3/18/12

Projects Around The House

After a very dry winter here in the Bay Area, we were finally rewarded with a week's worth of non-stop rain. I just put a bunch of plants in the ground recently, so the rain is good for them. Grow little plants, grow!

I have this problem of starting new projects around the house but taking forever to finish them. And I keep telling myself that I will blog once they are done, that's why I wait so long between each blog post. Anyhoo, I am a fan of IKEA that's no secret. Our whole house was practically built with IKEA products; cabinets, floors, bathroom vanities, you name it. Recently, I purchased a couple of IKEA shelves simply because I love the way they looked (and one can always use more shelves). Getting a project started is never as easy as it sounds. First I have to decide which wall these shelves are going to go on, then whether to paint or stain, then find the time to paint, wait for the paint to dry and last, the little window of opportunity when there's someone to look after little D while we get the work done. 

Just such an opportunity presented itself this weekend. Justin and I struggled to put up the shelves while my dad watched the D man. I am very happy with the result and can't wait to put up the next set of shelves in another month or so!

I bought the Ekby Osten/Ekby Oxie wall shelf for the side panels. The laminate shelving was sold separately and would have cost $50 in addition to the panels. I needed deeper shelves and wanted to paint them. I opted to get some unfinished Pine shelves from Home Depot and had them cut the wood to size (and saved money!)
Ekby Östen/Ekby Öxie wall shelf
 I used some leftover paint but changed my mind about the color. The great thing about paint is it's easy to change. 
I bought a bottle of black spray paint hoping to avoid brush marks. It was not easy getting good coverage because our back yard is kind of windy. I felt like half of the paint coming out of the bottle was blown away on the grass. This was what it looked like after one coat. I put on three coats and couple coats of matte clear sealant which actually gave it an eggshell finish. 
This photo was taken after I realized there was no "before" picture but I was too lazy to take it down for a real before photo. You get the idea.  
We didn't have to use wall anchors because this wall is covered in wood siding behind the sheetrock. This wall used to be an exterior wall. I like the black and white combo and we already have lots of black scattered around the living room. 
My first attempt at filling up the shelves.  
All the books used to sit on top of the credenza. Lately, little D has been able to stand on his tippy toes and pull all the books down. I figure it was time to relocate them to a place he can't reach. Ha!
Rearranged and added the plant that also used to reside on top of the credenza. But little D loved to pull on the plant, so I had to find a new home for it too. This plant had to be easily reachable so I could water it regularly.
Another view of the new shelves!

I was on a painting binge for a bit there and painted one of the two tables/stools we've had for fives years. Guess what? They were from IKEA too! But, have since been discontinued. 

After a quick sanding, I sprayed one thin coat of primer on because that was the only primer I had around. 

I decided to experiment with color blocking.

I think this turned out okay, but it might not stay this way for long. I painted a coat of oil based polyurethane and it turned a little yellow after it dried. I should have used water based, lesson learned. 



3/2/12

It's That Time Of The Year Again! Part 2

With D in daycare for the second day in a row, I was able to finish most of the work I had planned to do in the garden since it was sunny out again. But the sun kept disappearing behind the cloudy sky, threatening to rain on me. I hustle my behind and found different spots around the yard to plant all the little pots of seedlings I bought from the Annie's Annuals last weekend. 


In the process of clearing out the weeds (it's a little geranium ground cover that self germinates and grows like crazy this time every year) I discovered some plants I put in the ground from last summer have come back to life. The survivors from last year's planting have grown so much, which makes me so happy. I don't have a black thumb after all, but not completely green either. I feel like I am getting a little better, growing, along with my plants. 


All the plants I bought from Annie's Annuals over the weekend, mostly flowers and couple of grasses. 
This was a strawberry container left by the previous tenant. I bought a strawberry plant from Home Depot and placed the container next to my tenant's door to make her entrance a little more welcoming. 
Our previous tenant also left this half wine barrel with couple of herbs growing in it. I planted couple of the poppies from Annie's to replace the poppies that just finished blooming. The black stuff on top is compost from I bought from Annie's. It's supposed to do wonders for the plants. That's what they use for all the beautiful plants at Annie's. 
I planted this little guy in the back of the house. It's a little lonely for now because it's all by itself.  So I surrounded with bricks to make it a little more special. 
This was taken last summer after I pulled out all the weeds.
Then I went on a planting frenzy in the middle of summer and filled up the space. 
Most of the plants didn't make it to this year, few did and the weeds came back too.  You can't see it in this photo,  but in between the weeds, I made room for the flowers purchased from Annie's. It started raining the day after I planted everything. 
Both the Echium Wildpretii "Tower of Jewels" and the Euphorbia I planted last summer have grown a lot. 
I forget the name of this flower but I see it all over. There was a bunch growing on the side fence last year. When I was giving away the loquat plants, one of the takers had to dig up the flower to get to the loquat so I asked her to let me transplant it. It was looking pretty dead but I guess the roots grew. 
Here is the same plant looking happier this year. 

This corner of the house is a problem area for ferns. The fern on the left didn't survive. 
I put in the dark green fern native to California on the left, but it is also not looking so good these days. When this one goes, I might have to consider a different kind of plant to place there. The chartreuse green ground cover is doing rather well, it's slowly spreading. Next to the light green is a reddish ground cover that's also spreading. I don't know how it got there, but I like it. 
I took a cutting of nasturtium from a friend's yard last fall. 
This is how big it's gotten. No flowers yet, just really big leaves.