It’s only been a year and a month since I posted


I’m back in the yard, puttering around.  There have been a few changes inside the house since I last wrote, but maybe I’ll tell you about them later.  I just logged on today to make a little list of the plants in my herb garden.  Perhaps when I’m done mulching it, I’ll take pretty photos of my own and share them with an update of this post:

  • Sage
  • Pennyroyal – poisonous but supposedly deters fleas.  Therefore, welcome in my garden.
  • Bloody Dock – I love this plant’s leaves. Gorgeous.
  • English Thyme
  • Peppermint
  • Lavender – lots of it!
  • Rosemary
  • Bee Balm – beautiful flowers and I like the leaves in my ice water.
  • Lovage –  looking forward to subbing this for celery this year and using it in soups.
  • Toothache – I had never heard of this before I saw it at my favorite herb grower’s stand in the farmer’s market. Had to try it out.  I can already report that the leaves do indeed have an analgesic affect.
  • Borage – I want to grow this for its beautiful flowers.  Last year, unfortunately, I only planted one of these guys and Maverick peed on it and peed on it until he killed it.  This year I planted two and have rearranged things to give them a little protection from my dog’s attentions.
  • Catmint
  • Lemon Balm

My older dog seems to really like lying among the herbs – but he ignores the catmin. 

Shed, Shed, Shed

Oh me, oh my, oh my shed. Here is the best before pic I had, and I use the term “best” very loosely.  The lighting here is a little off; it’s less yellow in real life. But you get the idea.

Backyard as seen from the breakfast nook.  Fenced and backs up to a park.

Backyard as seen from the breakfast nook. Fenced and backs up to a park.

My shed was nearly covered with pittosporum bushes. They were very tall, growing up under the eaves of the shed and over the roof.  They had to be trimmed. They should have been trimmed before the last frost, but they actually got trimmed last week.

In all of its glory
In all of its glory

Oh my god, that shed looks even worse. I didn’t know that was possible.  The overgrown shrubs were doing me a favor – who knew?  So, let’s start at the beginning. There used to be a big tree growing to the left of the shed on the fenceline. That tree came down earlier this year and was ground into a pile of amazing mulch, which you can see at the base of the freshly planted magnolia bush.

There used to be a piece of trim on the left of the door frame, but that piece just fell off when I tugged on it.  There is damage from ants and god knows what else on the frame of this door.


It looks kind of messy inside, but this is actually fairly well organized.  And I’m in the middle of digging beds and such, so cut me some slack, OK?

  1. DSCN0277The inside – oh the humanity!

But you can see in the center of the photo, that sliver of light blue? That’s not a plastic cone – why would I have a plastic cone? That is a tarp covering the back of the shed, because the walls have separated, come off the foundation, and sunk down.  If you scroll up to the first couple of pictures, you can see that the foundation is just cement blocks.  But if you come around to the back:

DSCN0289You don’t see those blocks at all! Very bad news, bears, bad news indeed. That bottom board will crumble if you poke at it – it’s been damaged by termites. There is not an active termite infestation, this is just damage from an old infestation.  But, geez, what a downer.  I had been entertaining hopes that this old shed could be saved.  My delightful handyman and I had talked about just wrapping it with new siding and repainting – a facelift.

DSCN0295But after looking at the damage, that didn’t seem prudent. I have been hating this tarp-covered shed since before I was even looking to buy a house, because this faces the park behind the house, and I walked the dogs there.  Ugh.  Another option handyman and I thought about was moving the shed to a new foundation to shore that up, but there is so much damage, that won’t work, either.

DSCN0272So say your goodbyes to the shed. Its time has come, and its time has gone.  Handyman and I don’t have a timeline set, but this old baby won’t last the summer.  And when it is gone, I might turn the area left between the bushes into a little hideaway place to sit, like a little secret garden.  We’ll see!

And please do admire the clover blooming all over my grass.  Clover is good at fixing nitrogen into the soil, and when it is growing in your grass, it is a sign that your soil is nitrogen-deficient.  The yellow leaves on the bushes are actually saying the same thing.  I’m slowly, slowly working on improving the soil in my yard, but until I get there, I’m not rushing the clover out, because that stuff is working for me! Source for my nitrogen info is here.

And ORB wins it!

Not Orb, the winner of the Kentucky Derby, though kudos are indeed due to that gorgeous horse, but ORB, aka, oil-rubbed bronze spray paint.  Where would I be without it? A brassy and miserable place, my friends. Miserable.

Recall, the den started out heresville:

Fireplace and built ins, before.

Fireplace and built ins, before.

Add paint, add some accessories, and you end up around about hereseville:

Fp at xmas timeToday I decided that instead of cleaning, laundering, or cooking for the week ahead – or, God forbid I start the motion I need to file tomorrow before 9 tonight – I’d spray paint that brass fireplace screen.  The fireplace is wood burning, as you can see above, but I was told by a chimneysweep that it isn’t sealed properly, so it shouldn’t be used.  Whoops.  Goose and I really enjoyed this fire while it lasted.  It’s on the list of things to fix, but until then, it gets a $5.99 treatment. Onward!

IMAG0336I couldn’t find my painter’s tape. I just used it when I was painting the hutch. Where did it go? I have no idea. Post it notes make a wonderful substitute! Hint, hint, 3M.  This is not the world’s most perfect spray paint.  But it doesn’t matter. This thing is not long for this world because I am hoping to ditch it for a gas insert in the next 12 months.  And this was easy and nearly instant gratification. My favorite!

IMAG0338The lighting here is a little funky. My magical photo editing software that was on my old computer didn’t come preinstalled on this computer, so you are stuck with the photo as it looked through my phone’s camera. Blech! But you get the idea!  Now that this thing is bronzed, it draws way less attention. Just as it should be.


Hutch painted in RECORD time!


Hutch painted in RECORD time!

My darling realtor and friend gifted me this hutch that had outlived its welcome in her home. She also gave me sparkly doodads, which you might recognize as clear acrylic knobs. It is a little hard to tell in the picture, but the paint is actually a warm navy blue. The interior is (duh) PINK. And awesome. I doubted my plans to go navy and hot pink when I was at the hardware store, actually trying to pick a paint, but in the end, I remembered one of my DIY mantras: “Relax, it’s only paint.” I mean, if the pink turned out more Pepto than perfect, I could just prime and repaint. My friend C came over and helped me with the paint choices, sanding, and getting the first coat of navy blue paint on. She was a huge help and excellent company. She was also an excellent DJ, playing a live Buena Vista Social Club album. After C left, I touched up the navy and got to work on the four, count them, four coats of pink paint.


My sister from another mother, Victoria Elizabeth Barnes, is hosting a giveaway on her blog.

Click to enter the contest

Click to enter the contest

It’s a Sneeboer Trowel by the Garden Tool Company.  Look at that real wood handle. Look at it sparkle!  My last trowel I purchased broke in half as I was trying to dig up the canna lillies that will never die – I swear they probably date from the paleozoic era.  Anyway,.
Shiny AND a garden tool?  I cannot resist. Go get in on the goodness!

Ahoy there, mateys!

Please insert the usual excuses about my absence here. I’m terribly sorry to have been such a tease. Sadly, it won’t be the last time.

In the past four months I have:

Created one curtain for the living roomImage

Don’t mind the bookcase detritus on the window seat. There was room rearranging going on. If I only showed you perfect pictures, I wouldn’t show any pictures at all.  Curtain two is in progress. 🙂 I have cut and pinned panels for Craftopia, but that hasn’t been done yet.

I’ve welcomed several roommates to Elephant Culo, all of whom have been wonderful in their own ways. L has left for Chicago, J for Atlanta, but K is here until July. She has been a delight to live with – so laid back! – and has shared lots of Danish treats with me. I will really miss her when she goes back to Copenhagen in July, but something tells me she’ll be ready to get back home after a few weeks in the Carolina summer.  She’s staying in this room.  It’s not finished, of course, but it’s cozy.


The dogs have been doing a lot of work, supervising.


I’ve been quite busy in the garden, working on getting what passes for beds in the front yard blooming. We’ll get to weeding on another day. I have made a compost bin out of pallets and a pergola (well, the pergola is not quite finished, pics to follow eventually).


No picture, it seems, is complete if Goose isn’t in it. I had to go through a lot of shots to find the blurry awful low light one with Maverick, above, but I didn’t want him to feel left out.  Sibling rivalry and all, you know.  Lots of plans for this big old space, lots of work to do. K and I have enjoyed lighting a fire and relaxing in the spring evenings.


The photo is from a cell phone in low light, so that’s the quality explanation. You can see the ball fields in the background, and get an idea of why I am interested in planted a little bit of a hedge for privacy.  All in good time, right?  Ciao for now!

Craftopia, Unf*cked

I discovered Unfuck Your Habitat this week.  I love it.  I’ve been in the house over two months now, and I am finding it so hard to focus on one task at a time – every where I look, there is more to be done.  After finding the tribe of Unfuckers, I decided to focus a leetle bit on Craftopia this weekend.  Behold.

DSCN0114So many things in here!  The fabric clipped to that window is grey and pink and yellow, but I cannot figure out how to make it look not-green on this computer.  Do you see Goose darting around the corner of the table?

Before from the mudroomTotally a space where you want to be creative, right?  Please to note my collection of aprons, WHICH I LOVE, hanging on the coat rack in the foreground.  This room is two steps from the kitchen, so this is actually a fairly convenient place for them.  Don’t mind the giant plastic baby (dog) gate.

Before front of the roomThe front of the room.  And . . .

Before centerI worked for 45 minutes.  I moved a lot of stuff to other rooms – Christmas bin was moved to where the Christmas decorations are, since they will come down this weekend; piles of drapes and curtains were dispatched to the upstairs closet; and miscellaneous tools were sent to live with their friends of like kind.  Look how unfucked this room got after 45 minutes! I can’t wait to go make some messes in there!

After looking back w table After Diet Coke

There remains a lot to do in terms of organizing the many, many projects, the yarn, and the contents of all of my paper-related crafts, and I have another work table to refinish that will go in here and I am going to make curtains and and and . . . but this is progress.

Talent: Discovered

I had the most unexpected surprise in my Facebook newsfeed on Christmas Day. It turns out I am excellent at posting pretty little things that other people buy for their loved ones.

Heart Locket ClosedHeart LocketExhibit 1: Sterling Silver Anatomically Correct Heart Locket. I’ve seen this one in person. Absolutely stunning, and heavy! Worth every penny of its $310 asking price.

fluevogExhibit 2: Fluevog Operettas Brightman shoes, $289. Yes, they are pricey, but they are built to last. A. purchased this for her wife, K., and I was told that it made A. immediately more attractive and cured K.’s flu! Beat that!

Free BatesAnd Exhibit 3: Free Bates,$20.99.  Proving that while my tastes may be high-brow, they are not exclusively high-end, a t-shirt from the popular PBS show, Downton Abbey.  S got this for her husband, P, who made a handsome model on Christmas morning.

I didn’t get any of these gifts, mind you. Not a one.  Not that I was expecting any! I did get gift cards to Home Depot, Lowe’s and Ace Hardware, though, and those I will put to good use.  Let me know if you need help finding a gift though, because it would seem that I am your girl.