Sunday, July 31, 2011


Wonderfule rain! We had a much needed shower last Monday and another good one this afternoon. It's been horribly hot and dry here for the last two months.

The shower came too late for these plants; I'd given up watering some areas.

The little cat, Pumpkin, had another emergency trip to the vet Tuesday. Turns out she has a double ear infection - poor thing. She's feeling much better now though and on the mend.

I finally finished my kitchen table makeover. It started out as unfinished wood several years ago. Then I stained it a cedar color and wasn't happy with it. Then I painted it green and did a little faux finish on it. I lived with that for a few years till I decided to try jumping on the "white" bandwagon. I was not happy with the results at all. So about a month ago I took the table outside and started sanding the top with my sander. My intention was to sand it all the way down to wood and then stain it again, but a happy accident happened along the way.

There were some areas where the old green paint showed through and even some little bits of white. I really liked the way it was starting to look so didn't take off all the paint from the previous attempts at making the table look the way I wanted.

Then I decided to paint the bib and legs solid black. I really like the way it turned out and it keeps the theme of the beige, black, white and bronze in my kitchen.

I would love to paint the chairs black but will leave them natural for now. I'll also be painting the aqua table white (I think, but may paint it black). All my kitchen cabinets are white and I don't want too much black in there...but I might change my mind about that later.

I saw some pretty tan chair cushions at Kohl's recently, but they were $15 each. I think I'll just cover the existing cushions to get a similar look for a lot less.

I started another chair makeover this afternoon but had to stop due to lack of supplies. I'll share the makeover in a day or two. And I've brought my autumn crow wall hanging out and am working on that as well. It's almost ready for the binding. It feels great to get back to a "normal" life after being in limbo for so long!

It's time for me to hit the hay so I wake up on time tomorrow. It's going to be another intense week at work (I'm loving it btw).

Have a great day tomorrow!

Friday, July 22, 2011


Last year I ordered a case (24 packets) of Hain's Vegetarian beef flavored gravy from It cost $24.95.

Yesterday I ordered another case of the same thing and it now costs $36.90!!! That's a 50% price increase in one year!!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Patio Improvements

Today has been another super hot day here in central NC; tomorrow is supposed to be worse. It's very scary that it's so hot and with no rain, everything living is suffering.

I've taken care of the animals and watered my containers, determined not to stay outside till dark tonight. I visited a new blog today (more on that later)and have been even more inspired to start painting again. I'm tired of spending all my time trying to keep the plants alive against so many competitors, but I'm straying from the subject.

Here are a few pictures of my patio I snapped this evening. Things aren't in the best shape due to weather and water, but I am enjoying this space. This first picture is the new grouping I created using what I had and adding one new pot that I got in trade for labor. The tall, thin pot in the center is my new one.

Left side of patio...

Right side of patio...I'm having to fill that hummer feeder every five days due to the dryness around here.

The fairy planter Alissa and I made last year - it's gotten a little out of control and the fairies get lost in there now!

I went back to Big Bloomers (Gail's nursery) Sunday and purchased a hanging basket and a few more plants to make a large container garden.

A beautiful double impatiens from Gail's nursery...

Here is my loyal Princess. Check out those pretty teeth she just had cleaned last week to the tune of $320 (not including pre-op bloodwork). I'm just glad I can take care of her the way she deserves.

In retrospect, I wish I hadn't tried to create so many large gardens 10 years ago. I should have let most of the land go wild and just created a small front and back yard. But...hind sight is 20-20! And I was 10 years younger then with a lot more energy and dreams of having even more animals than I do now! Crazy...

Monday, July 18, 2011


There is an epidemic of voles on my property this year! I've had them before and they caused minimal damage here and there. But this year there must be hundreds of them tunneling around all over the place.

Every day there are new tunnels and I have large areas of dry dirt from where they've eaten the roots of the "grass".

(Image courtesy of Google search)

And they ruined some areas of the flower beds nearly destroying some of the plants. It's so bad, that there are tiny sink holes all over the place. When I water the soil gets wet enough that the deer sink when they do their evening dining.

A woman I know who happens to be a landscaper, recommended that I buy some of these - mole movers. She swears they actually work. I've installed two in the front yard and need a couple more. It will take two weeks before I can see results (according to the info on the box).

Between lack of rain, voles and deer I was just about ready to give up on the garden completely this year. Then I visited my friend Gail a couple of weeks ago and was reinspired. Her patio area is so beautiful; she has lots of container gardens. So that's the way I've decided to go with my small patio. I've rearranged the few containers that I do have and added one new container. I've got the same amount of filtered light as she does so I know I have the right conditions. I'll take pictures tomorrow to show what I've done so far. Nothing big or fancy, but I like it a lot so far.

My limelight hydrangea out front is growing really well. The blossoms are smaller this year but I guess that's from lack of water. So far, so good with surviving the deer. Of course, I've just jinxed myself by saying that.

Alissa and I made a pair of giant flip flops to decorate the entrance to my property. I had a couple of scraps of exterior plywood so cut them out and she painted them. We've decided to make cut outs for each season. We had made pumpkins a few years ago and didn't make any others, but now that she's older she has lots of ideas.

This is week #10 in my new job and I'm finally starting to feel like I belong there. It's nice to be able to start moving ahead with projects and needs that have been on hold for over two years. Of course, most of my checks are going to the vets for one animal or another, but that's another story...

I hope you all have a great day tomorrow and survive this horrible heat that most of the country is suffering with!

Monday, July 11, 2011

I Knew That Would Happen

I started this post a week ago but had issues transferring photos from the camera to the computer....

So I finally got my sink project completed a week ago Friday evening, with the help of a neighbor.

The picture I posted previously had the new sink top laying on top of the old vanity that I couldn't remove. The hole had to be cut bigger for the new sink to drop in place, so off it came and with a lot of patience, I was able to cut the hole big enough for a perfect fit. I was so happy, and it's gorgeous if I do say so myself.

But the plumbing portion was an issue. I am now very familiar with crimp rings and crimper tools. I've purchased and exchanged these expensive crimp tools twice now.

I managed to get the new faucet connected but because the sink was now 1 1/2" higher, the drain pipe wouldn't connect to the 'S' trap. Long story short, I was able to find an extender - an easy fix. I had to change the water valves so that I could connect the new faucet tubes. Then came the crimp rings. I needed two to complete the job and got one on without a hitch. By now it's Thursday night and - I forgot to mention - I didn't have any running water for two days at this point. I had to turn off the water main to change out the valves. And because I couldn't get them connected to the existing intake lines, had to keep the water off.

I know I'm jumping around with this story.

So Thursday night I had one more crimp ring to put into place that my neighbor was lucky enough to have on hand. That was good - I only needed one. Wrong. Don't you know that little ring slid right down the intake tube and under the sink cabinet. Was I mad??? Let's just say I felt like I could have sawed down a very large tree with a hand saw I was so ticked off!

Friday meant another trip to Lowes to buy more crimp rings. I called my neighbor and asked him if he would put the final ring in place. He told me he had messed up plenty of times with these things and that I shouldn't feel bad (and he's a plumber!).

Finally, everything was finished and my new sink had running water. I didn't mention that I actually took a "shower" with less than two gallons of water I got from the yard pump by bucket loads. I felt like I was camping but with A/C.

Here's the new sink completely installed (with running water). I am very pleased with it!

Here's a close up of the tiles...

Alissa spent the day with me this Wednesday. I had to take off for an A/C repair and it worked out that I could keep her. I had promised her we'd do more arts and crafts and because it was so hot outside, I decided to pull out the scrapbook I started for her several years ago. I haven't touched it in over a year and it was fun to work on it with her. I have now introduced her to the world of scrapbooking and she likes it. She designed this page all by herself and I didn't do very much on it at all except for the writing. We're going to continue working on it together and make more memories as we go.

Last weekend we made some big wood flip-flop cut outs to decorate the yard for summer with. I forgot to take a picture of them but will tomorrow. They turned out really cute!

Now that I have my camera working again, I can start taking pictures again and get current with all that's going on around here!

Have a good day tomorrow and try to stay cool!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's Another OJ Simpson Trial

I can't believe Casey Anthony has been found not guilty on all charges for the death of her innocent two year old child.

Absolutely disgusting.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

The sink is installed! But the plumbing is not...

Hope you had a great day. God Bless the USA!!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Not Yet

Well, these projects always turn into a bigger deal than you plan for - at least for me anyway.

For the life of me I couldn't get the existing counter top removed from the cabinet. The sink was easy to get out and I thought of just sawing the top off, but had already spent hours and was quite frustrated. I almost gave up and returned the solid top for another drop in, but it would still leave me with a big mess to fix.

Then I couldn't get the intake tubes disconnected because they had copper clamps on them. Finally I got my handy Dremmel out and sawed through the rings and used all my strength to disconnect the intake tubes apart.

Here's part of the mess I made dragging in everything from a sledge hammer to the drill to try to take apart the old stuff. What you can't see is the drill and more tools!

The solution to not getting the countertop removed?? I just plopped the new sink right over the existing top.

It fits - just barely, but it has created another problem. The drain pipe is now exactly 1 1/2" too short to connect to the S pipe. And....the two intake tubes have male ends and the tubes they connect to are male. So, I have my new sink in place but not in working order yet. I have to make a Home Depot run tomorrow to get parts to make it work. Hopefully it will be an easy fix. But isn't she pretty??? I just love it! It looks so much bigger but it's actually the same size as the old one. And it will be so easy to clean :)

I really wanted to get this project finished today but I refuse to drive anywhere. I was on the road all day yesterday going to the Farmer's Market and getting chicken food and pet supplies. I never did get to the grocery store and don't have all the ingredients to make delicious meals with the fresh produce but am making do. Even if I need stuff, I'm keeping the car off the road one day a week for the environment's sake.

In the mean time I'm taking care of other chores that I've put off for ages. I've replaced a non-working smoke detector and am painting and installing toe molding in the den. I mean - I've only had it for three years....

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Weekend Project

Yippee - a three day weekend!

I've had a home improvement project on my priority list for quite some time and I can finally tackle it today. I would say 98% of these projects are as a result of keeping animals in the house.

See the hole in the sink...the little one that isn't supposed to be there? (Yes I know there is cat hair too; Smudge likes to play in the sink)

It' from this innocent looking character - Smudge.

He likes to lay up on top of the tall cabinet that is right beside the sink. I used to have a pretty painted tile on an easel up there and he knocked it off. Wouldn't you know, the tile fell pointed end down directly onto the sink. This happened months ago and the hole has since fractured in four directions, which is just so lovely to look at on a daily basis.

At first I was going to get an exact replacement but decided to go with a solid surface unit. It was only $84 and a little sink was more than half that, and since I use this bathroom a lot I decided to upgrade a bit. Besides, I had attempted to paint the counter top; didn't like it and tried to remove the paint which completely ruined it. Of course, I couldn't put the worn and crappy faucet back onto the new sink, so I bought a new faucet as well. Not the one I wanted - geez are they expensive! Crazy... I bought a simple fixture that was about $42. I tend to take the practical path with most things.

So as soon as I got home last night, I started removing the tiles that surround the sink. The new sink has a built in backsplash, so I had no choice. Unfortunately, the new backsplash isn't as tall and I have a real mess to cover up in a creative way. I have a few ideas though.

Here's what I did last night - there is no graceful way to remove tiles from drywall.

I can't wait to get the new unit installed. The hard part for me will be connecting the faucet. I hate messing with plumbing. But first I'm going to the State Farmers Market and buy some yummy veggies. I haven't had my first tomato sandwich yet!

I hope you enjoy the holiday weekend!