Monday, June 6, 2011

Best Painting Tool Ever!

A lot of work is going on at my house right now. The winter destroyed our front patio, and the resulting expense and home line of credit is allowing us to do other projects that we've needed and/or wanted to do, such as renovating our formerly horrible bathroom, installing a greenhouse window in the kitchen to replace the broken louvered window and allowing me to have a year round herb garden, and replacing our broken stovetop with a nice new five burner model. It has also made me remember my desire to get the bedrooms, kitchen and the hallway between the first floor bedrooms painted this year. Something about a shiny new bathroom with fresh and lovely paint made me remember that it's been five years since I last painted these parts of the house--especially when the workers painted the inner part of the bathroom door, but left the outer part with its old, crummy paint!

Anyway, I loathe painting. And I am the one in the house that ends up doing it. Matt is a superior painter, because he is far more patient than I am...but he does have a job, and as I just said, I have little to no patience! So once the supplies are in the house, I want the job done. Yesterday. The kids want to help....but I can't quite bring myself to allow them to. All I see is the potential for disaster, for drips on the hardwood floors, for freshly painted trim to be smeared with a careless switch of a brush, for sloppy corners, for missed bits. If Rachel volunteers, I think she could do a great job, and probably Julia could too, being artistic and having her dad's patient nature for details.....but it hasn't happened yet.

This morning I got up, determined to get some work done. We bought the paint over Memorial Day weekend, but because of various activities and the work on the bathroom, it's been sitting there mocking me all week. Primer was needed because the hallway was a bright lemony yellow (NOT the color I'd originally wanted, but a very long and old story that I won't go into...) so I started off doing that, and in about ninety minutes, I was finished. I took a break for a few hours to let it dry, and I almost allowed myself to slough off doing the color today because I'd changed from my painting clothes...but in the end I put them back on and decided to power through. At least when I'm putting color on the wall I feel like I'm making progress. I gathered all the new supplies, including a Shur-Line edging tool I'd picked up on a whim when we got the paint....

Oh. I. Am. In. Love. With. This. Tool! When we moved into the house in 2006 and I painted the entire house in ten days (not something I would recommend or ever want to do again, by the way!) I didn't have this tool. And so all the molding, the baseboards, the doorframes, the ceiling lines were a gigantic thorn in my side. No matter how carefully I tried to make straight, even lines, I messed up. Frequently. In the last five years I have noticed these mistakes constantly. They aren't the sort of thing that a guest would remark on; some guests might not even notice at all. But I did. When I asked the Home Depot paint guy if this was a good tool, he said it was pretty good, if I followed the directions rigorously (something I often have issues with) and was very careful.

Well, I am happy to report he was W.R.O.N.G. You do have to be sure you aren't putting too much paint on the pad. But as long as you make sure you're scraping off the excess, it is a dream to use this. I was able to whip along the door frames--and in this hallway, there are five door frames--two bedrooms, a bathroom, a linen closet and the doorway into the dining room--in less than twenty minutes, and then it was a snap to fill in the spaces that were left. Best of all, it looks quite professional, with nice sharp lines along the ceiling and no marks on the molding. I did the hallway in about an hour, so I definitely can't complain.

Next up, our bedroom. I am probably going to split that up across several days, just doing one wall at a time so I don't have to completely dismantle the room. Here's hoping for continued success.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Garden Growing

Emma took this picture, love the angle on the rose

pink peony
, too lovely

My weeding resolution is going reasonably well; I haven't quite managed to get out every day, but I'm keeping up with the perennial garden. I need to remember to handle the wildflower garden in front, especially since my beloved neighbor is an avid (and sort of obsessive) gardener who puts me to shame in the weeding category--he literally spends hours in his yard every day and no weeds are to be seen, so I get a bit embarrassed when he looks at my efforts! However, I kind of figure that once the wildflowers are tall and blooming the weeds won't be as noticeable--the cottage garden style lends itself to weed camouflage in a way that my orderly perennial bed does not.

roses the size of dessert plates

my lilacs seem to bloom later than other people's, even in my own town. Maybe they're a different variety?

The vegetables are coming along; we're picking snap peas and lettuce almost daily, and I'm trying to remember to use my herbs. This will be easier next week, after my greenhouse window is installed in the kitchen! Then they'll be in easy reach while I'm cooking...always assuming that the cats will leave them alone, of course. The tomato plants are getting taller, and the beets have great foliage; I was advised I can leave them in as late as December if I want the biggest beets possible (I only have 4 plants) and the carrots are coming along too. These I can't wait for, since I got a Carnival Blend with purple and white carrots as well as orange ones. Should be fun! One of our watermelon seedlings seems dead, but I'm frankly all right with only having one watermelon vine. I guess that's going to have to live in the perennial bed since our veggie patch isn't big enough to hold it.

can't resist a rosebud

pretty yellow roses

My climbing roses are doing wonderfully, which makes me really happy. There are blooms and buds all over it, and indeed, the roses in the perennial bed and at the side of the house seem to be thriving, too. My very favorites are the peonies and the lilacs. I'd really like to get more of those.

these pink ones are in the perennial bed

but these darker ones climb the back fence