Repeating Colors

Now that all the shutters have been painted I have an idea for using the shutter color is one place at the back of the house.

The back of the house looks less colorful than the front.

I think the bottom of the bump out might look good painted dark, the shutter color.

I can paint the bump out paneling storm blue.

My original inspiration for the bump out was painted. What’s the worst thing that can happen: I paint it white again.

The house painting was completed in 2015.
Now I might paint the bottom of the bump out.

I mocked up an old photo to give a feeling of how it would look.

Do you use paint to transform spaces?


More Shutter Details

It’s not a surprise that we painted and mounted shutters again this weekend.

Sug climbed onto the roof of the porch and I handed up the shutters.

Sug cleaned and primed and I painted 4 sets of shutters.  We were only able to hang 2 more sets because the final two pairs need to be specially fit.

The shutter over the porch is quite weathered.

The first set goes over the side porch outside of the laundry room.  This is the most weathered set of all the shutters but we used them because the hinges match the ones on the window frame.  We didn’t feel like tasking ourselves with moving hinges because the shutters would have to be notched.

Shutters on the east face of the house.

Then we hung another set on the east side of the house. This was the window I talked about here.

Before in 2015
The shutters on the east side of the house are finished (2017). The conservatory window will not be so adorned.

We decided to hang not only one shutter on this window but to hang the pair even though the right hand panel will not open all the way.

The bottom shutter on the right sticks out about 45 degrees from the house.
A screw eye was located closer to the center of the window to accommodate a shutter that could not open all the way due to an adjacent wall.

The tie-back would not work on the right-hand side because the shutter would not open flat. Instead of cutting the tie-back shorter we simply added another screw eye at a spot that would secure the tie-back.


We’re just loving the look of the house with freshly painted shutters and especially happy we’re almost finished mounting shutters.  When we’re finished ten pairs will be hanging on the house.

Are you afraid of heights?

Foundation Plant Purchase

I visited for a second time the nursery Charlie and I looked through back at the beginning of August.

Meeting room for plant buyer and landscape advisor.

This time I was ready to use their free sketch up service and to order plants.

This template makes it easy to lay in plants on a scaled drawing.

At a round table in a small room I met with a young man who used his plant template to draw plant outlines on my measured ground plan.

My drawing was in 1/4-inch scale.

For each shape I gave a suggestion of what I wanted to use in the space.  Sometimes he agreed and sometimes he told me growing habits that might preclude using my choice in a certain spot.

Green Velvet boxwood

When we were finished I was given the sketch with a list of plant possibilities.

  • 4 Green Velvet boxwood
  • 6 Helleri Japanese holly
  • 2 Witchita blue junipers
  • 3 Golden Thread false cypress
  • 3 Blue Star juniper
  • 12 Blue Rug juniper
I might switch these bright Helleri Japanese holly with the boxwood depending on size considerations.

Then two other men led me around the nursery yard to pick out the exact plants I wanted.  The total came to just under $600.

Wichita blue juniper

In my vision the front of the house will have a tighter symmetrical planting than the sides and back. Note that my colors are blue, green, and yellow.  There are no reds, pinks, or oranges in the mix.  Those colors are in other parts of the yard.

Golden Thread False Cypress

Toward the side porch the plantings loosen up a bit in drifts as opposed to lines.

Blue Star juniper

When the plants are delivered next week I can rearrange them as I like. I’m excited to get this project in the ground.

Do you do your own landscaping or hire someone to finish the job?

Trip Planning for 2018

I was looking at my 101  in 1001 list and decided I’d better get busy planning some travel items.

Charlie, Sug, and I are planning a trip to the crown of the Statue of Liberty this October. Tickets must be purchased months in advance.

Basically this year is finished although we do have a couple of day trips planned to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and the Statue of Liberty.

I’d like to get to Cuba before things change too much. (Sug will be heading back to the Dominican Republic later in the year on a mission trip.)

The schedule I’m laying out for Charlie and me in 2018 is:

  • January/February — 5 or 6 days in Cuba
  • July/August — 2 or 3 days on Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay
  • September/October — 10 days in England

I don’t know if I’ll be able to pull off all of the planning for this travel but I’m certainly going to try.

Last year we went to 3 national parks including Grand Canyon.

We haven’t been out of the country since 2011 and I’m feeling more confident about international travel.

My passport was renewed in 2015. I’m ready for a trip.

First item on the agenda: Renew Charlie’s passport.

The photo tool on the State Department website is easy to use but has very specific requirements.

I started by taking his photo which didn’t turn out so we’ll have another session soon which Charlie will hopefully let me share. (I took my own passport photo.)

Where in the world would you like to go?

An Unexpected Gift

As most people know Charlie is a church pianist/organist and I, Jo, am a church choir director.

An intricate tribute to music we all love.
Both pieces are cross-stitched and straight stitched.

A few Sundays ago a couple that sits in the back of the church asked us to come out to their car because they had something for us.  I figured it was something to eat because people are always giving Charlie food.

Both pieces had been professionally mounted behind glass and framed.

Instead we were presented two beautifully cross-stitched hymns which had been framed. This intricate work was created by the wife and extolled by a very proud-of-his-spouse husband.

Quickly hung to protect the art from getting damaged.

We are so delighted with this gift that I have made a place for it on the wall of the conservatory so we and everyone else can see it often.

We spend a lot of time in the conservatory and will see these pictures daily.

In order to hang the new pieces I moved the red flower print into the conservatory bathroom and now the chart has nowhere to  go.

Do you move your artwork around?

I Pruned the Mystery Plant

We established yesterday that the plant in my front yard is an Upright Japanese Plum Yew  (Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Fastigiata’).


This plant is a slow grower.

Unfortunately over the past 20 years it has become weedy looking.

Ultimately all branches seem to grow in a vertical direction.

So last evening I decided to prune it. My online research said it could be pruned at any time of the year.

I tried not to get carried away with thinning and clipping.

I cut about one-third of the plant away. I used a technique of both cutting branches which were growing sideways at the base and topping a few of the longer stems.

The plant is tamer now but still not too attractive.

I’m hoping the yew will fill in at the bottom now that it has been thinned and light can get in.

The wheelbarrow is full of trimmings.

Perhaps when we finish the landscaping it will fit in better.

Do you have a method for rotting out tree stumps?

What’s This Plant?

Happy 8th anniversary to us!

This plant is in our front yard.

This evergreen shrub has been in my front yard since I moved in 20 years ago.

The bush is just behind the corner of the fence that used to delineate the property in 2011.

It used to be behind a fence but now sits right at the corner of the driveway.

Here it is in 2013.

It has no odor to speak of .

Charlie has never liked this weird plant.

It has not grown much and I have never pruned it.

The bush is just visible to the left of the house. The tree in front of it is now only a stump.

The tree in front of it has died and was removed last year so this shrub will get more sunlight than before.

Close-up for identification purposes.

I’m guessing it’s some type of Japanese yew which I understand are toxic to animals and people. Update: This type of yew is not dangerous.

Flat evergreen needles between one and two inches long.

And I’d like to make it shapelier.

Update:  I think Chad has nailed the identification as
Upright Japanese Plum Yew  (Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Fastigiata’).

Any ideas on what it is? Or how to shape it up?