Pretty up the porch

One of the best parts about working at home (and just starting out, which means I have more free time), is that I get to tackle some projects that have been on my to-do list for ages. And then there are other projects that just pop up because I happen to be around to notice that this or that bothers me.

The driveway gets swept, weeds get pulled, clutter gets put away and the dishwasher gets run on a regular basis. My stress level over the way this house is running has just gone waaayyy down.

Anyway, today it just hit me how sad it is that we never use our screened-in porch area. Technically it’s hard to consider it a real screened-in porch because we have to leave the door open for the dogs to access the yard and the patchwork roof over it is not water tight. But ultimately it’s a pretty big space that just sits there.

I think a big reason we haven’t been using it is just simply because it’s been really dirty. Ever since we moved in it’s been covered in spiderwebs, leaves and dirt. I sweep it occasionally, but I’ve never actually cleaned it cleaned it.

I guess I always thought if we wanted to sit outside we’d sit on the patio area. But since the patio is directly under a gigantic tree that drops walnuts (or bits of walnuts after the squirrels are done with them), we never want to sit out there.

So, today I finally made us an outdoor sitting area. I took a broom and swept all the cobwebs from the walls and ceiling. Then I swept the floor in every nook and cranny I usually skip. And finally I turned the hose on it. I powerwashed everything to the best of my ability, including our table and chairs that I moved into the porch area.

Just those few things made a huge difference. I can really see us sitting out there now or having friends over. Maybe even coffee and a newspaper in the morning.

I still have to address the adjacent garden area that is totally overgrown. Last year we decided to pull out all the old covering and rocks and put in new ones. Except we didn’t realize that the old covering was keeping the weeds from sprouting through. Oops.

But that’s a pretty labor-intensive project that we can tackle in the spring. For now, I’m looking for ways to pretty up the empty porch, and maybe you can help.

It has one bare lightbulb that could really use a covering of some kind (and remember it has to be waterproof).

And this one wall is completely empty. It needs some metal signs or other kind of decoration, I think.

What else can I do to make it more visually appealing? Fabric flags? Plants? Vintage buckets or something? I would love to hear your suggestions. And remember, I’m on a tight budget!

A day in the life of Wally

After the dogs chewed up their stuffed squirrel (which lasted months, by the way), we decided to get them another one. Except they were all out of squirrels, so we had to get a beaver instead. Since we live just off Beaver Ave. in the Beaverdale neighborhood it seemed appropriate. We called him Wally.

The dogs loooove Wally. When we first got him he was immediately lost in the yard for a few days. Then Sadie came in one day with Wally hanging out of her mouth by the tail.

When he’s around, they wrestle and roll and fight over him.

And that’s a good thing. Because afterward we end up with dogs that can barely keep their eyes open.

Thanks, Wally. You rock.

Apple dip to die for

Now that apples the size of grapefruits are showing up at the store, I’ve been looking for creative ways to eat them. But once I landed on this option, I pretty much got stuck there.

One heaping tablespoon of creamy peanut butter, one teaspoon of Nutella. Microwave for about 15 seconds and stir together.

Yeah.

Serve as a dip with slices of your favorite apple. I love Galas the best.