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I can’t even remember the last time I posted a Friday Garden Update.  It’s been so bitterly cold this year in New England.

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But now we are seeing signs of spring.

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I’ve spent  hours clearing our “forest” which left my biceps sorer than they have ever been.  Picture me squatting, holding the electric hedge trimmers, and fighting off head high pricker bushes.  We didn’t clear the area last year and it allowed thorny brush to grow too thick for an ordinary weed whacker to handle. I was covered in thorns and deer ticks by the end of the day. But I think it was worth it.

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And in case you were wondering why my Headless Husband Howard (my new blog nickname for him since we’ve yet to see his face) did help, it was because he was on Wood Pile Management duty.

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He moved about two chords of wood and was also sore as hell the next day.

As for that garden, it’s cleared and planted.  But there is nothing to look at yet!

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Have a great weekend everyone!

Yippee!  Spring is here and we finally saw some blue sky over the weekend. It’s been a very cold and long winter in New England.  At this point I’d rather have a day of mulching than being stuck indoors (did I really say that?).

To celebrate the season, we bought a new toy.

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We had no intention of buying a power washer but then found ourselves at Lowe’s staring at this compact little guy by Greenworks. It’s primary appeal is that it’s electric and doesn’t take up too much space.  The second thing this power washer has going for it is a ton of good reviews online which we quickly checked on our gadgets before heading to the checkout.  This was just what we needed to wash off the filth that has accumulated in the two years since we stained the house.

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The washer has a bottle attachment for solution but we found that our old pump sprayer was easier to use (i.e. doesn’t dump solution all over the user). We gave the house a little treatment, waited 3 minutes or so and then sprayed. 
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With this washer you do have to get up and close with your work because it’s not as powerful as other sprayers like the one we borrowed from my Dad here. But it works.

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We tried out the washer on our composite deck too. It was great at getting off the fuzzy moss between the cracks but we will need to use a solution to really clean the surface before summer.

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The washer was most successful in cleaning off the green stuff on the railings. Usually I have to get out a sponge and soapy water to wash these railings in the spring. This was much easier.

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We also used a little simple green and the power washer to clean the Sunbrella fabric umbrella on the porch. This umbrella had some black mold stains that cleaned right up with the washer (or the soap).

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The washer was also successful in cleaning off the brick walkway but didn’t fare as well in cleaning up the granite steps in front of the house.

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Overall, we really like our new toy and the fact that we can toss it in the car to bring to the Cape with us this summer to clean the other house.  But, if we had a big storage shed, a really tall house, or the need to get everything sparkling clean, we would choice another power washer.

Have you started spring cleaning at your house yet?  Or is it warm and sunny there all year long? If so, I’m almost jealous.

For the first time since we have bought the house we have no projects underway. Amazing.

We’ve started investigating/daydreaming about a few things including:

  • New floors in the basement
  • New windows
  • New family room furniture

Eventually we’d like to install basement built-ins and put engineered hardwood or laminate wood flooring down there. This idea has been kicked around for a long time (here).

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via pinterest

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via pinterest

Currently it’s carpeted and the walls have  a suede paint  finish that looks a little funky.

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But putting down a new sub-floor on the concrete and installing a new floor is a major cost investment for a room that’s only used for the treadmill.

We’ve also gotten a window quote.  We really should replace the windows. But talk about expensive. With all of the large custom windows on the first floor we aren’t sure we’ll ever see the money back in heat savings. The current thinking is that we might replace the windows upstairs in the three bedrooms since these seem the most drafty.

The last idea, is to put some money into the family room. This is the room where we spend all of our time. It is something we put off when we decided to buy the Cape House (here).

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The room currently has my favorite couch from my single years in Boston and it’s paired with Howard’s rug from his bachelor days.  It works.  It’s sentimental. The Rowe sofa has held up really well (even after I machine washed the cushion covers) but the color is starting to fade a bit and the rug has never been my taste.  It would be nice to have a room that we picked out together that was meant to go together. And a couch that has more room for Howard.  I am the couch hog in the family.

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I’m looking for something with cleaner lines and with a lower profile that won’t eat up the room. I’m pretty picky about the fabric, comfort, cushions being reversible for even wear, being made in America, etc. Then add in the space constraints and our options seem limited.

Since, we don’t have the space for a full size sectional another idea is to have two love seats or smaller apartment sized couches. Then we could rotate these to frame the fireplace and open the space up to the kitchen when entertaining.

Option2And if finding the perfect couch hasn’t proven difficult enough, finding a new rug has been even more challenging.  Howard likes the traditional Persian style rugs while I tend to like trendier patterns. It has to be wool and it has to be 8 feet by 10 feet. We agreed on this rug from Pottery Barn sight unseen but I can’t bring myself to buy it full price especially with shipping costing over $100. Eeek.

In the meantime, we might need another smaller project to keep us busy.  Any ideas? I’m sure there are ten things I started but never finished along the way!

When I got my new Nikon for Christmas a couple of years ago (here) I had big plans to update all the house photos. And it has taken me until now to start that process.

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I’m still learning how to use the camera and learning that different times of the day brings different light into the rooms.  If I don’t catch that magical hour of natural sunlight then my photos suffer and often look yellowed. If I was a better photographer, or had some crazy lighting setup like some of the bloggers have, that would solve the problem.  But hey, this is not my day job.

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I have added some photos to the ‘House Photos’ tab at the top of the page. Now there is a lot going on in that folder so I should plan to clean it out but there memories there.

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I also added a new tab for the Cape House - although I admit that needs a ton of work. I am actually shocked that I didn’t take the time to document the house at the end of the summer.  I guess I was too busy spending my time lounging on the beach. 

Admittedly, I have not learned how to use Photoshop for the blog even though Howard bought me a copy.  It’s so hard, right?

On another note, Delta Faucet mentioned us on their Inspired Home Page (here).

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I didn’t realize Delta has such a great website so be sure to check them out!

Once upon a time there was a gold mirror that could not find a place to call home.

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The lady of the house asked her husband numerous times if she could paint his mirror and give it a new life.  The mean husband always declared this was a stupid idea. Until one day. That day the husband awoke and suggested “you can paint this mirror if you want”  as if it was a new idea that had just come to mind.

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The guest room has need a mirror over the bureau but I was set on finding a used mirror at an estate sale and not buying something new.  When I was given the green light to paint the gold mirror that was previously in the living room (here) I grabbed a few pastel paint samples from the basement and mixed them into a green-blue-grey.

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Then with a foam brush I applied the paint directly to the mirror frame after taping the mirror and giving it a good once over with the vacuum attachment to remove any dust.  I didn’t waste any time priming because I was not going for a perfect finish.  I wanted this mirror to look aged or distressed.

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I did apply two coats of paint but used the foam brush to wipe off any excess to allow t the details of the mirror through.

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Once dry, the mirror found its new home in the upstairs guest bedroom.

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The guest room has had a few changes since it was last seen around the time of the headboard project (here).

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I abandoned the idea of making curtains to match the headboard. And that was after I splurged on another couple yards fabric.  Instead I moved the old curtains from the dining room (before this redo) into the room.  We also purchased a new used dresser set on craigslist. It’s a Stanley Furniture set like our master bedroom set.  The nightstand was brought down to the Cape house for use in the guest room there.

And they lived happily ever after.

With twelve inches of snow in the forecast for this afternoon into tonight. It’s easy to miss the summer.  It helps knowing that our Cape house is freezing cold and is not somewhere I’d want to be right now. We visited the house over the weekend. You know, to make sure it was still standing.  And it is.

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I quickly ran around in  my  socks inside the house before my feet froze to the floors and snapped some photos with my smartphone.

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I also dropped off my new gurgling cod.  I found this at Christmas Tree Shop last weekend after stopping in for some new candles. Typically I avoid knock-offs.  I remember my sister telling me that if you can afford the real thing then don’t buy the fake.  But I could not resist this navy fish that cost only 10 percent of the original!

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Christmas Tree Shop is selling them in red, yellow, and blue in two sizes if you interested. Alas, there were no white ones to be found. They don’t look exactly like the real pitcher but then again, I don’t need the real one.

Everything is just as we left it. Even the dishes in the drying rack are just as they were when we closed up the house for the winter.  I can tell that when summer comes it is going to be all too easy to slip back into that summer routine.

Tell me, are you counting down the days too?

I’m very excited to share with you a sneak peek at One Kings Lane’s new chair finder tool! One Kings Lane recently contacted me and asked me to try our their new chair finder tool (here).

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I can honestly admit to liking most styles of chairs. Chairs are like shoes in my opinion, only heavier to move and varying more in price. They are an accessory that can easily be swapped out and given a new life in a new home. They can be fancy or relaxed and you can dress them up or down with a pillow or throw blanket.  Or you can give them a new life in a new room if you are like me and move furniture around for fun in your spare time!

The One Kings Lane chair finder tool is straight forward allowing you to follow a flow chair to determine you style.

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My first attempt at finding my chair style led to me to the Rustic Chair. Which is pretty funny because their current example of a rustic chair is what they have coined the “New England Chair.”  These two chairs fit our traditional cape house perfectly!

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Jeannette Tufted Chair at One Kings Lane

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Davis Armless Club Chair at One Kings Lane

My second path of choice led me to the Quirky Chair.

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Parsons Slipper Chairs at One Kings Lane

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The Suzy Chair at One Kings Lane

Again, my path led to me two neutral colored armless chairs.  We already have two neutral armless chairs like this one (and Mishu’s chair here). This chair finder is definitely spot on!

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The best thing about the chair finder (here) is that the available chairs change daily.  So if you are hunting for a new chair, you can keep checking what is available in your preferred style.

Check it out!  And then tell me, what is your chair style?

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