spring firsts!

I know I haven’t been posting a lot, but life has been going pretty well. Spending a lot of time outside each night has been a true blessing, and I can’t believe how much is popping up in the garden in just a short amount of time! Just yesterday, there was barely any color in the garden, and then today, BAM! The first beautiful blooms!

My irises are gorgeous…


My knockout roses are blooming all over…


And we have our first strawberry, small but mighty!


Our tomatoes and eggplant are doing well so I can’t wait to see how much they grow this coming weekend!


garden bliss

Nothing much is going on inside the house yet as far as spring reno goes, but the gardens are doing all the work on their own outside, and they’re gorgeous! This past weekend was World Naked Gardening Day, and while I didn’t garden naked, I definitely continued working on the yard. Even without much effort, spring is in full effect on our property. The tulips are all up…


Gemima the Geranium is happy in her planter with some ivy, and we have a new bush in the front named Arbie (because he’s an Arborvitae… duh). I figured if you name them, they will grow.


notice the one lonely yellow daffodil?

Penelope the Peacock  now lives under our gorgeous cherry tree surrounded by hostas…


pink goodness

And this year she has been joined by Priscilla the Peacock WHO HAS A SOLAR LIGHT BELLY!!!! (My mom told The Man that we were buying her and he though we were kidding… HA!)


SO CUTE! (husband thinks I’m a dork)

She is very happy with the flowering quince, tickseed, and bleeding heart that are all sprouting up and thriving. And of course, you can’t forget the herbs and veggies and such!


happy planters!

From left to right we have chives, black cherry tomatoes (first time growing), strawberries (first time growing), a super 100 cherry tomato plant(same as last year), a full size tomato plant (no idea what variety), and on the fence (soon to be power washed and stained – yay for container planting!) we have German thyme and cilantro!

So far the tiny little fence has kept the groundhogs away from the strawberries (he dug them up the first night), and he seems to have no interest in the tomatoes so far. Not pictured, we’re also growing an eggplant for the first time. We figure we’ll see how everything does this year and if we have any luck, and next year we have plans to make a quite large veggie bed in the back of the property.

Last but not least, I’ve been fighting a (losing) battle against the rose of sharon which, this year, has decided it wants to grow IN THE LAWN. So if anyone wants some, come and get it!

sharon is DEAD

sharon is DEAD

I can’t wait to borrow our neighbors power washer for all our paver walls, the fence, and the cement patio pad. I think it will make a world of difference, and since I took the pictures over a week ago everything has started filling out and all the weeds have been pulled and leaves swept up. We are religiously using the composter earlier this season than last because we were so impressed by what we got from last year that I can’t wait to see what we do if we’re diligent with adding to it.

This weekend I’m going to visit my mom and do a lot of container planting, and then it’s back to renovation! I have the door to my office that I finally need to refinish and hang thanks to Abby’s inability to control herself (more on that later!) and a lot of wood work that I need to start painting. All in good time! Reno season is finally here!!!

Can we go back to the weather from Easter please?

I can’t believe how (comparatively) cold and windy and bleak it has seemed the past two days when it was so gorgeous this past weekend. As this weekend looms I’m just hoping for more blue skies and warm winds to grace us.  I love spring and seeing the flowers and the grass growing and the birds returning to the yard, but cold days like today are such a slap in the face.

Our Easter weekend was very quiet but absolutely lovely.  The Man and I started out the weekend by picking up a dog crate off of Craigslist and meeting some amazing dogs at our local shelter. We even took one special girl out for a walk and LOVED her but she just wasn’t “the one” for us (shout out to June and all the amazing folks at Delco SPCA!) The rest of the day was spent at a wonderful lunch (where I got a sunburn on the back of my neck – forgot I chopped my hair!), mailed my mom’s birthday gift, and then did work in the yard. We ended our evening by having a dear friend over for dinner and broke out the grill for the first meal of the season.

Then came Easter Sunday. The weather was perfect, clear blue skies, and the Man and I were getting dressed to walk to church when he stopped me and asked, “What did you do to your leg?” I looked down and lo and behold I had a friend! It was a tick. GAH! Freaking out commenced, along with the discovery that we do not own tweezers.  A set of pliers and band aid later, though, and we were off to church.

Because the weather was so gorgeous, we went home, settled on the patio with coffee, and called our parents. Then the big meal of the day (as the Man had to work) was brunch!


I made the most AMAZING white bread in our machine the day before so we made French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage. It was so gorgeous out we decided to just eat outside.


And then I decided we needed a festive Easter picture (and no, they weren’t Mimosas… I just have lapses in judgement sometimes).

IMG_20140420_104653_648Even though the Man had to go to work, it was a gorgeous day. I just can’t wait for this weekend to get back outside and finish seeding our lawn and start stripping the paint off a door (which will be my first project for the season!) and hopefully, this time, no ticks. On the plus side, for those wondering, I have no “bulls eye” and am on preventative meds – yay.

So happy hump day! And I hope all your bunny holidays were happy too!


herb love

Yesterday I was starving around 3:30 and remembered I hadn’t eaten lunch. I was already home for the day, so I decided to raid the kitchen. I found a bag of ricotta tortellini, but didn’t want to open a whole jar of sauce for myself. I had a vine tomato that needed to be used and some leftover feta but not much else. So out to my garden I went, cut some fresh basil and cilantro, chopped everything up, and voila! Instant pasta topping.

It may not have been fancy, but it was delicious. Nothing is better than fresh basil with pasta. I love having fresh herbs growing just a few feet from my kitchen.


manual labor marathon

Thursday was my Mom’s birthday. My gift to her this year (because we don’t really have disposable income) was lunch with a friend, and me! By “me”, of course, I mean manual labor.  Mom got to go pick out all the flowers that she wanted at the store, and I planted them for her.  The only problem is we had two giant rose bushes that had grown out of control to remove first.

After about an hour of digging, thinking we were going to try to salvage them, I was victorious!

2013-04-27 13.36.48

Luckily I was wearing gloves, because the thorns are a bitch.

2013-04-27 13.37.20By Saturday evening, we had the garden planted. I drove back to my house, and today attacked my own yard again. No fancy before and after pictures, but safe to say I will be stocking up on aspirin and a good book for the next few days.

I’m glad I got to spend the time at my mom’s and still get stuff done at my place. Just sad to see Monday coming so quickly.

i missed earth day but…

It has been a crazy few weeks here at casa de restoration (it sounds good but I didn’t take Spanish so that is probably wrong…) and I can’t wait to share with you the recent crazy!

Last week, The Man turned 31  so I took off Monday and Tuesday to celebrate. And by celebrate, I mean he had drill on Saturday and Sunday and we didn’t get to do anything, and we spent Monday and Tuesday attacking the gardens! I would say that he was disappointed, but after a weekend at drill, he seemed happy that we went out for a birthday sushi lunch pre-gardening.

The amount of gardening refuse we accumulate whenever I decide I’m going to garden “just for a little bit” (which invariably turns into 4 hours or so) has been amazing.  I think the Man wanted to kill me last week when we had to take it to the curb. (And I think the garbage men may kill me if I continue on this trend…)

alllllllll from the garden

alllllllll from the garden

What pisses me off most is that my little yellow collapsible gardening bag was taken by the garbage men. And by taken, I mean they threw it out.  So while I am in mourning for my favorite gardening garbage receptacle, I soldiered on.

I meant to share these pics with you for Earth Day, and I missed the boat, but better late than never!  If you remember, a few weeks ago I began attacking the front of the house by removing some bushes. While the Man was at drill, the attack continued! This time, I drafted some friends.

Meet Kat.

hi Kat!

hi Kat!

Kat is my very tall friend who can reach things that I can’t. He is also has INFINITELY cooler power tools than I do.  While he originally came over to use my driveway with my painting friend, Julie, I innocently asked him for his opinion on removing the columns and he either a. decided I couldn’t be trusted with tools or b. figured I was just pretending to be clueless and he was going to get roped into helping anyway.

2013-04-14 17.35.18Kat was able to unscrew everything holding the columns together and find the seams to split the columns apart in about half the time it took me to get the ladder and find the battery to my drill. We already knew that the columns were not supporting anything so we were surprised to find a giant wooden 4×4 inside each of them.

4x4 brought to you by Kat and Julie

4×4 brought to you by Kat and Julie

Once the columns were off, we found a surprise:

2013-04-14 17.42.42A bazillion anchors that fell THROUGH the columns when the Man and I tried to attach a flag holder to it. After the third time the flag holder came loose on a windy day, my hatred of the columns was confirmed, and the columns’ death note was signed, sealed, and delivered. I cannot tell you the squeals of joy that erupted from me as the beams came down. And the transformation is truly amazing.






Rest assured, there is a master plan to this transformation, albeit a slow going plan. However, I’m already in love with how the front of the house is opened up. The columns just don’t go with the period of our house, and now we had room to put our bench on the front steps, which I’ve wanted to do since we scored it at an estate sale the summer we moved in.

bench love

bench love

Monday and Tuesday moved to tackling the ivy in the backyard. And by tackling, I mean I have a vendetta against the ivy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen we moved in the house, we had no idea that the pavers along the back of our property existed. Why? BECAUSE THEY WERE EATEN BY IVY. One of the reasons I hate the ivy so much is because we have gorgeous day lilies and yucca plants that were so overgrown you could barely see them.  While I made a lot of progress last year, it truly is a battle to get to the ivy roots and remove them without damaging the other plants. Over the fall the ivy started creeping back over the pavers, but after a few hours of work, I think it came out pretty good!

clean again!

clean again!

I have to say that removing the ivy is backbreaking, but the satisfaction afterwards is immeasurable.

post ivy-pulling glow

post ivy-pulling glow

All in all, the 4 day gardening extravaganza was a success.  AND I’m very excited because I finally get to use our rehabbed wheelbarrow (a $5 score at an estate sale!).


And when all was said and done, I finally sat back and relaxed.  As the two year anniversary of being in the house looms, I can’t wait to show you the continuing projects, inside and out. If you had told me a few years ago that this is what I would be getting joy from, I would have told you that you were crazy.  But here I am, and I couldn’t be happier with the house, and myself.  Happy belated Earth Day!


cheaper than therapy

I had a function for work today. On a Sunday. Now usually having to go to work on the weekend would bother me, but today was great.  It was an acceptance day for our new students, and they really seemed to gel. Typically, work stresses me out, drives me crazy, and occasionally makes me cry because I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. But the weather the past few days has been gorgeous and today was no exception. So with my 4 inch heels and new dress on, I went to work looking forward to seeing, in a way, the fruits of my labor. I screened these applications. I interviewed some of these people. I have talked to some of them on the phone more than a dozen times as they have navigated the application process. And now they are here, and real, and I helped that.

But on any given normal week, work stresses me out the same way it does half of my friends. This time of year, though, I have an outlet for my stress: the house, and particularly, the garden. So even though today went great, and it was utterly blissful to see all the students engage in conversation and share how excited they were, I decided to take out some leftover aggression on the front yard.

I’ve got a plan for the yard, you see. And part of it involved dealing with the two Alberta spruce bush/tree/monstrosities that are on either side of our front stairs. They didn’t do well last summer – the stress of a dry, hot season had browned out what are supposed to be evergreens. And as much as I had been hoping, the green is not coming back, and Alberta is like a crazy woman dropping her needles all over the place.

before, with tools of destruction at the ready

I’m tired of Alberta 1 & 2.  Alberta 1 (on the left) was all bushy and pretty and full in the front, but had caused the bush next to it to grow REALLY strange. And Alberta 2 (on the right) decided to die in the midsection. On top of that, they both have an unwieldy shape, the needles are quite prickly, and they don’t fit into my plan. Solution?

after... time elapsed approximately 2 hours

after… time elapsed approximately 2 hours

Me + handsaw + determination = AWESOME.

Please refrain from making fun of my lopsided daffodils – only half decided to bloom. And as a bonus I found a yucca plant growing underneath Alberta 1. So no daffodils yet, but an extra plant for no cost! Score!

So while some people run, or drink, or take a warm bath, chances are on a day when I’m stressed you’ll find me in the garden. Hacking something to pieces or pulling ivy.

I can’t wait to show everyone when the whole transformation is done.