Thursday, May 22, 2014

When Life Gives You Mud, Make a Mud Room

We've been making some progress on the garage mudroom lately. Now that it's spring, we've been using this space so much more. All the clutter that used to accumulate in the kitchen is now in the garage. It is so nice to have a space where muddy shoes and kids can shed the dirt before entering the house. I love it. 

One of the first things we did was get some cheap bath mats  at Target. I had been looking at some beautiful outdoor rugs online, but as we all know, I am incredibly indecisive about my home decor choices. So when we saw these rugs on clearance for $12 each, we snatched them up as a temporary solution. Now that they're on the floor, I really like how soft they are, and how they are machine washable. So the temporary may be a more permanent solution.

During a craft night a while back, I took a giant canvas and some stencils and created the big sign above the top shelf. I intended it to be a little greener to match the rug, but I guess the paint had other ideas. I also plan on hanging it on the wall instead of leaning it, so that you can see the bottom line better from the ground. Just haven't gotten around to it yet.

 On the baskets on the side, I picked up some cheap cardboard letters from the craft store and mod podged tissue paper to them. Now each family members has a basket with their initial on it.

So what's left? We still need to put some baseboard molding and trim in a few areas, including around the back door, and drywall the entire garage. I'd also like to put some kind of stair tread on the kitchen doorstep so that it's not just an ugly concrete step.

There's also some general cleaning, spider web removal and trim painting to be done. Eight years of scratch marks to cover up there. Now that it's finally warm, I just need to be less lazy.

I'm also debating painting the two doors a fun color. Maybe purple like the front door? Or navy? Or some kind of green/blue/aqua? And maybe some fun vinyl decal? "Hello" on the kitchen door and "goodbye" on the back door, perhaps? I'm open to suggestions. I also ordered some navy blue fabric to make a bench seat. We've been a little hesitant to sit there for fear of scratching the paint, so that will be nice when I get it done in a couple years.

Overall, we love the space and we use it often. And it's a huge improvement from where we were last year. Hooray for progress!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Springing Back to Life

When I first moved to Wisconsin, people would give me crazy advice like.... be sure to go on vacation in April to get away from the cold weather ... or don't plant your flowers until after Mother's Day or they'll freeze. I thought they were nuts. I grew up in the Northwest, where you see tulips and daffodils in March and spring comes early. But here it is, May 14, and we're just now getting ready to plant things. It's been cold here. Very, very cold.

But not anymore, friends! Spring is finally here. The color green is once again in our vocabulary and things are springing (!) back to life. In fact, look how great our lawn looks this year.

Not a single dandelion in sight! Well, except for that giant one in the front flower bed, but we'll just call that one a little extra color.  Here's the backyard.

I'm planning another big veggie garden this year, so I had my father-in-law Tom come over and build another garden box. I think he sees it as an investment in the future. We both have a weakness for Uncle Mike's pickles, made with cucumbers from the garden. The more room we have to play with, the more pickles we end up with! Tom built the other two garden boxes for us last year and it made the gardening so much easier. There were fewer weeds and everything seemed healthier and hardier. And no bunny troubles!

We used the same basic structure - just a few fence boards with some balusters and chicken wire. And thanks to an excessively large dirt purchase last year, we had quite a bit of extra soil hanging out in the back yard. Ben and Tom were nice enough to move it into the new box for me, while our two favorite little supervisors stood watch.

So now, all that's left is plants. We have a nice little family-owned greenhouse around the corner, so I may take a walk with our wagon sometime soon.