Category Archives: Before and After

We’re Not the First to Mow

By the time we mow our lawn the neighbors have already mowed theirs.

Violets in our yard spread like weeds.

Violets in our yard turn the green carpet purple violet for a few weeks..

But our yard is filled with violets in spring.

Tiny wild violets look great in a woodland setting but will take over a cultivated garden.

Tiny wild violets look great in a woodland setting but will take over a cultivated garden.

Even though they spread like weeds, having large patches of tiny purple flowers is luxurious.

Lilacs and violets in the foreground, spears of iris in the mid-ground, and dogwood near the cottage.

Lilacs and violets in the foreground, spears of iris in the mid-ground, and dogwood near the cottage.

This year the violets are underpinning the lilac bush at the back of the potager.

The lawn has had its first mowing this spring of 2015.

The lawn has had its first mowing this spring of 2015.

After the grass is cut the yard looks much neater but the violets are mostly gone for another year.

What chore do you pout off as long as possible?

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.

I Wired a $10 Light

A while ago (years maybe) I bought a $10 light at The Loading Dock in Baltimore.

The master closet now has a bare light bulb hanging rakishly from the ceiling.

The master closet now has a bare light bulb hanging rakishly from the ceiling.

I had the bright idea that it would look nice in our newly-built master closet.

$10 from the salvage yard.

$10 from the salvage yard.

The finish on it was vintage brass but it had become pitted over the years.

The spray painted pieces don't look like much.

The spray painted pieces don’t look like much.

I decided to give it my favorite metal finish: metallic charcoal.

Just returning the now-clean glass to the newly-painted frame is an improvement.

Just returning the now-clean glass to the newly-painted frame is an improvement.

After removing all the glass and spraying the metal parts, I rewired it. The original wiring fabric-covered and ragged.

The hardware store had a large selection of wire wherein we found exactly the right thing.

The hardware store had a large selection of wire wherein we found exactly the right thing.

Earlier in the day we had stopped at Clark’s Hardware for replacement candelabra parts. I had tried 3 other stores earlier in the week and was finally successful in finding the parts and wires for less than $8.

The wire was not difficult to guide through the metal tube.

The wire was not difficult to guide through the metal tube.

I threaded the wires up through the stem along with the copper grounding wire that came with the fixture.

The new sockets are repositioned on the fixture.

The new sockets are repositioned on the fixture.

I positioned the new sockets on the base and connected white wires to white and black wires to black with wire nuts.

Black to black, white to white, wire nuts and tape.

Black to black, white to white, wire nuts and tape.

The expert at the hardware store said to also use electrical tape which I did.  I thought it was overkill but then I’m no expert.

Before

Before

After

After

I put all the pieces pack together and, voila, a hanging fixture for our closet which, by the way, Charlie also likes.

What your latest “rewiring”?

Psssst!

I don’t have a secret.  I finally spent the day spray painting.

Here are the frames separated into individual pieces of our vintage patio set.

Here are the frames separated into individual pieces of our vintage patio set.

The weather was warm (above 50) and although it was a bit breezy I worked my way through 5 cans of Rust Inhibitor and Metallic Charcoal to cover my vintage patio set.

Coat after coat of Rustoleum Metallic Charcoal -- until it gleamed in the sun.

Coat after coat of Rustoleum Metallic Charcoal — until it gleamed in the sun.

I also used my rug cleaner recipe to clean the cushions. I squirted it on, brushed it in, and rinsed it off.

Most of the stains (see photo) came out after a good scrub and rinse.

Most of the stains (see before photo) came out after a good scrub and rinse.

The cushions are much cleaner.

I stood on the back steps and threw the pillows up to the roof.  One flew over the other side and landed n the mud.

I stood on the back steps and threw the pillows up to the roof. One flew over the other side and landed n the mud.

I was able to toss the cushions up to the bedroom porch from the conservatory steps.

After on the left, before on the right.

After on the left, before on the right.

I still need to get the last two chair frames up to the porch but at point everything is painted.

The cushions are drying but I plan to make this porch my 3-season headquarters.

The cushions are drying but I plan to make this porch my 3-season headquarters.

Everything aught to be dry enough to sit on tomorrow.

Two more pieces are waiting to be handed up to the master bedroom private porch.

Two more pieces are waiting to be handed up to the master bedroom private porch.

Woo hoo! I thought it would never get finished.

Inside — outside, where are you working (playing) this weekend?

Don’t Look in the Dining Room

Once upon a time all our clutter was relegated to the living room.

This is not the worst the living room had been over the course of the renovation.

This is not the worst the living room had been over the course of the renovation.

Then we tackled it and set it up with a new sofa.

The Living Room with most of the clutter gone.

The Living Room with most of the clutter gone.

Everything was warm and cozy.

The only change is a white sofa cover.

The only change is a white sofa cover.

I even went to the trouble of changing the slip cover on the sofa with the season.

There are always a few items that are not in their proper place.

There are always a few items that are not in their proper place.

Although I never quite finished sewing the curtains even those don’t look too bad.

The dining room can be seen just beyond the living room.

The dining room can be seen just beyond the living room.

The dining room, however, is my sewing room and it’s not cleared up enough to lay out my sewing regalia.

Even the bathroom sink is on the floor in the dining room .

Even the bathroom sink is on the floor in the dining room .

We’re still not finished the conservatory so until I’m sure I won’t need some touch up paint or a special tool and all the new electrical and plumbing fixtures are installed, the staging area is our dining room.

The dining room (with the oval table) is open to all the other rooms.

The dining room (with the oval table) is open to all the other rooms.

Unfortunately our dining room is the central pass-through for all the first floor rooms.

The conservatory bathroom floor is the project which has been holding us up.

The conservatory bathroom floor is the project which has been holding us up.

This afternoon our knows-everything (in a good way) buddy is coming to assess how he can help us finish the bathroom floors which is the next step.

We had a party on New Year's Eve and we'll plan another one soon (soon as the dining room is presentable).

We had a party on New Year’s Eve and we’ll plan another one soon (soon as the dining room is presentable).

Until then if we party I’ll have to ask you not to look under the dining room table.

Do you move piles of stuff from one room to another? How do you get rid of it?

I Forgot to Mention

On our way back from Richmond, Virginia, a few weeks ago we stopped at Ikea to buy a sink and faucet for the conservatory bathroom.

The faucet fits on the Ikea sink and faucet.

The faucet fits on the Ikea sink and faucet.

I forgot to mention that I bought something else.

Our Ektorp works well in the living room.

Our grey Ektorp works well in the living room.

When we bought our Ektorp sofa I chose the grey (Svanby Gray) cover.  It’s been a sophisticated yet cozy look all winter. (My son came over the other night and swore the sofa was blue until he actually looked at it.)

Blekinge white

Blekinge white

Now I’m ready for something lighter since the south-facing living room actually gets more sunlight in winter than in summer.

A corner against the still-unfinished curtains.

A corner against the still-unfinished curtains.

I almost didn’t buy this creamy white cover because at the Ikea store it is lit with lighting that makes it appear bright, stark white.  But actually it works very well in our warm grey living room.

It looks good with the blue pillows, too.

It looks good with the blue pillows, too.

I might have other summer changes in store if I can just find the time.

Do you make seasonal changes in your house? Big changes? Small changes?

In a Shoe Box

A while ago I showed you my pathetic shoe collection and decided to take control of the disarray.

The bulk of my shoes.

The bulk of my shoes.

I’m not the only one organizing shoes check out D’Arcy at Our Bungalow’s 2nd Century and Jessica at Cape of Dreams.

A box of 20 clear plastic shoe boxes and lids.

A box of 20 clear plastic shoe boxes and lids.

Last Saturday we took a trip to The Container Store specifically so I could see how my shoes fit in their shoes boxes.

Plastic shoe boxes from The Container Store.

Plastic shoe boxes from The Container Store could be handy for more than just shoes.

Their shoe boxes have some good points — they’re less than $2 each ($1.51 on sale), they’re sturdy, the tops are totally removable, they’re see-through, they’re stackable.

One of the easiest projects I've ever attempted.

One of the easiest projects I’ve ever attempted.

After getting rid of a few pairs to the trash and the church free table I put them pair by pair into the new shoe boxes and stacked them in the back bedroom awaiting the organization of the new master closet.

I was not perked nor paid for this post.

How do you organize your shoes?