I no longer have the ugliest yard on the block!!

Thanks to landscaping plans drawn up by my dear friend Darren (as a much belated birthday gift -  in 2011 from my parents), and help from various family members...

I now have a respectable looking front yard... 
Every time a neighbor came over for a friendly chat, I was secretly hoping it wasn't with ultimate motive of kindly requesting I get on that.  Thankfully that was never the case and despite my multiple expressions of gratitude to their patience, they all maintain they didn't mind and that it didn't look as bad as i thought (they're total liars - it looked really bad).  

After the water main project of 2012 was complete and we installed the sprinklers in the back yard, all it took was a couple of weekends to make it more presentable.  For your pleasure, here are some befores and afters: 

Before - July, 2011)

After (October 2012):

A different angle (July, 2011): 

After - now:

Now in the before pictures, perhaps things don't look as bad... some pretty river rocks, a smattering of Jasmine and some birch trees... The setting sun creates a little ambiance and you think... 

"it can use some work, but its really not that bad."

You're wrong.  

it was that bad. 

In terms of what I planted... Here's a quick list: 
  • 14 New Zealand Flaxes (3 of which will get transplanted to the backyard and replaced for something flowery)
  • 7 Hydrangeas
  • 5 Agapanthus (peter pan - the baby ones)
  • 3 Agapanthus (the big ones)
  • 8 cat mint (nepeta) - this is similar to catnip. My kitty goes bonkers for it
  • 3 Penstamon 
  • 9 Coral Bells
  • 7 Loropetulum
  • 4 Lentana
  • 12 Bacopa
I added a layer of redwood shavings (over landscape fabric) to make it look prettier and prevent weeds from coming in.  I also added some stepping stones between the driveway and the walkway as I found walking across that part of the yard was not necessarily encouraged, but also not uncommon amongst visitors.  
Hard to believe it, right?  I'm chomping at the bit for things go grow in.  I have a few more things left on the front-yard-landscaping-project... but those things will all come in due time:
  1. Replace three of the five flaxes along the porch with something more flowering - perhaps some rosebushes?
    • transplant the flax to the back yard
  2. Buy and Plant a Japanese Maple in front of the porch (sooner rather than later)
  3. get a pretty white picket fence (not joking on this one - measurements have already been made)
  4. Replace the driveway... but at 1210 square feet... no matter how ugly tar and gravel is... that project will have to wait until after I tackle the kitchen
  5. Wait for it all to grow in!
 PS - Have you noticed the Halloween decorations?! 

Getting Jiggy with it

Lately I’ve been into the big chunky necklace phase (trend?).  I never thought I could wear the big chunky necklace… at first it all felt wrong – I’ve always been a delicate-necklace-with-sentimental value kind of girl… but with something loud, and colorful, turns out I was the last to realize that it was just matter of time… and with anything fashion related (per my experience), you just gotta put it on, walk out with confidence and own it, baby!

When It started with one colorful bauble, then two.. and now I have more than I can handle (but really, a girl can never have more than she can handle)

Historically I’ve used a cutesy key holder for my necklaces, but with my chunky, loud, statement necklaces, a cutesy key holder wasn't holding it up anymore.
Earlier this year, on a design blog, I came across a silhouette / bust concept, that I thought might just work.  So earlier this month after a filling dinner at an Italian restaurant, I had my first date with a jig (jig saw, that is).  

First I found a silhouette online… Resized it to 11” x 17”… printed it out

Next I traced it on a piece of plywood

Then I got jiggy with the jig saw

Before I placed her on my wall, she got a facial (with sandpaper) and a coat of make-up (paint)… 

See how well she compliments my Mini-Me?


Since my presence on this bloggy blog has been sporadic, Let me give you an update on the house projects the last few months. 

Landscaping.  My front yard (and back yard) have been in desperate need of a make over.  I'm sure my neighbors are tired of my dirt yard and I try to be extra nice to them and bring the occasional pile of debris out on the street to show that I am (somewhat) yard conscience.  

So I was uber excited in JULY to get some landscaping plans.  I was so excited that I spent the month of AUGUST with my sprinklers running to soften the soil enough for me to plant

And then I came home from an early morning run to find this: 

So I had a plumber out (coincidentally the same day my termite repairs were finishing up).  

Water Service - main line from the street to the house.  
60 year old galvanized pipes that run under 40 year old redwood trees.
The water was off for a week and I was sent chasing city permits and shoveling dirt and renting heavy equipment and ever so grateful for a handyman boyfriend who insisted on doing it himself (le sigh!)

Once we dug through the concrete and found the pipe, we found the source(s) of the leak

So the funny thing is the water main line replacement project turned into a sprinkler project for the back yard.  Considering we already had the heavy trenching equipment, I sent the boyfriend to the back yard to dig dig dig...

So we added another week of putting in sprinklers in the back yard...  

TODAY the plants for the front yard arrived...  TOMORROW I plant for the front yard.  It won't be 100% perfect, but hopefully an improvement!

Stay tuned for before and afters!!


Shell Chair Re-Do

One of the many projects I earmarked when I first moved in was to pretty-up this old Shell chair.  As we took it apart to see what we could do with it (and assess if there was rust damage), we saw that this chair lived through many transformations.  From Red to yellow to olive green to white....

But wait, we're not done!  Now its time for another. 

Initially, my amateur mind thought a quick sand down and couple coats of fresh spray paint would do the trick, but we took it a step further to give it a new beginning.  First we had had the multi-layers of retro (But colorful) paint bead blasted off... and then powder coated.  Hard to believe its the same chair!  

I think I should have been born a gay man..

Make that a FLAMBOYANTLY gay man. 

I mean because really... Yes.  I have no words to describe it.  

Y'all know I've got a hankering to do a small reupholstery job.

Despite the fact I am in the midst of termite repairs and yesterday I discovered a main line water leak.  

I tried to be Miss-Strong-and-Independent-Home-Owner but ended up calling my mom in tears on my way to work because my all of the strong men in my life (boyfriend, brother, father, neighbors) were all otherwise occupied or hanging out in BRAZIL and DISNEYLAND!... Meanwhile my 59 year old water meter (and her pipes) decided to be stubborn and cantankerous and stuck in her ways - meaning stuck in the open position.  I tried to shut her off to prevent more leakage, but she clearly had other thoughts.  So yes, thanks to a phone call from Mommy,  Family Friend Dave swooped in to save the day and my water bill.  

But I digress... Back to being a flamboyantly gay man and my reupholstery job...  

When it comes to chairs (or anything really), I have a small leaning towards the classy, with a dash of personality.  See below: 






We all know I have this chair: 

(Please ignore the seductive kitty)

And I'm leaning towards outfitting her in this
Fancy, huh?  

And I have another chair too...  But that's too far down the list of projects...

But then


I found Staceage fabrics...  
My heart... 
It beats...  

Check out her mission...

Wow!!  This is the life/career/dream
I want to live (except for the slapping your mama part - sorry Mom)!

The pictures from her website are pretty sweet.
A Gay Man's Paradise


Le Sigh.  

I ordered a swatch or two...  
Can't I just disco in her show room all day long?


Baby Clothes

When I was in Nebraska earlier this summer, I picked up this book...

These days, hanging out in my demographic, (especially with all of the weddings I've attended in the last decade..) babies are being born and turning another year older every time I turn around.   

I figured with my sewing skills, this book would be a great asset to my library.   I did not anticipate that it would get so much use right away.  So far I've made dresses for year-old Charlotte, and infants Michaela and Eleanor.  

 recognize this print?

Let's not forget the little boys!  This Cowboy Giddy-up is for newborn Thomas... (Don't worry Paxton's dad, a lime green monster outfit is in the works for you too!!) 

What fun?!  Don't you think?! 

Famous Last Words

Warning: Ugly pictures ahead - so here's something pretty instead:
illustration by Julia Rothman
There is much deliberation over the innerwebs over the exact phrasing of Oscar Wilde’s infamous last words. Some say it was curtains, some say it was the wallpaper. Either way… If it’s the wallpaper, I wholeheartedly agree. 

I have nearly rid all of the rooms in my home of the wallpaper. Aside from the wallpaper in my kitchen (which is just waiting for my piggy bank to be full enough for a complete demo/remodel – targeted for 2014 – unless anyone wants to offer donations speed things along), all that is left of my wallpaper cleanse is my guest-bedroom/soon-to-be-office.

As is consistent with the other rooms in the house it is a lovely combination of 1975 wallpaper + paint (or varnish or thinset or mud/glue/clay – take your pick) + 1954 wallpaper. 

Trust me when I say its all very lovely ugly.

at least my nails look pretty
Have I yet conveyed the message that …






Have I yet conveyed the message that I am also sick of whatever my lovely grandparents-who-lived-through-the-depression-and-by-the-credo: 

"Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without"

So whatever it was that they had to use it up or wear it out, they decided to do between layers of wallpaper.  There are two different kinds on this wall too... One is a clay like substance, and the other is more like glue (above)...  Me and My steamer weren't happy with this. the end of the weekend (if my social calendar doesn't get in the way - which it is already threatening to do), I will have the rest of this wall and ceiling wallpaper free and then I can start the fun part.... PAINTING!

Amazing transformation coming soon!!
Have a great weekend!

Gratuitous Pictures of My 'Kids'

Its been a while since I've had an update on my 'kids' aka Rico and Riley also known as the reason why I have to vacuum frequently.  

Rico's a kick.  He is a bad ass and rules the house.  He thinks he is a dog and was sorely disappointed when Riley entered the picture.  Despite his spunk and personality, he is also a lover.... but the best way to get him to love you is to fight him first.  Rico likes to play hard.  

Here is Rico and how he likes to sleep: 

Here is an example of how big/long he is: 
 31 inches not including his tail

He decided one day to take over Riley's Crate and Riley was not too pleased: 

Riley's been really good lately.  When we brought him home two years ago, I kind of just accepted the fact that he would be this goofy-in-your-face-not-quite-good-but-only-wants-to-please kind of pup.  After an unfortunate series of events while staying with 'grandpa' while we were out of town one of which resulted in many adventures including a 6 foot long leash being chewed to the size of this: 

We enrolled him in Doggy Bootcamp - complete with a Marine instructor and lets just say I set my expectations really low.  Despite my low expectations, he's a completley different dog.   He genuinely wants to listen, and genuinely wants to please. 

Here are my favorites that melt my heart: 

Use that Q on a triple word score!

I like going for rides in cars

any one see my other flip flops?

I do not like baths

Damn I'm a foxy pup

I just want to make sure you don't leave with out me

Sometimes I go topless

Mom, you really need to get me a softer pillow
 And that, my friends concludes this edition of my photo dump of my furry friends. 

But WAIT...  There's more!  One of the things in Riley's trainings is to actually do what we tell him to do and not move until we 'release' him.  Every.single.time I go for a run, he's in my face, making all sorts of fuss because I take too long getting dressed or tying my shoes.  On one particular Saturday morning, I made him go into a long down as I took my time getting dressed, tying my shoes, getting my music ready, etc...  After about 10 minutes of this he got antsy and decided to tell me exactly what he was thinking...  God Bless this guy.  He makes me smile so much!

Knock Your Fox Off!!

I picked up a fun and foxy door knocker from Anthropologie the other day. 

Cute, no? (ok, let's not hold back... its A-DOOR-ABLE!!)

I'm excited to put it on my front door...

The Dilemma...  Do I paint it like Bailey (ala Peppermint Bliss) did? 


Or will the quick orange fox look too cartoony against my yellow house and blue door?  

Here's my door again...

I'm tempted to leave it as is... but unpainted brass is so ORDINARY...  then again a foxy door knocker is anything but ordinary...  Maybe I should paint it more of an orangey brown as opposed to ORANGE... 

What to do... what to do...   What do you think?