why you shouldn’t let me have spray paint

If I had known about spray paint as a teenager I could have gotten into so much more DIY trouble. I’m more than happy to make up with it now, though! And tis the season to spray paint!

I don’t have my “spray paint studio” set up in the garage anymore, but I was able to make due with the use of cardboard protection on the lawn (because I really don’t need multi-colored grass). What was I spray painting? Well, this year we switched out my mom’s old, tired, plastic, terracotta colored planters for new, bright, and shiny ones. Most were in okay shape structurally (nothing a little hidden duct tape couldn’t fix) but they were ridiculously faded. Solution? I take them and see how well spray paint works on them!

one of the victims

one of the victims

I had never spray painted plastic before, but I figured it can’t be that hard, right? I prepped the pots by scrubbing them with Mrs. Meyers Surface Scrub and letting them dry in the sun for almost an hour. Then began the fun part: prime and paint!

the weapons of choice

the weapons of choice

I’ve become a devotee of all things Valpsar from Lowe’s after using it to paint our dining room, upstairs hall, and guest room, so I figured I’d give their spray paint a try. It was, as a plus, much cheaper than other products I had used in the past. Although some of their colors say that they’re fine to use directly on plastic, I decided to prime all the boxes with two to three coats anyway. I had a few different places that the boxes were going, so I chose two different colors: Tropical Oasis and Sumptuous Purple.

Tropical Oasis

Tropical Oasis

I could not be happier with the way the boxes turned out! I probably did three to four coats on each box. Both colors came out bright and cheerful. Two of the Tropical Oasis boxes sit in a very shady bed behind Hostas under our cherry tree, and one holds a plant on our driveway.

The Sumptuous Purple boxes came out equally brilliant. Because they’re going along the side of our lawn and sitting directly in the garden beds which are filled with ivy and can get quite soggy, I wanted to make sure they had plenty of drainage, but also weren’t too heavy. Solution?


Pine cones! Doesn’t everyone have a tote full of pine cones just sitting in their garage? Well, this girl has TWO totes full. Over a year ago, I spent all fall picking up the myriads of pine cones that fall from our huge tree because we learned the hard way that if you leave them through the winter, they create horrible divots in the lawn. I can’t walk without tripping on a good day, so my personal mission became collecting them. I figured we’d use them in our fire pit, but they burn so quickly they’re not very helpful. Finally, though, they have a purpose!

Sumptuous Purple

Sumptuous Purple

I filled the bottom third with the pine cones and then added soil on top. I only planted Impatients in the boxes so they don’t have terribly deep roots to worry about. So far, they’re thriving! Now I just had to figure out what to do with the leftover spray paint… but NO WORRIES!


sad chair is sad

We inherited five of these sad looking folding chairs when we moved into the house. They were covered in rust. The first summer we lived in the house, I had spray painted a few tiny clay pots a beautiful lime green, and with paint leftover, I had sanded all five chairs and intended to paint them the same. Only two of the chairs got painted, though, but no worries!


Now we have two more folding chairs to add to our collection for when we entertain! I love how cheerful these chairs are now and can’t wait until we have our first summer BBQ to pull them out.

Today was certainly a dismal, rainy, gray day, but I’m so thrilled with all the things I’ve gotten done so far! Anyone need anything spray painted!?


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!!!

warming trend

Sometimes it’s hard for me to admit when I’m stressed or depressed. I think it’s hard for everyone. But recently, I had to. Not because I need an intervention, but because I needed the people around me to understand that I’m not myself. That I’m getting emotional over small things. That I need a shoulder.

And somehow it always starts to ease in the spring. Suddenly, I’m not so worried about all the things to do that have piled up over the lazy, winter months. Now I’m looking forward to all the long hours that I need to put into the yard to get it in shape for the veggie growing season. And the door that still needs to be painted? Now that it’s light out longer and it’s warmer, it will get done.

Finally, I admitted to the Man that I’m overwhelmed and need some more help with stuff around the house. That I’ve been indecisive and sad and need him to be patient. And he has been. Sometimes you just need to ask for help, wait for the warmth, and breathe. It will be okay.

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.