Another couple-a checkmarks.

So, our front yard was looking a little cracked out this spring.  We’ve had CRAZY weather, which made everything come up and grow and turn green in March.  A lot of people have been happy about this … we’ve been able to be outside, go golfing, have the windows open, and it’s just May.  However, this also, once again, made our house look like the that house of the block.  (It was at least better this time, since there were several that houses.)  Our lilies are sprouting, and the hosta are back in full force … but the hydrangeas were little dried sticks popping out of the dirt, our little gardenia tree completely died, and the yard was a hodge-podge of clovers, dandelions, weeds, with a smidgen of grass.

Truth be told, the hydrangeas were my fault.  I cut them all the way back last summer because they looked like dead sticks coming out of the garden.  Well, live and learn – you aren’t supposed to do that.  But, don’t worry, the very knowledgeable guy at the nursery didn’t even hesitate when he told me to “Be patient; they will grow back.”  And, they have already started!

So, a couple of weekends ago, we went to a nursery and bought some stuff to finish the front gardens.  We ended up with 5 holly bushes and a weeping cherry tree.  We moved the lilies forward and planted three of the bushes behind them.  Then, we moved the hydrangeas to the side of the house and planted the other two bushes on either side of the stairs.  It looks good.  It looks finished.  We also found one lonely tulip on the side of the house, and moved that to the front as well … although its dead now.  Our roses bloomed wonderfully this year … a combination of more light, less garbage/weeds in the flower bed, and fertilizer worked great!

We’ve also hired a company to come and chemically treat our lawn to get rid of all the weeds, dandelions, and clovers.  So far, it has worked GREAT!  They’ve been out twice (it’s an all summer kind-of contract, and they’ll fertilize in the fall), and the weeds are already gone and the patches on the side are filling in with grass.  Our yard is looking better already!

This year, the yard work has been … dare I say … fun!

We’ve also done some miscellaneous work inside the house.  WE ARE ON A ROLL!!

So there was a bunch of glue from ceramic tiles stuck to the wall behind the stove.  I didn’t want to spend hours chipping away at that … so I just bought a thin piece of cheap wood, painted it white, screwed it to the wall, and stuck our black-splash tiles to that.  It worked like a charm.  Although, it’s not perfect … we’re okay with that since later this year we plan to replace the hood with a mounted microwave anyhow, so we’ll end up replacing this back-splash anyway.  (I got the tiles on for under $30 … so in my opinion, an awesome fix so we don’t have to look at that ugly wall all year!)

I also spray painted the hood white.  If you remember, our hood was a cream color that had turned to a dingy, gross, antique white, old color and it stuck out like a sore thumb in our white white kitchen now.  Funny story.

Two weeks ago @ Home Depot:
Me – “I’m going to paint the hood.  Which do you think is better – flat white for appliances or a lacquer white?
Patrick – “Lacquer white.”
Bought stuff and left store.  I noted that he never even asked me how I planned to do this … but decided to leave well enough alone.  (If I had the paint, I could do it anyway.)

Last week sitting in the LR:
Me – “I’m going to paint the hood this weekend.”
Pat – “Okay.”
Pat – “Wait, how are you going to spray paint the hood inside the house?”
Me – “That’s why I also bought those large plastic sheets.  I’m going to cut them and tape them up to shield the other stuff.”
Pat – “Okay, I guess.  Don’t ruin stuff – don’t get that paint on the floor.”

And he was very skeptical and sternly told me NOT to ruin the floor … but I tarped and taped it all up, all around the hood … and boy does it make a difference!  It’s one of those things that other people probably would have no idea we did, even if you came to our house often and noticed the off-colored piece before – because it makes the hood just blend into the room.

You can see both the off-color hood and crappy glue & falling back-splash here.

Painted hood (see how it blends in!) & re-done back-splash.

I also am very proud of myself for this next project.  I made shelves for the kitchen.  I cut, rounded, sanded, and painted new shelves to install next to the sink all by myself.  And then I installed them all by myself!  Starting with thin pieces of pine, I cut down to the correct length, then I cut 45 degree angle cuts, and then sanded the corners round.  We don’t have a dremel or jigsaw, which we should probably buy, but I didn’t want to go out and lose the momentum that morning, so I just did it my way … and they turned out fabulously!  I tried spray painting these too … it didn’t work well … so I ended up just sanding and painting them again before screwing them into the cabinets and using a small L-bracket to support the opposite corner.  All the stuff that was on my window sill, now has a place on a shelf!!

(Also, as you look at these pictures … I spray painted and re-installed the window lock and handle … YAY!  So, if you were thinking of breaking in to eat our leftovers, think again and find another house because this window’s all locked up … you snooze, you lose!)

And, last, but definitely not least … another story about the stupid owners before us.  The spring hinge thing on the back screen door broke a couple weeks ago (you all know what I’m talking about).  Well, we got around to replacing it this past weekend. Went to HD, bought a spring hinge thing that fits our door, but it just didn’t go smoothly once we got home.  Snags, you ask?  How is is possible to run into stupidity when replacing a spring hinge thing on a screen door – aren’t they standard?  I thought so too.  Pat thought so too.

So, I started in on replacing it while Pat was mowing the lawn – thinking it was an easy project I could be productive with while I wait for him to finish.  Let’s just say I got so frustrated with it that Pat had to finish it the next day, while I moved on to other things.

Brief overview – it involved 2 trips to the hardware store; extra, multiple size screws; and we’re still missing one screw to hold the spring hinge thing on to the door, but there is no place to put a second screw.  It’s pretty secure though (even if the latch doesn’t catch quite as well as it should … ugh.)  I wanted to just get a new door so that we could remove one more item from the list of things that used to be theirs.

And, I feel like I’ve only been telling you about stuff I did … which is pretty much true … but only because Pat’s been busy doing boring stuff like spackling the molding we put up, cutting & trimming the lawn, and fixing other stuff.  He’s also been busy … but his stuff was just normal, every-day household stuff.  But he deserves a shout-out for all of his hard work and effort too!

More stuff on the horizon … we’ve got a list and we’re checking stuff off!

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