keep calm, the TARDIS is coming

Every girl dreams of the day the man in a blue box will show up and whisk her off to far away lands. I’d settle for out to lunch, but for now I’m painting my laundry room door. While a colorful door won’t allow me to travel through relative time and space, it will make my laundry room a slightly more exciting place to be, and opening the door “into” the TARDIS will take me out of the laundry room into a “space” that is bigger on the inside.

Ages ago I found a TARDIS door cling that would be good for the job — not quite perfect, as it was devoid of character and had an artificially pristine quality that no real TARDIS would posses — the things been traveling through space and time, it is bound to have a few dings, dents and wear! And $59.99? Seriously?! If the children left quarters in their pockets instead of bark mulch and pebbles, I’d be rich, as it is, I decided to improvise and make my own.

I found a diagram of the TARDIS scaled to a slightly smaller door, and modified it to fit my own, a few inches here, a few inches there, a few more internet searches turned up a nice sign and badge. We already had blue paint, although I’m not sure of the origins of this particular shade — it is not from Oliver’s dresser project. I also used a sharpie, black paint, spray adhesive, modge-podge, and some stuff I printed, cut and touched up with paint.

Gavin left for work and I got the laundry room door off it’s hinges. I took off the hardware and measured it all out per my modified diagram: a few inches here, a few inches there, some light tracing and then paint.

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This is not going to be a step-by-step DIY tutorial, because I sort of improvised and made it up as I went along. I also had two little boys who wanted to “help” by stripping naked and playing in the dirt/mud.

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For simplicity (and a bit of laziness), I decided to leave the white unpainted, after all, the door was mostly white to begin with. I left some lazy brush work, the thing is ancient and wooden-looking, it has character.

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I traced some of the details in sharpie, and once the black paint had dried, I used spray adhesive to put on the signs and lettering. A light layer of modge-podge over the signs and letters offered a little extra protection.

I think the modge-podge was a mistake, it made the signs and lettering ripple a bit. It is going in my laundry room for my amusement so I’m not going to fret too much.

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The TARDIS has landed in my laundry room, I’d say ignore the laundry, but this is a laundry room.

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The first person through the TARDIS door was not David Tennant or Christopher Eccleston, it was Sasha, she’d come by to help me get it on the hinges, it turned into a two person job – the door kept slipping.

Oliver wants to know when the “garlics” will arrive. I told him to wait a few days, some may show up on the cabinets.

end of the week baking

We get a CSA box every Friday, some weeks I manage to plan meals and use the food in a timely manner, and other weeks when Thursday rolls around I open the fridge and realize that I still have a drawer full of veggies, and a bowl full of assorted fruit on the counter top.

This week I had leftover corn on the cob, a lone green bell pepper, and peaches. Thankfully it has been freakishly cool this summer, so warming up the oven wasn’t a problem.

The peaches were easy, I made a modified version of Smitten Kitchen’s Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars swapping out the cup of strawberries and the cup of rhubarb for two cups of very ripe peaches (I skipped the extra tablespoon of sugar, the peaches were sweet). This is excellent for breakfast, or a snack, or as dessert, or really any time. It keeps well in the fridge for a few days, and reheats nicely in our toaster oven.

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The corn and bell pepper went into corn bread. I mixed up two boxes of Jiffy Corn bread mix, added in a few cooked strips of bacon (crumbled), as well as some cheddar. I took the corn off the cob, and chopped up the bell pepper. I baked it in a well-greased pan, following the directions on the box, and then whipped up a batch of honey butter.

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Oliver ate the bacon bits, Patrick ate the bacon and green pepper. Both picked around the corn bread, both wanted more honey butter.

Herb’s Garden

Our backyard has come a long way since we moved in, and I am continually working to make it a more child (and people) – friendly place. We recently splurged and had the mulch-pit redone, it was turning into a muddy pit when it rained (all winter), so it was scraped, re-weed papered and freshly mulched. It looks so much nicer. We also removed the wine barrels (they were rotting in place), and removed the lemon tree (it did not survive the harsh winter’s freezes).

With the wine barrels gone, we freshened up the dirt along the back wall and planted herbs and strawberries. The broken rose trellis was replaced with wine barrel rings, which gave the yard a rather rustic West County Wine Country feel. This also inspired me to start a “Back yard ideas” board on Pintrest.

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There were a lot of ideas that I liked (dinosaur plant markers), a lot that I loathed (rainboot planters), and some that I found inspiring but unsure of how I wanted to implement them (garden signs).

I found most of the garden sign sayings a bit cloying, rather like the Live! Laugh! Love! pillows that inspired Serenity, so I turned to the boys for inspiration.

The boys love all things Dragon, they have several books about dragons: A Gold Star for Zog, How Drufus the Dragon Lost his Head, and Herb, the Vegetarian Dragon (to name the first three that popped into my head, I’m sure we have at least two or three more). Most of our dragon books are about Dragons doing Good Deeds/eating things other than people — (spoiler alert) Zog becomes a flying ambulance, Drufus goes vegetarian after feeling sorry for a bug, and Herb loves to garden. I decided to take my inspiration from Herb — he’s a vegetarian.

While I find the over all tone of Herb to be a bit heavy, I agree with the end message, don’t eat people, it is one I think we can all agree with.

I had an old board and some orange paint leftover from another project, so I printed out Herb’s Garden in very large letters, printed and cut them out to make a very crude stencil. A bit of tape and a stick to hold it all in place, and I got to work under the every watchful eyes of Oliver and Patrick.

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The letter placement could be better, but the board had a giant hole in it, so I centered the lettering around that. When the painting was done, we affixed it to the back fence over the herb garden.

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Now I need to figure out plant markers. I think up-cycled old CDs has potential.

Luther Burbank Spineless Cactus

Our friends, Nick and Sasha, recently moved in two doors over from us. The house came with a Questionable Shed in the back, as well as a large cactus that was largely rotten (and rotting) from lack of sunlight and too much moisture. The cactus was quite large (much taller than either of us), and nearly spineless. It looked a lot like one of Luther Burbank’s spineless cactus, and with the Luther Burbank Experimental Farm just down the street, we felt fairly confident that is what it is.
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The Experimental Farm is interesting to walk through — the boys and I have gone a few times now. The boys like to run along the paths, and I enjoy seeing the variety of variations that Burbank achieved.

One of Burbank’s goals was to increase the world’s food supply by manipulating the characteristics of plants. Burbank developed an improved spineless cactus which could provide forage for livestock in desert regions. During his career, Burbank introduced more than 800 new varieties of plants — including over 200 varieties of fruits, many vegetables, nuts and grains, and hundreds of ornamental flowers.

As we removed the rotten portions of cactus, we took care to try and salvage some of the pads to transplant. There were several, so I was gifted one as a thanks for my assistance with removing the rotten parts.

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I followed the meticulous transplant instructions:

Plant the pads in an upright position, burying about one-third of the lower end of each pad in sandy, well-drained soil.  Firm the soil to hold the pads in place, using short sticks to prop them up, if necessary.  Place the pads in a warm, sunny position and protect them from very hot sunlight until they are established.  Do not water the pads until they start to develop new green growth, and then limit watering to infrequent deep soakings that allow the soil to dry thoroughly before more water is applied.  No fertilizer should be necessary.  Plants may be containerized for about a year or so, but should ultimately be given plenty of growing space outdoors in the ground.  Young plants may be damaged by severe frosts, although established specimens are quite cold hardy.

These are directions I can follow: stick in a pot of dirt, ignore. Remember to protect from frost. Eventually put in the ground.

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I think I’m doing something right, after several months in the pot of dirt by the front entry, my cactus is showing signs of new growth. Next summer (assuming it doesn’t freeze to death this winter), I’m going to need to find a place for it in the ground.

outdoor entry way and shoe benches

The same friend that gifted us the daybed also gave us some RAST nightstands. They had stacked them on top of each other and were using them for shoe storage inside by their front door, so they were already a bit scuffed up when I got them. I’d been looking for an outdoor bench for some time now — I’d been scouring ana-white.com for the perfect plans to have Gavin modify to fit the space for some time now — and nothing had seemed quite right, and Gavin never seemed to have the time for this particular project.

Then the pre-loved RAST nightstands entered my life. They’d already been used for shoe storage, but the unfinished pine needed a bit of help before it could survive by our front door. Gavin said paint would protect them, so I took the boys to the local paint store — Sandy’s Paints in Sebastopol. Oliver wanted pink and Patrick wanted yellow, so they compromised and I got the color I wanted: fireball orange — to be fair, both pink and yellow went into the mix to make the orange.

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A coat of primer and two coats of fireball orange later (and appropriate drying time) they were put out by the front door. I love the “new” benches, they’re perfect for sitting groceries, bins of stuff, or packages while I find my keys. I can put muddy boots outside without them being a trip hazard, and it offers a place for small children to sit and wait out of the driveway.

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Serenity

Eagle-eye viewers (and friends who follow me on Facebook) will have noticed the Serenity pillow on our daybed. Serenity is my answer to the vast array of Live, Laugh, Love, Peace, Joy, Dream, Hope and other “inspirational” pillows that have taken over mass-market home decor. I want to make a giant pile of them and have a bonfire.

Initially I was going to make some pillows that said “cupcakes” and “pizza” and then paint some bricks that said “logic” and “reason” (because those should never be cuddly and soft), but instead I decided to take the warm-fuzzy-inspirational pillow message in the logical direction: Serenity

the state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil; sereneness.
In a house filled with little boys, I could regularly use some calm, tranquil time.

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There are also times I wouldn’t mind having a spaceship to escape with.

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I think this pillow embodies the best of both, and I think that Serenity looks great in a pink-watermelon color.