Sunday, July 29, 2012

Do you see what I see?

This is not a Christmas in July post as my post title may lead you
to believe.  Rather, it's about the first signs of autumn in my garden.

I'm not talking about the unsightly spots or half-eaten leaf.
I'm talking about the color!
It's not even August and the leaves on my vine have started to turn red.

Elsewhere in the yard..............

I may plant these Wave petunias in my window boxes next year.  As you can see on my garden cart to the left, they don't get as leggy as the pink and purple varieties.
The first Helen's Flower to open.  This plant gets to be about 4
feet tall with thousands of blossoms in all shades of orange and yellow.

Ebony and ivory.
Diablo Spirea and Annabelle Hydrangeas, side by side.

More hydrangeas trying desperately to cover the ugly chain link fence!

These sweet pea blossoms are the star of the show.  I planted a perennial sweet pea vine this spring and it's just starting to blossom.

 There is no editing done on these photos.  The colors of the flowers are so vibrant!

Here's what's happening behind the vine.

We are trying to tone down the hideous color of the fence.
Disclaimer:  We did not pick the magenta color behind the trellis, we
inherited it from the previous owner.  Can you see why I 
missed the first blossoms on the left?

The Benjamin Moore dealer assures us that the burgundy color will hold up
much better than the magenta which we my painter has to scrape and
paint almost every year.  I'm hoping the CEO of Ben Moore reads this
post and offers to repaint our house inside and out.  I've already
chosen the colors.  :@

This phlox need to be moved away from the fence.
The violet against the burgundy is not a pretty combination.

The cone flowers and pansies have reseeded themselves in new
locations from last year's flowers.  They seem to be healthy,
so I just let them be.

Black Eyed Susans can't be beat for late summer color.

Some garden art.

In the front yard.....

I like these Pink Diamond Hydrangeas with their white blossoms,
but as the name suggests, they turn a dusty rose as they mature.

The Wave petunias in our window boxes have been given a trim
in hopes they will fill out again during the month of August.
The old wood shutters need to be painted this summer, so you can see
why we're trying to pick one color for the fence and shutters.

It won't be me climbing up the ladder.

Every spring I sew new cushion covers for my ice cream chairs.
I use the lime green color to counteract all the burgundy..cranberry...
er magenta, whatever that color is!

The chairs were purchased wearing the
 black ballerina shoes (aka electrical tape).

Our neighbor has slowly weed wacked the shrubs between our
yards to death (directly under the flag in the photo) over the past 2 years.
 Do you think she'd notice if I removed them in the middle of the night?

Thanks for coming along on my garden tour.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Camp is not just for kids.

Around this time last year, Bill and I were scouting for a cabin to rent
for this year's family get-together.  It proved to be almost impossible
to synchronize all our vacation schedules, but a few months ago we finally agreed
upon a time and place to spend a long weekend with our girls and their families.

 Paul Bunyan Camp
  • Electricity
  • Running water
  • Indoor toilets
  • Air-conditioning
It had all the amenities on my list.
Oh, how I love to rough it in the wilderness!   :@

We actually decided to spend the long weekend at Megan and Dave's
country home.  With two babies under 2, it seemed like the best choice.
They live near the Headwaters of the Mississippi River,
 home of Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox.

There was plenty of wildlife with 2 dogs, 2 kitties, and 2 babies.
Fishing, golfing, bonfires, games, all-you-can-eat fish fry, swimming (in the blow-up kiddie pool),
and comfortable beds at the end of the day.  Ahhhhh.....

Anyhow, I made the camp sign to hang on the Z family's house
 in honor of the occasion.  The idea for both the screen porch sign in my previous post
and the camp sign came from this book.....

  Here's the inspiration photo for the camp sign...

Isn't this a fun room?!

I made the sign in a couple of hours using a small piece of plywood,
some twigs, a short piece of rope, a few brad nails, and craft paints.

There was no shortage of branches to pick from after the storms we've weathered in July.
I drilled pilot holes in the branches with our smallest drill bit and tacked the
branches to the dark green painted board with small brad nails.

At first I tried cutting the branches with a miter box and hand saw,
but I discovered Bill suggested a much easier way to make some angled cuts.

I used my handy pruning tool that's meant for cutting dead branches.
I don't have a lot of hand strength, but this tool makes the job easy!

I tried to pick branches that had right angles to decrease the number of pieces
needed for the letters.  I then haphazardly dry brushed red craft paint over the letters.

I drilled 2 large holes through the board and threaded a piece of rope
through the holes.  To finish, I just tied a knot in each end of the rope.
Once again the sign cost me nothing, using only what I had on hand. 

Here it is hanging under the shelter of their wrap around porch.

Megan and Dave got their "craft on" by making a themed bean bag game.

The red "Paul Bunyan" team.

And team "Babe the Blue Ox".
(The pictures were taken at dusk after the kiddies went to bed.)

The beanbags also work well for juggling contests
as demonstrated by Megan and Jeremy.
I'll be practicing my beanbag skills (or lack of) before next year's event.

Summer camp also proved to be quite educational for us city folk.

We learned it's best not to befriend the neighbor's barn kitties.
It's quite possible Gunner has 2 new feline brothers.

It's perfectly okay to lock the neighbor's unattended 4 month old
puppy in the outdoor kennel......

especially when I so carelessly left my chewy leather sandals outside.

Unlike kids at camp, nobody had to tell us when it was lights out.
By the end of the day, we were all exhausted!

So long from this happy camper,

Join the parties at:
Funky Junk Interiors Junk Party

Thursday, July 19, 2012

If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

We've had a one day reprieve from the scorching heat,
but now the blazing sun is once again turning up the temp.
Our kitchen is the last place I want to be in the middle of a heat wave.

I know most of us have a patio or deck where we enjoy our meals
in the summer months when the weather cooperates.
Our daughter Julie and her family are lucky enough to have a large screen porch
where they eat most of their meals.  In Minnesota, it's almost a necessity when
our state pests, the mosquitoes, are out in full force. 

 I painted this sign to hang in their screen porch.
I've had the page below bookmarked for a while, so when the hot
weather finally hits us northerners I find it's the perfect time to
sit in the cool basement and paint fun projects on my to do list.

As you can see, I pretty much followed the photo, but changed
out the name to personalize the sign for their screen porch.

It's cut from 1/4 inch plywood to keep it lightweight and base coated in off-white paint.
I printed out the words using various fonts, traced the letters onto the sign,
and painted them with a flat artist brush and acrylic paints.

I added metallic silver highlights to the black lettering and
red shadowing to the dark gray letters.

I glued the brass eyelets (which were left over from windows we replaced) over
holes I drilled in the sign.  The black hooks are pot hooks from IKEA, and the chain
was removed from the basket I attached to my old bike.

I've got the chain doubled over this trellis, but the sign will
hang from the black curtain rings I found in my hardware stash.

Total cost = Not a dime!

I used what I had on hand.
 I guess it pays to hang onto all that junk!

Here's to getting out of the kitchen!

*Joining the parties at:
Funky Junk Interiors Saturday Nite Special
Hot Fun in the Summertime

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Day at the Beach

We are in the middle of a heat wave.

Well, hot for us northerners, that is.  Until this week, the temps were still
dropping down into the 40's and 50's at night.  Perfect for me.
This week the temps have been in the 80-90 range and staying warm all night.

It's time to head to the beach!

When summertime rolls around, I replace my 7up egg crate with this display.
I painted the green beach sign years ago.

The weathered wood screen is a new find this year.
It was only $2 at a local antique store!

The flamingo only comes out to play for our few short months of summer.
I've never seen one in these parts, but I did see a pelican on a local
lake a few weeks ago!  I needed a little help identifying it.
I thought it was a stork.  Well, it looked like the bird who delivers babies.  :@

I've had the small metal chair forever.  I bought it at a souvenir shop on one of our summer vacations.
The pint size fishing rod is actually for ice fishing, but it's the right size, so it stays.

Our small town held its Jubilee Parade yesterday, so there were people everywhere.
After the parade there's a street dance with live music in 3 locations, so you can
listen to your music of choice.

Today, all is quiet.

Most of the locals head to their lake cabins, or to the public beaches too cool off.

On my early morning walk I saw one of our neighbors outside.
She's obviously getting ready for her beach debut.

You should see what she wears during the Christmas season!

She gets her Nancy Sinatra on with a Santa suit minus the pants. 
 And a pair of tall black go go boots.

Too sexy!

Thanks for visiting and try to keep cool!

*Joining the parties at:
Knick of Time Tuesday
Savvy Southern Style Wow us Wednesday

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Goodbye, Norman Bates.

We bike almost every day.
Now I'm not talking about bike helmet, spandex wearing exercise, but more of a leisurely
looking at houses enjoying the passing scenery type of ride.
Occasionally we even make the 10 mile trek on a trail to and from a nearby lake.

Meet Rusty.

Obviously I don't ride this old relic since I'm a tad too big
to fit on this child's bicycle.  This is how it looked when I first brought it home.
I hooked a basket of flowers on the handlebars and
plunked a clearance pot of impatiens on the carrier rack in back.

Even with the addition of flowers, it just looked gloomy to me.

Google Images
In its rusty brown state, it looked as though it should be leaning against
the Bates Motel.  Now, I know many of you would love this rusty look,
but I'm living on the Iron Range where I view mountains of rust
every day in the form of iron ore dumps.  Enough already!

What this bike needed was a new coat of paint to freshen it up.
What color should I choose?  Pink?  White?

The answer came in the mail the other day.

I won this magazine from Susan in a giveaway on her blog, Evelyn and Rose

Thank you Susan!

Susan wrote a feature article showcasing her beautiful photography.

The book is filled with gorgeous images, one of them a painted
bicycle wrapped with tulle ribbons.  My inspiration!

I mixed Light Jade Green and Laguna Blue acrylic paints with Gesso
and applied the mixture with a scruffy old brush.  The color looks a bit intense
but it won't take long for the paint to fade and the rust to reappear.

The seat has lost its cush.

The tires have lost their bounce.

The chain is rusted in place.

The reflectors are long gone.

But the kickstand still works!!

I didn't even notice the front fender was missing until I started painting!

Here it is under the shelter of our kitchen window.  You can see my ever-present cup of coffee
on the bench near the back door.  And the wreath was in the shape of a heart until the local
birdies decided to borrow twigs for their nests.  The neighborhood squirrels
entertain us with their high wire act on the electrical wires overhead.
Although there is a rare mishap.  Yikes!

I won't be riding my newly painted bike in the Jubilee Parade on Saturday as Tracy suggested,
but at least it no longer looks like Norman Bates' childhood bike.

Now it needs a new name!

Thanks for stopping by,

Join the parties at:
Funky Junk Interiors Saturday Nite Special

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