Whiskey Box Succulent Garden

Using the same foil-lined technique I discovered to use these whiskey boxes for growing seeds, I made a little garden display of succulents today. Varieties chosen based on a short root structure. None of them will outgrow the boxes!
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The Garden: Succulent Tower of Success!

I had a lot of fun with this the other day. After growing small plants in their own containers for awhile so they could get some height and width, I finally combined them all for the champion of succulent containters! Spring is here, ladies and gentlemen, and with that comes the return of my home improvement resolve!

Old Door Love Part Two

Today I started on my “old door” project.  You might remember my musings on what to do with the old doors Daniel and I found randomly all in one week. I had never exactly decided, so working on it today was completely unexpected. I started by watering the plants, which led to washing my car, which led to spraying the old doors, which led to paint chipping off. And then I really got serious.

I love the way paint looks when it is chipped off in layers – the randomness, the contrast between the different colors. This old door has been painted a lot!
I started with a heavy jet stream from the hose to loosen what was already bubbled from age and used a paint scraper to remove that first. It came off easier than the sticker on a peanut butter jar!
When I was finished with everything that came easily, I scraped along all the edges, to give it a uniformly weathered look. Now since this door is old, there’s a chance the paint could have lead. So I kept it very wet while working, and when everything dries I will vacuum up the chips while wearing a painting mask, and then fill the vacuum cleaner reservoir with water to dump it. This is my home-grown way of minimizing the chance of inhaling dust, but if you’re going to try this I’m sure there are safer ways!
 The goal with this particular door is to add little white shelves with cast iron brackets and use it as a plant stand.I may eventually use a high gloss clear coat on the whole door, to keep it from rotting outside,
and to hold onto that wet, high gloss look!

Staining and Gardening

Added mulch around the roses today after digging out all the weeds and am using some brick stain to recolor the planters – much more cheerful! Also got to work staining the old brick by the gate –  the front used to be completely brick, but over the years it disintegrated and was concreted in and painted over, but some still shows on the side.

This work also got me thinking about what the front of the house should look like, and how much we want a red door! The front walk is stained an ugly green, but I think the sand color of the stone in this picture would be really soothing. We also could do a terra cotta color on the roof, like this one has. This was actually the only Spanish-style house with a red door I could find – let me know if you come across any more!

House Beautiful – again

I’ve got to say House Beautiful really does it for me. I love this article on another bungalow and what she’s done with the backyard – pretty great!

I know we just stained the backyard concrete, but I am suddenly smitten by the idea of creating different spaces by perhaps putting in borders and filling over the concrete with rock! Definitely makes for a cozier feel, and might deflect the early morning sun, making the area cooler. Could be worth a shot!

I love this quote from the owner/designer about an outdoor space (and I can also relate because we don’t have a foyer either:

“The front door opens directly into the living room. Is it awkward not having an entry hall?
Oh, but I do! I use the steps, the gate, the yard, and the porch as a sort of foyer, to give pause to guests, so they feel they’re getting away from the hubbub of L.A., the cars, the sun, and entering this warm, cozy place.”

Young House Love – A Blog to Watch and My Own Rambles about Ceiling Fans

I love this little blog by a couple who bought a house a few years back and keep track of all their projects. I am most excited by this particular post, and so will you if you have a backyard made of grey concrete.

  Isn’t the turquoise fence charming? Especially the way it leans just so.

Also in our plans is a firepit, made by the young geniuses on Young House Love for $28 with some concrete pavers from Lowe’s. Of course they post later to make sure not to use concrete, actually, because it has small bubbles in it and under high heat they can EXPLODE. Good to know.

The final rambling for today: Ceiling Fans.

Now I know that most design aficionados (and my cousin Kate) will say that ceiling fans are not the most desirable thing to have on the ceiling. I believe the word she uses is tacky, but I’ve always felt that a little harsh. They’re…less desirable than a chandelier. But one can’t argue with cooling air, especially in my 1924 California Bungalow with No Air Conditioning at 3pm in July. Then again our ceilings aren’t the highest, so I thought maybe she’s right, they are ugly, I’ll avoid it. I mean, it’s easy to wonder if this…

…is really what I want to look at every day. But in defense of fans the world wide, I also came across many more of these:

Which goes to show that any type of lighting fixture can be victim to the hand of, well, tacky. 
And then last night we went to a friend’s house, and I found this:

The Micro-24 by Monte Carlo, which I believe, at 24 inches and less than $100, is the cutest thing I have ever seen. Case closed.