Hit The Deck

I told you monday that it was a hardworkin' homeowner weekend, and here's the proof.

There's been talk of re-staining our deck for about a year now, and it just didn't happen last summer. Well the time had officially come this year, with a couple spots wearing bare and the rainy season coming quickly.
I saw a stretch of nice weather coming, and decided to seize the weekend. Off to the hardware store and home with a gallon of stain and a wide brush made just for the project.
Picked these up at Home Depot.
Luckily, we already had cleaner and a spray pump on hand, so that was step one. I followed the directions on the cleaner (mix with water, etc), sprayed and let it sit for the recommended time (5 minutes in this case), and began the real work: Scrubbing.

Ohhh the scrubbing. I ended up doing every board and the top of the railing three times apiece. Rough. But with the requirement of a dry deck to apply stain and a very wet one in front of me, at least I was done for the day.
More bare spots than I ever imagined appeared once the deck was clean.
That's the brush I used for scrubbing - It's day job is sweeping the garage.
The next afternoon (once the damp from the morning dew was long gone), I slapped on some old clothes and rubber gloves and got down to work. Here again I trusted the expertise of the container, applying a moderately thin coat and trying to avoid drips. It was a fairly quick process compared to the previous day's cleaning extravaganza, and wow, the results were immediate and spectacular.
Looking from the screen door to the bottom level.
After 24 hours of drying time, I applied a light second coat to a few of the heavily worn areas. They looked exactly the same, but at least now we know for sure they're protected.
From top: Before, post-scrubbing, and after.
This 'after' shot looks crazy red - It's not quite this day-glo in real life.
Just shy of a week later, the deck is still ever-so-slightly tacky, but we can walk on it without leaving marks. With rain expected this weekend, I think I snuck in just under the autumnal gun.


Random Round Up: End of August

I cannot believe it's September next week. What?!

I took advantage of what's sure to be the last promised sunny weather: It was a hardworkin' homeowner kind of weekend for this girl, but we'll get to that later this week. For now, some pretties:
Plums will hopefully be picked this week. Yum!
Awesome new asymmetrical ear cuff from Jeweliq.
A childhood summer dinner tradition continued: Peach crêpes
Friday called for two coffees (and the obligatory 'Blue Friday' Hawks shirt).
Front Door Flowers
Is it Friday yet? Wait, no; I'm not quite ready for September yet.


What's Up With This Ice Bucket Challenge?!

If you participate in social media - Facebook especially - you've seen a flood (ha) of videos of people pouring buckets of icy cold water over their heads, all in the name of "The ALS Challenge". I have to admit, I was one of those annoyed by it at first. After all, it's nice to raise awareness about a disease (Lou Gehrig's Disease, in this case), but what in the world does dumping a bucket of water over your head actually DO to make progress for a cure?!

Then people started making a point of showing their filled-out donation checks, calling out the donation website, and reminding their friends that donating is part of accepting the challenge. And then I saw this video.

Seriously. Go watch it. Inspiring.

And so when Nate and his dad were called out by our friend Adam, well, I was happy to do some filming so they could nominate the next lucky contestants.
Not nominated? You can still donate here, and without the waterworks. Have a great weekend everyone!


Random Round Up: Mixed Bag

I'm delayed this week and it's only Tuesday. *sigh* Better late than never though I suppose...
RIP Lauren Bacall - An icon and the last living reference in Madonna's 'Vogue'.
I'm 2 weeks into P90X3 - It's intense! That's a handprint (& tape) still visible 15 minutes post-workout.
An incredible coconut cake made by a coworker. Dreamy.
Friends bring friends Seahawks colored flowers. Hooray for football season!
Nate had a caricature drawn of him at an event - Love it!
Hope you're feeling on track and ready for the rest of the week! I'll getting there....


Where There's A Willow, There's A Way

A little over a year ago, I told you about the trouble my beloved curly willow tree was in. It was bending, breaking, and basically on it's way out. I knew I wanted to do everything possible to keep it alive, but for quite a while, we weren't sure what those actions were.
Check out the bend on that guy - It would touch the house when it rained. Not good.
Finally, it came down to the fact that the tree just had to lose some weight to even have a chance. So, after snipping off a few branches to propagate in case our trimming killed it, my parents brought over the chainsaw and we cut off two very major branches. And when there are only three to begin with, that makes for a pretty severe shear.
Branches off and bucked for winter firewood for my parents.
It's been a little over a month since the branches came down, and I'm thrilled (seriously, it's probably too much excitement over a tree) to report that the willow is flourishing! It's now straight and tall and has a bunch of new growth. Woohoo!!
Look at all that new growth at the saw spots!
As straight as a curly willow ever could be.
I promised an update so long ago I'm sure you'd forgotten, but just had to report the happy news. And take note: If you are cutting off a branch, make sure to angle your cut so any rain water can run off. It will give the tree a much better shot at not getting diseased at the saw spot. You can thank my dad for that hot tip.
One of the branches I cut for propagating is flourishing too. Yay!

 Have a great weekend guys!


Random Round Up: All The Small Things

It's the middle of August. When did that happen?! How 'bout some pics of a little dog, little shirt, and little waterfront moments to make you me forget it's already almost fall...
Kids' department of Nordstrom - Cracked me up!
Blue Herons never get old. So prehistoric looking.
Five 10 hour work days earned me a mini champagne on Friday.
Ferry coming in to dock.
Have a great week guys!


A Mouse In The House

Okay, in the garage. But close enough.

Last weekend, we were planning on taking it pretty easy. That all changed rather rapidly when the hubs decided to go break down some boxes in the garage. Within minutes, he was back inside, asking his country girl wife "um... what does mouse poop look like?"


Long story short (and less rodent-y, for those averse), we spent about 5 dirty, sweaty, disgusting hours on saturday ripping apart the garage. Sweeping, hosing off, washing machine going, runs to the dump... yeah. Saturday was just not cute.
...And this is AFTER dump and recycling runs. Torn apart, I tell ya.
Some good news was we found not only the main mouse-house locale, but I think figured out their freeway as well: The previous homeowners did some pretty shoddy drywall patching that we'd never noticed. Let me tell you, I spackled like I've never spackled before.
I may have overdone it. But really, can you overdo it in this situation??
Sunday brought a new day and a new dawn, and we were indeed feelin' good (thanks, Michael Bublè). The really gross stuff was, after all, done. A crack-o-dawn trip to Home Depot to snag some shelving units (they were the best reviewed on the site), and home to build them. It was a two person job, but not tough at all. And sturdy! Only time will tell if the shelves warp under weight, but they're starting strong.
This may look chaotic, but seriously, this is an incredible improvement.
All in all, I think we put in about a dozen or so hours in the garage over the two days. It was a forced and dirty job we weren't ready to tackle, but in the end I'm actually pretty glad it's done. A few boxes in my sewing room to paw through and sort, but dare I say... the garage is clean! And so help me, rodent free.



Random Round Up: Rodent-Free Moments

I'm not going to lie to you guys: Not one of these pictures is from the weekend. Those "days off" were hijacked by finding evidence of mice in the garage... Oh the fun of being a homeowner. We'll get to that makeover later in the week, but for now I'd like to remember some happier moments that were not full of sore muscles and hand washing.

So. Much. Hand washing.
A blue heron leaving the pond on an early morning walk.
Black licorice pipes, courtesy of North Dakota... Weird, but tasty.
An incredible honor from an amazing friend. T-minus one year!
Summer dining options.
Saved a bumble from my kiddie pool. 
It' a long week ahead for this girl, chock full of ten hour work days. Wish me luck... and same to you!


Saddle Up

Take that title literally, as my saddle is up and ready to ride! ...Or, at least perch on. Nate used these free plans he found online as the basic idea (he modified a few areas), and in under two hours and for less than $30, voila! A display stand strong enough to hold one saddle and one human.
It's a beautiful thing. I still can't get over the fact that I actually have this long-searched-for item in  my living room.
As you saw above, it's all sanded and I plan to stain the wood to age it a little... "old barn" is the thought. I'm also toying with the idea of somehow adding a monogram to the front panel, and finding or making a saddle blanket to sit between saddle and stand. Decisions, decisions. 
But for now... giddyap!