Saturday, June 11, 2011

Home Improvements - Front "Yard" Edition

Ok, so "yard" is a bit of a stretch, more like front SIDEWALK, but that's what you get when you live in a city. As I walk through my neighborhood, I am constantly looking at all of the plants and window boxes folks have out on the sidewalk and the front of the house. I have had window box envy ever since I moved into my house.

I finally called this guy in Jenkintown, Ed Wreen, who makes a lot of the window boxes you see in Fairmount. He came over and we discussed what would work best, and 2 weeks later I had these 2 beautiful wrought iron, made to order, window boxes.

Ed had a lot of designs on his webpage, but really, the ones that I liked the most were these simple ones in the neighborhood with "collars" on the posts. Ed had no problem making the boxes with these collars and I really like them. Unfortunately, Ed does not also provide the inserts for the boxes. I looked at some online and at the big box stores and decided I eventually want to build my own inserts later this summer. For now, I bought 6 already potted flower pots at Home Depot and placed them in the boxes. I think they look great!

What do you think?


Here's the whole look of my front "yard" from the street.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Home Improvements - backyard edition

Now that it is springtime, I have been (ok, my handyman has been) very busy making a few additions to my house. One of the first things on the list was to level out my backyard space. When the sellers replaced the water/sewer line to the street, they did not extend the pipe (and, the drain) to its original location in the center of the patio. Instead, they placed the drain in the corner where the walkway meets the large part of the patio. By doing this, the sellers sloped the patio so that the water would run down into the drain. That's fine, but the slope was such that I could only put my table and chairs in a certain location and the grill, which was placed at the most level part, was not level either. Hot dogs had to be placed a certain way so they didn't roll off the grill.

I spoke with my handyman about leveling and putting in pavers. He thought that would be more hassle than it was worth and suggested leveling the patio by adding a wooden platform/floor. This would allow any water to continue to flow toward the drain w/o all the hassles of digging up the back and messing w/ my a/c unit. The idea was to have the wooden planks flush against the highest part of the patio and then on pillars, or whatever they are, where it is above the current grade.

Below are 2 progress pictures where you can see how the 2x4s were placed and how high the platform is at the deepest part of the patio by the drain. Sorry for the poor picture quality. The camera on my blackberry is shot from being tossed around in my purse.


In the picture above, you can see how the beams are flush against the far side of the patio. However, in the picture below, you can see just how sloped the patio was.


The platform/deck was finished a couple weeks ago and I am sooooooo happy! How great it is to sit at my table in the middle of the patio! I could not do that before w/o wobbling. My plants are also no longer sloped. It is so nice!



The next step will be to add some planters and/or a bench w/ storage. We'll talk more about this in the next couple weeks. Once those are added, we plan to stain the whole thing to match the wood coloring on the fence. I was also thinking it would be cool to add a partial percola, but I'm not sure if that would work. It might block some of the sun coming in my windows, and I don't want that.

It is so nice to site out there now. My neighbor, who actually grew up in my house, has already told me that she is jealous and wants one for herself.

For now, I'll stick w/ the little bistro table and chair set I found on craigslist last year. Next year, I'll buy something different, maybe a little table w/ an umbrella? I was eyeing a cute little set at Target, but not sure if it's in the cards to purchase this year.



Mmmm, seems I've been neglecting things again. Before I left for Costa Rica, I finished the Dipped Infinity Scarf, which seems to be all the rage lately. I bought my yarn from Black Bunny Fibers, which Carol dyed in a beautiful Oceana colorway.


As much as I loved it, I thought it would make a great birthday present for my sister. As I expected, she LOVED it and wouldn't take it off all weekend, even though it was pushing 90 degrees outside. Here I am modeling it just after I finished it:


Just before I left for Costa Rica, I started my first ever Pi Shawl, by Elizabeth Zimmerman. I decided to be very basic (since it was my traveling project) and do the concentric circles version of the pattern. I had a bitch of a time getting it started b/c I don't crochet and the cast on required the use of my left hand, which is basically useless. Here's a picture of it as I was just getting started.



I am making it out of Madeline Tosh Prairie, in this gorgeous Moss colorway.

I know I owe some pictures from Costa Rica. I ran out space on the account and have figured out how to add pictures (from flikr) w/o exceeding my space limit. I'll add pics to the original posts soon.