Decorating · Gardening · Organizing · Thrifting and antiquing

First auction of 2019, gardening, and more decorating

Got up too early in the morning and headed out to the garden. I planted 3 more hellebores (but forgot to take photos), and planted some native plants (vanilla leaf seed and blue camas bulbs… but I forgot to take photos… not that there’s much to photograph yet), and then helped/supervised Dad putting up the last few touches in my downstairs bathroom, those being 2 towel racks, a toilet paper holder, two small mirrors, and a ceiling swag hook to hang some capiz shell wind chimes that match the bathroom.

Later on in the evening I cleaned up the counters and added a few decorations and the downstairs bath is now done:

Woo hoo! 1/12 done!

Anyway, after the initial towel bar etc. hanging, it was time to head to Chemainus for an auction. I didn’t get everything I was after, but I got the important things, plus two impulse buys:

An antique chair (above), plus a red Indian-style tray, and the impulse buys were a painted gourd that goes perfectly with my living room as well as a chair with a needlepoint parrot on it:

Behind the parrot chair you can see some of the mess that is the mudroom/nook. Mostly Dad’s tools and whatnot, plus a light fixture that belongs in the family room cum sewing studio.

This will likely be the second-to-last room done, with the master being last as we have to replace a huge skylight and do some other crap that will wait til at least May. (I’ll be moving in sooner than that, but will sleep in the spare at first.)

Since I’m on the furniture topic, I got some more knickknacks and doodads out in the living room:

Found the second green and gold cushion for the sofa and laid out a Bangladeshi kantha quilt I got at Mondo on Salt Spring Island the day after Boxing Day to brighten up the back.

Put a felted thrift store serape table runner (methinks it wasn’t supposed to be felted and got donated after shrinking in the wash) on my carved oak table for now, along with my Walmart cactus lamp.

Threw a couple Jysk surfing cushions on my antique chairs, which look a bit odd right now but they’ll make more sense as the wall art comes in. Plus, they’re kinda tacky/goofy and I like that.

And on a more practical note, when I was organizing the clutter in the family room last night I uncovered my umbrella stand, so I put that by the front door… it’ll eventually migrate to the mudroom when that gets done, probably.

I also dug out my little granny shopping cart and put the wheels on it for when I eventually start walking my smaller errands after I move in.

Speaking of organizing, I think I found the last of the Christmas and Halloween stuff, got it into the almost-last storage bins (one more for the outside Christmas lights, but I haven’t gotten those untangled yet, just hauled them onto the covered patio to dry off). So, here’s a pic of the upstairs storage room:

It’s a lot bigger than I thought it was when I peered in there before buying the place, and after Dad got finished fixing it up (including insulation, blocking the rodent access holes, painting, and putting down a new vinyl tile floor), it’s a lot brighter and cleaner as well.

I still have a ton of crap to haul into there, though.

So, actually, 2 rooms done… and if we count the upstairs hallway, it’s 13 rooms, not 12. And the living room is almost done, just needs its bookshelves this spring, so 2 and a half done.

And I’ll take the opportunity to post pics of the storage cubby in the hall next to/in front of the storage room, which I mentioned before but hadn’t posted pics of. Dad had to fix up this one as well (putting in new plywood all around, blocking rodent-friendly gaps, etc) and then I painted it high gloss white. There were leftover vinyl tiles from the big storage room, so he put those down on the bottom.

Sorta-before (ie, after Dad fixed it up, before I painted):

After I painted (note I left the one side with its vintage wallpaper as a nod to the history of the space, even though it was stained):

And done except putting the little sliding doors back on:

It’s pretty big in there. I think I’m going to use it as a linen closet for sheets and blankets as there is no such thing upstairs and I’d rather not use up precious clothes space in the regular closets.

So… that leaves the gardening that I actually took pictures of.

Yesterday I was at a garden club workshop/seminar with Linda Gilkeson (Backyard Bounty). She mentioned (among a vast number of other topics, especially pest control and year round veggie gardening) that the best way to remove grass if you’re just starting is not to rototill it (because that screws up your soil structure and tends to kill the beneficial critters living in it) but to lay down tarps or whatever opaque stuff you have on hand (eg, cardboard or several layers of newspaper, the latter of which will slowly compost if you put soil on top) for 3 months.

The grass will die without the light, and it stays there to rot into the soil and nourish it, and then you can add your compost and topsoil on top of the dead grass when you’re ready to plant.

And it happens that there are 3 months between now and May 1, which is generally the better time to plant veggies to avoid getting them screwed up by late frosts which often happen in April.

And the tarp method is a lot less work than digging the whole thing up.

So I picked up two 8×6′ tarps at the dollar store and thought that would be plenty until I laid them down:

Turns out 8×12″ is actually pretty puny considering the size of my yard and that I want all the grass gone eventually.

I’ll get another 4 or 6 tarps tomorrow and lay them down to get a 12′ strip along the whole fence. Or at least half a 12′ strip. Even if I don’t get it all planted with veggies this year I can start amending the soil with lime to prepare it for next year, and I can always plant annual flowers this year if I want to start luring bees and other pollinators in.

In the process of surveying my yard, I also noticed I have a blackberry bramble at the back. Not too keen on that, but it seems to have not run rampant quite yet, so I’ll prune it back hard – some blackberries will be nice, but I definitely don’t want them to start taking over.

Anyway, I also planted the red twig dogwood, a variety called “Little Rebel”, by the pond and Japanese maple in my front yard. And I noticed the Japanese maple needs some pruning attention to shape it up a bit.

Oh well. Add that to the chore list.

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