Dickey's Decor

Home, Garden and More

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dress You Up

"You got style, that's what all the girls say." Madonna was big when I was in middle school. This song came to mind just as I began to write this post.
I literally picked up this lady on my lunch hour. I drove a mile down the road and met a lady in the parking lot of a gas station to seal the deal. I admit when I do parking lot deals I feel a bit sketchy. I threw her into the back of my station wagon and headed back to work in time to scarf down my lunch.
I like the size of this piece. It is small, solid wood, and it is light weight. It sat like this for a few days in the garage. Great place to store my paint.

I painted it with Sherwin William's March Winds (I finally ran out of it, but ended up buying another quart because I love it that much).
It sat for a week before I could decide what to do with it. Do a chevorn pattern? A diamond? Put a bird on it? Orange accents? Silver? The possibilities were endless. In the end I decided to attempt a vintage music theme for this piece. Here she is:

She is for sale if you are interested!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

They Don't Smell

I love paper whites or Narcissus. I savor their smell as well.  My husband HATES the smell. When they are blooming he will walk in the room sniff and ask, "Did a cat pee in here?" We don't have cats and I'm pretty sure the dogs would freak if one made it into the house. Wait. It is the Narcissus.
I plant them every year for Christmas and Valentine's Day and every year it is the same battle.

Last night I met my sister at Goodwill for some shopping and low and behold I spotted a box with twelve stems of faux paper whites. These weren't you average cheap fake flowers. These were the kind you find in high end shops that look real. They were brand new and Goodwill had no idea what they originally cost because they hadn't gauged the price. All of these babies cost me $6.99.

When my husband walked in he noticed them in the trophy vase and started sniffing. "They aren't real!" I proclaimed. "Well they look like they are." Score. Even the leaves bend on these babies. Maybe I will sell them, maybe I won't. I will still be planting them at Christmas, because I like cat pee.

Here is a nest I found in the pool bed the other day. I added it to my collection on the mantle. I shouldn't have packed my Robin's eggs with the Easter stuff.

Today is my birthday and Mr.Dickey sent me some real flowers at work. Have you ever been in a classroom full of 8th graders when the teacher gets flowers? They began to chant, "Read the card, read the card". They can be so weird.

Got The World On A String

A few months back I was asked to cover for a teacher who had an emergency and had to leave during the day. As I was leaving their classroom I spotted a broken globe. I am sure this was the work of a budding engineer, and now it would be mine. I took it and later asked the teacher if I could keep it. He laughed and said, "It is payment for watching my class." Seemed like a deal to me.

I brought it home and with the help of IKEA's hanging light kit created this:

The bulb in the light is pink because everyone has pink lightbulbs lying around.

It literally took me a drill bit, my electric scissors (gosh I love those things...I need to do ads for them) and ten minutes later it was done. Wait...make that twenty because I just decided I want to paint the inside silver.

It is pictured hanging in my daughter's room because I had a hook in the ceiling. She wants to keep it, but I have other plans for it. It will be for sale on my Etsy site very soon.

I can make another one, but the world would be upside down and we can't have that. I actually think I am going to make a funky bowl out of it. Mmmm.

Might As Well Face It I'm Addicted to Lamps (and Shades)

I love lamps. No, I REALLY LOVE LAMPS. This addiction started long ago. My first brand new purchase when I moved out in college was a floor lamp. I still own in twenty years later. It has received several makeovers, but I still have it.
In my living room I have five. In my bedroom two, my family room four...you get the idea. Since I love lamps I also love lampshades. Here are a some of my recent creations:

This one is in the "seaside" bathroom:

Originally I did not have the buttons on this shade, but my friend Teesha suggested them and it looks a lot better. Thanks Teesh!

There are two of these shades (they are for sale):

I love how the light is cast with the chenille.

Another random one...

Here is one I am especially proud of:

I intended to have this as the centerpiece of my baseball window, but didn't get it done in time. I finally mastered drilling holes in baseballs. Whew talk about a fun job.
I took apart a lamp we weren't using and after drilling holes in four baseballs I placed shoved them down the metal lamp rod. I rewired the lamp and topped it with a simple red shade I had lying around (Alright the truth is this is part of my Christmas lampshade collection). Finito!
For now it sits in the baseball window, but it's next stop will be Drexler's mancave.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Saving Money on Plants

I have multiple addictions, but one of them is plants. To be more specific, my drug plant of choice is the hosta. Here are some pictures of my hostas in all their glory last year:

Hostas aren't cheap. To be honest, plants aren't cheap, but I am. As spring hits my addiction starts kicking in and I begin to cave in. I could spend a lot on plants. Our yard is 1/2 an acre and we entertain a lot in the summer because we are blessed to have an in ground pool. We are outside all summer and plants become my decorations. Over the years I have developed some techniques to save money on plants and to feed my addiction.

Annuals- These babies add color to your yard. I could easily spend $200 (or more) on annuals a year only to see them die at the end of the season. My advice? Resist the urge. Take a look at your yard and decide where you want to make a statement. This is where you should place annuals.
In my area nursery's will often hold flat sales. This is the cheapest way to buy annuals. I can usually pick up a flat of locally grown inpatients (48 plants) for $10 at Al's Garden Center ( http://www.als-gardencenter.com/index.php?cID=261). My Fred Meyers typically has a flat sale at the beginning of May as well. The only issue with this is they are 48 of the exact same plant in one color. This works out well for me because I use a flat and a half to do my pool bed (pictured above). I buy two flats in different colors and plant them in intervals. However, if you are only doing containers one color can be a bit blah. The solution? See if a friend or neighbor will buy a different color and make some trades! Better yet, get a group of friends to go in on flats and divide them up at a garden party!

Containers- I love perusing suppliers garden centers for new and interesting annuals to add to my containers. They are so colorful and fun. However, some annuals cost $5 a pop. For this reason I choose a few pots to plant the high end annuals in. I have two Babylon bowls on the pillars in front of my house. They are visible from the street and the help showcase our front door. I have these planted with annuals year round. In the fall I have mums or pansies, in the winter I add greenery to them, in the spring it is pansies again and in the summer they are bursting with fantastic annuals.
One of the best things to do with containers is to look for perennials (plants that return year after year) you can plant in  containers. I started doing this a few years ago love that after one year in my container I can dig out the perennial and plant it in my yard. I can also leave it in the container for another year. It is a lot easier to justify spending $5 on a plant I will have for years to come. In some cases it is a plant I can eventually divide it and get more plants!

Some of my favorite plants to put into containers are:

Heucheras. They come in all sorts of lovely colors. They do well in containers and can remain in them for a year or two. After that they can be added to flowerbeds.These babies grow well in sun or shade.

Various grasses. They add height and textural interest to containers.

And of course hostas...

Plant Sales- One of my favorite ways to save money on plants is to go to gardening club sales. They are bountiful at this time of year. I have been going to some sales for 13 years and am now a regular. I have been able to buy some unique plants for a fraction of the price I would pay elsewhere. For example, I bought an excellent hellebore for $5 at one sale. I spotted the same hellebore at Al's for $35. Nice score. The other great thing about these sales is  people are knowledgeable about plants. Check out your local paper, flyers in stores, Craigslist, and garden club websites for more of these sales. Arrive early, with cash and some sort of box or container to put your plants in. If you see a plant you may be interested in grab it because things go fast at these sales.

Craigslist- I have picked up some great plants from the free section of Craigslist. Some people don't like plants and want bare yards. Heck, I can't blame them...gardens are work. I have saved thousands by digging plants out of other people's yards. A few years ago my dad and I dug up a beautiful maple and drug it home. The same tree would have cost me $700 at a nursery. Not only that, I saved a tree from being chopped down. I have also dug up peonies, hostas, Solomon Seal, and more. All of these plants were enormous compared to what I would have been able to get at a nursery.

Friends & Family- I have no pride when it comes to begging people for plants. I am known for saying, "If you ever want to thin that plant out I would be happy to come help you do it." As a result people are always asking me if I want something they are going to "clear out". I have also been known to go up to people's doors and ask them if they would allow me to get a start from their yard. Sometimes this works and sometimes...well that is a story for another day.

"Borrowing"- Ever been to a park, the woods, a vacant lot and noticed plants that are out of control? For example a shopping center near my home had a plant growing over the sidewalk. I began to weed a little for them and low and behold a start of the plant landed in my hands. We were strolling down the road and a little fern was growing on the side of it and I dug it up in order to protect it from the cities work crew who would eventually mow it over. You get the idea. Now before you call the police on me for stealing plants please understand I never would dig something up from private property, protected forests, etc. but some plants just need to be saved from years of neglect.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Annie Sloan...I Wanted to Hate You

After being an active lurker of blogs for the past year and a half I admit to reading  a lot about this lady named Annie Sloan and her paint. She seems nice and all, but after all she is British and you know they can be a bit fancy over there. Plus, the exchange rate isn't working in our favor right now. Anyway, I finally broke down and drove the 17 miles to downtown Portland's Purple Pear (http://moonstone-designs.com/purple-pear). I bought two sample sizes in Antoinette and Paris Grey. I hadn't planned on it, but I could not resist the soft wax so it came home with me too.
Phyllis, the owner of the shop, had several pieces for sale that used Annie Sloan and even showed a partially done piece with a shiny poly on it simply painted over with sample colours (had to get some British English in there somewhere). I asked, "I really don't have to prime?" Nope. I immediately came home and busted out Antoinette on a small wood and wicker bench (?) I have been waiting for some inspiration on. Here she is:

Isn't she lovely? I wish I had a white and pink Rachel Ashwell inspired bedroom to put her in. Alas, my two Boston Terriers and their fur have other plans in mind (not to mention my husband).

I loved the paint. I really loved the paint. I wanted to hate it, but just couldn't. I hate the price. I am going to continue experimenting with homemade recipes for now, but will buy more Annie Sloan to use on special projects. I will note that Sherwin Williams paint has almost the same consistency and you know how I love those boys. As for the wax, I don't think I will ever go back to my Minwax. Sorry to dump you, but Annie Sloan Soft Wax is just that good.

A final look from the side...

We had record setting temperatures here in the Pacific Northwest this weekend so my plans were adjusted. Here is what I plan on working on when the weather returns to it's norm:

Here is another project I am working on. Notice my Sherwin Williams paint on top of the dresser? I still love Color to Go from them. Annie hasn't become a drug for me just yet.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Board By Any Other Name...

Call it a bulletin board, a cork board, whatever you like. I picked this frame up at the Goodwill bins awhile back. I liked the shape, I liked the details and I liked the .75 price. I added some foam core board covered in fabric and suddenly I have this:

Here is what her door looked like before:

I am hanging this lovely lady on the outside of my daughter's door so she won't have to use tape on it anymore. We shall see how long it lasts.

So I have to make a confession. This board ended up costing me A LOT more than the above stated .75. I was in a hurry (like normal) and grabbed a piece of foam core board. I traced the back and began using my handy dandy electric scissors. When I flipped it over I saw Scotty Pippins face. Oh shiznit. I accidentally grabbed my husband's valuable one-of-a-kind poster. Let's just say we had been in an argument and bringing this to him was like rubbing salt in wounds. Yikes. I showed him. I apologized, but nothing can bring Scotty back to the way he was. This board is now worth some money...in a way.

Mulching=Thriving Plants

I despise barkdust. Barkdust=death for plants.Barkdust=slivers for kids. Barkdust=fleas for dogs.
When we bought our house almost seven years ago it had layer after layer of barkdust and absolutely no live vegetation with the exception of some bushes and fir trees. It was almost impossible to dig a hole in some parts of the yard. Barkdust provides no nutrients for the soil and essentially leaches any nutrients out of it. Why do you think it helps keep weeds away? Weeds don't get water and thus they die. That's good news right? It is if you are after the weeds, but it isn't good if it does the same to plants you want to grow.
Now barkdust does have its place. Let's say I had a vacation home and when I was there I didn't want to spend my time maintaining my palatial property? In this situation barkdust is good. Let's say I was elderly and couldn't do yard work, barkdust would be great. However, if I was someone who loves plants (uhhhm me), and wants lush vegetation barkdust would not be good. You get it?
So what do you use instead? Yard debris compost. In some parts of the country it is called mulch. In my area people go to the "dump" and drop off all their yard debris. The garbage men dump yard debris here too. They take the debris and put it into huge piles (we are talking three story high piles) and let it compost. It stinks, it smokes, but in the end you get this:

People like me drive our trucks past the barkdust and get a scoop of yard debris compost for $15 a yard. Yep it is that cheap. We then drive it home and spread it on thick. I'm talking 2-3 inches thick the first time and an inch every other year after that (If my back could handle it I would do it every year). The result? Beautiful gardens. Mulch helps to keep the weeds down at first, but will eventually feed them. The good news is they are easy to pop out because the looseness of the mulch is a dream. I love the way the dark, almost black, color of the mulch plays off my plants.
Seven years later I am seeing the benefits of the mulch. I have hellebore seedlings, hosta starts and other plants are thriving. I can actually dig a hole in the soil now too. My goal is to team up with a local garden club in a few years and have people actually visit my garden. I am known to take people on tours when they drop by. My sister will roll her eyes and say, "Here she goes again, another garden tour by Dickers". Yep, mulch works that well.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sick Chick (en)

Two weeks ago we went to Urban Farm Store and picked up two pullets. These are hens who are not laying yet, have feathers, but won't lay eggs until mid-summer.

The kids chose a Rhode Island Red (the red one) and a Cuckoo Maran. The Maran is also known as a "chocolate egger" because her eggs will be a dark dark brown.

Delia was to the moon excited about the new ladies and spent at least an hour a day in the chicken pen hanging out with her friends. Until last Saturday.

Irene, who is one of our original ladies from three years ago (we raised her from a chick), had bubbles coming out of her eye.
Here is Irene with my nephew Hudson:

I immediately went to the Internet and began researching. I found several possible diagnosis...none of them good. I quickly ran to the farm store (the day before I had become Mayor using Foursquare...I am there that often) and picked up some antibiotics.
I still didn't know what was wrong, but I knew I had to separate the chickens and antibiotics would be a good preventative measure for ALL the ladies.
After a good hour of cleaning out the main enclosure area and making a makeshift coop for the affected girl I was done. My hope is we could prevent the other chickens from contracting whatever it was Irene had. The next day she looked better, the next day she looked worse etc. My other chickens look fine. I am sad to see Irene alone. She so badly wants to be with her coop mates, but we can't risk it. We are trying to be extra nice to her, but it is hard. Hopefully she will kick this "cold". Delia is sad because she can't hang out with the chickens. I am afraid she will help to spread the sickness.
To top it off for the first time in three years we are also seeing direct evidence of RATS. I know we have had them before (coops and rats go hand in hand), but this year I have actually seen the rats on more than one occasion. They are a brazen family. So far we have killed five. They are getting a little smarter and we haven't had a kill in a week, but this weekend we up the ante.
The ladies are back to being "cooped up" because of this:

I had just cleaned this bed and cleared the brick wall. An hour later the ladies left me with this mess.

I am excited that the weather here in Oregon is finally looking better. Here are some shots I took this week:

I have cleaned some beds, but have a LONG way to go. Those darn chickens are taking up my time.

Put Me In Coach!

I will admit to being a baseball mom. I wasn't always one. No sirree. The first season my son played I was MIA taking three graduate level classes at once. The next season I tolerated it. Last year I fell in love. This year I am nuts.

My son, Drexler is playing minors this year. He is a pitcher and infielder extraordinaire. Here is is last year:

 He is a big Boston Red Sox fan. This year he was drafted to the Yankees (his most hated team). Cie la vie.

I spotted a wreath made out of baseballs on Pintrest. A ball landed on my head and I realized after I cleaned up the Easter decor I would decorate our front window in a  baseball theme. Wahoo! I have been planning it for the last two weeks.

While I loved the wreath that started it all I thought I would make it easier on myself. I am not a big fan of drills. A side note. Did you know balls are hard to come by? I bought a bucket of about 15 for $12 at a thrift store (this KILLED ME). I searched for free and cheap ones, but no such luck.
The back (U-G-L-Y you don't got no alibi you ugly). The one I saw on Pintrest was much nicer looking. The inventor of the wreath drilled holes in each ball...I don't like drills. I simply took an old Christmas wreath frame (you know those cheap green ones) and hot glued the balls to it. I used a lot of glue, but it worked.

Here is my window:
A closer look at the banner I made:

It says Play Ball. Banners are so hard to photograph (well for someone who is a second grade photography skills).

The grass in the container will grow taller eventually. I added an old mitt, a trophy (made that too), some more balls, bats, and of course some Red Sox gear. I hope to add a baseball lamp soon (I will post it when I am finished).

I am really happy with how this vignette turned out. My son is too. He usually rolls his eyes and says, "Mom why do you like this crazy stuff. No one cares about decorations". I admit if I was a ten-year-old boy I wouldn't give a fig newton about decor. This time around he digs it in a stand offish boy sort of way. Dududududa. Dududhduah. Gotta go my phone just rang and the game is about to start (Yes, my ring tone is Centerfield...what are you going to do about it?)