Archives for May 2016

May Stitch Fix

My latest Stitch Fix came at the perfect time– I had two graduations to attend and hadn’t done a bit of thinking about what to wear.  Here are the things that they sent me.

Blue tank First up is this knit tank top in a fun pattern.  It is nice and loose, with a pretty pattern, and has a lacy inset at the back.  It feels like it will be a wonderful option for a warm summer day. I am a little less than fond of the lace in back where bra straps will show through.  But this top has it only along the top 3 inches or so, so I think it will be OK.

necklaceNext is this necklace.  I think it is really pretty, but it was $28 and it is long and lands low, in an area I don’t really want to accentuate.  So I think I will pass on this one.

Blue topI thought that I liked this blue patterned blouse until I saw it in the picture.  It fits nicely and felt flattering looking in the mirror.  But in this photo and with this skirt I am afraid it looks downright frumpy.  Maybe it would like nicer with a pair of slacks…?  The other issue is that my last Stitch Fix also included a blue patterned blouse, and I don’t think this one is enough different to truly be adding something different to my wardrobe….

Maxi-whiteThen finally here are the biggest winners in the fix– first this maxi skirt.  I am such a sucker for maxis as they are so so comfy and still manage to look nicely dressed up.  Then second was the white top– just a simple t shirt knit, but with a neckline that falls in a flattering way.  And it fills a niche as I don’t really have any white tops.

Of course when I spilled something on the top 30 minutes after putting it on, I remembered why I don’t tend to buy white!  But the spot scrubbed out, and I think the top will be useful with a variety of different outfits.

GirlsFinally, just for fun, here’s a shot of my cute girls.  Can you believe how tall Em is?  Of course she’s got heels on which add to the appearance of height, but she’s a good 5-7 by now, at not even 14.  It will be interesting to see if she gets taller.  Don’t you love the way she combined the polka dot shoes with the hounds-tooth patterned skirt?  Incidentally, that skirt was a Stitch Fix several years ago– she’s gotten more use out of it than I ever did.  🙂

Stitch Fix is a personal shopping service that picks clothing for you based on a questionnaire that you fill out.  You can also share your Pinterest clothing board to give your stylist more ideas of what you like. You can order a fix as often or as infrequently as you like.  Each fix consists of five items for which you pay a styling fee of $20. That $20 styling fee applies toward any item you keep.  Keep what you want, and send whatever you don’t want back in the prepaid envelope that comes right along with your fix. Easy peasy. Click on my referral link to order a ‘fix’ of your own. For extra fun, when you sign up and refer someone else, you’ll get a credit that applies toward your NEXT fix.  What fun!

 

 

 

Spray painting plastic chairs: does it work?

When we moved, we brought some white plastic lawn chairs that didn’t end up matching with the rest of the back yard decor, which is mostly black lawn furniture with some red and yellow accents.  The white didn’t clash, but it got kind of lost against the white fence, and because the chairs were old, they also looked pretty dingy, even after a good scrubbing.

I happened across a post on Pinterest sharing the idea of spray painting plastic lawn chairs, so I bought some red Rustoleum paint in apple red and decided to give it a shot.  The article I read said that a matte finish worked best, but I accidentally grabbed gloss at the store, so that’s what I went with.

The hardest thing in our tiny yard turned out to be tarping off enough space that I would not be over-spraying onto or patio or our white fence. #tinyyardliving  🙂  But once I did that, the job went fairly quickly.

IMG_20160417_161322848

It ended taking a a full can of paint for each chair. I did one coat covering as much of the chair as I could, then waited for that coat of paint to dry before going over each chair again to hit the spots that got poor coverage the first time.

The cans of paint cost about $4 each.   Granted, new plastic chairs aren’t tons of money.  But I’ve had a lot of trouble with newer plastic lawn chairs being brittle and much more prone to breakage than the older ones. (Anyone else notice this?) I felt like it was worth the $4 to get some more use out of the old ones, and I am really enjoying the colorful update.

IMG_20160516_143645036

Here’s a closer view of one of the chairs a couple weeks after painting them.  The paint seems to be sticking just fine, and I like the way the red adds some color and interest to this corner of the yard.  This corner of the yard really gets blasted by sprinklers, so I needed something that could tolerate getting wet every day.  The verdict so far: it’s a winner!

chairs

Pin It

Mother’s Day

We had a nice visit with family on Mother’s Day.   One of the highlights of the day had to be when all our grandchildren arrived at once, all hurrying toward the front door in great excitement at being here to visit.  What delight.  🙂

Arriving

Here’s a photo of my momma and me with one of those sweet grandbabies.  Hard to believe she is nearly 3.

IMG_20160508_202911849

Many goodies were brought, and eaten, including WAY too much chocolate.  The Reeses’ cheesecake was my Mother’s Day gift from Zeytuna.  Didn’t she do a lovely job?

IMG_20160508_190936377

Another highlight of the very lovely day was staying up late chatting with a bunch of the kids about all sorts of silly things– just sitting around enjoying each other. I felt very blessed.

IMG_20160508_223846865

And finally, here’s a photo of our very first homegrown flower bouquet from this new house of ours, picked just today. Along with the flowers, I’ve been picking LOTS of cilantro lately.  We have so much that I even tucked some into this bouquet for greenery.  Very fun!

IMG_20160516_124557010

A little girl and her heart

In August when we traveled to Ethiopia, we were blessed to be driven around by a wonderful man named Dawit. This was actually the third time he has been our driver in Ethiopia, and we couldn’t have had a better person to keep watch over us. By the time the two weeks of this trip was done, he felt almost like family to us.

With Dawit

With Dawit

On Mother’s Day I found out that his little daughter Yohana, age 1, has a couple of fairly serious heart defects for which she will need surgery.  For those of you with medical knowledge, she has a large atrial septal defect and a small patent ductus arteriosis. The problem is that this type of surgery (though commonly and easily done in the US) is not available in Ethiopia.

The closest place for this child to be treated is in Kenya, at a mission hospital where a visiting US surgeon will be next February. The cost is overwhelming for this young family, as you might imagine. She will need to travel to Kenya twice, once in August for an evaluation, and then again in February.  Just airfare and hotels will probably cost around $2000.

Thankfully a number of people have come together and already donated $2800, enough for travel, and for at least some of the medical care needed. But if you are inclined to donate to cover more of Yohana’s medical expenses, you can do so via paypal through a medical missionary in Ethiopia named Jodi Ross. Jodi is a trusted friend of my sister Sophie, and they lived and worked in Ethiopia side by side for several years. Jodi’s email is jodi_rss@yahoo.com.  Feel free also to email her with questions.  And whether or not you are able to help financially, would you consider praying for little Yohana?  This has to be a scary time for Dawit and his wife.

Thanks so much!

The garden is coming together!

I’ve had such fun seeing how much garden I can fit into this tiny back yard of ours!  (The answer: quite a bit)  I now have a total of 6 raspberry canes, 5 tomato plants, four peppers, four strawberry plants (Julianna had to have strawberries!), three cilantro plants, two cucumbers, and one watermelon plant.  Oh, and mint.  I have two tiny baby mint plants.  See?

Mint

Instead of planting everything together, I chose to spread things out. I love the idea of fruit and flowers growing all together. Here you can see my cilantro in with my flowers.

CilantroIt is doing so well it is threatening to take over the containers.  Guess it’s already time to chop some up and do some guacamole.

Geraniums

I’m not quite sure how the part-sunny places in the yard will do for the tomatoes, so I decided to try them out in a few different places.

Here’s the bed against the house– it gets tons of morning sun, but is shaded by 2 PM or so. I put a couple strawberries in this bed along with tomatoes and flowers.  Hoping I don’t kill the azalea in the middle.

BigTomatoesI majorly splurged on the two big tomato plants in this bed.  Bought HUGE ones in April, which is why I already have half a dozen or so green tomatoes.  My dollar/tomato ratio is terrible at this point, but I’m hoping good yields all summer will eventually justify that $15/plant (eek) cost.  Maybe.

 

Tomatoes

Since this bed against the house doesn’t have sprinklers in it, I added a soaker hose on a timer.  For a couple minutes John and I were puzzling over what to do with the bit of soaker hose that was hanging over the concrete next to the spigot, not really wanting a big puddle there.  But then we thought to put the pet water dish under it. Now the cats and dog get a fresh refill twice a day.  The dog loves it, and runs to get a fresh drink each time she hears it turn on.

water

And just in case you’re wondering about the writing on the wall in that previous photo, here’s a shot of my husband’s latest project– a shed addition built onto the side of the house.  He is a woodworker and since we’ve moved in has had tarps covering his woodworking materials, since there’s not enough garage space to house it all.  No more– all that wood is safely under cover now, and he has a good place to work on projects as well.  He is looking forward to the arrival of the siding so it will start looking like part of the house instead of an add-on.

shop

This week he also built the little fence you see in the photo, to separate the ‘working’ part of the yard from the entertaining space.  It also gives us a place to put the dog when we’re entertaining, so she won’t continually have her nose four inches from guests’ plates, begging for bites of their burgers.  I am planning on whitewashing that new bit of fence so that it will match the gate.  (Do you remember that gate from our old house?  We couldn’t stand to leave it.)

I think the plant below is called a spirea.  I am excited to see all the buds that mean flowers are coming soon!

Flowers

On the south end of the yard (the far end in this photo– you can’t really see it in this photo, but it’s there) I planted bamboo, intermixed with more strawberries.

Yard

The tall fence next to it give it continual shade, which I am hoping will help the bamboo thrive.  The variety I chose is called Fargesia rufa, which is a clumping type which means it is less invasive than some other types, and is supposedly an evergreen in Idaho.  I am excited to see how it will do.  Hopefully I won’t kill it.

Then here are some photos of the main portion of my garden.  I’ve sheltered it against the fence behind the firepit area so that pets and kids are less likely to run through it.

Watermelon

Here’s the east ‘leg’ of it, with freshly planted tomatoes and sweet peppers.  I opted to give cages even to the peppers, since our cats tend to lie down in fresh plantings.

TomatoesPeppers

As you can see, I am doing landscape fabric and bark to decrease the weeding time.  This first year I’ve spend a fair bit of time establishing all these new beds, but I am trying to lay it all out so that it will be reasonably easy care all summer long.  Love, love, love the fact that this yard has in-ground sprinklers.  A simple thing to most people, but something that we didn’t have at our other place, and when I hear those sprinklers go on, I can’t help but smile.  Ahhhhhh…..

Here’s one last shot of the garden.  This is the north side of the yard.  It gets sun almost all day long, and here I’ve planted a watermelon, a jalapeno, two tomatoes and two cucumbers.  Once again, I protected almost everything that’s small with tomato racks or bamboo stakes– our cats just love to lounge wherever I’ve just been working.

Here I’ve also planted a few flowers and a pampas that is supposed to get 10 feet tall.  (Eeek!)  If it really gets that big it may overwhelm the space.  But I am hoping for a nice sheltered feeling to the firepit area.  I will try to update you later in the summer when things have had awhile to grow!

TinyGarden