A Small Gift

I wanted to get something personal for the Cottage tenant who has been steadily fixing up the Cottage, taking care of the yard, and other truly nice things.

I bought Charlie a greenhouse kit for Christmas.

I like to get people things they wouldn’t get for themselves.

Personalized postage stamps.

I saw that Zazzle.com was  having a 30% off sale so I checked out if it applied to personalized postage stamps.

Custom postage template

It did. I went onto “Custom Postage” then “Photo Postage” where I chose “Small Custom Postage” in a 49 cent denomination.

I chose only to add a photo, no words.

I uploaded my favorite photo of Glade Cottage which I had to “zoom” twice to fill the frame.

Start with a great photograph.

The package arrived in about a week.  The final cost with a 30% coupon was just under $25 for 20 forty-nine cent stamps. As stamps go it’s not cost effective; as gifts go lots of bang for the buck.

What’s your favorite offbeat gift to give or get?

Neatening Up the Path

The Cottage tenant loves working in the yard.

Charlie started the path. View from the top.

I know.  It’s a blessing.

The dark mulch will lighten in the sun. View from the bottom.

The bottom of the chip path Charlie worked on last year when our big tree was taken down had never been finished.

The path is just past the greenhouse.

Now it has been neatened up. And the chip pile is being whittled down.

Are you harvesting any veg from your garden?

Unpacking the Shed

When I started taking the shutters out of the shed I realized I had been “saving” stuff.

Clearing the shed.

I took a few photos and listed 3 categories on Craigslist.

Window still in the jamb.
Rotten wood with old glass.
A nice pile for hobbyists.

Windows — some still in the jamb, some almost rotten, some ready for projects or installation — take one, take all for $5.

The old door is still in good shape.

I’m also selling the heavy old wood door to the Cottage.

The handle on the cottage door is warm vintage brass.

It has a nice brass lock and handle for which we have the keys. $10

More Craigslisting.

Finally we have some decorative shelving that we will no longer be using.  Take any or all — $5.

Looking forward to clearing the shed’s work bench very soon.

I minimally price things to keep the moochers and scroungers away.  Next weekend everything will be FREE. Everything that doesn’t go will be dumpsterated.

What’s next on your to-go list?

Crazy for Sunflowers

This summer I’m very involved with sunflowers.

The sunflowers growing on the west side of the house are blooming.

Ours are blooming well and attracting bees and gold finches.

A bouquet of fresh-cut sunflowers.

Now we’re chasing them all over the local counties.

The Sunflower Garden truck in a bed of sunflower seedlings.

The Sunflower Garden in Carroll County offers pick-your-own sunflowers ($10 for a large bunch) and other cut flowers ($12 a bunch).

Rows of flowers ripe for the picking.
I was only interested in sunflowers.

The sunflowers at The Sunflower Garden will peak around August 15th.

Sunflowers in the master bath.

I have 3 bouquets of happy sunflowers at the house for the mere price of $10.

What’s your floral focus this summer?

Getting Ahead of Myself

My plan for yesterday was to begin painting the exterior house shutters.

We have a lot of shutters. Ugh.

The actual plan was to paint them a year ago.

The shutters were not ready for painting.

I pulled all the shutters — about a dozen pairs — out of the shed.  I was going to lay them out on plastic in the backyard and spray paint them.

Some of the shutters have already been scraped.

Unfortunately only 3 pairs had been scraped and those needed to be washed down.

Clearing the shed is a subsidiary goal.

And I got sidetracked getting rid of some clutter in the shed.

Painting shutters is a labor-intensive job.

We washed down the 6 scraped shutters and paired the others together to get them ready to be painted next week (maybe).

We have a large pile of shutters.

The process is: prime rusty metal, prime fronts and backs, paint backs, paint fronts, hang shutters.

Are you easily sidetracked?

Invasive — Really?

Since I have moved the outdoor table and grill away from the house I have an empty space.

I’d like to plant a pretty shrub here.
I’m picturing something like this.

This area could needs some interest.

A butterfly bush is just the right color for this space but it’s an invasive species.

I was planning to put a butterfly bush (buddleia) in there until I started to do research.  Apparently in Maryland butterfly bush is considered an invasive plant and not recommended.

This would definitely be too large this close to the house.

One alternative to butterfly bush is ChasteTree (Vitex) which usually grows very large — 10′ to 20′ tall.

Blue Diddley Chaste Tree

But I’ve found a new variety call “Blue Diddley” that only grows 3′ to 6′.

Any experience with this bush?

Curio Cabinet

In the Cottage is a piece of furniture that fits perfectly between the front door and large window.

The curio cabinet was one of the first pieces of furniture to move into the Cottage with the tenant.

It is a tall slender curio cabinet.


Its owner is thinking of getting rid of it but I suggested she might paint it.

Black or graphite

To that end I sent a bunch of inspiration photos.


Similar cabinets transformed by paint.




Does one stand out as perfect?