Saturday, May 26, 2012

Backyard: The good, the bad, and the UGLY!!

Yesterday you got a sneak peek at the disaster that is currently serving as our back"yard":

You may obviously noticed how awful things are looking back there.... :(  Let me show you a bigger picture  of what exactly we're working with:

Yeah... there really aren't any words.....

Let me introduce you to the culprit.
If she wasn't sooo cute...

Yeah, you may remember that we laid down sod last summer.  Then we had our first winter with a female dog! 

You can see that in the winter, she tried to do her business as close to the bottom of the stairs from the deck, as possible.

What to do?

About 2 weeks ago, we decided that our first option would be to spread a combo seed/fertilizer out.  I apologize as I don't recall which brand we used.  It says it takes about 5 weeks to start seeing results  :(   We were being patient and even got a bit of rain the last 2 days, however, I'm starting to think it might be a lost cause as the pretty little girl above seems to enjoy rounding her laps on the dead parts and enjoys how her paws kind of tear up the dead parts.

Cory thinks there's enough small areas of green peeking through the dead so he wants to stick with it for a little while longer though.  We laid down some more fertilizer tonight so we're keeping our fingers crossed.

In the meantime, we're obviously not allowing Finley  in the yard while the fertilizer is out there, but we have taken steps to (hopefully) eliminate her killing any MORE grass:

I spoke with a friend at work who also has a female dog and he said that they have always used pills for his dog and they have no problems with the grass getting killed.    We weren't sure exactly which brand out of the 3 or 4 they had would work, but so far, we haven't really noticed any NEW patches, so we think it is doing it's job!

Anyhow, we've decided we're gonna stick with it and see whether the grass wants to pull through after all.  If nothing comes to fruition, we've decided that we'll rip up the one half of the yard and lay down new sod. 

While we're being patient, I've decided it's time for me to decide exactly where I want to eventually put my flower beds.  Since some of the beds will be where the grass is already dead, it doesn't really make sense to buy sod for an area we're eventually going to rip up anyhow. 

There was however, one bright part about checking out the backyard!!  Last year, we also planted a lilac (which I ABSOLUTELY LOVE!!).  But we made the mistake of planting the small bush at the back of the yard with just a hole in the ground, and nothing else around it, or protecting it.  So Finley thought it was there for her to chew up.... and DESTROY!

Cory was convinced it was dead and was even asking me if he could dig it up and just fill in the hole or plant something else.  I wasn't quite ready to give in so I said not yet, and sure enough, tonight when I was perusing the yard, I noticed this:

That baby was NOT ready to give up yet!!  I don't know exactly what I'll get out of it this year, but I am very glas that it wasn't a complete waste!  I think we will have to figure out a way to protect it this year!

Plus, the parts of our grass that aren't completely dead, are so dark green and LUSH!!  So at least we know we CAN grow a beautiful lawn :)

Anyone else got a yard that looks less than desirable??

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Post About Posts...

Yeah, I know, doesn't sound too exciting does it?

Well it was for me.  You see, we put our fence up last year, but with Cory working every 2nd weekend, it always takes a while to actually complete things.  Plus you know, he's really just never been a handy-man.... 

So the fence was mostly completed (we still need a few  small boards to finish things off cosmetically), paint the darn thing since we had to wait due to the pressure treated wood and then there were the posts. We didn't own a saw to do it, so they just stood out like sore thumbs.  Some were awkwardly tall, like at least a foot!  ( I didn't really get any "BEFORE" photos of the posts though, sillly me, but you can kinda see the super tall posts in the shot below.)

Anyhow, tonight I had the bright idea to remind him to borrow the Sawz-All from work and wouldn't you know, he actually even completed the whole task this evening... after working 12 hours.  I was SHOCKED!! ;)

There was one post that was apparently further in the ground than the rest, so it set the height for the rest of the post tops (4").  So, perching percariously on a cheap plastic lawn chair filling in as a ladder, Cory got to work!

Oh yeah, excuse our sad excuse for a lawn - I will be posting about that mess tomorrow!

Of course, our favorite helped insisted on checking things out!

We weren't really sure what to do about the side of the fence that went up the hill.  Do we go flat lile the rest or do we angle them like the rest of the fence???  We went for angled and then of course, I thought it looked a little weird when it was done, but oh, well...  What do you think?

Overall, it was a quick little project, perfect for 8pm on a weeknight.  Plus, now we are 1 step closer to calling the fence totally complete.

All we still need to tackle is:

- Adding a few finishing rails to about 4 parts including the front of the gate
- Painting the whole damn thing

What outside projects have you tackled lately?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Possible Wardrobe Update Additions!

I was reviewing my wardrobe the other day and realized that I'd fallen into a slump... a dark colored slump.

In an effort to add some "pep" back to my wardrobe, I decided to check out what Old Navy had to offer.  My biggest concern was of course, that I am not yet back to my ideal weight.  So everything I selected had to properly mask my trouble spot: my tummy.

Here's a few items I will be checking out very soon:

This gorgeous, striped burnout tank is drapey in all the right places, perfect for showing some classy skin and masking what needs to stay hidden.

This top would work for both work, going out or for casual days.  The fluttery lace sleeves attract attention to the sides NOT the front.  While it's shown in black, it would also be cute in white with a bright colored summery skirt.

Ruffles that look sophisticated!  I love the little one shoulder detail and the empire waist which flows away from my tummy.

I wasn't sure I wanted to jump on the skinny colored jeans trend until I saw the colors offered at Old Navy!!  Plus, I'm thinking that a store like Old Navy may also be able to accomodate those of us girls who aren't exactly skinny jean models.  I love them in this purple and the hot pink!  Plus, if I can find them in a kelly green!!  Perfect for work!

I want this versatile tee in every color they carry.  The fit looks so flattering and it would be great with jeans OR dress pants.  Maybe even a simple black skirt??

This dress, in purple or turquoise would be great for weekends as is.  At work, I'd add a little cardigan and some cute flats!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Quick little update!

Around Christmas time, we visited Cory's sisters house and I noticed that they had a very similar striped rug and runner in their laundry room as the one we had at our front entry but they looked a lot fancier than the one we had.  So imagine my surprise when I found out that they were also purchased at Walmart, just like mine.

You see, I absolutely loved the colors in our rug: cream, brown and turquoise, but after potty training a puppy and a weird thing last summer where one of the cats suddenly started peeing the front entrance as as a litter box outta the blue for 3 months, our was looking a little worse for wear after a ton of washes.  Plus, I thought it would be nice to have a back-up mat, especially in the winter when they get so dirty and wet.  So needless to say, for the last 6 months, I have been checking Walmart EVERY SINGLE TIME we stopped in (so, at least once a week...) for another rug. 

Exept everytime we went in, they had the rug, but in green, not blue.  :(  
As luck would have it, last week, I came across the very rug I had been searching forever for.  I initially wasn't sure aboout it and so it sat for a couple days rolled up in our closet, until I unrolled it yesterday. 

I have to say, I am much happier with this one that I am with the other one.  It's waaaay cushier than the other one AND the colors are a lot lighter than the other one.

You wanna know the best part?  It was $15.00!

While I love how cheap Walmart is, I really wish they had more attractive home-decor items here in Canada.... I can't wait until Target opens up here!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Featured Project: A to Z Birdbath/Planter

Last night, as I was doing my nightly blog catch up, I came across the most AMAZING idea!  The wonderful Beth created this super cute little bird bath/planter and I am absolutely in LOVE!! 

Everything about this planter would be absolutely perfect in our yard!!  The turquoise would fit in perfectly with the rest of the blue accents we're using (my fave color).  This works well with my favorite container flower (snapdragons), which added the perfect touch of bright color.  Then, that sweet little birdie is priceless!

I am absolutely inspired to create something similar for our backyard!  I am thnking I could probably even do it for ALMOST FREE!!

I'll keep you posted as to whether I get around to creating this whimsical beauty later in the season when we finally start attacking the lower level of our yard.

If you've never checked out Beth's blog , you have to run there immediately!!  She always has amazing projects and what I love most is how budget friendly they all are!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Decking out the Deck

Wow!  Where did the week go?  It's funny how when you spend a good portion of the year under several feet of snow, as soon as the weather smartens up, you do everything you can to spend as much time as possible outside.  We've literally eaten every dinner this week outside, gone rollerblading several times, lots of walks and just generally sitting on the deck soaking up the sun!

But since we're spending so much time outside and planning on doing some summertime entertaining, we figured it was high time we sprung for something a little classier than our camping cooler for serving drinks.   I really wanted one last year, but Cory was wuite content with his cooler idea....  :(

This year, it took no time at all convincing him and as soon as he mentioned it last weekend and asked where I thought we could find one, I told him to throw on his shoes and off we went to Home Sense.  

15 minutes later, we were wheeling this beauty over to the truck:

(excuse the completely un-styled photo with dirt on the floor and the deck broom leaning there.)

I've affectionately named her "Suzie the Beverage Server" and we love her.  Originally, I wanted one in a grey or taupe woven rattan-style plastic like the ones I saw last year to blend in nicely with all the beigey colors out there, but when we spotted this bright blue, we knew she was the one.  (plus, they didn't have any neutral colors; it was blue, bubblegum pink or bright purple).

We love the litle bottle opener and bottle-cap catcher and the little side bin that's perfectly for holding empties.  Of course, the handles are also the perfect place to store a tea towel perfect for wiping off a wet bottle! Her retro styling adds the perfect touch of whimsy to the space. 

While most everything out there is dark metal or beige, most of my other patio accessories are electric blues and greens so this was a great find!

In keeping with our theme of livening up the deck, of course we needed some planters!  Cory had been bugging me for the last few weeks about getting rid of the deadness occupying our pots.  Earlier this week, I started yanking the dead stuff outta there and today we picked up some fresh potting soil and I started getting to work!  (Like how a few of those pots match nicely with Suzie...)

I thought I had picked up a ton of plants:

But turns out I got probably exactly the right amount for my pots.  The deck railing planter is the one that had Cory begging me daily to get some new life in there!

I ended up running out of soil and need to pick some up tomorrow, but here are a few pots I managed to put together:

Black petunias, pink dahlias and pink stock will hopefully fill in nicely.

Lots of snapdragons (one of my fave for pots), petunias that have yet to bloom, stock and pansies.  These will be so full when the petunias get going!

Variegated carnations (my first time buying these) and some petunias that need to bloom still.

Lots of snapdragons and yellows pansies in the blue pot on the floor.  As you can see, there's still a few more to pot once I get more dirt!

This little seating area always makese me smile!

So while it's definitely not finished (or staged for photos), the vibe on the deck is definitely getting there in terms of how we want to be for entertaining.

I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Fabric Love

For a while now, I've had a huge crush on Dwell Studio's gorgeous Vintage Blossom fabric in Jade:

I absolutely LOVE the perfect robin's eggy blue color with the contrasting charcoal and white print.  Plus, cherry blossoms AND white birds!!  This fabric must have been made for me.  I literally could see myself using this EVERYWHERE in my house!

However, I'm going to have to order a sample as I am a little worried that the "jade" may be more green in real life than I hope.  (fingers crossed it's as it looks online!)
I think it would make an absolutely gorgeous set of drapes for the main floor.  I'd need 2 pairs as the living room windows and sliding patio doors are not only on the same wall, but literally a few feet apart, I think that the colors are muted enough not to be too much for the small space!

See? Isnt' it just so pretty on pillows?

Also in my search tonight, I stumbled upon  another gorgeous pillow:

Albeit, $80 is quite a bit more than I usually spend on throw pillows... But I think I just might love this fabric even more!!!

Unfortunately, they don't appear to sell just the fabric.  (Yet... I am hoping) as this would be absolutely gorgeous for our bedroom!  Maybe a headboard or drapes as well?

What do you think?  Has anyone seen the Peacock fabric available for sale??  Let me know!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A New Bed!

But not for us...

I've been having some sleep issues lately, with Finley taking up a lot of room in our bed.  The heat is causing her to stretch out quite a bit and she has been encroaching on my space quite a bit.  I decided it was time for us to crack down and stop letting her sleep with us.

You'd be surprised just how little room there is in a Super King bed with 2 adults and a dog when you're used to sleeping in one.

Anyhow, today we hit up Petsmart to pick up some pills to help prevent puppy potty breaks from killing our lawn even more than it already has, and while we were there, we picked up this beauty:

This thing is HUGE!!  I can curl up in it!

I absolutely love the gold upholstery on the bolsters!  This is a bed I would NOT be ashamed to have on display in my living room or wherever.  I'm glad companies are making dog beds more attractive so that they dont stick out like sore thumbs in decorated rooms!

It's regularly $100, but we snagged this baby for $45 as it was Reduced to Clear!

Best part?

This little girl is a fan!! 

It'll probably take some time to get this 2 year old girl to stop trying to sleep with us, but I am glad she has a nice new bed to occupy instead!

Happy weekending!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

To Keep or Not to Keep?

We recently sold out all the final units at one of our condominium units at work.  While we try to sell all our homes and suites fully furnished, sometimes the homeowners choose to purchase them without.  That means, we have to find new forever homes for all the furniture and accessories on display, and I do a little sale.

The best part about running the sales is that I get first dibs on whatever I want to purchase!  Thankfully, she and I are friends and sometimes share ideas so there's often stuff I love in the houses.

I did manage to find a few things that I am contemplating for our place:

First up, is these gorgeous throw pillows:

They have a beautiful nubby, linen like, almost burlapy quality and have gorgeous music notes and cursive writting that looks worn on them.  The back is covered in a pretty textured grey fabric that is pretty much the color I want to purchase a new sofa in.  So while they will look good on our cream sofa now, they should also look great on a grey on.  Plus, they just have that vibe I love so I could probably use them anywhere.

The second item and the one I am most unsure about is this area rug:

It has the cream, brown and blues that are throughout the house, I'm sure really not sure about that lime color...

And of course, I can not seem to get a great picture of it in place (excuse the crappy photos, my new phone usually takes good ones, but I may or may not have dropped it and probably should take advantage of the warranty I decided not to forgo this time...)

What do you think?  Is it too busy?  Are there far too many conflicting colors in here?  Keep in mind that this was not staged, the pillows were all just picked up off the floor and thrown on the sofa.
Wow, I am just seeing how bad these really turned out...  Maybe some day time shots with the Rebel are needed tomorrow...

And lastly, this sweet beauty:

I have wanted a subway/bus roll art FOREVER now, but just couldn't justify buying one.  So I thought (several times) about making one.... but never got around to it.  Since I managed to snag this one super cheap thru the sale, I figured what the heck.  I absolutely love it, but the spot I planned for it, on the little angled wall right when you walk in the front door, is also the spot where the ottoman to sit and put your shoes on is.  And unfortunately, this baby is a lot longer than I thought, so if you were sitting on the stool, you'd smash into it with your back and most likely knock it off the wall... :(

So instead, I am trying it out in the upstairs hallway.  I currently have it leaning on the little table up there until I decide it's staying so I don't put holes in the wall. Seeing it in picture, I'm pretty sure I love it, but the table HAS TO GO!!

Anyhow, let me know your thoughts!  I'd love to hear what you think!

Monday, May 7, 2012

What on Earth?

Since things have been super crazy for me lately, I have been "posting" (or so I thought...)  from my cellphone over the last month....

I finally had a chance to log on today, only to find that NONE OF MY RECENT POSTS ARE ONLINE!!  And Blogger has completely changed and I am completely LOST!!!

Not sure what exactly happened, but I must not have set it up properly on my new cellphone.  Woop woop :( 

Anyhow, it's been a little crazy with me working a ton.  I took a contract job for the entire month of April ON TOP of my full-time job that kept me busy busy. So I was excited for May so I could finally get some much needed stuff done around the house (which we did and the posts got lost... so I will do a brief little re-cap of what we've been up to:

In a bout of productivity one afternoon about 2 weeks ago, Cory got the following done:
- raked the grass (about half our entire back yard is completely dead.  I guess that's what we get for getting a female dog....  :(
We'll be getting out the fertilizer this week to hopefully try and repair some of it, but will most likely be ripping it up and putting in new sod. 
**Note: we are also going to try those vitamin pill things that apparently help neutralize the urine ph levels.  Friends have said they work**

- light bulbs have been changed throughout the house's interior and exterior (that was mostly my doing, but I will help Cory take the credit)  One of the bulbs however had been out for I'm guessing 2 years... This made a world of difference, let me tell you!

- the screen on our rear screen door was replaced after it was damaged by both cats and Finley scratching at it last year.  This is now the second time we've done this.... we decided to shell out the extra dough for the heavy-duty "pet screen" this time and so far, so good.  But time will tell as the weather actually gets nice enough for us to have the screen door open and the animals to get the urge to go out more.

- He also pressure washed the entire house, deck and lower patio and I think even the driveway!

- the metal door sweep on the screen door has finally been installed properly so I don't come home to little paws sticking out from under the door at me.  He also tightened the frame so it doesn't bang around now when you close the door.

- new weather stripping was applied to the front door (this was a little late but we're all ready for NEXT winter now...)

Those may seem like simple, every day tasks to some, but with him working 14 hour days often, it's a big feat for me to get him to do one of those things usually, let alone all of them.

We both worked this weekend and I had a birthday outting so it was kind of wash weekend, but I've got tasks planned for the whole rest of the week, so expect something new each day!!

What have you done to get your home ready for Spring/Summer?