Thursday, August 16, 2012

Saving Grace

While the husband and I are contemplating picket fence designs and porch railings for the front of the house, we know we are pretty much stuck with the chain link fence in the back that came with the house when we bought it.

It is not pretty.

BUT ...

It's a serviceable fence, it's sturdy and goes all around our property  keeping puppies in and other people's puppies out and well, it's a fence. It also makes it hard for bad people to do bad things hidden from sight and opens up the view to the back alley so there's no sneaking around - at least not along our property line. Also, a new fence in the back is just not in the budget right now with all the other things we want to accomplish (and have to pay for).

So, it stays.

However, there are ways to make it a bit less 'blah'.

Remember how I subtitled one picture of Miss Mattie's make-over with a hint of things to come? Well, one of the little projects we tackled during the make-over was simply BRILLIANT. BRILLIANT, I say.
We spray-painted her chain link fence!
It made all the difference!


So, on Saturday, at the crack of dawn as you can see in the picture I snuck (sneaked?) heavily armed with several cans of Rust-o-leum enamel spray paint in black and went to work.

 [In progress!]

Fair warning: it takes a LOT of spray paint, especially when you are also trying to paint the wire mesh, and the cans created a hideous overspray. My feet and arms are still bespeckled with black.
Other than that, the effect is simply beautiful.


All glossy black, the ugly chainlink fence transforms into something more resembling wrought-iron fencing and looks a lot less "cheapo."

 [After: So glossy!]

It took a whole large can (the one with "25% more content") to spray-paint the small gate so for the remainder of the fence, I decided to skip the wire mesh and just spray paint the main posts instead for now.
Then I put the lattice panel back into place and thought that adding lattice panels instead of painting the mesh might be another idea to pursue and tabled the decision for later. It's a work in progress, after all. Right? For now, I'm pretty happy with my chain link fence make-over.

And so is the husband who is usually not all that excited about his wife spray-painting stuff :o)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Meet my Neighbors: Make it Happen 2012

Ty Pennington has -nothing- on Springfield when it comes to "Extreme Home Make-overs".

The Make It Happen event started in 2010 with Miss Maggie’s house (read about it and find pictures  here) on 2nd Street. Preservation SOS organized a day where the neighborhood would show up to make small repairs, paint and landscape Miss Maggie's house.  The experience was just as amazing as the transformations you see on Studs'R'Us HGTV and they happen here, in our neighborhood!

Since then there have been two other successful Make It Happen Events (see a few pictures of Oscar's and Kenneth's home transformations here), all because of a nomination and participation of caring neighbors. 

This summer, Preservation SOS teamed up with The Well at Springfield, and together we were excited to Make It Happen for Ms. Mattie!
Ms. Mattie is a senior, long-time Springfield resident of more than 30 years who lives in a cute little bungalow in our neighborhood. More than 50 neighbors gathered over the course of the day to paint, landscape, and fix up the outside in order to help Ms. Mattie. All supplies were donated. Hard to believe, eh? That is Springfield, in a nutshell.

I stayed, scraped, and painted until the heat got the better of me and made me slink back into the cool darkness like a Vampire at dawn. These projects bring out the best in all of us, and they nourish our souls, for a lack of better description. Here are a few pictures of the event that happened in July.

 Eager volunteers arriving in the early morning (to beat the heat -and- the clock)

 Supplies, supplies, supplies!

 Scraping, digging, spreading gravel


 Neighbors lending a hand

 Lunch break!

Two neighbors went all out and set up a fantastic lunch buffet 
for the volunteers. OH-MY-GOD, it was SO good!

 Amazing transformation (and a hint of things to come at the Ugly Duckling)

Big change

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Alright, I'm done waiting for nicer weather to take better pictures. It's been overcast and dreary for most of the day all week long with gushing rains in the afternoon and while I'm not big into photoshopping, staging, white-balancing and otherwise prepping photos (as you may have noticed) and tend to serve them straight from the camera, this weather has been a real downer.

Our Ugly Duckling is lots, but it is -not- dark, it's not gloomy and it's a shame when your pictures make it look like it is. Bah!

Anyways, this will have to do. And since it's - of course- not completely done, there should be better pictures in the future.

I - hold on to your hats - repainted the master bedroom.
No kidding.

This is what it looked like before:
[Oh lovely teal, how I adore you ...]

Lovely lovely teal above a crisp white batten and board - we loved it. Unfortunately, it didn't flow. Our master suite wasn't 'sweet' and bedroom, dressing room and bathroom didn't come together as a unit but always struck me as a collection of adjacent rooms. I rambled about it in more detail here.
There's even a mood board so you can see where I was hoping to take the rooms, bit by bit.

The husband wasn't at all convinced - Getting rid of our lovely teal? - especially when I told him I was planning on going all Southern on the room and giving it a light turquoise ceiling, just like the porches you see here in the south.

God bless his heart, he indulged me and let me have my way, so one weekend I broke out the paint brushes and rollers and got'er done!

[After: Our bedroom gone south]

I carried over the same beige "Cultural Colonial Beige" that I'd already used in both the dressing room and the master bathroom for continuity. It's really a sweet beige, more an off-white, and much less yellow and with a soft greyish tint to it than it appears in the pictures.

The ceiling I painted a pale robin's egg blue. I wasn't quite sold on it at first and really, I was worried that the ceiling would appear lower than it is, but 'lo and behold, I'm loving it and man, does it give the room height. If you ever wondered how much of that "let the eye travel to make things bigger/taller/etc." - it is SO very true.

Our whole bedroom feels so light and airy and more open, I'm so glad I made the switch. The husband is just as enamored with the new look! For the win!

I discovered these lamp bases and shades at the blue box and picked them up for a steal. They are taller than our old lamps (heh ...there was really no way you could go shorter, really) and they work so much better in scale and looks.

Then the gods were especially generous and allowed an 75% off Sale coincide with a nicely padded home decor budget and - Tada! - I managed to pick up this chevron rug at Rugs USA in the 8x10 size for a whopping $80. Perfect! It's fun and funky and will hold up nicely to our Zoo and the occasional drywall dust.

Yep, I'm loving it! There is, of course, the issue of a new headboard, new bedding, painted doors, and crown molding, but we are really digging our new nest. How about you? Have you re-nested lately?

Monday, August 6, 2012

A drop of sunshine

We've had these plastic garden chairs for forever. I don't even remember when we picked them up. Over at our old apartment on Silver Street we kept them in the backyard and there we almost forgot about them when we discovered that the shaded backyard hosted more mosquitos than the Everglades and you could only stay as long as you either didn't stick out of the pool for too much or didn't sweat off the bug spray.

They are still going strong and we have arranged them around our firepit for Smores nights without having to reshuffle backyard furniture. They were, however, a little drab and looked a bit worn.

Nothing a little spray paint couldn't fix!
Madly in love with the blooms of my Hibiscus plants I picked up a can of glossy red during my next trip to the orange box and went to town.
Oh boy!

The color was lovely. No, really! A bright, glossy red, cheerful and vibrant.
Just .... every time I peeked into the yard , all I saw was ...
I checked on my tomatoes and instead I saw ...
Little Man was splashing in the pool and ...
You get the idea.

Back to the drawing board, or rather the orange box store to pick up a new color. Summer squash, while difficult to grow (bloody bugs), sounded like a better color. I like yellow, there was a bit of yellow in the new cushions and yellow, even when vibrant, tends to be a friendly, happy color and less "in yo' face, Mama!".

So, summer squash yellow it was!

First off, Rust-oleum's Ultra Cover is -the- bomb.
The above picture was taken after the first coat, so you can see how fabulous the coverage is.
Glossy apple red didn't stand a chance!

Ahhh, peace for my eyes! I'm loving the new color.

The color is bright - especially when the sun shines - but it does look way more natural against the greens and brown of the plant backdrop.

The chairs, once again, look brand new and add a pop of bright color to a mostly green corner of my yard. They look great next to my Hibiscus without claiming all of the attention. Love love lot them!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Adding color

Here in North East Florida, we have plenty of summer left. Sure, school starts up again in just three more weeks and Labor Day weekend plans are shaping up already (which means that the public pools will be closing down for the summer season) but it'll be a while before the days and nights cool off enough to open wide the windows and to quiet the constant hum of the ac compressors in the neighborhood.

Still, plenty of summer left. Plenty of time to sit outside with a glass of icy Sangria and a book, to splash in the pool and to kick up your feet and soak up all the warmth needed to last you through the cold winter months (Don't laugh! It does get cold here too!)

And even though there's plenty of summer left, everybody and the neighbor's cat seem to be gearing up for fall. Well, at least the box stores are. When I drove over to the blue box, a lot of their summer stuff was already on sale so our little patio area got a few new things! Woot!

[The things you notice in pictures: there's something growing in the gutter and 
obviously the curtain has come loose. Needs fixing.]

I'd been contemplating sewing seat cushions for a while. I even had the fabric all picked out and all I needed was a coupon for the foam.

That's when I discovered those babies at the blue box store.
For $14 each.

I can't sew this stuff for $14 or less. The fabric alone would have eaten up that budget in one fell swoop (alright, so yes, I could have used a drop cloth)! So I bought two (oooooh, splurge! *L*). No, this fabric isn't as fancy fun as the one I'd been eying but I love it nonetheless. The red picks up on the Hibiscus, Purslane and Pentas I planted, and the shades of blue are reflected in the pool. Green and white are no-brainers in a yard.

 [Mio photobombing]

Thus, reading and eating outside has become much more comfortable and cuter. Summer can stay a little longer ...