April 30, 2012

I'm back...

Well, I've been on a bit of a break... okay, a LOOONNNGGG break.  But I'm back, or I'm trying to be.  I have a lot to share with you... we've been busy, even if we haven't been blogging about it all.  The good news is that there should be a lot of fun "after" shots to look at!  Stay tuned... more to come soon.

June 15, 2011

How does your garden grow?

So I am not a gardener, but I do like flowers.  I'm sure a lot of you can relate to that, but if you are a garden pro, I'd love some tips!

We have an ugly and giant cedar tree growing in our front yard, I wanted to cut it down, but it is big and old and does give some privacy to the front of the house.  Plus it's a great landmark for when people, come over, "we're on the right, the house with the giant cedar".

So since cutting it down was off the table I decided to try to beautify it a little.  First I trimmed off some of the lower branches to make it look more like a tree i.e. show more of the trunk.  Next I planted a ton of tulips (my favourite flower) around the base as well as a hosta and juniper, which were both donation plants from friends.

Everything was planted in the fall and then I waited patiently until Spring hoping that something would happen.  And then it did.  Green stems came up from the ground, it was like magic, I felt so excited I was like a kid again.
Look at them all!  And the best part is that the pink tulip was the first to bloom... amazing!

 We also did some planting along the front path, which was just all grass before.  It's so much more welcoming now.  I love the little boxwoods and there's more little bulbs that are just starting to come up.  We planted some decorative grasses from our old house, I hope that they survive the move.  Of course Teddy wouldn't get out of my shot... sorry about the furry backside.

We have heavy clay soil here so the digging was hard work, but I think it looks so much better.  I'm excited to see the garden fill out and learn more as I go along.  Who knows... maybe I'll grow a green thumb afterall.

So, do you garden?  Any tips for me?  We'd love to plant some bushes/trees around the perimeter of the backyard... any suggestions?

June 6, 2011

Why I am the Queen of Caulk

So I mastered the caulk gun.  Thank goodness since I already bragged to you about how I was going to be "so good at it".  Famous last words, but thankfully I was (and modest too!).

This tool, which looks like something found at your doctors office (enough said) is amazingly easy to use.  Here are my tips to a perfect application.  Oh and if you still doubt me, hubby said I did a better job than he did.  Bam!  Stamp of approval.

First you grab a tube of caulk.  We used this one because it is paintable and it cleans up with just soap and water.

Then you cut the tip off on an angle (you want the hole to be fairly small). 
These two details are important to getting a manageable amount of product coming out so that its not flowing everywhere.

Once the tip is removed you can load the caulk into the gun.  To do this, pull the trigger all the way back and load the caulk tube bottom first.  The top should slide in perfectly.  If it doesn't fit, you didn't pull the trigger all the way back.  It should look like this now.

Then you pump the trigger (this is starting to sound vulgar) to get the flow started.  Make sure you are set up when you do this because once it starts, it tends to keep flowing and you could end up with a big mess.

If you need to stop, or you start to panic, just hit the "escape hatch" button (above).  This will release the tension on the tube and stop the flow.  This was my best friend as I tended to panic a bit until I got the hang of it.  Once you get the general operation down you're going to apply it to the wall like so.  Hold on an angle and pull the gun towards (not away from) your body.

 Next take a damp rag and wipe your new caulk line (while its still wet) to remove the excess.  If you cut your hole too big you will have a lot of excess.

When the excess has been removed you can wipe it gently with your finger to smooth the line.

If you have not used the entire tube and you want to save it for future use you can put the cap on the caulk gun (you have to buy these separately) to keep it from drying out.

Voila!  Perfect every time. 

I promise that if I can do this, you can too.  Promise.  Cross my heart.