Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Coffe Chat - Looking Ahead

Good Afternoon!  There's a variety of cookies today, both Fig Newtons and Chocolate Chip.  The coffee is decaf Kona but there's also cool iced water for refreshment as well. With the temperatures lower today, you might well opt for the coffee.  This cool weather was a nice surprise after yesterday's humidity and heat.  The wind chnaged directions and began to blow in clouds galore, but all we got from it was enough of a shower to dampen the grass about 3am.  The change of weather brought in a few forecasters:  my hip ached, Chance complained of knees aching.  It's not at all funny how well we can tell a weather change is about to occur.

I went out grocery shopping yesterday.  I didn't have a lot of coupons, in fact, I had none.  I shopped sales only, required very few things aside from sales items.  I found quite a few good buys on meat and produce.  I'm pleased because, TRA LA! I'm spot on my budget for the month...Now if I can just hold on until next pay period, and I should be able to do so since I bought extra bread and milk and heartier, longer lasting produce.

 I've had big plans for May.  There's a deck spruce up and I'm pleased how quickly some of the dream list items came to me.  I wanted a work prep space for the grill...found a butcher block island at Goodwill for $30.  Solid wood with two shelves under the block top and casters so we can roll it about.  I plan to weatherproof it with stain.  I also wanted a nice piece of heavy canvas fabric for chair cushions.  Goodwill again.  I found a piece of fabric just big enough for four chair cushions (if I use an alternate backing) and it will really help pull together the color theme.  It's all charcoal and blue, white and olive green and rust.  I found a flat aluminum form that is like a wreath...I plan to paint it charcoal black like the table.  It is light and I can hang it on the siding of the house without worrying about doing too much damage.  I think the deck will look really nice once I'm done with plants and all.

Also at Goodwill this weekend, I found a Queen flat white sheet, which will be turned into curtains for the guest/craft room.  I moved a corner shelf into the room and put out my antique china tea set, the pictures I picked up two years ago at Peaches to Beaches (all those lovely women photographs).  It's starting to come together and I'm liking it.  I think it's going to end up in a sort of shabby cottage direction.  I'll be painting that bamboo and rattan table I bought at Goodwill last Spring, covering my desk chair, skirting the craft table (and creating some nice under table storage when I do).  I noted bi-fold paneled doors at the thrift shop yesterday...seems to me that might make a nice headboard for a bed.  I'm still thinking about that one.

I guess I just needed a good thrift shop fix this weekend.  I found two paper back books I thought would be interesting and a few receiving blankets which have been washed, dried and are ready to donate for newborn babies at the Crisis Pregnancy Center.

Yesterday while doing my grocery shopping, I happened to go by the church thrift store.  I spent a whole $3.  One purchase was a really pretty handmade accent pillow, long and narrow, that is now on my bed and which has given me a whole new idea about where I want to go with my bedding, (still using the reverse side of the quilt at present) but it will also go with what I planned earlier, IF I'm brave enough to mix the two floral patterns. The pillow is made of a high end fabric and has pricey tassels and trim. 

Decorating, decorating seems to always be on my mind.  I'm always trying to refine my home and make it more comfortable, prettier, etc.

I have gardening plans as well, provided my son can work it into his schedule.  I'm not sure that is going to work out since the job he's up for will be sending him out of state for two or three months training.  I may just have to start these projects on my own and what I can't do, I can't do. 

I talked to Chance about the proposed re-use of the unused kennel for an enclosed raise bed garden. He was all for it! Isn't that great? I plan to make good use of the space there. I want to hang pots of herbs on the fence to extend the use of the space. I've spent time this week plotting the sunlight the area gets. One section between the two sheds gets less sunlight, but another section at the back gets full sun from morning until night. I'm not a gardener yet, but I'll learn just how I can go about using this to my advantage. I thought a nice row of trash cans on the outside of the fence would do for potatoes.

Chance and I have been discussing ways to keep our electric costs lower this year. Now the allergy/pollen season is done we can go back to hanging clothes outdoors to dry.  As well, we'd decided that a 110V window unit in our bedroom would sufficiently lower the temperature for us to sleep comfortably without having to lower the thermostat for the big unit.  I have a hard time sleeping when the termperature is above 70F.  We typically would lower our thermostat to 72F at night but that meant the AC would often run for hours on end when the weather was very hot and often not stop running until well into the cooler morning hours.  Chance mentioned he planned to buy a 110V AC to a friend who offered us their window unit now they've put in a new system in their home.  Now we'll leave the house thermostat set to 78F at night and cool our room.

Oddly enough, this has placed a high priorty on some yard work.  You see, the window where the unit will go has a rosebush right outside it and that must be moved in order to put the unit in the window.  I put a lot of work into that particular planting area several years ago but honestly it looks pretty rugged these days.  I would really like to take it all out and start over again and this  opportunity seems too good a one to pass up.  I find I am drawn to much neater, heavily mulched areas with smaller plantings right around a home's walls anyway.  As said, I may end up having to do a great deal of this a wee bit at a time all on my own, but I will get it done by planning to spend a half hour or so in the yard each morning.

I spent the majority of the early Spring months dreaming about the yard and how I'd like to have it look.  Oh the dreams I've dreamed!  I'll need a backhoe, about five hired helpers and a chunk of money!  Seriously, dreams I've dreamed and most of them are quite do-able with a little help and a little cash and a lot of time.

Items of interest lately:

I've been reading through my April, and now May, vintage magazines.  Did you know that in 1932 BH&G was promoting the idea of 'Thrift Gardens'?  This was in the height of the depression years and the magazine pushed the idea of growing your own fruits and vegetables in order to occupy unemployed workers and feed families.  In another few years these gardens would be billed as Victory Gardens to help feed Americans so the bulk of produced foods could be sent to our men in service.

We like to think the 'modern' look in homes began in the 1950's...True that they were most popular then, but you'd be shocked at how modern the 'modern' homes of 1935 were!  Very sleek, full of windows and most assuredly the forerunner of the '50's moderns.

Seasonal fruits and vegetables are often featured in the older magazines, because in those years, seasons truly dictated the majority of what one ate, quite unlike our day and time where we can buy strawberries year round.  Strawberries were frequently paired with other fruits and melons. For instance, two popular pairings from the '30's and '40's were strawberries with pineapple (usually fresh) and with cantaloupe.  An idea in a 1940's magazine: apples stuffed with strawberries, baked with brown sugar.  Or what about berries topped with meringue in a pie?

Two new ideas for future posts, both in the form of  "How to" type series.  I'll start one of them this month and the other at the conclusion.  How To Get Out of Debt and Have Fun Doing It, and  How to Keep House.  I'll lead out with the latter series because of a note I received from a young wife this morning.  She told me she was going to be joining The Bon-Bon club (based upon Chance's teasing phone comment whenever he's within hearing of females at work) in June.  She asked for tips and pointers on how to be as efficient as possible.  It's especially important to her to be on top of tasks because while she'll be a stay at home wife, she'll also be working part time from home.

I read an article on yahoo this morning. I've been learning for a year or two now about how beneficial certain foods are to our bodies, so this article was of great interest to me.  As a note on the kiwi: thos e of you who prefer to try to eat locally do not assume kiwi are shipped in from a foreign country.  The next town over has a large kiwi orchard right within the city limits!  I once met a representative from New Zealand who travelled the U.S. to promote the idea of growing kiwi here in the States.

It's been a good while since I shared inspiration pictures with you.  I thought I'd like to share some I've collected over the past month or so related to gardens and porches.  Most are from BH&G site unless otherwise noted.

I love this galvanized bucket planting.  It could be contemporary, it could be country (especially as the buckets lose their shiny newness.  I've thought often of using varying sized buckets such as this in the beds around the house.  I figure they are more easily portable if we need to move them to get underneath the home as well as more easily moved if I find a plant needs more shade or sun or less water, etc.

This photo is from Country Living.  It is a potting center in the corner of a garage or carport.  Isn't it lovely?  I suppose next to a pantry the next dream of many is for a sink dedicated to potting and flower arranging.

I love to look at the dreamy sort of patios and porches and those planned renos that install outdoor fireplaces etc. every now and then.  But what I really look for in photos are ideas that are do-able for the average budget gardener.  Like this hanging pot idea that makes good use of a wooden fence.  Isn't this pretty?  Can't you imagine a little pebble based terrace for seating here in front of this area?

This photo seemed another do-able sort of thing.  I've a big unused at present patio in front of my home.  I hate that it's just there.  I've been thinking some sort of entrance area would bring it more to the forefront, and perhaps inspire us to furnish it at long last.  My focus here was the arch and the gate with planting beds either side.

The letters on the photo represent what each plant is.  No clue, didn't save that info and didn't mean to do so.  What I liked was the bright pretty pots.  I think these are no doubt those inexpensive plastic urns that you snap together.  Aren't the colors just gorgeous and happy?  I want to use this idea on my deck.

It's not the stone edging that drew my eye to this photo, nor the planted urn...It's that lettuce border!  What a fun accent for a spring flower bed, especially if garden space is a premium in your yard.

This 'hose guard' made from an old tire was a clever idea.  In fact, I have a lawnmower tire that Chance told me I might have and I think this would be a good use of it.  I liked the pea gravel surround at the faucet as well. 
This image is from a blog.  I found it on Yahoo!images.  You see these things, these tire planters have a special place in my heart.  They were a common site in yards when I was growing up here in the rural South.  There's a few homes still that sport them and I think a home in the country just ought to have a couple of them.

This is a very rustic arbor, but it was a photo that I felt embodied the 'use what you have' philosophy nicely. 

It can hardly be called an expensive makeover or luxurious remodel, but this is pretty to me.  With two sheds on the property and one side shaded by a good sized tree, it's an idea worth thinking about in the future.  I like that the shed in this picture is rustic, and note those hanging buckets on the wall.

Here's an idea I've been toying with for the past week or so and I found the photo at BH&G this morning that has done the very thing: hanging pictures on a wall outdoors.  This is something I may consider for the front porch where less sun means less fading.  I love the symmetry of this grouping both on the wall and the bench with the two planters, the pillows.  It's very composed looking and that to me often translates to peaceful. 

I thought this photo looked rather neat and nice.  There's a log cabin on the way to the city the owners painted their porch floor a bright crimson red...then added a red painted swing.  It's unusual to see the furnishings and the floor the same color, but it works somehow to make it all look so...prim and proper.

Big news this year in plantings: TEXTURAL planting.  Seriously, gardens and container plantings have current trends just like home furnishings and clothing styles.  Texture is where it's at this year.  Note the stone planter, the different leaf textures, the complimentary but opposing colors which highlights still further the textural differences.  I like this look and am considering the same for our planters.

I think that's about all I have for today. Hope to see you later in the week for Frugal Friday.


Tracy said...

Looking forward to reading your two new series! Lovely pictures! I do hope you will share photos of your yard and garden as you get things done. :)

MotherHen said...

I have a question, how do plant the potatoes in trash cans? I read about you doing this in a previous post & meant to ask about it then but got pulled away from the computer then forgot about it, :-)

Dawn said...

I actually purchased and planted a pair of kiwi plants earlier this spring. The nursery owner assured us that the plants would grow similar to grapevines. Of course, we have to wait a couple of years to enjoy any fruit.

Anonymous said...

I sure wish you would get some diet Pepsi!! Of course, then you might never get rid of me. Maybe I will just bring my own. Love the red bench and the pictures. Just don't have anyplace I could do something like that but maybe some other wall hangings that wouldn't fade. Keep up with the pictures. You pick great ones that are just my style! Grandma D.