It's About Living Better, Our Girl Project, Thoughts of the Day

Time for a New Project

We are officially remodeling.

Last summer, we worked diligently on the yard. I hired my girlfriends to come “help”.

For me, that meant I get to take baby steps into this new world.

1. I don’t have to dig.

2. I don’t have to plant.

3. I will water.

4. I will shop for plants and other fun stuff.

5. I will still be organizing the world around me. (control freak).

6. I will pay money to NOT dig and plant.

Ha! I enjoy sitting outdoors looking at “our” hard work. When I drive up the driveway, I am pleased and proud that “we” did all that hot work!

Fast forward 4 months. Here we are in January, starting a new project. No girlfriends. Just us.  You can pray for us, if you are so inclined.

So step one was to get Ronnie to commit to the project.

Wow! I can’t tell you how many objections I had to overcome.  I know that objections are just requests for more information, so I tried to use my best marketing techniques to answer his questions and sell him on the idea.

It must have worked, because three months after I began the campaign, he showed up for the appointment with our new friend Gail at Lowe’s.   She’s a magician, let me tell you!  We know we are over our head when you talk about construction.

The new project:

The front bathroom. The one our visitors see.  Our home is around 30 years old, and it needed to be redone.  We didn’t want to spend a lot, just enough to update it for selling purposes, in case we decide to downsize.

We decided to use a GC (General Contractor) to install a simple walk in shower and hardware and replace the vanity and counter top.  We were pleased that Gail came by first to take a peek and take some general measurements. Then, she brought the GC by and took even more measurements.

We spent a lot of time talking about what we thought it should look like when it’s done, the colors, textures and any changes we might consider.  I really felt like they listened well, and didn’t try to sell us on anything extravagant. The budget was always at the top of mind.

I’ve always loved the furniture vanities popular in some custom homes, so it was decided that I would be in charge of acquiring that piece of furniture and finishing it to match.

Gail found the most beautiful granite top, called Chaldonea, so the race is on!

I searched all the online garage sales and used a couple of apps to locate the perfect piece.  A beautiful maple Basset Buffet.

vanity buffet
This was a great purchase at $100.00. It will be perfect for the vanity.

Today, I find we are starting in 6 days! We were so excited, it’s like finding out you won a prize!   I ran to my favorite “paint” store and quickly got directions from Melanie at Sisters Reclaimed, in our cute little downtown .  I picked up a few supplies and off we went!

Step one:   WASH the buffet.  Really, that’s what she said.  With Dawn.    That was too easy.

Step two:  Ronnie will repair the one drawer that has a loose groove.   GLUE.

Step three:  Let it dry.   I got this!

Step four : Paint.  We are using Annie Sloan Graphite… recommended by Melanie.  I added three coats of paint, then finished it with a clear wax.  I have to say, I almost choked when I saw the price because I haven’t had time to be familiar with the cost of paint lately, but it is so worth the cost. The paint is smooth, pretty and the coverage was thorough.   The brush recommended for the wax was awesome.  I will treasure it always for future projects.

After three weeks, it appears very durable and I love it!

And BAM! The magic of the internet.

It only took a few days, a couple of guys running in and out of the house and some banging and clanging (which drove Ronnie crazy).  I must say, my favorite thing is the buffet and the space we gained.

chalk painted buffet, now vanity
Finished, well almost. Just a couple small pieces to add to each side to camo the plumbing.

I apologize for the lighting of this picture, but I wanted you to see, because there are still a couple of slight problems with which to deal.

  1. Hardware.  The old hardware is quaint and I’m debating about adding some sleek new replacements- in bronze.
  2. The water connectors to the next room.   My first thought is to build little “doors” on each side, and finish them to match the buffet-turned-vanity.  Another option may be to place inserts that are painted to match the wall, giving the vanity more attention.
  3. I’m still looking for some farmhouse type of container for my airbrush system.
  4. I think I’d love a small flower arrangement in the corner (or a lamp).

I’m curious about your thoughts.

Further, we chose a simple walk in shower insert and opted out of having a shower door because I like (love) my shower curtain, and I don’t like cleaning shower doors and tracks. I replaced the stainless curtain rod with one that matched the shower, and we purchased bronzed fixtures throughout.  Ronnie spent a couple hours patching the shower curtain rod holes and touching up the wall and trim paint.  We had to rehang the towel and toilet paper holders.  I stole the mirror from the mud room bath because it was just asking to be moved to a new home.

When the tub/shower combo was removed, the contractor discovered some work not properly completed during the original construction.  After a day of correction and new concrete work, the shower was installed with lots of banging and noise.

Note to self: remove everything from the wall behind the new shower before they start installation!

In all, we are happy with the process. We learned a lot and are still trying to make some decisions regarding the few unexpected items.

We gained 3 inches of floor space… which means my flooring doesn’t fit, so that’s another project, and of course, what to do about the view of the plumbing.

It’s bright, and replacing the tub with a walk-in makes the room look so much larger.  The insert cleans easily and the counter top is beautiful.  The green is still my favorite.

When I was a kid, my mom and dad would always suggest we “live with it awhile” before making decisions on change.  We are at that stage now.  We are living with it.  Happily.

This project definitely fits with our goals of keeping our projects about living better!

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Our Girl Project

PROGRESS

The girls have been working hard, while I watch, look and plan.  I’m not a gardener, but I love looking at it, planning things I’d like to see and showing it off to my friends, who know me well!

Those friends know it is a chore for me to stop what I’m doing and water the pretties that adorn the ground in front of the brick.  They know that I’d much rather pay someone else to make it so. Don’t laugh… I would much rather be planning a booth at the fair and gathering help to run it.  But at the end of the day, I want to sit with my love in the “garden” and relax while the fur babies run and play.

So, as you can see, there’s a little progress on this day.first copy of shrubs

After removing the overgrown and ugly, the “girls” cleaned and cleaned to remove roots, grass and amazing finds (old bottle opener). They named all the critters that scampered out. PRINCE CHARLES is a lizard and Queenie is a butterfly.  DAMMIT is a sweat bee, and I forgot the King Snakes’ name. Before laying the black “plastic”, as I called it, we took a day and Ronnie (our token man on the job) sprayed for weeds and whatever.  That’s ALWAYS his job at this house.  Now we are ready for the plastic.   Of course, it has a name!  Vigoro Weed Barrier Landscape Cloth.  I chose it because it let the water through. I don’t want to be wasting my time watering plastic!  I picked it up during one of my many trips to Home Depot to plan this project.  It took 90 feet and then I bought another roll to do a smaller area in the yard, you’ll see later.

Next, they added the black lava rock.  I couldn’t believe how inexpensive it was and since our roof is black and some of the brick is charcoal, it makes a nice visual contrast. I hope there’s not an obvious negative reason the cost is low. If there is… I missed it.  So, for now, I’m good with it.  I hope the sharp edges will deter the critters from digging up prized goodies.

I bought the lava rock at Lowes.  The salesperson kept trying to sell me on the red because our dirt is redish and may stay neater and brighter, but I still love the black.  I looked at river rock, white rocks, egg rocks, mulch, and more mulch! Who knew there were so many choices.  The black lava rock was around $5 per bag and we have now cleaned out their inventory and are patiently waiting for more to arrive.  It’s lightweight, so it’s not a problem for our handy strong girl to move it from the truck to the garden.  In fact, she took care of that little chore before we even knew it!

I took off plant-shopping and found some lovely boxwoods at our local Hudnall’s Nursery in Pittsburg.  Steve and Sherry are the nicest people and Steve is full of great advice.  We ended up with dwarf crepe myrtles, something purple-ish and the boxwoods. They’ve been in the ground almost a month and they are doing fabulous!  He suggested we use Landscapers Fill instead of peat moss, for the nutrition.  I think it was a great suggestion, and again very affordable.

Next… the septic pipe.  Yes, we live in the country and there has to be a clean out spout.  Of course, we weren’t at home when this happened, or it wouldn’t be in the middle of the yard!  So, the delimma is how to hide it, but still have access.  We had the 16×8 cinder blocks, so down went the plastic and round went the block.  You’ll soon see the end and the change of this project.

We only have a couple hours a day to devote to this, as everyone has another job… except me!  I have a side gig with Avon.  It’s my Plan C.  I stay busy, helping others reach their dreams, whether it’s their skin care dreams or their earning dreams. It makes me feel good to help, and it’s inside, where it’s clean.

I’m still looking for ideas to dress up the septic clean out spout, so if you have any, just post them below.  Diana wants to build a gnome out of clay pots. It could be portable, but could we easily mow around it?

So, for now… the breezes are slowing as the evening comes.  I’ll be lighting the keva soon and we’ll have a toddy in our garden. Everyday brings us closer to the goal. Each day we invest in it and each day it grows more comfortable.  The Girl Project is coming along nicely.

Our Girl Project

It’s a Girl Project

I finally settled on a project.  Well, I’ve chosen several.  Visiting with my friends, the other night, I learned it’s pretty common to “bite off more than you can chew” when you first decide to retire.

So, I’ve backed up to regroup.

Three months ago today, New Avon gave us notice and I had to decide what my future would look like.  I’ve always had a plan and always known what my DREAM was, but not necessarily when it would happen.  So, I have had the opportunity to reflect and rethink the dream.

So, now… while returning to direct sales for my “gig”, I have time to complete a few projects that will lead to that picture I see in my future.

To have what I desire, I need a pretty back yard.

It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just neat and comfy with very little maintenance required.  I really do not like yard work, but enjoy the benefits… whether I earn them or buy them.

I called a friend that loves to do outside work and has some great ideas.  She’s known me for 35 years, so she knows my likes and dislikes.  She listens to my concerns and my goals and encourages me in a different direction when she knows there is upkeep on the horizon.

The message I left her went a little like this: “Hi, Sherry. I hope you are ok today. My yard and my future well-being require your assistance. I hope you are free to visit soon.”

THREE DAYS LATER, she got the courage to call. She knew it meant work, because she knows about me and outdoor work.

She asked lots of questions and I found the answers. She has another friend who loves that work and would like some extra bucks, so she can help.   It’s a girl project!

Day one comes and goes… no one shows up  – not even me!

Day two arrives with the overgrowth being yanked from around the house and add-on.  Progress.

No more overgrowth!
No more overgrowth! Only the hydrangeas will remain. The rose bush will be moved and the grapevines come down tomorrow!

They decided to save the rose bush, and use it in another area. The hydrangea stays, the monkey grass is relocated for a bit.

The numbers of critters in the garden are the main reason I don’t like gardening.

I watched with goose bumps as the spiders (of all kinds) scampered across the house, tools and ground to find a new dwelling.  The King snake had to relocate and the lizards were moving quickly to the other side of the house.

We picked up the soapy water bottle to allow the bees and yellow jackets to crawl away and find a new home and I hate to admit it, but we sprayed that huge nest of wasps from under our chairs!

yellowjacket
Imagine! Sitting on the rusty old chair and a baby yellow jacket lands on your knee. Then another, and another. I turned over that chair and discovered their hiding place where all the little fellas were handing on for dear life! Soapy water, wet their wings and allowed them to scamper off to another location. I don’t like them, but they have a purpose.

The mosquitoes are another story, so we grabbed the Bug Guard and the Skin So Soft to be fully prepared.

Our brick has so many colors, I’m excited to shop for ground covers, plants and “littles” that personalize an area.   But, that’s another day.  For now… I feel comfortable walking outside where the plants used to reside and see the cleaned area with the weeds slowly giving way for a future oasis that is lovingly referred to as our girl project.