Another campaign dresser makeover!

If I find one, I'm gonna buy it! A campaign dresser!

This one isn't a "vintage" campaign dresser...probably an imitation but sweet all the same! Well...it wasn't when I bought it....

IMG_2778.JPG

Structurally it was in great shape but the finish was definitely lacking. A little KSTP (Kilz, sand, tack and paint...high gloss white lacquer), scrubbed up the brass hardware, and presto....

Again, this one wasn't a REAL vintage campaign dresser...but that didn't stop someone from buying it 1 hour after taking it to 410 Vintage.

This, my friends, is a REAL campaign dresser!!

I have already scrubbed up the brass hardware (no tricks there...Brasso, Brillo and A LOT of elbow grease.) I had to order a few replacement hardware pieces...holy cow those little brass doo-dads are expensive (found them on Etsy.) I sprayed on Kilz and sanded it down. Now I just need to apply a few coats of white lacquer...I can't wait! I will make sure I share it when it is done because I know it will be beautiful!

PORCH MINI-MAKEOVER....

Now that Matt has settled into his new house, we have started on a few little projects that make his home a little bit more...well..."him." (If you search "Matt's house" on this site you can will see several of the projects we have worked on!)

The back yard was a total disaster...lots of trees and years of neglect. I wish we had been smart enough to take before and after pictures of the side yard we have been working on. We added a few flower beds, raked up a truck load of rocks and brought in four truck loads of dirt and mulch. We seeded with fescue. I know it will probably burn up this summer but he was so excited to see the little guys sprouting! We dug up some of my neighbor's lirope and transplanted it in his new flower bed....repurposed the stones that were originally used as a "pad" to make a stepping stone path....a new little Japanese maple. I think it will all be wonderful when he is finished. My yard is an oasis...I have remind him it took 19 years of hard work to get it that way!

The back patio was a tad on the blah side. I did remember to snap a few pictures with my Iphone before we added just a few little touches.

We changed out the flush mount "boob" light for a pendant light...seriously, who puts a dinky flush mount light on a vaulted ceiling?

Threw down a pretty striped rug and added a potted palm and hanging basket. Nothing earth shatter but just a few simple touches to dress the space a bit!

He still needs to change out the seat cushions and eventually I would like to add a baker's rack or build a potting bench...maybe add some kind of wall decor on the wall! We could paint the wood railing but he is determined to eventually add a large deck off the patio so no sense in putting out the effort for the time being!

A few little touches here and there can add personality and style to a space.

It takes time to make a house your home... 

Spring has arrived....

I wish I had the time, patience and photography skills to share a "Spring Home Tour"...but if you want a peak at some very talented lady's homes, start with my bliend's (blog-friend...guess it could be flog...lol!) home tour here...Cristina has a beautiful home. While it started out as your typical "builder grade" house, she has transformed it into a warm and inviting home. She is a champ at featuring the "how" on any DIY project! While I am more about the "doing" she is a champ at "doing" and "froo-frooing."

Truth is, I feel like I have been inside all winter. so when the temps climb above 60, I have to be outside working in the yard! It is time to start prepping for summer!

First, raking the beds AGAIN! Naturally I rake leaves and pine needles in the fall...then I do a little at some point after Christmas. Then a few weeks ago I did another 20 bag rake. So honestly, there isn't much to clean out...but there are always those stragglers that have to be cleaned up!

The hostas are popping their little heads so it is time to mulch. While not fun and glamorous, a necessity. 

A fresh topping of mulch dresses the beds and helps insulate the early bloomers from any freezes we might have in the next few weeks. Later in the year it is a must for moisture retention and weed control!

Still way to early to plant annuals but the spring blooms are coming alive.

The Bradfords are blooming...

and the vinca is coming to life... 

The daffodils were in full glory the last few weeks, but the blooms are beginning to wilt.

This picture popped up on my Facebook memories...eight years ago we had snow! This year the daffodils made it through their season so I didn't have to bring them in to enjoy them!

27196_1363671019187_1160046_n.jpg

Next up, tulips.

Years ago I planted about 100 tulip bulbs...the first two years they were glorious! But tulip bulbs tend to rot easily so now I only have 2-3 left.

Sarah's birthday is the first week of April and I always know when the tulips will bloom...the week of her birthday!

So while I would love to be inside "prepping" my house for spring, there is no place I would rather be than outside soaking in the sun and digging in the dirt!

And Cleo agrees...

Her 4th birthday is tomorrow so she is definitely a spring baby!

The temps are suppose to be in the 70s for the next few days and I have plenty more to do. Cleaning and prepping pots for planting, cleaning out the water feature and planting summer bulbs! 

I notice the pictures on the "Landscapes" link several years old so maybe this year I can get them updated! 

Your yard may need a new "rug!"

As I mention here (when I ranted about my neighbor's trees!) my yard is an extension of my home.

I obsess when it is time to replace a rug or flooring...I cruise the internet, pin every room that catches my eye on Pinterest, and spend months bringing home hardwood and tile samples! (Stay tuned for the drama of the new couch selection!)

But what about our yards...does your yard need "new flooring?" Mine sure as heck did!

It's not like I have ignored it....I have resodded this area at least 5 times in the last 17 years...most recently just last year. But it never thrived because I kept putting down the wrong sod...Bermuda and Zoysia...both of which need sun and this area of my yard did not get enough.

I resisted putting down the sod I KNEW I needed...Fescue. Silly reason actually. Most of my yard gets tons of sun and the Bermuda has thrived. Bermuda goes dormant in the winter and turns brown. Fescue does not...it pretty much stays green year round. The thought of having two different types of grass was more than my OCD could tolerate.

The fact is, after years of failure, there really was no other option...dirt or grass. No brainer really, but the grass I WANTED to grown wasn't going to survive the shade! Want in one hand, poo in the other.

Fescue it is...and it made a HUGE difference. 

Just showing off some of my pretty potted plants!

The MAJOR upside to sod is instant gratification. A day of hard labor and you have a beautiful yard that will not wash away!

Sod vs. seed. In my opinion, the difference financially is really minimal longterm. Yes, the upfront cost of sod may seem substantial. I probably spent $600 on 4 1/2 pallets of sod and some top soil.

You have to top seed with straw. You will have to hope and pray you don't get a heavy rain that will wash away the seed (we have had more than a few of those in the last month!)...and of course there are always the birds who find it very tasty! Yes, you have to water sod, but you will water much more to establish seed and even then you might have a tough time nurturing it through the hot dry months of the summer! Seeding in the spring just does not give new grass time to get a good root system before the heat of summer! 

In my opinion, sod is the only way to go if you have the ability to put it down yourself...and trust me, it takes very little "skill!" Just a strong back and clothes you don't mind getting dirty (REAL dirty!)

By the end of a back breaking day I had a beautiful new "rug" for my yard...and hopefully THIS time it will survive! 

Spring is ALMOST here!

Almost...who knows. Last week I was in shorts putting down mulch. Sunday we had sleet and snow. Go figure.

Here I shared some tips for prepping for spring...it will be here before you know it! 

If you plant in your beds, now is the time to compost and mulch. Empty and clean your pots. I have a pond to clean out and new sod to put down and a new fence to seal. But all that will happen over the course of MONTHS rather than weeks...getting old sure slows you down.

The only thing growing in my beds now are perennials! No more crawling around in the beds digging holes! I am a big advocate of container planting  Over the years I have collected everything from clay and plastic containers to galvanized buckets and old tea crocks.

This little chair has been in my garage for months....

It had a rattan seat but it was busted...I could have replaced the rattan but I decided to do something a little different.

I turned it into a little planter....

I cut the hole in the seat a bit bigger, trimmed it with some scrap wood (old fencing boards!) added some little slats (again, scraps of wood) on the bottom with glue and nails....

...and then chalk painted it a bright yellow! Distressed and sealed and it is ready for a little potted plant!

This is what I mean when I say "think outside the pot." You don't have to plant everything in boring old clay pots. This was a simple little project that would be perfect for a porch or even stuck in the back of a flower bed somewhere.

Simple...

Spring is in the air!

When the Bradford's bloom and the hostas start to peak their little heads out of the ground, I know it is time to get busy!!

Last week my daughter and grandson, Ashton, came to visit. I offered Ashton $25 to empty out my decorative pond...even tried to bribe him with the potential sighting of a frog or two that always take up residence in all the muck. No deal man....that kid is no fool!

Putrid...but no frogs this year!

Rather than clean it out Monday or Tuesday when the temperatures where in the 70s, I decided to make a chore of it today. Not that it's not warm today, but we're sliding back into the 50s for the rest of the week. Typical Arkansas spring....Tuesday I wore shorts on our evening walk...by the weekend I'll be back in my sweats! 

Temperatures can't be a factor when there are things to be done to get ready for spring planting. It is way too early to plant flowers but the perfect time to clean out the beds and pond, put down mulch and empty out the pots!

I love my little water feature. But it should be a warning to all you 30 and 40 somethings who want ponds and floor beds and massive decks. You WILL get old and those things WILL need maintenance...about the time you hit your 50s....and 2 hours of dredging rotten leaves and fermented worms will put you on the couch for 2 or 3 days! 

Whatever....at least I can hear the wonderful water fountain while I am laid up in bed!

I usually keep the pond cleaned and treated from spring to fall. The first time it freezes over I unplug the pump and it pretty much turns in to a rancid smelling mess of leaves, pine needles and earth worms. 

I decided early on I didn't want fish...too much hassle! To keep it clear during the warm months I dump a handful of chlorine shock in it and skim it every week or so to get out the leaves and dead worms! 

And this little pump is a life saver!!!

Still a major chore, but it's a lot easier to pump the water out rather than use a 5 gallon bucket!

One chore down, so many more to go. Mulch going down today. Still have to empty pots and add fresh soil. A few doggy dig holes to fill. 

This time next month, everything will be ready for new plantings!!! 

Spring is ALMOST here....

I say "almost" because our zone freeze date is April 11th...and I know from past experience that we can get some pretty cool temperatures even past that date. So I force myself to sit on my hands and NOT plant any tender annuals until well past that date.

But this week the hostas began popping their little heads up...and that is my sign to kick it into gear and at the very least start mulching beds.

My yard in the spring reminds me of why I don't want to sell my house...but after several days of raking and mulching, I am reminded of why I probably should sell it....man oh man!

Regardless, I love it. The daffodils have come and all but gone! But the Bradford pear trees are in full bloom and the vinca minor is showing off it's beautiful blue flowers!

Just beautiful!

I am still waiting on my tile to finish the fireplace. In the mean time I have been working on a few little knick knack projects for that room. With the weather warming up, I can also get out and start painting a few "projects" that have been languishing in the garage during the cold weather. 

So much to do. 

And I love it!!!

This past weekend Brian and I went to an auction at a home decor store that is going out of business. I have never been a big Easter decorator, but I did find some darling bunnies....

I like the little touches of "spring" in the house.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Easter weekend! 

Flagstone....check!

That is one project I can check off my "to do" list! It is done...the project I started here. It took three trips to the "rock store" and two trips to Meek's for sand...and two trips to Lowe's for topsoil. But whatever...it is DONE!!! 

Well, until it "settles." Seems no matter how well you pack the sand base, a few rocks always "sink" after a little rain and wear. No biggy...just pull it up, put a little sand under it and then reset it. 

We had a 90% chance of rain Thursday (didn't happen!) so I wanted to get this project finished so the sand wouldn't wash away and the rock could begin "settling." 

I had a bench sitting in one of my flower beds in the side yard...thought it would look great in the corner. The terracotta pot is one I bought at an auction last year and was just sitting around. I decided it would look better with a few plants! 

This is another area that still needs a little "something." In time...for now, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!!

Get ready for a BUNCH of pictures!!!

IMG_1765.JPG

Again, there are hundreds of tutorials online for laying flagstone...it may seem laborious, but it really isn't that difficult and you won't regret it! 

I will offer a few little "tips" for laying flagstone. Make sure you have a good sand base, well packed. After your rock is down, water the sand and rock well so the sand will wash down under the rock. After that, dump a mix of top soil and sand on top of the rock and sweep it into the joints. Then lightly water it again. Rain may wash it away a tad the first few times, so you may have to add a little more sand and soil over time....just dump the soil and sand on the rocks and sweep...eventually it will pack and stay put.

If a rock "sinks," lift it up (just pry it up with hammer), toss a little more sand under the rock to build it up and level it out, reset the rock and then fill the joint with the sand and soil mixture. 

I have a tiny front porch and I love how this has opened up the front of the house a bit! It's still not that wrap around front porch I want, but it is a lot better than it was before! It eliminates an eye sore AND the need to crawl around every year filling it with plants! I just plant the pots and I'm done! Super simple to maintain! 

I use to decorate the front of the house in the fall with hay bales, corn stalks, pumpkins and scarecrows. I quit doing it because I had to deal with mildewy hay bales after Thanksgiving...but I may have to start it again this year...this area would just be too cute with all the "harvest" decor! 

Hum...guess we will see...fall will be here before you know it!

Precious little metal "ice cream" chairs before and after!

I bought these pathetic little chairs at an auction last fall....

...neglected for who-knows how many years in an old outbuilding. Rusted, rotten...so sad. 

Then they were neglected for months in my garage because of the "rust issue" I just had no desire to tackle. But I did...and truthfully, it is not that big of a deal (check out how to deal with rust here)....

Then they sat in my garage for ANOTHER month.

They are so darling and I knew I wanted to do something bright and fun with them...I just didn't know what. I get serious mental blocks on upholstery projects!

(I can always tell how long a "project" has been around just by the grass...in the "before" pictures my bermuda is dormant...now it is lush and green and needs to be mowed twice a week!)

So I went to the fabric store and found the brightest and most colorful fabric I could find! 

Red for the frame...red is cheerful and fun and since the fabric had every color imaginable, it was perfect!

After dealing with the rust and giving them a good dose of primer (and of course the primer had to cure for a month while I mulled over colors), I sprayed the frames with red spray paint. I cut new seats and backs out of 3/8" plywood and covered them with new batting and the bright fabric .

Here is a little hint...if the "frame" where the back goes is 11", do not cut a new board 11", cover it with new fabric and batting, and expect it to fit. It won't.

The big button (almost) dead center in the flower was a fluke! The original back had a big button and I knew I wanted a button.

So this gives me the perfect opportunity to share how to make buttons for any project...chairs, pillows, headboards! Anything that has or needs a button...you can MAKE one out of any fabric!

Just buy a button kit...they have them at the fabric stores and most hobby stores. There is a template on the back for the fabric cutout and they come in all different sizes....

They are super easy to make! Just follow the directions on the back of the package!

TIP...put a dab of hot glue on the back of the front of the button before you hammer the back on and then put a dab of hot glue on the little U hook on the back of the button. A few times the back has separated from the front or the little U hook has come off the back...the glue just reinforces them a bit!

To attach the button, I measured and located the center of the board, drilled two small holes, threaded wax covered string on a large upholstery needle from back to front, through the front padding and fabric, slipped the button on the string, then threaded it back through and tied it off. Then I put a little dab of hot glue on the knot. Super simple!

I padded the back with a little batting and covered it with red fabric!

I love these little chairs...if I had somewhere to put them, I would keep them! Darling!

When I step outside my comfort zone and go with bright and colorful, I am never disappointed...maybe I should take that into consideration next time I makeover something I intend to keep!

And here is a little "upcycle" hint. I had an old outdoor chair cushion that was thrown in a pile of things I picked up at an auction. The fabric was crud but the batting inside was good. I took the fabric off and used the batting that was inside for this chair and saved the rest for future projects. Free padding!

Growing Knock Out roses

Knock Out roses are hardy little plants and super easy to grow!! 

Two years ago I built a flower bed in an area where I have trouble getting grass to grow because of the drainage in my side yard and planted 5 little rose bushes.

After the first year!

They get plenty of sun throughout the day and evening, and when they bloom...OMGosh...A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

Today...two years later!

I planted these two light pink bushes years ago next to two "real" rose bushes. They too were just tiny little "bushes" when I first planted them!

(This gate door is actually the neighbors...it bores me! I am searching Pinterest for some inspiration to doll it up...maybe a pergola kinda thing....someday!)

The "real" rose bushes died long ago...probably because I have NO idea (or interest) how to maintain a "real" rose bush. Just too tedious and fininicky for my gardening tastes. They did produce beautiful roses perfect for cutting. I always thought they were something I could manage until I read my grandmother's old letters to my great-grandmother and she wrote about all the pruning and fungus and pest control and special fertilizers and blah, blah, blah.... I wasn't real torn up when they finally bit the dust. Nor did I feel terribly guilty.

I want plants that need a little sun (or shade), water and occasional fertilizer....not prima donnas that have to be properly pruned and groomed and constantly attended to. (I have enough problems battling slugs, heat and crown rot just to get my hostas through the year!) 

Knock Out roses fit the bill and have amazing blooms all spring, summer and fall! The flowers are not something you will cut and use in the house...I tried...they wilt pretty quickly, but they are beautiful plants in the yard. 

One word of warning...they will NOT naturally climb...and as they get bigger they can get "leggy" so it is best to put them somewhere where you can tie them up. I use plain ole' string or burlap ribbon to stand them up along my fences. I do have to prune them back in the fall and remove the dead "wood." No biggy as long as you wear gloves.  Unlike "real" roses, there really is no "murderous" way to prune them...one year I took a weedeater to a few (probably not advisable!)

This is one I rescued from my apartments last year...it was still in it's original pot and was pretty much dead....

I brought it home, planted it in my flower bed...some decent soil, lots of water and a little fertilizer and presto....beautiful!

(I thought Cleo was being sweet and smelling the roses....she wasn't...she was eating them!)

If you have a fence that needs "screening" or a full sun bed that needs a pop of color, this is a perfect plant! They can easily be pruned back if you want to keep the plant smaller and more compact!

I did lose a beautiful pink tea rose bush this year I had in my side bed. Not sure what got it...maybe old age, maybe disease or bugs, harsh winter...it was over 12 years old...who knows. No biggy...Katie got me a beautiful hydrangea for Mother's Day and it filled the spot perfectly!

As I have shared before, the BEST time to buy any perennial is in the early summer...usually after they have lost their "forced blooms" and aren't nearly as attractive. Most garden and home improvement centers will mark them down considerably...just plant them in a well composted spot, water well and watch them grow and bloom year after year! 

When planting any flower or bush, whether it is an annual or perennial, make sure you pay close attention to what type of "sun" or "shade" they prefer. I have found that, more than anything, it makes the biggest difference on whether the plant with thrive or struggle long-term! 

Get out and enjoy your yard...even if you have a small yard or just a little patio or porch area, get out and get your hands dirty. Even if you just start with one little container plant!  Gardening is honestly something you LEARN to love. Truth be told, I don't have a live plant in my house, and I have even managed to toss most of the fake stuff!

For me, flower gardening is a natural "anti-depressant" and spending time tending to my plants is always time well spent!

Sit and stay awhile....

I have a thing about chairs and sitting areas...even outdoors.  In my yard I have two swing pergolas, two large chairs on the patio, a table and chairs and a wicker settee on the deck, a chair on the little deck outside my bedroom door, and chairs stacked and ready for company.  

Funny thing is, I am constantly buzzing around doing something so I rarely just "sit" for long.   And it's not like we entertain a lot....

Last month I scored 3 old metal lawn chairs at an auction...I love those things.  I have one I bought at a flea market a few years ago and have always wanted a few more.  Two of the three are in pretty good shape...minimal rust and still sturdy.  One has some "issues" with rust so I didn't do anything with it.  And naturally I didn't take "before" pictures of all of them, but this is a picture of the one that I didn't redo.... 

Even in good condition, these old metal chairs can be a booger to refinish properly.  Usually they have been painted a time or two, so you have to sand them pretty aggressively to get rid of all the layers...and drips!  They also have rust and that has to be delt with or it will destroy the chair.

I used my little mouse sander with a 40 grit paper, then hand sanded it with a 120 to strip as much old paint and rust as I could.   

After sanding and wiping them down with tack cloth, I primed them with automotive primer.  I figure if it is good enough for a metal car, it will be great for metal chairs.  It is also specifically formulated to stop rust! May be overkill, but might as well use the best!  You can buy cans of metal and automobile primer in the spray paint sections at Lowes.

After priming, I hit them again with 220 grit paper and tack cloth.  Then I painted the arms and legs with a Rust-oleum satin white and the seats with a really pretty Valspar "peacock blue" color.   

I really debated what color to paint the chairs. I love the different greens but my entire yard is green and I try to infuse as many annuals as possible to get color...so I knew I wanted "color."  

I like the Peacock Blue.  It's pretty.... 

And while I am showing off my yard, here is a before and after of the area I resodded AGAIN this year.  The first two times I put down bermuda but it just didn't do well....too much shade! 

 

It is a little difficult to tell from this photo (my stinking photography skills!) but this area is pretty much dirt with a few blades of grass here and there...and that is after I put down bermuda sod last spring!  The rest of the yard is thick, lush grass! (Thanks to weed control and fertilizer by Fairways and lots of water)

So this year I decided to try something different.  Zoysia sod.  It is SUPPOSE to do better in partial shade areas.  I have fescue in an area of my yard that doesn't get a lot of sun and I don't like it because it doesn't go dormant like bermuda...so I have this big green patch in my yard all winter.  Zoysia is suppose to go dormant.  It can't be any worse than it was. I've decided if this doesn't work I am going to paint the dirt green! 

So for now, I have nice grass in our sitting area...and it is a perfect back drop for my pretty new peacock chairs!   

This is Molly, my old kitty.  She turned 16 this week too!  She loves all the "lounging" areas in the yard and loves being outside...as long as it is above 75 degrees!

Someday I will post pictures of all my animals...I think I have already posted one of Simon, but I also have Ms. Kitty (she is a rather cranky, unfriendly calico) and Finley (he is my autistic kitty...another long haired Siamese mix)  And then there is Ginger, my old black lab.