Monday, August 25, 2014

The landscaping project

Business has been slow.  I'd blame it on the fact that I haven't been promoting, but it was slow when I was doing a lot of promoting, and I got tired of wasting time and energy.  So, time to put that creative force into something else!

Our house is on the side of a steep hill.  How steep is it, you ask?  Well, when we have a good snowstorm, the city puts up barricades at the top and bottom instead of plowing, if that gives you any idea, and when I had my minivan I'd have to get the front brakes replaced every couple of years.

What that means for our house is that you walk in the front door, go through the living room into the dining room and go out the French doors there, you find yourself on our deck, which is a good 8-10 feet over the back yard.  If you go into the basement, there are two windows that overlook the street on the North side and from the back we look like a 2-story house.  Then, when you go along the fence line dividing ours from our neighbor's property, you find yourself going downhill and when you end up in the back section of our yard you find yourself staring at a rock wall and a back yard that's now about 8-10 feet above street level.

Along this rock wall is a dirt slope that up until 2 years ago was completely taken over by a holly tree.  I took that down to the stump, and last winter I pruned the pear tree on the corner that we hadn't touched in over a decade.  And then this spring, I got the wild idea that I wanted to turn this area into an iris bed.  I found some lovely black irises, which I proceeded to purchase, and now I've got to get this part of our property fit to plant.

Here's a panoramic view of the area in question before I started:

And a side view:

There's still a couple of areas that aren't quite clear yet, but I need to get this going as I'm running out of planting time.

That second picture is of the front corner, and a giant thistle grew up in everything else there.  I missed getting a picture of it when it was in bloom, but it's still pretty nifty looking in its going to seed phase:

Thistle Gone To Seed 2 by dbvictoria on deviantART

Here's a sad diagram I did in Photoshop of my grand plan:

Here's how you build a retaining wall.

My husband is also redoing the upper part of the back yard.  He just completed a new fence yesterday and this evening he'll start clearing the area where he wants to put a fire pit.  We did the math on how many retaining wall bricks I needed and how many he needed, added another 20% on top of that, and the lovely folks at Lowe's delivered two pallets yesterday morning.

Part of the clearing included breaking up all the branches from the holly and pine trees, which will be used in the christening of the fire pit.

I'm in the "dig a trench" phase now, which is step 2 of part 1.  (Part 1 Step 1 was to make a string line.  That's the only part of this entire process that didn't involve sweating.)  It's a good 30 along this section, and I'm about 8' in as of this morning.  I started out having to dig in only ~14" because the back corner is flatter, but I'm up to ~24" in width now because the creep is increasing as I get out towards the street.  There's also the stump of the now officially titled Evil Holly Tree, and its roots.

Day 1 (yesterday) trench progress:

And so far today:

I had to dig in a big further because of that root thing.  This time it's not the fault of my being straight-line challenged.  (Yes, this time.)

It's now getting into the hot part of the day, so I'm breaking until about 4 in the afternoon, then going out for some more torture, I mean digging.  I hope to have the trench finished by tomorrow evening, and the husband hopes to have the firepit completed by tomorrow evening.  I hope he finishes too, because then I can wheedle him into helping me, but the firepit comes first because we hope to premiere it for our birthday party next weekend.  (His birthday was actually Thursday, and mine is today.)

Oh, and if you'd told me 20 years ago that I'd be doing yardwork and landscaping on my birthday, I'd have suggested you go get yourselves committed.  How times change.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My reaction to finding out that Share a Coke does not have my name available.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


We went out to Saltwater State Park this morning, and the tide was out, which meant lots of tide pools, lots of squirting clams, and lots and lots of stinky slimy piles of seaweed.  We ended up with a stinky, slimy dog, so when we got home there was bathtime.


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Silly cat post

Our 10 month old cat, who is already bigger than any cat I've ever owned, has a new cat tree, and a new toy to go with it:

Brass Screw Confederacy, 2014

The Brass Screw Confederacy is a Steampunk weekend in scenic Port Townsend, WA.  I was originally booked to vend at another event this weekend, but after a change of plans I headed out with my camera to play tourist.  This seems to be the year for that!

The full album is here, and here's a few of my favorites from it:

bonus ladybug!


Monday, June 30, 2014

This shop and blog are Hobby Lobby free

Because a corporation's religion doesn't belong in my uterus.  Please feel free to use and share these images!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bathroom remodel

My husband replaced the shower stall in our bathroom sometime in the last 1-3 years (I've completely lost track of time for all the various projects that are in progress nowadays).  Well, this week he finally finished it, courtesy of our attempts to get our home refinanced and the appraiser shaking his finger at us.

Here's what it looked like a week ago:

and here's what it looks like now:

The paint shade is "paprika" and it's what we used in the kitchen when we got that redone about 5 years ago.  The edging around the shower is sheets of molded plastic that you cut to shape.

We still need to add some crown molding along the ceiling/wall juncture, and we're planning on hanging a big mirror on the back wall above the towel rack, but that's just window dressing. 

There's more pictures here.