April 6, 2019:


The income taxes are finished and were taken to the Post Office yesterday to send out via certified mail, which now costs nearly $16 for two 8 1/2 11 envelopes with return receipt. Yikes! But worth it because I have proof positive once I get the little green cards back that the returns were delivered and received. And just in case, there are tracking numbers that I can also tap the U.S. Post Office for to verify that delivery was made. In these times, it's better to be safe than sorry

I have been working in little bits and pieces outdoors whenever a window in our crappy weather has presented itself. Today, however, was the first day where I was able to spend an extended period of time outside. First, I cleaned up areas on the sidewalk and driveway along the edges where pine cones and branches tiny branches blown off during the seemingly wind storms we endured over fall and winter 2018-2019. After resting for a bit, and removing the winter hat, gloves and jacket, I moved to the back yard because I'm sick of feeling sick to my stomach every time I look at it through the patio doors in the dining room and window above the kitchen sink. This winter left it a true disaster zone. I worked steadily raking small areas and filled two trash can size black trash bags full of debris blown down from my arborvitaes and neighboring trees over the winter, in addition to about half a ton of nut shells. The nut shells are my fault because I feed all the neighborhood squirrels. They are so entertaining, and very smart! I also made a small dent in starting clean-up of the flower beds, where the "mild" (ahem) weather and thawed earth has encourages perennials to start popping through, whether I'm ready for them or not!

All in all, a somewhat decent start to making a larger dent in clean-up operations. I worked outdoors about 4 hours off and on. I didn't want to overdo it, and truth be told, I'm pooped! It's humbling to not be able to work as long or as hard as I used to. I can get it done, but I have to take lots of rest breaks so it takes quite a bit longer now. Good thing I'm retired


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

HGTV Magazine July/August 2019 - Copy Our Cover, The Look for Less!

Hola, it's that time again, to challenge my online shopping skills to find the look for less.  Sometimes, I can't find a better price for the same or similar object I'm hunting, but that's not too often.

Here's the July/August 2019 HGTV Magazine cover:

And here's the "Copy Our Cover" page:

The HGTV items chosen total $1,556, broken down as follows:

Daybed from Ballard Designs:  $999 (with cushions)
Red Aluminum Side Table:  $296
Bicycle on Beach pillow:  $48
Aqua Knot pillow:  $47
U.S. Power Squadron flag:  $19
Oar:  $94
Anchor pillow: $53

So settle back on your comfy chair/sofa/daybed/porch swing/porch daybed and follow along!

The Porch Swinging Day Bed

Yes, it's day-bed size, not a typical porch swing that I equate more to the size of a swinging 2 or 3 seater bench.  The original is from lowcountryoriginals.com, and after closely scrutinizing the HGTV cover photo, I think it's the "Bed Swing with "X" Sides and Back," outer dimensions 88" x 44"; inner dimensions 76" x 41".  It comes in two different woods and a variety of different stains.  It is not indicated whether the bed cushions and bench seat are included, nor is the price indicated.  That means it's probably expensive :) 

I limited my selections to porch swing day beds.

HGTV's Ballard Designs pick (pictured above) was - I believe - the "Sunday Porch Swing" (with cushions) for $999, but at the time of writing this entry it was on sale for $749!  Although it isn't clear from the Specifications, I believe the outer dimensions are 65" x 32" and the inner dimensions (the "mattress size") are 59 1/2" x 29 5/8".  The dimensions are quite a bit smaller than the original, but probably more in keeping with the size of swing most people would buy for their porch.  It comes with a "deep cushion seat" (mattress), 3 back pillows and 2 bolsters, and in two finishes:  Graywash or Whitewash finished Eucalyptus wood. 

Below is the Belham Living Cottonwood Deep Seating 64" Porch Swing Bed with Cushion, $429 with free shipping (presently on sale for $420).  Only the seat cushion is included, it is gray with white piping.  The outer dimensions are 64" x 28", seat dimension is 60".  The finish is "driftwood." Made of Eucalyptus wood, with "X" crossed back pattern and slatted sides, I feel the design and the clean lines (although not the size) are closest to the original swinging day bed from Low Country Originals:

Even more budget-friendly, but a slightly more petite size, is also offered by Belham Living, its Chippendale Deep Seating Whitewashed Porch Swing Bed with Cushion (pictured below), currently offered at $237 with free shipping.  The bench cushion/mattress is included in the price (bolsters not included).  The dimensions are 63" Long by 30" Deep, whitewashed finish of Eucalyptus wood. 

The Red Side Table

First of all, I investigated the table on the cover, which was listed in the "Sources" pages from selamatdesigns.com.  Sure enough, I found the table, here's the link to the Regeant 4-Season Side Table in Antique Red.  It is powder-coated aluminum in "Antique Red."  Please note that at the time I am writing this blog entry, the "manufacturer's suggested retail price" is $158.  It's size is 19.5" Wide by 19.5" Deep x 21" High.

That means that for the IDENTICAL TABLE that HGTV found at the Well Appointed House website at $296, you would have paid almost twice the MSRP.  Nice mark-up!  And it got worse.  At Finelinens.com, the IDENTICAL TABLE was listed for $446.  I found prices exceeding $600, and none lower than $296 for the IDENTICAL TABLE.  Now I think that's just ridiculous. Why would anyone pay $296 or more for a table that was suggested to be sold at $158, and cost maybe half of that to be manufactured?

Do you think I could find a red aluminum side table to match the one in the HGTV cover?  Nope, I didn't.  But I figured I could find something in red metal (or could be spray-painted red if the size/shape/material were otherwise right), in a round shape, for less than HGTV's pick at $296.

Pictured below is the Mebane Metal Side Table by Wrought Studio (at Wayfair) in red, made of iron, dimensions 16.25" W x 16.25" D x 21" H, on sale for $54 with free shipping. 

How about two for less than the MSRP on the original side table?  They don't come in red, but spray paint doesn't cost much - 2 cans max in your choice of red rust-resistant outdoor paint (maybe $8) should do the trick.  Also found at Wayfair, pictured below are the Latitude Run Melway Metal Side Tables, the pair for $105 with free shipping.  Made of iron.  Dimensions:  Large given as 16.5" x 14.35" x 21" High, and the smaller table given as 14.25" x 12" x 20" High - but I don't think the height can be correct because it appears more than an inch shorter than the taller table in the photograph.  Plus:  They are six-sided (although not the seven sides of the original cover table) and you can put one on either side of the swing bed to hold beverages or a book/magazine. 

Continue on to Part 2 to see what I found for the oar and the pillows.

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