Spring Project List Update #2

Two weeks ago I shared a very ambitious project list to complete before Chandler’s graduation party on June 7th.  I am updating each Friday until the party.

We are just over 3 weeks out and we are happy with the progress we have made so far.  I think to remain on track, we will need to be seeing a lot of progress this weekend.  Lucky for us, the weather is predicted to be beautiful and other than a bit of running kids here and there, we do not have any major time commitments this weekend.


75% Complete
  • 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
  • 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

The lawn mower is back and working fine.  The blue 4-wheeler is now in for repair.  I think that covers the items waiting  for repair. We also have a dumpster bag in the driveway to get rid of the larger items to trash.

Spring Project List Update |www.countingwillows.com

And – hold the phone – what is this?  Steve cleaned and organized the work bench!  I love it and I am so happy to have a place to work on projects!!!  This weekend, I plan to re-coat the door from the garage to the house in chalkboard paint and give the cupboards another coat of white.

For now, we have decided that the white paint on the small areas on the walls in the garage are not super high priority.  So, we are leaving those to the end and we will do them if/when we have time.

So, with that, the garage is nearing completion, at least for the party.  Of course, we will need to clean up one last time, decorate and set up tables, since it is the one area we have room to put tables and chairs out for lots of people to sit to eat.  It also covers us if it rains.  Metal chairs on grass are a pain, so we want to avoid as much of that as we can.



25% Complete
  • 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, we tore them down and now need to rebuild them)
  • install the L-shaped section of railing
  • form the floors, prep for pouring and 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 Project List Update |www.countingwillows.com

As Steve and Chandler worked on the prepping the deck and pool room for pouring this weekend, it occurred to me that I really did not appreciate all the steps involved.  I think I could have had a lot more listed that just ‘prep for pouring’; I did expand that point a bit.  Still, there was a lot of sawing and nailing and screw gun activity going on during the day on Saturday.  Steve also acid washed the brick and the patio.  Acid washing cleans any mortar haze off the brick and we had a couple of spills on the patio.

Spring Project List Update |www.countingwillows.com

Later today Steve will be attaching the L-section of railing and doing some last minute prep.  The floor to the pool room (below the deck) is also graded and ready to be poured.  It looks like it is ready to me, and I guess it is because we are pouring tomorrow morning at 7.

For me to even begin to tell you how long I have waited for this moment and how many times I would have swore to you that we were just a few weeks away from it – only to have it put off yet again.  There aren’t any words.  I am not going to let myself get excited until it is actually done.  In this case, I think saying that I will believe it when I see it is warranted.  I know Steve is really looking forward to finally crossing this project off of his list, too.



50% Complete
  • 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  {aerating on hold, cannot locate aerating tool}
  • buy hanging plants
  • power wash the driveway and sidewalk
  • pour concrete slab for trash and recycling cans (to the side of the garage)

Spring Project List Update |www.countingwillows.com

Spring Project List Update |www.countingwillows.com

I spent a hour here and there over the weekend digging up the dead spots in the lawn (mostly compliments of Mindi) and re-seeding.  I use a shade/sun mixture of seed that has fertilizer pellets in with it.  The pellets are made of newspaper, the idea being that when they get wet they expand and keep the seeds moist and in place while they germinate.  Half way through the process I ran out of the pelleted seeds and just used seed by itself.  I will report back whether one performs better than the other.  About 1/3 of the way in I wondered if I could hire a lawn service and avoid this tedious work.  Maybe next year…

We did go through another round of wood chips, and we plan to wrap up around the trees and the backyard this weekend.  While we were spreading the wood chips under the pine trees (above), I noticed that the hostas are starting to emerge.  I am also hoping to get out and plant the annuals on Saturday – the weather looks to be nice going forward!



10% Complete
  • refresh all the wood chips and mulched areas
  • plant annuals in pots, planters
  • {added} hose off the patio and remove leaves and debris from winter
  • 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 Project List Update |www.countingwillows.com

While Steve and Chandler prepped the deck for pouring concrete, I moved everything off the deck and cleaned off all the leaves and debris.  Leaves tend to swirl onto the patio and get stuck in the corners, so I removed a lot of leaves.  I also took the wood left over from our wood pile (for the fireplace) back out into the wood pile in the woods.  That left a few ladders, tools and other things that we are using or will be putting on the deck when it is done.  I tried to at least put them neatly out of the way so the patio is open and clean while we are working in that area.

Spring Project List Update |www.countingwillows.com

I also hosed down the play set, pulled weeds in the sandbox and raked the sand smooth.  I am sure I will need to clean it up a bit again right before the party, but at least it is done for now and the kids can enjoy it.

On my list for this weekend is to clean the grill, open the pool (clean it, add chemicals, start the filter running), plant the annuals, refresh the wood chips and order the new sliding door going from the house/patio (part of it has rotted out).



40% complete
  • 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

Saddle Stool Makeover |www.countingwilllows.com

This week I took some time to repaint the wood parts of our kitchen stools and basement ottomans with chalk paint and seal them with wax.  I finished both before I learned of the proper way to apply wax for a lasting finish, so I wanted to touch them up and seal them properly.  You can see the unfinished parts of the kitchen island in this photo above.  We will be getting to that soon.

I am planning on getting to decorating the hallway in the basement next week, as well as looking at some options for covering the walls on both sets of stairs.  I want something textured, since the little imperfections in the wall are so visible in these areas, but I know Steve is dreading the idea of wallpaper.  Painting both staircases does not sound any better to me, to be honest.  However, I do have enough leftover paint from the living room and the basement to do each set of steps, so that cost would be zero.  I am still churning on it.


Look for more details next week, including a full update again next Friday.  Have a great weekend and take a nap for me – I will need it!


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