Bzzzz November 6th, 2012

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that most people’s garages aren’t all that attractive. Unless you’re one of the 1% who has a warehouse garage with sparkling stainless steel cabinets and shiny painted floors or are one of those weirdly disciplined people who don’t ever let clutter get out of hand, you probably have a garage corner or two that wouldn’t qualify for an Architectural Digest spread.

Our garage is no exception. We have a two-car garage where we actually do park two cars. We don’t have a shed because my family has a very bad track record with sheds. In my family, once you get a shed, you soon must have a shed for your shed. Then your shed’s shed needs a shed.  I figure I have that crazy shed-junk-hoarding-gene that would kick in if we had a shed. So, no shed.

I tell you this so you will understand that our garage must also serve as storage for all my garden paraphernalia, chicken supplies, bird food bins, recycling bins, lawn mower, power washer—well, you get the idea. It’s not even a roomy two-car garage. But we just can’t go down that shed path.

As part of the Lowe’s Creative Ideas “Address the Mess” challenge, I decided to give one of those corners a makeover. Just like on TV!

So, here’s the before.

Not pretty. We do a lot of outdoor exercise, so there is always an impressive collection of running shoes by the garage door. The towels are for washing cars or drying off wet dogs and husbands. All that mess on top of the frig is for the chickens. I buy canned corn from Walmart at $.67 a can, which goes a long way toward explaining why they follow me around like puppies and come when I call. And, as you can see, I save egg shells. They get crushed up and added to the garden once that bucket is full. (Yes, I know it’s full.)

I decided to paint this section of the garage wall as a chalkboard and do a bit of moving around. Using supplies from Lowe’s, here’s what I came up with.

With a new shelf I was able to relocate other frequently-used items near the door. The open-wire shelving means less mess collects on the shelves from our running shoes. Bulletin board squares provide a handy place to post my Good Bugs/Bad Bugs cheat sheet and also any other lists or magazine articles I want to keep handy.

But the coolest part, in my opinion, is the chalkboard wall. I can use it to write seasonal messages, to-do lists, welcome messages or just to draw new artwork as the mood strikes.

This was my first experience using chalkboard paint. I found that it went on amazingly well, requiring only a single coat with a roller. I had to be careful not to go over the painted areas too much because once the paint was down it was easy to pick it back up by rolling over it too much. This wall took just a little more than a quart.

Once you paint your wall, wait at least three days before writing on it. If you cover the whole chalkboard area with chalk and erase it, it will have more of that chalkboard look and less of a black wall look.

What did all this cost? Here are the numbers:

Black wire shelving – $79.97

2 quarts chalkboard black paint – $25.96

5-piece paint roller kit – $12.98

Bulletin board squares – $8.99

Decorative wood molding – $25.17

White trim paint – mine

SUBTOTAL – $153.07

Lowe’s 10% military discount – $15.31


I think it’s a great investment! Of course, now the other three corners of the garage are crying out for their own makeover. What do you think? Isn’t this a great way to address the mess?


Posted In: DIY, Lifestyle

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Bzzzz May 7th, 2012

We have been on a planting orgy around here. Not only is this the time of year when most of the vegetable seeds and seedlings go into the potager, we have also embarked on a major campaign to add more shrubs—particularly flowering shrubs—to the property.

Sophie and Sarah inspect the vegetable plantings in the potager.

Thank goodness Harry is a good sport and has a strong back and good endurance. The hardpan clay soil we have here in Southern Maryland makes digging new beds and planting trees and shrubs a major weekend endeavor.

The wisteria on the fence is getting there. The peonies won’t be far behind.

And I’m so tired, that’s it. The end.

(If you click on the photos you can embiggen them and see more details.)


Posted In: Flowers, Gardening, Lifestyle

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