Sign Me Up

I loved the enamel street signs on the buildings in Paris. They’re sooooo French.

The enamel street sign is a pervasive blue in Paris.

Ashley at Domestic Imperfection had a  sign giveaway and I won.  Ramsign, a  company in Gibraltar (as in “the rock of”), had offered Ashley’s readers a chance to win a porcelain enamel house number sign made in the Old World tradition.

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And I won.  I’m choosing a 4-number, blue sign with white digits and trim.

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I’m really struck by the red and white signs.  They’re gorgeous.

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Ramsign ships all over the world and  shipping is free. 

Click on the picture to return to previous screenThe signage is not limited to numbers, you can have a custom sign saying whatever you like as well as some of their preprinted standard signs which have words like “Welcome”, “Wine Cellar”, “Cloak Room”, “Beware of the Dog”. etc.

Click on the picture to return to previous screenAnyway, I won and I’m going to hang the new sign on the new side entrance to the house when it is built.

Can you see the sign by the door?

I’m excited!

What’s exciting you?


Let’s Caulk About It

While we were painting the exterior trim, Charlie noticed he hadn’t caulked all the windows the last time we painted the exterior of the house.

The storm windows have been recaulked as well as the window frames (not shown).

He’s the one that usually does the caulking whether inside or outside because I’m just no good at it.

Charlie caulking.

Job and location determine the type of caulk that should be used as there are many different kinds: interior vs. exterior, paintable vs. unpaintable, tinted vs. clear, etc. We use paintable window and door caulk suitable for outdoors.

From left to right the caulk is rated for 25 years, 35 years and 50 years.

The caulk gun makes a big difference also. You can have the old-fashioned kind that has a thumb lever to back the pressure off the caulk or a dripless one that gives you a smooth bead and stops when the trigger is released.

This dripless caulk gun stops automatically when the trigger is released.

I suggest throwing any of the old ones away because only a genius pro could make them work well. 

To stop the flow of these guns release the trigger and push the thumb tab. Oh, really.

Caulk guns have 2 other details which make them useful: a cutter for the end of a new tube of caulk and a pick to cut the internal seal.

Insert the end of tube in hole on an angle and pull the trigger to clip it; poke attached wire into the hole to break the seal.

 Charlie has caulked all the remaining windows and any noticable openings on the exterior of the house.

 What jobs do you put off?  Do you forget? Or just don’t enjoy them?

Get the Rug Out

The carpet in the halls of our church is slated to be replaced and I’m on the committee to choose the color.

As I was taking a mental walk through the space last evening I remembered

  • the walls of the foyer are natural red brick,
  • the adjoining carpet in the sanctuary is a dusty mauve,
  • the walls of the hall are white painted cinderblock,
  • the adjoining classrooms have various colors of blue  and dusty mauve carpet and finally
  • the kitchen and assembly room at the back have variegated tan tile.

The plan is to cover the foyer and side entrance area with vinyl tile and carpet the long runs of the halls with seamless carpet.

This area will be tiled.

Our estimate included colored tile and colored carpet, the committee is charged with picking the colors of both.  As I began thinking about it, however, a woodgrain floor (vinyl) seemed to go better with the various areas it would touch, especially the brick and mauve, and more appropriate for a church entrance.

This area will also be tiled.

I really didn’t want to think outside the box, I wanted to show up at the committee meeting, pick a color and go home.  It’s never that easy with me.

Carpet on the left will remain; carpet on the right being replaced.

Six of us assembled promptly at 9 a.m. and opened the meeting with prayer.  Our plan was to select the carpet color, then the tile color then the baseboard.  I suggested we eliminate any carpet swatches that we felt right off the bat would be inappropriate. That brought us from about 25 choices down to 10.

Middle row, second from left is our carpet choice.

We chose a slightly variegated blue that seems to have a hint of pink when held next to the mauve carpet and brick wall. The second item was the tile of which there were about 50 choices.  I suggested we eliminate anything that was mottled; someone else suggested we stay away from blue since we chose blue carpet; another said it shouldn’t be too dark.  Now we were narrowed to about 20 colors. Here I would still have liked to go with wood but the consensus was a light tannish grey tile which looked OK against the other colors already in the church.

Tile choice is circled. Hmmm!

Finally we looked through the baseboard colors for which I would have chosen a dark color to give an emphatic edge along the sides of the carpet but the committee decided on a putty color that harmonized with the tile.    Choices made, meeting adjourned.

The whole process went better than I thought it would. Next item: schedule the installation.

Do you like to design by committee?

The County Has Let Me Down — Hard

Since I’ve lived in Howard County these past 15 years the county has made available to communities large dumpsters to fill with the things that are difficult to just throw away. They stay for a long weekend then are hauled away.

I’ve been waiting for our Spring dumpster’s arrival so I can get rid of all sorts of unusual things that won’t fit in a trash bag.

Three jolly stools are headed to the trash heap.

Now instead of dragging this stuff a block up the street, we have to call the county number, put it on the curb and wait for the special “Curbside Bulk Trash Collection”. 

Metal curtain rods cannot be collected with wooden stools.

If that’s not inconvenient enough, there are 3 categories of items:

  • large plastic items,
  • large metal items, and
  • large trash items.

The plastic items may be put on the curb on our regular recycling day but the other two categories must be collected by special arrangement.  And don’t even consider picking up someone else’s scrap metal because it’s against the law: County Code 18.610. These things include metal furniture, swing sets, exercise equipment, lawn mowers, etc. DIYer Beware! (That may be caveat bricolage in Latin.)

Finally, only 4 items may be placed out for one pick-up.  Seriously, I’m calling the number today and scheduling the first of many, many, many, many .  .  .  pick-ups. It’s on!

Have you been waiting for something then been disappointed when it didn’t happen?



Some Gorgeous Growth

Lately I walk around the yard at The Glade marveling how beautiful everything is.  With camera in hand here’s what I see.

The five-foot square herb patch is abundant.

The herb garden in front of the Wee Little House is flourishing with rosemary, sage, chives, thyme and some kind of potted mint-type plant.

We’re still moving plants into this newly created garden.

The Children’s Garden is colorful with a strawberry pot planted with violas and blooming chives, left-for-dead pansies from the garden store dumpster, and a stunning rhododendron.

A rhododendron blossom is as big as your hand.

The shade garden in the west side yard is full of pink and purple hues flowers along with colossal hostas.

The hostas in the foreground are 2 and a half feet tall.

I love Spring in Maryland. The clematis pictured below had little hope of blooming this year but has at least 10 flower buds ready to open.

A white clematis bud is as big as a child’s fist.

It’s truly a beautiful time whether the sun is shining or the rain is pouring.

How do you rate the beauty in your life?

How’re Them ‘Maters a Doin’?

I saved some of our Pink heirloom tomato seeds from last year with the hope of planting them this year.

First ripe Pink of the 2011 season!

After I saved the seeds with my own quick and ugly method I read other more scientific ways of saving tomato seeds and was fairly sure mine wouldn’t grow.  I planted them anyway.

The seedlings became leggy even though put outside on every warm day.

Then Charlie transplanted each seedling into its own 4-inch pot and left them outside day and night.  He put an old window over them on chilly nights.

Each tomato seedling in its own pot.

Finally the time came at the end of April when he could plant them out in the garden with little worry for their demise.  They have strong stems and are growing well.

Healthy plants set into the rich garden soil.

We’ve even given some potted seedlings to friends for their backyards or gardens.

Lots of healthy plants are ready for neighboring gardens.

Looks like the unscientific method may have worked.

This time!

What process do you do with your very own method? How does it measure up? Is it tried and true?

The 2012 Potager Planting

Deciding what was going where in the garden was an intense telephone call between Charlie and me. We had already chosen the seeds way back here, but which square gets what was the question of the day. Here’s the layout we finally decided on. (Why I’m involved I’m not quite sure since I don’t do any planting or tending, I just eat the harvest.)

The May 1st proposed planting guide.

The list of crops and square positions are as follows:

  1. Blue Lake Pole Beans
  2. Radishes/Sun Gold tomatoes
  3. Peas/Collards
  4. Collards/Radishes
  5. Runner cukes Hybrid II
  6. SunGold tomatoes
  7. Bush cukes Burpfree
  8. Onions/parsley
  9. Bush beans Tavera
  10. Pink tomatoes
  11. Bush cukes Picklebush
  12. Basil
  13. Squash
  14. Pink tomatoes
  15. Bush beans French filet
  16. Bush beans Tenderpick

Our goal date to plant the garden is May 1st.  In our area it’s a good idea not to plant too much ahead of time just in case there’s a late spring frost. Charlie actually did most of the planting on April 30th.

Collards with sugar snap peas behind.

We have a few more small squares not yet assigned but for the most part the 2012 Potager planting is finished.  Everything is in except the Sun Gold tomatoes in squares 2 and 6 which we get from a farmer friend a little later in the season. 

How doth thy garden grow?

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