Saturday, June 29, 2013

Old Doors=Bye Bye AC Unit

Not that I'd literally want my AC unit to go bye bye, especially now that our June-uary weather has turned into something even people outside of the Pacific Northwest would call summer.

No, I appreciate the function of the air conditioner, I just didn't appreciate the aesthetic.  We're putting a  sitting area at the top of the hillside and I didn't want to showcase a big metal box--lovely as it is.

I found some old doors for sale on Craigslist, doors that came out of a 1910 house that was being demolished.  For $30, they were in great shape, but the old white paint had turned to a jaundiced color that looked pretty sickly against my white house.  I'd wanted to try Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for some time and since they say you need no prep-work or priming, and since I didn't know what type of lead-based layers I was dealing with, it seemed a perfect opportunity.

I chose the color "Duck Egg" and was happy with my choice.  Lyle hung the doors and while it was certainly an improvement, they seemed a bit flat and ho-hum and if you moved too far to the right, you'd still see the AC unit, and I couldn't cheat the doors over because then they wouldn't be centered in the arbor and that would just look weird.

What to do? What to do?  
Back on Craigslist, I found some old sidelights.  Only one still had the frame, but at $10, the price was right.  I'd hang them to the sides of the doors to fill the space better. 
 But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Even without sidelights, the doors were still ho-hum.  So first I tried painting each of the panels black and then stenciling over them.  Lyle came home that day, surveyed my efforts, and gave a look like he wasn't too impressed.  I think I may have sighed and given back a look that said, I spent all day on this.  He then quickly changed his expression and said, "Oh, I'm supposed to like this?  Yes, I love it!"  But the damage was done and I knew his true feelings, and I had to admit, I wasn't sold on it either.  Didn't even take a picture.

Then I painted back over the black, figuring that I could sand down just a scoosh to see a little black and my efforts wouldn't have totally been in vain.  But it still looked too new, too flat.  Then I went over it with a tan wash and that helped.  Somewhat.

I felt determined to still do something with the panels, at least some of the panels, so I bought a 2 dollar piece of lace and a can of white spray paint.

It didn't cover very evenly, especially panel to panel, but sometimes on a project you have to decide that good enough is good enough.  This was one of those times.  I deemed it shabby chic and chose to love it.

I bought a Goodwill mirror that I gave a little "Duck Egg" wash and then I shopped our attic for a container, filled it with dirt, pulled some sedum Angelina out of our front yard and stuffed it inside.

As I looked at it from different angles,

I came to the conclusion that the mirror was way cooler than I'd imagined,

kind of an optical illusion that made it seem like there was hole in the door. 
I wanted a match for the other door, but as I said, I'd found it at Goodwill and there was just one.

I gave myself 5 minutes to find another online.  Just 5 minutes and if I didn't luck out, one mirror was still pretty fantastic.  I went inside, typed "white arched shabby chic mirror" and I kid you not, the FIRST thing that popped up was that exact mirror.  Sadly, it was more expensive than the $4.99 at Goodwill, 
but it felt like fate,
 and who am I to question fate?

Lyle hung the other mirror and today may possibly get to my sidelight windows.

Bye Bye AC Unit.  
You may be cool, but this is cooler.

I'll update once the windows are hung and the seating area's done.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

No Turning Back Now

The rumble of big machines across our lawn this weekend signified the start of a landscaping project the scope of which has heretofore never been attempted......

at least not by us anyway.  
We've certainly dabbled in projects here and there and tackled some fairly extensive DIY jobs, but never, ever have we taken on something like this.  Which is why we've hired professionals.

Where there once was only a weedy hillside, there will soon be planting beds, paths, a flagstone seating area, a rock garden, a mixed hedgerow to shield the road, a waterfall trickling into a small pond, a sprinkler system, and a lawn that I think can legitimately be called lawn, 
not just green weeds posing as lawn.

I'll just keep that imagine in my head.
Because right now, as the rain begins to fall and our dirt turns to mud, I'm starting to think our weedy hillside maybe wasn't quite such an eyesore after all. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Birthday Rose

This tip-toe down memory lane is enough to make a mother feel a bit wistful on a Monday morning.
Our sweet Rose last week on her 12th birthday.

Her 11th birthday.

Her 10th birthday.

Oh, the cuteness.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Wor...ries

Bruder doesn't like bees.  It started in about 2nd grade when he was walking home from school through a forested trail.  I always met him at the head of the trail and on this particular day, holding toddler Lucy's hand, I could hear him before I saw him.  The screaming was such that I thought he was being abducted.  As I scooped up Lucy and went running down the trail, he instead came tearing past me, slapping at his head and jumping like the ground was electrified.  As my tasmanian devil child blew by, I heard the buzz of the hornets that were trailing him, stinging him as he ran.  He sprinted right into our neighbor's house---thankfully someone who knew us-- and this mom of 5 didn't seem at all fazed by the young boy and his entourage of bees bolting into her house unannounced.  Understandably, that night he was pretty uncomfortable.

Then a few years later, he was running barefooted through the yard and stepped on a hornet.  The hornet wasn't happy with this and stung him.  His foot swelled to truly ugly proportions, to the point of cracking and oozing skin.  With a couple of trips to the doctor, all was well.

Then about a month ago, he was stung on his hand.  That first day it swelled, but nothing too alarming.  By day two though, the swelling had traveled nearly to his elbow, so we consulted the doctor and got the swelling under control with steroids.   Nasty local reactions, that was what we were dealing with.

So this brings me to yesterday.  Bruder was at work, doing yard chores for a man from our church.  He called me and said rapid-fire, "Mom, I just got stung by a hornet on my face and I'm swelling and I need you to get me NOW."  I told him I'd come, and I gathered some Benadryl, knowing this would probably be uncomfortable and a little unsightly.  But truth be told, I did think that he was being somewhat dramatic and rather bossy.  The swelling takes a while to kick in and if he was just bitten, it hardly seemed he'd need to come home now.  A little Benadryl and Cortizone and he'd be back in business.

As I got in the car, he sent a text that said, "Please hurry".  
Again, with the bossiness.  At least he said please.
Then he sent a picture.

No, I'd say he wasn't overreacting.
  I called him and he said his breathing felt funny and that his employer was driving him to the hospital.

I met them there and truly, I've never seen anything quite like it.  This picture was taken right after his sting, but when I saw him, he looked worse.  Almost unrecognizable.  Everything was swollen.  His eyes, his lips, his arms, his legs, his hands.  He was bright red from head to foot and covered in a white bumpy rash.  He was doubled over and nauseous, shaking and cold.

And then the doctor told me he was already looking so much better since they'd given him the shot.  
This was BETTER?

It's been over 24 hours now, and he's still fighting it, despite constant Benadryl and steroids.  
An epi-pen will now become his close friend.

And as a side note:  Lyle's plans for a beehive have been put on hold.  Indefinitely.