Category Archives: Bargains

The Grace of Gardeners

When Charlie plans the garden he always leaves space for gifts from friends.

12 of 16

12 of 16

We have sixteen 4′ by 4′ squares which were built using salvaged wood.

The soil is simply marked with the edge of a board.

The soil is simply marked with the edge of a board.

In the square-foot method each vegetable has its own spacing so Charlie temporarily marks the surface of the soil to keep everything tidy.

One SunGold tomato plant will eventually fill a 2' by 2' space and require a sturdy cage.

One SunGold tomato plant will eventually fill a 2′ by 2′ space and require a sturdy cage.

One of our favorite vegetables is Sun Gold tomatoes which we usually get from our friend who runs an organic farm and a CSA (community supported agriculture) program.  This year he saved us 4 plants.

L to R: large red tomatoes, small red tomatoes, pear-shaped yellow tomatoes, sweet banana peppers, good size green peppers, medium sweet yellow peppers, and big onions above.

L to R: large red tomatoes, small red tomatoes, pear-shaped yellow tomatoes, sweet banana peppers, good size green peppers, medium sweet yellow peppers, and big onions above.

Another friend who grows his own seedlings generally blesses us with a variety of  different vegetables (above).

Tomatoes ringed with basil.

Tomatoes ringed with basil.

The tomatoes require 4 square feet each. Some are planted 4 to a square.  Other are planted in the center of a square surrounded by basil which requires 1 square foot per plant.

Leeks from last year are ready to harvest.

Leeks, gifts from last year, are ready to harvest.

Peppers plants also require 1 square foot per plant. And onions are 9 per square foot.

The radishes are almost ready to harvest -- 2nd square from the left, front row.

The radishes are almost ready to harvest — 2nd square from the left, front row.

A huge thanks to our generous friends.  This is one of the reasons we always give away our first harvest.

Are you growing something this years that’s new to your garden?

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?

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?

Color and Finishes for the Master Bathroom

I’ve put off the thought of expensive purchases in relation to the master bathroom as long as I could.

The master bathroom needs to be painted, a tile floor laid, and the shower walls tiled. $$$$

The master bathroom needs to be painted, a tile floor laid, and the shower walls tiled. $$$$

Recently I’ve made some decisions and am ready to put my money where my mouth brain is.

I just love the intricacy of basketweave tile.

I just love the intricacy of basketweave tile.

My first consideration was the bathroom floor which I knew I wanted to have in white marble basketweave.

White Venatino marble tile with a grey dot.

White Venatino marble tile with a grey dot.

There were lots of choices but ultimately our favorite is the Ida white Venatino with Marmara grey from Best Tile. I looked for the same tile at other stores but could not find it with the grey marble dot.

There are lots of choices with marble basketweave tile.

There are lots of choices with marble basketweave tile.

The Tile Shop only has black dots, blue dots, and green dots. Too harsh for me.

Marble basketweave tile with white grout.

Marble basketweave tile with white grout.

This is the same marble basketweave with "warm gray" grout.

This is the same marble basketweave with “warm gray” grout.

In addition the grout color makes a huge difference and we have decided to go with grey grout.  Truly, it changes the character of the tile.

3" by 6" subway tile comes in many shades.

3″ by 6″ subway tile comes in many shades.

To go with this tile on the walls of the shower I have chosen matte white ice tile.

Marble tile on the floor and white ice matte subway on the shower walls.

Marble tile on the floor and white ice matte subway on the shower walls.

While looking at 3 shades of white matte tile I really liked the creamy white but when I laid it next to the floor marble it was clear that white ice in the matte finish was the best choice.

The master suite palette is mostly on the cool side of the spectrum.

The master suite palette is mostly on the cool side of the spectrum.

I priced the tile at various shops and there is a huge difference in price.  Since I need 140 square feet of wall tile, 50 cents can mean a fairly large price differential. One salesman tried to talk me into a glossy white tile and I said that “offended my esthetic”. He backed off.

I might like a countertop of white river granite unless the price is just too much.

I might like a countertop of white river granite unless the price is just too much.

After choosing the tile I laid my grey Benjamin Moore swatches next to the tile and the swatch for the adjacent hallway (Moonlight) and the bedroom (Virtuoso). The ceiling is pink throughout.

Coventry gray by Benjamin Moore should look good with the marble tile in the master bathroom.

Coventry gray by Benjamin Moore should look good with the marble tile in the master bathroom.

My choice for the wall color is Coventry Gray.

Secret by Benjamin Moore for the built-ins.

Secret by Benjamin Moore for the built-ins.

I have picked the dark grey Benjamin Moore color “Secret” from their Affinity line to paint the bottom of the linen closet in the hall and the bookshelves in the bedroom.  My plan is to use the gallon of “Sparrow” I bought here to create a similar color by mixing my own paint.

A 78-inch long double sink vanity goes under the casement window in the master bathroom.

A 78-inch long double sink vanity goes under the casement window in the master bathroom.

I still need to select (and buy) a double sink vanity with a countertop, toilet, and fixtures.

We're looking for an ADA toilet. After all, what's a bathroom without a toilet?

We’re looking for an ADA toilet. After all, what’s a bathroom without a toilet?

And I wonder why I get held up!

What are you mixing up? Havoc? Serenity?

Conservatory Tile Order

On Saturday morning I was all set to spray paint my large olive tree planters but it was misting outside so I went in another direction totally.

The master bathroom is primed but not painted.

The master bathroom is primed but not painted.

I decided that I needed to choose a paint color for the master bathroom.

I stopped at Best Tile for samples of this marble tile planned for the master bathroom.

I stopped at Best Tile for samples of this marble tile planned for the master bathroom.

In order to do that I needed tile samples with which to compare color. I’ll let the master bathroom decisions be the subject of a future post.

The Tile Shop's white-on-white basketweave floor tile.

I don’t care for the Tile Shop’s white-on-white basketweave floor tile even though the price is right.

Conservatory bathroom tile white-on-white floor basketweave with glass Snow Frost subway on the walls.

Conservatory bathroom tile white-on-white floor basketweave with glass Snow Frost subway on the walls.

While I was working on tile I stopped by the Tile Shop to look again at their white-on-white basketweave floor tile before I ordered a similar tile on-line from Home Depot.

Conservatory bathroom shower tile -- Snow Frost glass subway tile

Conservatory bathroom shower tile — Snow Frost glass subway tile

I talked to an assistant manager while I was there who told me my choice of Glass Snow Frost 3″ by 6″ subway tile was running low in inventory and that the price was $14.99 per square foot.

Glass tile on the Tile Shop website.

Glass tile on the Tile Shop website.

I thanked him and went home to order it on-line and found out it was $27.99 per square foot. OUCH!

This is the plan for the conservatory bathroom.

This is the plan for the conservatory bathroom.

Charlie and I went back to the Tile Shop, found my assistant manager, and ordered 114 square feet of tile.

The conservatory shower stall measures in at 114 square feet.

The conservatory shower stall measures in at 114 square feet.

I received the $14.99 price plus an additional Mother’s Day discount of 20% so the tile was $11.98 per square foot.

The conservatory bathroom floor plus the shower pan is 47 square feet of tile.

The conservatory bathroom floor plus the shower pan is 47 square feet of tile.

It will be ready for pick up next week. Nineteen boxes with a total weight of 461 pounds. Will that weigh my little “Blue Note” down? Are you having a lovely Mother’s Day? I hope so.

Prices Go Up; Sizes Go Down

Of course I’m talking about cars.

I would have driven my Mazda forever if she hadn't become so grumpy and money grubbing.

I would have driven my Mazda forever if she hadn’t become so grumpy and money grubbing.

I was in the market for a new car because my 9-year-old red Mazda3 hatchback with a manual shift was behaving very naughtily.  She drank oil like it was water, chugged, puffed, hesitated and, in the end, needed a new engine.

The inside of my Mazda still looked pretty good but looks aren't everything when we're talking cars.

The inside of my Mazda still looked pretty good but looks aren’t everything when we’re talking cars.

I went here and there looking for someone to take her place. I have been driving a red standard shift car for at least the last 21 years.  I was ready for a change.

Bye-bye, Baby.

Bye-bye, Baby.

After doing a bit of internet shopping on yahooauto.com at the suggestion of a co-worker, I headed out after work to look for a used car with a hatchback.

It looked nice except the hatchback area seemed VERY small.

The Chevy Sonic looked nice except the hatchback area seemed VERY small.

I had spotted a 2014 Chevrolet Sonic online at Enterprise Car Sales.

The back cavity seemed a little bigger. Not sure if it was looking at the photos.

The back cavity of the Versa seemed a little deeper. Not sure if it was looking at the photos.

I asked if there were any other hatchbacks on the lot and there were 2: one aqua blue with black interior and the other royal blue with light grey interior. Both were 2015 Nissan Versa Notes.

I ripped the dealer sticker off first thing in the morning when I inspected the car in the light of day.

I ripped the dealer sticker off first thing in the morning when I inspected the car in the light of day.

I picked the royal blue one. Automatic she is.

The sticker of a car has lots of information, some helpful, some not so much.

The sticker of a car has lots of information, some helpful, some not so much.

I had a good although long experience of waiting until they valued my trade-in.

I was happy to finally get it and drive home.  A long evening after a long day.

I was happy to finally get it and drive home. A long evening after a long day.

I signed my name about 20 times.

Small but mighty, I hope.

Small but mighty, I hope.

Then at about 9:15 p.m. I headed home in my new blue-mobile.

She looks nice in her new home at The Glade.

She looks nice in her new home at The Glade.

Woo-hoo! Another item checked off the to-do list.

Why does it take so long to buy cars?  We didn’t haggle over price.  I didn’t need financing. I don’t get it.

I was not paid nor perked for this post.

Working on a Wall Light

We bought this outdoor fixture to be used as an over dressing table light in the master bathroom.

Over dressing table wall light which needs to be painted and repaired.

Over dressing table wall light which needs to be painted and repaired.

We got a great deal on it because it needed to be fixed.

I didn't care for the original finish on the lamp.

I didn’t care for the original finish on the lamp.

Charcoal metallic paint gives an enamel-like finish (unless it falls in the mud while the paint is drying).

Charcoal metallic paint gives an enamel-like finish (unless it falls in the mud while the paint is drying).

First I spray painted it charcoal metallic.  I taped it all up so the paint wouldn’t get on the glass.

Some paint got on the inside of the seeded glass.

Some paint got on the inside of the seeded glass.

Unfortunately a little triangle of paint misted inside the shade.

Paint is easily scraped from glass with a razor blade.

Paint is easily scraped from glass with a razor blade.

It was easily removed with a razor blade and a little fingernail scratching.

The back of the light didn't line up parallel with the shade when they were screwed together.

The back of the light didn’t line up parallel with the shade when they were screwed together.

I put it together with odd screws only to find it was really crooked.

The back of the fixture showed that one of the posts had been screwed down tighter than the other.

The back of the fixture showed that one of the posts had been screwed down tighter than the other.

The answer was to take the base apart.

Now the nuts on the back are equally down the threaded posts.

Now the nuts on the back are equally down the threaded posts.

I unscrewed the posts from the back and screwed them back together more evenly.

The shade is now sitting straight on the wall bracket.

The shade is now sitting straight on the wall bracket.

To check if the repair had indeed been made I put it all back together again.It looks good to me. Maybe just a little more spray paint.

Are you in the midst of a major project?