Saturday, April 28, 2012

Judging Garden Tours in the Fan

Lovely wavy wall with English Ivy kept in check!
This weekend I had the opportunity to be a judge for the West Avenue Improvement Association Annual Garden Tour.  It doesn't get much better than waking up early on a Saturday morning to poke around the backyards of the beautiful houses in Richmond's Fan neighborhood!  I saw innovative designs, interesting plants, and beautiful garden furniture and accents.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself and took away so many great ideas!
This skinny space between houses turned into a potting bench and utility area with a beautiful iron gate.
Steps leading down to a basement turned into a place to showcase potted plants and a train vines on the wall.
I just loved this metal gate on the alley-side of one of the homes.
The Moroccan lantern must look wonderful at night, and the decorative mirror made the garden seem larger.
With such an interesting planter, I'll forgive the tame plant choices of boxwood and English Ivy.
Super attractive way to keep out unwanted visitors!
This garden had so many little touches of decorative metal sculptures.
Who needs planting beds when you can fill your deck with native and exotic plants in countless containers?
A grape arbor provides shade for this outdoor dining room.
Fish pond surrounded by shade perennials and a large camellia trained on the left wall.
Hooray for recycled building materials!  Upside down wine bottles create an edging for the beds containing ground orchids.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

LGBG Heritage Weekend

Me with Lewis Ginter and his niece Grace Arents
This weekend, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden celebrated its history during Heritage Weekend.  The event included a roaming barbershop quartet, a historic bicycle display (honoring the site's past as the Lakeside Wheel Club), and volunteers depicting Lewis Ginter and his niece Grace Arents, who lived at the site from 1913 until her death in 1926.  I was excited to see the garden packed with families engaging in the festivities and enjoying my beautiful garden!
Historic bike (I think he was dismounting in this one)
Historic bike
LGBG staff had a "fancy hat" birthday party for Grace Arents to kick off Heritage Weekend (we had our own interpretations of "fancy hats")

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fun with a Staple Gun: Recovering Chairs

I have lived with no real dining room chairs for a number of years.  It never seemed to be a big deal; I would use folding chairs or my desk chair if I wanted to get fancy and not eat dinner on my couch.  However, I figured it was time to grow up and have a real place for my guests to sit and eat.  My parents started me out with a nice antique wooden chair with a leather seat cushion.  This was probably from my Grandma Grace... she is responsible for all of my "real" non-Ikea furniture.

When I started looking around for the other 3 chairs, I soon found that chairs are darn expensive!  So, I started foraging in the local thrift stores.  We have a few good ones in Richmond.  So far, for furniture, my favorites are Diversity Thrift and DT2.  I especially like DT2 because it is conveniently located on Main Street and I often pop in when I'm headed other places in the city.
Photo: Diversity Thrift

After a few months of looking, I ended up with one $8 chair from DT2 and one free chair that my parents found on the side of the road with a "free" sign attached to it.  Neither of them were much to look at, but they were built solidly, I couldn't beat the price, and I saw potential!  I'm still patiently looking for another chair to complete the set.
My $8 DT2 Chair
Free Side-of-the-Road Chair

To make it look somewhat intentional, I chose to recover all of my chairs in the same fabric (not the leather one).  I loved this green and brown pattern that I found at JoAnn.
I chose to paint the side-of-the-road chair green to compliment the fabric.  I took my dad's advice and took the time to sand off the old finish before spray painting.  He is usually right in all matters of building things, so I have learned to just listen to him and not cut corners.
Painted Side-of-the-Road Chair
I unscrewed the seat covers, took off the old fabric, replaced the foam, and covered with new fabric.  I stapled the fabric onto the underside of the seat cover with my shiny new staple gun that I bought just for this project.
Seat cover with new fabric and foam
I'm very happy with the way they turned out.  The green paint and fabric are bright and cheery and the chairs make me happy whenever I see them.  I guess I should start sitting at the table now!

Finished chairs!
Of course, after I figured this project out for myself, I read the March-April issue of Richmond Magazine's R-Home and saw a very helpful article on how to refinish and cover an old chair called "The Chair Challenge"!  It was written by Karen Guard, author of the Darling Octopus blog.  I'm happy to say that my methods didn't really deviate from hers, so I feel like I did it right.  Plus, now I have a cool new blog to follow!

The reason I had the March-April issue of Richmond Magazine's R-Home is that they did a profile about me!  Check it out here.
My profile in R-Home Magazine

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