Monday, July 1, 2019

Befores and Afters.........

My last post was on May 17th! What happened to the days? They just sped by!

My last post as you can see here was about being lazy and lethargic. I must admit, I continued that way for quite awhile. It was fairly soon after my colonoscopy which was May 8th. My upcoming surgery was set for May 20th. I just had no energy! And..........we had started so many projects in our yard, that I showed pictures of in that May 17th post. I was overwhelmed. But you gotta start somewhere, right?


Not a good time to start yard projects, when surgery is only a few days away! But I wanted them done!  I figured the only way to get them done, was to at least start on them............. (I must admit, I had to crack the whip a little bit............)


My surgery went fine (gall bladder removed).......... and for two weeks I was pretty sore.... but I did manage to get outside and at least be the "director" of hubby..... to get things started. So as the last post showed, we/hubby started preparing for the fountain setup. I had bought the fountain probably in February or March and was really itching to hear that little trickle of water!


Burying the electric cord was quite a process. I had thought we could just run the cord along a cement curb that ran along our yard over to the house, and then run it along the bottom of the house to the plug-in. But no, hubby thought running it through a pipe and burying it would be better. Of course it WAS a better way....... but much more work! And I couldn't do any digging, etc. so it was very frustrating.

To make a long story short, here are some before and after photos! In the two weeks after my surgery, I managed to overdo it many days! I didn't "undo" anything done in the surgery, but came close one time....was VERY sore the next day.. so I learned I'd better slow down. Hubby was great at getting most things done, with me being the "overseer"............... but I still spent days dragging bags of potting soil, moving plant pots, planting flowers, dragging furniture around, carrying rocks and boards. (I was NOT supposed to life more than 10 lbs.!!). 


AFTER - below - clean! now weeds, pipe all buried, and fountain set in place. We still want to put a truckload MORE of gravel in this back graveled area, with ground cover first, then the gravel.



We also did some work in our front yard. We/hubby filled up the old flower bed that is along our front walkway, with some really pretty river rock. I helped by laying down the ground cloth underneath it. We also put some bags of smaller river rock in a trench that hubby dug along the top of the wall, so that mowing would be easier.


This area along our walkway is covered. There used to be a raised bed there, but we moved all the dirt and all of the rocks to our back yard. We would like this to be a "porch" area. We are in the process (another project!) of finding someone to build a small deck along the front of our house, about halfway across, so some of this rock will be covered, but at least what we did will keep the weeds controlled.

I've already drawn up the plans for the deck (a project I did while recouperating from the surgery). 


Hard to see from these photos, but the above photo is the 4 foot high rock wall that we had repaired in 2017 (after our huge tree fell over in a high wind and cracked the wall). The smaller round rock looks really nice. I may plant a few things there, but may just want to keep it clear, for easier mowing.


Above, I wanted this flower bed enlarged where we planted the Quaking Aspen and shrubs, so I spray painted a line and hubby (bless his heart), dug it out and I went and cut out all the tall grass (or pulled it out, which I wasn't supposed to be doing)..... so now there is a larger dirt area. Right now, the bags of bark mulch are laying there, ready to be put in the beds. 

The "Iris bed" on the other corner of our yard, was also dug out (by dear hubby) so now the roses are more in the open. The Irises were overtaking them! I also cut down many of the Iris leaves to give room for the sun to get to the roses, and I'll be thinning the Irises this Fall. Another bag of mulch sits there, waiting for me to dump it in and spread it. I can NOW lift more than 10 lbs.!


Since this above photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, the roses have gone crazy and are blooming like crazy! The rose on the left was a dead root that our neighbor had thrown by his garbage can, and it sat there last summer out in the heat for 2 weeks. I asked if we could take it and plant it and see if it would grow, and he said YES, so here it is. It's blooming as I write this (below).




Bag of bark mulch, waiting for my attention!
Here are a couple of current (taken today) pictures of our front yard. The Quaking Aspen is growing like crazy! We just planted it last year and it was about 5 feet tall with a very spindly trunk! It must love this climate and soil!  


And the little Johnny Jump Ups (my mom called them - tiny pansies) love their home under the Quakey. They came up all by themselves from last summer and were buried in the tall grass. I've nurtured them to where they are now.


See that bush to the left of the Quakey trunk? It was a Snowberry bush I bought 2 years ago for 50 cents at an end of summer sale at our local Bi Mart. The temperatures were in the hundreds and everything was wilted and almost dead. It is beautiful now and almost as tall as I am!

I know my photos are kind of all over the place on this post. It's hard to organize them as have all been taken at different times in the last few weeks.

Here are some final "afters" of our nice "patio area" out in our back yard now. I've planted a few marigolds and a daphne around our fountain (which by the way, we absolutely LOVE)..... and some more pots of flowers line the fence. I didn't plant any veggies this  year, just too much going on in my life. 

My hubby found these two adirondack chairs at a local thrift store. I'm going to paint them either dark green or a pretty aqua color.



The pink flowering bush behind the fountain, we transplanted from a tub. It is some sort of "bush geranium" and it loves it there and is growing huge! It's also a perennial and comes up every year.

The fountain at night.......... looks so pretty.
These below photos were taken yesterday on my birthday!  Hubby gave me two more cedar planter boxes.... so now I need to find more flowers for them.

Me amongst the flowers! The thing hanging on the fence over my head, is a pallet planter that my hubby found at the thrift store. All of $3.00! It has an area to plant some small herbs or trailing flowers (another project for me) and I'm going to paint it a distressed looking vintage white (very soon!).



Our cat, Maddie, seems to think this is her own personal lounging bed!
I think that about covers our finished projects for now. As you can see, there are more projects for the summer and I want to plant a few more flowers, even though it's July! I remember one year, many years ago, due to a move, I didn't get my veggie garden planted until July 15th, and things grew very well and fast..... so I guess I do have time to plant a few more flowers for color.

What would you suggest for those planter boxes? I want color for the rest of the summer!

Our biggest other project, is getting a small deck built along the front of our house. I figure it will be about 6 feet x 12 feet (depending on the cost). It may end up having to be smaller. We want a raised area to sit, and also want it extended away from our little tiny "stoop" for safety reasons. Can't have people falling off (myself included)!!


I'm feeling more myself now, able to lift and bend and move things, so I'm ready to tackle more yard work and projects. It's always ongoing. Also, we haven't even begun to tackle our back lawn area. I think it's going to end up being half grass and the rest river rock, with some paths and raised beds, and maybe a couple of raised vegetable beds. That's another story............for another day.


Until next time... and I hope it won't be so long before the next post!

~Marilyn~





Friday, May 17, 2019

Luggy, lethargic and lazy!

I don't know what's going on but both my husband and I feel so LUGGY, LETHARGIC and LAZY! We had some 90 degree weather two weeks ago, and both of us had lots of energy (well... "lots" meaning we could go out and work for a couple of hours), and got outside and worked in our yard and got quite abit done.


But now.......... two weeks later........ weather has cooled down and is cloudy and some drizzle, and neither of us want to even go outside and walk around our yard! We are couch potatoes this week (and probably last week too)! What is going on?????  Well I do have one excuse... I had my FIRST colonoscopy ever last week, so the two days before that were spent with me stressing out over it! And then the day with little or not food, and then the NIGHT (oh what a night) of not sleeping and living on the toilet for 8 hours).  So that entire procedure took the poop (literally) out of me for a few days.


Do any of you feel this way after a bunch of physical work? I don't remember feeling this way in the past. We can't figure it out. We have NO desire to go out and work in the yard... and boy is there still alot to do.  Do we just go with it and sit and chill out, or do we make a supreme effort to go outside and work. Hum.m.m.m.m.m.m. (I have a feeling we will be waiting for the energy to come back! and sure hope it does).

We DO have a lot of projects in progress and got a start on a few things.

As the photo above shows, we got the area around our lilac bush all cleaned out, and put about 6 bags of purchased garden soil in the hole that is/was going to be our pond eventually...... it was about a 6" hole........well we gave up on the pond idea and decided to leave the lilac there. So filled it all in, plus taking two large wheelbarrows of dirt from our front yard walkway area. We are getting it ready to put a little fountain in there where the slab is (below photo) and I also got a large geranium "bush" split and transplanted there.  I'll plant a few small flowers around the fountain.


We/hubby has to dig a trench to bury the electric cord from the house to the pond (below). I went and bought and laid out the pipe and somewhat have cleaned up that area - still have to spray the weeds.


Our poor back "lawn" looks like a bomb went off there - we dug out as many dandelions as we could and I sprayed the weeds also (below). It is full of holes now and we have to be really careful when we walk on it (so I won't fall and break something)! Still not sure what we're going to do with it.


I decided to lay down tarps on the entire dangblasted thing to kill everything! I still need two more smaller tarps. There IS some nice grass growing along the side of the house so will leave that.

It's so JUNKY back there! Since this picture was taken, I did get some of it moved and/or put away in the sheds.

I have a few flowers growing in our back yard raised flower beds.

Iris and a small lilac bush and a snowberry bush.

My peonies came up from last year and have lots of buds on them!
This is what we're thinking/hoping our backyard will look like someday, except may have a small area of lawn somewhere.. if we can keep the weeds out!

I've painted out a circle for the "fire pit" like this one above. We/hubby needs to dig it out.  We have one of those portable fire pits, and also some nice chairs hubby got from the thrift store. I need to paint them too. (more projects). 

I would LOVE to have a little garden cottage/shed in our backyard, like this one. A girl can dream can't she???? I LOVE all the pink accents. (our house is this exact same color!).



Front yard projects:

Got the dirt area by the walkway dug down about 4 inches, laid some landscape cloth (two layers) and are in the process of putting down some river rock. This is what I bought in bags from Lowe's and was not NEAR enough! We would have needed 22 more bags.


So I went to the local nursery and bought a yard of larger river rock.


So we need to get that all shoveled out of the truck onto the dirt area by the walkway. We used to have a raised wall there with flowers, but it attracted too many earwigs. 

And we've dug out an area above our rock wall to lay down some rock so that it will be level with the lawn and easier to mow.


We are also going to dig out our front flower beds to be a little bigger, and make curves so it will be easier to mow there.  I have the lines drawn.. hubby needs to dig!


My 50 cent lilac bush is doing great as is the 50 cent snowberry bush (from last year). We have some pansies coming up that survived the winter, and our Quaking Aspen tree is doing great! 

The Iris in our front corner are doing beautifully! I meant to dig some up and split them, but didn't get to it soon enough. Will now wait until they have all bloomed and are done.  I managed to find a beautiful golden lilac at the garden nursery the other day. I may plant it by the fountain, and then next year when it splits, I'll put one in the front.




I also could not resist buying a few plants to put into my pots... I was going to wait, but they all called to me at the nursery! We will still be having some freezing nights so going to put the pots in the garage at night until June 1st or so.



So many projects only half done!  I think that's why we're feeling so lazy and lethargic. Getting overwhelmed.

And after all the rock is laid in the front walkway bed, we are going to have a small deck/porch built off of our front door, just to enlarge the area for sitting and to make it safer. Right now, when you open the storm door, you practically fall off the stoop! The stoop is way too small. Who designed these things anyway????  See that tiny "stoop" by the front door? It barely comes to the edge of the door. We're going to have a deck built at house level, that extends to right between the two windows. It will have a railing for safety and steps going into the yard, and also at the end to the cement walkway. I'm in the process of designing it!



There are more projects but I won't list them here. They haven't even been started yet! Will try to finish the ones we HAVE started and show some finished projects in the next few weeks. In between all of this, I've had my colonoscopy and then a couple of days ago, a bout of vertigo. Darn. I thought that was done with. And then next Monday a surgery to remove my gall bladder. Once I'm done with that, I hope the rest of the summer is free of medical worry and issues.

I hope we are both back to full energy mode (which is about 1/4 level compared to those younger folks!).. and get back to our yardwork.

How can a small lot in town be so much work??????????

Take care everyone.



Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Testing Testing... 1...2....3....

Hi everyone.... this is a test to see if you followers get my blog post. My last one (or two) didn't seem to go into subscribers' email inboxes!  So here's a couple of pictures, just for fun.. and will publish this and see who gets it!  If you do receive it in your inbox, could you let me know via a comment?

Sure would appreciate it!

One lone tulip in my backyard flower bed.... plus LOTS of grape hyacinths! That's about "it" for flowers in my yard.... other than.............
..................a yard full of dandelions!  This is the backyard lawn we so diligently worked on last year... we scraped and hoed and dug and dug out weeds, and sprayed weeds, and seeded the lawn (3 times!)... and then we get this. I'm at my wit's end!!

Guess I'll just keep "weeding and feeding" (and digging out weed roots).......... and hope eventually we will have a real lawn. I've always lived in the country and never had to deal with lawns!

Please let me know if you get this post in your email inbox. (And of course, if you don't get it, I'll never know!) 

Thanks!

~Marilyn~


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Rosettes and Princess

UPDATE ON THIS BLOG POST!  I don't think this post hit many peoples' inboxes, so I'm posting it again, just in case you did not receive it. I checked with a few of my fellow bloggers and they hadn't received this post. So here it goes again! (posted on April 13, 2019)

Another month gone by,
Where did it go?
Did in hide in the clouds?
Or did it hide in the snow?



Did it hide in the sunshine?
NO.... the sunshine was broken!

Did it hide in the flowers?
NO.... they had not yet awoken....
From a long winter's snooze...


I kind of had the blues....
So I hid in my craft room...
Took off my shoes.......

AND MADE STUFF! 

Yup... I've been making and making and making. I feel like I've been living in a cave for a month! 

I did venture out in my yard today and inspected everything, and I do see that (finally) a few things are starting to bud out. I'm so happy!  Maybe I can come out of my cave now!

My big lilac bush on top left, Irises, Grape Hyacinths (I think?) lower left, and one lonely tulip.

I've made a few things for the little shop here in town, called The Hummingbird Junction. What a darling shop! I've made some Prayer Boxes, a Princess Treasure Box, Easter pillow treat boxes (forgot to take pictures), and some pretty rossette wands. 


The Prayer Boxes are origami boxes...... and I made all of the little prayer request tags to put inside the boxes.



Found these darling little animal buttons at a local 2nd hand store. They are perfect for the little boxes. I have some pink and blue elephant buttons too.. so will make some more Prayer Boxes for those.



I had some pretty "Princess" papers with sentiment tags, so I thought a treasure box would be very appropriate for a little Princess!  I made the tags also....... and once done, they were so cute I put them (digitally) in my Etsy Shop here.  They come six to a sheet and you can print them out and cut them for tags for the little Princess(es) in your life... for gifts or tucked into cards or notes.




I also printed out some pretty colored tags from digital papers I purchased from Etsy. I use my Stampin' Up Scalloped Tag Topper Punch to punch the pretty tops to the 2" wide tags. Makes quick tags!


I'll definitely be making more sweet Treasure Boxes and Prayer Boxes, now that I have all of my prayer request cards made.

My tulip (again),  top right are strawberries just barely peeking up, lower left is some sort of really HARDY geranium that can survive over these cold winters, and lower right is my peach rose. That geranium has gotten HUGE. They grow to become large shrubs that can be about 4 feet across and 3 feet high!
I've become obsessed with paper rosette wands again (and rosettes in general)! I've made tons of rosettes for my Etsy shop (probably 3-4 years ago). I see them on YouTube, and they come and go, but alot of the gals seem to be making them again, so I joined right in!

You can also use cupcake liners or crepe paper to make the rosettes.. so I, of course, had to immediately run to the Dollar Tree to buy cupcake liners and crepe paper!  Oh I'm such a sucker for trying something new and different.


This wand above has a clear cupcake liner on the back (white) but it was kind of cheap and thin (from the Dollar Tree). I'm going to get some nicer ones to use.. and of course, there are TONS of them in all colors, polka dots, stripes, etc. to buy online. I'm in trouble.


I used paper straws for the wands. The are very sturdy and found some at the Dollar Tree. Now I've learned (from YouTube of course!) that I can make my own paper straws! Any paper I want, any color, etc., so I'll be doing that too.







I'm on a mission this year to use up some of my older papers and stickers for various projects. Except um.m.m.m.m.m.  that doesn't count buying digital printables from Etsy (and other sites) does it?  I may use some of the rosettes in my Etsy shop to make some rosette wands for my shop... but they may be too costly to ship.

My little fairy garden needs revamping. The one little clump of daffodils is from my neighbor's yard. So at least I have a little pop of yellow.

I made a sweet little "Life" photo album for my (soon to be) daughter-in-law. She's the one who has the gems/rocks/jewelry shop in Astoria, Oregon. She loves dragonflies, so I used a little charm she had given me for the front cover.



I've also made two good sized photo albums for my Etsy shop. They were so fun to make and I used up some of my older vintage style papers and emphemera.




"Shabby chic 6x8" photo album, sturdy paper, with pockets & (8) 5" x 8" photo mats, vintage girl, 22 tags, roses, pinks, greens, yellows."


The above sweet album can be found HERE in my Etsy shop.

"Vintage style 4x6 photo album, 7 pages, 14 pockets, 7 top pockets, tags, photo mats, Mother, birthday, pink, rose, gray, cream green, lace."


The above vintage style album, perfect for Mother's Day, can be found HERE in my Etsy shop.

I also put this pretty, very sturdy (on 110 lb. paper) vintage "thinking of you" card in my Etsy store. I love these clock faces (free digital printables) I found at Shabby Art Boutique. Kerryanne is from Australia, has a wonderful blog, and store, and quite often has free "shabby" printables that she makes herself. 


This card has its very own matching (very sturdy) envelope!


Well friends... that's what I've been up to. I may have to come out of my cave one of these days, put on the gardening gloves, and do a little sprucing up in our (very tiny) yard.  I know most of you are already seeing many signs of Spring where you live. We are SO behind here... the snow just melted a couple of weeks ago.

Happy Spring!

~Marilyn~










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