Monday, June 29, 2009

Color by numbers

...or by brand name.

I found a few swatches that looked more "brick-y" and I was planning to try them out this week; but they're from Home Depot, and I hear nothing but awful, awful things about Behr paints. I'm stopping by BenMoore on the way home, and will try to pop into SherwinWilliams if they're still open by the time I pass them en route; I will likely also revisit Pittsburgh and Kelly, but if I can't find a match...?? Does anyone have anything good to say about Behr? I know they have fancy computers and everything, but I still do not trust color match systems, especially if we were to need more at a later date.

I was really pleased with our Valspar experiences, and not so much with our cheap-end SW experience. I'd have to go to the pricey end. And since we are covering up WHITE (not beige-- WHITE), we're going to need 2 coats of whatever-- at least. Such a dark red may require 3.


All I know is that I want to hurry up and get to tuckpointing so it can cure and we can move on this paint job. And then we can tell the bank we are 90% complete with the insurance claim and get the rest of the moolah. :-)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Color and light

So beautiful.

Anyway, we got our office light up. We bought it a year and a half ago or something like that and it took us this long to get it on the ceiling.

And then I started testing a sample color-- Martha Stewart Valspar Picnic Table. It's hard to see on the computer...

In this shot you can see the very dirty unpainted brick chimney:

We're sampling on the back side of the porch so we can take our time. Up against the unpainted brick, it doesn't look real without the grout lines, but honestly I think I'm ok with that. I think I like the color anyway:

It looks a little off on my computer screen-- too pink or dusty or something-- but it looks pretty good in person. I dunno. Maybe I'll try a couple more colors, something a little browner; I've even considered sponging something just a half step browner very lightly over this. At any rate, I think painting the body of the house a dark color will make the trim stand out, and that's really the best detail of the exterior.

We're getting there.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Salsa time

Assuming the veggies keep it up, I'm going to have fresh salsa soon!

I finally got back from about 10 days in Daytona Beach scoring AP exams again. It was the last year in Daytona, and I do hope I'm invited back next year; it moves to Louisville, KY, which is a place I've never been. It looks like a lot of fun.

On my return, I saw that Adam had begun screening the porch. Seeing as how I didn't notice it until practically putting my hand through the screen, I don't think it's worth a picture at this point.

The plants are also positively thriving. For many of you, this seems like no kind of news. But I've killed everything I ever potted, and last year our tomato situation was embarrassing. But now, it's like I've been given a whole new green thumb! Coleus before:

Coleus now:

So bushy and fluffy and lovely!

And the veggies before:

And veggies now:

Time to thin out the surrounding cannas again, and start staking things-- I think I'm going to stake the peppers out to the side so there's a little more light getting to the tomatoes in the back...

Still, the tomatoes have little baby tomatoes starting and lots of blossoms, the jalapenos are growing,

And so are the eggplants.

I'm past due for fertilizer and copper fungus spray, but hopefully I can get a good little crop if I keep it up.

Watch. Now I've just jinxed myself ;-)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Where's wormy?

He's not too hard to find, really...

Our compost is so beautifully packed with gigantic nightcrawlers, it's wonderful. Today I got my last veggie planter put together. If this is successful, we'll probably branch out more next year; Adam was going to do some raised beds, but I fear the summer is slipping away from us...

For this container, I bought an 18 gallon Rubbermaid tub. First, I drilled a ton of 1/4" holes in the bottom and sides.

Then I put some river rock in the bottom...

Followed by cheap potting soil...

Then a half-and-half mix of potting soil and compost... And then the plants! Two more patio tomatoes and a few very small eggplant starters. I sort of figure that you can do each of these plants in 5 gallon containers or less, so this should sustain 3 or 4 plants at least. We'll see. I fertilized and treated for fungus and slugs, and voila!

Who knows. That sad wilty one in the back already looks better, so I'm hopeful.

I also mowed and picked up more paint samples for the house painting. We're feeling like painting the house a brick color is the way to go...What do you think? A number of houses in our neighborhood are painted "red brick" and you can't tell until you're standing right next to them. I don't even need it to be super convincing-- just something a little more appropriate to the house, maybe? Thankfully, the POs didn't paint the chimney so we have something to match the paint to. It's such a major change. I'm having a bit of a hard time with it. But the insurance settlement gave us money to repaint, and part of that money is in escrow until we actually do the job, so we figure now's the time.

Worst case scenario? We repaint. Again.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wave of mutilation

That fungus surely did kill it dead; but there's a new plant in its place:

And one more little herb patch...
And now the weather forecast is predicting thunderstorms all over again-- just when I thought we were in the clear with beautiful weather...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Another day older...

And, yes: deeper in debt. But not for long. We had to front a little money for supplies, since this weekend we worked on my grandmother's house, getting it ready for sale. Sigh. I wish I had all the money in the world to fix up houses. Her mid-century, one-owner house is definitely dated, but what a lot of potential. And a great yard, awesome because of her fantastic landscaping. The dogwood tree in her yard was a gift from her father when she moved in-- a cutting from a wild dogwood back home in North Arkansas. I'm going to try to propagate some cuttings for our yard before the house sells.

Adam and I replaced an exterior window sill a few weeks ago; this week Adam replaced some storm door glass and siding panels and I scrubbed and washed awnings and helped replace some broken shutters. Still a bit more to do, but so far so good.

Our house didn't get much attention, though we did mow the yard and finish off that gift certificate to the plant nursery. This time, I got 3 more tomato plants, 4 eggplant starters, and another chives and oregano. $7. I'm going to try to get those planted this week as soon as possible. Also-- does anyone have any opinions about neem oil? It's supposed to be a natural pesticide and fungicide, but I've never used it and have no idea of its effectiveness...

Other than that, we just grilled (with our new-to-us grill) using all natural charcoal for the first time and some hickory chips for flavor and hung out all weekend. That natural charcoal makes a huge difference-- nothing tastes like chemicals and it's cheap AND you don't have to use very much of it.

I'm a fan.