This Rainy Day

Yesterday was a beautiful soaking rain.

The Koroneiki Greek olive tree in its new pot.

The Koroneiki Greek olive tree in its new pot.

I got one thing accomplished: I planted one olive tree — 2 yet to be planted.

Purple iris flank the iron gate to the pota.ger in May

Purple iris flank the iron gate to the potager in May

Due to the alternating rainy and sunny days the garden is really beautiful now.

The Japanese iris will need to be divided this year after they bloom.

The Japanese iris will need to be divided this year after they bloom.

The dogwoods have lost their flowers but the iris (especially my purple ones) are out in force at the entrance to the potager.

Unfortunately one of my twin boxwoods flanking the potager gate has died.

Unfortunately one of my twin boxwoods flanking the potager gate has died.

Try as I might by changing the camera settings the deep purple of the iris still looks blue in the photos.

The lamb's ear (stachys) are lush and prevent digging in an area of underground wires.

The lamb’s ear (stachys) are lush and prevent digging in an area of underground wires.

My next caper will be to get some furniture on the side porch.

This is a totally unacceptable welcoming spot.

This is a totally unacceptable welcoming spot.

It’s been in a shambles ever since my old car went on the fritz.

The planters with the smaller Spanish olive trees might flank the garden once transplanted.

The planters with the smaller Spanish olive trees might flank the garden once transplanted.

I hope tomorrow is a get-‘er-done day.

What’s your favorite flower color? (Mine is white.)

Painting Planters for Weeks

Well over a month ago I bought 3 large plastic planters into which to transplant our olive trees.

Naturally I adore this ochre planter from Provence.

Naturally I adore this ochre planter from Provence, the color I’m going for.

I decided to paint them yellow ochre.

The job of repainting these large planters is taking a long time.

I began with some Hubbell House Golden Maize which I had on hand.

Almost every nice day since them I’ve given them a coat of spray paint.

Gloss Sun Yellow by Rustoleum was a bit bright.

Gloss Sun Yellow by Rustoleum was a bit bright.

I started with some cheap cans ($1.50 each at WalMart) of yellow just to get started.

L to R:

L to R: Gloss Sun Yellow, Gold Rush, Gold Abundance, Outdoor Bright Yellow.

The second color was a gloss Sun Yellow and while the gloss looked great the color was a bit too bright.

The toned-down color on the left.

The toned-down color on the left.

I mottled the color with a satin (only choice) Outdoor Bright Yellow.  That did tone them down a bit.

These polycrylic and oil stain don NOT mix until you add some  paint, then it all smooths out.

These polycrylic and oil stain don NOT mix until you add some acrylic paint, then it all smooths out.

Then I mixed up some latex polyurethane, brown oil stain (which didn’t mix), yellow and tan acrylic.

I used an old brush to paint on the concoction of polyurethane, stain and paint.

I used an old brush to paint on the concoction of polyurethane, stain and paint.

I gave the planters a drippy coat of this to tone down the color even more.

The light blotch at the foot of the sawhorse is my entire first batch of special mix.

The light blotch at the foot of the sawhorse is my entire first batch of special mix.

Unfortunately I dipped about one brush worth and then the entire container fell on the ground.

We are getting closer to the color of the Anduze traditional planters in the top photo.

We are getting closer to the color of the Anduze traditional planters in the top photo.

I mixed it again and applied the tinted polyurethane to the planters.

Our harwood floors are finished with

Our hardwood floors are finished with SamSeal urethane.

After this layer dried I found some of the golden oil based polyurethane we used on the new hardwood floors.

I like the casual drippiness -- I did that on purpose.

I like the casual drippiness — I did that on purpose.

I was again hoping for some drips and that the color might add the honey tone found in real Anduze planters.

Honey in back, green in front.

Honey in back, green in front.

The planters are painted yellow ochre.

The planters are painted yellow ochre.

It wasn’t totally successful but a month later I’ve had enough.

Time to transplant.

Time to transplant.

We’re ready to plant. Oh, Charlie!

Do you start easy projects only to have them turn into an epic?

Starting Small

We have what I consider an extensive garden: sixteen 4′ by 4′ squares.

The kitchen garden is relegated to the sunniest space in the heavily-shaded yard.

The kitchen garden is relegated to the sunniest space in the heavily-shaded yard.

Charlie wouldn’t really be happy until the entire yard was covered with 4′ by 4′ raised garden squares.

Charlie carefully refills each square with compost and extra dirt then hoes and rakes it before he plants seeds or seedlings.

Charlie carefully refills each square with compost and extra dirt then hoes and rakes it before planting seeds or seedlings.

The truth is this size garden has a tremendous yield but also takes plenty of work.

A raised bed for a seated user.

A raised bed for a seated user.

Last year we built a smaller garden bed for our friend in a wheelchair that is raised to a height that makes it comfortable for him to both plant and harvest.

It's amazing how much a small garden can produce.

It’s amazing how much a small garden can produce.

It’s the perfect size for him.

We build our squares from salvaged wood but you can buy ready-made squares.

We build our squares from salvaged wood but you can buy ready-made squares. Is that an avocado pit I see I the jar on the left?

More recently I received an email from my sister in Florida who has been trying to garden in her yard for many years.

Her plants look very healthy.

Her plants look very healthy.

She writes: “We have been trying to have a garden for years and have always dug outside our fence where rabbits, squirrels and other assorted critters eat up all of the goodies.”

We've never grown broccoli but it looks like a winner.

We’ve never grown broccoli but it looks like a winner.

“So (taking lots of inspiration from your husband), we have started very small and bought the garden square, laid a tarp inside of our screened patio, and filled the square with fertilized potting soil for vegetables.  We bought a few plants to start and wow!!!”

This garden is being grown inside of a screen house which clearly gets plenty of sun.

This garden with pepper plants being grown inside of a screen house which clearly gets plenty of sun.

Your niece “has been “harvesting” kale for her smoothies and we are waiting patiently for our first cherry tomatoes to turn red.”

One of my sister's tomatoes is starting to blush and we haven't even planted tomatoes in our Maryland garden yet.

One of my sister’s tomatoes is starting to blush and we haven’t even planted tomatoes in our Maryland garden yet.

“Thanks again to Charlie for the inspiration.  We have cherry tomatoes, regular tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and kale.”

I hope this inspires someone else to start gardening — start small.

Charlie's bamboo trellises have blossomed over the years to include this torture chamber-like pea trellis.

Charlie’s bamboo trellises have blossomed over the years to include this torture chamber-like pea trellis.

Note to sister: Charlie suggests that you stack two squares to allow for more than 4 inches of dirt. (Our squares only look 6″ tall but the dirt goes down infinitely.)

Do you grow your own veg?

Compatible Shower Fixtures

When our contractor roughed-in the bathrooms he used Moen Posi-temp valves which he says “should be compatible with most Moen trims.”

The master bathroom has two different control valves in the shower.

The master bathroom has two different control valves in the shower.

The shower control valve in the conservatory is a one-piece unit.

The shower control valve in the conservatory is a one-piece unit.

We have 2 different configurations.

The master bathroom shower waterline is just to the left of center in the ceiling.

The master bathroom shower waterline is just to the left of center in the ceiling.

In the master bathroom shower (we’re not putting in a tub) the main showerhead comes down from the ceiling so, therefore, it should be a rainshower type head.

I like the 9-inch rainshower head for the master bath.

I like the 9-inch rainshower head for the master bath (in the middle of the photo).

My choice would be something like the Ashville brushed nickel by Moen (since I’m stuck with Moen fixtures).

As I understand it, the bottom valve controls the shower and the top valve is a diverter which allows a separate sprayer to be used.

As I understand it, the bottom valve controls the shower and the top valve is a diverter which allows a separate sprayer to be used.

The valve itself, which is on the knee wall near the permanent bench) needs to control both the main showerhead and a handheld shower that is on the wall near the shower bench.

The controls in the master are in the knee wall on the left and the hand-held sprayer position is to the right on the wall behind the shower bench.

The controls in the master are in the knee wall on the left and the hand-held sprayer position is to the right on the wall behind the shower bench.

Again I am limited to something compatible with Moen Posi-temp.

I love the sleek shape of the Moen Fina handheld shower.

I love the sleek shape of the Moen Fina handheld shower.

I like the sleek looking handheld showers but I can be happy with just about any design for this item.

This shower in the conservatory is about half the size of the master shower.

This shower in the conservatory is about half the size of the master shower.

Downstairs in the conservatory bathroom there is only one valve.

For the conservatory shower I'll probably pick a stationary/handheld combination.

For the conservatory shower I’ll probably pick a stationary/handheld combination.

The shower head is on the same wall as the valve so if I want a handheld shower I’ll need to choose a combination unit that works from one controller.

The Arris handle by Moen coordinates well with my Ikea faucet.

The Arris handle by Moen coordinates well with my Ikea faucet.

This one would look good in the conservatory bathroom because the trim is similar to the Ikea faucet we bought for the sink.

We'll need 2 identical faucets for the dual-sink vanity in the master bathroom.

We’ll need 2 identical faucets for the dual-sink vanity in the master bathroom.

Shower fixtures are BIG expense items so I’ll try to choose very carefully.

I haven’t been paid nor perked in any way for this post.

Do you have a tough choice in the near future?

Conservatory with Floor Tile

I couldn’t wait to see how the white-on-white floor tile would look in the conservatory bathroom.

Charlie trowels on the thin-set for under the Hardiebacker cement board.

Charlie trowels on the thin-set for under the Hardiebacker cement board.

Charlie and our builder friend finished laying cement board on the floor of the conservatory bathroom on Saturday.

I'm beginning to fell that this bathroom might some day be finished.

I’m beginning to fell that this bathroom might some day be finished.

They also finished up the remaining shower walls that needed special cuts to fit, for instance, the water control valve and the water spigot.

Each 10.5" by 10.5" mosaic was wrapped in plastic and came 10 per box.

Each 10.5″ by 10.5″ mosaic was wrapped in plastic and came 10 per box.

I unpacked the tile which meant removing each 10.5 inch piece from the cardboard and cellophane wrapping.

The space behind wall on the left will be closed up; it's for plumbing access only.

The space behind wall on the left will be closed up; it’s for plumbing access only.

I laid the tile starting at the back of the shower and continued to the doorway.

I'm planning on white epoxy grout.

I’m planning on white epoxy grout.

Yes, I wanted  to see what it would look like,

Looking from the shower out toward the conservatory.

Looking from the shower out toward the conservatory.

but I was also curious to see if I had ordered enough.

So much progress; so much still to do.

So much progress; so much still to do.

I think it’s going to be close.

Next step: Email the contractor who installed the shower pans to lay down the Kerdi waterproof membrane.

Do you get impatient when you have the materials but must wait to install?

My Dressing Table Light

I told you here all about the bargain lighting fixture I bought on our road trip to Richmond, Virginia.

Over dressing table wall light I painted and repaired.

Over dressing table wall light I painted and repaired.

I refinished it with spray paint here.

This neat electrical box is from the master bathroom rough-in.

This neat electrical box is from the master bathroom rough-in.

After I painted the master bathroom I was ready to hang this light.

I laid a lightweight level vertically against the fixture mounting screws in the electrical plate.

I laid a lightweight level vertically against the fixture mounting screws in the electrical plate.

First I screwed the light’s hanging plate tight to the electrical box making sure the mounting screws were plumb.

The black and white wires were twisted together but ultimately black hooks to black and white to white.

The black and white wires were twisted together but ultimately black hooks to black and white to white.

Then I pulled the wires through the hole in the wall. (Don’t worry, I turned the breaker off.)

Connecting new wiring to a new fixture is not too difficult.

Connecting new wiring to a new fixture is not too difficult.

With wire nuts I connected the black wire to the black wire and the white wire to the white wire.

The wires need to pulled out of the wall to be connected to the fixture.

The wires need to pulled out of the wall to be connected to the fixture.

Then I wound the uncovered copper wire around the green ground screw.

These clear bulbs give off lots of light but almost disappear in the shade when turned off.

These clear bulbs give off lots of light but almost disappear in the shade when turned off.

I screwed the plate to the wall and screwed in 2 clear flame-shaped bulbs.

I love hooking up electric fixtures when they work.

I love hooking up electric fixtures when they work.

Flipped the breaker back on and tested the light. Woo-hoo, it lit up.

Another chore checked off the list.

Another chore checked off the list.

Finally I screwed the seeded glass shade to the base.

Are you more likely to fool with electricity or plumbing?

The Master Bathroom is Coventry Gray

I went to my local hardware store with a $5 coupon in hand to buy a gallon of Benjamin Moore’s “Coventry Gray”.

I used my freshly cleaned paintbrush to cut in the edges of the wall.

I used my freshly cleaned paintbrush to cut in the edges of the wall.

The next day before I went to work I cut in around the corners.

The painting in the bathroom went quickly since half of the room will be tiled.

The painting in the bathroom went quickly since half of the room will be tiled.

I had already painted the ceiling pale pink ages ago.

Before - white primer.

Before – white primer.

I'm working on choosing a vanity with a double sink to go under the bathroom window.

After — Coventry Gray

Today we’ll hang the wall light over the dressing table.

Are you working this weekend? Or taking it easy?