Monthly Archives: August 2011

Curtains

Pretty much every place we’ve rented has had the standard cheap blinds in every window, and I’ve never felt any inspiration to dress them up. Even now, curtains fall into the “things I’m barely willing to spend money on” category. But we managed to grab a set of curtains made out of a kind of mesh-like material on clearance a few months back, and we bought two sets of the cheapest cotton curtains we could find at Ikea last month.

And now, finally we put them up. The curtain rods were left to us by the prior owners, so they were free. 🙂 As a bonus, they match our style pretty well. We took them down when we painted, and we re-hung them a bit higher and wider than they were originally. The cotton curtains went in the living room:

Tada! Oh, and as a bonus you can see that we got a new rug. The natural material of the sisal rug did not stand up to our pet mess cleaner, and ended up with silly-looking light splotches. (The sisal rug can be seen at the bottom of this post.) And continuing with the theme of not spending much money, we went and found the cheapest new 8×10 rug in existence. We’re so proud. I’m sad to say that it looks better in photos than in person, but it is undeniably practical, and certainly not boring.

Anyway, back to the curtains. Here’s the big window from another angle:

Just last week I finally got around to hanging that picture up by the front door, but I wasn’t thinking about how much space curtains take, so I had to take down the cool-looking iron candle holders that I had hung next to it. Boo. They will probably find a new home along the stretch of wall shared by the living room and the dining room. Or something.

Getting back to the curtains once more, the bottoms are unhemmed, so now we need to decide how short we want them. We’re leaning towards not-quite-floor length… But first I had to wash them. And find a place to dry them. Stringing up a line between the mulberry tree and the patio covering supports worked perfectly. I’m thinking of maybe rigging some carabiners so I can take the line up and down whenever I want. maybe.

The curtains dried really quickly, and I immediately hung them back up even though they really need to be ironed. And hemmed. Really though I’m dying to know if our thrill-seeking kitties are going to try climbing them, and I’d rather know before I put any more effort into them. 🙂

The mesh curtains in the dining room were a bit less effort since they’re already hemmed. Though if we ever get around to building a banquette in that corner I’ll probably have to re-hem them anyway. Considering out list of things that we want to build is about a mile long and we aren’t planning to host a formal dinner party any time soon, I’m just not going to worry about it for now.

And you can see from the picture that Dave has finally replaced the hard drive on our media computer, whose old hard drive died at the beginning of the year. (Here’s a shot of the dining room minus the curtains, and minus all the computer junk too.) And on one more awkward note, the dining room curtains are cream while the living room curtains are crisp white. Ummm. I think it looks okay? The windows aren’t all that close, and the wall color is different, and the lighting is completely different between the two rooms. Ah well, if it annoys me too much the mesh curtains will probably end up in the guest room. In the meantime, our windows having dressings! hurray!

And with that I’ll close a very rambly post. Thanks for reading!

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We have apples!

Actually, we have an entire apple tree! For quite a while when we first moved in, it looked like this:

Then, very late in the spring, it started pushing out a few leaves. And for a short while it was covered in white flowers. I didn’t get a picture at the time, but I did take a close-up when there were just a few left:

And now it’s covered in fruit. So much fruit in fact, that one branch broke off entirely and another is leaning out into our neighbor’s yard. Oops…

I stared at it distrustfully for a while, (I assume anything growing in my presence is secretly trying to kill me) but Dave finally went in and grabbed a smallish one and cut it open:

And then I ate it! It’s been a few hours and I still feel okay, so maybe it’s not going to kill me after all. I guess we should go pick some and put them in our fruit bowl or something. Oh, and as for the variety of apple, I’m pretty sure they’re green. That’s as much as I can say for sure. 🙂

Bougainvillea

Jasmines aren’t the only vines on our fence. We saw this other plant/vine thing push out a few blossoms early in the summer, and had no idea what it was. By random chance, I happened to walk right by the exact same plant (the flowers are very distinctive) in the hardware store while searching for mulch. Thus I was able to identify ours as a bougainvillea, and then discover that everyone else already knew all about this plant. Go figure.

Anyway, at that point I figured we’d just leave it alone for the summer and see what happened. Fast forward a few months, and it turns out we actually have two of these plants, and they apparently flower and grow like crazy. Sigh. It was getting to the point where I was concerned that it might start growing into our neighbor’s yard (where they have a pretty hardcore edible garden going) so I finally pulled out the hedge trimmers and attacked. Oh the carnage…

The hulking purple, before and after:

The not-quite-so-hulking magenta, before and after:

And this was just round one. The purple one was especially exciting because it was all tangled up with the jasmine on the left. I also took the opportunity to cut back what I’m convinced is a giant weed masquerading as a tree growing almost right on top of the pink roses. It’s the tall plant growing just to the left of the magenta bougainvillea in the “before” picture above. I think I gave it a fair chance to do something interesting, but all it did was get taller and greener, while the roses got yellower and sicklier.

Anyway, I figure we’ll cut the jasmines and the bougainvillea waaaay back in the fall and try to direct their growth in a more planned way in the spring.

New Outdoor Lighting

Yay! Our old front door light was a perfectly functional but seriously lame looking. Happily for me, we had a solid, non-aesthetic reason for wanting to change it out asap: we wanted a motion-sensor light at our front door. The position of our garage and the location of the house means our front porch is hidden from most of our court, and at night it’s really dark even with the living room light on.

We wanted a oil-rubbed bronze look to go with our recently replaced door knob and deadbolt. I also wanted seeded or frosted glass so we wouldn’t just be looking at an unobstructed view of the bulb inside the fixture. PLUS, we aren’t wild about ornate curlicues, so I was hoping for something with clean lines without being too plain and utilitarian. Lucky for us, pretty much the least expensive motion-sensing light in the hardware store came pretty darn close to meeting all of our criteria. Here’s the before:

And the after:

Please excuse the sad stated of the fuschia. I thought I had managed to kill it off completely, but it finally started sprouting leaves and even a few flowers, so I’m pretty happy.