Monday, February 29, 2016

February Projects

February was another busy month for home-improvement projects around here. Rob and I were hard at work every weekend. We started fixing up the bathroom in the main house, planted lots of plants, and even did a little Easter decorating.

We spent the beginning of the month on our bathroom project. We started by touching up the paint, a nice clean white called Icicle. We also added some trim in the corners of the room. Before we added the trim, the corners were rather messy and unprofessional-looking because a former owner of the house had "paneled" the walls himself with some old floor boards. Well, we covered up the messy, uneven corners with trim and plenty of caulk and painted everything with several coats of Icicle. When we were done, the room looked more finished and way less crazy. Still, there's more I'd like to do. In my dreams the bathroom has a stained-glass window and is lighted by a little vintage chandelier.

I'm trying to finish all my planting before it gets too hot. Over the course of the month, I planted 24 holly ferns (in the border along the southern edge of the vegetable garden), 18 autumn ferns (around the breezeway and in the bed around the barn), six coonties (around the barn), two Iwai Nishiki flowering quinces (at the edge of the meadow), and a Palace Princess camellia (on the south side of the backyard). Rob and I also started putting in our spring-summer vegetable garden. So far, we've planted Red Pontiac potatoes, Nantes carrots, Watermelon radishes, cilantro, and catnip.

Coonties, tea olive, and Shi Shi Gashira sasanquas by the breezeway

Trilliums (and sad bunny) by the pond
On February 27, I put up my Easter tree. When I was growing up, my mom always had an egg tree, even when we barely had any furniture. It was made from a branch painted white and planted in a terracotta pot full of plaster. All the decorations were homemade, from real egg shells that we hollowed out ourselves. Hollowing out eggs was fun. We'd make a tiny hole at the top of the egg, then one at the bottom, and then we'd blow into the top hole and force the yolk and the white out into a bowl.

We'd wrap the delicate shells in ribbons and lace, or we'd paint them with fingernail polish. And sometimes we'd cut a hole in the front of the shell and create a little scene inside the egg, with pebble-sized china bunnies and chicks posed on velvet grass among dainty silk leaves and flowers.

My sister Kris and I loved making Easter eggs, and over the years we even developed some special decorating techniques that were all our own. One technique involved sitting in a certain clover patch in the front yard (sitting in the clover patch was key). Once positioned, we’d sprinkle drops of food coloring on our eggs and roll the eggs in the clovers so the colors got smeared and made beautiful, unplanned patterns. We’d work until the eggs were entirely covered in swirling colors and not a bit of white showed. Then we’d varnish the eggs with Mom’s pearly nail polish and add little loops of ribbon so we could hang them on the egg tree, which always stood in the same spot under the living room window, year after year.

These days I buy most of my Easter ornaments, but I do have a few that I made myself. Just last week, in fact, I whipped up a trio of felt chickens. They're really dumb, with enormous heads and legs of uneven lengths. I love them. I didn't actually intend them to be funny, but they make me laugh every time I see them.

I'm very fond of my Peter Rabbit ornament. I have a Jemima Puddle-Duck ornament too. I'm a big Beatrix Potter fan.


  1. Y'all did a great job on the corners! Your home has so much character. Enjoy your bunnies!

  2. I love your bathroom and that lovely cabinet with the beautiful pottery.

    You two always seem to accomplish so much on your weekends. Now you have your veggie and other gardens to look forward to.

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

  3. I'm always here lurking in the background ~ loving every single post. A home like yours is one I've always dreamed of owning - old homes have always just "felt right" to me. They have a certain smell . . . and that feeling (and sound) when you walk on those beautiful hardwood floors. It's like the home has a pulse of its own. I love, and am thankful, that you share your home with us.

    However, what I really want to see are your homemade Easter decorations. ;-)

  4. Leslie, your home must give you so much pleasure! It's simply gorgeous, and your vintage furnishings are always a feast for the eyes.
    I love holly fern, mine need to be cleaned up a little right now. Of course, right now, everything needs to be done.'s almost spring!
    Beautiful Easter tree. _Janice

  5. Hi Leslie, Your bathroom looks very nice. I like the idea of a stained glass window. Do you have any rooms left that need renovating? You have been very busy planting away. Holly fern is one of my favorites. Are you past your last freeze date now?i like the idea of an Easter tree. I don't have one but I do decorate my house with Easter bunnies and other little goodies. I like your cute Easter decorations. My mother always decorated the house for each holiday and that has stuck with me, too. Enjoy these beautiful spring days.

  6. Your home... I'm in love with it! I love the bathroom.