Sunday, February 24, 2013

Plant a Tree - Save the Earth

15 trees to be exact.  
I am delighted to finally bring home my new trees from the native plant sale through our county conservation district.  What a wonderful program this is!  They send out a lovely order form a couple of months ahead of time (mine is via email) and the selection is varied, from native brush to fifty foot trees!

This year I purchased five Pacific Dogwood, five Red Osier Dogwood and five Pacific Crabapple.  They come in packs of five, which seemed like a lot to me, but the prices couldn't be beat.

photo courtesy freepicturesweb.com  
First up is the Pacific Dogwood.  Best (free) photo I could find on the web (tree trunk not included!)  It can grow to fifty feet!!  These are native to the Pacific Northwest as well as many other places.  The flower is sweet and intoxicating in spring.  
They like their solitude so will do nicely on my hill with good drainage.

courtesy wikipedia
Next up is the Red Osier Dogwood.  It's a bush that is bright red in winter - which is stunning against the snow!  It will be a nice screen for the hot sun come summer when they are full of leaves.  They can grow to fifteen feet and spread their roots underground.

courtesy wikipedia
I couldn't find a definition for a "Pacific" crabapple, as there are possibly thirty species of crabapple.  But since it too is a native for here, it will only need northwest sunshine and rain.  

Now all of these are tasty delights for deer, but will be protected with fencing while they mature.  Meanwhile the blossoms will draw even more hummingbirds and butterflies to my yard!

Yesterday I walked the lot (less than an acre) to scope out good planting spots.  I took plant stakes with little flags on them to pound in the ground for markers.  This way as the next few days go by I can look out my windows at the stakes and decide if they are indeed good places.

My goal is more than just planting trees for the environment.  That is a wonderful goal, and everyone should do it, but I also am thinking about the future of my home; it's value, and the benefits of having trees, for both myself and the wildlife.

Deciduous trees provide wonderful shade in the summer, but allow the much needed (and sparse) sunshine in winter.  So the large dogwood trees will live on the hill behind my house - between me and the southern sunshine.
The other two species will dot the landscape and just add a more northwest feel here.

While it will take some years before they provide that shade, it will still be a joy to know they are there.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bringing it all Together

Updating the kitchen has been a long process for me, my followers have been very patient as I very slowly make progress and I thank you!!!  I am happy to say that I have finally reached what I would say is 98% completion.  With only one small wall to paint and shelve, I am relieved to report that the main part of the kitchen is FINISHED!!!  


The two big projects seem so small now, in retrospect.  The wall shelves and window trim and sill.  But deciding on wood, hardware, style and budgeting for it seemed to drag on.


The back-splash is also done!  I decided on simple 3.5 inch pine for the window trim and 4 inch for the sill.  I still need to insert inner trim around the edges.

I think it all came together rather nicely - but mostly how I wanted it.  Here is a before and after view.

before
after
 In the future I would like to replace the large appliances for size appropriate ones.



It's finally got a "finished" look!  I wold say that the total cost for paint, shelves, hardware, and curtains was under $200.







It's a wonderful feeling when you complete something all on your own.  Pride of ownership, pride of workmanship.

You're not seeing the left side of the kitchen just yet as that is the last small wall to paint and shelve.  But just to the left of the cabinet in the picture above, is a counter and wall space - I'm eager to get this done!



So now the "look" is complete.  What do you think?
You can click on any of the images and scroll through them for a larger view.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Kitchen Progress!

I know some of you have been waiting for me to finish the kitchen and let me tell you - so have I!
But it has been a slow process.
However, there has been some recent progress I can finally share with you.



I made curtains for the lower cabinets.  This fabric was an interesting find.  I wanted something washable with a country kitchen feel to it.  I finally settled on a painters drop cloth!  You would be surprised how soft and thick this heavy muslin is.  Just perfect!
I also decided on the very affordable curtain rod and clips found at the local hardware store.
This is the cabinet below the sink, and the horizontal board across the top covers a big gap.  I thought I would just fill the screw holes with wood putty, then decided on these wooden buttons instead!


On the other side of this tiny kitchen are the matching set of curtains.
There used to be a set of four drawers here, very small and useless in my opinion, so I took out the bottom three and added this cabinet door.  Inside I can store cookie sheets and pizza pans.
I mixed the accent color myself for the drawer and cabinet door.


The cabinets above are the same two tone colors with pine trim at the ceiling.

The other thing I've been working on is the wall above the stove and the two side walls.  As you know I originally installed shelves with metal brackets.  Well, when I painted the new creamy color I wanted pine accents instead.  
Needless to say I am still hunting for the right shelves above the stove, but have made two racks for the side walls.  


This pan rack was the result of a shopping trip to an antique store where I found the black wrought iron piece.  I decided to attach it to a nice piece of pine wood.  The pans hang from "S" hooks.


On the opposite wall I made a very simple utensil rack with pine and white nails.

I haven't decided yet if I want to add trim to the wood, or just leave the racks super simple like the are.  What do you think?

My other ongoing project has been a mosaic back-splash for above the kitchen sink.  I have been working on this for months, not because it's difficult, there has just been a lot of lag time in between phases.  I finally got the stone mosaic tiles attached to the piece of wood I wanted for the space.


I have had these tiles for years, probably out of style now, so it was a good thing I had enough!

Next I got the tile adhesive and grout in one mixture, perfect color, sand.


I love how this turned out!

I've been waiting on the perfect trim so I could finish it..... still to come I'm afraid.  But I did attach it to the wall above the sink anyway.  You'll see it after I find that illusive trim.

So there's a little sampling of what has been happening around the New Pioneer pad.