Deuce Cities Henhouse

4 Year Recap – Part 4

Garden – Spring 2008


Can I start by saying how great you guys all are? I received so many comments of encouragement and understanding on my last post. It was good to share with you and hear that we all have bad days. Something I know, obviously, but when you’re really feeling low it helps to know that you you’re not alone. Seriously so many THANKS!

Onward..I was going to save this recap for the last installment (there are five total) but I thought I would go ahead and share it with you today. If you’re local, you’re gonna need this post to carry you though the next 24 hours. The 8-14″ of snow we are to be receiving soon is highly untyte. We need to think positive!

Today I want to share with you my garden and exterior home improvements. When we saw the house for the first time everything was almost perfect, the kitchen was lacking, there was wood trim and paneling, but I could get over those things, I could see the positives. The house had a great layout, lots of room, and of course the porches. I knew we could make that bad stuff better. BUT then there was the exterior and garden. The house was covered in asbestos siding, trimmed with mint green awnings matched with a mint foundation and roof and dark peach steps. The yard boasted a green fence, a pee stained lawn and a giant rock garden. Every girls dream, not. How was I supposed to look past that?

My first mission after moving in was to whip the yard and exterior of this house into shape. I accomplished a lot by the end of my first summer and even more as the years go on.

Above you’ll see the house when it was listed in 2008, the yard had been maintained back then. The house was then sold to the people who owned it before us, they lived here for two years and had a dog who ran the fence and destroyed the yard. By 2010 when we bought it, the yard was looking bad.
 

Garden – Spring 2010


That’s my mom up there, sorry mom for the not so flattering shot, but it’s the only one I could find. So you can see that the bushes had been destroyed since 2008, we went ahead and chopped them down and let the two twiggy bushes begin to grow. It took me two years before I realized the twiggy bushes were dogwood trees. I kept trimming them into hedge shapes, poor dogwoods.

See the yellow pee stains too?, gross. I laid down grass seed (which I do every spring) and watered like a crazy person.
 

Garden – Spring 2010


Cool rock garden, right? No way, man. That garden was covered in dog poop, I scooped and scooped rocks. It took me two weeks but I was bound and determined to get rid of that rock garden. I added some manure and top soil and threw down a bunch of zinnias seeds. In no time I had a pretty garden along side the walkway.
 

Garden – July 2010


Finn and I would spend afternoons outside, he would play, I would dig and turn over dirt. I wanted a garden with an organically shaped border, I had mapped it out and thought about it for a few weeks. I removed all the grass and dug and turned the dirt, added manure and top soil. I used plastic garden edging to finish it off.

For the first year nearly all my plants came from my moms garden, she split off so many hostas (the nice kids), lilies, phlox, ferns and bleeding heart for me. It was such a sweet thing of her to do, and I love that some of my garden came from her. My grandma gave me tons of Iris, and that’s a nice memory to have too. Everything else was almost all annuals that I planted from seed. We didn’t have much money to spend on a garden, we had just moved in. I was focusing on making a good foundation for the coming years.
 

Garden – July 2010


Here’s that rock garden. As you can see I planted things pretty willy-nilly. I picked up a bunch of small hostas at a garage sale, that’s how we roll in the midwest. In 2012 I got frustrated with the disorganization, dug the entire garden up, split the perennials and planted it again in a much more cohesive fashion. I’m glad I did that! I’m looking forward to seeing strong, healthy perennials in this garden this year because of it.
 

Garden – July 2010


Zinnias are my jam – all planted from seed.
 

Garden – July 2010


See what the curvy border garden does for the yard, I love it.
 

Garden – Fall 2010


By the fall something great had happened. My folks got their house resided, in the process they took down a brick foundation. So you know what I did, I grabbed all those bricks, carload by carload, brought them home and made a brick border around my gardens. I think the brick border looks great and it makes for the easiest mowing. It’s also another sentimental-family-ties sorta layer to add to the garden.
 

Garden – Fall 2010


This is the fall, so everything is looking kind of worn, but I wanted you to see how much could be done in one gardening season! From here on out it’s just a matter of collecting and rearranging plants – I have all my gardens arranged and looking sharp.
 

Plans 2010


This is what I do always. Plan, make lists, and follow through. I fulfilled most of those note items on the left.
 

Garden – 2011


The next summer we got real fancy and added mulch. You can see already how much larger the perennials have become.
 

Garden – 2011


 

Garden – 2013

Deuce Cities Henhouse Garden
Awh, isn’t spring pretty. We added the crab apple tree in 2012 removing some sort of old crooked pine tree and almost killing ourselves in the process. I love this view.
 

Garden – 2013

Deuce Cities Henhouse Garden
This shot describes perfectly how the perennials have filled in over the years.
 

Garden – 2013

Deuce Cities Henhouse Garden
I love this planter, totally doing this in the front window boxes this year.
 

Garden – 2013

Deuce Cities Henhouse Garden
Coral bells, Impatiens, and Bleeding Hearts.
 

Garden – 2013

Deuce Cities Henhouse Garden
Gaw, are you dying, I’m dying. I want this to happen again so bad!
 

Garden – 2013

Deuce Cities Henhouse Garden
Can’t you just imagine it with a nice new fence?
 

Garden – 2013

Deuce Cities Henhouse Garden
The old rock garden with newly organized perennials and those short zinnias that I love so much.
 

Exterior – 2010


On to the exterior, see how bad it was, see? Woof. I wasn’t kidding about those dark peach stairs either.  

Exterior – 2010


You can see that the house is just looking old and tired. It needs some Scoops loving in a major way.
 

Exterior – Summer 2010


We did this all in one summer! We removed the awning, painted the foundation steps and window boxes and tried to do the slightest amount of landscaping. We’ve got our fingers crossed for a new set of steps this year, as our are crumbling.
 

Exterior – 2013

Deuce Cities Henhouse - Blue House
And then in 2012 we really painted. It’s been two years and I still love the dark blue siding and the dark grey storm windows so much. It has done so much for this house. We also got a new roof last summer too, now the mint green is all gone.
 

Exterior – 2013

Deuce Cities Henhouse - Blue House
The crab apple tree in the front yard is Finn’s tree, the other smaller one in the back garden is Gus’. It’s amazing to see how tall the tree in the front yard has grown in such a short amount of time
 

Exterior – 2013

Deuce Cities Henhouse - Blue House
The back of the house at sunset. It’s not so bad now, is it?

Stay tuned for one last installment of the recap!

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in Around the House, gardening, My House

No Joke

No Joke
Hey guys. It’s been a rough week around here, my nerves are almost totally shot, my hands are shaky, my chest is tight.

I’ve been on edge ever since my site update three weeks ago. If you remember, I had some technical trouble and I was sick about it for days, physically sick. We went on vacation to Savannah and I was just starting to feel more like myself once we got home.

Then the shit really hit the fan this last week. We were dog sitting my parents small dog who goes by two names, Tagg and Rudy, I have no idea why. Our cat Nami is usually pretty cool around other animals, I keep the dog out of her space and she seems to be just fine. I thought she was.

I came home one afternoon after running a few errands and I found that she had peed on the newly reupholstered sofa in the sunroom. Now this is a cat who has never gone out of her box except when patrolling the neighborhood in the summer time. I was shocked. I found out quickly that the new sofa fabric is highly water repellent, in fact all the “liquid” was pooled and not being absorbed into the couch. That’s great and all, except that my computer, my external hard drive and my camera were all sitting in said pool.

Yeah.

Apparently she had been holding it.

So I do everything I know I’m supposed to do, I unplug the computer, unplug the hard drive, and dry off the camera. I open the computer to dry off the keyboard – it was in sleep mode, the screen flashes on, then the smell of burning electric parts, and then nothing, just a blank screen.

I come to terms with the severity of the situation pretty quickly. Knowing there is nothing I can do in that moment I move on to cleaning up the rest of the mess. I wipe off the sofa and of course a good amount of ‘it’ drips onto the new rug, of course.

After careful inspection I was relieved to find that the hard drive and the camera were just fine. I made an appointment at the Apple store and headed over there with my stinky, gross computer to see if there was anything they could do.

The Apple guys were helpful, I was able to grab a few crucial files right before I watched the light flicker out of my computers screen forever. It was beyond hope and there was nothing those guys could do. So I handed over my credit card, cringed and bought a new computer.

I walked out to my car resolving to just be okay with everything only to find a $42 parking tucked under the wiper blade. I had missed the meter by 6 minutes.

I am thankful that I got some of the most important files. I back up my photos regularly so I was only missing the last two months of images. There is still a lot of things that need to be rebuilt. I lost of all of my applications so I have to reinstall them all one by one. All that takes a lot of time, and time is something I don’t have a lot of these days.

I wish I could tell you that was it, but it wasn’t. I could just tell something else bad was going to happen, I could just feel it. Wouldn’t you know that when I was using the bathroom Sunday night that my phone that was tucked safely in my pocked took a giant leap and landed straight in that porcelain swimming pool.

It’s a total loss.

Needless to say, I can’t take much of this anymore. My stress level is at an all time high, I’m worried that it’s effecting my health. I’ve been trying to decompress, taking long walks, trying to clear my head. Honestly though, I am a nervous wreck and I don’t know if I can take anymore. It’s like a bad joke, if only it was.

So I just had to share, because it’s just so much bad stuff all at once, it’s funny, right? Please tell me I’m not the only one who has had a seriously crappy run of bad luck. I’d love to commiserate and hear your stories too, maybe it’ll help.

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in My Life

I Like this Rug


Hey guys! So you remember how I got all smitten with that rug a few weeks back? If you remember, I wasn’t exactly sold on it – I knew I was just crushing on it. Usually if there is something that I think looks really great, and costs a little bit of cheddar (that’s still super cool to say, right?) I usually just wait it out. Why? I wait to see if I really do love it, if I just can’t stop thinking about it, if it’s the only thing I can imagine in the space, and then if I still love it months down the road we budget for it, and then buy it.

In this situation I did not do that. I had been wanting to add bits of salmon and coral to the room, but I couldn’t really come up with a solution for the most effective way of doing it. I thought about adding coral pillows on the sofa that I newly reupholstered, but coral against the navy sofa was a lot of color in one very specific place. The coral needed to be part of the room, not part of the couch, you feel me? I’m pretty sure that the Torres rug has been available at West Elm for awhile, the thing is, I never needed a coral rug, so I never noticed it. Then one day I was flipping through my new catalog, and wham, there it was, The Torres Kilim rug in “Guava”.

So I thought about it, I blogged about it, and then I realized it was on sale. I called West Elm to see what their return policy was on rugs, I found out I could return it to the store. If I ordered it the worst possible thing that could happen would be that I just didn’t like the rug.

So I ordered it, just like that.

I am so living on the edge, you guys!


It took me a few days to roll it out and see what it looked like in the room. I was a little leery, I really did like the cream shag rug that was in the sunroom already, it was something I already owned and didn’t specifically buy it for this room, so it’s basically like it was free. I so badly wanted coral in the room and I was gonna give it a whirl. Go big or go home, or something like that. I really was trying to do my best to throw away all my rug biases and approach this like a real adult.

Honestly, I wasn’t sold at first, it just was so much color and pattern, and so different from what had been there. I had to soak it in. I waited a few more days. I rolled up the rug, I put back the cream rug, and you know what? It was immediately obvious to me that the cream rug had no game when it came to this baby. I’m keeping it.


I love switching things up too, and that cream rug can always come back when I get antsy and need to rearrange everything. The coral rug could would easily look great in the entry way or even the living room – those things are always important to consider too. So what do you guys think? Are you with me on this, or what?

In other news, this GD room still isn’t done yet. I have so much on my plate right now, it is slow going, but I promise, I’ll get it done soon I hope. I’m going to share a few of the little additions I’ve made in an upcoming post, and then I will finally paint this baby and call it a day. My to-do list is never ending!

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in Around the House, Porch

4 Year Recap – Part 3

The Boys’ Room – 2010

Paint Colors, Ahh.
Hey, guys! Here we are for the 3rd installment of the four year recap! I bet you’re so totally excited, right?

Four years ago we moved into our house – that’s a long time – the purpose of me sharing these photos with you is to illustrate a few thoughts about “home”. For us, “home” is not something that happens in the blink of an eye, and it’s not something that you need piles of money to achieve. Things happen slowly, very slowly, but if you are deliberate in your plans, eventually it will all start to come together. After four years we are finally feeling settled in this home of ours, and although I always have projects on my to-do list, it is finally in a state that I always hoped it would be when we moved in four years ago.

The photos today are to illustrate the process of our transitions. None of the rooms have undergone major renovations and I think that is just fine! Do you need a major renovation to make a house a home? No way, man! Yes, sometimes a coat of paint, a little design, and a lot of personality is all it takes. For me, it’s also important to maintain and give honor to the character of our home. Major renovations aren’t ever going to big for us (although we do have 1 planned for the basement).

The photos I’m sharing with you today are meant to be examples of the layers that go into making a house a home. I believe “home” should be fluid, and should have the ability to change with your life and lifestyle. Sometimes these transitions take a little planning and creative thinking, but that’s all part of the fun. Plus, there will always something to fix, maintain, and restore in in an old home, I happen to love these challenges.

Above I’m sharing with you the boys’ room before we moved in. It was being used as a guest bedroom by the previous owner – the oversized bed made it feel tiny, I think the picture above illustrates that.

*You may have noticed that my before photos are all so yellow, the entire house was covered in light brownish-yellow paint, almost every single room. I took all the photos in the evening with the lights on which makes them even more yellow. The yellow is so glaring that I made two versions of the photos, the black and white you see first, and if you rollover the b&w photo you will see the room in full yellowy color.
 

The Boys’ Room – 2013


After moving in this became Finn’s room. We had a nursery set up for him in our previous rental house, so it was pretty easy to plop his crib and other furniture pieces into the room. We painted it orange, (major woof) and then settled on this “Asparagus” color. It wasn’t until we got more settled that we organized the space to make it functional, added the big kid bed (seen above) and decorated the walls a bit. We used his artwork as wall decoration, on another wall we added shelving for books (you can see the whole room here) and used dress-up hats and masks as art on his wall.

There has always the good old Ikea Expedit shelves (RIP) to come and save the day. Thankfully the Expedit will be replaced with the newer more environmentally friendly Kallax, but the Expedit has been so good to us when it comes to kid storage.
 

The Boys’ Room – 2014


Fast forward to this year when Finn’s room became “The Boys’ Room”. Finn and Gus started bunking together! We splurged and bought the Perch bunk bed from Oeuf. We had a Oeuf sparrow crib for the kids and loved it, so we were already confident in the quality of Oeuf products. The Perch bed was worth it for us because eventually we can split up the pieces. Gus’ old room is pretty tiny, so when the time comes for him to move back into his room, the elevated bunk bed will come in handy.
 

Guest Room – 2010

Paint Colors, Ahh.
Onward, this is Gus’ Room (now the guest room) before we moved in. It’s not very big, as you can see – apprx 11′ x 11′. It does have a large closet which has been helpful – we store an extra dresser in there. We didn’t have a Gus when we moved in, but always supposed that we would eventually. We let the room sit as storage with the door always closed until Gus showed up in 2011.
 

Guest Room – 2013


We tried to make this small space as functional as possible when it transitioned into a nursery. It is by far the brightest room in the house, which is fantastic for us, but bad for babies who like to nap. We added black-out curtains that I made for Gus. Expedit came to the rescue again with the 5 square shelving unit, which we tucked in under the window. It works so nicely as a faux built-in-bench with storage underneath. I mentioned that we had an extra dresser in the closet, and then also had one in his room. We bought all of his furnishings in bits and pieces, as the budget allowed. Best of all, the use of small storage and clever seating made the room seem normal sized.
 

Guest Room – 2014


Now Gus’ room is the guest room. We haven’t had any guests make use of it yet, but has actually become very useful over the winter. With someone always being sick, this has become the quarantine room, for real. So sad, I know.

As you can see, so much of the room is the same, the grey walls and the curtains remain, and Finn’s old bed was added to the space. I pulled it all together with grey and yellow accents. You can get all the details on that transition over here.
 

Bathroom – 2010

Paint Colors, Ahh.
The bathroom before decked out with glass block tile and faux-marble printed tile.
 

Bathroom – 2014


I’ve barely touched on the bathroom – that’s because we haven’t done too much to it. I painted the walls and added navy and yellow accents (a popular theme on the 2nd floor). There has been no need to do more than this because someday we do plan on renovating. I know I just said no major renovations, but there is nothing original about this bathroom, it was “updated” sometime in the last 20 years. We plan on renovating the basement next year and adding a full bath in the process. Once the basement is done, the next project will most likely be this bathroom. So it’ll be awhile…
 

Stay tuned for more of the recap!

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in Around the House, My House

Family Vacay

Spring in Savannah
Hello, Friends! Guess what we just did? We survived an entire vacation as a family – the kind of vacation where you have to get yourself, your spouse, and two small people on a plane and to a specific location without; losing anyone, having melt downs, sibling fights, spousal disdain, or just plain freaking out. We did it, we survived, we spent a week in Savannah, Georgia y’allzerz!

Finn & Waff at Tybee Beach
You may remember that Waff (aka Jeff) and I took a 48 hour weekend in Savannah back in November. Our good buddies Matt and Katie have taken up residency in Savannah while participating in some grad school action at the SCAD. We miss Matt and Katie like crazy and decided we should take the whole fam back to Savannah and takeover their 2-bedroom apartment, Allen style.

They were the most gracious hosts – putting up with our crazy kids and their love of ketchup, and nutella sandwiches – both of which are cause for messy hands and faces. The kids crashed together on an air mattress in Matt’s studio, while Jeff and I made use of an air mattress in the living room. We spent most of our days heading back and forth between downtown Savannah and Tybee beach. The beach was amazing, even on the cold days. We needed to be outside like what, this winter had beaten us down and we had to soak in the sound of the surf at every possible moment.

With the kids in tow, there were limited options to what activities we could participate in. Gus still takes afternoon naps and was able to hunker down and take a nap at the beach, cuddled into his old-ma’s arms. The last day he made a little nest right next to the cooler – it was pretty adorbz, you guys. Anyway, when you are traveling with someone who still likes to snooze for 2-3 hours in the afternoon you have to stick to low-key, short-term, chill activities. We did that pretty well.

Spring in Savannah

Spring in Savannah

Spring in Savannah

Spring in Savannah
We also encountered the third biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the country. Did you know this about Savannah? We did not, but it didn’t take much convincing for us to go join the locals and get crazy. You can drink alcohol openly on the streets in Savannah, that’s right, they call ‘em “walktails”! Because Savannah likes to party it seems like the obvious choice for a huge St. Patrick’s day party who’s main attraction is a four hour parade, (that’s right FOUR hours) celebrated by over-imbibed onlookers!

Spring in Savannah
The kids were amazing, on a scale of 1-10 I would give them a 10. They were non-agitated, pro-travelers! There aren’t direct flights available from Minneapolis to Savannah, so we had to take a short layover in Chicago both coming and going. The kids were on four flights total, and at the end of each flight, fellow passengers would stop to tell me how impressed they were with how well the kids did.

I’m no expert at traveling with kids, but I believe part of our success was preparing for any possible kid freak out. First of all there was the preventative measures. Gus was just getting over a head cold, I was concerned that the cabin pressure would hurt his ears so I made sure to give him a dose of Zarbee’s non-drowsy cold medicine before our first flight.

For my carry-on’s I brought my purse and a larger over-the-shoulder bag stocked with snacks. I packed two lidded sippy cups, even though Finn is five and can handle a real cup like a pro, the sippy cup saved us from major disasters. Before we boarded the plane we filled up with juice, milk and water because those things aren’t always available in flight.

I also packed special treats for both of the boys for the longer of the two flight. Both kids got new small lego sets (for less the $10 bucks a piece). Both sets were small less than 100 pieces, and I had unwrapped the legos prior to leaving and put both sets in a little tupperware containers so we didn’t have to lose pieces. The legos were awesome and kept the boys distracted for nearly the entire flight. For Gus I packed two of his favorite books.

Lastly, I had a few movies pre-downloaded on my ipad and a set of headphones to accompany it. You can download movies if you have purchased through Amazon Instant Video. Lucky for us, Frozen just came out this week, so yeah, total mom win.

The boys didn’t even need have of the stuff we packed, but it was good to know that we had it just in case. I’m not sure they would have been the sweet little angels that they were without it.

Spring in Savannah
So yeah guys, we did it! We can officially travel cross country as a family of four, the world is our oyster!

Now I am stoked to get back to work, blogging away and sharing new cool things with you guys! I’ve got a bunch of posts planned for the coming weeks, and I need to tie up this four-year recap too. It’ll be cool guys!

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in My Life