Sunday, January 10, 2016

{Side Yard} Ivy Control

While working on our bathroom this summer, Doug and I also got one outside project check off our to do list. We seem to do smaller projects at the same time as big projects. Anyone else do this? I think we had done most of our bathroom and were at the waiting stage (paint drying or something similar) and so we completed one small project. I can't wait to see how it looks this year once some more growth is added.

But… we tackled our side porch's ivy issue. I love the English Ivy and have cut it back a few times to control the growth. It's an amazing plant and we figured we could use it's growing power to block out our neighbors. I'm hoping it'll block out some of their smoke but that's more wishful thinking. I can dream, right?? 

So not only do we have a giant patch of the ivy, there's also another, more boring, type of ivy mixed in with a plant that seems to want to take over the world. I think it's Rose of Sharon and it'll be gone this summer. It's a pretty plant but is in my way. And grows like crazy. This is what we had after I chopped the Rose of Sharon a lot. The ivy is growing up and around the white edge to our porch. 


And so with a few boards, white paint, and some clothes line, we created a zig zag like pattern for the ivy to grow up. It filled it a lot more since this photo but I apparently never took another photo. You can see the saw horse and other bathroom related items that we used this summer. 


 And while cleaning out a lot of the ivy, this big (seriously like 5") praying mantis wanted to defend his territory.  


And yes, we need to paint all the white window sills and trim around our house…

Do you have ivy? How do you control it if you do?  

Monday, January 4, 2016

{2016} Goals

Happy New Year!! 

The past few years, I've written about house goals (you can see 2015's here, which recaps 2014 as well). Obviously I've been a tad optimistic in my goals. So let's see what we accomplished in 2015…

2015 was definitely the year of the bathroom! Maybe some day I'll actually do a full "tour" of the area. It's definitely the best looking room in our house and only needs some finishing touches like art. 


I also was pleasantly surprised by how our backyard changed from nothing but weeds to a nice little garden with free galvanized containers, recycled stepping stones from our front yard, mostly free plants (I think I spent around $100, plus I transplanted a lot), a gutter run off "creek" and edging blocks from my parents. The corn looking plant in the back is a type of bamboo that is in a buried bucket, to prevent spreading like fire, but will hopefully grow tall enough to hide part of our neighbor's house. I'd like to find some big barn stars for the brick wall. 


We had great luck with our raspberries, cucumbers and tomato plants (once they started at least). We hope to add a few more plants next summer, but aren't sure what yet. 

2016 will hopefully see some makeovers outside, mainly our shed as we finally (fingers crossed) turn it into a chicken coop. I primed the sides of it last summer, after washing off some rust, but then the roof got me confused and then the weather came in and rained a lot, plus then school/work. But we have plans this year and I think Doug's on board with it. I'm thinking a paint sprayer may be in our future. 

The other big thing for outside is gardening. We want to switch some things around, add some more beds, and generally grow more produce. It may see some major changes, it may just be different plants here and there. Time will tell. 

And the last thing I'd be happy to have done is our basement makeover. Nothing super fancy, it's an old basement that has some issues but I think a nice cleaning, coat of paint on everything, and then storage and furniture for a craft studio. My current "craft studio" is our office upstairs and there is no room. Plus, I'd like to change it to Doug's "man cave" aka his office (and maybe where my computer stays) by moving all my junk art supplies to the basement. This one is huge but not challenging. There's no building or major issues - just some new lighting and everything else I mentioned. But our current situation isn't working and makes creating projects with Lily nearly impossible. I'll write about plans soon. 

As for this old blog - I hope to blog more. But my blogging past isn't the best. However, I would like to change that. It'll be a mix of everything - family, home life, recipes, trips, anything that we do basically. I'm not it in for money (no ads), I'm not in it for fame, I'm in it to simply share our story and to look back on. But… I also work full time as a teacher and am a mom to two young kids. Time and money aren't exactly flowing around here! 

I hope to be back soon! School starts tomorrow and I get a bunch (150 is a "bunch", right?!) of new kids. Wish me luck as we head into the Spring Semester! 

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