Freshening the Outdoors: The Porches
We've been hearing rumors of change for months now at John's job and some are easier changes than others. It's very easy to get the mindset just now that 'Best spend the money while we've got it," but that is a silly thought, truly. I am not saying it's best to save it all, either. I do believe in an old adage Granny used often, "Best start as you mean to go on." I'm not in the least sorry we've spent money on flooring. Should opportunity present itself, we'll do more work on the house, though I don't know if we'll actually do what I'd mentioned for April. Likely that will get done a little further down the road. It's finding the balance between spending and saving, between making the best of what we have and knowing when it's time to purchase. It's all about understanding what is priority (for us) and what isn't.
Like my new cushions for the porch furnishings. No, it's not necessary, it's nice. It's a pleasant extra. If I were going to spend $60-$75 just now I'd much rather put that towards purchasing paper products or stocking up on the vitamins and supplements the doctor has ordered us to take, or plants for the pots on the porch and yard, or even pushing it to a sub-fund for the St. Augustine vacation we've booked.
However, I wanted new cushions. It makes seating more comfortable. It prevents burns in the summer and freezing cold penetrating the bones in winter, since our chairs are metal. It adds a bit of color. It adds a little personality. So it was a happy inspiration to realize I had brand new indoor/outdoor fabric in the guise of two tablecloths I'd purchased inexpensively at Aldi last summer. I happened to have enough to sew eight cushions, which is a definite possibility now that I've had such success making the first four.
When I was looking at the odd assortment of pots on the back porch, wishing I had new ones, and knowing it wasn't one of our priority items at the moment, I resigned myself to trying to merely clean up the old pots and replacing only those very broken ones that aren't serving their purpose. No shame in using what you have. If I find I have leftover paint once bigger projects are done, I might go so far once again to paint pots but we'll see.
I fashioned a new wreath from the old one that had sunflowers on it. It would have gone okay with the new look on the back porch if I'd merely changed the center of the sunflowers but I wanted something fresh and new this year. A green linen ribbon and Gerbera Daisies fit the bill perfectly. My total for refurbishing the wreath came to just over $6.
I didn't have quite enough ribbon to go around the wreath. I purchased two spools of ribbon and I really needed three. I had to improvise somehow, so I cut a similar green gingham check fabric into strips and used that. Honestly, my stubborn insistence on finishing up a project at times leads to some of the most creative thinking!
I put a new fern in the old wash pot. I really enjoyed having a fern there last year and it was a statement piece on the porch due to it's size. The thing is heavy, as you'd expect it to be since it's cast iron, and I'm not overly anxious to move it elsewhere.
Since it doesn't have drainage holes I was very careful not to let water run off into it last year but the flat metal pan I'd used under the fern didn't hold enough water to give the fern the humidity it normally likes. I found an old baking pan that I'd removed from my kitchen last fall that just fit inside the wash pot and put that under the fern. There's a short little stool under the pan that lifts the fern up nicely and the pan sits on the stool. This will allow me to water and leave a bit of water under the fern.
The green rocker remains. I do love this rocker now that the paint is just ever so slightly faded. This photo is an older one but the has the same softer look the rocker now has in reality. I've left the little metal table next to the rocker orange for the time being. It will definitely need a fresh coat of paint next year but it will be just fine for our use this year.
I don't have any new flowers on the porch just yet, except a single impatien that didn't fit in the pots for the flowerbeds about the porch.
The three chairs remain in front of the porch. I put a geranium in the middle chair. I don't mean for it to stay there. Geraniums do not much like our intense sun and heat. They do well enough on a porch, which is where this one will eventually go, but for now it fills an empty space. I put together the cheap little windmill I bought. It's likely going to blow down in the first real wind we have here but it's a bit of added interest just now in the bed. If it lasts this season I'll be happy enough. I expect I'll end using parts of it in other ways if it doesn't care for the wind, despite it's being a windmill.
The little bed next to the back steps is looking rather pretty. It's a mix of herbs and flowers just now. I'd thought about doing vegetables but haven't seeds nor plants at this time. I bought what I could cheaply and made the best of it and it turned out rather pleasing. I moved some pieces that were here last year down to the rose bed which needed something. I'd like some height in this bed but so far haven't found a thing that will work to give me that. I'll find something that will work as I continue to shop.
I've taken forever to get this post together because blogger is being peculiar about loading up pictures of late, sigh. However, I've managed to finally get this post together after a week of trying and you can see I've been busy enough of late. The flowers have grown a lot in just the past week. It does seem you need fresh pictures every single day at this time of year. I've the front porch to share with you, at least a portion of it.
I did a similar wreath for the front door. I didn't buy ribbon this time, but instead cut the green gingham check into strips and wrapped those about my wreath form. The Gerbera daisy clips were part of the ones I bought at Dollar Tree (2 to a card for $1). I really am liking the simplicity of this wreath.
I used the same cushions on my red porch chairs. I didn't paint them fresh this year but did last spring and felt that would suffice for another year. I think the next thing will be to take them to the auto shop and have them professionally sanded and painted because there are so many layers of paint on them just now. They look well enough for this year.
After I moved the window frame indoors to use above my mantel I wanted something extra for the front porch. We were wandering about the antiques mall when I saw something that just tickled me. They'd painted it red and just propped it on the wall. I took one look at it and the price they were asking and realized I had the very same thing at home. And in my head I could see just how I'd use it. Well my first attempt was off. It just didn't turn out pleasing at all, so I ended up going back out last Friday, removing everything and starting fresh. I knew my theme before I started the first time but tried to use other things. The second attempt worked because I went with my instinct and used the theme I'd known was right all along. It just took a little figuring in my mind to pull it off.
Now please ignore my pitiful plants. The cat has knocked off the succulents twice. The ivy is in a state of shock from transplanting. And the maidenhair fern and I are just about to part ways if it doesn't perk up now it's outdoors. I mean to buy pretty plants for this space and the orchids will be going out here next month when the weather is permanently warm.
I love it! I'm keeping my eyes open for another bird house or three that are reasonably priced but I'm really happy with how this old gate turned out. I hung the bird houses on the wire with picture hanging hooks that I put on upside down and backwards. The hooks just slip right over the wires and hold them securely in place. The blue bird is a funny little chime that doesn't really chime. I just happen to have this thing for blue birds and bought it last summer. I think once I get pretty plants and another bird house or three it will be perfect.
I expect John would like some curtains on this end of the porch because the sun beats in pretty hard on that south end. I'm going to keep my eyes out for solid color panels or a drop cloth or something to make panels I can pull across this end when the sun is shining. I've hung my green lanterns at either side of the entry to the porch and there's a pot of coleus on the floor on the shady side.