Big Picture Redo

Way back in November 2013 I made a big picture to put over my mantel.  It was nice to have something up there and I still love the picture, but I wasn’t loving how it looked up there anymore.

After several changes my mantel has looked like this for the last couple of months:

p1Not terrible but I just wasn’t loving it.

I decided to attach the picture to a piece of plywood and then build a frame around it.  All with stuff I already had.  And I didn’t have any plywood.

Improvisation #1:


I had a piece of bead board left over from my bathroom project that was slightly bigger than I needed it.  I still don’t own a table saw so I used a combination of an exacto knife and a hand saw.  Luckily it’s not really wood so it cut pretty easily (although not cleanly.)


Originally I was going to stain the trim around the edges but I had to use a combination of pine and redwood (improvisation #2) so I had to abandon that plan.  I had also planned on setting the picture down into the frame a little bit but since the back board wasn’t real wood I couldn’t nail into the edge so I just set the board on top of the frame and nailed it together (improvisation #3.)

Once everything was fastened it looked like this:

p4I caulked the edge between the board and frame and once that was dry I got to painting.  p5

First I sprayed it wit an aqua spray paint (obviously this was after I had already started to position the picture.)  Once the spray paint was dry I rubbed on a coat of Jacobean stain and let that dry.

Then I put it over the mantel!

p7I love it!  I’m looking for a frame in a size between the one holding the picture of me and Henry and the little one.


I really wish I had done this sooner!  It was so easy and looks so much better!



Oh the Patio

First, I love my patio.  I love sitting out there in the evenings surveying my land (ha!) and watching Henry cavort in the grass.

But it was sadly neglected while my whole house purge was going on.  Now that that’s over and all my extra stuff has either been sold or carted to the thrift store I finally had time to focus on getting this outdoor space back in order.


The lights wouldn’t stay up

patio5there was sawdust

patio6chairs and dog toys everywhere.

I started with the lights and found that the problem seemed to be in the way they were hung.  Before I had them running vertically from the house to the planters and the wind just kept taking them down.

patio2This time I ran twine from the house to three hooks on the planters and then ran the lights across them.  We’ve had some awesome storms the last couple of days and they’ve stayed up so far!

lightsAnd at night?  Well, perfect!

patio7After the lights were up all I had to do was spray off all the sawdust and put all the furniture back.

patio8Now I can sit in any of the chairs without getting covered in sawdust!


Garden Visitors

The weather the last couple of weeks has been amazing!  Rain almost everyday and high temperatures in the 80s.  This means that I’ve been spending a lot of time working in my garden (mostly weeding but also harvesting peppers, squash and zucchini!)  and noticing all the creatures that now live in my yard!

First, the rain has brought slugs



They kind of gross me out if I think about them too much but they’re fascinating to watch!



I also have this cute little praying mantis



who almost looks like he posed for this picture, doesn’t he?

This morning I went outside to pick up Henry’s toys (he now has TWO bins!) so I could mow.  I bent down to pick up a bone when I noticed this:



It didn’t move as Henry cavorted around it or when I got in close to take this picture so I assumed it was dead.  It was too pretty to be run over by the lawn mower so I picked it up to move it.  And it moved.  I’m not sure if it’s dying or just chilled but it let me move it to a plant on my patio (where it has stayed for a couple of hours.)

b4I don’t know if you can tell how big it is from the pictures, but it’s huge.  It’s body is as long as my palm and it’s wings are wider.  I love it and want it to stay forever.



On a side note though, how creepy is that face??

*okay, if you’re afraid of spiders, stop reading now.  seriously.*

One evening I was out weeding in my pepper planter when something scampered by.  I thought, “was that a spider?” and then, “no way, that was too big to be a spider.”

Guess what?



It was a spider.

I didn’t see it again for a couple of days until one morning last week when I walked out the back door to this:




I know, it’s hard to tell how big he is but those are elm seeds to the left if that helps with the scale for anyone.

Commenters on Facebook and Instagram tell me that this is a wolf spider and that it will kill pests in my yard so I’ve left him alone.  For now.  We have an agreement that as long as he stays outside, he won’t die.  So far he has respected that boundary!

I’m gearing up for my yard sale this Friday and Saturday and I’m hoping that when it’s over (and I have reclaimed my living room) I’ll have more time and space for projects (and posting!)


Garden in July, 2015

So far this summer has been good to my garden!  We got no rain in June but have had great, hard rain the last couple of days which has made everything (and me!) very happy.

garden1I had my first harvest this week: two squash, one zucchini and a little jalapeno.

garden2My peppers aren’t doing much.  They all have flowers but so far I’ve only gotten one jalapeno

garden15but another one is growing!  I was really hoping for a lot of habaneros that I can candy but so far I have none.

garden3My tomatoes and tomatillos are going strong!


Both of my cherry tomato plants have fruit and

garden14My tomatilloes have tons of little tiny green paper husks. (I could have a lot of salsa verde this year!)


The ground under my apple tree is littered with apples and yet, I still have hundreds growing!


Last year I could count the number of apples on my tree.  This year I can’t even count how many are on one branch!

Along the back fence are

garden7my pumpkins.  These plants are humongous!  They were growing out into my yard and I was worried that I was going to run over them with the lawn mower so I ran some twine down from the fence and have been training them to grow up.  These are a cool, blue pumpkin that I think will be so pretty grouped together this fall!

Next to the pumpkins are my beans.

garden11They also seem to be pretty happy here!  I need to spend some time over here training those outside pieces back up toward the trellis.

garden12Again, I’m hoping for lots and lots of beans that I can pickle.  Looks like that might happen!


Less than a month ago this box looked like this and now it’s spilling over with squash and zucchini!


My last planter is filled to the brim with beets, cucumbers (yes, to pickle!) and nasturtiums.  I had to add more strings down to bring the cucumbers up out of the mass of beets and flowers.  (It wasn’t until this week that I noticed that I actually had cucumbers growing!)


I just love seeing them pop out over the top of the planter and start climbing!

Overall, for my first real year of gardening, I’m thrilled!  I ate a squash and the zucchini with my dinner tonight and it was so satisfying!  Of course, I already have plans for next year (more planters) and have already started drawing up some ideas for rearranging things to make mowing and garden maintenance easier.

Last week I couldn’t wait for summer to end (sooooo hot here!) but now, with a belly full of food I grew and rain falling outside, I guess I’m okay with it lasting a couple more months.


PS-do you follow me on Instagram?  You should-lately I post a whole lot more over there! (@awize)

A Distraction

My house is an obstacle course of extra furniture and yard sale stuff.

So, naturally, instead of sorting and pricing for a yard sale, I decided to do some rearranging.


It started with this table.  I bought it before I bought my house (Crate & Barrel, great condition that I got from a yard sale for $20!)  and it’s been sitting under a pile of random stuff in my guest room for a year.  While I was purging the guest room yesterday I had an epiphany-it could be perfect in my kitchen!

I thought it would fit under the shelves by the doorway to the kitchen


and it allllmost did.  It stuck out less than an inch.  I walked past it for a couple of hours and decided that I could live with it.


I took out one of the shelves and called it done.  Even though it was too big and even though it wasn’t centered.

I went about my afternoon of cleaning until about 4 when I thought I’d lay down and watch some TV in the cool air conditioning of my bedroom.

While I was laying down (watching DVRed episodes of Grey’s Anatomy-because who doesn’t love to watch the McDreamy’s Dead episode every couple of weeks??) I realized


I had the perfect table for that space in my kitchen!

You might recognize this table that I chalk painted back in April.  Confession: I don’t love chalk paint.  Maybe I’m not doing it right, but I do not like the finish.  I’m sure someone will be knocking on my door any minute to take my DIY Blogger Card but about a week ago I painted it semi-gloss white and moved it into my bedroom.

Now it’s in my kitchen

table5And I like it so much more!


To finish off my little distraction project I moved the third shelf to over the fridge.

Now that the fun’s over it’s time to get back to cleaning.


Laundry Room

Since there are no more small rooms in my house it’s finally time to tackle something big:

lr1This is less a laundry room and more a dumping place.  This is the first room I see every time I walk into my house and when it looks like this


I’m less happy to be home.

That humongous bookshelf really should be more than enough storage but somehow it wasn’t.  So, faced with the overwhelming job of taking everything out of here, sorting it, cleaning and putting it back in, I did the most logical thing.

I made new curtains.  Yeah.


But, you see, the curtains in here didn’t match.  And one was way too long.  They HAD to go!


I won a gift card to Target at Bunko in May and when I stopped by there I found this curtain on sale.  Neutral, girly and light and airy-just want this room needed!  Since the curtain was big and the windows were small, one panel was enough to do both windows in the laundry room and the one in my bathroom.  MUCH better!

With nothing else I could use to distract me, I finally tackled the mess.  It took me a whole day and it sucked.


I have finally finished dismantling the dresser but it still has several steps before it can actually be a bench.  It fits perfectly by the door and the drawers on the bottom are perfect for shoes.

Next I moved all the white bins from my bathroom to these shelves and sorted out everything that didn’t need to be in here and now I have room to spare!


I still need to label the bins but for now they’re easy enough to pull out and see what’s in them.

Three rooms down, three to go!