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Decorating should be a younger woman’s territory. Younger than me, anyway. Yet, I found myself in rapt, slack-jawed attention back in 2014 when I discovered LiveWellNetwork’s DIY Knock It Off! on PBS (see the videos here.) Every week, Monica and Jess took on hapless homeowners who couldn’t figure out how to decorate on a dime.

Several months ago, just after Richelle’s “new” home ownership had crossed the 3 year mark, I finally made the trip out to Middleburg, Florida (The Burg) to see it. In defense of my slovenly friendship, The Burg is in the boonies, also known as BFE or Better Fetch Essentials, like a toothbrush and an overnight bag.

As we walked into her beading craft room, I felt Monica and Jess excitedly tap me on the shoulder. It was the bold, turquoise curtain hanging at the window that did it. I had never seen anyone decorate with aqua or turquoise and mix in lime green accents. It was beautiful.

“We should paint this wall a pale aqua as an accent wall,” I suggested.  “And hang some adjustable shelves over these file cabinets.”

Richelle agreed shelves would be great.

“The shelves could be 6 inches apart – just enough for those clear plastic shoe boxes like I’ve got in my Rubber Room,” I further suggested.

Richelle pursed her lips. “I got rid of a bunch of those shoe boxes when I went to pretty boxes.”

We talked about my decorating project and settled on a budget of $200. I’m not sure Monica and Jess ever had to transform a room on $200. I had nothing to dampen my enthusiasm as I was truly ignorant of just how much those adjustable shelves would ultimately cost and it’s a cinch Monica and Jess never mentioned it.

The holidays intervened but at 10:30 on February 6, I showed up with a can of paint. She answered the door still in her jammies. I started worrying about her commitment to our painting date.  I mean, wasn’t she EXCITED to paint her wall with Jamaican Aqua?

Richelle had past experience with a paint roller but I did not. It was only after streaking her peg boards with a paint brush before switching to a paint roller that worked wonders, did I happen to mention that I had become a ripe old lady never having painted a wall inside or outside a house. You should have seen the look of undeniable horror pass across her face. She was clearly broadcasting that she would never, ever have let me loose in her house with a paint brush sopping with Jamaican Aqua if she had known this. I quickly assured her that I had watched countless YouTube videos on how to paint. I even told her about the tip I learned from Crazy Guy at the paint store about saving your wall roller thingie in a plastic bag so you could leave for lunch.

Neither Crazy Guy nor my Master’s Degree from YouTube impressed her.

“Had I known you planned to use my walls as your personal canvas,” she sputtered, I would have barricaded the door.” She always did have a caustic lip on her.

After that, I got blamed for every stray streak of paint but I want you to know the errors were not all mine.  She managed to paint over an electric socket with the roller. How do you not see an electric socket? And how does one miss seeing a giant fire extinguisher box? There was also that incident where she was outside rollering the second pegboard when one of the support ends collapsed. These “supports” were four miniature saw horses I had borrowed from Poppie’s paint shed. I heard some swearing from the back yard but I was up to my elbows in my own issues. I did peek out the sliding glass door and saw her straightening the end support only to have both the middle and other end fall, in synchronization. And with so much past painting experience under her belt, why did she not remind me to use the painter’s tape? I had an epiphany about the painter’s tape at the end of the first day as I drove back to civilization.

It’s embarrassing to admit it took us 6 hours over two days to set up, paint and clean up afterwards for ONE accent wall that turned a corner and TWO peg boards. Between us we used one ladder, one paint roller, and one large paint brush to paint the accent wall. Oh yeah, we also used one very small artist’s brush from Richelle’s personal stash to paint the edge between the wall and the ceiling. It might not have taken so long if she hadn’t been complaining so much of abuse. She claimed that every time I got tired of doing something, I’d announce that she could finish the job.

I also would have liked all FOUR pegboards painted aqua but that’s how it is with decorating. You have to let the client do it their way even when they’re wrong.

Poppie’s death intervened but last week I finished sewing the gathered curtain for her window after countless interruptions. Yesterday, we put the curtain up. I have similar curtains in my living/dining room and a bathroom but Momma made all of them. I was disappointed with my curtain for Richelle. I searched the internet for info on whether to double or triple the length of the rod but couldn’t find much. I think I doubled it when it would have been fuller had I tripled it.

The photographs aren’t the best because Richelle is NOT a morning person and I was not allowed to arrive until after 1 p.m. I never take photos in full sun because it causes what I refer to as “blow outs.” Her window gave me countless photographic headaches. Nevertheless, I now share our Knock It Off! decorating attempts.

RP shelves and curtain-6213

Standard white shelves and brackets from Home Depot
Gratefully installed by my brother

Close-up of one end of the shelves

Close-up of one end of the shelves

At the corner wall; I avoided the red and aqua fire extinguisher

At the corner wall; I avoided the red and aqua fire extinguisher

Opposite view of cabinets

Opposite view of cabinets

Peg boards on opposite side of room

Peg boards on opposite side of room

Chest of drawers she painted for opposite wall

Chest of drawers she painted for opposite wall

Wind chime-like thing hanging from ceiling on opposite side of room

Wind chime-like thing hanging from ceiling on opposite side of room

Close-up of curtain fabric

Close-up of curtain fabric

The Duval Extension Office (Jacksonville, FL) has some upcoming classes on growing a fall vegetable garden.

Plant cabbage in your fall garden

Plant cabbage in your fall garden

August 1, Saturday – “Midsummer Vegetable Gardening and Preparing for Fall.” No charge for the program. It will be held at Pablo Creek Regional Library, 13295 Beach Boulevard from 10:30 a.m. until noon. Call Jeannie at 255-7450 to register.

My seed tray from a spring class

My seed tray from a spring class

August 22, Saturday —  “How to Start Vegetables from Seed and Take Home Your Own Seed Tray.” The class is $15 and includes a soil-filled seed tray, labels and seed. It will be held at 1010 N. McDuff Avenue  from 9 a.m. until noon. The seeds you will be given are broccoli, beets, cabbage, carrots, collards, greens, kale, lettuce, snow pea, swiss chard, and radish. Plus all the information you need to successfully grow your seedlings. A variety of tomato seedlings for your fall garden will also be available for purchase. Pre-registration and pre-payment is required as they have a fixed number of trays and seed. Please call Jeannie at 255-7450 to register. Make checks payable to DCOHAC and mail to Attention: Seed Class, 1010 N. McDuff Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32254.

Don’t wait too long to sign up for these classes.

Pink and White VincaPurchased this spring from Lowes

Pink and White Vinca
Purchased this spring from Lowes
Hope this produces seeds

Coneflowers grown from seedFinally have enough of them for a decent grouping

Coneflowers grown from seed
Finally have enough of them for a decent grouping

Hibiscus/Mallow grown from ‘Luna Swirl’ (pink and white) seed
Dave’s Garden says plants will not come true from seed
It did the first year but not this year

Everyone who sets foot on my covered porch feels compelled to tell me that I have wasps nesting on my aluminum porch cover. They are usually shocked to discover that I allow the wasps to return, year after year, because they are pollinators. Don’t believe me? Will you take the feds word for it?  Then look here:

Wasp Nestapproximately 2.5 inches in diameter on porch roof

Wasp Nest
approximately 2.5 inches in diameter on porch roof

Their general reaction is, “Not on my porch!” I assure them that they can sit with me in one of my rocking chairs and not be bothered by the wasps. The wasps will fly around but as long as you don’t swat at them they will leave you alone.

This one in the door jamb of my front porch will eventually be dispatched because I don’t like them getting in the house. Again, they won’t bother me in my house but they always end up in the guest bath toilet and are hard to flush.

New wasp nest in front door jamb

New wasp nest in front door jamb

The bees who visit are more problematical. They aren’t honey or bumble bees and they don’t bother me but they do crawl around in the cat food bowls. Zorro, who is now a year old, will attack anything that moves. He swatted at one of those bees in his bowl the other day and got stung. If that bee had a nest on my porch, I would likely dispatch him for harming my baby kitty but I don’t know the nest location. I was sitting in one of my rocking chairs yesterday and watched one come in for a landing on a cat food bowl. The next thing it did I wouldn’t have believed but for seeing it with my own eyes. It scooped up one of the dry cat food crumbs and flew off with it! Who knew that bees like dry cat food?

spider and his rick rack web

spider and his rick rack web
June 26, 2015

In 2014, I purchased these daylilies through Facebook vendors and they are blooming for the first time:

Claimed Blessing - 5.25 inch bloomDaylilies of the Valley

Claimed Blessing – 5.25 inch bloom
Daylilies of the Valley

Chestnut Eyes - double 4.5 inch bloomRyder Daylilies

Chestnut Eyes – double 4.5 inch bloom
Ryder Daylilies

Terry Lyninger - 5.5 inch bloomI missed photographing the prettier versionsDaylilies of the Valley

Terry Lyninger – 5.5 inch bloom
I missed photographing the prettier versions
Daylilies of the Valley

Matt - 5.5 inch bloomI like the subtle coloringDaylilies of the Valley

Matt – 5.5 inch bloom
I like the subtle coloring
Daylilies of the Valley

Bali Watercolor – 9 inch bloom
Daylilies of the Valley

Open Hearth - 9 inch bloomRyder Daylilies

Open Hearth – 9 inch bloom
Ryder Daylilies

Mary Lightfine - 5.25 inch bloomactual color - untouchedRyder Daylilies

Mary Lightfine – 5.25 inch bloom
actual color – untouched
Ryder Daylilies

Pandora's Box - 4 inch bloomRyder Daylilies

Pandora’s Box – 4 inch bloom
Ryder Daylilies

Sand Pebbles - 5.5 inch bloom Ryder Daylilies

Sand Pebbles – 5.5 inch bloom
Ryder Daylilies

Stella Supreme daylily

Stella Supreme daylily – 3″ bloom

 

On the Southern Rural Route, half of us are retired and the other half works. The retired half are supervised by Mr. Golf Cart in the sense that he pays attention to our comings and goings because he lives at the top of the street on the main drag. Occasionally, he steers his golf cart into the driveway and toots his horn to let us know we are up for an inspection or an inquiry about anything he has seen us doing. Wearing his “Security” hat, he does his level best to keep everyone in line.

Mr. Golf Cart

Mr. Golf Cart

A couple of times I was given authority to supervise the neighbors when Mr. Golf Cart went on vacation but when I missed important events – a burglary and a house that burnt to the ground – my authority was revoked and The Hippy was given the job. This was better, in my opinion, because you need a Golf Cart for supervisory work and The Hippy has one.

In the olden days, if Mr. Golf Cart needed to know why he hadn’t seen me around, he would ask Poppie. Obviously, without a seance, this is no longer possible.  I’ve taken to reporting my comings and goings to Mr. Golf Cart.  I’m telling you, if I suddenly went missing on a day-to-day basis, he’d have the cops out there busting my door down. Not particularly anxious to find my front door hanging from its hinges, I called to advise him of a temporary change in my daily routine. I was going to work a full-time gig for two weeks and two days.

The first morning I rolled down the street to head for my gig, Mr. Golf Cart was out there in his driveway waving a stick with red streamers to wish me well. It’s comforting to know that someone cares enough to do that even if it was a joke.

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