Deuce Cities Henhouse

Coming Home to a New Rug

Still Love it! My Scandinavian(ish) bedroom || Deuce Cities Henhouse
Hey Guys. Sorry for the radio silence. I didn’t intend to be gone so long. The kids are on summer vacay, and now that everyone is kinda old, summertime has been really fun! The boys’ friend Elsa is staying with us during the weekdays — we’ve been spending mornings at the beach for swimming lessons, and evenings at the park for little league. I’m trying out that free range parenting thing, the kids are so grown up, its really been pretty wonderful to see them find pride in responsibility. The fam and I were on vacation last week, we rented a big cabin near Longville, MN with our best budz. The kids out numbered the parents 7 to 6, but we all survived. A few days before we left on vacation I unfortunately experienced a sudden lost of an old friend who had a big impact on the person I have become. It’s been hard to say goodbye, and as you can imagine, blogging just didn’t feel right in the midst of it all.

Anyway, the reason for this blog is to share a little about me, and this house, so lets get down to business. Our master bedroom has been rug-less for nearly a summer. We spent every last dime (and then some) on the basement remodel last year, and didn’t have the cash to splurge on things like rugs. Our basement was basically holding a card board sign begging for a spare rug, so our bedroom donated a black and white moroccan style rug to its cause. It was very selfless of our bedroom, I know.

Fast forward a year later and my feet were cold, and it was becoming obvious that we needed a new rug in the bedroom. I’d been on the hunt for awhile and then I spied this beauty at Rug Studio, and snatched it up. I love it in the space — it adds the right amount of blue without going overboard on color. I had considered doing a shag moroccan or something a bit more neutral, but simple and modern with a touch of color felt like a better fit. I can’t tell you how much I missed having a rug in our bedroom, there’s something about softness underfoot before and after you wake that just feels right.

I ordered the rug on a Sunday and it was delivered on the Friday night before we left for vacation. We quickly unrolled it and tucked it under the bed and credenza (aka secret tv hiding spot). Then I basically forgot about it until we got home. I always try and leave the house as clean as I can before we leave for a vacation, there’s nothing like coming home to a tidy space after spending time away. It’s not like Martha Stewart clean or anything, packing a family for vacay and a clean house are kind of like oxymoron’s. All I’m saying is that I’m very conscious of doing a quick tidy right before hopping in the car. So you can imagine that having a brand new rug to come home to on top of a tidy-ish space felt pretty damn incredible.

So there it is, a rug! It’s been a good excuse to take photos of an interior space in our home and get amped about blogging. I actually have a page full of potential posts that I’d like to share with you, it’s just a matter of following through. Also, summer is busy, but ours (mine) is extra busy this year because our home is going to be photographed in a few weeks (like a whole grip load of people are coming to my house for a week) to be featured in a big time magazine. I’m kind of freaking out about it, there’s so much to get done! Anyways, believe me when I say I have good intentions when it comes to blogging, sometimes things are just so crazy. I hope to birth another post or two out into the world later this week. See you guys around!

Still Love it! My Scandinavian(ish) bedroom || Deuce Cities Henhouse

Still Love it! My Scandinavian(ish) bedroom || Deuce Cities Henhouse

Still Love it! My Scandinavian(ish) bedroom || Deuce Cities Henhouse

Still Love it! My Scandinavian(ish) bedroom || Deuce Cities Henhouse

Still Love it! My Scandinavian(ish) bedroom || Deuce Cities Henhouse

Still Love it! My Scandinavian(ish) bedroom || Deuce Cities Henhouse

Still Love it! My Scandinavian(ish) bedroom || Deuce Cities Henhouse

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in Around the House, Decor

My May Garden

Ruby Tears Crab Apple


I know I’m a little late on the May Garden post, but I promise, I took these photos right at the end of the month. It actually works out really nicely that this post got pushed back because it lands on my favorite gardener’s birthday, my Ma (aka SugarMommaD)! She has instilled in me the love of gardening and nurturing schtuff, and she’s so fortunate to be able to celebrate her birthday during the most perfect and beautiful time of the gardening season. Love ya, mom!

The above and below pics are of our other Ruby Tears crabapple tree (aka Gus’ Tree), it flowered the second week of May, but I had to include it because it makes the backyard look super amazing.

Also, I’m having trouble with ‘Apple Scab’ on my other Spring Snow crab apple in our front yard, I guess this is common to happen after the tree flowers, and this year it was so prolific. I am treating it with a topical spray for now, and am having an arborist come to give me a consultation tomorrow — I am scared for it.

 

Veggie Gardens

 

Radish


The veggie garden has been good this year, for the most part I like the irrigation set up. It has sprung a leak once or twice, but it’s really easy to repair. I would prefer it not to spring any leaks, though. Our timer is also kind of junky, one of the timers gets stuck, leaving the water running forever. Eventually I will be investing in a digital timer so that we can set it to water when we go on vacations n’ stuff.

The actual veggies are doing great, peas, radishes, carrots, potatoes and greens are thriving. Unfortch, my green beans sprouts have been obliterated by slugs, (eew). I read on the internet, that if I put beer in a pie tin the slugs would want to go drown in it, and it totally worked. There have been no signs of them since. I took a risk and planted my cuc seeds a week or two early, and when we hit a cold snap I botched the germination process, so I am a bit behind the eight ball on that front. All and all, it’s been fun, and the kids like it too.

 

Bearded Iris


My grandma gifted me a bunch of bearded iris from her garden after we moved in years ago, the plants are insanely large, and I need to split and edit them this fall. This purple and white one is my favorite.

 

Sunny Side Garden


The peonies and iris are nearly done blooming, soon there will be boatloads of pink phlox, purple clematis and salvia, and yellow day lilies.

 

Caradonna Salvia

 

Peony

 

Lamium | Fern | Hosta


I love this grouping of plants.

 

Hosta | Maiden Hair

 

Ghost Fern

 

Lupine

 

Southern Comfort Heuchera


Heucheras rules! There are so many varieties, colors and sizes, and the flowers are so dainty and GD sweet.

 

Partial Shade Garden

 

Husker Red Penstemon

 

Window Boxes

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in gardening

DIY Light Fixture : Brass Sconce

Instructions and Parts list for a DIY Brass wall sconce | Deuce Cities Henhouse
Dudez, ever since I made my first swing arm lamp last year I’ve been kind of obsessed with making my own lighting. I have now made three pieces for my home, and a few for some friends. Over the next couple-a-weeks, I wanted to share with you guys the light fixtures, including a parts list and some brief instructions. I have to say this because “DUR”, but electrify at your own risk, bros. If you don’t know lighting basics – STOP – don’t do this. Please, only use a licensed electrician. I’ve spent a lot of time getting myself familiar with the ins and outs of basic electrical, here are some resources that I referenced from the old innerwebz (I, II, III).

Anywho, let me show off this babe of a double brass sconces that I made for my living room. Psst, I made two of them to go on each side of the living room’s large entry way (!!!) My old sconce lights were dumb, they were the only ones at the store that I could find with an actual switch, which left me with no choice but to buy them and stick them on my walls. See, my house is not fancy and I can not just flip a wall switch to see things at night, I have to actually turn a switch on the sconce. The parts list below includes said switch, if you’re fancy and have a wall switch then you can skip purchasing those parts.

This baby cost me a whopping $45 bucks in supplies from grandbrass.com, pretty tryll wouldn’t you say? I’ll be sharing the other fixtures in the coming weeks, so stop by and see me every once in a while, k?

Instructions and Parts list for a DIY Brass wall sconce | Deuce Cities Henhouse

Please if you’re not familiar with electrical wiring contact an electrician

  • Disassemble the socket and attach the wires
  • Reassemble the socket with the wires feeding out the end
  • Slide 1 threaded nipple down the wire and attach to the top of the socket
  • Slide the brass socket cup down the wire
  • Slide 1 straight coupling down the wire — Thread one end of the coupling into the nipple now attached to the socket (sandwiching the cup)
  • Carefully slide the 90 degree elbow onto the wire
  • Thread the elbow onto the other end of the straight coupling

(repeat these steps for the the other arm)

  • Slide the wire from one elbow through the armback ‘T’ and thread the elbow onto the ‘T’
  • Repeat step 7 for the other elbow
  • Slide a nipple through all 4 wires, thread the nipple onto the ‘T’
  • Send the wires through the center hole on the canopy, slide on the grounding wire and attach to the nipple with a washer and hex nut
  • Connect the wires from the sconce to the wires in the wall box. Again, if you’re not sure how to do this, contact an electrician
  • Use the mounting bracket and acorn nuts to attach the fixture to the wall
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in DIY, How-To

Perennials : Allium

Growing Perennials Series: Allium
What up my gardening budz? I hope that you’re ready for an intense amount of perennial posts, as I’ve got lots of late spring loveliness blooming in my garden at the moment. Let me start with Allium which is brand new to me. Allium (aka basically an onion flower) is my new fav. This has been a great way for me to add a lot of architectural interest to my flower beds without needing to take up a whole lotta space. This particular Allium plant boasts a ridiculously large purple pom that floats on top of the thinnest stem — it towers above hostas and ferns. I lurve it.

Allium is the family name used to categorize onions, shallots, and garlic, the ornamental variety is the kind that you can grow in your garden. Ornamental Alliums come in a range of heights and flowers sizes and a variety of shades of purple and white. I’ve got some pretty big ones, if you couldn’t tell. I’ve added these to the garden on the front side of my house. They aren’t picky and don’t require a lot of special care, all they need is well drained soil and sunlight. We don’t have problems with deer here in the city, but rest at ease country folk, antlered herbivores and rodents don’t like to nibble on these onions.

Be forewarned, there’s not a whole lot of instant gratification that goes along with these bulbs. Like tulips and daffodils these need to be planted in the fall and you won’t find them in the aisles of your local nursery (unless you’re in the fall bulb section). That means you have to plan ahead, and wait it out, my friends. I planted two bulbs last fall, which was a big mistake, I didn’t realize how much I’d love these guys, and I’m afraid I’ll need to plant more this coming year. As a bonus they do a good of multiplying naturally and can be left basically untouched, so I’ve got my fingers crossed.

After the poms have bloomed feel free to cut the stems to use in flower arrangements. Take care to leave the leafy bottoms. The bulbs are still needing to store lots of energy for the next year and need the leafs to create food via photosynthesis (did I just blow your mind with my cool use of a science word?). Continue to water the plant until the leafs begin to yellow and dormancy begins in the fall.

Botanical name:
Allium giganteum

Growing Perennials Series: Allium

Growing Perennials Series: Allium

Light:
Loves lots of sunlight

Watering:
Prefers well drained soil — is drought tolerant

Size:
Available in a range of sizes from 12″ – 48″

Growing Perennials Series: Allium

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in gardening

B(log)BQ with Weber, and an Ace Giveaway!

Summer Time Parties with a new Weber Grill
Hey guys! Did you know us Allens are the Kings and Queens of grilling and backyard parties, respectively? I’m sure you had no idea. Anyways, I know it’s kinda cliche for dudes to be super into grilling and babes to be super into entertaining and throwing parties, and at our house we usually kind of pride ourselves on going against the gender role flow. But Jeff and I fall right into those stereotypes of grill master extraordinaire and hostess with the most-est, and we are damn good at it.

I gave Jeff a Weber grill for his first father’s day present seven years ago. He had always been curious about grilling and it seemed like a really good ‘dad’ gift, so I thought, what the hell? He took to it right away! Jeff would be the first to tell you that he’s not super proficient in the kitchen overall, but grilling looked good on him from the start. It was something I knew nothing about, so I couldn’t boss him about it (I do do that sometimes. I’m a jerk, I know). He could learn on his own, and at his own pace. Which he did, very quickly and awesomely. He is for sure one of the best, if not thee best, grill master out of all of our friends. He loves it, he’s proud of it, and it makes him happy.

I on the other hand, love a good party. Always have, always will. Things have changed a lot from the day of keg stands and party cups, but the general idea is still the same — relax and enjoy being with each other. Nowadays with everyone being all old and kidded-up, the key is to create cool vibes for both demographic sets: the kiddos and the oldos. Parents can’t enjoy themselves if the kids are squabbling and bickering (as they do), so I always try to have a few small new activities set up for the little people. I know the adults don’t need much, especially if the kids are happy, but I try and make it a little extra special — a tub full of beer on ice, some party lights, conversation seating and easy but fun serving pieces.

Summer Time Parties with a new Weber Grill

Summer Time Parties with a new Weber Grill

Summer Time Parties with a new Weber Grill

Summer Time Parties with a new Weber Grill

Summer Time Parties with a new Weber Grill

Summer Time Parties with a new Weber Grill

Summer Time Parties with a new Weber Grill
Zones are crucial to parties. You have to let your guests feel like they have multiple and distinctly different regions in which to hang. For us, it is especially important for us to have spaces that are kid friendly now that my friends and I have created all these small people. Think about what you want your backyard or outdoor space to do for you, how do you want it to operate? If you have a small patio space, you might want to invest in some nice lounge furniture instead of a dining table. If you have kids, make sure you have tons of yard games on hand and spaces dedicated for them to play them in. If you just want to chill and read a book (kind of a Party Foul to be honest, but we’ll allow it), set up a hammock and make it cozy with comfy pillows. Ace put together a list of really useful tips on creating outdoor spaces that are even more in depth, highly recco if you’re in need of some solid advice.

For us, the main Zone in our back yard tends to be the patio table and grill region. The dudes hang together and shoot the bull while tending to the grill, the girls hang at the table and sip some champagne (like the housewives do), and the kids run around the backyard. The hammock has turned into a swing set of sorts, and the kids love to climb all over it when they get together. Let’s not forget the fire pit area, which everyone tends to gather at after we scarf a delish meal. Lots of times we follow it up with s’mores for the kiddos, and very funny jokes for the grown ups. We keep two Adirondack style chairs out by the fire pit, but I have a large stash of folding lawn chairs that I can pull out at a moments notice.

For this B(log)BQ, I set out lots of fun toys (aka distractions) for the kids. I find that the dollar section at big box stores can offer up a lot of good, fun, cheap toys, and I tend to stock up. I was able to score a few badminton sets, sunglasses and bubbles – kids eat this stuff up. All were a hit, and the kids played for hours. It was a hot sunny day, one of the first this season, and I made sure to shade sunny areas with umbrellas. Umbrellas are also something I have a cache of. End of seasons sales offer good deals for umbrellas and stands, and they make a great backdrop for social party zones. Color palette is crucial, even when you’re just in the backyard. I try and get pillows, napkins and even bouncy balls to tie into a specific color story. This year the backyard is sporting bright magenta, orange, and turquoise colors paired with lots of metallic copper pieces. When in doubt, I go white – always have a neutral you can depend on!

Summer Time Parties with a new Weber Grill

Summer Time Parties with a new Weber Grill

Summer Time Parties with a new Weber Grill
Gardens and flowers make a great backdrop for outdoor parties, but you don’t have to have a green thumb to throw a killer party. Add some hanging baskets to your outdoor space, and keep the lawn maintained and mowed. I’m one of those crazy people that mow once ever 4-5 days. We have an electric mower for our small backyard, it takes ten minutes and it keeps the backyard looking sharp. When I have extra time I use my edger to make it look real good. Its one of those extra touches that goes a long way. We always have the party lights up, they are a permanent installation in our backyard. They’re the perfect amount of ambiance. We recently upgraded to some real deal cafe style lights. The other globe lights could be a little overpowering at times, and I didn’t want to have a plane accidentally mistake the yard for a landing strip. These new lights are spaced a bit further apart and give off a warm glow, they’re not as bright as the globes and it looks pro-fesh.

Summer Time Parties with a new Weber Grill

Summer Time Parties with a new Weber Grill Summer Time Parties with a new Weber Grill
So when Ace Hardware asked me if I could share with you guys how we throw a BBQ while at the same time showing off this Weber Genesis Grill, and all of it’s cool features, I was like “oh heck yes we can”.

We love our backyard, and as all good Minnesotans do, we want to soak up every last moment of summer outdoor time. That means outdoor cooking. I’m gonna throw it out there and say that we host some sort of backyard hang sesh at least twice a month in the summer, and it almost always involves grilling. Having a gas grill or even a hybrid propane-start charcoal grill makes for easy grilling. We keep a stash of dogs and brats on hand, but we venture into all sorts of different grill territory. With our CSA in the summer we grill lots of veggies and fixings for tacos. On Friday nights we grill chops and ‘taters. And in the late summers we’ll try our hand at deep frying french fries (from our garden) while hamburgers grill on the grateand buns toast on the upper warming rack.

Summer Time Parties with a new Weber Grill
Can we talk about this grill for a sec? Jeff is a charcoal purist, and was a bit timid about trying a gas grill. It didn’t take long for him to be wooed by this baby. To make him feel a bit more at home I picked up some hickory chips so that he could add the smokey flavor we all love to the foodz he was grilling. It worked well, and it made the backyard smell pretty damn good. The chef de cusine grilled for us his own secret dry rub wings, corn, beer soaked brats and ‘dawgz for the kiddos. You guys, the side burner! This is one thing I’m really sold on is the side burner, Jeff boiled the brats, in beer, outside! There is so much possibility for this, like corn on the cobs or deep fried french fries, or even steamed veggies. I love it. Also, there is tons of room on this grill. It would be hard to believe you’d have to make meals in batches (which is a problem we would run into all the time on our charcoal grill). I don’t think our old Weber Performer charcoal grill will be going anywhere soon, but now we totally understand all the benefits this Genesis adds to our BBQ game.

Summer Time Parties with a new Weber Grill

Summer Time Parties with a new Weber Grill

Summer Time Parties with a new Weber Grill

Summer Time Parties with a new Weber Grill

This is my squad from Ace! Seriously, I love all the people that work at my local Ace and it was a treat to have them come to my home and deliver this grill! They even kept their ear pieces in so that they could help out on the floor while away from the store — aren’t they the best? They had the entire grill assembled and ready to go. It only took a minute for them to unload this beast, and put it into position on my patio. Thanks so much, dudes!

So, is your backyard barbeque ready? Ace wants to help you get it ready by offering free assembly and delivery on ALL the hottest names in grills $399 and up, starting this Wednesday, May 25th and ending on Monday, May 30th! Also, those cool people over at Ace are giving me a $350 Ace gift card to give to one of you lucky readers to help you get from grill-less to good-to-grill! To enter, leave a comment below letting me know what your favorite style of Weber grill is, and follow me on Instagram. Contest ends June 4th at midnight.

Ace Hardware has provided me with the products used within this project. I was also compensated for my time and this blog post. All opinions and positions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Ace Hardware.
Thanks a biznillion, Ace!
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in Outdoor, Parties, Sponsored