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Of Cobalt Blue Bottle Trees & Gardens During a Storm… plus fairy rock gardens

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the finished product, before the storm hit.

Observation from my soon-to-be graduating high school senior, quoting Parks & Recreation, when I told him I was thinking about getting the bottle tree the other day:

Connor: “We have the most colorful, eccentric, and eclectic yard in the neighborhood, with all the flowers and hammocks and art and stuff, Mom- I like it, ‘treat yo’ self'”

Maisie (poking her head out from around the corner and lisping in her toddler voice): “YEAH! TWEET YO’ SELF!”

(UPDATE: THE BOY HAS SINCE GRADUATED- STILL UGLY CRYING OVER IT, WILL POST ABOUT IT LATER)

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Ironically, the comedian Retta, who played Donna on the show, said she was ‘so over’ people using the phrase this week. My kids didn’t get the memo. It’s become part of our culture, if a teen AND a three year old are using it.

So… my friend delivered the items. His mom passed away recently and he is rehoming her stuff. We also received some punched tin and steel stars, plus other gewgaws I will be redoing for outdoor art projects. He has river rock in her garden we will hopefully get for the new landscaping project we’re planning this summer.

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Steel star, punched tin star, and a cute birdhouse that we will repaint for the garden!

I LOVE outdoor projects! IDK why, but I enjoy them far more than indoor things. Gardening and hard work are so good for the soul and body.

A storm, the remnants of Tropical Storm Alberto, was positioned to hit our area of the Great Lakes yesterday, so we had to work fast before the storm blew in.

I had an old birch tree that we cut down years ago after it died. Later, we decorated the stump with shards of broken pottery, strawberry plants, succulents and used it as a planter for years. It finally rotted away totally, so this was where the new tree needed to live.

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my sad old stump, like the book The Giving Tree, she’s been repurposed many times since she died-with it’s shards of pottery crumbling away from it now, from the last incarnation as a planter- and the oregano, columbine, and lemon balm growing wild-

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R digging out the old stump. My garden’s been absolutely neglected due to health issues and is being re-landscaped this summer.

Once planted, we discovered that the tree was missing 6 blue wine bottles. A friend generously donated the remainder to me-. My dad and I finished the decorating of the tree… and we were very pleased with the results.

We didn’t get the labels off til the next day, as the storm blew in before that could happen.


SO, the next day, we put down a rock garden beneath the bottle tree, planted some flowers, and installed little plants and fairy things for a fairy garden. The rocks provided the tree with additional stability in case of a wind storm.

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Little fairy garden

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Fairy house and ‘tree’ nestled in the rocks

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after the rain

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so much more to do, but she’s in love with the whimsical garden and so are we!

Maisie was absolutely enchanted with it.

We also planted 2 types of heirloom tomatoes and some cucumbers in the purple ‘bunny bed’. My kid expects fresh cukes to be growing on the fence every year- they’re her favorite things to eat.

We have SO MANY more beds to clean and re-plant/landscape. Since we use a majority of reclaimed/recycled materials in our landscaping, things have to be updated or redone every year or so.

I am having health issues, so it is slow going. Hoping to get back outside tomorrow and start gardening again!

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Purple Hamsa DIY Birdhouse Art Project

I received a birdhouse from a friend this week and re-did it to live on the hammock post.

It was originally a plain wooden birdhouse, nothing particularly special about it.
Maisie and I spray painted it purple, painted the brackets a hot pink, then attached it to the top of the post.

I wasn’t happy with it, so I drew a Hamsa which is good luck against evil eye in many faiths and cultures, using sharpies. I did it freehand and it would have looked better, but Maisie insisted on swinging on the hammock, shaking the post as I drew.

I was perched precariously on a step stool at the time- and I have really bad vertigo lately from weird ear crystal issues- so I just wanted to get this done with.

I love the way it turned out! It’s looks pretty hippy dippy šŸ™‚

 

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Hot Pink Mr Bunny Garden Makeover and “Fairies Are Super Cool” vid

The garden/landscaping project continues!

We had a forlorn little terracotta garden rabbit that was hidden in the brush, unpainted, and I wanted to paint it and give the poor old thing a makeover.

he was originally something like the above- I didn’t take a before picture, though.

Maisie INSISTED on choosing the spray paint colors this go ’round, so he had to be hot pink. I didn’t do the greatest job with the spray painting, I honestly just wanted to get it over with. However, it looked really creepy without ‘real’ looking eyes, so the child insisted Mr. Bun get them.

 

I didn’t have any craft paint, so we used sharpies, which turned out to her satisfaction, as far as hot pink bunnies go.

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The made-over Mr Bun

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he also got a nose and mouth

He still looks a little sad and lonely, but at least he now has pizzazz and eyes.

Maisie was very pleased with this project, so all’s well that end’s well!

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Happy Happy Day! Blue Bottle Garden Trees

I’ve been wanting on of these things for years!

Now, the ones in the pics aren’t MY tree, I just found a smaller one that will fit a teeny hillock on the NW corner of my garden.

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I’m obsessed with blue bottle trees like these- and blue glass evil eye trees

My friend is delivering it in about 30 minutes. Granted, mine is much smaller- about 16″ at base and 5 feet tall, but it is the perfect size for where I want to place it.

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pic of the one I bought from my friend, minus the bottles

I plan on making a fairy garden for Maisie nearby.

I love lots of whimsy in my gardens and Maisie loves helping outside. We live in a very artsy, laid-back beach town- so growing food on your lawn and sculptures are pretty much the norm in my book.

 

My gnomes will appreciate this, too.
BTW, my mysterious gnome problem ceased about 2 yrs ago.

 

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Ok, Part 5 of the Dumpster Diaries: One step forward, two steps back… the back room AND upstairs kitchen today

I am just going to call this ‘part 5’, no point in getting OCD about it at this point…

As we were cleaning/tossing out/removing things from the back room, we realized that we had no place to put the clothes and dressers unless we cleaned out the upstairs kitchen… so he went upstairs and removed some of the bigger pieces of furniture. It’s still not empty upstairs, but it’s much better. We have a friend coming to haul the appliances away tomorrow (hopefully).

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yeah, it’s looking trashed again… but it’s actually more organized than before

I know we’re making progress, but I cannot help but feel like we’re taking 2 steps back for every step forward.

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Me: “Why haven’t you thrown away that old leather chair?!” R: “I didn’t know you wanted to throw it away” Yeaah- it’s ALL GOTTA GO!!

The back room is back to being a jumbled mess again. We emptied boxes, threw away at least 10 garbage bags worth of clothing from that room. I still have MORE CLOTHES to go through, believe it or not.

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oh… THAT’S where this pair of Louboutins went… *sighs*

it's incredible what one can find in here

it’s incredible what one can find in here

The upstairs kitchen lost antique Hoosier cabinet things, plus a round oak table, and some vintage enameled kitchen tables. At some point R put some plastic shelves up. He is now thinking about buying one of those modular wire closet systems from Lowes, but I think it’s too early for that yet. I need to figure out what to do with all of my Fiesta ware (most of it vintage) and the rest of the actual kitchen stuff that I no longer use. At one time we used both kitchens- don’t ask me why.

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the plastic shelf is new most of this crap needs to GO

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SPILLING into my bedroom now, yikes.

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view from my bed- the closet room transformation will take longer- but we need to focus on just getting a place to PUT our clothes so that we can renovate the back room

The most important part at this point is TO FILL THAT DUMPSTER UP. We need to throw away as much as we can-

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going to have someone haul away the appliances

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oh hey- Trixie, my dress dummy, and my vintage linens. On the floor is my old sewing machine. I have a new one still in the box somewhere.

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part of my (mostly) vintage fiesta collection. I need to do something about this

We’ve decided to keep the dumpsterĀ for a few days longer, at least, to ensure everything gets tossed that needs to.

Laundry was started and I need to fold things, but am too tired to go down the flights of stairs to the basement to retrieve the clean things tonight. I am doing huge loads of whites and I probably should go to the store to find blue-ing (it makes yellowed linens a sparkling white), because I ran out.

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Dumpster Diaries: More back room madness- and psychological self-realizations about my hoarding problem

I took a nap at 7:30 pm with baby. We woke at 10 and I decided to sneak a few more bags into the dumpster.

my nap partner

Filled an ENTIRE GARBAGE BAG with just BRAS-

How the HELL did I accumulate that many brassieres?!

I didn’t throw away this strangeĀ one I bought in Amsterdam over a decade ago. There used to be a little handmade exotic undies shop in the same building as my apartment. It no longer fits me, but it’s a souvenir- of what, I don’t know.

Another bag was filled with flip flops and shoes from at least a decade ago… I still have tens of dozens of more pairs of shoes to weed through. Imelda Marcos doesn’t have anything on me- except that she was more organized and had HELP.

The third bag was just old blue jean mini skirts, probably circa 2008-2009. Some were so short I have no idea how I sat down without my bits and pieces poking out. NEVER wearing that again- some looked brand new- OUT they went.

I found silk duvets and beautiful cotton linens and duvet covers- that had been folded and put into boxes AND SHOVED INTO A CORNER in that back room sooo long ago that I’d forgotten I owned them.

I found over the knee boots, from France, Italy, Spain, Brazil- most of them leather, all of them designer. Circa 2007-2009.

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horrible fashion choices in Oslo, Norway 2003

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Oslo, Norway hotel room- notice my mess already accumulating on desk

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I’m not naturally tidy

I noticed that my expensive clothing collection stops around the same time that I acquired R. I guess having a boy toy vs having nice things isn’t mutually exclusive. After 2010, I started my “Earth Mama” phase. I wore lessĀ makeup, became more nature girl.

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Garden and greenhouse 2013

He built all the raised veggie boxes in the yard and installed a small greenhouse for me. We acquired more dogs and I had a baby. I quit going out when I met him and my drinking (which wasn’t a lot before- I am not a big drinker) dwindled to nearly nothing. My house started to get renovated in earnest (he’s big about doing ‘projects’ with me).

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my preferred footwear went from Gucci and Louboutin to grubby macintosh boots

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garden glamma 2013

I remember one year, early in our relationship, when I took him to NYC to meet my ‘famous’ friends. He was not impressed. In fact, he was kind of like the little kid from the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. He found them shallow and strange and unreal- totally turned him off. They, on the other hand, LOVED him because he was so ‘strong and silent’- which meant, he didn’t fall for their bullshit.

That opened my eyes, too… in a very good way. I am glad I am throwing most of my past away. There are plenty of good memories, but a lot of them are also painful ones. There’s something really awful about living a life/working in the public eye and around people who only value a person for their body of work and/or BODY/FACE/BEAUTY. It’s an empty existence- like chasing a ghost. It’s only fun until the next party, next show, next role, next next next…

See this book? I'm one of the contributors and have a whole page dedicated to me lol

See this book? I’m one of the contributors and have a whole page dedicated to me lol

Someone wrote to me and wanted to help me eBay my stuff- Nope, no, noooo. If I need, I will do it myself. (I actually was one of the first ambassadors for eBay, many years ago when it first began. I helped write the first how-to use eBay book).

People can dumpster dive my dumpster if they want. They can pick my trash. I’m focused on THROWING THINGS AWAY… nothing else. Holding ONTO stuff, with the intention of selling it later, is one of the reasons why I am IN the situation that I am in now.

Time to feng shui my life. NOW.

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Part 4 of the Dumpster Diaries: In the back room, where all my embarrassing hoarding issues are exposed to the light of day

About 4 days left- and I've only completed 1/3 of my projects!!!

About 4 days left- and I’ve only completed 1/3 of my projects!!!

I have less than 4 days left of dumpster rental and this endeavor is going at a much slower pace than I anticipated. I am SO frustrated.

Between my health issues (bad back, etc) and my clingy baby and having R away at work til Wednesday, this feels like I am trying to dig out of an avalanche with a teaspoon.

Add to that 2 days worth of personality clashes in my house while we re-adjust to my oldestĀ living back homeĀ for the first time in 6 yrs- and a baby who is NOT used to a disrupted schedule and/or people yelling and arguing- and a teenaged boy who’s used to being the ‘oldest’ now and was suddenly catapulted a step down in seniority this week– AND a mother (me) who is on the first day of her menses… well, let’s just say I lost my shit this morning.

Our workloads from having another male in the house have been really tiresome. Getting these men to help out is driving me mad. I feel like I’ve spent 5x the normal amount of time this week washing more dishes or cooking. Something’s got to give.

I won’t go into other details, but let’s just say that disputes and arguments are a huge time waster. Stress begets more stress and it is EXHAUSTING. Thank goodness (knock wood) that’s over with… at least it BETTER be.

Maisie has also been a handful. We need at least one person watching her, while 2 people (minimum) work on whatever section of the house we’re working on.

made 2 loaves of regular zucchini bread

made 2 loaves of regular zucchini bread

My parents dropped off zucchini from my aunt’s garden, so I made 2 loaves of regular zucchini bread and 2 loaves of chocolate pecan zucchini bread.

chocolate pecan zucchini bread

chocolate pecan zucchini bread

Now for my personal shame.

I don’t want to post this, but out of straight up total disclosure before/after-ness, I will.

Most of this can be thrown away and will be

Most of this can be thrown away and will be

My back room is a MESS. Not only does it house old clothes I never wear and cannot fit into, it has my regular wardrobe and whatever catch-all that won’t fit anywhere else- and it’s a hoarder style freaking DISGUSTING JUMBLE.

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horrific

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yeah, that’s a real louis vuitton purse

UPDATE:

Now on DAY 2 of cleaning this back room. We have carted out about 20 garbage bags of stuff and it still has not made a DENT in the pile of shit I need to remove. Morale is at an all-time low. I’m losing my patience and just want to burn the entire thing.

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the tops of these shelves were PILED with boxes of UNNEEDED TRASH- gone now (mostly)

I’ve found tons of (real) designer purses, Christian Louboutin shoes still in their boxes and barely worn, belts and things I haven’t seen in years, you name it. Sewing and sewing machine items just shoved and overturned in the mess. I am going to throw away, wash, give away most everything in that room… mostly, I will toss them. I will start all over again, if need be. I don’t want this happening ever again. I’m done with this kind of crap.

… and I am hoping by publishing these pics, I will always be reminded of this.

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Time Life Books from the 1960s and 70s- GONE

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I can see floor

Without R here to go through HIS things, work is slow going. My back hurts- the baby requires attention and cannot be in this room with me while I go through things. The boys are unable to go through any of this (they can just cart things away to dumpster) because they have no idea what I need to be tossed or kept.

Maisie dancing with her oldest brother- she’s a dancing fool

Tomorrow is R’s day off and I hope we can actually get most of this done. We still have to do the upstairs kitchen, too.