Sunday, 16 June 2013

Making the Outdoors Pretty

Well, last weekend, Derek and I were at Jeremy and Adrienne's wedding. The wedding was wonderful and Derek looked absolutely smashing in his expensive (rented) Italian suit. While there, I ran into Derek's Aunt Heather who confronted me about my recent lack of blogging. We, together, came to a decision  while yes, I have been rather busy working almost 40 hours a week, I ought not to fall off the entire face of the earth... so, a compromise was in order. One post a week, every Sunday in order to keep me in the habit until life changes in such a way that I'll be able to post a bit more often. So here goes today: the first of (hopefully) many Sundays to come.

Let me begin by introducing you to Chewie (or Chewbacca), an appropriate name not only because he looks like a miniature Wookie (and thus his namesake) and because his favourite activity is to chew on things. Socks and underwear being his favourites.

Chewie is honestly the fluffiest, funniest, craziest, cutest and (often) the most annoying dog Derek and I have ever met. Raising him makes us feel as though we suddenly had a three year old child thrown into our house: he doesn't listen, he sometimes pees on the floor, he's hyper when we want him to be calm, and yet he has all kinds of wonderful moments that fill us with love and make us smile. Like the picture above which I snapped earlier today when he fell asleep on his back next to me.

I have been getting things done around the house as much as I can. For instance: changing out these outdoor lights. When we moved to the house, neither of them worked. It made for a very dark outside. When my dad came for grad, he took a look at them and managed to get the right one working... but not the left. About a week or two later, this happened to the right one:

Making me feel that it was about time to replace them. I mean, one didn't work and now the other one has hanging upside down - and both of them were gross and rusted.

So, off Derek and I went to Canadian Tire to look at their outdoor lights; we found a set that we liked, and after checking around town to make sure there weren't any that we liked better, we bought them. However, as much as I liked the shape and style, I wasn't a huge fan of the colour. So I decided to change that. First things first, I took the glass panels out. At first I had tried to keep them in and just tape over them with flyers and painters tape... But because of the style, it turned out to be super challenging to do it that way. You'll see what I mean in a moment.

Quick side note! One thing I really loved about the lamps was the fact that they had seeded glass panels. I mean, just take a look at this! It's so cool.

I took the actual lamps down to my work space in the basement (and yes, you really ought to do spray painting outside when you can, but unfortunately with the wind in Manitoba it has never worked out well for me, so I've just decided to permanently move my spray painting to the basement) and pulled out the Rustoleum ORB paint that is my favourite. The lamps already had a bit of an ORB finish, but it was a little too brown for me, so I just wanted to darken them a little. This meant that I ended up doing only one or two very thin coats on them.

Then it was time for removing the old ones and installing the new ones - a process that turned out to be rather difficult at times and even took using my reciprocating saw (one of the old screws refused to come out, so I just cut it off) but I was very careful: I disconnected the power to the entire house before I started working - because I wasn't sure which breaker was connected to the outdoor lights and I really didn't want to end up in the hospital after accidentally electrocuting myself.

But I got it finished and eventually things looked like this: and after nine months of living with gross, not working outdoor lights, we finally have some real beauties going on. It gives me hope for our house.


Here you can see how the cross pieces would have made it rather difficult to do much taping and flyering of the glass.

And while we're talking about outside improvements, check out my gardens that I planted! As I failed so miserably at the whole indoor plant thing, I've decided to try my hand at outdoor plants. Hopefully they'll stay alive a little bit longer.

 And of course the other side, which still needs two more plants, but I'll get to those eventually. The gardens are still doing really well. These photos were taken when I first planted them - a couple weeks ago. We've already had one flower show up: a Siberian Iris (its the spiky, almost grass like plant in the photo above) and right now several of the plants have growing blooms that I expect will burst into flowers any day.

 So, current garden success and I suppose we'll see how things work out with them over the course of the summer.

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