Friday, June 24, 2011

Compost bins

We've used a compost bin for years, and it was frustrating having to dump our kitchen scraps in the garbage or use the disposal at our new house. Our bin at the old house was big and full of kitchen waste, plants and grass, and occasionally old hay from the neighbor's stable. Here we've been studying compost bins in catalogs and finally found one that's not too big and has two compartments and rotates. We still haven't filled the first compartment, which is good. The hard part was putting it together after we got it and all its pieces. 56 nuts and bolts! And when we were almost done, the door section didn't fit. Oh, oh. Ah, here's where we went wrong. (We usually didn't understand the diagrams until after we'd put things together. I'm still not sure what the diagrams for the frame meant, but I liked the smiley and frowny faces.) So, we had to dismantle all the sections (sides)--removing every nut and bolt and then replacing them when the ends of the bin were aligned. We found this useful little comost bin in the Plow and Hearth catalog, btw.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Colorful paint color choices

I love all the colors--and names of paints--we have to choose from today. Blues from Behr include Tropical Surf, High Tide, Soar, Poolside, and Meander Blue; I found this selection of blue shades in the May issue of Better Homes and Gardens. And a variety of colonial colors in the August issue of Early American Life, including Shaker Red (California Paints), Cheesecake (Pittsburgh Paints), Livingston Gold (Benjamin Moore), and Gloucester Sage (Benjamin Moore). Plus some other beautiful colors from nature: Allium "Drum Stick" (a sort of dark purple) and a single pink hollyhock. (I love that color!)

Sparkle note: If you drag a treat from the box, and click on it again, Sparkle will jump up and catch it!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Open houses

I love visiting open houses. I look for interesting ideas and, of course, compare them to our house. Today there was an open house in our neighborhood at a home we've often passed and wondered about so I checked it out. It was fun. Look what they did to this house! Those trees need to come down. Hmm. it's lost most of its stucco--and they painted over a lot of stuff, but they did a lot of upcgrading too. And I admired their level back yard. I think I've mentioned that our back yard is a straight slope. (If we got snow here, we could probably ski.) The house is a lot smaller than ours, but it does have a very nice bathroom. Our two bathrooms are both small. And this house is famous for its funny side porch; the screened sides slope outward. It could be a modern style from the 50s. The house was built in 1953, and a number of homes in this area have the flat roofs and straight angles that date from then.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Watering your lawns and gardens (link)

Here are the basic ways to water, and I've used them all except for drip irrigation. For the first time--here at our new house--we have a sprinkler system (6 zones), and we've spent a lot of time and money fixing this old, complicated system. I'm not sure if it was all installed at once because of the differences in the sprinkler heads, including pop-ups. We've had some capped because they are all over, and we've had them adjusted so they don't water the sidewalk, the road, and passersby. However, the latest guys extended the range of some sprinkler heads again so they cover more of the lawn--and the sidewalk. Even with the sprinkler system, we still use hoses (going to buy another one to keep attached to one of the many faucets), sprinkling cans, a soaker hose, and an oscillator. (I didn't know we were supposed to bury soaker hoses!) Check out the pros and cons of each way: 6 Ways to Water - ManageMyLife.com

Friday, June 10, 2011

Innovative bookcases (link)

Here is an imaginative collection of bookcases to dress up your home, though while the upsidedown bookcase is eye-catching, it's not practical for books you use a lot. There is an amazing collection of designs, including expanding bookcases and an infinity-sign-shaped bookcase, which reminds me of an Escher drawing. Link: 18 Seriously Cool Bookshelves & Bookcases

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Buying our house: Report #18

The last remodeling project was completed May 27 when our office window sash was replaced. The installer had us work with it to make sure we were happy with how it works. Yes! It moves!!

We got two pallets of sod last Friday, June 3, (St. Augustine, though I'd have preferred Bahia, but apparently Bahia doesn't do as well in our shaded areas) and we've been watering it ever since! We've had more work done on our sprinkler system because we still have damaged sprinklers, and we found water gushing from a broken pipe. That happened behind a big oak tree, which is why we didn't notice it sooner. The water runs down along one of the newly-sodded areas, so it's not completely wasted, but we are using a lot of water! City water. It's not like when we had a well.

So, we have more mulch coming and more work to be done on the sprinkler system, but I think we're almost finished--except for buying more plants, ground cover (perennial peanuts are good for that, we've discovered), and hardscape. However, the remodeling is done, and we're enjoying our new home so I decided it was time to have our Open House. Sunday, June 5, looked to be the best time for that so I sent out the invitations and bought sandwiches, snacks, desserts, and soda and sherbet for my mother's famous sherbet punch. (Just mix 7-Up, ginger ale, and/or lemon/slime soda with lime sherbet--or make your own concoction.) Everyone loves it. We were kept busy restocking the punch bowl, answering the door, introducing people, talking to everyone, etc. Now we have lots of sandwiches and snacks left over 'cause I never want to run out. But we won't have to cook for days! Signing off and loving our new home!!!

Oh, I do want to thank the people who helped us sell our old home, buy our new home, pack, move, and help us with the remodelling projects and the interior design projects: our realtors: Shawn & Dee McDonough; Bruce & Judy C; Mike Hickman, our remodeling contractor & his crews; Tammy J, the coordinator; Bob & Cheryl K (Bob worked on our wiring puzzles and sprinkler system, among other things); Mina S; Vicki B; Bobbie A; Cindy D; Gerry H; Peggy W; Larry S; and Hubert and Kenny. We appreciate you all!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Remodeling project suggestions (link)

Curb appeal and upgrading your interior basics are both important; this includes replacing old plumbing pipes (unseen) and removing ugly paneling and popcorn ceilings (definitely seen!). Forget adding dimmers. (I'm getting rid of ours asap.) Link: 10 Investments to Boost Your Home's Value : Home Improvement : DIY Network