Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Front of the house after

We still have several more outside projects to do in the back yard. I hope to be able to tackle them soon, but have to work around the weather! But, I'm considering the front done for now!

Reminder of what we started with when we first moved in:


And at the first of June:



Here's how it looks today (sorry for the glum, but at least it wasn't raining):


I wish we could have mowed the grass, but I still think it's come a long way! Eventually I want to replace the 2 outside lights and add some garage door accessories. Other than that, I really like the front of our house now. I still love the yellow door!

Oh, and our Crape Myrtles stated to bloom, so I had to get a picture of them:


Love them!!

Linking to iHeart Organizing's Monthly Challenge!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Flowers and Mulch

I love the way flowers and mulch brighten up a yard. The mulch makes a flower bed so much more noticeable and professional looking. Of course, are plants still have a lot of filling in to do, but it looks a lot better.

I got a bunch of flowers at Wal-Mart on clearance. Three of the plants are perennials, so if I can keep them alive I won't have to keep replanting every year! Here's what I got:


The pink flowers were called "Hot Pink Jazz", but I think they were Wave Petunias mixed with something else. They were $2.99 each and they went into the hanging pots. They were nice because they just popped right in to my existing pots. No planting required! These are the only annuals I got.

The brownish plant are Hens and Chicks and they were $2.68 The ones to the left of those are Upright Stonecrop. I got 2 of those. They were $1.66 each. They are starting to bloom now and they are yellow which is perfect against the front door. The last one at the bottom is actually a shrub - Japanese Pieris for $2.88. That is going to go behind our lilies where another shrub died.

My son loved helping me plant these! Here's how they look now:

 


 

 And, we planted these 2 weeks ago and they are still alive! I think all this rain has been their saving grace. I really hope I can keep them alive!

You can see in the picture above to the right that I had started laying landscaping fabric in our other flower bed. We made the mistake of mulching last year without laying anything down. The grass just took back over. So this year we took the time and laid the fabric. It looks so great with fresh mulch!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Under Pressure

Sorry to get Queen stuck in your head :). A few weeks ago my wonderful hubby pressure washed the house and drive way. It is amazing the difference pressure washing makes!

Here's a close up of one of the worst spots on the house:


 And after: 

 

And here's a shot of the driveway before and after:

 
 
Of course it was still wet in these pictures, so it lightened up a bit.

So glad to have that really bad spot cleaned up. It  bugged me every time I pulled in the driveway!

The front of the house is officially done. It's taken me a while to get pictures because it's been the rainiest 2 months ever here! We even laid mulch in the rain. At least it wasn't hot though!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Front porch railings

Our front porch rails had been looking bad since we moved in. It was finally time to get them fixed. I already had the exterior white paint that I bought long ago, but I never used it. This was a long process. I've been working on it for about 3 weeks off and on. It's one of those things that can't be done when there is so much rain! But, I finally finished and it looks so much better. It's amazing the difference when you walk up the porch.

Here's what we started with:


See the cracking, peeling, and general dirtiness? Also, see that adorable photo bomber?

Closer up:




First I used a scrapper to remove as much chipping paint as I could.


Then, I sanded everything I could get to with the electric sander. Mostly the tops of all the rails. I didn't worry about sanding in between all the rails. The paint wasn't chipping in between and I wasn't switching colors or anything.

 Then, I made some bleach water and cleaned everything- every nook and cranny. That took a while.  It was already looking better. I didn't get a picture of that.

Here's a mid-progress picture. The right was done and the left wasn't. See the difference?



Here is the before and after together. I know it's probably hard to tell the difference in pictures, but it looks tons different in person.




I also painted the trim around the door because it was looking really rough. This is an older before picture I had:


And after (the horseshoe's been gone for a while)


It's so much nicer walking up our stairs now!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Trimming the trees

One of the first projects I did was trimming up the Crape Myrtles lining our driveway. They can get out of control if you let them. We like to keep them trimmed for several reasons. One, we don't want branches hitting our cars every time we drive in and out. Two, the last one can make it hard to see on-coming cars when we are backing out. And three, it's easier for hubby to mow around if he isn't getting hit in the face. LOL!

It isn't a hard task at all, just a little sweaty and time consuming. I used Friskers tree trimmers and trimmed any branch that would hit me if I didn't dunk.

Before:



And after:



Isn't that so much better! It is so much nicer backing out of the driveway -I can tell you that. And, it makes the front of our house look much more polished too.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Outside befores

We have been as busy as we can be working on outside projects. Unfortunately the weather has been against us. It has been super rainy here. It either just rained or is about to rain most evenings and almost every weekend. It makes it hard to do outside stuff! But, the front of the house is already looking tons better.

Here's what we started with:



It looked worse in person, but you can kind of see how dirty the siding is in the above picture.





And the back - which is even worse.



Our overgrown rose garden - we are getting rid of it.


We are going to keep this one knockout rose if we can dig it out. It will move up front somewhere.



This is supposed to be a grilling area, but we never finished it.


Look at the mess our puppy made!


The final part of the back porch that was never finished. - Oops!

So the outside definitely needs a lot of work! The front should be done by the end of the month. The back will take a bit longer.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Look at our crazy lilies!

Right after we moved in (2011) I posted this picture when we planted these lilies:




We bought 6 small lilies that were sharing 1 pot originally. I think they were like $15. This is what they look like now:

 
They have gone crazy! Our property used to be farmland -maybe that has something to do with it. They are so heavy a lot of them are falling over, which is kind of sad.

And with our adorable 4 year old in front for perspective:

Monday, June 17, 2013

June Challenge: Outside task list

We are just going to jump right in with the list of things we want to do to the outside of the house.

  1. Pressure wash the house
  2. Sand and repaint the porch railings
  3. Stain/seal the back deck (we built it last year, but haven't sealed it since the waiting period for pre-treated wood)
  4. Finish the back deck handrail (We put the first post up and never finished)
  5. Lay weed block on the "new" flowerbed out front
  6. Mulch the flower bed
  7. Demo "rose garden" in the back (we inherited it and it's just too much work for us. We don't like the landscape timber border and the roses are too sticky for the kids. We are going to demo the vines and replant the knockout rose bush we planted last year)
  8. Replant knockout rose in a planter on the front porch
  9. Burn our burn pile
  10. Finish setting up the grill area in the backyard (We bought stones last year to make an area, but just put them down and nothing else happened. We need to level the ground, lay weed block, and probably lay sand, then relay the stone)
  11. Fix gate (I have no idea how we are going to do this or how much it will cost. They are too heavy. I know we have to level the ground, but I don't know what else we need to do yet.)
  12. Make a place for the hose
  13. Get outdoor table from my mom (my mom wanted to get rid of her outdoor table and chair set. I'm so glad to inherit it. It's in great condition - it was on a screened in porch.)
  14. DIY or buy new chair cushions (because Kody, our puppy, tore them open :( 
  15. Replace bush that died in front bed (behind the lilies)
  16. Paint back door
  17. DIY some table d├ęcor
So, that's it. Should be enough to keep us busy for the month. I don't think all of these things will be done by the end of June, but I want to get all the front of the house stuff done at least.

Oh, and we were going to paint the outside of the house. I'm very sad to say, that's a no-go. We did some reading on the Sherwin Williams Vinyl Safe paint and it's got really bad reviews. Apparently you can paint a darker color on your vinyl, but only like 1 shade darker. So, we couldn't go dark blue like we wanted. We are thinking of painting the shutters blue instead, but we aren't sure.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Short garage update

We succeeded in painting the garage last weekend! I'm kind of shocked. LOL! It love it! Even though it's just one wall, it makes a big difference. It will be even better when we completely finish the garage and I start parking in there. It will be great to walk through there every day.
 
Our plans have kind of changed for the garage. In all the moving and cleaning and painting we saw tons of crazy bugs out there (spiders of all shapes and sizes, centipedes, and others I don't know the names of) and rat pellets...ewww. It got me thinking that I really don't want to store the diaper bags and our shoes and jackets out there. We plan to spray for bugs and set some mouse traps, but even so, I just don't want that stuff out there. I'm coming up with a new plan for a "drop zone". And it will be even more space. I'm really excited about it although I'm not sure when it will happen.
 
So, here's how things are looking with our garage list:
 
1.      Move storage items to papaw and mamaw’s attic (We are very thankful to have a huge area to store items for free at my grandparent's house)
2.      Clean out garage- tossing trash and bringing house items in
3.      Transfer leftover paint to smaller containers
4.      Install hooks to store items on the wall: power tools, bike, weed eater, etc.
5.      Paint the door and add vinyl saying
6.      Clean the floor really well
7.      Create “mudroom” area
a.      Paint strips on the wall to match door
b.      Mirror
c.       Shelf for keys, wallet, piggy bank, etc.
d.      Hooks for jackets, backpack, diaper bag, etc.
e.       Shoe storage
8. Cover/paint steps
9. Welcome mat at steps
10. Install cat door and create pet area
                 a. Storage containers for both foods and litter
                 b. Move litter box and food bowls out
                 c. Crate


It feels so good to mark things off a list, doesn't it! The cat door installation is in progress.

The rest off the garage is being put on hold for a bit. The outside of our house has been bothering me for a while. Neither of us loves working outside and when you have small kids the only time to get stuff done is when they are in bed. And, when they are in bed it's usually dark. So, the outside gets neglected. But, we really wanted to tackle it this season. It also helped that iHeart Organizing decided to make June's Challenge the great outdoors! And another motivator is I decided to have an Origami Owl party at our house the first weekend of July. So, the outside is our priority for the month of June. 

But, here's a snippet of the garage paint job as promised!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mission Organization: Bedroom Bathroom Cabinets

The bathroom in our bedroom is "Michael's". He keeps most of his bathroom stuff in there and uses that shower. He doesn't really require much. I was looking for a place inside the house to keep all our paint. It's not supposed to be kept in the garage and we needed it to be stored else where. So, I decided to purge hubby's stuff and take over the rest of the bathroom cabinets! He was totally cool with it by the way.

Here's how they looked before (I went ahead and organized the drawers while I was at it)





There was quite a bit of trash in there. Like the other bathroom I pulled everything out- threw things away and made piles. Larger items were put in the right cabinet.


The middle cabinet became storage for paint cans (they are all small cans)


The left cabinet is my spray paint and a few mason jars of paint for touch ups - I didn't want to keep the large cans. I only kept gallon size can that was full and it's in the back.


The left drawer is all the extras of items.


And the right are his everyday items.


This was such a quick project. It took less than 15 minutes to organize! And now we have a good place to store our paint.