Wednesday, August 31, 2011

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. ~C.S. Lewis

Flickr user ScribbleTaylor

It's been a tough month for blogging, although I've had many projects I'm working on and my digital camera is loaded with pictures I'm itching to share. I just wish I didn't have to have my laptop with me to share them! It always happens that when I get a spare minute or snapped a great picture, I don't have the laptop with me to put my SD card in. But I'm working on it, I swear. :)

We've moved my brother into college (and he's doing swell) and this week is the "let's all adjust to not having him, even the poor cats" week. We all miss him but fall is chugging along and it's the last day in August! My fall plans are arriving quickly (many trips and activities that I will indeed share with you). I've also been working on a preservation project but again, can't upload photos this minute so maybe later in the week. :D AND (I'm so excited) we're going to Philly this weekend for the wedding of two of the most wonderful people in the world. I'm totally going to sob. But hopefully not during my Irish blessing reading. :D

And Starbucks has been taunting me with their advertisements for the upcoming pumpkin spice latte. Which just puts food on the brain and so this week I have the urge to make cinnamon scones from this recipe, accompanied by pumpkin butter from this recipe. Yum! I know I won't have time, but it's so tempting...

Monday, August 22, 2011

"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." ~Frederick Buechner

The little bro (sibling #2) is heading off to college this week. It's been fun having him live with us this summer and we will miss him dearly. The house is certainly going to get a good deal quieter, my hubby will miss the games of Halo, and the cats will miss their daytime snuggle buddy.

School shopping has been going on in earnest and it's going to be a rough week for packing. But I hope he's excited to start a new part of his life. Now on to sibling #3...she just turned 17 and her turn is coming. They grow up so fast! Sibling #4 is right behind her.

Monday, August 8, 2011

"The world is your kaleidoscope..." ~James Allen

As always, I feel as though I'm perpetually in a period of transition. Right now, my house is feeling that transition, especially the exterior. Little by little, starting last year, I'm trying to update and beautify the exterior landscaping, house details, and paint colors. My project for this year WAS to strip the paint from the porch ceilings (detailed looking bead board), sand it, and then stain it a natural-looking color (i.e. no more paint since it's an awful dark brown color at the moment). I also wanted to continue painting the porches from what we had started last year (new fence was painted and exterior foundation was painted). And while inspecting some of the porches' details, I noticed that the previous homeowners covered up some of the woodwork with painted aluminum sheets to make it easy on themselves. I would like to remove them to 1) make sure the wood isn't rotting underneath and 2) strip it, sand it, and make it look as beautiful as the rest. I had also planned on constructing another mini-wall to level out a portion of our backyard and divide some of the plants that are taking over sections of the yard. All while fighting the war against the ever-encroaching pokeweed *shakes fist angrily*.

Needless to say, these goals aren't happening. I must be crazy to think I could accomplish this. I started stripping one corner of the back porch ceiling and realized that it would take me all summer just to do the stripping. Of only the back porch ceiling. So I've temporarily abandoned this project in the hopes that I can afford to hire someone to do the stripping and sanding eventually. If it weren't on the ceiling it wouldn't be such a bother (I'm imaging a Winnie-the-Pooh voice saying this. Those of you unfamiliar with his movies, well, too bad).

Luckily, my brother is living with us currently and he graciously started constructing the wall in the back yard. After only a couple days of digging, I think we are almost ready to start building. Progress! 

I was also determined not to abandon painting the porches and therefore, I now have a (mostly) painted back porch which doesn't match the rest of the house. I probably won't get to the front porch before winter but I'm using the back porch as a sort of test run. Fewer people see it and that way, I'll have the colors perfected for the front and sides of the house. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself. The legion peeps will be very confused for a while about what's going on at my house. Tell me what you think of the colors! I had to work with the brown siding, which will not be going away anytime soon (it's not in the pictures, though).

These are the colors of the porches now. The walls are fake stucco painted white *shudder*, with a dark brown window trim and brown sash trim. You can also see a glimpse of the ceiling. The carpet is also dark brown. I plan to rip that up at some point, especially since I can feel the wood planks splintering in some spots. The front door (set of French doors) were white with the brown trim around them. I recently painted them the blue that you will see.

Ta da! These will be the new colors. I have this very dark teal that I'm painting the doors/inner window trims (so no more brown!). And then the outside trim is a soft off-white called parchment paper. The faux stucco walls are painted a tan called Gobi Desert. I tried to get it relatively close to the color of the siding but it's still lighter than it in a flattering way. It just looked so odd having the siding be brown and then the porches stark white.

I also have a couple lighter shades of blue and a cranberry red that I planned on using for accent colors or to paint a few designs here and there (like maybe above the door, over a window, or on some of the fence slats). I haven't gotten that far though.The colors are a great improvement to me and the house already looks bigger, brighter, and cleaner. Now if only I could get those porch ceilings to look nicer!