Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sprucing up the front

brown window boxes
Well hello there! Hope you are having a wonderful week!!
I. tell. you. what. – the weather (in Indiana anyway) is freakin’ me out. I am pretty sure it was high 40’s last week, and today we hit 93. Good. NESS.
It’s also rained about 50 out of the past 60 days. (You think I kid.) And now that it’s not raining, it’s 90 degrees. GOOD. NESS.
So anyhoo, we have a list a mile long of projects we want to accomplish outside, but we haven’t be able to get to much. But between the heat and the rain, I’ve finally finished one project that was high on our list.
The summer after we moved into our house, I did a TON of work out front. The first project was to pull out the low lying junipers the builder planted across the front of the house:
And they just looked WEIRD. Way too low and not enough of an impact for our house. 
In their place I planted azaleas…beautiful azaleas! I’m kind of half and half with my plant success – roses and hydrangeas hate. me. Lilies and azaleas and I get along fabulously. 
Last month (on a rare decent day), I started sprucing up the front of the house again:

As you can tell, it needed it. ;) Our shutters were looking a hot mess. We haven’t touched them in seven years and they desperately needed to be repainted.
I started by removing the broken slat --
And then I power washed the shutters, installed a new piece of cedar and then repainted both sets of shutters.
I used a brown paint from our little deck revamp last summer, and it’s SO close to the original brown of the shutters, but not exact. So I went ahead and painted the window boxes again too:

I usually plant the wave petunias in the boxes, and I wish I would have done that this year. They always end of spilling out of them so beautifully! These haven't done much. ;)
I wanted to add some potato vine (vinca vine is too skimpy) – but I can’t find it anywhere.
I finished the spruce up by clearing out the dead stuff and weeds:

And then I waited for Mother Nature to do her part:
She done good. ;)
I mentioned a couple of summers ago that a little varmint had been digging into my azaleas and eating the roots. I lost my middle bush to this little booger, and it’s taken me two years, but I finally found the same type of azalea in a decent size to replace it:

It’s actually two plants, but whatever. ;)
I’m hoping with some Miracle Grow and some lovin’, they’ll catch up to the others.
But for now, I’m thrilled, because projects one through five of 485 are DONE!
Doesn’t it look SO much better?:

I tried spraying the little birdie artwork off and it won’t budge. ;)
Perfect timing bird.
Now…I just need to find a brave soul to get up there and paint the shutters on the second level:

Can you tell they are just a tad darker? Hubby swears you can’t even notice it but then again…he KNOWS ME. :)
I can’t wait to start the rest of the outside projects – but it will have to be next week because it’s supposed to rain for the next FIVE days. At least the grass will stay green!
Have you tackled any landscaping projects yet? What is your favorite perennial? One I won’t kill? :)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Favorite Tool and Island Details

Whoohoo! I’m ready for the weekend! How about you? I’m back with some more details on the island as promised. First up, thanks for all the love here and on social media – I so appreciate when you take the time to comment. :)

Today I’m also sharing one of my favorite tools of all time – it’s such a random one but I use it quite often for random projects.

I knew when I created the little planked area next to the soon-to-be microwave shelf that it would be a perfect spot for a towel rod:

microwave in island

I have to tell you – I’ve wanted to hang a towel from our island for years. It’s such a small, silly thing but it’s one of those little details I’d see in pictures and I fell in love with the idea. It just never really made sense on our old island – the only spot for it was this end and with our table and chairs there it was to tight to add anything. It was just a bad spot for it overall.

This spot is perfect. In the short time we’ve had the larger island I’ve found myself wanting to have one right there…so I was able to make it happen.

A couple weekends ago my hubby was out of town so the kiddo and I made a last minute trip to Cincinnati to visit the museums (for him) and IKEA (for me). OK, actually both spots were for both of us…I love museums and the Bub admits he kind of loves IKEA too. ;)

Anyway, I actually did pretty good this time – I kept the purchases to a minimum (we went in with a list and that helps). One thing I did grab was the Fintorp bar – it’s really for hanging their organizational things like baskets and stuff. I thought it would be a cute (and inexpensive) towel bar instead.

The problem was it was too long – but I knew I could fix that. Enter the pipe cutter. The coolest tool EVAH. I figured out the length I needed:

cutting metal pipe

And then you clamp the tool on the pipe like so:

pipe cutter tool

Mine tightens at the bottom. You tighten it a bit, spin it around the metal a few times, tighten a bit more, spin it around…keep going. I had to use a gripper on this bar because it was slipping out of my hands so much:

cutting down metal rods

As you can see with each tighten it bites into the metal even more. It took about a minute and quite a few turns around the bar but it broke off cleanly:

IKEA fintorp

You’ve got yourself a perfectly sized bar after that! IKEA Fintorp for towels

You can use it for so many things – over the years I’ve used it a ton to cut down my curtain rods (I used to cut down one into numerous smaller rods for non-functioning drapes that I didn’t need to close). It’s impossible to find shorter curtain rods so it worked great for that. You can use it on anything metal that’s round – even plastic, pvc, whatever. Love it!

I had a lot of rough edges to cover after I planked everything and the simple lattice trim that I told you about here hides all of that stuff. That and caulk. Wondrous things:

planks on island

I didn’t plank the front of the columns or the insides of them because I was afraid it would get too busy with planks all over the whole thing: IMG_1591I like the simpler look on the columns and – and less work! Score.

The only place I could find longer butcher block (at least locally) was Northwest Lumber. I’ll update you soon on the finish they put on there, so far I love it!:

butcher block on island

That’s an earlier pic. ;)

I really wanted to go wider instead of longer at first, so the stools would be tucked all the way inside. IKEA used to sell the wider block but they discontinued it. They still had it online though, not sure why. In the end I’m so glad we went longer instead of wider!

A few asked about painting the cabinets and it wasn’t bad at all since I’ve already painted them before. I shared how to do that years back here. I used a wide angled brush for the first coat this time, then remembered my little square brush. It worked SO well to get into the grooves of the cabinets:

painting cabinets

I got it on clearance at Lowe’s months back but I can’t find it there anymore. I did find them on Amazon:

square paint brush

I LOVE this thing, it brushes the paint on so smoothly. The bristles are super soft, like buttah. They also have a corner one that would work great too.

I think I’ve covered everything? If I haven’t let me know! I’m so proud of this project and couldn’t be happier with it:

large gray kitchen island

OH! I was going to give you a rough estimate of cost to extend it – I spent about $160. I had some scrap wood I used but that cost includes most of the wood, trim, planking, baseboards and paint.

Here’s a full recap of posts for this project:

I shared my plans (that I adjusted just slightly) here.
The wine rack here.
The end cabinet and more about the butcher block here.
More about the lights and how I built the columns here.
And finally, details on the stools and how I cut them down here.

Here here here. :) So glad this is done!! Have a great weekend my friends!