Monday, September 13, 2010

Go green with brown!

This weekend I decided to start composting. There are different options for how you can do it. Whether you choose a pile, bin, or cage, you just need to make sure the materials can get air, water and proper nutrients (by contributing a variety of waste). Over 20% of waste in Alabamas landfills are organic materials like grass clippings, branches, leaves and fruit/vegtable scraps. I visited the Alabama Cooperative Extension website to learn more about composting in general. They have so many great resources for everything in the residential back yard from gardening to lawn maintenance, tree identification and earth friendly living.

We learned that pretty much anything I mentioned above in addition to egg shells and coffee grounds are perfect for compost. You can add fertilizer to help the process get started but usually the natural microorganisms will do the work on their own. Steer clear of adding meat scraps, bones, oil, grease or anything that might attract unwanted wildlife. And, cut down your branches so there is more surface area to begin decomposing. We are so excited to have rich soil to use in our garden next spring!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rolling out a green carpet!

I love green grass and that's something we lack at our new house. The poor Bermuda just doesn't do well unless it has full sun and good soil. Our soil is almost 100% red clay and we have some big trees so the grass is sparse. But, we have raked up some dirt and moved dirt to places that needed it so we can start with a good base. We've been laying sod in many areas and we plan to aerate, seed and fertilize the areas that have grass.

The sod is great! It's like a rug of soft green grass immediately. We know people who own a turf farm and we are able to pick up scraps for $25 a truckload. It's regularly $40 but we got a discount. I thought we would be getting corners and funny shaped pieces but most of this is perfect! Whatever they leave in the field after they cut is fair game- you just go out, take what you want and load it in your truck. Thank goodness we have friends with trucks or this would be a pretty messy project.

I definately recommend calling your local turf/sod farms to see if they sell scraps. It's great to fill in an area and this place recommended laying Zoysia in the spots that are bare because it will do better with shade than the Bermuda. And, since Zoysia spreads it should blend right in with what we already have. If you have a few friends to help load and unload you can be on your way to a perfect green lawn in no time.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Got Stains? Use this..

I am in shock. Having two dogs means I clean the floors A LOT!

And, lately I've noticed some spots starting to show on the carpets so I got the cleaner out and sprayed the spots. I went to get a rag to scrub the spots and when I got back to the room I honestly could not find the spots. I had to feel around to find the wet spots! I was so amazed I immediately thought, "I have to blog about this".

So what do I use? It is SpotShot in the blue and orange can. I used to use Resolve foam but I literally did not even put one finger to work scrubbing the carpet with SpotShot. The best part about this product is that it works in seconds. So the next time you need to buy carpet cleaner you know what to get.

Friday, August 27, 2010

See! It's Perfect.

I'm now taking custom furniture orders! Tell me this isn't perfect for this space...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Just Build Your Own...

I really need a console table to go in our foyer and a tall, narrow bookshelf for the blue room. After weeks of online shopping and window shopping around town I have found NOTHING. It would easily cost me $200 for the console table I want and $100 for the right bookshelf so I decided I would just make exactly what I want.

To all couples who plan to get married.. make sure you register for power tools. Girls, you may think you want fancy towels or new dishes but you will really love having the tools to build your own __(fill in the blank)_.

Let's just say, I LOVE POWER TOOLS. I can use a jig saw now and I didn't even need Craig's help. Nope, I read the directions (yeah, it was tough) and just installed the saw blade and made a few cuts and there you have it.

Seriously though, I drew out a plan and figured out about how much lumber I needed. If you're going to paint it you can just get the inexpensive Pine you find at Lowes or Home Depot. If you want to stain it you can spend more and get oak, etc. for a nice woodgrain.

Today, in only about 3 hours, I built the table and painted the first coat. I used a very simple plan with a top piece and 4 legs. The legs were screwed in place to the top first and then I framed the 4 legs with 3x1 directly under the table top. Then I cut insets for the 2x2 legs and put in a lower shelf to stabilize the long, skinny table and to add some storage space for "coffee table books" and picture frames. After securing all the pieces I flipped it over and started painting. It may not be the most beautiful table ever built but it only cost about $20 to build.

And, the best part is, it's custom built for our foyer area and will fit our need perfectly. Not even a $200 piece could say that.

Curtain Fitting

To no avail, Craig now has appropriately fitted curtains for his window. Although the packaging says they are energy saving/noise reducing, they are a bit thinner than the other kind but they are much more attractive in this room than the monochromatic shades of "Eclipse" brand. A nice brown and tan stripe pattern goes well with the color of the room and will match the bedding PERFECTLY when we get that set up in the next week or so. We are so close to getting everything put together! Lori, my sister-in-law, will be happy to have her room set up when football season starts. Just 10 days away.

Good news is I did put the other (very short) curtains in the blue room and they look good. They are still a bit short but in the words of Babe..."that'll do". I do love the tan color against the blue walls. Remember, I can't return them because Elie ate the packaging and there is a tiny hole in one panel. Lesson Learned: Always measure your windows before you buy curtains!

My next curtain endeavor will be hand making (yes, with a sewing machine) the kitchen valence out of fabric I bought. But, since I am so smart, I have asked Lesa to help me with my first attempt using my new sewing machine because I am not very confident in the window treatment area. Thank goodness my in-laws are back from their vacation! I bought a nice black, tan, green and red striped fabric on sale for $4/yard and the special drapery backing so the finished productr should be very nice. I guess we'll see how that works out.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

soo NOT funny!

Today was quite possibly the looongest day ever. I started my day with a quick breakfast to get out front to set up our yard sale. Regardless of what time you want to start your yard sale you're actual start time is the second you open the garage door. No kidding, the second I pushed the button there were 5 cars out front and I didn't even have time to pull everything into the driveway before people came into the garage. I ran in to to tell Craig "ready or not, it's time" and just let them look as I was moving everything out. The time... 6:42 a.m.

At about 10 a.m. we had nearly sold everything. I took a second to count our money and realized we had made over $120! All just by selling some junk in our closets. We started cleaning up at 10:30 and then cleaned out the garage and put everything we wanted to keep in it's place. What progress we are making!

Then I headed to work for the closing shift to help out a little and made it home around 6:15 p.m. to find all of Craig's books and papers at the dining room table while he was watching a movie. No big deal (although I really don't understand why he can't use his office) but I asked him what's wrong with his office. He said it was too hot.

So, I went in there to scrape the paint off the windows from our painting last weekend and started seeing little scratches. About that time, a chip peels off my razor and I realize of all things- THE WINDOW IS TINTED! Are you kidding? Yeah, it makes sense, these windows get direct sunlight for 10 hours a day, but I just painted the whole room without painters' tape! After my loud scream, Craig came in to see what the problem was and very sweetly helped me find a plastic scraper and paint thinner. After a very intense fight with unwanted paint on glass I asked Craig to help me hang the blinds and curtains so we could keep the room cooler. Afterall, that's what I wanted to get accomplished in the first place.

We hung the brand new blinds and they looked great (except that the middle window is different from the two skinny side windows). That didn't really bother me since the dogs will probably damage them anyways so we proceeded to hang the curtain rod. I was so excited to finally get these thermal curtains up so Craig could use his office and then...

REALLLLLYYYY?!!!! They are too short! I almost cried. After all of this work for one single window, now this! These fabulous curtains are only a good 2 feet too short. That's just fantastic. And, we can't even return them because Elie has chewed up all of the packaging! The best part about it was the look on Craig's face. I thought he was gonna pee his pants holding back laughter and all I could say was, "ahh, can your mom please come back to the States! Because I can't do this house stuff without her." So really Lesa, please come home soon, we need your help! I know what you're thinking, "why didn't you just measure the window." Well, that's a great question and you better believe I will never buy another window treatment without knowing my exact window dimensions.

Thank goodness I can actually use these in another room so all is not lost but I told Craig I would start looking for new curtains- curtains that were the right size and added a little color to the room. He simply responded, "k, well you can find some sooner rather than later." Ha!