We have a long list started of things that need to get finished inside the house. But when God gives you a 75-degree/no humidity/no wind Saturday in July, what are you gonna do? At noTTafarm, we go outside, start a fire, and burn stuff! We spent the majority of the afternoon clearing two dead pine trees and the Norway spruce.
Two pine trees on the south edge of the yard fell victim to the pesky pine disease. Last summer's drought didn't help matters. Scott started the clean up by clearing off as many branches as he could reach. I dragged them to the burn pile while he started on the final cuts.
Making the notch . . .
. . . and giving a final push! Sadly, the chain on the saw started acting up shortly after this photo was taken. Scott needs to make a trip to Little Engines before he can fell the other tree.
I discovered that I could lay in the hammock and watch the fire, rather than stand around - a great way to relax and enjoy the show!
This poor Norway spruce north of the house was such a grand tree. It was sad to watch it whither in the heat last summer! Many of the lowest branches have been removed and disposed of, and once the chainsaw is up and running, we'll clear this out, too.
My attention is finally turning from construction to decorating, and I've been casually shopping for a coffee table to use in the great room. Though my trips through the Design Gallery at the Furniture Mart are enjoyable, paying $1000 for a coffee table is not. Luckily, I had a brainstorm one afternoon last week, and Scott actually went along with it! We now have a table that is the right size, the right look, and - best of all - was free! Here's how:
During one of his dumpster dives last fall, Scott found this 16"-tall steel table base. He thinks it was probably a patio fire pit stand that outlived its usefulness for one of the construction guys.
When we were first married, my dad made a kitchen table for us out of a butcher block table top that he stained and finished. The base was a Singer sewing machine stand from one of his great aunts.
I got busy sanding, touching-up the stain, and poly-coating the 42"-wide table top . . .
. . . while Scott tightened-up the screws holding the base together, and gave it two coats of "bronze" spray paint.
Wilson helped Scott attach the base to the top with eight screws . . .
. . . and Leo gave the table his approval! It looks great with the other steel and wood elements in the great room. Best of all, it was free!
Scott loves to tells people that my "demand" for a walk-in pantry drove the entire design of the new addition. I think this is an exaggeration but I may have insisted on "just this one thing." I really wanted a central location for baking and serving items that, at our previous home, had been inconveniently stored in the basement and attic. It didn't seem like that big of a deal to me (but I wasn't the one doing the drawing.) Lucky for me, he acquiesced, and we now have a handy pantry adjacent to the kitchen.
The pantry is actually in the 1920 portion of the house in space formerly occupied by the dinette/breakfast nook.
January 8, 2011 ~ Deconstructed Breakfast Nook
By late Fall, 2012, the breakfast nook had been bumped out a smidgen to the north where it abuts the Connector.
Since Spring, the pantry has housed a collection of clutter - not the organized paradise I envisioned!
Finally, with the big construction push over, we turned our attention to the configuration of the pantry. After a lot of deliberation, we chose free-standing shelves that we found at Lowe's.
We were able to fit three 72"-tall units in the room: one is 48 inches wide x 24 inches deep; the other two are 36 inches wide x 18 inches deep. Scott likes them because the steel construction echoes the steel he used in the stair railings.
I found it impossible to take a photo that shows all of the shelving!
The shelves are particle board with a gray spray-on laminate. Not very fun . . . so what better way to spiff them up than by covering with brightly-colored oil cloth which could handle items being shoved back-and-forth plus add vintage charm! I found a great online resource: Oil Cloth By The Yard. The worst part was choosing a favorite pattern among all of their wonderful prints! I finally settled on a pattern named, "Fruit Cart Orange." The order arrived Monday (July 15) so I spent the bulk of the evening working on my little project.
I rolled the oil cloth out on the kitchen peninsula and wrapped about an inch of cloth on each side of each shelf, securing with Scott's new staple gun. (He bought it in a fit of panic the last week before the appraisal. What on earth was he going to build with a staple gun?)
Isn't it fun?
After a few hours of stapling, all but two shelves were covered. I had to order two more yards of fabric to finish the job (and probably should brush up on my math skills in the meantime.) I plan on organizing my china, crystal, and serving pieces on the north shelf. The center shelf will house baking things, and the shelf on the south wall will be for party ware and extra appliances. It's going to be great! I will take more photos as the project progresses.
The space on the south wall nearest the door was perfect for a 24"-wide bookshelf! Menard's had this one for only $27. It's now the perfect spot for my cookbook collection.
For the past 10 days, Scott and I have been coasting. It's been hard to muster the energy to work on outstanding tasks. I guess we were more worn out by the activities of the last three years than we imagined! Nevertheless, summer has finally come to noTTafarm.
I finally bought two big geraniums at Home Depot. And - I actually planted them in pots and pulled a few weeds! The good news about buying plants this late is that they are on sale. I need to make another trip or two to add some color to the patio and courtyard.
The perennials are doing super without having to fight the drought this year. This Easter lily is in full bloom this week in the cottonwood flower garden.
Another beautiful lily nestled in the mint patch.
Saturday (July 6th) we spent time in the courtyard while Scott put together a new seating set. All four cats (two domesticated, two not so much) hung out with us. Tux and Wilson and Leo and Bibbers are quite the comical kitties!
The new "Chat Set" is a comfy place to hang out in the east courtyard.
We had a nice 4th of July even though I didn't take any photos. Carl and Marita, and nephews Andrew and Pat, and his fiancee Kathleen came over for a grilled-steak dinner. It was so fun to relax, chat, and catch up with family goings-on!
While we were working hard to finish the house last week, our nephew Nick and his wife Brooke welcomed their second baby into the world!
Maggie Elizabeth was born Wednesday, June 26 at 5:10 PM.
Niece Chelsie invited us to meet her and my Mom and Dad in Lincoln on Saturday, June 29th, so we could all meet Maggie. It was such a treat - not only to hold this precious little girl - but to actually be able to leave the house and not feel guilty! We had a great visit, went to lunch, then drove home and collapsed. I'm sure you won't mind more baby pictures in place of home improvement photos - just this once!
Big Sister Allie just turned two.
It's hard to believe she's the "big" one now! She's quite enamored with her baby sister.
Great Grampa and Gramma Ward made the trip from Kearney to meet Maggie.
Even I got a chance to hold her!
Nick's brother Tyler and his wife Monica traveled from their home in Wamego, Kansas to meet Maggie.
They are expecting their first baby in December! We'll find out at the end of July whether we are having another great niece or if it will be a great nephew????
Mom is doing great, recovering from her second knee replacement!
Chelsie and Allie may have bonded over being "big sisters" but it's impossible to resist holding the baby!