What's Up Doc

Not only are our artichokes been thriving, but our carrots have done pretty well too.

I've tried to grow carrots before to no avail. There's a famous picture in our family (unfortunately I don't have it) of me and my brother Adam (we're about 7 and 10) standing with BIG FAT grins on our faces holding carrots that are about 1 1/2 inches long. Very pathetic. We were excited though.

Despite my previous experiences, Chris and I thought it might be exciting to grow carrots in our vegge garden. We're super lucky that we live in a good area of the Bay Area for growing things (if anyone knows about the Bay Area, you'll know that you can drive 10 minutes in any direction and there's a 10 degree temperature difference, drive 30 minutes and there's a 20 degree difference). But our area of Oakland is pretty warm, not very foggy, and it doesn't get too cold.

This last season our carrots grew pretty well, as in, substantial enough to eat with more than two bites

While I was tending to our artichokes yesterday I pulled out the rest of the carrots (there weren't very many left) to make room for our tomatoes. Now we've got a good amount of carrots for some tasty snacks

I'd like to plant more for this season in our vegge garden, but the artichoke and tomatoes will be taking up A LOT of room, so we may have to wait until next year when we plant our second vegge garden.


Our Artichokes Have EXPLODED!

Apparently while we've been working on the garage our artichoke plant decided to EXPLODE

It's nearly as tall as I am (a bit over 5 ft.) and probably as wide as 8 ft. CRAZY.

We knew when we planted it that they get pretty big, but I had no idea that it would get this big this FAST.

We also knew that it would take a year until any artichokes would fruit. And SURPRISE, when I was walking by our vege bed while working on the garage over the weekend I spotted an artichoke!!!!

It's HUGE! In a week or so we should be able to cut it off and eat it, I'm SO excited! :) I love me some artichokes.

I was so excited upon spotting the sucker that I made Chris stop what he was doing on the garage (he wasn't too excited) to come check it out. When we got over to the plant we counted NINE! (Chris then shared my excitement :) ). Look how many!

After the artichoke excitement, we were reminded that it's about time to plant our tomatoes. I went to Flowerland Nursery, which is AWESOME to get organic tomatoes to plant and ask about how to tend to our artichoke plant (how to harvest and prune back).

This morning I moved around some of our plants in our vege bed and planted our new tomato plants

Last year our tomato plants were QUITE plentiful, so I can't WAIT for a Spring and Summer full of tomatoes and artichokes!


Rough Electrical Started

Yesterday while I was at the gallery Chris got a lot of the rough electrical done on the garage, and even got some plywood up for shear strength.

The plan is to have about 3-6 outlets per wall (depending on which wall) so that we have ample space to plug in tools and get work done

Chris also put wiring in for an outlet on the outside of the garage (to plug in our lawn mower, or anything else that needs electricity) and for a light to be hooked up (this side of the garage is right next to the "patio," so it will be nice to have a light to illuminte the beautiful nights we spend outside, WHENEVER that happens)

The engineer we used (who we're not really very impressed with - neither are the BAU guys it seems - they seem to have left stuff off the drawing and sorta did a half ass job) wanted us to put up one sheet of 5/8 plywood on each wall to provide some shear strength for the structure. Chris and I thought that might look a little strange and we're also paranoid about the structure of the garage, so we decided we would just line all the walls in plywood. Chris got started on that yesterday as well

And here's our panel. It certainly makes the space feel like it's really starting to come together. Soon we'll actually be able to WORK in here!


While The Boy is Away...

...the girl will play.

Chris decided at the last minute earlier this week to head down to LA to see his family for a few days (work was slow because of Spring Break) and pick up some things we could use for the garage (wood for shelving, wine boxes for storage...) While he was away I didn't do a SINGLE THING on the house. I know, how irresponsible.

Instead I worked on lots of art projects, applied to a craft fair in SF this summer, worked at the Warriors (my last game of the season, woo-hoo!), and went out for one of my friend's birthdays. I PROBABLY should have worked on the garage doors, but I just couldn't help myself. Chris got back last night, so it's back to work! :)

The good news is that work on the garage structure is JUST ABOUT done

They've installed the GINORMOUS beam in the back (I think it's 6x12) and took off much of the supports. Now they just have some finishing touches and the concrete to clear out. Hopefully that will be checked off the list on Monday. The beam looks great, and BIG

Last week Chris got some of the sistering of 2x4's to the studs done, and he finished the rest of it last weekend and yesterday afternoon when he got home

The garage is really starting to look like a real structure

Hopefully we make some good progress this weekend...now that Chris is home... :)


Fabric Choices

I've been making lots of curtains lately. And pretty much the only rooms I have left are the front room, the TV room, and the animal room.

Front room

We decided on a wall color (middle color on the left with a "C" next to it) and color scheme for the room (gray, white, yellow)

So I went to Fabric.com to order some swatches (they have good fabric prices, much better than local stores, but I still check those out before I head to the internet). And here's what Chris and I were deciding between

We really liked the pinwheel-like one on the top row in the middle, but the yellow/beige color looked really muted and bland when we held it up to the paint color. So we decided on the bottom row fabric on the far right - the yellow, white and gray stripes. I'll sew the curtains so the stripes go vertically in the room, which I think will look really great because the room is already so tall (please excuse all the tools)

This fabric will go on both windows that flank the fireplace. On the window in the pic directly above, there are actually THREE windows behind that curtain, so the stripe fabric will go on the large center window, and we'll get simple white fabric to go on the two smaller windows on either side.

TV Room

We decided on "Rhino" for the wall color in this room (bottom left color with an "R" next to it)

I found a swatch online that I thought was PERFECT for the room and Chris liked it too, but I knew I should order the swatch just to MAKE SURE it worked. I LOVE it (Chris and I both seem to really like paisley)

Last room: the Animal Room (the room right off of my art room)

The plan is to work on this hideous monstrocity of a room once the garage is done. Our Spring and Summer projects will be to work on this room and the bathroom and HOPEFULLY get them finished by the end of summer (HOPEFULLY).

That ugly, horrible window will be replaced and so I needed to figure out what fabric I want for the (eventual) new window. Once this room is done it will essentially become my sewing room, so it will be an extension of my art room. Therefor, I want to keep the same colors in mind that are in my art room. I have fallen in love with the key lime color in my art room curtains and some of my picture frames, so I decided to go with that color for my curtains. I found a swatch I really liked, and ordered it to make sure, and I LOVE it

It sorta looks like the grain in Oak, but in two shades of lime green. Oooh la la I love it.

Now it's time to measure how much fabric I need, buy a BUNCH, and get to sewing!


Garage Doors

These are some big ol' honkin' garage doors

It took A LOT of effort to help Chris carry these outside

(we screwed in small pieces of 2x4's for "handles" so we had something to grab onto because these babies were HEAVY.)

The plan is to clean, patch, repair, sand, and refinish the doors and buy/install the piece of remaining glass and then rehang them on the garage. I LOVE these doors.

First we got to cleaning

Next we worked on repairing the left side of the right door. Along the side where the handle used to be the wood is splitting

So I shoved the claw of a hammer in the crack and twisted it to open the crack up a bit more and Chris poured some gorilla glue inside. Then he drilled a few screws in the side to help hold it in place while the gorilla glue got to work

Watching gorilla glue cure and work its magic is almost as exciting as watching great stuff do the same

Gorilla glue and great stuff sorta work in the same way (as far as expansion), except instead of insulating super well, gorilla glue glues SUPER well (as in, can't get it off your hands for a few days or EVER off your clothes)

(as you can see I was really enjoying taking pictures)

Yesterday before I left for work I patched some of the holes and damaged areas

We'll patch some more, put in the piece of glass on the left door, then prep it for paint and paint it (most likely white). On the other side (the exterior) we've got a much more exciting painting plan...... :)


The Dump

I mean our backyard.

I don't know why I even bother to write on this blog about what we're planning to do on weekends because we hardly ever do what I write/we plan. Well, I guess hardly is a little severe, but we frequently don't do what we were planning.

This weekend we were going to sister 2x4's to the studs, work on the electrical, and begin refinishing the monsterous garage doors. We started sistering 2x4's and got a LITTLE into electrical

But that was about it (we did start on refinishing the doors, but that post will be later this week).

Instead we worked on a few other projects...

One was starting to clean out our mess of a backyard

We found someone on craigslist who is interested in taking away some of our dirt, so that's exciting. But they won't be coming until Wednesday, and then we've got to get my friends who own a demo and hauling business to take the rest away for us....so the dirt is staying at the moment.

We did however make a dump run to haul away some of the construction debris, which was GREAT

A tip for you dump haulers whose dumps charge by cubic yard....while most dumps weigh you when you enter and exit to figure out how much to charge you by weight, the West Contra Costa dump checks out how large your load LOOKS and then charges you by the cubic yard. Chris was pretty sneaky and came up with a good trick: we don't load the truck as full on the driver's side (on the left in the above pic) because that's the side that the attendant looks at, so to him/her, if that side doesn't look as full (even though there's a TON in there), they tend to charge a bit less. SCORE! It's worked the last few times we've gone, so you might want to try that one out.

After the dump run our backyard was looking considerably cleaner (but still a MESS, just not a hot mess)

Hopefully by the end of this week the guy from craigslist will pick up the dirt he wants, I can get my friends to come pick up the rest, and the guys at BAU will haul away the concrete that was chipped out from the garage. That would make a vast improvement over this