Spring Project List Update #1

On Monday I shared a very ambitious project list to complete before Chandler’s graduation party on June 7th.  For those of you who are not familiar with a graduation open house, you can find an explanation at the bottom of this post.

Of course, as we have started working there have been things that we have needed to add to the list (it always grows before it shrinks, I swear).  Those items that are new the list have an {added} before them.

Spring Projects Update #1 |www.countingwillows.com


  • sort everything in the main part of the garage
  • sell,trash , donate, repair and recycle anything we are not keeping
  • finish painting the walls white (two small areas)
  • give the cupboards another coat of white
  • clean and organize the work bench
  • {added} repaint chalkboard on door to house
  • take lawn mower in to be repaired
  • vacuum cobwebs, clean sink and counter areas
  • organize and put things away on shelves

We have sorted through everything in the main area of the garage.  I have made multiple trips to donation drop offs – luckily, we have one close to home.  Last spring I painted all the drywall and trim white, but I skipped a couple of areas that I could not reach.  Steve will need to do those, and he HATES to paint, so we will see what happens there.

Spring Projects Update #1 |www.countingwillows.comSteve took the lawn mower in for a repair, we should have that back in a week and I already did a major after-winter cobweb/sink/counter clean up.  We put away everything that we could on the shelves and what remains either needs to be repaired or somehow gotten rid of – Steve is working on those items (albeit slowly – it is much harder for him to part with things, so he is not really on my schedule, but he will feel the pressure as the party nears).  I see a snowmobile that needs to go into storage, a four wheeler that needs fixing, some wood that needs to be gotten rid of and a huge printer to sell.  The shelves behind it all are pretty good, and the rest is just bikes and stuff for summer that will find a home when the pile is reduced.

Spring Projects Update #1 |www.countingwillows.comThat leaves the workbench for Steve to clean up and organize.  I get hives when I look at this picture.  Steve has a hard time getting rid of a perfectly good hammer even though he has about 10 of them.  I understand, it is hard to get rid of something perfectly good, so I am just giving him some time to work it out on his own and doing things like subtly pointing out that the hammer would be much happier being donated to a good cause and getting use. :-)

scratched-doorOh, and I also need to repaint the chalk board paint on the door to the house.  I love it, but it scratches off easily – I am not sure how to solve that issue.  I also need to paint at least one more coat of white on the cupboard over the sink.

Spring Projects Update #1 |www.countingwillows.comThis wall is pretty much going to stay as is.  I will clear the planters out when it is warm enough to plant the annuals (maybe this weekend?), but everything else on this wall we use and will keep.  It’s not beautiful, but hey – it is the garage, it can only be so pretty and still be practical, right?  At some point you just have to let it be what it is.


Graduation Party Project List |www.countingwillows.comTHE DECK

  • decide on color of railing (since last fall it has switched to special order, half the railings are done, half are not) it turns out there is a color that is close enough, so we went with that
  • finish the brick piers (two were damaged over the winter)
  • install the L-shaped section of railing
  • lay down the moisture proof membrane
  • install the lights, door hardware
  • pour the deck floor (it will be concrete) and the floor in the room below (we are calling it the pool room for now)
  • install the remaining sections of railing
  • caulk around the windows
  • acid wash the brick and patio
  • paint inside pool room, the door and clean the windows
  • install siding on overhang part of deck
  • build stairs or a gate
  • decorate the deck and pool room (can we just skip to this part?!?!?!)

Spring Projects Update #1 |www.countingwillows.comWell, other than making the big decision on the color of the railing and caulking around the windows, not much is happening with the ol’ deck.  Steve promises that this weekend is when that will all change, as he needs to prep everything for pouring the floors next weekend.  The deck floor and the floor of the room below will both be stamped concrete.  Hopefully we will have a fun update by next Friday and it SHOULD (fingers crossed) be done by the weekend after that.


Spring Projects Update #1 |www.countingwillows.comTHE FRONT YARD

  • refresh all the wood chips and mulched areas
  • replace the mailbox post and makeover the mailbox
  • plant annuals into pots, planters, paint 2 planters
  • aerate lawn, fertilize grass and re-seed where necessary
  • buy hanging plants
  • power wash the driveway and sidewalk
  • pour concrete slab for trash and recycling cans (to the side of the garage)

Spring Projects Update #1 |www.countingwillows.comIt is still too risky to plant the annuals (chance of frost), but this weekend will put us in the range of possibility.  In the meantime, I found some beautiful hanging plants that are just gorgeous for only $19.99 at Costco (score!!).  I have not hung them up yet, as it is high up and hard to remove them nightly to bring into the garage to protect from frost.  I have been bringing them out to live in the sun during the day, though.  I also bought a shade-loving lobelia to hang off the deck near the patio.

Spring Projects Update #1 |www.countingwillows.comI was kind of like Zorro this week with the spray paint.  We have 2 of these planters that were a blah, faded green color.  I picked up some hammered finish spray paint that works on plastic and sprayed them both just to freshen them up.  I had hibiscus plants in them, but they met an unfortunate demise last fall when we forgot to bring them in one chilly night.  I plan to plant them again this year, but we will see what I end up buying – you never know what fun there is to be found at the plant stores!

Spring Projects Update #1 |www.countingwillows.comChandler is up to his usually high energy self and has been bringing in wood chips by the trailer full.  We have been adding that to the existing wood chips to freshen and plump everything up.  We are about half way done (so that task is half crossed off) – we have a bit more in the landscaping, then around the trees, under the pine trees and around the mailbox.  Chandler also spread fertilizer on the whole lawn (about an acre of grass).  Love that kid!  The aerator attachment seems to be MIA, so we are holding off on that for now.  We need to dig up some dead spots and put down seed, too.

Spring Projects Update #1 |www.countingwillows.comAnd speaking of the mailbox – we completely updated it!  I have wanted to do this for a few years, so I am happy to see it finally done.  More details coming in a separate post next week.

Spring Projects Update #1 |www.countingwillows.comSince I have a little more time for projects and Steve is mostly occupied with prepping the deck for pouring in two weeks, I get to be the gopher and schlep all the mulch, paint, potting soil and fertilizer around.  The van was riding low with all of our supplies!

On Wednesday I had a little time for some yard work, so I cut the edges of the grass.  The photo on the left shows it partially done.  Basically, the edger rolls along the grass and cuts the grass so it is not growing over the concrete.  It cleans up the edges and looks great.  I love doing that – instant gratification!

  I also had time to freshen the cocoa bean mulched areas – two planting areas on either side of the sidewalk.  Both areas have daylilies and larger area on the left also has some bulbs in the spring, then annuals later in the year.  Of all the spaces, the front yard feels the furthest along.  I hope to plant annuals this weekend – crossing my fingers for good weather and no frost in the forecast.



  • refresh all the wood chips and mulched areas
  • plant annuals in pots, planters
  • hose down and clean up kids’ play area
  • open the pool (and clean it) for the year
  • build enough of a deck around the pool to meet city code
  • {added} move dirt into the garden beds and plant the garden
  • install new patio door in basement
  • {added} give the grill a deep cleaning
  • {added} paint the trellises and plant in front of the shed
  • fertilize grass and re-seed where necessary

Spring Projects Update #1 |www.countingwillows.comLast year we built these raised beds and last week we filled them with a garden soil mixture.  I planted the cool weather crops and am waiting on the last frost date to plant the warm weather crops.  More details coming in a garden post soon!

Spring Projects Update #1 |www.countingwillows.comIn other backyard progress, I was able to finish updating the outside of the shed.  Last fall I painted the shed and its trim — it needed it so bad!  This week I spray painted the trellises that go in front of the shed this pretty blue color.  I planted clematis plants on either side and freshened up the dark brown mulch on either side.

Spring Projects Update #1 |www.countingwillows.comI am hoping that the plants take off as the weather warms up!  I am so looking forward to the bits of blue trellis peeking through the full clematis plants!


Painting the Basement |www.countingwillows.comINSIDE THE HOUSE

  • repaint the basement living area, bar and hallway
  • repaint or wallpaper up both sets of stairs
  • finish kitchen island
  • repaint kitchen stools and basement ottoman legs, seal with wax
  • redecorate down the hallway in the basement
  • clean the fireplace and fill wood holder with wood

Spring Projects Update #1 |www.countingwillows.comYou can read all about the painting of the basement, a task I tackled during six days straight of rain.  I also made one project for the hallway (full post coming next week).

Look for more details next week, including a full update again next Friday.  Have a great weekend!



{What the heck is a graduation open house?  My cousin (born and raised in Virginia) had never heard of an open house, so maybe this is a mid-western sort of thing?  When our kids graduate from high school, a lot of families choose to throw an open house to celebrate.  It is a lot like it sounds – you have food and drinks available and friends and family stop by anytime during the open house hours to eat, drink, visit and congratulate the high school graduate.}

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