Wednesday, August 28, 2013

(Teacher) Appreciation Gift

I didn't even know that giving teachers a gift was a thing until pinterest came along. Of course I hated the idea immediately. I just didn't get it. I don't remember ever giving a teacher a gift growing up. My dad is a teacher, and I don't remember him ever getting a gift either. It's entirely probable that I'm wrong and both of those things occurred regularly and I just blocked it out for some reason.

Then about eight minutes after declaring that I hated the idea, I changed my mind. I decided that if my kid has a special connection with a teacher, then I could be on board with a small offering. None of that $25 gift card crap, though. It would have to be something specific and thoughtful.

Then came today.

I gave our "teacher" a gift and a long winded thank you card. I gave it. The kid wrote a bunch of nonsense and drew a flower and then taped two pieces of paper together.

Calling Lynn a teacher doesn't really explain what she does. She's really more of a family mentor. I am beyond grateful for finding her "class" and the other moms who attended. Thank you, ladies, for being a consistent presence in our lives for the past three years. You all have funny, engaging beautiful children whom I will miss and not soon forget.

Oh! And the teacher gift. Lynn likes to cook, so I went to Goodwill to find some sort of baking tin to use as a planter. I found a nice fluted tart pan, but the kid liked this small blue pan better. I especially like that it has a couple of burn marks. We added sempervivum and stonecrop and there you have it!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Porch Light: Before and After

The porch light is nothing special. It's also nothing we would have picked out. Replacing it was very low on the priority list...until I painted the door.

I was all ready to replace the fixture when I found one I liked at the HD. The mounting plate on the fixture was rectangular, and the box for the fixture was circular and stuck off the house by almost 2 inches. I decided to just spray paint our existing fixture with the oil rubbed bronze spray paint we already had.

Little did we know until we were at the other home improvement big box store that we could replace that large circular box with a small circular box that would easily fit inside a new mounting plate whether it be circular or rectangular. And porch lights are pretty inexpensive, so we left the store with a new $20 lamp.

But I had an uneasy feeling. The lamp was nice, but it wasn't what I'd imagined. Nate liked it, but I decided to return it and save the money towards a higher quality replacement sometime down the road. For now, spray paint will work. I decided that the glass would look better if it were cloudy and we couldn't see the light bulb. So I paid $6 for another can of spray paint that gives glass an etched appearance.

Blah, blah, blah, too much talking. Here are the pictures.
Before. Cobwebs and all.
Cleaned and prepped to paint.
Cleaned and ready to paint.
After a couple of thin coats.
Cloudy glass makes a big difference.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

August Bloom Day

Thank you to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Blogger's Bloom Day each month.

The last of the snapdragons. Next year we want the velvety red color.
Cute little moth.
Planted from seed, but I forgot to keep the packet. It must be some type of mallow.
California poppies! I miss SF sometimes. These seemed to be naturalized
along the roadways in the city. Also seemingly naturalized were
cala lilies and nasturtiums. Yeah. I miss SF sometimes.
Calendula from Suzanne, who also taught me the proper pronunciation. I had
only ever seen calendula written, never spoken and I was a bit confused at first.
Now I just laugh at myself about it.
Hip hop hippity hops.
Cantaloupe blossoms. The fruit is growing in the shape of a football!
Marigold from seed. The kid keeps picking them. Chives next door.
Brand new fuschia. These blooms are teeny tiny.
We've been munching on the berries. They are weird, but the kid likes them.
All our strawberry plants were hand-me downs, so I'm happy that
we apparently received an ever-bearing variety!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Front Door: Interior Before and After

Well, I've put this post off long enough. I'm not feeling so excited about this one. The door looks so much better than before, but I feel like the before pictures don't show how bad it actually was. So, I'm afraid the before and after may seem a little underwhelming.
We started with a turquoise/teal two-toned door. It was dirty. It was peeling. The paint had been slopped onto the jambs, but only here and there in an "I just don't care anymore" kind of way. The threshold was so old that the rubber "seal" crumbled when we removed it. Oh, and did I mention the brass peep hole and mail slot? I truly do love brass, and I know I'm in the minority on that. However, I don't love fake, ugly, filigreed brass that is peeling.
After removing the peep hole window and mail slot, we were left with gaping holes. We filled in the holes with some rigid insulation that we happened to have on hand. Then we put up some 1/8" plywood with a teeny trim to give the door a panel. It's not exactly period looking, but there's not much left in this house that is from 1914 anyway.
Once the plywood was up, we filled all the nail holes, sanded that down and got to painting. It took two coats, but I'm going to add one more coat to the panel because there are some brush stokes bothering me. We painted the jambs with white trim paint we already had, and we spray painted the hinges with ORB that we already had. I felt a little guilty about the hinges, they were decent quality solid brass. However, they don't match each other (?) and there was already plenty of paint from before on them.

This was a simple project that could have been done in about three days if we had the luxury of spending three days in a row on one thing. That just doesn't happen for us. Luckily it was an inexpensive project: 1/2 sheet of plywood $15, trim $9, paint (around) $15, peep hole $10 and threshold $13. That brings the total spent on this simple front door upgrade to about $62.

$62 for a practically brand new door! Even Walmart can't compete with that.

Friday, August 2, 2013

I See a Rodgersia

Rodgersia podophylla, you had me at "great shade plant."

The kid and I went blueberry picking today and on the way home we stopped at Leach Botanical Garden. I don't buy things impulsively, but this plant was definitely an impulse purchase. At least it only cost me 12 noodles. It should get 5' tall and 6' wide, which is perfect because I have about 50' of fence that I don't want to see anymore.
And just so you know, this house is where the giants live. Shhh. Be very quiet, because they are sleeping.