Wielding our green thumbs

Saturday we woke up after sleeping through a night of severe thunderstorms, which apparently produced a tornado in east Charlotte. We initially thought it was going to rain all day, and so planned on starting the final coat of paint on the stairs (a project that started in December…) After looking at the radar though, it appeared that the line of storms was going to stay southeast of us, and felt a trip to a nursery down the road was called for. Our front flower beds have been in desperate need of some love, and Saturday turned out to be the perfect day to do some landscaping. At Sugar Creek Garden Center we got three “Sparkling Plum” loropetalum, a dozen “Fancy Knickers” dianthus (that name makes me giggle), and a bag of organic fertilizer. The loropetalum shrubs would be planted in a row in front of our porch, with the dianthus in front of them. That would take care of the front bed, but we still wanted to do something down by the street, where there is one larger shrub already with an empty bed at its base. So at Home Depot we got 5 “Georgia Blue” speedwell, garden soil and mulch. A quick lunch, and we were ready to spend the rest of the day transplanting lilyturf, digging, planting, fertilizing, and mulching. Our front landscaping went from this:

To this:

The coneflowers and sage that we planted at the height of summer seem to be making a remarkable comeback.

Grow baby sage, grow!

Come on, coneflower!

The dark purple of the loropetalum looks great with our shutters, and the dianthus has a spikey-looking light green foliage, which really pops against the darker shrubs. I am also excited about cutting the dianthus once they bloom, so I can have fresh flowers in the house, grown in our very own garden!

*On another note, we now have a nephew! Stephen’s sister and brother-in-law gave birth to baby Beckett Saturday morning. It was kind of a surprise, because she was scheduled for a C-section this Thursday, the 8th. Apparently Beckett did not want to wait any longer. It was an exciting text message to wake up to!*



There is nothing like having family come to visit to force you to get your house in order. The night before Stephen’s family arrived we may or may not have been up till 2 am unpacking boxes and cleaning. However, that means we now only have 5 boxes left to be unpacked (which may or may not be full of Tori junk stuff priceless treasure.) It also means I have a bunch of pictures of the house all nice and neat to share!

Family forces you to clean, but they also help once they arrive. We did a lot of yard work with S’s family, and then when Meredith came to visit a week later, we painted the living room. I also had a hard time keeping her from doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen every day. Ok, I didn’t make that much of an effort to stop her. Thanks Mere!


The major landscaping we did involved cutting down and ripping out various trees and out-of-control shrubs. We had a really pretty Japanese Maple planted in front, but it was in a very inconvenient location. You can see in the picture that it blocks the view to and from the street. And it was still going to get bigger. We are fairly sure the previous owners did not realize how large it would get. So, after a good deal of debate, it got chopped down. Moving it to a new location wasn’t an option. The root ball was not going to budge, and had probably grown under the front walk. End result:


You can see the front door!

We (and by “we” I mean Stephen, his dad, and his brother) cut down an overgrown holly (I think that’s what it was) that was blocking half the shed. Like so: (look past Gus practicing his mad frisbee-catchin’ skills)



Oh look! There is a shed behind there! And a pretty little Carolina Jasmine vine straining towards the light! You can see how the fountain grass was being crowded by the shrub/tree as well.

Now for a series of pictures of the interior. I think most are pretty self-explanatory.


View coming down the stairs

Dining room

Table and chairs used to be my family’s dining table. My parents bought it at an antique mall when they first got married. It is over 100 years old! The mirror I got at Hobby Lobby for $36. It was originally $180. Score!

Living room before being painted "Gentle Violet"

After being painted "Gentle Violet"

View from kitchen

View from couch

Three framed pictures I took while in San Francisco, candlesticks, clock and vase were all wedding gifts!

One half of the kitchen, island courtesy of IKEA

Other half of the kitchen, door to garage

Pretty view while doing dishes

The “Gourmet Rolling Pin” used to be my mom’s. I have no idea where she got it. There is a massive (read: very heavy) marble pastry board that goes with it. I have a feeling the board will be making the trip from Texas at Christmas time.

One of the many "Tori action shots" that Stephen likes to take

Screened in back porch

Porch and patio beyond

Master bedroom

Wrought iron medallion is from Hobby Lobby, half off!

View from corner by window

Double doors lead to bathroom

Second bath

The Blue Bedroom

One of the few rooms we did not paint.

The Yellow Bedroom

Another room we did not paint. The deflated air mattress and bedding are still on the floor because obviously, Gus is using them.

Yeah, we need some book shelves

The amazing closet in the Yellow Bedroom

Media Room

Painting by Tess. Cat tree was found in attic.

And whew! That is it for now! Tori out.