It's hard work I tell ya, this gardening stuff. We have been going to plant nurseries every weekend for the last two months spending around $50 each time buying plants, mulch, compost for our yard. We went to the Berkeley Horticultural Nursery for the first time to check out what they have to offer. We were really impressed by the selection at this nursery and will definitely be back. I found couple of ferns for a shady spot in the garden. As a newbie gardener, any plant that I put in the ground is like a science experiment, waiting to see what would happen. It makes me so happy to see plants grow and thrive and I mourn when they don't make it.

I got some nasturtium from my friend's garden and put it in a vase for a few days. I just love the big leaves and orange flowers. 

I planted it in the ground to see what would happen. It's been a week now, haven't died on me yet. 

My rose bush is doing great. It was here when we bought the house. I haven't done a thing to it, not even giving it water. Now that I think about it, I remember giving it some "food" about 2 months ago. This is kind of gross but couple of months ago, someone left a #2 infront of our house on the sidewalk. I was too disgusted to clean it up. My mom was not the least bit bothered by it. She dugged a hole next to the rose bush and buried it there. Fast forward 2 months and the rose bush is blooming like crazy. 

This little guy is called ipomoea tricolor "heavenly blue". It's basically a morning glory. 

I just found out that this a Stylophorum lasiocarpum “Chinese Celandine Poppy” and it's a shade plant. Opps, I have planted it in a sunny spot, but it seems to be doing okay for now. 

This is a sunflower called "big bear". It was very "thirsty" after the first couple of days. It actually keeled over the first night I got it home. I watered it a ton for the next few days and it's much better now. 

On a sadder note, this little guy didn't make it. I think I over water it and it died a slow root rotting death. :(


House Numbers, etc...

We knew all along the numbers on our house were going to be replaced once we figure out what to replace them with. In traditional Victorians, the house numbers are usually placed on the transom window over the front door. As much as I would love to have the numbers gilded by a professional, the cost is prohibitive, but I didn't want to put some cheap vinyl numbers on the glass either. Luckily, I found a place on line, house number lab, that prints vinyl numbers in 22K gold especially designed for transom windows. I wasn't crazy about the font options they had to offer on the site, but really liked the ornamentals (the little decorative things on each side of the numbers) that came with one of their numbers. So Justin and I went through his font collections and picked one that we both liked and ordered the custom transom numbers with the ornamentals.

House number lab was super quick to respond with a mock up of our order. We went back and forth with different sizing and finally decided on our original size, five inch tall numbers with the decorative motives, then patiently waited for the numbers to arrive.

The numbers arrived with a little squeegee and an erasable marker for easy installation. Nothing is easy when you have a baby. I tried to do it while the little D was taking his nap yesterday, but only got the prep work done before he woke up. I finished the job this morning while Justin kept the D entertained before leaving for work. The installation process was a bit tricky since it was my first time dealing with this kind of thing. I did miss a little air bubble on one of the numbers, but nothing you would notice from afar, I hope.

Not the most attractive house numbers to begin with. 

Before. Looking at the transom window above the door. 

Here's the after shot. You'll notice that I have filled in the gap between the molding and wall on the left. I figured since I was up there on the ladder anyways, might as well fill in that gap which has been taunting me since we moved in last August. I am a major procrastinator...it took me almost a year to fix one little thing. There are still so many little things waiting for me to fix!

I love it! It's a beauty if I do say so myself. Okay, I need to clean up the white paint around the window's edges, it's bothering the perfectionist in me. 

Looking at this photo, I noticed the finish on the door bell is different from the door handle. It bugs me that they don't match. Who's idea was it to do that? Opps, I think it was me...adding it to the to-do list. 

After painting the prison, I mean security bars on the big double hung windows the same color as the trims, them seem less noticeable, but not invisible enough. I am thinking about planting a vine in a container and placing it below bars, hoping that the vines will grow on the bars to camouflage it. What do you think? 

This porch light did not come with the house. There used to be an ugly cheapie big box store fixture on the trim piece on the right side of the door. Justin and I drooled over reproduction vintage lights from School House Electric but couldn't afford the price. I never knew that light fixtures were so pricy. Guess being a renter most of my life precluded me from knowing such things prior to owning a home. I found our school house style light fixture on Amazon.com for half the price. No, the shade is not hand-blown glass made in the USA, it's machine made acrylic from China. Hey, I can't tell the difference once it was installed anyways, can you? Until I hit that lottery jackpot, made in China it is. 


Painting Update...Buxton Blue

I think the exterior painting on our house is one day away from being completion. That's the good news. The bad news is the that after the garage was primed last week, we discovered huge pieces of paint was peeling off the stucco garage wall. The painting company told us the problem was caused by the lack of primer our garage was painted last time. The paint had nothing to adhere to, so when they put on the primer this time, the paint just got stuck to the new primer and got pulled away from the wall. That is to say the primer/paint was not peeling due to the painting company's lack of prep work last week...OK, so we have to pay extra if we want the problem to be fixed. Hmm. After discussing it with Justin, we gave them the go ahead without first agreeing on a firm price. Big mistake on my part. The owner told me it would cost about $100-150 to get the job done, but when I got the new invoice today sent by the owner's wife, she wants $200. I know that's not a huge increase, but it's more than what was quote to me. This kind of business practice really rubs me the wrong way. We are meeting with the owner to finalize some stuff later today and you bet ya I am going to straighten this out with him. I am very excited to show you some in progress pictures. And sometime this weekend I will hopefully be able to share with you the big reveal and some before and afters!

Yeah, it's pretty bad and that's only the beginning . It was actually kind of addictive and therapeutic to keep peeling that paint off. The guys went back and peeled off all the paint in the front and huge section on the side wall. They primed it again before putting on the finally coat.

On Monday or maybe it was Tuesday, they painted all the trims in Benjamin Moore's Monterey White from their Historical Collection. 

Front view with all the trims painting.

Yesterday they finished the body color in BM's Buxton Blue and accent color in BM's Van Deusen Blue. The accent color is on all the doors and a stripe below the roof line molding all around the house. The plastic wraps on all the windows came off too which was a relief. It was nice to finally be able to see out again and have some connection to the outside world. 

The blue is a little more saturated in real life. Notice Justin's shirt matches the house color, coincidence? I think not. 

Almost at the finish line...

Isn't the house color a little clashy with the red roof? Well, I don't give a $#%@ any more. I can live with it...until we have enough money to replace the shingles in a few years. :)


House Painting Progress

It's been two weeks since the painting company started working on the exterior of our house. After seven days of prep work, the guys taped up our windows today and put down the first coat of primer. The house already looks a hundred times better with one unifying color. I am almost tempted to leave it the way it is. I kind of like the color of the primer they used too, it's a dark greenish grey. I can't believe our house will finally look nice on the outside again. I have lots of pictures to share with you!

We had to hire couple of carpenters to replace some rotted sidings before the painting started. 

The white painted spots are spot primed problem areas.

A close up of the spot priming. 

The guys arrived at 8am Friday morning and started taping up the plastic sheeting to cover up all the window. 

Front porch.





Few more shots of the house. 

 I told Justin that I can actually live with a monotone house in this color...

Here is a black house in San Francisco.

This is an all white Italiante in Alameda from Casa Decrepit


Painting Progress

The house painters started working on our house on Tuesday, since Monday was a holiday. They were here for about two hours before they had to call it a day due to the rain. And the forecast for the week is pretty much scattered showers all week, what a great start to our painting project! The guys came back on Wednesday for about an hour before the rain cut the work day short again. So we are already two days behind, what a drag. Oh well, they came back and started working in earnest the next day, hammering in all the nails on our new sidings. Friday was another overcast day, but they did get some scraping and preliminary priming done. I was unprepared for the strong unpleasant odor of the primer that permeated through out the house especially with a baby here. I couldn't open the windows to air out because they were doing a lot of sanding out there. So I turned on the bathroom fans hoping to get at least a little bit of ventilation going. The smell in the bedroom was the strongest, I had to move Desmond's co-sleeper into the living room for his naps. I am kind of worry about the toxic fume that he has to breath in, I hope it's not doing any lasting damage to his little growing body.

Not very exciting photos of the painting guys scraping paint.

The pressure washer.  

Sneaked a shot of the guy washing our house. 

 These guys came to work on a Saturday morning to pressure wash the house in the rain. 

The steps leading up to the front door after power wash, wow, do they need a new coat of paint. We had a carpenter replaced the bottom treading (the bare wood step on top in this photo) because it was broken in half and barely staying in place creating a safety hazard. 

That's the progress on the paint so far...We have a small project that's waiting in the wings, I can't wait to get it done and share it with you.


Catching Up

So what's been brewing here lately at our little queen anne cottage? 

I am doing alright...tired as usual. The little guy is still waking up twice a night, and waking up early in the morning. He can be such a pain in the ass but so adorable when he smiles at me and he never wants to take his eyes off me. I just love him to death. How can you not, just look at that face!

There's been a bbq or kid's birthday party every weekend now that the weather is finally warmer. We have been invited to a lot more things this year because of the baby. We went to a bbq at an ex-coworker's house down the street last weekend.  She's going to introduce me to her neighbor, who had her baby around the same time as me. Her neighbor was out of town at the time. Maybe we can do nanny share if we hit it off, it's nice to have another new mom so close by. It was nice to meet some new people/neighbors and even Justin the grump admitted he had fun at the bbq.

I've been doing a lot of gardening and pulling weeds around the yard. My mom helped me started a vegetable garden last weekend and I just purchased a lot more plants which are still waiting to be transplanted into the ground. 

Ok, it looks totally amateurish, and it is, but we all gotta start somewhere right? I planted couple of strawberries and a yellow pepper in the metal tub and tomato and zucchini squash in the ground. 

The orange tree in the upper right corner was the one we transplanted from its pot few weeks ago. It's not looking so hot, kind of looks like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree at the moment.

Remember this?

I pulled out all the weeds growing on the side of the house over the Memorial Day weekend in preparation for the painters to start their work. I can't wait until we can afford to redo the walkway around the house. It's in pretty crappy condition right now. The patch of bricks in the foreground was put there by Justin to fill the section of walkway our plumber took out to connect to the waste pipe during the renovation. And he left an ugly stump sticking out of the dirt which I am not sure what function it serves. 

The house painters have began working on Tuesday, but the rain also started, scattered shower through out the day all week. Ugh, just our luck right? So it might take more than the 2 weeks estimated time to get the house painted. I hope we've chosen the right color, it's just so hard to make up my mind, what if it ends up looking totally wrong? I just try to tell myself that whatever color we chose is going to look a hundred times better than it looks now. We drove by a house couple of days ago that seems to have the same color combo that we've chosen (a light blue called buxton blue by Benjamin Moore and an off white trim). The house looked pretty good even though it had ugly sidings, so it just goes to show that a new coat of paint makes a huge difference. 

Photo was taken with an iphone, it's not quite as yellow in real life, but I think the blue looks good on this house. This is almost exactly what we had in mind about how to paint our house. Of course our house will look better because we have real wood sidings and not the toxic asbestos siding on this house. Our house also has more moldings around the roof line that gives more character to the architecture. 

I painted a swatch to see if it would clash with the red roof. I think it might, a little, but it was the only color we tried out that didn't make me think, "BORING!" Justin's mom made a good point the other day. She asked me what color do I used the most in my paintings, well duh...blue of course. So I am a blue lover and didn't know it. hehe. It's pretty uncommon to see a blue house around, we've driven around and checked. I am excited to be the co-owner of a blue house!

P.S. I just noticed that the background of my blog is a similar shade of the blue we've chosen to paint the house with. This color has been staring at me in the face this whole time!