Yellow Alleys Collection

Chicago's Monadnock Building Alleyway in Yellow - Pop Art
Chicago’s Monadnock Alley In Yellow
Chicago Loop Alleyway Fire Escapes In Yellow
Chicago Loop Alley Fire Escapes In Yellow

I have been working hard creating new artwork this past week. Here is a new collection of alleyway scenes in bright yellow, orange and black tones. Available now on Etsy! I will be adding to this collection over time, but have started with two of my favorite things, the Monadnock building in Chicago and grungy fire escapes.

4th of July Entertaining Ideas for 2019

With one of our favorite summer holidays coming up in less than one week, I have been ramping up my search for decor and menu ideas with a more refined feel than most typical summer barbecue offerings. This was a more difficult search than anticipated since most summer parties tend to be simple outdoor barbecue type affairs. Who knew!? I will keep developing this board of ideas as I find more ideas and add a few of our own as we begin to entertain more at our new house.

Guests, Like Fish, Begin To Smell After Three Days

Abstract Art Fish Bones Throw Pillow
Abstract Art Fish Bones Throw Pillow
by Liskabora   Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days throw pillow
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days throw pillow
by Liskabora   Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days bath towel set
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days bath towel set
by Liskabora

After moving to the Lake of the Ozarks we have had our fair share of house guests, some of whom we enjoyed hosting more than others. While I truly love entertaining; and always look forward to sharing our home with the people we actively invite to stay with us; there are sometimes unwanted “visits” that leave you feeling used and resentful toward your guests.

I created a special set of artwork to have on display for those “guests” who invite themselves (or worse, invite themselves and bring others), show up unannounced, are oblivious to the idea that the private areas of the house should be respected as such, or complain about us, our house rules, or food offerings. I wanted the designs to look cool enough to pass as regular decor in case I forget to remove them before the people I love are visiting, be somewhat more subtle than a welcome mat that merely says “go away” and hopefully, when placed in a less than subtle location, offers a helpful hint from one of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin.

“Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.”

I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same. His quote is as true today as it was in the 1700’s. Although, in my experience, some guests stink upon arrival.

Since I know we are not alone in this battle, I am offering these as part of a throw pillow set and artwork collection so others can put the message on display for their own house guests.

Of course, when all else fails, you can always say no. No is a very powerful word. 😉

Landscaping Decision

garden pathway
Gravel or Sand?

As we continue with our projects around the house we have been contemplating finishing the garden pathways with either gravel or beach sand. One would be more formal and easier to keep clean, but the other would be fun to walk through on our way to the water below. Let us know your opinion in the comments!

Gym Renovation Reveal

We might not be finished with much around here, but our gym is finally done! I guess that says something positive about our priorities at the very least.

Gym before toward rear
Gym Before – View From Door
gym after toward rear
Gym After – View From Door

We upholstered the walls and ceiling with silver crushed velvet, mostly because we were tired of plaster dust. Also, the crushed velvet helps to soundproof the treadmill noise… but really, we were just very tired of plastering, sanding and construction dust when we started working on this room.

The flooring is just simple interlocking gym flooring that I scored from Wayfair at an after Christmas sale a couple of years ago. We start planning most of our projects years in advance typically, so it allows us to save where we can (I think I only paid about 50 dollars for the flooring in this room) so we can splurge elsewhere. The crushed velvet fabric and batting were from Fabric.com and the chandelier was an Ebay find.

I will do another reveal of the space beyond that we separated from the gym once we finish the ceiling and trim in that area.

Gym Before - View Toward Door
Gym Before – View Toward Door
 Gym After - View Toward Door
Gym After – View Toward Door

The doors in the house are all in great shape and just needed to be cleaned and painted. Some of the doors were missing hardware, but we were lucky that the door hardware throughout the home is still being made so we can get matching sets to add or replace where needed.

Chandelier Detail
Chandelier Detail

I had been admiring this style of chandelier for a few years. Our gym was the perfect place to showcase one.

Floor Detail
Floor Detail

The gym was the first room to be finished in totality, but it was also the last room in the house to finally receive a finished floor. We are so pleased with how this space turned out and we hope it inspires you to do something fun with your own home’s decor!

Garden Progress – Spring 2019

Garden progress - before
Our Kitchen Garden – Before

Our kitchen garden area in its unimproved state was somewhat embarrassing and scary. Scary because of the bugs really, but that is a post in itself. The garden actually looks better in this winter photo than it did in person. The only thing that I had time to accomplish last season was the removal of weeds on our stone hillside and the addition of mulch and baby lavender plants in a few areas.

Garden progress - before drainage issues
Garden Drainage Issues

While our “waterfall” is beautiful, it currently flows down the stone hillside right next to the home’s foundation and washes a path across the yard taking everything it touches with it. Spring of 2019 has been a very rainy season, which has been both good and bad. Good, because we have had plenty of chances to troubleshoot potential drainage solutions. Bad, because having the front end of your car buried in gravel after the driveway washes out above it can be both annoying and expensive to fix. Particularly on a weekday morning. That is another full post in itself.

We are in the process of creating a splash pool to receive our seasonal “waterfall” and a dry creek to carry it across the yard in a controlled manner. Once the splash pool and dry creek have been completed, I can work my way up the hillside creating a new waterfall path and then we can regrade the driveway above it to direct the water to it’s new route.

garden planning
Our Garden Plan

I mulled over potential designs for several months before we finally took action. Originally, I wanted to do a traditional garden design with low hedge borders and a fountain in the center. Our property, however, did not lend itself to such a garden as both the hillside and shoreline are irregular in shape and beautiful in their own right. Since I would rather work with nature rather than fight it, we went with more of an organic design. In the photo above I had begun digging our new drainage trench and had reworked a few of the stone retaining walls for a more organic feel.

Garden progress - may 2019
Garden Progress – May 2019

Our native soil is a lovely mix of clay and rock, so to grow anything other than weeds we had to import a truckload of topsoil for the planting areas. At this point in the project we had just put our new topsoil in place.

Garden progress - june 2019
Garden Progress – June 2019

The above photo shows the current state of our garden. We have begun to add our garden plants that were grown from seedlings this spring (this was the first time I have ever succeeded at this) and have our irrigation in place. I have yet to cover the irrigation lines because we will be adding a few additional lines in the next few days for a new hedge along our property line and I still need them uncovered for troubleshooting purposes. Our waterfall pool is partially in place, but I need to finish the stonework along the sides and at the bottom yet. I also have a collection of ornamental plants that I still need to get into the ground. Honestly, I think our garden area looks worse now than when we started, but it is a work in progress and most things worth doing take time.

I will continue to post updates to the garden as we make additional progress and give you a sneak peek of the new hedge project once we have it in place. I hope you are all enjoying the last few days of spring!

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