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  • Landscaping with Mom and the Right Side of the Reading Room

    As Kevin’s band played to a sea of screaming Navy men and women at a naval base in Jacksonville, Florida on Friday night, I was scurrying around the house, dusting and scrubbing as fast as I could before my Mom showed up.
    I never notice how dirty the house is until someone says they’re coming over!
    I had most of the place looking (and smelling) pretty good by the time she pulled into the driveway, but as I sit here and type this, I can still see the smiley face she drew in the dust on our TV screen.
    Oops.
    Guess I missed a few spots.

    Since she didn’t get to our house ’til after dark, we spent our first night together just sipping champagne and talking until we could barely hold our eyes open.
    It was fun and refreshing.
    We don’t have too many visitors, so it felt good to entertain.
    (Although my Mom brought the bubbly, and Kevin was out of town- so maybe she was actually entertaining me?)

    We said our good nights and retreated to our rooms for the night. As soon as I got into bed I called Kevin. He had just come off stage, so he answered in his usual raspy post-show voice. He told me the show went great, but that he had a migrane.
    And to make matters worse, no one had any head ache medicine, and his bands vehicle was blocked in by a bunch of other vehicles so he couldn’t get out to get any.
    Ahhh, life on the road.
    Fortunately, a couple hours later, they finally managed to make their way out, and because the promoter got each band member their own room, (that rarely happens) he was able to escape to total peace and quiet to get some well-deserved R&R.

    The next day, while he and the guys drove from Jacksonville back to Prattville, my Mom and I were working the day away in our front yard.

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    (our landscaping plan)

    My Mom works for the University of Florida, and definitely knows what’s up when it comes to beautiful yards.

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    (One side of my Mom’s secret garden)

    At work, she invents bigger, better flowers (that’s how I like to describe what she does anyway), and she was kind enough to bring me a bunch of her “test flowers” to use around our house…

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    We used some here…

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    Some by the steps by our front door…

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    And some by the mailbox…

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    (PS- We’re also going to plant some Loropetalum behind the mailbox.)

    Mom says all the flowers will multiply and that our existing plants will bloom soon too, so even though there aren’t a whole bunch of flowers now- in about a month, the beds will be covered in color and I can’t wait!

    We made a trip to Home Depot for a few dwarf yaupon bushes to use around the tree we planted a couple years back…

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    (PS- We’re going to plant some Knock-Out roses, up against the driveway, behind the yaupon bushes.)

    We also got five juniper plants that will eventually spread out and cover the ground in front of our crepe myrtles…

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    (PS- We also plan to plant some juniper under the crepe myrtles.)

    Today, the three of us finished planting and spreading pine straw on top of the black plastic (weed barrier) we wrestled to the ground yesterday. (It was very windy, and I’m sure the people driving by our house got a real kick out of us trying to pin down sheets of plastic as big as a parachute!)

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    Looking at that last photo made me think about the last time she came up and helped us with our front yard…

    (Thank you for helping us improve our curb appeal again this year Mom. We love you!)

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    In other re-do news, we finally got the reading room all together and I was so happy to find my Mom sitting in there with her coffee and our cat this morning. She had the little lamp on, and she was listening for the church bells that ring at the back of our property. I tried to get a picture, but because our cat is afraid of pretty much everything, he moved at the mere mention of me going to get my camera.

    I’m going to save the full reveal for another post, but here’s a sneak peek at the right side of the room…

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    We made the shelves from plain, old ordinary pine lumber from Home Depot. We supported them with wood corbels (also from Home Depot) that we cut down a bit because they were too deep when we bought them. They normally jut out 10 inches from the wall, so we just chopped off the front edge so they weren’t quite as deep as the shelves…

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    We used the same kind of corbels underneath the upper cabinets in our kitchen.
    This is what they look like before you chop ‘em off:

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    We loved the idea of being able to display some sweet and sentimental stuff on a couple of shelves in the room. It’s such an enchanted little space and being surrounded by things that make us smile seemed like a good idea to us.

    One of my favorite things is this tiny jar…

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    I got the “Happily Ever After” charm at an outdoor wedding last year. It previously dangled from a fan the bride and groom gave all of their guests. I saved it because it was not humanly possible for me to throw something that adorable away. It’s glued to front of one of the jars I got from White Flower Farmhouse and although I think it looks just fine empty, I’ll probably use it as an itty bitty bud vase from time to time too.

    We got the plant pot from Ikea last week…

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    Love the texture!

    Next to the plant pot, we used a photo that Kevin shot inside a chippy, old flea market frame I picked up last year for just a few bucks…

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    Next to Kevin’s photography, we used another flea market frame (one of the wood ones I bought a couple weeks ago for $1.00) to display a strand of starfish…

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    I just tied a piece of jute twine from one side of the frame to another, and used a few little clips I got at Ikea to dangle the starfish from it…

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    We know this type of “art” might not be for everyone, but for some reason it appeals to us, and because we already had the paint, the starfish and the twine- the whole project cost about $2.50 and took less than five minutes to make.
    That’s what I’m talkin ’bout Willis!

    Using Velcro, we attached a box made out of rulers to the wall above the starfish art…

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    It holds a bunch of small stones and shells that we’ve collected on our travels.
    I picked up one of the stones on a trip I took with my Mom. It may just look like a rock to most people, but I think about the girls-only trip we took to visit my nephew every time I see it.

    I taped a piece of the vintage wallpaper that used to cover the ceiling in this room underneath the bottom shelf to let future owners know what the ceilings used to look like before we uncovered the wood planks…

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    I wrote them a note on back side of it…

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    I have this crazy dream of buying an old house and finding things from homeowners past, (much watch too much, “If Walls Could Talk”) so I thought I’d hide something for the people who will call our house home in the future.

    Up on the top shelf, we used a bunch of other stuff we had around the house too.

    A flea market basket I bought last year for around five bucks, filled with a few great books and some rolled up sheet music to inspire Kevin to play his acoustic guitar in here every now and then…

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    A ceramic jug from HomeGoods, and my Mom’s Shellbox

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    And so everyone could reach the key that she made to let us know the name of each shell, I set it on top of the ruler box…

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    Another book and a few more inexpensive treasures that tickle our fancy…

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    We’re loving the new shelves, and look forward to blogging about the changes on the other side of the room soon too.
    (Twitter followers be on the lookout for a photo even sooner!)

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    This week we’re going to see if we can successfully seal the new counter top in the kitchen. (Thanks to everyone who gave us tips on that!) Then I guess I’ll have to make a decision about the wall above it.
    There’s nothing like a big, blank wall to create a thousand different design scenarios to choose from.

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    PS- Thank you for the little French book Diane! We love it!

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    This entry was posted in Exterior, Mom, Reading Room.

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