Dye Job

I had a couple of white shirts with pit stains I just couldn’t seem to get out, despite trying all of my pinned tips.  I really liked both tops, so rather than throw them away I decided to dye them and disguise the issue.

2

I picked out purple and lime dye at Micheals, which then sat around for several weeks due to a super busy schedule.  Then one day it rained and I thought, “What better project for a dreary day than infusing some color into my wardrobe!”

1

I dug out a tub I use to do my foot detox soaks and gathered the other supplies needed.

3

The directions were fairly simple to follow.  Step one: Add salt to hot water and stir.

4

Step two: Add dye and stir (after watching the cool color swirls created first!).

5

6

Step three: Add item to be dyed. The directions said to stir continuously for 15 minutes, then let sit for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. I wanted a dip dye or ombré effect, so I decided to divide the 15 minutes into thirds, one for each section of the shirt, then let the whole item sit for 45 minutes.

7

8

That theory didn’t work exactly how I envisioned on the first shirt.  Instead the entire shirt looked about the same color.  It could be because the material was synthetic and not cotton like they recommend, but I didn’t think that would make much of a difference.

The second shirt was, cotton so this time I only stirred occasionally during each 5 minute portion and removed the entire item after 15 minutes.    That seemed to create the ombré effect I wanted much better. I rinsed both tops and then washed them before hanging them to dry.

Throughout this process my assistant did nothing to help other than supervising from her favorite spot on the couch!

9

I think both turned out ok and I’m glad I decided to add more color to my closet.

10   11

I’ve worn the purple top a few times now and think its a nice casual piece.  I haven’t worn the green top yet, but plan to pair it with slacks and a cardigan for a casual work outfit.  What do you think?  Improvement or just a cover up?

How Will My Garden Grow?

As I mentioned last week I plan to install our garden in the alcove created by the side of the house and the back of the third garage bay.  The space measures 12′ wide by 22′ long, which is a great space for a garden.  Here is the space as it sits.

GardenI knew I wanted the garden fenced off from the rest of the yard so the dogs wouldn’t be in there when we’re not home, but I hadn’t really decided what kind of fencing to use until I saw this community garden here in Anchorage!  Can you say AH-MAZE-ING?!

CIHAGarden

CIHAPostAnd the construction seemed simple enough – hog panels stapled (with heavy duty staples) onto posts and trim supports. While I love the arbor around the top, that might come in “Phase 2” but it would provide a great spot for plants such as strawberries or even tomatoes to trail!  I also plan for the pergola over the gate to come later.  It’s more important to get the garden going and producing than making it super pretty right?

Granted, my garden won’t be this big, (and if it was I might have to quit my day-job just to maintain it!), but the overall layout and design is a perfect example of what I want.  I took the hubs by to make sure it was doable on a smaller scale and he liked it.  He even mentioned how their raised beds were probably the exact design he’d suggest for our garden!

RaisedBeds

Although I’d love to have a green house right away, I know that likely won’t happen until next summer.  But when it does happen, I plan to use these Ana-White.com plans!  I’m thinking the green house will end up somewhere to the right of the garden where it will get sunlight all day.  Until then I will use hoops over the raised beds to extend the growing season on either end.

Right now I plan to grow chard, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes (regular and cherry), bell peppers (different colors for salsa!), carrots, green and yellow onions, potatoes, jalapenos (not sure how they will fare in this climate, so I might have to wait until we have a green house), garlic, snow peas, green beans and broccoli.  I also recently inherited a purple cauliflower plant which will find a home in my garden if it survives the move.  I also plan to have stacked planters like these on the back deck in which I’ll transplant my current salad bowl and create an herb garden with basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, dill and cilantro, which can be moved during the winter.

BarrelI recently found this plastic barrel for free on Craigslist and plan to create something like this with it to plant my strawberries in.  A planter and compost all in one?  Sounds great!  Made with a freebie barrel – even better!

RainBarrelWe will also be installing rain barrels with rain chains around the house like this.  Luckily, I have a previous photography client who used wine and whiskey barrels as their wedding decor and no longer needs them, so I’ve got some earmarked for me at a discounted rate! 🙂  I also found this super simple and inexpensive tutorial for a copper rain chain that I plan to make.  And because we are working with the rain garden program, any money spent on these rain catchments counts toward our overall budget, of which half will will be reimbursed!

Now we just need to fast forward to move in day and put all these plans into action!

Just a Little Update

There wasn’t much progress this week, so today’s update will be rather brief.  The wood roof has been covered with a protective paper material to keep the rain out of the house until the metal roofing, which has been ordered, is installed – hopefully this week.

1

For now, all the windows and doors are open to let the interior wood dry out after the week-long rain we had.  The electrical should be done by mid-week and then insulation and drywall will begin.  We met with the builder on-site Thursday, and went over a few details.  He confirmed the siding where the nook window size was changed will be replaced by the framers, as it was their error.  He also confirmed they will add a header over the entry to the studio, which will give us a place to hang sliding tracks for doors later (watch for a post in the coming weeks about my plans for the office!).

The interior gas lines have been plumbed, but Enstar still has to run the line into the property from the street.  I’m not sure when this will happen, but it looks like they’ve already been on site doing some preparations.

2

While the crew was waiting on the sub-contractors they began installing the siding on the front of the house , which makes it seem so much more solid.

3

They also built the front porch, which will eventually have partial stone columns on either side where the posts currently are.  I can’t wait to decorate this space for holidays!  And I plan to add a pretty little rocking chair to that corner to enjoy the view!

4

5It’s not grand, but it’s our own little slice of the mountain, and I love it!

So that’s it for this week’s update.  Like I said, not much.  Hopefully this week will be more productive so I can share another milestone or two before the hubs and I head off to the lower 48 for a short trip. 🙂

Big Plans for the Back Yard

Although the house is still under construction and we won’t move in until late fall, we’ve already been thinking about what we want the back yard to look like.  The builder will install a 20′ x 12′ deck off the family room – where the three ‘pink’ footers are in the picture below.  We specifically requested an additional slider door be included in our Master Bedroom rather than just a window so we can have back yard access on that side too.  The builder will provide basic ‘steps’ at that door for now, but next season we plan to build a deck to match the one on the other side.

Back

We had originally planned to continue the deck out the entire length of the house, but we decided it would be easier and more cost effective to have the two decks with a ground-level patio in between so that the hot tub could sit lower than the deck which eliminates the need to ‘climb’ into it.  Plus I won’t fret about the deck being stable enough to support a full hot tub!

I also like the idea of breaking the space up into different areas for different purposes.  I’m envisioning something like this on our ‘private’ Master Bedroom deck for lounging and a dining set on the deck off the family room.  On the patio below I would like to make something like this where guests could sit and relax near a fire pit which will be made from this free washing machine tub we snagged on Craigslist last week!

Pit

The plan is to use pavers like this or stamped concrete like this on the patio, then use landscaping stones to create a spot that the drum will slide into.  Eventually we’d like to have one or both decks screened in or at least covered by a pergola with some sort of rain protection to extend the usability in our short summer season.  But that of course is a year or five down the road.

Beyond the decks and patio we plan to have grass for the dogs.  Depending on when we get into the house, we might buy some of the ‘end of season clearance seed’ to put out and see what we get, but most likely we will have the yard hydroseeded next spring.  I was stunned to find out that they charge just $395 if the area to be seeded is less than 3,000 sq. ft.  Um, yeah!  Sounds good to me!  Definitely better than the Craigslist ad I saw for free sod if you come cut up and haul off some guy’s yard!  I might be thrifty, but I know my time is valuable and I’d spend a whole lot more digging up, hauling and replanting his old “who knows what’s in it” grass than paying the out call to have fresh, weed free grass growing within 2 weeks!  Knowing us we’ll measure out everything before we schedule and make sure we’re just under that figure. We should be able to do an L-shape around the back and side of the house well within that figure.  🙂

I don’t have much landscaping beyond the deck-patio-deck and lawn planned for the back yard, but I will probably put a small flower bed along the bedroom side of the house for perennials like bulbs and hostas.  Our garden will be to the right of the deck off the family room in the alcove created between the side o the house and 3rd bay of the garage, which you can see on the right edge of the photo above.  Watch for a post about that plan next week!

Kitchen and Bath Colors

We recently picked out tile for the Master Bathroom shower and jacuzzi tub, so we brought along a sample when we met with the foreman to see the cabinets and counter tops that the builder had shipped up from the lower 48.  Here’s the quartz that they picked out.  It’s a little darker than I’d hoped, but it works well with all the other colors so I think it will turn out fine.  And it’s better than the white quartz they used in another model!  I couldn’t imagine trying to keep that clean with my hubby’s cooking habits!

Quartz

Here’s a sneak peek of the cabinet color and shaker style.

Cabinets

Here’s the combo of the flooring, cabinets and counter tops.

FloorQuartzCab

The bathrooms will have the same counter tops and cabinets, so we chose a neutral ‘spa’ style tile and accent for the Master Bathroom.

FloorQuartzBathTile

To save the budget, the hall bath has this single piece shower/tub instead of a tile surround – san’s shower doors.

HallShower

Our sinks will all be under-mounted squares like this one, except the cut out won’t be rounded in the front as much as this one is.

SinkShape

While we were there we also confirmed that our front porch columns and fireplace will have this stone, which should also coordinate well.

ExteriorStone

As you can tell, our colors are ‘earthy’ yet neutral.  I plan to add pops of color with accessories that can be easily changed out when the mood strikes.  We plan to have oil rubbed bronze fixtures on all the sinks and showers to continue the craftsman and spa style.  It’s hard to envision what it will all look like together and I think I’ll silently stress about it  until I see the finished product.  But it’s all part of the process and I’m sure it will turn out just fine.

Another Little Update

I realized it’s been two weeks since I’ve done an update on the progress of the house, so here’s the latest.  Almost all of the exterior doors and windows are in and the natural gas lines are done.

GreatRmNotice how the windows in the nook are shorter than the family room and the extra framing they had to add to correct the hole size they originally framed?  Well this is what it looks like on the outside.  I’m not super keen on this little change and will certainly be watching to make sure it looks better than this when we do our walk through!  I’ve also questioned why one window opens and the other doesn’t.  Seems they should both be one or the other.

ExteriorPatch

Laundry   Studio
Laundry room and Studio

HallBath Master
Hall Bathroom and Master Bedroom

MasterBathMaster Bathroom

GarageThe little window in the garage.  I’m not sure of it’s purpose, since it doesn’t let in much light…escape hatch perhaps? LOL

The highlight of the recent progress is our front door being installed!  In the design we liked and asked for!  Here it is from inside with the framed entry way and outside where the covered front porch will be.  Below is a wide shot of the front entry from outside.  Can’t wait to see this bad boy painted purple!

FrontDoorInside   FrontDoorOutsideCloseup

FrontDoorOutside

Apparently, there was a delay with the roofing contractor and electrician because we were told those items would happen this week, but there was no sign of either being started yet.  Instead there was limited progress on the vented soffets and trim around the windows and corners on the front of the house.

Soffett

WindowTrim

There was also a pile of materials to begin the lap board siding on the front of the house and our back deck!  We’ve got big plans for the back yard so watch for a post about that later this week!

Materials

The Little Birdies In Our Backyard

I rarely go in the backyard here at the rental.  There’s nothing out there but a hillside of mossy weeds for the dogs to run in and a small grouping of trees.  Granted that’s on purpose since we decided not to do anything in the yard because we knew this was a temporary residence and we’d rather spend money on something permanent at the new house.

That being the case, it was unusual for me to venture out into the trees to spread some flower clippings.  I like to throw things that will biodegrade out into ‘nature’ rather than in the trash can whenever possible.  It’s just one more way to recycle in my mind.  As I stepped into the trees I came face to face with a little bird peeking out at me from around the other side of a tree.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera on me to get a shot of him checking me out from around the tree and every time I’ve gone back out in search of him he’s no where to be found.  I believe he was a downy woodpecker because he matched the pictures I’ve found online for that species.

There is a bird feeder out back and the trees provide a nice little oasis from the suburban area nearby, so I can understand why birds would want to hang around. I found it quite nice to be still and listen to the wind in the leaves while I waited for Mr. Woodpecker to appear.

Tree

It’s been almost two weeks with no sign of him.  Although Mr. Woodpecker is apparently camera shy, I did spot this little sparrow.  He flitted around from branch to branch and then flew off in search of a less populated hang out.

Sparrow

During another visit to the ‘woods’ I discovered this nest in one of the trees.  I was excited to see who might be inhabiting it, but I haven’t heard a peep or seen anyone visit it yet.  I guess whoever built it has moved on to a bigger tree.

Nest

And every time I venture out into the ‘woods’ my little assistant tags along with this “What the heck are we doing mom?” look.  I think she hopes we’re on a quest to find the perfect throwing stick and doesn’t understand why mom seems to keep looking up rather than down. 🙂

Assistant