Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Neighborhood Entrance

We moved into our home in March of 2009. It was still cold and needless to say there wasn't much growth on the trees or bushes. The entrance to the subdivision looked kind of like the entrance to a state park. I was certain that would change once spring was here. I was confident there would be a spring cleanup and flowers would be blooming and it would be amazing.

W R O N G!

It turns out that this particular entrance to our subdivision has been neglected for years. There were actually many good reasons it was neglected as the HOA had to deal with many issues with the township. (I mean... it probably didn't need to take as long as it did, but whatevs) 

Of course I don't have a good "before" picture, but I was able to pull an old shot off of google maps. This pic shows how ugly it was but it doesn’t truly depict how over grown everything was before it was redone.

I did manage to get a shot of the state park looking sign. 

After attending many HOA Meetings, I offered to cleanup and plant the entrance myself.

BIG Mistake! BIG BIG Mistake!

The grounds were littered with garbage, bottles, and doggie waste bags. And the ground was so hard it was like digging into cement. To make matters worse, once I finally got everything cleaned up and planted, I found out there was no functioning water source. UGH!!! So I had to lug water from my house to keep the mums alive. The finished product looked better when I was done, but it was still mediocre at best.

Below are pictures taken before the mums were in full bloom. 

As I mentioned above, there were some good reasons why the entrance had not been addressed. Some that had to do with the neighborhood, but most had to do with limitations from the township.

I could make a long story longer, but I won't get into all of the details. Basically the major challenges were:

The sign had to be easily removed if necessary and the distance to the road was important so that meant we could not build a permanent structure and current sign could not be moved from its current location.

The size of the island and the distance to the road meant no sign in the island.

Property owned by the hospital meant no landscaping on the right side of the entrance

Although there were several things going against a proper entrance, I knew we could still make it nice so I pitched an idea to the HOA. All of my suggestions took the above challenges into consideration. I suggested we paint the existing sign and build columns out of stack-able stones on each side. This way they could be easily removed should the township need to access the pipes and other things located under the sign.

I also pitched landscaping ideas. My original pitch included full color pictures that I literally cut and pasted together to provide a visual. Admittedly, I had some grand plans originally. My plan included a million more flats of annual flowers, but planting that amount of flats every year comes at a cost. All 4 entrances have to be evenly and fairly maintained.

Another priority was to select trees that would help conceal the yard of the home behind the entrance.

The president of the HOA was able to work with the township and they agreed to let us paint the sign and add removable stone columns. HUGE WIN! Of course there was a small catch. We could not move the sign from its current location. UGH! But OK, we can work with that.

The HOA let me pick materials and select plantings for the entrance and I loved every second of the process!

Then, the HOA took a leap of faith and let me paint the sign!!! They don't really know me. They don't know what I am capable of doing. But they trusted me! I mean... I was cheap. I only charged the cost of supplies, so how could they pass up that deal?

I wanted to gold leaf the letters and paint the sign black. I was prepared for the time-consuming task of gold leafing, but then I ran into my neighbor Lou who said, "ya know they make liquid gold leaf". WHAT??? They do??? Once I found that out, liquid gold leaf it was! And it turns out it is so much more affordable and easier to apply.

Check out this beauty!

I started by scraping the loose paint, filling cracks with wood filler and a lot of sanding. I painted the letters a base of yellow paint before the gold leaf paint. 

After getting everything taped and painted, I finished it with what seemed like  a million coats of water-based polyurethane. 

After the sign was done the landscapers built the columns, placed the sign and planted. It was fall of 2016 and although it looked nice, it wasn't until this year that I appreciated how beautiful it really is! The flowers are in full bloom and I am so happy every time I turn into into my sub. There were a ton reasons why this shouldn't have ended up as nice as it did, but it is beautiful!  I can only imagine how beautiful it will be when all of the plants mature. 

BTW... I do not claim to be a photographer! LOL


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Monday, May 8, 2017

Ribbon Rack

I have a lot of ribbon. So much ribbon I didn't know what to do with it. Who needs this much ribbon? Ummm...nobody! However, I've had a little bit of a thing for ribbon, especially when it is on sale!

I've always had a ribbon stash, but I never really had a great way to organize it. I’ve had it arranged in shallow boxes on a shelf, which was ok, but not the best because it took up too much space. I loaded all of the spools on dowel rods that I hung below shelves. I thought this would be the best way to store them, I was wrong… it was the worst. It was awful because when the spool runs out, you have to take every spool of ribbon off the rod in order to get the empty one off. I didn’t want to take them all off so I ended up having a bunch of empty spools on the rod. I even tried stacking them, but not surprisingly this didn't work because they just got knocked over.

It's no secret I spend a fair amount of time on Pinterest and I came across this tutorial for a stand-alone ribbon rack. http://nicholeheady.typepad.com/capture_the_moment/studio-ribbon-storage.html
Now we're talking!

This type of storage is ideal, but I wanted my shelves mounted to the wall and I wanted it to be a lot bigger. All of the storage for our house is located behind 2 closets in my sewing room. The space between the closet doors was perfect for the ribbons.

I showed Mike Richardson the ribbon storage that I liked. He took a few measurements, we headed to Home Depot for supplies, and by that evening I had ribbon storage!!!

I planned on painting it to match the closet doors, but the natural wood is the same color as the floors and I think I like it as is.

Believe it or not, it ended up being way more storage than I had ribbons. 

The size ended up being perfect because now I had room for all my rolls of tulle, all-purpose thread (embroidery thread is a whole other story) and best of all, my collection of beads. I found these great flip-top containers at Dollar Tree by the seasonal plastic plates and picnic-ware. They were 3 for a dollar and fit great on the shelves. 

 I am so in love with this rack!!!

I mean, come on, do I have a great rack or what????


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