Cutting Down the Driveway Hedge

Another weekend, another hedge attack!


+ new clippers…


…wait, where’d the hedge go?!   At last, I can see the road as I back up!  The biggie on the end will have to wait until next time – as it is, this (plus cleanup) took nearly 2 hours and I’m pretty worn out now.  If the hedgelings survive this buzzcut (and I hope they do!) then I shall continue to shape them into neat little nubs, like so (I made this in Photoshop to get an idea of what it might look like):

But if they don’t survive, that’s okay too – I wouldn’t mind digging them up and putting a column of flowers or even decorative bricks into this space instead.

Decorating with Small White Picture Frames

Bare walls have a way of driving me nuts after a while, and since this weekend was “finish unfinished projects” weekend the first thing I did was hit up these stacks of picture frames laying about the computer room.  See below for an example of such a pile (of which I had at least three cluttering up good space that could be used for other clutter):

First stop, the guest bed!  Our computer room does double duty as both a guest room and, well, a computer room.  This works out surprisingly well.  We both love flopping down on a bed to read while the other sits at a computer!

I mounted a thin picture shelf we snagged from IKEA a few weekends ago over the bed like so, which became home to several of the recently-homeless frames.  Getting the shelf up was easy – just three screws to drill in.  (I also made the bed and cleared off the last few week’s worth of papers.  It also doubles as a huge desk for papers that ought to be filed.)  The frames sit in the shelf very nicely.

Using a few small nails I hung some slim IKEA frames like so next to the back window.  I just made up the arrangement as I went and it turned out ok!  I left one nail in the center to hang something small from.  The frames are too slim/small to use the usual picture hanging hooks, but nails worked fine for getting them flush with the wall.

And in the corner near my computers I hung two more frames, this time hung with actual picture mounting hardware instead of nails.  Below is my in-home tanning bed… I mean, computer screens!  … with some frames to fill in the empty corner behind them.

And finally, here’s the whole room (because individual pictures don’t really show how everything goes together):

There we go!  Much better on the wall than in piles around the floor.

But in solving my picture-frame-pile problem I created a new one: what to put inside the frames!   For now, the room is decorated with Canopy and IKEA logos but that’ll change soon.   Walgreen’s lets you submit photos online to pick up at any store, printed at any size, so I think I’ll end up picking a few of our favorites and having ’em printed large for the big frames.  That’s how these projects always go when the time for working on ’em is somewhat limited: do a bit, do other stuff, then come back and do a bit more.

On the bright side, at least the room’s walls aren’t stark naked anymore!

Hedge Trimming

Our house came with a crazy huge hedge that separates the front yard from the driveway.  This is the kind of hedge you craft into 10-foot-tall hedge mazes.   A hedge maze sounds pretty sweet until you realize it completely blocks your view of the street and sidewalk when backing up into cars, neighbors, dogs, small children, gnomes…

So a few weekends ago I carved a hole into the end of the hedge.   It took me about an hour, equipped only with the level 1 hedge trimmer that we found in the garage on closing day.

And there it stood, a giant “!” along our driveway as if the house had a leafy quest to offer.  Until this weekend!  Enter our new Ryobi bad boy:

My own dear Dad recommended this brand for its use of lithium batteries and the interchangeable-ness of the batteries between multiple Ryobi yard appliances.   As we expand our tool collection (ALL THE TOOLS!!) it’ll be nice to need only one type of battery that all the machines can share.  That, and the whole no-gasoline/no-oil thing is right up my alley.

As it turns out, the madness that overtakes me when I have a paintbrush in hand (inspiring me to paint EVERYTHING in sight) also applies to hedge trimmers.  VRROOOOOOM!  An hour later I’d reduced our hedge to its individual components.   It even yielded some loot in the form of a tennis ball and a wiffle ball.

The mad rampage of hedge trimming was ended when the battery ran out of juice.  I suppose an hour or so of hedge annihilation really ought to be enough for anyone.  What the hedge now lacks in artistry it makes up for in functionality!   I finally feel good about backing up off my own driveway.

PS: I’ll even it out when my right arm regains sensation.  :D

Level Up: Dining Room

Call us old fashioned. Jim and I love to sit down together and eat our meals at a real table!  This dining room was perfect for us: not too huge, not too far from the kitchen, and not part of the kitchen!

Since it’s such an important room to us it’s gotten some serious love since we moved in!   These things never happen overnight, especially not when we both work full time and can only dedicate so much time to improving our house.  But bit by bit, we did it!!  Here’s our dining room’s journey.

Watch our Dining Room Evolve!

November 2010

Here it is in all its grey-walls, brown-trim, and metallic outlet cover glory.  Jim snapped this photo of me telling the old light fixture its days are numbered the day we got our keys!

December 2010

The dining room was quickly filled with tools and supplies.  We moved our table and chairs in, and then loaded the room with tools, paper towels, supplies – so much stuff, in fact, we ultimately lined this room with shelving to hold it all.  I neglected to photograph it, but for a month or so this room looked more like a garage than a dining room.

January 2011

With the holidays (and the flu) behind us, it was time to paint the dining room!

The room originally had very high gloss, greyish brown walls and natural wood trim which has a nearly orange hue.  The neutral carpet is worn out, but we’ve been keeping it until we’re ready to tackle our flooring redo.  Here’s sort of what the original palette was like – but it varies a lot depending on the lighting!

We first applied spray-on de-glosser to the shiny walls to help our new paint stick.  I’m definitely an eggshell person – the shiny walls were driving me nuts!   I swear I could almost see myself in them.

I wanted to brighten the room and just make it more “us”.  We tend to like lighter colors, but I’ve seen just about every color look great on walls.  I chose a light “almond” color for the walls and an off-white for the wood trim.

Inspired by how great the room looked after a few coats of paint, we mounted a curtain rod and beige curtains from Bed Bath and Beyond.  But something wasn’t quite right… the curtains were too vanilla.

Back at the ‘Beyond we spotted this gorgeous floral painting:

We grabbed it plus curtains to match and put them both in the room.  Success!  (But the curtains were too short – fortunately, clippy rings were invented for this very reason!)

We let the color palette of the painting guide the rest of our color choices for this room, adding napkins, place mats, and eventually several other items in the same colors.

I put our three-tiered shelving unit into the other corner, giving us some much-needed storage space in this room.  We also rotated the table 90 degrees.  The room was really starting to feel like our own!

I replaced all of the room’s electrical outlets (Light Almond color from Home Depot), since the old ones were worn and plugs were falling out.  I also tossed the mirror-like metallic outlet face plates and installed matching Light Almond covers – now the outlets just disappear into the wall!

May 2011

We left the room alone for a few months until my dad came to visit in May.  Dad is very handy.  He holds a Master’s in Light Fixture Bracketology, which he put to good use helping us replace the old and dated light fixture with a snazzy new one!   I was very picky about finding the right light fixture – the light cups had to point upwards (we hate seeing the bulbs!) and it had to be Just The Right Size.  Fortunately, McClendon’s Hardware (Bothell, WA) came through for us with this gem:

June 2011

Decorating! We added a tree and big golden vase, both from MyHome (located in Kirkland, WA).

April 2012

Flooring!  At last, we tore up the last vestiges of the old flooring in this house and installed a uniform laminate throughout the entrance, kitchen, and dining room areas.

It’s so warm and inviting!  I just love sitting down to a plate of pancakes on a Saturday morning or a big steak after work in this room. :)


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