Monday, May 30, 2005

Trellis Ideas

Since we now have a new retaining wall and a newly painted garage, I have decided that I also need a new trellis for the south side of the garage. Hey, the scrap of chain link fence that was up there just does not cut it folks. I need a new and pretty trellis to match the new and pretty paint on that side of the garage. Its all about upgrading!

Unhappy with the designs and prices of the ready-made trellises available today, I have decided to design my own and Kurt has selflessly volunteered to build the thing. I was originally looking for something with an Arts & Crafts feel to it in either wood or copper. So I got to looking at a bunch of copper trellises and really loved the look of the copper, but wasn't satisfied with the designs and hated the cheap look of the "plumbing parts" (i.e., copper pipe w/ plumbing connectors). Kurt mentioned that I should look into flat copper or square shaped bars. So I did, and found a supplier waaay out in Washington state. That's pretty far from Milwaukee and I am worried about the shipping, so Kurt is going to check with some local suppliers. I have decided to stick with the Arts & Crafts design motifs and scoured the internet the other day for inspiration. I found this:

The play room windows from
Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio in Oak Park. It was love at first sight! The flower motif is perfect for the garden.

I have modified it into just a single panel of the flower motif for our trellis because I believe that it will work better in the available space that way and it will be easier to build. Here is my Photoshopped version of what the trellis will eventually look like:

Hopefully constructed out of either flat or square copper bars and including the 3 colored panels of glass that make up the center of the flower and its petals.
I think it will look spiffy! (Hopefully we can pull it off.)

Everybody Loves the Wall

Yes, our neighbors are gaga over our new retaining wall. So much so that it has inspired the two neighbors to our north, MB & A, to redo their walls too. I think we have started a trend, who knew we were so cool. ;)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Garage Painting

Today I finished the garage painting project. Woo hoo, it's done! Stick a fork in it.

A reminder of what things looked like before painting.

It feels great to finally get this project out of the way. Now I just need to re-plant everything that was removed from the garden bed next to the garage during the wall building & painting process.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Arts & Crafts Exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum

The Arts and Crafts Movement in Europe and America, 1880-1920: Design for the Modern World
May 19 - September 5, 2005
Bradley Galleries

More information here.

Milwaukee Art Museum,

A Necessary Evil

The excitement never stops around here folks! I know all of these must-be-done-now projects are not very exciting, but they are necessary. And evil.

Up this weekend . . . .

Garage painting!!! Extremely eeevil. The one good thing about this project is that I am painting only one side of the garage and therefore am only experiencing 1/4 of the pain I would be experiencing if I was painting the entire thing. Oh, the pain! (I am such a baby)
My hands hurt so bad right now, I can barely type. It really hurts when I go "clickity-click" with the mouse. Ouch. My right hand is the worst. Stupid cyst on top of my hand making it hurt worse.
But I have made it through the scraping, sanding, and one coat of primer by myself and have only two coats of paint to go! Yay, I'm almost done.

(Kurt was kind enough to help with the application of the first coat of primer.)

Monday, May 09, 2005

Capping it Off

This weekend was spent hauling away the old retaining wall debris to the Wauwatosa Recycling Center (a.k.a. "the dump") and setting the capstones in place on the new retaining wall.
The hauling away was accomplished on Saturday, cold and drizzly though it was.

We managed to cart it all away in two trips, and fill the bed of the truck with topsoil from the recycling center on each trip after dumping the railroad ties. As you can see from photos like this,

we were in need of dirt to level things out because a lot of it had tumbled into our neighbor's yard over the years, plus our new wall is a bit taller than the old one.

On Sunday we set the capstones in place.

It was a fairly quick and easy process compared to the rest of the wall. Kurt & I would load up the wheelbarrow, he would push it over to the wall, he would glue, I would hand him blocks and he would set them in place. We used PL Landscape Block Adhesive, purchased from Menard's, to glue the capstones in place and allowed them to sit undisturbed for 24 hours before doing any walking on top of the wall.

Monday, May 02, 2005

The Great Wall

Recently Kurt & I, along with Kurt's father, undertook the re-building of our retaining wall. The wall spans the 37 feet across the back of our property and is 3 feet tall; we also had to add a single course of block along the south side of our garage to replace the slowly failing boards and metal spikes that were there.

Preparation involved the moving of the currant bushes from their old location behind the garage right next to the wall, to a new location at the east end of the future patio. I also had to re-locate my giant pile of rocks from the future patio area to the garden bed next to our neighbor's garage.

Day 1
Kurt started prep on the morning of block delivery by removing the "retaining" boards on the south side of the garage and digging away the herb/grape/climbing rose bed along the garage as needed (poor plants!).

Kurt's father arrived around 10 am, however the blocks had not; Menards said they would be delivered sometime between 6am and noon. Kurt and his father continued prep along the garage and then the three of us moved on to removing the rotted railroad ties along the back span of the wall.

12:30 rolled around and still no block! Removal of railroad ties continued and the Menards guy finally showed up around 12:45.
By the end of day 1 the single course of block along the garage had been set in place, sans capstones.

Day 2
Removal of railroad ties continued bright and early on day 2.

Once that was completed, we started laying the block.

We battled the cold, drizzle, and muscle fatigue all day, but by its end we had layed all 6 courses of block along the back of our property.

Next weekend, onto the capstones!

The "Great Wall" photo gallery can be viewed here, and a permanent link can be found in the sidebar.

Sunday, March 27, 2005


I sincerely apologize for the lack of content so far, Real Life™ has gotten in the way of things around here. Check back for updates at the end of April.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

The beginning of madness

So starts the madness that is home restoration (actually, we have been at this for a little while now). I have decided to use Blogger for this website as opposed to the crap I created using crappy, cranky FrontPage on my Vintage Stitches site. I believe Blogger will offfer us more of what we want for this documentation endeavor.

Please bear with me while I teach myself some basics of HTML & CSS to manipulate the look of this site. I am still playing with font colors in the sidebar; I am sorry if some things are difficult to read, don't worry I am working on it. Things may take awhile as I do not have copious amounts of free time.

Please feel free to provide input at any time.