September 24, 2016: I finally removed that Christmas header from last year, oh my! Much of the last half of 2015 and the first half of 2016 was absorbed in family matters. Now I'm returning to making this retirement home into a dream place for moi. The outside has been my passion this summer. There is just something about working with your hands in the earth. I established a new garden along the south side of the driveway and it is doing very well. I will do a feature on it soon. Fall is here, we've been getting too much rain here after a very dry summer that jacked up my water/sewer bill (if you use more water here, they automatically also raise your sewer bill, even if you are a single member household and your sewer usage hasn't increased) because my gardens needed watering and so did my front and backyards. I can't stand to let the grass go brown/dormant, it drives me nuts! And with the sod-web worm epidemic around here, not keeping the parts of the lawn NOT under attack by sod-web worm healthy can actually kill off your lawn altogether. My neighbor across the street three houses down learned that lesson the hard way, oh my! The entire curb-cut area across the front of his house died off from lack of water and no relief from the scorching sun we had all summer, in combination with a severe infestation of sod-web worm. Record temperatures and humidity in SE Wisconsin. May as well be living in southern Florida, for pete's sake! Yuk! Now I've got my Shezebo up, though, and I'm loving it! And too soon it will be time to put away all the summer furniture and accessories. But not yet! The trees are still very green in these parts, so I figure I have maybe another month to enjoy my Shezebo before getting her ready for winter. Meanwhile, I'm loving what the rain and slightly cooler weather has done for my lawns! And in a few weeks my new privacy fence along the north lot line is going to be installed! Whoop whoop! Take care! Jan

Friday, August 12, 2016

Yellow Outdoor Coffee Table/Side Table Done!

Hola everyone!

It has been very hot and steamy here in my neck of SE Wisconsin the past week and I can only stand to work outdoors for so long before I have to run back inside to central AC.  You know you're getting old(er) when you feel like you can no longer survive the summers without it, geez!

But I finished the table, woo woo!  It took several coats of paint applied over several days, but I'm proud to say patience and waiting for each coat to dry thoroughly in the high humidity air paid off, for I've no runs or drips, which has to be a first for moi.

Inspiration tables:



The subject, before.
Coating with primer inside hot garage.
Finished product!  Three plus coats (2 cans) yellow spray
paint over 2 coats of primer to give me the glossy look
I wanted (sheds water really well, tested out last night
in a rain storm).  I added the little wheels so I can roll
the table wherever I need it and they've stayed on!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Inexpensive Patio Decor Ideas

Hola!  I've been scouting around the internet recently looking for inexpensive ideas to add some pizzazz to my patio and Shezebo.  I've come across some creative and easy (love easy) ideas:

In My Own Style showed me How To Make Inexpensive Wall Art using weather-resistant outdoor table cloths, foam, frames and a staple gun.  Gave me plenty of inspiration to wrap some colorful material (non-dye running material after my experience with the effects of a rain storm on my Indian table runner) around some foam board to mount on the side of my house with Command strips.

Credit:  Website, above, In My Own Style, Diane Henkler, May 30, 2012.
I'm absolutely obsessed with this idea from Ciera Design Studio, Backyard Tin Can Fence Garden, as I have a large expanse of fence  facing the concrete patio that could use a little dressing up:

Credit, website above.   Ciera Design Studio, Ciera Holzenthal, June 1, 2014.  
Ciera screwed her painted tin can planters directly to her wood fence, the easiest and most stable way to hang them, I'm thinking.  But I can also envision, for the crafty (not me, I'm not crafty at all), a series of different lengths of macrome'd pockets looped over the top pickets (or otherwise fastened to the fence) to hold the colorful painted tin cans

And, how about this for totally "on" the wall decor to appreciate at night:

Great Explorations Glow-in-the-Dark Star Explosion (Kohls, about $23 for 725 pieces, including sticky putty).  When I moved into the present Maison Newton (my retirement home), the two kids' rooms had these on their ceilings.  I did NOT take them down and toss them out.  I kept some up on the ceiling in the guest room, but removed them from the ceiling in my would-be den/library; however, I used several to decorate around the crown of my campaign-style poster bed (they help lull me to sleep as I catch glimpses of them subtly glowing in the dark), and I saved the rest.  I just dug them out!  I'll clean off some spots on my Shezebo frame, stick them up, and try them out.  If they work, I'll buy a box and go to down.  What girl doesn't like a little Moonglow and Starlight in her life?

Working on Shezebo Decor

Hola everyone!

I just realized that I never switched out my header from Christmas 2015, geez.  Well, a lot happened in between then and now, and blogging, frankly, has been non-existent or low priority until fairly recently.

Things are starting to get back to what passes for normal around here, so I will fix that - but the outside is calling...

Here are some photos of how my Shezebo looked on Saturday July 30 (after install) and Sunday July 31, with some furniture and accessories in it:






These are not the new lounge/stationary rocker chairs I purchased from Home Depot a few weeks back, they have yet to be assembled, they are old patio chairs I had at the former Maison Newton before I downsized to this current home in July 2014.  The andirondack chair is wood and has a lovely shabby chic look, 100% natural due to the paint wearing off after several seasons out in the weather.  I love that chair!  The tall back chair is plastic and the back adjusts backward/forward.  The tall back allows you to rest your head comfortably and it is perfect when you put your feet up to take a snooze on a long hot summer afternoon, especially now since I won't have to worry about a bug flying into my mouth while I'm sleeping inside my Shezebo :)

The chairs are now adorned with the cushions I purchased on sale from Home Decorators online (prior post for pics/details).  Like so many other things in my life, I waited far too long to enjoy the luxury of such cushions.  They are sooooo comfortable I just melt whenever I sit in one of the chairs.  I alternate sitting between them :)

They sit upon the primarily yellow textured indoor/outdoor rug I also purchased on sale at Home Decorators (prior post, Wharf area rug, for pic details).

There is a small white plastic side table that I've had for years, I don't remember where I bought it (maybe Menards one summer), a taller burnished metal side table next to the andirondack chair (purchased as part of a duo of tables at Menards many moons ago), and a bright turquoise plant stand topped by a large squirrel-decorated planter, both birthday gifts over the years from my buddy Ann.  They sometimes made appearances on the rickety old floating deck at the former Maison Newton.  Now the colors blend perfectly with what I've got going on, so happy to be able to put them on prominent Shezebo display.

Well, I know I didn't take any close-ups or take photos inside the Shezebo, so you really can't appreciate the details, but these show the general idea.

The footstool (one of two) is part of my purchase from Home Depot and has peacock/brown colored slipcovered cushions.  You can see a closer view of the upholstery here.

Okay, so since then, I came across some curtains at the Family Dollar store that had great colors in them, but I only bought two panels ($10 each) and decided I need to add a third, so I haven't taken any pics yet.

I also put up, and after a rain storm and blue dye all over the place, took down, a beautiful hand-embroidered glitzy Indian runner that I'd had pinned up across the top of one side of the Shezebo, because of its brilliant turquoise color.  I let it hang long enough to dry out the next day and the blue dye hosed off, fortunately.  I'm not sure if I will re-hang it, but if I do I will be sure to take it down whenever rain is threatened.

So that's it for now.  I gave the coffee table I'm going to put on casters and use in the Shezebo two coats of primer on Thursday; yesterday she got a coat of yellow paint on the frame I can reach from the outside; this morning, she got a coat of yellow paint on the frame I can reach by flipping her upside down.  I see where I missed a number of spots despite having the lights on in the garage and despite wearing my glasses.  Damn!  So I will recoat later today and then apply a second and - I hope - final coat of yellow early tomorrow a.m. after flipping the table back to its upside.  Then the adventure will begin of installing the casters, LOL.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Shezebo Is Assembled and Installed!

It has turned out to be a perfect weather day for the install - not too humid, not too hot, a breeze, temperature in the mid-70s!  The two installers arrived shortly after 8 a.m. and got to work right away after I showed them where I wanted the Shezebo located.  Here are some photos of the ongoing process.  I took the photos through the screen of the patio door to stay out of the guys' way, you can see the screen close up, LOL!


There is no way I would ever have been able to do this, even with an army of helpers -- way too much hardware and parts!


Pictured above are some of the roof panels and various parts/hardware.


I am itching to get outside and arrange some of the furniture with the new cushions and the footstools and put down the outdoor rug.

I haven't painted the coffee table - I'll start that project tomorow.

Oh - and I forgot in the last post, I wanted to show you the "smart solar" water fountain/bird bath that I bought on Wayfair:


She's got a remote on/off so I don't have to rely on an automatic timer and stands 46" tall.  This is the Lapham Floor Fountain by Rosalind Wheeler.

2:05 p.m. Update:

Introducing you to my new - Shezebo!


She's already doing her job - making shade!  She's so lovely, and just the perfect size for my yard (like Goldilocks said, not too big, not too small, just right!)  The guys put up the mosquito netting and tied it back and that was the last touch.

Altogether, the assembly and install took 5.5 hours, 8:00 a,m. to 1:30 p.m., but half an hour was a lunch break.  The installers cleaned up everything, every last bit of plastic and cardboard, including the boxes the Shezebo was shipped in, and hauled it away in their van.

I'm going to hose down and broom clean the patio and then start moving in furniture/furnishings, whoop whoop!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Shezebo: A Dose of Frugality (Reimagining an Old TV Stand Turned Coffee Table)

Hola darlings!

I am so excited.  Tomorrow my Shezebo will be put together and installed by my contractor and his crew.  In preparation, today I cleared off the patio to make room for my Shezebo and work space.  Looks rather forlorn.

Before.
Pending.  Planters, table, birdbath moved out of the
construction zone.
Before.
Pending.  So sad - birds have been flying by looking for the
birdbath even as I type this; they have not yet discovered it in its new location!
One of the items I know I want in my Shezebo is a table that can serve both as a coffee/cocktail table and a side table.  That means something portable.  I had an idea in mind -- I wanted to have something on casters but not too tall, something with a shelf underneath the tabletop, and something in yellow.  I started by hunting for yellow coffee tables and saved photos of two possibilities:

Chatham House "Helena" Coffee Table at Bed, Bath and Beyond (no casters)
$97.49 with free shipping on orders over $29
Sauder Woodworking Soft Modern TV Multi-Cart 115.42 (on casters)
$115.43 and free shipping
I was looking for tables around $100 or, preferably, less.  I'm sure there are other options out there online, possibly something I'd need to spray paint and/or add casters on.  But, considering the amount spent for my Shezebo, the assemble and install, and all of the goodies that I probably did not need but went out and bought anyway, I decided to go the frugal way and shop what I already had in the house -- just begging for some casters and a paint job:


This painted in the early 1990s former TV stand (minus casters removed when said item ceased being used as a TV stand and was converted to a coffee table in the family room at the former Maison Newton), complete with burgundy stenciling on the top (thankfully, not shown in this photo).  What can I say?  Jewel tones were "in" when I first decorated my former family room, and the converted TV stand never changed its, er, spots when I ditched the jewel tones in favor of something equally gaudy but in lighter "updated" tones of copper, taupe, and beige.  LOL!  I know, I know, but it wasn't as hideous as it sounds :)

So, my poor lonesome coffee table that used to keep me company every day in the former family room as I sat at my desk looking out over my backyard gardens, was banished to the unused wreck of a rec room in my current retirement abode because there was no place for it upstairs. 

But fear not, little table, you have served me well since I first purchased you in 1971 except that one of your casters fell off and disappeared somewhere along the line of many moves from apartment to apartment, while in college, while in law school, to first home, to storage, to second home, to third home.  You have proved sturdy and true, and I am not one to ditch my friends just because they're "old fashioned."  Hell, so am I!

I have a plan, TA DA!


New casters - little ones with stops on them!  And a lovely yellow spray paint that was on sale for $2.99 a can at Menards!  Total cost under $9 including sales tax.  Now all I have to do is put down some plastic and/or newspaper, clean up the table, prime it (I have spray primer on hand), and voila, I will have a beautiful new rolling coffee table.  

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Shezebo: Online Shopping for My Decor!

Hola!

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July holiday.  I visited one of my sisters at their get-away home way up in the North Woods of Wisconsin, first time I've been up there in about 30 years, and had a wonderful time.

Back home, I've picked up the work of getting my patio in shape, including adding something I long wanted but never felt I could/should afford -- a permanent gazebo structure, my Shezebo!  I've always been generous toward others, but not so much with myself.  Now I guess I'm old enough and wise enough to know better than to deprive myself at this stage of my life, turning 65 next month.  I'm treating myself to things I never thought I would buy for myself, and my health hasn't been this good in years.  I amaze my primary care doctor and my cardiologist every check-up, LOL.  I think it's because I'm happy (despite the loss of my dear Mr. Don in 2012), and FREE after working my butt off for 46 plus years. 

True to form, I started out with one set of ideas in mind for what I wanted to do to decorate my Shezebo, and ended up going in a totally different direction.

I knew I wanted to add seating that would fit within/under the Shezebo.  I budgeted $500, figuring I would like a modular outdoor sofa unit (I had seen 3 or 4 at Amazon for under $500 that consisted of a four-piece sofa and one coffee table, for a total of five pieces) with white-ish or light beige cushions, something neutral, and I wanted a body of faux woven wicker that would hold up to the weather and go with my existing patio chairs.  I shopped for several days but was worried about the quality of the inexpensive furniture.  Then an email ad arrived from Home Depot -- patio furniture on sale.  Of course I looked!

And I bought on super sale at Home Depot online a pair of these -- stationary rocker lounge chairs, and added a pair of footstools:

(Pemberly line -- the green upholstery is not the color I have, but the website does not have the "peacock" color pictured in such a way that it reflects the actual color of the material - in all of the browsers on my three (yes three) different laptops, it just looks sort of a blah greyish blob).

I was leery of selecting the Peacock color because the online image at Home Depot was less than desirable to show me what the color actually WAS,, but I did not want the green color (above) or a sort of reddish color also offered.  I breathed a great sigh of relief when the cushion covers (sold separately from the cushions that come with the chairs and footstools) arrived separately ahead of the furniture and I was able to see the upholstery in person.  The "peacock" is a turquoise or aqua color; the material is a thick weave with some brown woven in and the texture is slightly nubby but very soft to the touch.  The primary color reads turquoise/aqua.  Here's a not very good pic of one of the cushion covers I took with my antique digital camera:



I also wanted an area rug, something I've never had outdoors before. I h.ad a deck for over 20 years at the former Maison Newton and never had a rug out there

And I wanted a fountain.  A water-splashing, gurgling fountain!  

Originally I was going to go with an area rug that would contain similar colors to the "peacock" tweed upholstery on the new stationary rocking lounge chairs and foostools.  I zeroed in on a couple of different rugs on sale at Home Decorators online - they were having a big sale on outdoor furnishings including rugs, and I found several 5 x 7 area rugs were under $100, plus 20% off, plus a free 6 x 9 rug pad.


I had chosen the Gallery area rug when I got curious (oh oh) and decided to check out what else was on sale.  Maybe I could find some cool accessories I hadn't thought about at a to-die for price.  Not a good idea idea for the budget, but I came away with -- furniture cushions -- for my existing patio furniture.

I fell in love with this pattern - the tapestry/Jacobean look, the colors, ooh la la!  It speaks both to my love of the traditional and the colors of summer.

Valbella Provence pattern.

But if I was going to buy this pattern, I needed to rethink the rug I'd chose, because the patterned rug I'd chosen was not going to work with these chair cushions.  So, I went back to the rugs and looked again, and this is the one I ultimately purchased:


The Wharf area rug was also on sale for the same price as the rug I'd initially selected, so I bought it instead, and went ahead with a big splurge and ordered cushions for a shabby-chick white wood Andirondack chair, a high-backed plastic adjustable lounge chair (my favorite for reading outdoors), and my two patio table chairs.

I had initially budgeted $500 maximum for a (perhaps) modular sofa unit to go with the new Shezebo.  I spent less than that purchasing my two new chairs with footstools plus their slip-covers, so the splurge for the furniture cushions wasn't as much as it could have been.  I did get them on the 20 - 40% off sale - was shocked by how much they would have cost if I'd paid full price, wowsers!

The rug has been received, it's still in its wrapper.  I don't want to put it on the patio until the Shezebo is installed.  The rug pad has been received, ditto.  The furniture cushions are arriving this coming week, I received a shipment notification a few days ago, woo woo!

Best news yet - my Shezebo is going up NEXT SATURDAY July 30th!  And the assembly/install price is just a bit over half of what I had budgeted.  Happy happy happy!

Fountain coming up next post.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Shezebo: The Setting

Hola!  I'm going up north to visit one of my sisters and B-I-Ls over the 4th of July.  They don't have internet access at their cabin and I don't have one of the smart phone thingies so I'll be unconnected.  I'm taking books along for entertainment - GASP! - what a concept!

My Shezebo was delivered this morning and I am SO happy!  When I get back from my mini-vacation I will begin contacting contractors to get quotes to have the shezebo constructed.

Here are some photos of my backyard (pre-Shezebo) taken a few days ago:




My Shezebo will be squared to the corner where the birdbath is presently sitting, about 10 inches from the edge of the concrete.  A new privacy fence (about 2.5 feet taller) will be installed along the north lot line (see third photo above) and the raised bed is going to be extended to go all the way across the yard to join the raised bed on the east lot line (you can see that bed in the first and second photos above).

I'm going to have a greatly expanded planting area for more perennials and will also be adding planting beds around the patio next year.  I am also thinking about extending the patio out from the north side by using flagstone to fill in the grassy area up to the north planting bed - but we'll see about that.  There is a lot to do before I get to seriously considering that idea pros and cons

One thing is sure: my backyard is going to look a whole lot different once the shezebo is up!

Have a safe and happy 4th of July holiday, everyone!