potted flowers

I attended a short class on how to make a potted arrangement at a local garden center last night. It was a neat event – my sister-in-laws and mother-in-law went and they all have much more plant experience than I do (I’ve lived here for almost six years and all I have to show for it via plants is some trimmed crab apples along the driveway and one recently added tree runt I got for free which may or may not be a magnolia). Snacks and drinks were served and it was a really causal event. We were given a budget (allotted from the class fee) and then allowed to walk around the nursery picking and choosing literally anything we wanted, following the motto:

Thriller, Filler, and Spiller!

 potted_plant

My thriller (the tall central one) is Pesto Perpetuo Basil, which smells delightful. My big fillers are: Black Pearl Ornamental Pepper and Dalina Midi Samos Dahlia. My small fillers are: four Bada Boom White Begonias and two yellow-somethings that one of my sister-in-laws had left over. My spillers (the ones drooping over the edge) are: Black Cherry Supertunia (which also works a bit as a filler) and Goldilocks Creeping Jenny.

potted_plant_closeup

As my first arrangement ever, I was pleased everyone commented so nicely on it!

I also did not use all my budget, so I was able to bring home this little guy, a Silver Grey succulent.

potted_succulent

I lent my camera to my brother, so I am working with just my phone here on an overcast day, but, as you can also see from the first photo, my house is red! I will be posting about that as soon as we get some sunny weather so my photos look halfway to decent.

I also have some fun photos to share from my second Peru trip, so check back for that!

Peru, again!

Just a quick note that I will be joining my brother in Peru for 20 days. I leave on Thursday. I am both excited and apprehensive of what he has in store for me.

See, some of his gear is lost and it is quicker to fly me in with replacements than going through customs (yeah, you read that right: free trip! Though, under awful circumstances, I admit. And I do feel some guilt being so happy about it…).

I’ll fly to Lima and stay a few days as we await his reissued passport (it was lost also). Then, we head northeast to Iquitos, an Amazon city only accessible by boat or plane. And I’ll fly home.

Cool, right?

goodbye ugly house

If you’ve been following for a while, you know we have done some updating in the interior of our house (paint, light fixtures, laundry room makeover, entire kitchen renovation, etc.).

Well, it is finally time to get the trashy-looking outside bright and happy. We qualified for a rehabilitation loan through the county, which has made this all possible. In total, it includes: new AC unit, new water heater, new furnace, new exterior door and storm door, 5 new windows, some electrical updates for code, and new siding. The county budgets for average quality products (such as vinyl siding), and Boy and I chipped in our own savings for higher quality items (such as LP Smart Siding) and a few extras (like storm doors all around, soffit and facia, light fixtures, etc.).

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The process has been ridiculous – we began our application last April, yet only this week did some of the necessary items get delivered, because they were only ordered about a month ago (why?!). And one of the orders was wrong anyway. And there has been a lot of miscommunication throughout the whole ordeal, even though we have been very clear about what we wanted (which was spoken verbally, in written contract, and through text messages). It doesn’t make any sense, and the county is a little perturbed that it was not finished within the 90 day period last year, but it certainly is not our problem!

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The exterior transformation began last week (in the cold and snow, yes, which has its own annoyance because our heater bill this month will be outrageous but hey, at least I’m not the one out there in the cold, right?). When it is complete, I shall certainly post about it, but for now, you must look upon the ugly that the house currently is/was. I was worried that moving from vertical siding to horizontal siding would exacerbate the length of the house (it has additions that make it quite long!) but it actually seems to trick the eye into thinking the house is somehow less long. I greatly approve.

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The budget did not include the garage, so for a time, I have to deal with that prison-grey eyesore still (which will get a new door and pergola someday), and we need to change out some more windows eventually. But, I have landscaping plans galore that I hope to begin this year. I’ve been waiting to address anything outside until the house was cute and proper. Now is the time! :D

fugly_house_1

Ahh, man, do I miss those sunny dappled days of summer!!!