Saturday, April 25, 2009

Gardening season has started

Since we live in the middle of Philadelphia, our backyard is a concrete slab. We've had alot of success with container gardening, back there, thanks to this gift from our friends S&C. This is our first summer trying vegetables, but with the greatest urban gardening center right down the street, we got lots of valuable advice about which veggie starters would make it in containers. The lettuce is a bit of a risk, because of the spacing, but we're gonna see how it pans out.

Lettuce! That is, indeed, an old radiator cover that's in the backyard. I'm thinking of spray painting it with rustoleum in a nice bright color!

This is actually a spruce that survived the winter. It sprouts beautiful green leaves that turn to a brilliant yellow.

That's our blackberry plant on the left, which also survived the winter, and a couple veggies (tomatoes, I think) on the right. I can't wait to get those window boxes back up on the front of the house because I have a great idea for what's going in them!

Tomatoes and mint in the front, another survivor from last year, and japanese eggplant in the back silver pot that also has survivor mint from last summer! Did you know that planting mint and basil helps keep mosquitos and flies away? Last year, we had a 4th of July BBQ and that mint was picked fresh and mashed into a delicious vodka/lemonade punch!

Tomato plants. The one on the right is sharing space with some oregano!

My plan for the summer is to do something about the ugly concrete floor of the backyard, once our house construction is done and all the equipment is out of there. (Imagine climbing over power tools to plant those tomatoes!) I've seen people paint concrete on TV home improvement shows, or Ikea also sells this decking that we could just put over the concrete. Have any of you guys ever had to do something to make your concrete back yard look better?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hello, beautiful

Say hello to my new friend. Hopefully, she will be wearing my sweater and shrug designs in the future. Thanks be to Craigslist. I was thinking of naming her. Any suggestions?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

So close!

I was going to wait until the whole thing was done, but I'm too impatient. Here's a sneak peek at the facade of our Philly row home. Our awesome contractor and his peeps chipped away the damaged areas of the stucco and re-covered the entire surface in the metal mesh that you are supposed to use for stucco. (Our neighborhood isn't known for expert workmanship...that's for sure.) They also removed the rotting wood lintels and sills, and replaced them with limestone slabs. The stucco is a synthetic material with the added gray pigment that I selected. The synthetic is believed to last longer and crack less. The first pic is a "before" image that I took on the day we signed the contract for the house, back in 2006.

Now that the biggest part of the project is done, we'll move on to the little things like replacing the front doors and restoring the original features of the house facade: the cornice, the transom, and the wood framing around the windows. We had originally considered fully restoring the cornice by having our contractor recreate the decorative finials that adorn most original cornices in Philly, but a neighbor of ours did a really nice, polished, and cheaper job on her cornice, and I loved the modern look of it, so we are going to go in that direction. I've picked out a color to paint the door, window frames, and cornice. It's a green called Happy Camper! Perfect for my mood, today!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Whew! Sorry, folks! This last week has been a whirlwind of other projects. Today, I'm working from home while my contractors work on refacing our house. It's kind of another design project of mine as I'm working with the guys to design a more modern cornice for the top of our row house, and I've been fretting over a paint color for that piece, and the front door, that will really pop against our new dark gray stucco. And there will also be a glass etching project in store, for the safety glass that will be installed in our newly-excavated transom!

In the meantime, I've finished my very first sewing project and here's the final product!

I love that I reversed the fabrics on the strap so that you could see some of the faux bois print without having to look inside to the lining. I've been carrying it around like a purse for the last week, just so I can show it off. I can't thank the ladies at Spool enough...their intro to sewing class really has me believing that I might actually be able to use a sewing machine, after all!

I finally got around to setting up my Christmas present from my husband, too. Now I just have to find some time to sit down and re-learn how to use it.

Behold, a knitting machine! I have a blanket idea and a shrug/ponchette idea, but I might start with the blanket first because it's more straight forward. I'll post updates!

One last thing! I just found out that I'll be covering the Phillies' Stitch n'Pitch night, for my Examiner blog, on April 29th. I don't know if I'm more excited about having a press pass for an MLB game, or being able to knit while I watch the world champs at work!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Vote for Pedro...I mean, VOTE FOR ME!

I know I've been delinquent, y'all. I have a couple projects that I've been trying to finish up and show off. In the meantime, I've entered two project photos in a contest at Martha, and the winner will get a copy of her new Craft Encyclopedia! So head over there, check my stuff out. I'm under the user name LauraDraperDesigns - I've posted the projects here already, but I'm trying to get picture views for judging purposes. And please, comment to your hearts' content!

You can see all the entries here.