendor at the Mooresville farmers' market
is doing well. 
The warmer temperatures are moving them right along.

The Slenderette variety of string beans
came up in 4 days and seem happy to be here.
These string beans are so tender, they practically melt in your mouth.
I'll be planting more of these every 2 weeks.

Some of the snap peas have made it,
while some have died off,
most likely due to the heat.
I'll keep sowing them all through the fall.
I'm determined to get some of these in my salad.

Check out my birthday gift!
I am so thrilled that Big K actually listened to what I wanted!

This giant coneflower was on my wishlist.
It's a bird feeder and a work of art! 
Even if we can't use it to feed the birds
(we're dealing with a small army of squirrels),
it makes me happy just seeing it out there.

Totally unrelated to garden friday,
look at this mocha cake that was made for me.
One of the vendors at the Mooresville farmers' market
makes incredible breads, cookies and pies.
I special-ordered it from him
and he didn't disappoint.
Wish I could've shared a piece with you!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Birthday Wishes

It's my birthday.
The list of things for which I am grateful is about a mile long.

Just a sampling:
a family who accepts and supports me
a new home that we are making our own
time to spend doing things I love
veggies growing in the garden
always having more to learn
a lifetime of memories
local peaches with fresh strawberries 
and a dash of coconut sugar

May your day be filled with blessings and good news!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Under the Spell of IKEA

Our new home was bought from a German couple.
It was evident how streamlined their furnishings were in the space.
We liked the look and came to find out
that many of their pieces were from IKEA.
Having no experience with the company,
we didn't give it much thought after touring the house.
But we have now come to the realization
that those folks knew what they were doing.

We have fallen under the spell of IKEA

These two wardrobe pieces were actually left by the sellers.
They were moving back to Germany,
and I suppose felt they didn't need them,
so they asked us if we wanted them.
One is housing most of Big K's clothes,

while the other is now keeping his large Lego kits organized.
We have all downsized our clothing
and placed winter items up in the attic,
so we found we didn't need this extra storage for our wardrobes.
He is working on adding to this unit,
so that all of his Lego sets will fit here.

This cabinet was one of the items we purchased from the sellers.
It was in the living room,
but we found it took up valuable space,
so it's been placed in my room.
Storage is something coveted,
and this unit adds a ton of it.

These two bookcases were in the living room
and we purchased them with the house. 
We felt that they took up too much space in the foyer,
so we repurposed them in C's room.

This smaller bookcase fits beautifully in C's room
and keeps his Lego builds nicely displayed.

The larger unit is able to be used for books 
and his extensive Lego magazine collection.

Once we were living with these IKEA items for a while,
we caught the Swedish bug.
The massive IKEA store is in Charlotte,
less than an hour's drive from our location.
 The overstuffed chair and ottoman were purchased first.
This has quickly become my chosen spot for reading
or playing my favored game, Hay Day. 


The ottoman pad lifts up for extra storage.
It'll be a great place for extra blankets or pillows.

Next, we went back to pick up the matching sofa
which wouldn't fit in our Element on the first shopping trip.
Sister met us there so that she could take some of the boxes
in her truck, and we could squeeze the remaining in Ginger (our Element).

IKEA is famous for its furniture kits.
They come in large boxes,
and need to be assembled by the buyer.
Fortunately, I live with Mr. "I-can-put-anything-together",
so it was a piece of cake for him to get the sofa assembled in no time.

The hardest part was stuffing the pillows into the slip covers.

 Eh voila!
We chose the sofa with the side chaise,
which, incidentally,
can be moved to either side (or the middle),
when you feel like you need a change.
So far, everyone loves that chaise.
Even C, who had sensory issues with our furniture in the past,
enjoys lounging on this sofa.

The other main item I'd been wanting to swap out were our dishes.
We bought dishes when we first got married,
some 18 years ago.
Keeping in mind that we are simplifying in this smaller home,
I wanted plain, white dishware.
That's exactly what we got at IKEA.
Now, I can purchase just a few accent pieces
if I really feel that I want to jazz it up a bit.
But, for the most part,
I'm quite content with things just the way they are.
That IKEA, it's a magical thing.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Garden Friday

This week has been fairly quiet on the gardening scene.
With other tasks on the front burner,
(like getting the inside of the house painted),
we haven't had as much time to devote to the garden
as we'd like.

 The herb/greens garden on the deck is slowly but surely making progress.
We were blessed with quite a bit of rain this past week,
and it shows in the growth of the crops.
Nothing like a good soaker to boost them right along.

The thyme and parsley seem to be happy 
in their shady spot.
These are two herbs that are the most used in our kitchen.

 Another pot has been started with parsley.
We always like to have some for the caterpillars
as well as for our own culinary use.

This spinach is a new crop for me.
I can't say I'm thus far impressed,
but I plan to resow it throughout the fall,
so we won't give up on it just yet.

 Three types of lettuce are doing fairly well.
More will be sown this weekend,
when I plan to sow or resow a few more veggies.
I'm hoping to transplant broccoli and leeks, 
as well as start beets, carrots and kale.

 This pot was left here by the previous owners,
who had a begonia planted in it.
That died, so I tried sowing some lettuce seeds in it,
and wouldn't you know,
the doggone squirrels helped themselves to it.
So far, they haven't been sampling the white pots on the deck,
but I will most likely have to get some shade cloth to deter the pesky varmints.

The east garden is small but doing well.
The tomato and pepper plants look strong and healthy.
They were recently fertilized again with turkey poop.

 In fact, the peppers are starting to come in.
These are jalapenos, and I hope to be able to dry them
so that I can have my own red pepper flakes on hand.

There are a few fruit on the tomato plants.
I wasn't sure they would bear fruit,
as we had a couple of weeks of very hot days
and they had not yet flowered.
Mother Nature always surprises me.
Since I didn't get to harvest any of the maters I grew at the rental house,
it will be especially rewarding to pick these beauties.

One thing I need to research is why the stems on the maters 
have these spiky-looking things sticking out.
They look like roots, but they are on the stems,
so I'm not sure what that means.
I know I could have staked them better,
but with moving into the new house
and all we are trying to get done,
I haven't made the time to get what I need.
I'll be ready for my next planting though!

I'm still working on the plans for the veggie garden.
I know where I want to put it,
but it will be a while before we can get started on that.
I guess it's a good time to do the planning though,
and I'll have all winter to gather my supplies.
Looking forward to growing fall veggies 
in our new state.
Always learning, always growing.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Fresh Look

We have been busy giving our new home a fresh look.
New ceiling fans, light fixtures,
even some new additions in the furniture department
have helped us to make this house a home.
One of the easiest ways to make a statement
is by painting.

Here is the living room when we bought the house.
The previous owners had a light yellow on the walls
and a bright orange on the fireplace surround.
This room doesn't get as much light as we'd like,
as the windows are on the north-facing wall
so we decided on a color we thought might brighten it up a bit.

So far, all the paint we've used in this house has been No-VOC.
This kind of paint is supposed to be better for the environment
and better for us, as it doesn't outgas like other paints.
The brand we used also contains a primer,
so one coat did an ample job of covering over everything.

The color we chose was Sea Wave.
We're going for a vintage/modern farmhouse look,
but this color just spoke to me.
In our last house we never painted,
so I had vowed that this time around,
we would paint every single room.
No white walls for me.


The color was striking,
but it's hard to know how it's gonna look on an entire wall,
much less the whole room.
We started cutting in first around the windows, ceiling
and baseboards and then filled in with a roller.
The fireplace wall is a shade darker,
so that it stands out a bit more dramatically.

It really went pretty fast.
With both Big K and I working,
we knocked it out in a few hours.

A couple of hints I'd like to pass on:
1.  use a screwdriver to poke a few holes in the top of the paint can.
This allows the paint to drip back down into the can
so that it doesn't build up inside the rim.
Paint isn't wasted and it keeps things tidier.

2.  instead of buying the specialty products the paint stores try to sell you,
simply cut the bottom off of a soda or milk bottle
and use it as your "cutting in" can.
It sits flat on any surface, and you can put as much or as little paint
as you need.
3.  refrigerate brushes when you need to take a break.
This saves from having to wash them out every time you stop painting.
Simply wrap them in plastic wrap or a plastic bag,
and place in the fridge.
We've left them overnight when we need to.
Just take them out 1/2 hour before you begin painting again
so that they can get to room temperature.

We're gettin' there.
We have a lot of tweaking to do
with furniture placement and hanging our treasures on the walls.
Once we get it all put together,
I'll write another post to show the before and after shots.
The new color motivates me to do more.
I love living in this new space.
It has so much energy and really makes the white trim pop.

Our project for August is the office.
We will paint and install something we've never done before.
It feels wonderful to be putting our stamp on this house.
So grateful to be home.

New House posts:
The New Homestead
Moving Toward Bliss
Organized Downsizing