Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Modified Greenhouse

The weather sure skipped over the Fall niceness, and went to sever cold a few weeks back. The weather continues to be hot / cold and it is messing with people's health and the plants just don't know what they should be doing.

When we left the old house, I took a lot of plants with me. I divided the lirope and daylilies to use in the new yard. I also took all of the iris Nana gave me.

During this time of living at Mom's place, I have acquired more plants. My co-worker is an extraordinary green-thumb and gives me all kinds of unique plants that only real gardiners have!

Dwarf Lamb's Ear

She introduces me to so many. One of those being a shade-loving Soloman's Seal. Such a cool name and plant.

Soloman's Seal

When her yard gets over-crowded, she divides them and shares them. I'm just one of the lucky recipients.

I didn't want to plant all of these in the ground and later have to move them, but they needed protection from the cold. I thought of using the garage, but it's a one car garage and the driveway only holds two cars, so we need the garage space.

I looked into buying a greenhouse, then making a green house, until I came to my final idea. The boys have a playhouse that they won't be using when it is cold. I can board up the windows and put all the plants in there.

In the treehouse, we put two plant stands we already owned to take advantage of vertical space.

I used visqueen as the plastic barrier to cover the windows. Two of the windows have shutters, but the others did not. I also made a flap for the door.

There is even a skylight in the playhouse to let light in.

So far, this has been a huge help for keeping the plants from burning in the frost. Some of my plants had new growth (from the crazy weather) and I didn't want them to be harmed.

The only downside is it's a pain to water. But this past weekend, I cut all the dead foliage off the plants and it's easier to water. I don't have to water often either.

I'm proud of my greenhouse. I didn't want it to be an eye-sore or have anything take up room in our small yard. This worked out great. Best part, I have plants ready to go in the new yard! Just have to pay for sod and trees! Not bad at all.

And while I was converting the playhouse, Mom was using the contraption Dad created to blow the leaves out of the gutters. She has woods behind her house and the leaves are abundant. Dad created this extension for the leaf blower so that we could easily clean out the gutters and not use a ladder. Thanks, Dad!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Brick Colors

Our land we are to build on is in a subdivision with an HOA and Architecture Board. For each house built, the builder/owner has to submit an application. Along with that application, you have to provide a sample of the brick you are to use and the exterior paint chips.

I was not even close to picking a brick color yet. We've been designing this house and I had my choice of brick color and Mr. JCrew had his. This is the only thing where our tastes varied. I like red brick and he does not. My favorite brick color is near my mom's house.

But I'm picky about my red's. It can't be red-red. There has to be some contrast to it. Below is an example of red brick I do not like. It may be that I think the stone doesn't match.

This red brick is okay, and reminds me of our first house.

When I think of brick and stone being on the same side of the house, I picture them matching. This house does that very well. Mr. JCrew says it looks very masculine.

There is white brick that can be testefully done.

And then there is white brick that is too much. I can't judge it yet because it is not finished. The trim and shutters could make it so much better. But I have nicknamed this house the "pink house." When it rains, the house turns pink!

This picture made the brick look white, but it really a cream with varying shades mixed in. This house has been under construction forever. My sister always asks about it becase she can't believe that each time she visits, the owners have not moved in! I think they're close!

Mr. JCrew seems to like gray/brown brick. 

My mom has always loved this house.

To me, I think I shy away from gray/brown because of the lack of color. But there was one color of brick that we both liked and I chose it as my backup color. I loved watching this house be built. I am in love with the front doors and the porch ceiling.

I've thought about painting brick if I couldn't find a color Mr. JCrew and I agreed on.

But I shutter at the maintenance of paint. I rather only have my trim and minimal siding to touch-up every few years and not the entire house.

We drove all around the city and finally found a color we liked. We always overlooked it because the majority of the house is stone.

 I called the builder and asked him the brick name and color. He provided it to me along with the mortar color and stone. I've realized brick shopping how important mortar color is. Below is a sample of the same brick we've chosen, but with a different color mortar. Makes a huge difference.

Ivory Mortar
Buff Mortar

So, I called the brick company and asked if I could borrow a sample to get approval from the HOA. But I also needed the sample to pick an exterior trim color. This step made me really nervous.

I knew what color I wanted the doors to be; Dragon's Breath by Benjamin Moore. I started with that paint swatch. When I pulled it, I realized I loved every color in the family. My choices would now be easy.

I really did do a happy dance and got all excited. This was it! Next, I had to decide what color and where. It's hard to describe without showing you the elevation of the house, but I would need three, possibly four, colors on the exterior.

One rule of thumb I was given, was to pick the shade darker of the color you like when selecting exterior colors. The sun washes colors out. The 'London Fog' color at the top of the swatch in the picture above appears gray, but would look white on the house outside. That was a good rule of thumb to use.

When selecting our colors, I had to remember the style of house I have. It is mainly Tudor, with a front porch. Tudors don't have porches, but we both wanted one. And usually tudor style houses use dark trim colors. You can't find white trim on a tudor. So that nixed my lighter color I had picked for trim (Ben Moore China White).

I picked out three colors. Here's where they fit on the color swatch.

I remembered to pick the shade darker than what I was drawn to.

I am very excited to have picked colors and be happy with them. I really took this step seriously. It's not like the interior that is easier to change. I have a reputation for painting things over, but I think I am learning what I like and am happy with and sticking to that instead of trying to be bold.

As for what we selected:

Brick: Harbour Shoals by Pine Hall Brick
Mortar: Lite Buff
Trim 1: Plymouth Rock by Benjamin Moore
Trim 2: Gargoyle by Benjamin Moore
Trim 3: Dragon's Breath by Benjamin Moore

Once they go up on the house, I'll share more pictures.

Whew. I'm getting really excited now.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Pumpkin Patch 2014

We had a great time meeting with family to visit the local pumpkin patch. We went on a Friday in the middle of October. It was not as crowded as the following weeks that I heard about.

The Patch is a great place near by. It has a great big blob the kids bounce on.

Little JCrew did not want to go on it at first, but at the end of our visit, both boys got on to jump and loved it.

The kids love petting the animals.

Mr. Brigglesworth really wanted to hold a bunny all by himself. I was scared he’d choke it, so he did not and then a fit took place.

Little JCrew ran up the stairs and down the slide at least 50 times. There was never a long wait and he loved it.

They had moved the corn bins, but I found them.

 Uncle Derek liked pouring the corn on the boys' heads.

They loved it.

Then they started to get Daddy.

And we took a hay ride to the pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkins.

Getting the boys to pick out a pumpkin was hard. They were indecisive.

I ended up picking out their pumpkins for them.

There was a train ride the older cousins wanted to go on. I didn't think mine would want to, let alone, sit still. I was surprised when I saw Little JCrew on the ride!

 The next turn, Mr. Brigglesworth and I got on there.

 Mr. Brigglesworth was all about the tractors.

And there were some old machines with slides coming out of them that both boys liked.

And Mr. Brigglesworth enjoyed talking to the animals this time.

Afterward we met up for dinner, and that was a treat. Ever since Mr. JCrew’s sister moved closer, it has been so nice for the cousins to get together so often.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Captain America

For Halloween, the boys dressed as Captain America. It was an easy find at Costco, and it was the only character I could find in a size 3T. I ended up liking that they were the same character, because I think we would have had fights if they were different.

We used those costumes for weeks. The first time to wear them was at our Sunday School Family Costume Party. Mr. Brigglesworth did not want to wear his.

Since it was a family costume party, parents were encouraged to dress up and possible match the entire family. I made our's easy. I bought t-shirts and puffy painted them.

Little JCrew was gifted a Captain America action figure, so I used it as my guide. Then I realized we didn't really match the boys' costumes. We were Captain America's parents!

I put an apron with mine and I wore my costume to work on Thursday for our costume party.

On Wednesday, Little JCrew wore his again to choir. He stayed in character and called everyone by their costume name. Georgia was "Sophia" the entire night.

For actual Halloween, we dressed up and went to Panera Bread for dinner and Publix for games. The boys loved it.

It was REALY cold last night, and since there is a lot of construction going on around the townhouse, not very many of the neighbors had their porch lights on. But we went to one house of my co-worker, MAJ Gillespie. The boys loved it.

We've had a great time dressing up. I'm sure we'll continue wearing them at home.
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