Category Archives: Bargains

Clean or Dirty?

Spark of Creatvity has a project that I’ve been needing to implement in my house.

Our dishwasher is at the end of the coffee bar peninsula.

Our dishwasher is at the end of the coffee bar peninsula.

Charlie never seems to know if the dishes in the dishwasher are clean or dirty. (I can tell by the smell if all else fails.)

The graphic: "Clean" and "Dirty" and a business-card size magnet.

The graphic: “Clean” and “Dirty” and a business-card size magnet.

I printed out Spark’s graphic then trimmed the 2 business-card-sized words.

Put wrong sides together with tops in opposite directions.

Put wrong sides together with tops in opposite directions.

I cut a magnetic business card in half the long way and lined up the “clean” and “dirty” sides upside down from each other.

The dark side of the magnet is the magnetic side.

The dark side of the magnet is the magnetic side.

Put the “sticky” side of the magnet upright according to which side the writing is up. (Perfectly clear? I made it and I don’t understand.)

The self-stick laminating film is folded around the sandwiched magnet. (The film is just visible on the desk.)

The self-stick laminating film is folded around the sandwiched magnet. (The film is just visible on the desk.)

Then I used a piece of adhesive laminating film to hold it together.

The preferred display: Clean.

The preferred display: Clean.

Unfortunately the “dirty” side is up more than the “clean” side.

There, Charlie. "Dirty" dishes in the dishwasher.

There, Charlie. “Dirty” dishes in the dishwasher.

Fortunately we have a convenient place to keep dirty dishes.

Do you wash dishes by hand or machine?

Yesterday’s Yeas!

So finally we accomplished something on a Saturday.

We must lay a floor before the linen closet gets permanently set in place.

We must lay a floor before the linen closet gets permanently set in place.

First we set the bottom of the linen closet in place.

The hinges and hardware were aged brass.

The hinges and hardware were aged brass.

In order to reattach the doors I needed to paint the old brass hinges and screws.

When the new knobs and pulls are installed I'll recheck the color of the hinges.

When the new knobs and pulls are installed I’ll recheck the color of the hinges.

The new color for the hardware is Charcoal Metallic.

The newly grey cabinet fits nicely in the space.

The newly grey cabinet fits nicely in the space.

Charlie helped by carrying the cabinet from the backyard to the master suite and by attaching the hinges.

Nine 16-foot, 10-inch wide boards -- painted grey for bedroom shelves.

Nine 16-foot, 10-inch wide boards — painted grey for bedroom shelves.

While I waited for the spray painted hardware to dry, I loaded up the paint sprayer again with home-mixed “Secret” and gave the bookshelf boards for the master bedroom another coat. (I’m getting the hang of the paint sprayer.)

Clark's Hardware Store in Ellicott City, Maryland

Clark’s Hardware Store in Ellicott City, Maryland (from their Facebook page)

We let them dry while we attended Customer Appreciation Day at our local hardware store which was celebrating its 170th anniversary. We got a 20% discount on 5 gallons of exterior paint and a free lunch.

I separated the newly-painted boards with spacers.

I separated the newly-painted boards with spacers.

Upon our return home Charlie carried the painted boards back into the living room.

I'm waiting to see the master bathroom vanity hardware before choosing drawer pulls and door knobs.

I’m waiting to see the master bathroom vanity hardware before choosing drawer pulls and door knobs.

Since the temperature was 93 degrees we both decided to take a break in the air conditioning. When I reread this post it sounded like most of our day was spent waiting for paint to dry, but we didn’t just twiddle ours thumbs.

Halfway through August are you getting things done?

Transforming in Progress

On my to-do list for the past few months has been to paint the bottom section of the DIY linen closet.

Just a smidge had to come off each side to fit the cabinet into the 36-inch opening.

Just a smidge had to come off each side to fit the cabinet into the 36-inch opening.

Charlie cut it down to size.

While the linen cabinet looks grey it is actually dark green.

While the linen cabinet looks grey it is actually dark green.

Now it’s my turn to change the color of it.

The inside used to be turquoise.

The inside used to be turquoise. (I know it looks green in the photo.)

I started with the inside which I wanted white to give the maximum light reflection quality.  It was turquoise.

Some of the outside was inadvertently hit with the white paint but will be covered with grey.

Some of the outside was inadvertently hit with the white paint but will be covered with grey.

I got out our paint sprayer* and gave the inside of the cabinet as many thin coats as I thought necessary to cover the bright aqua blue.

The interior of the linen closet is white.

The interior of the linen closet is white.

To make the job easier I removed the doors. The final color might be pale grey as opposed to bright white but it will do.

The old hardware looked dated so I'm planning to use something similar to the kitchen hardware.

The old hardware looked dated so I’m planning to use something similar to the kitchen hardware.

I removed the hinges from the doors because I want to paint them some metallic shade — Metallic Charcoal wouldn’t surprise me.

The new pulls will have holes at a different width.

The new pulls will have holes at a different width.

I also removed the drawer pulls from the drawers and filled the holes with wood filler.

I like the knobs and drawer pulls in the kitchen but I want to see exactly what comes with my new vanilty before making a final chpoice.
I like the knobs and drawer pulls in the kitchen but I want to see exactly what comes with my new vanity before making a final choice.

 I expect to get new drawer pulls and matching knobs for both the lower and upper sections of the linen closet.

Secret by Benjamin Moore for the built-ins.

Secret by Benjamin Moore for the built-ins.

The next step is to lightly sand the top, front, and drawers before I paint them “Secret”.

I'll get around to this sooner or later.
I’ll get around to this sooner or later.

While I’m painting them would be the perfect time to also paint the boards that are destined to be our bedroom bookshelves.

I simple hand-held paint sprayer is not difficult to use and maintain.

I simple hand-held paint sprayer is not difficult to use and maintain.

*One day I’m going to give a tutorial on how this spray painter from Horror Harbor Freight works and how to clean it.

Favorite method of painting : brush, roller, spray?

Hose Holder

Four years ago I made a basic hose holder for Charlie’s garden hose.

In 2011 I used what we had on hand to construct a basic hose holder.

In 2011 I used what we had on hand to construct a basic hose holder.

Everything near the house was removed during the renovation so I think we need another holder.

I painted the project first.

I painted the project first.

I saw the plans by Whitney at Shanty 2 Chic which I used as an inspiration for our hose holder. I started painting individual pieces last Saturday and finished up this Saturday.

Three squares of wood were stacked and tacked then a hole drilled in the center for the finial.

Three squares of wood were stacked and tacked then a hole drilled in the center for the finial.

If you recall I banged my finger with a hammer trying to put this together so yesterday I hauled out the air compressor and used the pneumatic tacker.

The portion above the ground is about 4 feet and approximately 18 inches below the soil.

The portion above the ground is about 4 feet and approximately 18 inches below the soil.

I didn’t have to buy anything for this project.

The hose holder assembly is fairly self-explanatory.

The hose holder assembly is fairly self-explanatory.

I even found the finial among our stuff which is really what encouraged me to give it a go.

Charlie dug a hole approximately 18 inches deep.

Charlie dug a hole approximately 18 inches deep.

When all the pieces were together Charlie dug a nineteen-inch hole near the hose bibb and set it up.

The pressure treated 4 by 4 post was cut with a circular saw.

The pressure treated 4 by 4 post was cut with a circular saw.

The main post was a left-over gate post that had been removed years ago.

This area of the house needs to b e painted and landscaped. Soon.

This area of the house needs to be painted and landscaped. Soon.

He set it up in the hole, snugged it in with the extra dirt, and plumbed it with a level.

The bright gree -- Bunker Hill -- should look nice against the grey planned for the siding.

The bright green — Bunker Hill — should look nice against the grey planned for the siding.

Now, please get the hose off the grass. What’s your favorite yard project?

Tough Week

Just before dawn a few days ago we awakened to bright lightening with loud noise.

Charlie had recently spiffed up the garden by mulching the paths.

Charlie had recently spiffed up the garden by mulching the paths.

It was hailing — hail the size of quarters.  Hailing so hard it set off the motion detectors on our outside flood lights. (Our temperatures in the past week have been in the upper 80s so how we had hail I don’t know.)

The large tree at the center of the picture is dead.

The large tree at the center of the picture is dead.

The violent wind and hail brought down some of the branches on our dead tree that overhangs the garden.

The tomato plants have been knocked over and broken -- this photo is after the clean-up.

The tomato plants have been knocked over and broken — this photo is after the clean-up.

Mature tomato plants and their cages were knocked down.  Charlie cleaned up the devastation as much as possible.

A neighborhood dog carried off one of these hydrangea propagators never to be seen again.

A neighborhood dog carried off one of these hydrangea propagators never to be seen again.

On a brighter note I started a few more hydrangea plants because a neighborhood dog carried off one of my propagators that had 4 plants in it. Same dog (I assume) had removed my paint shoes from the porch.

I took cutting from this blue lace cap hydrangea but left the blossoms in tact.

I took cuttings from this blue lace cap hydrangea but left the blossoms in tact.

These new cuttings are from a blue lace cap hydrangea at work.

The first cuttings planted 2 weeks ago have well-formed roots and have been transplanted.

The first cuttings planted 2 weeks ago have well-formed roots and have been transplanted. (The white blob is ice cubes to gently water the pots.)

Taking careful cuttings does not hurt the plant and allows for an exact replica of the mother plant.

Graduated wood squares cut from various widths of lumber.

Graduated wood squares cut from various widths of lumber.

One last thing: I wanted to nail together the project I started last Saturday and hit my index finger so hard with the hammer it turned blue.  Charlie gave me a hand with the project and the wood split so now I have to cut another piece and paint it.

Have you ever experienced hail in the summer?

The Rosemary and Lavender Took

Two weeks ago I tried my hand at propagating 2 of our woody herbs: rosemary and lavender.

The shallow pan is filled with vermiculite (perlite and peat moss would also do).

The shallow pan is filled with vermiculite (perlite and peat moss would also do).

I filled a 9-inch disposable aluminum pan (from the pantry) which came with a plastic lid with vermiculite.

My biggest problem will be looking too soon -- impatient I am.

My biggest problem will be looking too soon — impatient I am.

It’s been difficult for me not to check the rooting everyday but since the plastic lid acted like a mini-greenhouse I could see everything was still moist.

The roots had begun to grow.

The roots had begun to grow.

I took a look at one of the rosemary sprigs and it had some short roots.

It took 2 weeks for the cutting on the left to grow roots.

It took 2 weeks for the cutting on the left to grow roots.

I asked Charlie if he had any small pots so I could plant each sprig in its own pot.

The new tiny plants look healthy.

The new tiny plants look healthy.

When I came home from work he had planted them up.

As they grow I'm going to try to train these little plants into topiaries.

As they grow I’m going to try to train these little plants into topiaries.

From the 10 original cuttings all 5 rosemary made it but only 3 of the lavender are in good shape. Hopefully they’ll continue to grow.

Do you think this would work with olive tree cuttings? Any other suggestions?

Propagating Rosemary and Lavender

While I had all the ingredients out to make cuttings and grow more plants I decided to try my hand at propagating 2 of our woody herbs: rosemary and lavender.

The space between the lamb's ear and the fence should be filled with lavender.

The space between the lamb’s ear and the fence should be filled with lavender.

I would like to have enough lavender plants to fill in the entrance to the potager.

his is the end result I'm looking for in a rosemary topiary.

This is the end result I’m looking for in a rosemary topiary.

I would also like to start some rosemary plants with the purpose of making lollipop topiaries.

New growth (green) and old growth (brown) on the same stem.  Use the new growth.

New growth (green) and old growth (brown) on the same stem. Use the new growth.

Just like I did for my hydrangea cuttings I snipped sprigs from the new growth.

Short sprigs are enough to start new plants.

Short sprigs are enough to start new plants.

Lavender and rosemary cutting need only be about 2.5 to 3 inches.

Dip the bottom of the stem in rooting hormone.

Dip the bottom of the stem in rooting hormone.

I trimmed the leaves from the bottom of the stem and dipped it in rooting hormone.

The shallow pan is filled with vermiculite (perlite and peat moss would also do).

The shallow pan is filled with vermiculite (perlite and peat moss would also do).

I filled a 9-inch disposable aluminum pan (from the pantry) which came with a plastic lid with vermiculite.

If everything goes well I'll have ten new plants.

If everything goes well I’ll have ten new plants.

There was plenty of room for five cuttings of each: rosemary and lavender.

Hoping this pan and plastic lid acts like a small greenhouse.

Hoping this pan and plastic lid acts like a small greenhouse.

In order to make the plastic lid fit (like a small greenhouse) I also trimmed the tip of cuttings.

My biggest problem will be looking too soon -- impatient I am.

My biggest problem will be looking too soon — impatient I am.

I’m keeping this on the side porch so its not in the hot sun. I’m hoping the lavender and rosemary stems will begin to root in a couple of weeks so I can transplant to pots.

Are you a patient sort?