Monthly Archives: July 2012

Yellow Fever

Well, not the kind transmittable by mosquitoes.  I have the kind you contract from Pinterest.  After my brush with yellow in our bathroom makeover, I guess I have it on the brain.

With the crazy heat of the last few weeks, my front planter beds were looking a little post-apocalyptic.  Needless to say, it was time to swap things out, and, strangely enough, I went with a happy yellow color scheme.  It isn’t my fault that the nursery is overflowing with Rudbeckia (aka, Black-Eyed Susan) this time of year.  I’m just trying to help out.

Tucked in amongst the lavender and Susies are also some adorable yellow Coreopsis with maroon centers, and way down along the wine bottles is a new find for me called Cuzco, which is a low-growing spreader with the tiniest yellow daisy-shaped flowers….I’m in love!

A good shot of the Coreopsis.

Teeny tiny Cuzco.

Along with the new garden color scheme, a few other details needed to be coordinated on the front porch: the potted plants, the front door wreath, and doormat.

The wreath is your standard, craft-store grapevine form, that I just swapped embellishments on.  This is pretty common around here; I like to re-use the form over and over again and just hot-glue whatever works onto it to decorate.  In this instance, I needed some yellow up there, and the only thing I could find laying around was an assortment of buttons.  Not my most creative moment, but it works, nonetheless.

For quite awhile now, I have been wanting to try painting my own doormat.  Allegedly, this works, but I am always a skeptic until I try it for myself.  Officially, I am never going to buy another decorative doormat; from here on out, I am making my own.  This was SO easy, and worked so well….I’m annoyed I didn’t try it sooner!  I’m also annoyed that I didn’t aim a little higher with the design, but since it was a trial run, I kept it simple….here’s a little tutorial for anyone interested:

I started with a rubber-backed coir doormat from Home Depot that cost all of five bucks.

Then, I used painter’s tape to mark off some horizontal stripes.  I just eyeballed this–no measuring….perfection is overrated.

The tape did not stick very well to the mat (next time I think I will try duct tape or something with a little stronger stick), and I was concerned that when I hit it with the yellow spray paint, the tape would lift and compromise the edges of the stripes.  To combat this, I sprayed from as directly over the tape as I could and then crossed my fingers.  To my surprise, it worked like a charm.

This makes me really happy.  I love doormats.  And yellow.

The Almost-Final Master Bathroom Semi-Makeover


This past weekend, we set to work finalizing the decor in our master bath.  It’s about damned time.

One annoying aspect of this crazy renovation of ours is that rooms and things get, maybe, 88% completed, and then we are so exhausted that we take a break and excuse ourselves with the proverbial “It’s finished enough”.  ‘Finished enough’ is pretty much the theme of our entire renovation.  ‘Finished enough’ means it is functional, clean, and what’s left can suck it because we’re tired and broke.  So, sometimes, all the poor little details sit in limbo indefinitely.

Another unpleasant side-effect of this sort of renovation is what I like to refer to as Project ADHD.  There are so many damned projects that need our/my attention that I find it nearly impossible to focus on just one at a time.  Sometimes the list is so long, and so overwhelming that all I can do is go take a nap and not do any of it.  I’m pretty efficient like that.

Mark my words…NO MORE.  I am a woman on a mission now: MUST FINISH.  Getting over this hump is a pretty straightforward process, really.  Pick ONE damned room at a time, and finish that beast from head to toe.  Simple, right?  Right.  So with this newly adopted life philosophy, we chose the master bathroom to start our finishing.  Let’s revisit, for a moment, what this particular ray of sunshine looked like when we began the renovation:


Ah, yes.

Obviously, there has been some skillful rearranging and upgrading of certain (all) fixtures thanks in no small part to our contractor, Mike.  I am, however, for the sake of this post, going to glaze over all of that, as it is all a blur to me anyways, thanks in no small part to the massive wine consumption that was taking place during that part of the renovation.  After the actual building part of it was done, we slapped some paint on the walls and were just thankful to have an actual functioning bathroom instead of a toilet surrounded by studs and insulation.  It’s the little things in life.

During. This is how the master bath has looked for the last few years. Not bad.

Looking at the above photo, some might think that the bathroom looks fine–great even.  But the photo doesn’t show the nitty-gritty.  It doesn’t show all the unfilled nail holes, all the caulkless seams, all the missing trim.  It doesn’t show the grout splattered across the ceiling from the tile installation.  It doesn’t show the ‘holidays’ in the dark brown paint where I was too lazy and un-in-love with the paint color to do a second coat.  It doesn’t show the unpainted door, and it certainly doesn’t show the missing clawfoot tub and the plumbing sticking out of the wall in wait of said tub.  Ah, the beauty of photography.

So, needless to say, the above list of items definitely required our attention.  Color is always a major priority for me, and ever since I had put that dark brown color on the walls, I knew two things: first, I loved the dark paint, second, this particular dark brown completely clashed with the slate floor tiles and needed to be banished.  I knew I needed to go with a dark, dark slate grey (dare I say light black?).  So that much was a given.

That moment when you pour the paint into the tray and panic about how dark it is. But I ain’t scurred.

Jonathon was put to work on his arch-nemesis: crown molding.  There is really nothing that he hates more in life than crown molding.  But for some reason, this room went seamlessly, with minimal swearing, no do-over cuts, and no wasted material.  A minor miracle.  And that’s a good thing, because he’s got four more rooms left to do after this one.

Jonathon’s weapon of choice. I am really pretty surprised that this thing hasn’t ever been turned on me.

Nobody puts Jonathon in a corner.

Gettin’ after it.

With the wall color and trim done, it was time for choosing accent colors.  Usually, I tend to go with red or orange or reddish-orange accessories (see the striped rug in the ‘during’ photo above) because I just love them, but I had a little moment of accent color envy.  My sister-in-law is decorating their new baby’s nursery in the loveliest grey and yellow scheme, and I suddenly found myself wanting some more yellow in my life.  She’s going with light greys and pastel yellows, and since I had already decided on this darkest grey, I figured I should go with a super-saturated yellow and not fully rip her design ideas.

Happy yellow.

I realize that this color combo is pretty modern.  This kind of conflicts with my whole farmhouse design philosophy.  But I don’t care.  I love it.  There’s a lot of vintage mixed into the details and accessories, so it squeaks by, in my opinion.

The metal shelving unit is a cheap Ikea find that I painted yellow and then distressed the daylights out of to give it a funky, used vibe.

Et voila!  A pretty pulled-together bathroom, if I do say so myself.

The walk-in shower with vintage-inspired, visible plumbing fixtures.

Wow that door came off really purple in this photo…in real life it’s just a lighter shade of dark grey than the walls. To the left, you can see the full length medicine cabinet that we had built into the wall for extra storage.

Adorably-perfect rugs from Crate and Barrel.

Window treatments and vintage accessories on the sill.

Pretty towels from World Market.

 And finally, the reason why I am entitling this post ‘Almost-Final’?  Oh, because we are still waiting on that damned claw foot tub.  Cheers.

Someday I will have a bathtub. Someday.


I am complete….

The Almost Final Master Bathroom Semi-Makeover from Farmhouse38

The Almost-Final Master Bathroom Semi-Makeover from Farmhouse38

Sad Mutt

For all of my fellow Milo fans….

I received this photo yesterday from my brother, after Milo had, once again, returned home.

The text read simply:

The face of depression….

Milo misses his Abbie.  Sad, but cute!

Garden Girls

For Jonathon’s sweet grandma….

Gettin’ after it.

Gert, Millie, & Clementine take a break from the garden and pose for the camera.

Despite the heat, the landscaping staff has been hard at work out there.  These girls have me pretty sold on how valuable chickens are to an organic garden.  I’m a little blown away at the difference I see in just the four short months we’ve had the birds.  They really know how to weed and de-bug, and really REALLY know how to fertilize.  I am so relieved to not be using any pest- or herbicides anymore.  That sort of stuff has always freaked me out, and in years passed, I cannot be sure if various pets were or were not being affected by it.

Clem inspects the lavender for pesties.

Millie inspects my awesome pajama pants for pesties.

Eloise relaxes for a moment in the shade.

Most of my plants have never looked better.  Emphasis on the ‘most’.  Things are flourishing despite the heat, and despite my generally lazy gardening ethic.  I can only assume that this is due to my top-secret blend of luck, Southern California climate, and chicken poop.  Patent-pending.

New irises popping up this year….I planted them and I have no idea what they are called. Pretty, though!

A lovely Tradescant rose.

Pumpkin vine climbing irreverently up onto my workbench.

Happy hydrangea.

Crocus roses.

My new/old salvaged sundial.

An old succulent that has moved three times with me…she’s about two feet wide these days.

More succulents and my protective pair of gardening shoes.

Unfortunately, the girls, for all their talents, do also have a slight tendency towards destruction.  Nobody’s perfect.  Between their new-found love of tomatoes, and their propensity towards artfully rearranging any bit of dirt that is not pinned down by plant life, there are a few corners of the garden that cause me to shake my fist in the air and mutter, “Chickens!”  Thankfully for everyone involved, this is the exception, not the norm.  The chickens are allowed to keep chickening, despite a little mischief now and then.

Chicken-ravaged tomatoes.

A victim gutted, and left to expire on the driveway.

Clem and Gert see me photographing the tomato remains and hurry to dispose of the evidence.

Millie gives the marigolds a wide berth. Note to self: plant more marigolds.

Eloise shows off the aftermath of her chicken-scratching skills (aka, dirt flung all over the drive).

Clem and Millie wonder why I am upset at the beautiful dirt hole they have worked so hard on. It was tough to do with all those zinnias in the way.

Caught in the act of scratching….fortunately the lavender can take it like a man.

Chicken pow-wow. No good will come of this.

Curled up at the screen door after a long day’s work.  It seems the girls have accepted that they will not be let into the house.  Ever.  So they come as close as they can, and you gotta love them for it.

A Little Milo Pick-Me-Up

I’ve been scarce lately, I know.  We’ve had a bunch of health-related bummers going on in our families, and, suffice it to say, it’s been a bit blue around these parts.  When Kate sad…Kate no write.  😦  But, nothing turns that frown upside down like a little Milo time.  🙂  And because it is physically impossible not to smile when you look at this dog, I decided to post some photos (since he’s been staying with us again).  Today is his 2nd birthday–he’s a big frog now!

The flames on the candles are photoshopped….settle down.

Love that mug.

Tuckered out with his favorite toy of the week.

Aside from turning two, we’ve reached another Milo milestone….he can be trusted with the chickens.  But, can the chickens be trusted with Milo?  This is the question.


Wrastling with Abbie.

And finally, a little Milo-inspired art for my impending niece or nephew’s grey & yellow nursery (my sister in law is about done brewing baby #2).  They are leaving it as a surprise whether Presston and Milo are getting a baby sister or brother, but I find Frenchie artwork to be pretty unisex, don’t you?

A Rather Crispy Garden

It has been hot.   Yeah, yeah, I know, you all feel really sorry for the SoCal girl.  My version of hot doesn’t quite hold up elsewhere in the country.  I know.  But, nonetheless, there’s been quite a bit of frying going on in the garden, and because I’m such a wimp with the heat, I haven’t been out tending to things quite the way that I usually do.  But today, I sucked it up, suited up, and headed out (much to the chagrin of both dogs, who just wanted to stay inside and soak up the AC).

Abbie’s face when I suggested she come outside with me.

Filling up the wading pool was the compromise.  You can see how enthusiastic Chance is.

The back ‘weed garden’…looks pretty, but it is so overgrown that you can barely get to the chicken coop.  A serious intervention was in order.  The Black-Eyed Susans got a bit of machete action.

Some harvested Suzies to put in the house.

Fresh roses and fried roses, all jumbled together on the same plant….I need to teach the ladybirds how to dead-head flowers.

Speaking of which….

I also need to teach them to stay off the al fresco dining table.  Maybe.

A lovely jumble of lisianthus, mini roses, and hydrangea in the weed garden.

Saucy hot pink dahlias…love this color!

I just can’t get enough of that hot pink blossom against its black foliage– is this real life???

A crispy rose…still pretty!

Strangely, the hydrangeas don’t seem to be minding the heat.

And the Morning Glory is also undeterred. 

Millie….my constant little shadow/tripping hazard.

My newly upgraded and organized potting bench.

The herb garden….

No wonder Chance always smells so minty-fresh!

Strange dog.

The last of the grapefruit crop (hoping to harvest and make some marmalade this week!)

Followed closely by the next crop!

This is the hardest working fruit tree I have ever seen.

The ladybirds getting all up in my business.

This is what it looks like when a chicken pecks an iPhone.

And finally….a little Fourth of July flair….

Red, white, and blues in the front beds.

And a wreath decorated with festive cupcake liners.

Happy 4th!!!

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