July 16, 2017:
Hola! Where does the time go, Geez Louise! Half summer is already gone, and I am first now updating this from last December, tsk tsk. Bad Jan! So, been busy puttering around the yard, as always, and paying more attention than I probably should be to politics. The kitchen "remodel" is on hold due to budgetary constraints, but I hope to have that remedied before the end of the year. And I have yet to paint the guest room - it's only been 3 years now since I moved in to this version of Maison Newton, I'm not lazy or anything, nope... LOL! Take care and have a great rest of the summer. Jan

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Shezebo Is Assembled and Installed!

It has turned out to be a perfect weather day for the install - not too humid, not too hot, a breeze, temperature in the mid-70s!  The two installers arrived shortly after 8 a.m. and got to work right away after I showed them where I wanted the Shezebo located.  Here are some photos of the ongoing process.  I took the photos through the screen of the patio door to stay out of the guys' way, you can see the screen close up, LOL!


There is no way I would ever have been able to do this, even with an army of helpers -- way too much hardware and parts!


Pictured above are some of the roof panels and various parts/hardware.


I am itching to get outside and arrange some of the furniture with the new cushions and the footstools and put down the outdoor rug.

I haven't painted the coffee table - I'll start that project tomorow.

Oh - and I forgot in the last post, I wanted to show you the "smart solar" water fountain/bird bath that I bought on Wayfair:


She's got a remote on/off so I don't have to rely on an automatic timer and stands 46" tall.  This is the Lapham Floor Fountain by Rosalind Wheeler.

2:05 p.m. Update:

Introducing you to my new - Shezebo!


She's already doing her job - making shade!  She's so lovely, and just the perfect size for my yard (like Goldilocks said, not too big, not too small, just right!)  The guys put up the mosquito netting and tied it back and that was the last touch.

Altogether, the assembly and install took 5.5 hours, 8:00 a,m. to 1:30 p.m., but half an hour was a lunch break.  The installers cleaned up everything, every last bit of plastic and cardboard, including the boxes the Shezebo was shipped in, and hauled it away in their van.

I'm going to hose down and broom clean the patio and then start moving in furniture/furnishings, whoop whoop!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Shezebo: A Dose of Frugality (Reimagining an Old TV Stand Turned Coffee Table)

Hola darlings!

I am so excited.  Tomorrow my Shezebo will be put together and installed by my contractor and his crew.  In preparation, today I cleared off the patio to make room for my Shezebo and work space.  Looks rather forlorn.

Before.
Pending.  Planters, table, birdbath moved out of the
construction zone.
Before.
Pending.  So sad - birds have been flying by looking for the
birdbath even as I type this; they have not yet discovered it in its new location!
One of the items I know I want in my Shezebo is a table that can serve both as a coffee/cocktail table and a side table.  That means something portable.  I had an idea in mind -- I wanted to have something on casters but not too tall, something with a shelf underneath the tabletop, and something in yellow.  I started by hunting for yellow coffee tables and saved photos of two possibilities:

Chatham House "Helena" Coffee Table at Bed, Bath and Beyond (no casters)
$97.49 with free shipping on orders over $29
Sauder Woodworking Soft Modern TV Multi-Cart 115.42 (on casters)
$115.43 and free shipping
I was looking for tables around $100 or, preferably, less.  I'm sure there are other options out there online, possibly something I'd need to spray paint and/or add casters on.  But, considering the amount spent for my Shezebo, the assemble and install, and all of the goodies that I probably did not need but went out and bought anyway, I decided to go the frugal way and shop what I already had in the house -- just begging for some casters and a paint job:


This painted in the early 1990s former TV stand (minus casters removed when said item ceased being used as a TV stand and was converted to a coffee table in the family room at the former Maison Newton), complete with burgundy stenciling on the top (thankfully, not shown in this photo).  What can I say?  Jewel tones were "in" when I first decorated my former family room, and the converted TV stand never changed its, er, spots when I ditched the jewel tones in favor of something equally gaudy but in lighter "updated" tones of copper, taupe, and beige.  LOL!  I know, I know, but it wasn't as hideous as it sounds :)

So, my poor lonesome coffee table that used to keep me company every day in the former family room as I sat at my desk looking out over my backyard gardens, was banished to the unused wreck of a rec room in my current retirement abode because there was no place for it upstairs. 

But fear not, little table, you have served me well since I first purchased you in 1971 except that one of your casters fell off and disappeared somewhere along the line of many moves from apartment to apartment, while in college, while in law school, to first home, to storage, to second home, to third home.  You have proved sturdy and true, and I am not one to ditch my friends just because they're "old fashioned."  Hell, so am I!

I have a plan, TA DA!


New casters - little ones with stops on them!  And a lovely yellow spray paint that was on sale for $2.99 a can at Menards!  Total cost under $9 including sales tax.  Now all I have to do is put down some plastic and/or newspaper, clean up the table, prime it (I have spray primer on hand), and voila, I will have a beautiful new rolling coffee table.  

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Shezebo: Online Shopping for My Decor!

Hola!

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July holiday.  I visited one of my sisters at their get-away home way up in the North Woods of Wisconsin, first time I've been up there in about 30 years, and had a wonderful time.

Back home, I've picked up the work of getting my patio in shape, including adding something I long wanted but never felt I could/should afford -- a permanent gazebo structure, my Shezebo!  I've always been generous toward others, but not so much with myself.  Now I guess I'm old enough and wise enough to know better than to deprive myself at this stage of my life, turning 65 next month.  I'm treating myself to things I never thought I would buy for myself, and my health hasn't been this good in years.  I amaze my primary care doctor and my cardiologist every check-up, LOL.  I think it's because I'm happy (despite the loss of my dear Mr. Don in 2012), and FREE after working my butt off for 46 plus years. 

True to form, I started out with one set of ideas in mind for what I wanted to do to decorate my Shezebo, and ended up going in a totally different direction.

I knew I wanted to add seating that would fit within/under the Shezebo.  I budgeted $500, figuring I would like a modular outdoor sofa unit (I had seen 3 or 4 at Amazon for under $500 that consisted of a four-piece sofa and one coffee table, for a total of five pieces) with white-ish or light beige cushions, something neutral, and I wanted a body of faux woven wicker that would hold up to the weather and go with my existing patio chairs.  I shopped for several days but was worried about the quality of the inexpensive furniture.  Then an email ad arrived from Home Depot -- patio furniture on sale.  Of course I looked!

And I bought on super sale at Home Depot online a pair of these -- stationary rocker lounge chairs, and added a pair of footstools:

(Pemberly line -- the green upholstery is not the color I have, but the website does not have the "peacock" color pictured in such a way that it reflects the actual color of the material - in all of the browsers on my three (yes three) different laptops, it just looks sort of a blah greyish blob).

I was leery of selecting the Peacock color because the online image at Home Depot was less than desirable to show me what the color actually WAS,, but I did not want the green color (above) or a sort of reddish color also offered.  I breathed a great sigh of relief when the cushion covers (sold separately from the cushions that come with the chairs and footstools) arrived separately ahead of the furniture and I was able to see the upholstery in person.  The "peacock" is a turquoise or aqua color; the material is a thick weave with some brown woven in and the texture is slightly nubby but very soft to the touch.  The primary color reads turquoise/aqua.  Here's a not very good pic of one of the cushion covers I took with my antique digital camera:



I also wanted an area rug, something I've never had outdoors before. I h.ad a deck for over 20 years at the former Maison Newton and never had a rug out there

And I wanted a fountain.  A water-splashing, gurgling fountain!  

Originally I was going to go with an area rug that would contain similar colors to the "peacock" tweed upholstery on the new stationary rocking lounge chairs and foostools.  I zeroed in on a couple of different rugs on sale at Home Decorators online - they were having a big sale on outdoor furnishings including rugs, and I found several 5 x 7 area rugs were under $100, plus 20% off, plus a free 6 x 9 rug pad.


I had chosen the Gallery area rug when I got curious (oh oh) and decided to check out what else was on sale.  Maybe I could find some cool accessories I hadn't thought about at a to-die for price.  Not a good idea idea for the budget, but I came away with -- furniture cushions -- for my existing patio furniture.

I fell in love with this pattern - the tapestry/Jacobean look, the colors, ooh la la!  It speaks both to my love of the traditional and the colors of summer.

Valbella Provence pattern.

But if I was going to buy this pattern, I needed to rethink the rug I'd chose, because the patterned rug I'd chosen was not going to work with these chair cushions.  So, I went back to the rugs and looked again, and this is the one I ultimately purchased:


The Wharf area rug was also on sale for the same price as the rug I'd initially selected, so I bought it instead, and went ahead with a big splurge and ordered cushions for a shabby-chick white wood Andirondack chair, a high-backed plastic adjustable lounge chair (my favorite for reading outdoors), and my two patio table chairs.

I had initially budgeted $500 maximum for a (perhaps) modular sofa unit to go with the new Shezebo.  I spent less than that purchasing my two new chairs with footstools plus their slip-covers, so the splurge for the furniture cushions wasn't as much as it could have been.  I did get them on the 20 - 40% off sale - was shocked by how much they would have cost if I'd paid full price, wowsers!

The rug has been received, it's still in its wrapper.  I don't want to put it on the patio until the Shezebo is installed.  The rug pad has been received, ditto.  The furniture cushions are arriving this coming week, I received a shipment notification a few days ago, woo woo!

Best news yet - my Shezebo is going up NEXT SATURDAY July 30th!  And the assembly/install price is just a bit over half of what I had budgeted.  Happy happy happy!

Fountain coming up next post.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Shezebo: The Setting

Hola!  I'm going up north to visit one of my sisters and B-I-Ls over the 4th of July.  They don't have internet access at their cabin and I don't have one of the smart phone thingies so I'll be unconnected.  I'm taking books along for entertainment - GASP! - what a concept!

My Shezebo was delivered this morning and I am SO happy!  When I get back from my mini-vacation I will begin contacting contractors to get quotes to have the shezebo constructed.

Here are some photos of my backyard (pre-Shezebo) taken a few days ago:




My Shezebo will be squared to the corner where the birdbath is presently sitting, about 10 inches from the edge of the concrete.  A new privacy fence (about 2.5 feet taller) will be installed along the north lot line (see third photo above) and the raised bed is going to be extended to go all the way across the yard to join the raised bed on the east lot line (you can see that bed in the first and second photos above).

I'm going to have a greatly expanded planting area for more perennials and will also be adding planting beds around the patio next year.  I am also thinking about extending the patio out from the north side by using flagstone to fill in the grassy area up to the north planting bed - but we'll see about that.  There is a lot to do before I get to seriously considering that idea pros and cons

One thing is sure: my backyard is going to look a whole lot different once the shezebo is up!

Have a safe and happy 4th of July holiday, everyone!