Thursday, April 15, 2010

It's Almost Over but the Growin'

For once I actually remembered to post the before pictures! This is the slope on the South side of our house. As you can see it was a sad little hill in desperate need of some landscaping attention. Notice the poor little bare spot that sat directly under a rope swing that was removed the day I started this project. I started this project Sunday night on a whim and I think it is a huge change!

I'm not 100% finished as you can see. I still need to trim the weed paper and then I am going to use recycled plastic edging about 4 inches away from the rocks and then go back and add more mulch between the edging and the rocks so I won't have to worry about weeds or grass growing up in the rocks. I was so happy to be done last night that I just had to take pictures this morning and share.

So now I wait for the plants to grow. I've planted five dwarf bushes and lots of perennials. Near the back along the house I've planted assorted colors of cannas. I've also added May Night Salvia, Red Prairie Mallow, Orange Phlox, pink fairy lillies and hosta. I really don't expect the bulbs to bloom this year though I sure hope we get some action there. I am hoping though that next year it's just beautiful and definitely worth the work!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Another Peek at What's Been Keeping Me Busy This Winter

I love the little ledge around the stairwell in my house. I like to display different things around it, depending on the season. For now, this is what I have come up with. Each little thing has a special meaning for me. Many are inherited items, some found, some purchased, but I love them all. Each one has a story and I think that's what makes them so special.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful...Winterproof With These Tips...

Someone from work gave me a copy of a page from Women's World magazine, listing some ideas for Winterproofing your car. Considering it's so cold I've wondered if there was ice in hell this week I thought I would share.

Ice Proof Your Windows: If you know there is a chance of ice, spray your windows the night before with a solution of 3 parts vinegar, one part water. The Vinegar is supposed to raise the melting point of water.

Fog Proof Your Windows: Spray shaving cream on the inside of your windows and wipe off with a paper towel to prevent fogging.

Winter Proof Your Headlights: Ever have your headlights covered with ice or snow so thickly that they don't work properly? Wipe car wax on the headlights to prevent the water or snow from accumulating on them. The water repellant in the wax keeps the water rolling off the lights.

Sqeak Proof Your Wipers: Grease and grime is the main reason that wipers squeak. Wipe wipers with rubbing alcohol to remove grease from the wipers which will improve their performance.

De-Ice Locks: Hand sanitizer works well for de-icing locks. squirt some on the lock and also on the key and it should fix the lock. Must be more than 60% alcohol to work though.

If you get stuck on ice or snow and just need some traction to get you moving, you can use your floor mat in front of the tire (rubber side up). When you try to drive off again, the tire should get traction off the mat.

Hope you find these tips as useful as I did and stay safe and warm!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Gracie McClung, one of the Greatest Women of all Time

November 29th was a day that I imagine I'll remember forever. That's the day that my Grandmother lost her battle with cancer. Rather than dwell on the battle that she lost, I would rather concentrate on her life and the woman that she was. I am so honored to have been her Grandaughter for 32 years.

Grandmother was raised on a farm and married a farmer for 47 years before my Grandad, Irvin died. As you will see in this video, the farm and family was her life. To some her world was small, but she made the world something special to all that knew her, sometimes if only with something as simple as a meal served with beautiful presentation. She loved ferris wheel rides, going for "deer runs" (taking a drive before sunset to look for deer), cooking for family and friends, and her dog Ben. She disliked mice, blue jays and people who bragged a lot or constantly talked about nothing. She was an amazing cook and fed just about anyone who would accept the invitiation. She took pride in decorating her home and that always changed with the seasons.

For Grandmother, it was all in the details. From a special tablecloth, an especially nice quilt on the bed for company, using a partictular glass that she knew I liked or being sure to have chocolate chip cookies in the cookier jar. Those are the kind of details that I don't seem to have time for because I work full time. Either I don't make time or there just isn't time.

She influenced the woman that I am today in ways that she probably never knew and I hope that you will get to know her a little too by watching this tribute video. This video was compiled from family photographs and created by my cousins Shannon, Erin, Ashley and husband Daniel, and Allison and fiance David.

Gracie McClung November 13, 1921- November 29, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My name is Jill and I burn the basement...

One of the first things we did when we bought our home was to purchase a new corn stove and have it installed in our basement so we could heat with corn versus the less than energy efficient all electric furnace that the previous owners had installed in the basement. Though it was brand new, it would have cost a fortune to heat the 1800 sq foot lower level.

So we had to bore through concrete to vent the stove and I tiled the floor so we would have a non-combustible pad for the stove, but now we have a multi-fuel stove in the basement that will burn corn, wheat, milo, soybeans, cottonseed hulls, cherry pits, name it. We wanted a stove like that so we could alternate between crops depending on what the market was. So far we love this stove! It works so much better than our old corn stove and starts so much easier.

Burning corn is so much easier than burning wood and so much less messy. Eventually we would love to add a corn burner upstairs and use it for our primary heat source. Right now we are using the wood burner for our primary heat, and we wouldn't replace it so we could have a backup if we lost power, but we would definitely prefer to burn corn upstairs. It's amazing how little corn it takes to produce a hot fire, plus corn stoves qualify for the Green Energy Income Tax Credit, so we can recoup up to 30% on our tax return! Bonus!

Trash to Treasure End Table

A tray that nobody wanted is now one of my favorite little details in this room.

This end table was a garage sale find that someone gave to me, probably because they didn't want it either. I used it in my home before Andy and I were married and then when we combined households, I stored it along with many other pieces I had collected over the years for those "one of these days" projects.

After we bought our house and had much much more space than before, I drug out this end table from storage and stripped off the old finish, sanded and stained with Minwax Special Walnut, topped it off with a couple coats of Tung Oil and it went straight to the living room. It matches my shadow box coffee table perfectly and if I hadn't fessed up, no one would suspect that it wasn't a matched pair to the coffee table.

I found the metal tray at an auction. They auctioned off a set of three mis-matched silver trays and the first time they tried to sell them, no one wanted them. The second time they went around I hadn't gotten a good chance to see them but for $1 I decided to buy them. When I got the trays home I fell in love with this one and it found the perfect home on this table plus it makes a wonderful place to set drinks without needing a coaster.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Room with a Stairs

This one is still in process though this is a grouping of rosettes that I found here and there and still need a couple more to complete the group.
I have no idea what this little box is actually here for other than for me to put things on it. I wish it was a storage box but no luck, this doo-hickey is firmly nailed shut...

These are pictures of the room that I have no idea what to call it. It's just the room with the stairs because it really serves no other functional purpose other than for me to stick things I love, like the organ my Grandmother gave me. It's funny, this organ belonged to her husband's aunt I think and she never liked it. I guess she has tried to give it away for years with no luck (that seems nuts to me because I love it) so she was thrilled when I agreed to take it. It's hard to see all the detail on the piece, but the detail is beautiful and I am so honored to have it in my home!

Spare Bedroom and a Good for Nothin Cat...

My Tom is so vain that I'm convinced that he has adopted the spare bedroom as his own simply because he looks good on the quilt...
The side table is a table that I found at a garage sale. The first day I asked the man what he wanted and he told me he would take $50 for the table! It was in sorry shape but I went back the next day and asked again. He said he would take $50, I offered him $10 and he said, "Sold!". I fixed the wobble, sanded and refinished and then distressed it a little just to add that shanty look that I love and it feels perfect in this room. The curtains were ones that I made a couple years ago for our old bedroom. The bed is an old wrought iron bed that Andy had sandblasted and painted. There are actually two big accent pillows on the bed but I guess I was anxious to take the pictures because I took this one before I finished sewing the other pillow.

So what started out a room with really odd green paint (sorry I did not think to document that on film) is now a room that I just love! It was by far my favorite room though now I love the blue bedroom too. They are rooms with such polar opposite vibes, but I really like them both equally. What I enjoy the most is probably the fact that each piece in both rooms really has a story behind it and that's what makes it fun.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Apparently it's pretty hard to buy coasters these days...

After our new furniture was finally delivered I tried desperately to find coasters for the living room. You would think that would be an easy thing to do but then again, I've not really ever tried to buy coasters before. We have them, but I think they were gifts and they are now in Andy's Man Cave. So after looking just about anywhere I could think of, I couldn't find any coasters except for NCAA College Team Coasters and that was just not what I was looking for. So last night I cut 5" squares from burlap and flannel. I slipped one square of cotton flannel between two squares of burlap and pinned them together and stenciled a "D" monogram on each coaster. This morning before work I sewed the layers together on the sewing machine and threw the rest of my supplies in a bag so I could work on them during my lunch break. I have not completely finished the full set of six that I am working on, but this is how they look after I added the decorative stitching. I think I probably have under $2 invested in the whole set. Probably not even that much. Cute and inexpensive! Can't go wrong with that combination!

Living Room

This quilt was the inspiration for the wall colors in the living room.
View from the front door through to the dining room.

Love the way cream looks with this blue.

Part of my cross collection which seems to be growing and multiplying while I sleeep...

I have always wanted a blue living room and I guess I have one now. This is one of those colors that I just love and every time I look at the walls, I love them just as much as the day I painted them. Though I'm not completely done with this room, you can at least see the direction it's going. I still haven't worked out anything to house our electronics. The TV is mounted on the wall and I am pretty sure that I am going to build a mantle that doubles as a hidden entertainment center. That's a huge project though so stay tuned for my little reveal on that when I get all finished. Unfortunately that part will not be done for our Open House this weekend though all in good time. I can't do everything at once.