Friday, April 27, 2012

Gardening: The Plan and some Initial Work

I have two/three separate garden spaces. One to the left of the garage in this picture, before you get to my front door.

It looked like this when I moved in, and up until today. There are a lot of different flowers in this spot, including a rose bush, azaleas, and possibly hollyhocks. How do I know this? There is a master gardener in my neighborhood who offered to help me prune the bush you can see in the above picture, and I also picked her brain about the rest of my gardens.

The next garden you come upon is to the left of the front door. It looks like this:

Here you can see the overgrown violets and the shrub, along with the lovely lava rock that is being used as mulch. I'm planning to remove those bad boys and replace them with regular mulch. I think I'd also like to plant some pretty flowers in the open space. We shall see, as I am not an experienced gardener!

The last garden is along the whole south side of my condo. It is by far the largest.
It has three huge shrubs, that here look like one right in the middle of the picture, and then some smaller shrubs to the left. To the right of the monstrosity is a rose bush and some other random flowers.
There really is a lot of work to do here. First, those three shrubs are blocking the living room windows. Second, the beds in general are a mess of weeds and regular grass from lack of upkeep over the past years. The woman that lived here before me for 35 years was 90something years old, and I'm certain she wasn't outside weeding gardens. 

This is what the same corner looked like after about 30 minutes of pulling vines out of the ground. Now the window is unobstructed and the azalea and rose bushes are visible!

Azalea bush. So pretty.

Can't remember the name of this guy.

Can't remember the name of this either. Should have been taking notes!

Ahh, one more look at the clean bed.




I am generally overwhelmed by the gardens I have to take care of here, so I am going to start slowly. My goal for this spring is to get the two corner gardens in good shape by removing the lava rocks and putting down mulch, and then next spring I can focus on the longer back garden. I want to remove those large shrubs from the back but need to figure out how exactly that can happen. Dig them up? Cut them down?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

May Punch List

It's been a couple months since I've updated my punch list, but here goes:
Here is my room by room punch list. It's still growing.

My focus for May is going to be 
  • Removing the lava rocks from the garden and replacing with mulch
  • convincing Mike its time to start the baseboards
  • Possibly getting a new dishwasher
  • Continuing to replace outlets and switches throughout the whole house

Throughout whole house:
  • Replace lightswitches and outlets with new, white ones- Done about 8 of them! Getting there.
  • Replace lightswitch covers and outlet covers
  • Have GCI outlets installed in bathroom, kitchen;- scheduled for Dec. 22
  • Purchase and install programmable thermostat
  • Purchase and install new smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detector
  • New Windows! Details soon.
  • Paint trim on new windows- In progress
  • Replace old gross air vents with new ones
  • Paint Cabinets (in progress)
  • replace counter tops?
  • replace floor- purchased! Installed!
  • Decide on color and paint walls
  • paint trim
  • Install under-cabinet lights
  • Replace Fridge, Dishwasher, Range <- New dishwasher is in the works. Current one died last week! :(
Living Room
  • Paint Walls "Wild Aster"
  • Pick out, buy and Install baseboards
  • Paint Trim
  • Replace carpet with laminate!?? <- Purchased! Waiting to get installed!
  • Hang Curtains
  • Get new Couch
  • Hang Art, mirrors- Still some work to do here
  • Hang blinds?

  • Decide on color and paint walls
  • Paint trim
  • Paint Closet
  • Redo Closet system
  • Hnng Curtains
  • Hang art, mirrors
  • Replace carpet
  • Remove shower doors
  • Hang shower curtain
  • paint vanity
  • paint trim
  • Replace or Frame mirror
  • Remove Wallpaper
  • Decide on color and Paint walls
  • Clean grout or regrout?
  • Replace Faucet AND sink!
Second Bedroom
  • Decide on color and paint walls
  • Paint trim
  • Redo closet?
  • Replace carpet
  • Paint paneling white <-!! Details coming!
  • fix water damaged walls (probably a contractor will do this)
  • replace carpet
  • Finish basement bathroom (what a nutty set up!)
  • organize and set up sewing area
  • replace washer and dryer? Ordered! Delivery Dec. 6th!
Gardens (writing a whole series of posts on the gardens right now)
  • Prune shrub <- done with help of Master gardener neighbor. Deets soon.
  • Remove ugly vine
  • Remove lava rocks and 
    • replace with mulch
  • Pick out and plant flowers for two side gardens


Continuing my progress in the bathroom is the replacement of the ugly 60's style light above the mirror. Unfortunately I don't have a great before did that happen?? Here are the two best pictures I have of it. Hard to see because the light is on!

I found a similar light online- mine looked like this except no starburst pattern, and frankly this looks like a nicer version of what I had.I'm certain this light was original, so from the mid-70's.

I replaced it (all by myself!) with this light I found at the local re-use center. I paid $12.50 for it total, including the three glass shades. I recently went to Lowes and saw the same fixture for sale there for about $55. I felt pretty smug about that.

It's a huge improvement. In addition to it looking more of-this-century, the added light from the 3rd light bulb makes a huge difference. The bathroom has so much more light now!
Of course I wasn't happy to stop there. While the shades on this fixture are ok, I don't love them. I found these seeded glass "bells" at Home Depot, for about $7 each and put them up in place of the shades that came with the fixture. Even now, I've only spent $33 on this light fixture total, still more than $20 less than what the cost of this fixture new is, so I felt ok spending the extra money to get the look I wanted.

It looks kind of blue here, but I promise, its clear.

It was clear immediately that I need clear light bulbs in the fixture instead of white ones. I bought some recently but they are way too bright, so I need to try again. I had a hard time finding the ones I got (which are Halogen) so hopefully I can find similar ones with a smaller wattage. 

Regardless I'm psyched about how my bathroom is looking. The counter top is getting closer and closer to the top of the list!