Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We're Fans of the New Fan

The Boy has been complaining about my lack of blog love for the new Hunter living room fan, which is due to lack of time not lack of love. I think he has an ulterior motive. See, he wants the opportunity to brag about the fan that I spent weeks resisting, even putting my foot down that I would never live with that fan. Until, that is, I realized that it was the best option imaginable and he wore me down to the point where I bought it. Impressively he installed it mere hours after it was purchased. He was probably afraid I'd change my mind.

Now that it's up, I'm happy with it. Unlike the bedroom fan, which is pretty, but too dim and is the reason I will only buy globe fans like this in the future, this fan is quite bright. We actually downgraded the strength of lightbulbs used.

As you can see it is a bit of an improvement from the rickety, ugly mess that was there previously. The Boy and the cats were afraid for their heads when this old girl was on.

Good riddance!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Decking Out the Deck

This past week I spent several hours (around nine, but who's counting) cleaning and staining the deck. It's definitely not a fun job, but since it had been three years since I stained the deck it definitely needed it.

I'd still like to spruce it up a little more with more pots and flowers, and other finishing touches, but I wanted to give the stain a little more time first.

The nitty gritty: First I cleared the deck and cleared the crevices from all those stupid helicopters which seem to be everywhere this time of year. While I prefer using the shop vac to suck those suckers out of the hard to reach spots, it gets clogged, so the boy's solution of using the air compressor did ultimately work better. Though it pains me to admit this. Then I cleaned and scrubbed the deck with oxygenated bleach deck brightener. Lastly it was just me and my trusty paintbrush putting on one coat of stain (Olympic, semi-transparent, oil-based in Redwood Naturaltone) for hours and hours and hours.

Now if only someone would invent a stain that would last twenty years. Or more than one.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My First Peony! (for Green Thumb Sunday)

I'm so excited to show you my very first peony bloom on my very first peony. This is my second attempt at planting a peony, the first one died over winter. But this peony is very much alive and smells fantastic. Now I want more peonies, much more! If only I have endless room to plant them!

Finally, it's a good year for dianthus in my garden.
Usually it's too dry and hot for them to do much.

These little dianthus are some of my 33 cent bargains. They didn't bloom last year so I was surprised to see the delicate magenta blooms.

I just solved my own little garden mystery and found out these are Sweet William. I swear these were winter-sown and planted last year and didn't bloom, which was why I didn't know what they were when they bloomed this year for the first time. That always amazes me when a little seedling seems to disappear, but returns next season and thrives.

Allium orephilium

The chives and catmint that I profiled a few weeks ago are still blooming like crazy as well.

Gardeners, plant and nature lovers can join Green Thumb Sunday every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

Garden Mysteries: Can You Name These Blooms?

From time to time a plant pops up in the garden that either I forgot the name of, or never knew in the first place. Sometimes these mystery plants are weeds, sometimes they're not. But still, I'd prefer to have some idea of everything growing in my garden. Which is where I'm hoping you come in, Internet. I have quite the collection of the pretty blooms above, but have no idea what they are.

After further research and going through my seed packets, I think these are Sweet William. What threw me off is that I didn't plant Sweet William this year and the green spiky head of the flower is not what I expected Sweet William to look like. Mystery solved at least.

There is magenta and light pink varieties so far.

And then there are two of these tall spindly plants with white blooms. They're not so pretty and I'm hoping they're not weeds. Any and all clues to the identity of thesep lants are most appreciated!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Banishing the Black and White

I've never loved the white house and black shutter color scheme of my house, especially since three of my neighbors have the exact same color scheme going on. I'd also like to make the house look more cottage-y and cute. It's definitely lacking in the cuteness factor right now. Last fall I bought some light blue spray paint for the shutters, but I haven't gotten around to doing any painting yet. Which might be a good thing.

When looking through the June 2009 issue of Better Homes and Gardens for the third time I spotted this picture (sorry for the horrible picture of a picture, I couldn't find the image online) and the gears in my head started turning. I never would have thought of lime green, but doesn't it look great? I can also see the lime green door with grey shutters. Hmmmm....

There's also my favorite house in the neighborhood which is an adorable little cottage with grey shutters and accents and a lavender door.

But then again I have the blue paint ready to go. This is exactly why it takes me forever to make decisions, I keep second-guessing myself.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

It's Planting Time!

Holy crap I'm tired and I can't wait to see how my back feels tomorrow. Why does my body feel abused? Cause it's planting time! So far I've planted two containers of flowers on the front porch.

Plus five earth boxes with tomatoes (Black Krim, Rainbow Heirloom,
Golden Girl and Early Girl) and cucumbers (regular and lemon).

Plus this cherry tomato plant.

But I still have all this to plant: more flowers, zucchini, peppers and more tomatoes.

Oh and these containers of winter-sown seedlings. Time to get back to work, right after the Redwings game, that is.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers' Day! (& Green Thumb Sunday)

Happy Mothers' Day to all you moms out there, especially the two who read my blog, my mom and Hanna. Won't you come into my garden? As you can see above, it's about to burst. Three years ago this bed was empty except (after my mom pulled out all the weeds one day) for a rambling rose at the far end, so I'm pretty pleased to see all that green sprouting up this spring.

The chive blossoms are the new arrival in this bed. I'm really starting to love chives. It's great to have fresh herbs just outside the kitchen to spice up my food, and they come back bigger and better every year despite my neglectful ways. Plus, the flowers are pretty and edible (but I'd break them up rather than eat them whole, I almost choked on my first blossom after I popped the whole thing in my mouth. They're STRONG!)

I uh, forget what this is but it's pretty!

My cats love rolling in the catmint!

My tulips have almost faded away, but a few are hanging on and I couldn't resist including them. Aren't they pretty?

Thanks for visiting my garden, come again anytime. Now go call your mamma!

Gardeners, plant and nature lovers can join Green Thumb Sunday every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tulips for Green Thumb Sunday

This past week has been tulip week on my garden. One day of mid-80 degree temps and bam, all of the tulips were blooming. This patch of purple and white tulips is my favorite.

But it certainly isn't the only patch of tulips in my garden. Could you ever have too many tulips? I don't think so.
I think these daffodils came in a mixed bag I planted last fall and these beauties are my favorite of the lot. Aren't they gorgeous?

I love these miniature white daffodils as well.

Gardeners, plant and nature lovers can join Green Thumb Sunday every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

Starting the Day Off Right

Another part of the Apartment Therapy Kitchen Cure is cooking more at home. I'm doing much better in this area than with the cleaning, let me tell you. Today's breakfast of French toast, strawberries and coffee is just the treat I needed to tackle some kitchen cleaning.

And if you use reduced calorie bread, egg whites instead of whole eggs, and skim milk, this French toast doesn't have many calories either (about 350 calories by my count with syrup). Add in plenty of flavor with vanilla, cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg and you definitely won't miss those calories!


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