Monday, November 29, 2010

Dueling sanders

I have finally got a taste of the job Travis has been working on.
He has for 60+ hours now been working on this:

Click for larger view

CLICK IT! You know you want to!

And turning it in to this:

East Beam complete, West beam needing touch up
Now he tells me he has to go over  all 70ft of beams again with a finer sand paper!

Poor guy. Sanding off a millimeter of rough painted and varnished wood is not easy.
The top photos are the best we could get of the roughness.
He has been working on this 1 item on our to do list, while I get to keep crossing off many tasks!
Well, this weekend I finally got a taste of...

I took these cupboards:

And added some elbow grease (and vast amounts of TSP)
Have you ever wiped down the very top of your cabinets?

Also ruining some sand paper in the process...
Go clean your cabinets NOW NOW NOW!
Or you will have this some day.
The left paper is a normal worn out piece,
the right is from the top edge after I cleaned it with TSP vigorously.
I swear it was clean and no longer sticky to the touch

I created THIS:

OK, no really-- I created this:

I shouldn't have sanded the front of that one shelf on the lower right. Oopsie.

He keeps making his project look nicer, and mine keeps getting uglier!

I got myself some green coveralls and I look awesome while working on this.
Now that I have mastered the order in which to don my gear.
Respirator first, then goggles, then earplugs and gloves.

All I have to do is avoid Travis trying to take photos of me in all my hotness.

I'm sure there will be pictures here as soon as he hacks my account.
I knew there was a reason I hadn't given him permissions to post!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow celebration!

I adore the snow! The first snow and the morning after is the best time. When it is so pristine and untouched.  I was so sad to be driving to work when it started Monday morning! I got home by 4, and the snow was everywhere already but it kept up til 10pm or later so pictures this morning were way better. By morning everything was covered. And the sunshine made it dazzle.
I took a bunch of photos last night thinking it was the best thing ever, until I couldn't feel my fingers and realized the best thing ever is taking pictures with the right hand and a hot toddy in the other! So forgive the quality of these.
For anyone NOT in the Pacific NW, most of the area shuts down completely. School closed, offices closed, roads are a mess with cars and trucks parked all over backwards and in ditches. We are really not very prepared because we get so little so infrequently. We are expecting it more than usual this year. Lucky for me I can work from home(not). On the plus side, Costco was super empty today with plentiful parking!

Now to share some pictures:

Brrrr. It was 18 degrees this morning

Last night was 24 degrees but that and snow didn't stop Pooper from coming for treats!
Such a surprise seeing her all dressed up.

This is a plant I admire often out and about.
I have a whole series of the year but this is my favorite with little tufts of snow at the end.

I think it will be a few days before we BBQ again.

9am, Nasturtiums are not doing so well

4pm, bye bye Nasties!

It really isn't easy taking photos holding a Hot Toddy.
There is that tree again towering over our house.
Autumn Joy seems happy enough

Purty hat!

I really should have harvested Sunday.
Now we test the hardiness under snow.

Ooops, should have moved these flats of groundcover! I guess we see if it will live under snow on the patio.Hardy to 0 F

Funny, at 4pm Monday I thought we had a harvest problem

What greens? All I see is white and a lovely sunrise
When ever snow is pristine like this I refuse to let anyone walk on it.
Once it starts to melt around the edges, then it is free game.

Feels about the same as 24 degrees did, eh?

It is quite comforting to forget the 'to do' list
and all other required chores
to just enjoy the snow and staying warm
(with hot toddies and a crock pot)
Hope you all are enjoying it as much as I am!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A long boring post of things growing in pots!

The garden is nothing too impressive at this time so I will delve in to the other things that grow.

It is lightly snowing in this pic, but my camera doesn't agree.  So blah.

I should know what to do with all these plants to save them, but I have never put much thought in to my containers. If they live--Yay! If not, it wasn't meant to be. People often believe I have a green thumb since I have so many containers(even when renting) but I just get rid of the dead ones, and let my impulsiveness to buy new ones free! 
Given all my abuse and neglect over the years, I am astounded that so many have done so well.

I brought in the 'fuchsia gartenmeister bonstedt' below a few weeks back
hoping to save it from certain death like last years.. and it started losing blooms but I figured it was part of the change from outdoors to indoors. But it kept on losing blooms so we were going to move it downstairs to keep a better eye on it.

And then I noticed this:
Icky little bugs feasting on it.

So I immediately took it back outdoors.
I have never had any luck spraying down plants with soapy water. Is there another way to save this?
Or will I be forced to buy a new one every year?
I have never cared much about losing a plant(except the gardenia--that was embarrassing!) until I fell in love with this plant in 2009


Old cinder block patio, compare to current view at top!
Chester is looking mighty cold on the left. The below is back in April. He is taller than I am now since he got a much larger pot that day. He started in a Starbucks cup back in 2005ish. We are hoping to get him planted in 2011. I have collected 12 horse chestnuts from the surrounding neighborhoods this year and am hoping to sprout him a mate so he can bloom. If I haven't stunted his growth he could grow to be 80 ft tall so he will not be planted in our yard but the community island in our culdesac. I am oddly attached to this silly tree because I have had him since he was just a little nut. (I'm a little nutty myself!)

Here are my poor abused Clematis. I should probably get them in the ground next year. They have been travelling from rental to rental with me for 5 years. One flowers each year, and the other finally flowered its first time this year. Being I do not know what kind they are, I can hardly prune them properly. I have previously left them til early spring and the chopped off all the dead stuff. This year, I'm going to cut them completely to 12 inches, and see what happens! Maybe I'll get to buy NEW ones that I know the breed of.

Mint on the right... will it die? Who knows! Will it spread since it went to flower? Who knows! If it doesn't come back, Ill get a new one.
Lemon balm in the back pot. Not sure what to do with it. Pot on the stand--I forget what is in here. This is a common occurrence with this single flower pot for some reason. I have planted and replanted things in it all year that have not sprouted. The Stellar jays were messing around with it last week and since I forget what is in there, I'll just leave it.

Do slugs freeze? I sure hope so. Some one has been eating my half assed try at early spring greens. We planned on levelling the garden in the fall/spring with several yards of soil, but I was forced in to starting these guys by my gardener. Maybe they can go in pots when we bring in the dirt and I can stick them back in.

Here we have some weeds in pots. The back planter is some random mint that I found hiding in the garden. It isn't from my plant though, I have chocolate mint, and this is peppermint. The tall grassy thing is really a weed. It was the first to spout in the garden, and I thought it could be something... until they started popping up every where in the garden. I haven't gotten around to removing it. Weed, mint, same thing.
The front pot is some hens and chicks. I received them over growing a much smaller pot, so I just threw them in here so they can spread before I decide where to put them.(Oh--I just got an idea! Ill put them by Kermit next to the bonsai tree and heart shaped rocks I have collected! )

This is the sedum ground cover that will not die. 3 years ago, I had a covered patio in a rental and this guy was over flowing in the giant teacup in a splendid way. Winter came and I for some reason decided it no longer needed to be watered. It was outside after all. Early spring and it was almost dead. About a thumb nail of it was still green when I started cleaning up the plants for spring. I got rid of all the dead stuff, and stuck the last living bit back in soil. It grew and grew and then I would rip it in half and stick both ends back in soil, and now I have this! The pot on the bottom right is the escapees that fell out and were trying to root in the ground. The fern on the left is a volunteer weed that I thought looked nice. This too can go to the kermit/bonsai/heart shaped rock garden

This is Cilantro that I know I obviously need to get in a smaller pot and bring in side. But it is cold... and snowing. I have emptied a pot to bring in, but I still need to clean it for indoors.

This WAS a house plant. A spider plant from my fathers house. Until it got bugs and I put it outdoors. It is still alive and kicking though barely. Maybe I'll bring it back inside soon.

These guys don't mind being inside one bit! These are the last of the zinnia blooms. I took the whole bunch and shoved them in a vase with water last Sunday. They are rewarding me daily with new flowers!

Another houseplant I tried to kill years ago. This is a prayer plant I bought for $2 at a garage sale in 2004. It was doing so fantastic back in 2006. So fantastic that I decided to prune off all the older leaves that no longer stood up at night and move it to a different location in the apartment. It did not like that one bit. Not to mention when you touch a leaf it will turn brown. It promptly started dying... so I put it outside.
Bad plant bad!
Spring came and I started cleaning up...and I had 7 new shoots under all the dead stuff!!
I potted it in 3 new pots and gave one to my father. I noticed mine was pathetic and his was amazing and huge and blooming a year or two later.. his was in the bay window! Light? It wants light? I have that! So here we are 6 months later and they are flowering like crazy! So if you have a plant doing well--LEAVE IT BE!

That is all for this edition of a long boring post where April talks about things in pots!
I have more things in planters, so watch out!

Feel free to tell how to easily save anything growing outdoors especially the Fuchsia!
It is still snowing as I write this

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Where are we?


Oh--We are busy sanding!


After the first round of 5 that I sanded and primed we had some friends over to help(meaning dinner and fun times but barely any progress)  and I forgot to take pictures! But one person(not pictured) sanded a whole cupboard down to beautiful wood! Showing me up on my sanding skills and making each cupboard from then on trying to compete with his work!  I just want to scratch them up for primer, not stain.

Jess joined me for a fun filled slumber party!

Too busy sanding to take before/afters

I had set myself a pretty aggressive schedule last week, cleaning 5 a day, then sanding 5 a day and priming 5 a day consecutively. Well, I'm still on last Friday technically. Still sanding cupboards. I have to remember(trying to forget) that THIS is the easy part. Next up drawers to sand by hand!

This is my favorite shot below. This angle makes it look complete!

 Nearly there--this is all that is left on this beam. The hard part is what remains is over the stairwell.
Good luck Travis!

 Now we have the 12ft ladder back to finish this one. Nearly there!!!

When we aren't sanding we are doing a fantastic job and avoiding sanding in the following ways:

Rainbow hunting! When you see 2 neighbors standing in the road with cameras, you know you are missing something good!

Being marvelled at the larges collard leaf I have ever seen! This bunch was 16+ inches from Whole foods. I am obviously doing something wrong in my garden with 8 inch leaves.

Travis is winterizing and recycling left over packaging from our blinds! I love this.
Someone mentioned It is November... and I still have Zinnias blooming in my garden. Albeit very slowly.
So I took all there pictures and cut them down and put them in a vase! It is quite a bouquet of slowly opening flowers. Wonder if I can get them to live til Christmas?

 I'm also avoiding my duties by seed saving! And the required pictures.

 Also, more sky watching. I have to leave work early in order to see the sky these days.

This is the garden last week. I finally tore out the damn plant on the left that did nothing! Looks a lot cleaner now.

 This is also what I'm not doing again. Sanding myself.
No matter how little you plan on sanding at any given moment, wear gloves.
I picked up a piece of sand paper to give a rough edge a few swipes, and wham!

It IS true that jalapenos turn RED! My first one rotted when it got to this point but this one is still firm and going strong!

Stay tuned for red jalapeno pictures!
And more sanding!
And maybe I'll make it to the painting stage soon.
But first I have to pick a color for the cupboards (we have to agree on a color!)
And then... I have to clean the cupboard bases upstairs and hand sand all 7 drawers...and sand the bases, and... oh damn.
Can I hibernate now?