Monday, May 23, 2011

I am so traumatized.

Remember this?

We had a guy from craigslist come and do this. Listen for when I tell him to "watch the peonies, brother."

Everything looked so good at first. He was removing big chunks of concrete without disturbing the plants around the slab. I mean, check this out:

Unfortunately, the lawn looked like this. And he dropped a piece of concrete on one of the bloodgood maples on the parking strip.

Our front yard looks BUSTED. I don't even want to post photos. It was incredibly stressful watching him barely skim past the side of my house, over and over. He started dropping pieces and I started worrying he would take out my chimney. Remember your mantra when hiring people: "Are you licensed and bonded?"

I have no idea if he was licensed and bonded because I FORGOT TO ASK.

But now my yard, my beautiful yard, looked like this. It was traumatizing. I felt like someone had raped and pillaged my happy place.

Greg and I got up the next morning to start moving the raised beds (I swear I'll post The Plan soon) and Greg discovered that my Oregon Iris is about to bloom for the first time since I planted it 18 months ago.

And I swooned and I was happy again. Luckily, nature is good at recovering. We are both trying to remember that. I was shocked at how viscerally I reacted to seeing my yard torn up; I was even more shocked that Greg was upset too. So last night after dinner with his family he thatched and reseeded the lawn in the dwindling light. I took photos of parts of the yard that are still pretty.

The good news is that I can see the plan coming together now. We dismantled the dog bone and reassembled it where the cement slab used to be. Our shape inspiration was two wine glasses (the stemless kind).

It the corner behind the wine glasses we're going to put in a Colorado spruce. This will give us some height in that corner and something green to look at in the winter. We're gaining more planting space in front of that and I'll need to really work on getting stuff that's evergreen. And of course I'll need to finally yank the weird mystery willow

So yeah, short evergreen plant suggestions . . . GO!

Cedar bark is being delivered so we can lay down pathways before everything turns to weeds. Then the boy and I can get down to the sweet business of arm wrestling over who gets to choose what kind of hippie lawn to plant on the old dogbone space. I want something flowering and low water; he wants something that looks like a traditional lawn.

Of course, he rescued me from a LOT of garden spiders this weekend (new and interesting ones that were SO scary!) and he removed the biggest slug I have ever seen, so I'll probably let him have his way.

He's all curled up here--he was HUGE

And now, your moment of zen.

We destroyed our yard this weekend. Pictures of the carnage soon!

In the meantime, here's something pretty to look at.

Deer fern, columbine, lady fern, swoon!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Shut up, it worked.

I waited too long to order peony cages and then they took forever to get here, so my plants were HUGE. After denuding the smallest plant of a lot of its foliage trying to get the cage on, I decided to try wrapping the peony stems in tinfoil.

 Whatever, it worked.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Five dollars to whoever can identify this weed. It's new to my yard this year and it's EVERYWHERE.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Adventures in closet building

The closet before

The boy has a man cold (poor little bunny) but we soldiered on and installed our Martha Stewart closet organizers this weekend. Part of that soldiering on might have been Greg drinking tea in bed while I sanded and painted but I'll never tell since I made him use the table saw while I cowered on the kitchen steps.

The system is actually pretty easy, though we had a few extra prep steps. Follow along!

For starters you'll want to get rid of this old timey shoe rack. I am totally down to keep stuff that is original to the house, but this is right smack in the middle of where the main closet unit will go.

Hey, that's the dishwasher! Wave to the kitchen--the kitchen that you can now see from the bedroom!

Take off the trim that used to hold up the shelf and scream your freaking head off because there's all kinds of ancient dessicated spiders back there. Make Greg get rid of them and then roll your eyes when he leaves LEGS behind.

Marvel at the system you've jury-rigged in the living room.

Add 2x4s and drywall to the space where the shoe rack had been.

Make sure to measure a few things wrong so you have to hack down the drywall with a kitchen knife. Measure a few more things wrong so you have to shim your 2x4s to get the drywall to sit flush with the wall. Then tape and mud your seams with some old joint compound you found in the basement. It's a little dry, but what's the worst that could happen?

Attach the metal rod thing to the wall studs. This is all that lies between your shelving system and disaster, so do it right. Accidentally knock the drill onto your big toe and throw a temper tantrum, declaring that you're hungry and you need to take a break. Go eat pizza, you big baby.

Spend a good hour or so trying to make sense of the various boxes that are in your office. Ponder why on earth you would have ordered four sets of 12-inch shelves. Once you've made sense of where things are going, hang the shelves on the metal rod thing. But first make sure to sand your new drywall ahead of schedule, ripping the tape. You know what? More dried out joint compound should fix that.

The smart way to do this would be to stop, let the compound dry, let the paint on the area where the trim was dry, paint the drywalled area and let THAT dry, but meh, screw that. Let's build it now! You can paint that area the next time Greg goes away on business. You wouldn't rather be eating a big salad and watching Vampire Diaries and sleeping with all the pillows; you're gonna want to paint some spot in the closet you never look at.

Assemble your system. Make the most beautiful pilot holes the world has ever seen and brag to Greg that if people got Academy Awards for drilling holes, there would be a little gold man on your mantle right now.

Stage your closet like they do on websites, as if people have the room to place one pair of shoes on a shelf. Once the pictures are taken CRAM, BABY CRAM.

Pour yourself a glass of wine and eat the spaghetti sauce from a jar because you're so freaking tired. High-five each other incessantly. You did it! You didn't kill each other!

Seriously though, we're really happy with our system. Of course, these shelving units are being held to the wall solely by a notch that attaches to a metal rod. And the notched units are made out of pressboard. These aren't going to last forever but they're pretty good considering we spent $350 for the whole system.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I finally hung my backyard habitat sign

The lady from the Audubon Society asked me not to put it in the front yard (with which I haven't done anything) lest it "confuse people."

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Would you like a stylish home?

Rule 1: If you want to have a stylish home, you're going to need some sort of purebred dog to sit on your furniture.

Domino Magazine


House Beautiful via Pure Style Home

Amber Interior Design

Amber Interior Design

Martha Stewart via Little Green Notebook


Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy
Something in the terrier family, maybe.