31 May 2012

Glammed Up Flower Pots

Hello, my name is Kelly and I am a spray paint-aholic.  Spray Painters Anonymous anyone?  I am obsessed.....nothing in our house is safe from me and my cans of spray paint.

I have quite a few outdoor pots, but they are all different colours and no longer go with what we have going on color wise on the outside of our house.  Since they were good sizes and shapes I didn't want to throw them out.  Armed with two cans of spray paint it was time to revive my old pots.

Here's what I started with.

I really  liked the green pot, but I wanted to add a bit of navy blue so that it would tie in with our window boxes and newly painted front door.  I decided stripes would work, so I used some painter's tape to tape off a pattern.  Nothing fancy - I just winged it.

Once it was taped I applied a couple of thin coats of Valspar Navy Blue spray paint. I love, love, love Valspar spray paint. If only we had a Lowes that was closer to our house.....

After about 20 minutes the paint was dry and I peeled off the tape.  The lines aren't super sharp as the tape was having a hard time sticking to the shiny pot, but I am really happy with how the pattern turned out.

My next victim was the little red pot, which I decided to spray paint metallic gold (the same Valspar paint I used on the gold dipped coasters).  What a difference from the red.

Even Diefenbaker liked it.

While I was sitting on the deck waiting for the paint to dry I noticed this little frog that I had sitting in the corner.  One of my friends gave it to me a while back (when I was still looking for my prince) and it' has moved with me from house to house.  Isn't he cute?

He was cute before, but wouldn't he look better gold?

Yup - better gold.

I had some petunias left over from all the planting I did a few weeks ago so I popped them in the freshly painted pots.

God I love spray paint!

29 May 2012

Shut The Front Door!

Our front door was U.G.L.Y.  There was no way around it. It was boring white, dirty, and the handle was half falling off - it was bad, really bad. It needed help.

This isn't our 'forever' home, so we weren't ready to drop $500 or more for a new door. As much as I'd love a door with a window or some nice stained glass, it just wasn't going to happen.  Our only real option was to paint.

As you've seen before, our window planter boxes are stained a dark navy blue.  I love how the dark colour looks against our light grey house, so I had always thought a navy blue door would work well with our exterior.  But you know me, I can't just go with one option....I must torture myself with tons of choices and force myself to make a decision.  I couldn't get the idea of a yellow door out of my head. But would yellow go with the already blue window boxes? Is yellow too bold for our ticky tacky street? Decisions, decisions.....

A few nights ago I hiked on over to Home Depot to pick up a few paint chips.  A few quickly turned into stuffing as many yellow and navy paint chips into my purse as I could before the paint counter guys accused me of stealing.  When I walked back in the door, Mr. Swell looked at me and sort of rolled his eyes as if, "here we go again".  He humoured me though and stood outside with me while I narrowed down the options.  He's sort of colour blind, so really in the end it's all up to me and he just stands there with me to confirm that I am making the right choices (moral support).

We narrowed it down to 3 blue shades and 2 yellow.  We looked at them over a few days in a bunch of different lights and at different times of the day.  After a couple of days I gave up on the yellow and decided that blue was the way to go.

Then it took another couple of days to debate over the final blue choices.  We have December Eve in our master bedroom and I love it so I brought it into consideration for the door.

In the end, we decided to go with Martha Stewart's Wrought Iron.  December Eve was too blue.  There wasn't much difference between Wrought Iron and Starless Night, but Wrought Iron seemed to have just a titch more grey in it, which I figured would work well with the grey siding.

Back to Home Depot I headed to pick up a small can of Behr Premium Plus Ultra exterior paint in satin finish, colour matched to the Martha Stewart colour.  The quart set us back $24, which is a heck of a lot cheaper than a whole new door.

I wasn't going to prime the door first, but since we had a gallon of Zinsser 1-2-3 Bullseye primer just hanging around the house, I figured there wasn't much to lose by priming.

I washed the whole door down with soapy water, removed the hardware and then taped around the edges (just to be extra safe - I didn't want any navy blue to make its way to the inside of the door).  Then I applied the primer using a brush to cut into the recessed areas first and then a foam roller to finish the rest of the areas.  It's hard to tell in the picture that the door is primed since the door was white before, but here's the door after the prepping and priming.

The Zinsser primer dries insanely quickly and is good for recoating in an hour. Considering we started this at 2 in the afternoon, I was very thankful for the quick recoat time.  I used the same method with the  navy blue exterior paint - cut in first and then used a foam roller.

Obviously one coat wasn't going to do it (I never expected it to).  We waited the required 4 hours and then did a second coat.

By the time the second coat was dry it was dark outside and I was getting pretty sick of the front door being open.  We had the baby gate up to keep Diefenbaker inside.  Some poor little girl rang the doorbell and had quite the surprise when Dief shoved his head at her over the baby gate.

I figured 2 coats would be good enough, but there were still a few areas that looked a bit patchy.  It was too late at night to do another coat (sigh), so we had to reattach the hardware and go to bed, leaving the third coat for the next day.

Here's how it looked in the morning after 2 coats.

Bright and early the next morning I got to it.  After removing the hardware, I rolled on one more coat (no cutting in).

The third coat did the trick and covered evenly.

4 hours later we reattached the hardware. Finally...a closed and locked door! We weren't hostages in our own house anymore.

What do you think?

Here's a before and after for ya.....

Now I can't wait to get my hands on that front porch and give it a fresh coat of white paint.   I also think the fancy new door is in need of a wreath.

27 May 2012

Curb Appeal: Part 3

I realized after I posted the last instalment in the Curb Appeal saga that I showed a million pictures of the planting of the tree, but never showed you the final result! Sorry. Maybe it was a good thing though, since  just in the past couple of days the tree has started to bloom, so it's much prettier now than it was even a few days ago. Maybe it was the 3 days of rain we had?

Crap Apple Tree

crap apple tree blooms

I also picked up some petunias last week for the flower bed, the window boxes and a few pots for the front steps.  Please ignore the ugly paint under the pots - it's on the to-do list.  I have mentioned before that I am not in love with petunias, but I bought them this year because they are easy to take care of. I also wanted some consistency in the front yard and needed a flower that was going to be ok in shade, sun and partial sun. Petunias fit the bill.

flower bed


window box

Here's where we are at.  

- Edging for the planter under the windows
- Edging for the new planter row along the sidewalk
- New bushes for under the windows
- Flowers, flowers, and more flowers
- New front porch light fixture
- New mailbox
- Paint the front door
- Paint the front porch with a slip proof paint
- Move the tree from the back yard to the front yard

front of house
We are slowly working away at the edging for the planter bed under the windows. Maybe you caught a glimpse of it above? More on that in another post. I think we've also FINALLY made our mind up about a new shrub.  Remember how I had mentioned barberry and birdsnest spruce? Well, after much himming and hawing we decided to just get another globe cedar to match the one we have.  The trick now is trying to find one on the cheap that is at least somewhat close to the size of the one we currently have.  I am sure it's going to look a little odd for a few years while the new shrub grows, but I'll have to suck it up and deal since I'm too cheap to spend $60 for a big one.

Hope you are having a great weekend!

25 May 2012

Gold Dipped Drink Coasters

DIY Gold Dipped Drink Coasters 

I apologize for jumping around in the posts over the past few weeks - from the office to the front yard and back to the office.  I had fully intended to show you the flowers in the front, but it has been raining for two days and I haven't been able to get any decent pictures.  The rain has provided me with a good excuse to do another project for the office. If the weather improves I should have part 3 of the Curb Appeal saga ready to go in a few days.

One thing that I was really nervous about when we picked out the wooden desktop for the office was that it would easily stain.  I am a magnet for pens exploding, drinks spilling and Sharpie pens without lids scribbling where they aren't supposed to.  We took an extra precaution and coated the wood with poly, but I was still nervous about putting my hot coffee mugs right on the wooden surface - I didn't want my beautiful desk to have mug rings on it.  I was in need of some coasters.

Time to get my craft on.....

We had some square white tiles hanging around that the previous home owners had left us, and I had a brand new can of Valspar metallic gold spray paint that I couldn't wait to use.  So with just 4 tiles, painter's tape, spray paint and some felt pads, I set about to make myself some new coasters.  The process is really quite simple, so I'll let the pictures below speak for themselves.  The gold paint is awesome -  it's very shiny and reflective.  And if you noticed that I went from 4 coasters to 3, you aren't imagining things....I wrecked one during the drying process.  Impatient me.

White square tiles

tile with painter's tape

Taped tiles

Valspar Gold Brilliant Metal

white tile painted with valspar gold

peeling off the tape

Gold Dipped Coasters

Felt Pads
Gold Dipped Tile Coasters

Even though I wrecked one, I am really very happy with how they turned out. They are the perfect size for my big coffee mugs and give just a little bit of bling to the office space.  Everyone needs office bling, right? 

Linking to: Hi Sugarplum!

23 May 2012

Curb Appeal: Part 2

In part 1 of the Curb Appeal series (series...it's really more like a mini saga) we removed some of the bushes and had dug the sidewalk flower bed. It took us a whole week before we were able to get some quality time in the front yard again. Once again, we had about an hour and half to get everything done since we have to do all of our work during Fin's nap time.  This time we also had rain looming over head so we kicked it into high gear and got moving.

Hang in there with me on this one, there's probably more pictures of tree planting than one person really needs, but it's better to have more than less. Right? And we definitely do not claim to be green thumbs - we are actually quite the opposite.  We just do what we think is right at the time and hope and pray that in the mean time we don't kill all of our plant life. 

A couple of years ago we planted an ornamental crab apple tree in our back yard. At the time (pre dog and kid), we had high hopes for our back yard. It was going to be an oasis in the city, and we would sit back there and drink coffee and read the paper in the morning. Ha! Couldn't be further from the truth. Our back yard is a disaster. We completely abandoned the garden last year since I was too pregnant to bend over and plant anything, and was then to tired after Fin arrived to even think about weeding it. As a result, this year the weeds have grown to astronomoical heights and have pretty much taken over the flower beds.  The dog has also decided that the world is his bathroom and that there is no longer a need for him to use the little corner of the yard that we dedicated for him for his 'business'.  Nope. He's still right pissed off that there is a little one in the house, and he's decided to take it out on the back yard.  The little apple tree that we planted a few years ago is taking the brunt of his peeing agression.  The little thing had no hope if a 130 lb dog is going to pee on it multiple times a day.  We love the tree and didn't want to see it sufffer any longer, so we decided to move it to the front yard.  

Here it is in it's old home, floating in pee.

Cherry Tree

Before digging the tree up we had to dig a new hole in the front yard.

digging a tree hole

Tree Hole

We sprinkled in some bone meal and some compost manure that we had hanging around (yes, that's right....we had a bunch of compost manure just hanging around).  Then we dug the tree up and moved it to the front. I could tell it was immediately thankful to be out of the pee pit.

tree in a hole

We filled in the rest of the hole with some more compost manure and fresh new black top soil.  

tree hole with dirt

We bought a tree ring at the garden centre to provide a little extra support to the skinny tree trunk and to also stop the weeds from growing around the the tree.  

tree ring

Once the ring was in place we used some of the extra sod to patch up the bare spots and then attached guide wires.

tree ring with sod

While Mr. Swell was working on the guidewires I started working on the new flower bed along the sidewalk that we had dug. We needed some edging for it, and after looking at the garden centre for new edging and not likeing the $50 price tag, we decided to reuse the edging that we pulled from the flower bed under the front windows.  It wasn't in the best shape, but was good enough for what we needed.  The biggest problem was that it was all wavy and did not want to be set in a straight line.  I had it all in place, but the wavyness of it was driving me nuts.  I just about caved to buying new edging, but finally decided to peservere knowing that I could much better spend thatn $50 elsewhere.  I used some wooden stakes that we had laying around in the garage and pounded them into the dirt so that they would hold the edging in place.  Great arm workout by the way....

Flower Bed Edging

It still isn't as straight as it would have been with new edging, but it's good enough for me. 

Once the edging was in, I filled the flower bed with new peat moss and potting soil.

sidewalk flower bed

That's as much as we were able to get done during that nap time.  This is really turning into how to transform your front yard all while your kid is sleeping, isn't it? Oh well. 

We managed to check a few things off of the the to-do list.

- Edging for the planter under the windows
- Edging for the new planter row along the sidewalk
- New bushes for under the windows
- Flowers, flowers, and more flowers
- New front porch light fixture
- New mailbox
- Paint the front door
- Paint the front porch with a slip proof paint
- Move the tree from the back yard to the front yard (missed this one on the first to-do list)

All of the heavy work is done (except for planting one more shrub). Now we get to work on making it pretty. I know the pretty stuff is more exciting to read about, but without all of the prep work, the pretty stuff is pointless.

How was your long weekend (for the Canadians....I know it's next wekeend in the US)? Did you get up to anything exciting? Anyone else do yard work? 

21 May 2012

My Stalking Worked!

I told you a few days ago that I had been stalking Kijiji (western Canada's version of Craig's List) for a new office chair. Well, my stalking tendencies paid off!

White Leather Office Chair

Isn't it awesome? 

I wanted white and modern for the office space, and that is what I somehow managed to find! I wasn't looking for a chair with wheels, but this chair is so beautiful that I don't even care about the wheels.

Here's the original ad:

White Office Chair

If you can't read the small print, it says to make the guy an offer. So Mr. Swell called and offered the guy $40.  I figured he'd laugh at us and hang up the phone. Amazingly enough though, he didn't and he said he'd take the $40!  We made a time to meet him later that day and were so happy that we'd finally found a chair.

But then....the guy called back and said someone had offered him $120.  $120 was way over our chair budget, so we let the chair go and I went back to stalking the internet for another one.  Before hanging up though, the guy said that he'd keep us in mind as he sometimes gets other chairs (he's a delivery driver and must get the left overs when he delivers new furniture).  We said ok and moved on, never thinking that he'd actually call us back. Only two days later we woke up and had a text message from the guy saying he had another chair exactly the same and that he'd let us have it if we were still interested. Interested? YES!

Mr. Swell went out to meet him and offered him $40 again and the guy said OK.  I am still in shock that he took $40. It's real leather! The chair got loaded up in the truck and now has a nice new home in our basement.  I have a feeling it's actually the same chair from before, and the $120 offer fell through, but who knows. I don't really care, I am just happy it's ours.  It's super comfy and is a much better height than the dining chair we've been using for the past couple of weeks.

White Leather Office Chair 2

White Leather Office Chair 3

Have any of you scored an awesome deal on furniture off of the internet?

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