Thursday, May 30, 2019

Grow A Beautiful Hydrangea Plant Of Your Own

What's the trick to growing your own hydrangea bush?

The only advice I can give you (that has worked for me) is to water your hydrangea bush A LOT and otherwise just ignore it!

I bought an inexpensive blue hydrangea bush in June of 2017 and planted it in a pot. Within a month, the blue got completely washed out as you can see in this photo from a post where I asked for help from other bloggers...

I got a lot of advice like...put a rusty nail in the pot, add coffee grounds once in a while, buy additives at the garden shop that is meant to turn them pink or blue depending on which color you prefer...

The best advice I got was "water it like crazy because the name itself, Hydrangea, indicates water." 

So here we are, 2 years later. I've pretty much watered it like crazy and then ignored it! The pot sits out on the patio all year long. 

In winter we get 2 or 3 small snow storms and the snow piles up on the pot and the poor shriveled plant. Sometimes I look out the window and think the snow is going to kill the plant for sure! 

It was especially cold this past winter, but the plant came back with a vengeance this year and it seems like it can't decide whether to be blue or pink, so it's going for both!

I love it when even a crappy gardener like me can grow flowers like these! 

I see a few hydrangeas flowers for sale in the floral sections at the market, and they sell for more than the price of a potted hydrangea that often has 3 to 6 flowers on it! 

People should know they can buy a potted hydrangea, take it home and water it and cut flowers for the house for years to come.

Thanks for dropping by!

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day Challenge: Do Something Kind

Youngest Daughter pointed out the true meaning of Memorial Day is to remember those who actually died while in service to our country. 

Memorial Day was originally called "Decoration Day" and had its start during the Civil War, after the Battle of Gettysburg, when the graves of fallen soldiers on both sides of the battle were decorated with wreaths, flowers and flags.

Our family does have a Civil War veteran in our history, but my great-grandfather Ami Sperry (who was a union soldier) only lost his finger, not his life! Ami's finger was cut off by a confederate soldier's bayonet during a Civil War battle, but Ami lived to have a family after the war.

Wild Bill's uncle Carrol is the only family member who actually fits the definition of a Memorial Day honoree, but Uncle Carrol has no grave in which to decorate as his fighter plane went down in Europe during WWII, and his body was never recovered.

When I was a young child (back in the olden days, but long after the Civil War I assure you) I remember our whole family...from grandparents and uncles to youngest cousins...going to the cemetery and decorating all the graves of our family members who had passed, not just service members. 

I do think it was a beautiful thing to do and everyone did it back then in our small California town, not just us! 

It was not meant to be disrespectful to fallen military members. In fact my father and almost every one of my uncles joined the military to defend our country during WWII. You can even find one of my uncles, Sperry Stevenson, on the Prisoner of War website as he was held and tortured for many years in a Japanese POW camp.

Both our fathers served in WWII and are now gone. Though they did not die during the war, both suffered from the horrors they saw as young men. I can't help but feel them at my side on this Memorial Day...they both made us better people.

This morning (on a side road) on the way to breakfast, Wild Bill and I passed a young, "20-something" couple sitting on the side of the road with a wheeled basket of what looked like their belongings. The young man had his head in his hands and the girl appeared to be comforting him.

Once we passed them, I quoted to Bill: "There but for fortune go you and I." 

And right at that time, I got a message (from our deceased military dads?) that we should not just pass them by, but do something to show we cared.

We went round the block and pulled up beside them and Bill said, "We want to buy you breakfast." 

The young man stood up and quietly took the money Bill held out and said, "Thank you."

So now we have started a new Memorial Day tradition for us. We will find one small act of kindness to do each year on this day in memory of our military dads and all those who died in service to our country. 

Nothing big...just something random for a stranger. Maybe you'll try it too?

Thanks for dropping by!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Friday Finds: Long-Lasting Bouquets From Trader Joe's

While we were in a nearby town recently, we stopped at Trader Joe's. While there, I bought a small, inexpensive bouquet of Trader Joe's lovely flowers. 

16 Days Old And Still So Sweet

I'm shocked to say those flowers look almost as pretty today (16 days later) as they did the day I bought them!

As always, this is my personal opinion based on my experience. I receive no payments or products for my endorsements. I am just flabbergasted at how long these lovely little flowers have lasted!

I placed the bouquet in a quart jar on a tray by the kitchen sink with this little soap dispenser shaped like a bee skep. I don't remember exactly where I bought it, but it is so darn cute!

That gave me a chance to add this cute little bee dish towel, which highlights the colors of the kitchen cabinets and counters.

I've been amazed at how long these flowers have lasted as usually the flowers I buy at the floral shops in our local Albertsons and Kroger barely last 2 or 3 days...and cost twice as much!

When I sent a text to my daughters with photos of the flowers, Youngest Daughter replied that she bought some cut Hydrangeas at her local Trader Joe's a while back. She said those flowers also lasted over 2 weeks.

I'll definitely buy my bouquets at Trader Joe's in the future and skip the local floral sections. How about you? Where do you have the best luck buying your flowers? 

Thanks for dropping by!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Unusual Building Objects

The old-time builders didn't have a Home Depot or Lowe's just around the corner. They had to use what they had on hand, and it seems some of it has lasted for quite a while.

Whoever built this old building certainly saved some time by using whole tree trunks as front porch posts. 

It tickled me to see how much work they saved, but I doubt today's world...this unusual use of tree trunk posts would pass the building inspector's review!

Anyone can build a fence, but adding bikes to the mix really gets your attention as you pass on by.

The owners of a bed and breakfast in Salado TX used old roofs from small dilapidated buildings to make a shady outdoor sitting area for their guests. Love the old "Fish Scale" gray trim on the front side of the roof.

The owners also added old windows in frames to an old roof to make a charming greenhouse structure on the property. 

In the olden days, making a fence was pretty simple! They just took a post made from a tree, put a few large holes through it and stuck a few split-rail logs through the holes. Easy peasy!

Down here in Texas they still use a version of this type fence for decorative purposes.

When barbed wire came along, it looks like they just stuck in some metal bars and strung some barbed wire right along the original split rails.

Reminds me of my grandma, who always quoted this old-time saying:  Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without!

Thanks for dropping by!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Professional Photos When Selling Your Home

This is the first time we've had professional photos taken of a home we are selling. 

The weather has been rainy and overcast all week so taking photos required as many lights as possible.

I do believe it's worth the cost to have professional photos taken, but luckily our realtor provides the photographer's photos as part of the service that she provides for her fee.

The photographer's photos show our home so much better than mine! 

I'm inspired by her photos and definitely plan to get a wide-angled lens and take some photography classes when we get re-settled in the future.

Here's her photos of the two guest rooms. I like how she got the rooms in full view, including the vaulted ceilings. All our bedroom ceilings are vaulted to about 16 feet, which makes it difficult to photograph.

The bathroom between the guest rooms has a tiled bathtub/shower combo. I like how she managed to reflect the tile that goes up the shower wall in the mirror while showing off the best view of the bathroom.

She also got the laundry room view in one photo while it took me two photos to get it all in.

So I'm sold on the value of a professional photographer when it comes to selling a home. 

If you saw my photos in the last post, I think you'll agree it isn't just that she used a wide-angled lens, but that a professional has a better eye for details.

If you'll share your opinion, I'd like to hear your thoughts on using a professional photographer and whether you've used one in the past. Did it help your home sell faster?

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms and grandmas out there! I hope you're enjoying your day and letting someone else do all the cooking. 

Thanks for dropping by!

Friday, May 10, 2019

House Staging Tips Put To Use

Thank you to all those who commented on staging the mantle in the last post! I saw a trend towards the family painting for the mantle, so that's what we ended up with there.

The lanterns are staying for now, but I'm on the lookout for something smaller. 

Everyday I wish we had left the TV hanging over the would make that area so much simpler! 

But the large TV cabinet and oversized TV are in the room now, and we have no desire to take them with us! We've offered them as a 'negotiable inclusion' in the terms of a future sale.

The entryway kept its bench and rug, but everything else (except an old watering can of florals) got removed.

I watched A LOT of "How To Stage Your House" videos on YouTube over the weekend. 

The best advice was (1) Know Who Is Your Target Market, and (2) Clear Everything 'Not Essential' Out Of Your House for a showing. 

I had just bought a real cute new bathmat that day, and the person making the video said, "Don't go out and buy a new bathmat because you should remove everything from the floor -- including your bathmat!"

The kitchen still has some chickens around, but gone are almost all appliances.

It was an exhausting weekend, but the house is cleared out and simplified, and the photographer came yesterday and took pictures of the house. 

The photos should be ready tomorrow, and then finally we are going up for sale! 

While we were moving "extras" out of the house to storage, we had to buy 2 chairs to turn the dining room back into a dining room. 

We've been using the dining room as a reading room recently with a couch in there. I went a lot of places - real quick - to find some reasonably priced chairs!

Finally I found something that would work (and that was in stock) at World Market. I bought two, round-back gray chairs that we can use in our future home too.

One thing I think we did right was to almost completely clear out the walk-in closet in our master bedroom. 

The photographer said she doesn't normally photograph closets, but did photos of ours since it was all cleared out. I'm so glad I emptied it out as I think a large closet is a good selling point, and I'd hate to have people walking into our "stuff".

When I determined who our target market was, it was more than likely a retired couple like ourselves. Over half our neighbors are retirees so that was a no-brainer!

Outside the master bedroom, there's an office nook. The office area is almost empty now too.

I've found it's easier to see problems when you take a picture and look at an area by photo instead of looking in person. The photo below makes me realize I need to clear out some of those books on the top shelf!

The powder room and laundry room are next to each other near the garage...

Thanks for taking this tour with me...I'm leaving you with the view of the powder room mirror. I just want to say here, the speckles on the mirror aren't dirt! 

It's a reproduction mirror that has an "effect" speckled on to make it look old. It looks better in person, honest! 

Thanks for dropping by!