For the past 14 years, we have endured a cracked and mossy concrete patio poured by the original contractor over 20 years ago. No matter how many times I pressure washed the surface, it grew moss like crazy and always looked grubby.
Mr. Mole and I would sit on our patio about 10 months of the year to celebrate the end of our working day (cocktails and peanuts) and always the topic was the same, “Someday we will replace this cracked patio slab with a deck”.
I could sit and imagine the beauty of wood railings and steps and then I would look over at my neighbor’s wood patio and dread the maintenance he has to do just to keep it from aging and decaying. We never thought we could afford a real concrete one let alone replace all the broken brick pathways leading to the side breezeways and veggie patch. Then I called a few contractors and found out differently. While the price quotes were very reasonable to outrageous, we settled on a nice family-run business to do the work.
Then the Moles got to work removing the existing gazebo, barbecue, chairs and planters. You can see that the existing patio never did go all the way up to the house and the chairs (while flipped forward in case of rain) always sat in gravel. What a cluttered mess!
With most of the planters removed, chairs and barbecue Mr. Mole can get to work disassembling the rusting metal framework of the gazebo.
Once the railings were cut in half and stacked in the trash can, the walls could be saved for other uses in the garden.
When I lived in England I loved watching Bob Flowerdew recycle so many things for his garden so I asked Mr. Mole if we could save the walls for later for climbing plants like clematis and roses…luckily he agreed and stacked them down in the lower level of the garden which we call “the Dell”.
Now, what about that patch of gravel?
All of a sudden, I heard myself volunteering to scoop it up and move it to the lower level of the garden pathways leading to the Dell…little did I realize it took over 12 wheelbarrow trips to just level it. Do you know how heavy one shovelful of gravel and stones is? My outfit is appropriate…cut-off sweat pants, a music t-shirt from 1998, rubber gardening clogs and a baseball cap.
Here I am rolling the gravel down to the Dell:
It is ready for the contractor to bring in the jackhammer to remove everything else and pour a new concrete patio slab and side pathways!!!
A week later, the old patio and paths were removed, new wooded forms erected and concrete poured and smoothed. Diagonal lines were drawn and stamping was used to give a granite-like appearance. All that is left is the sealing and we are ready to party!
Here is the final photo on a rainy day. The puddles are where the stamping and staining was done to resemble granite texture. The diagonal lines and darker border break up the expanse of grey. There are plastic pipes exposed for the sprinklers that were re-located and for the electrical wires that will run the pump for the fountain.
The 2 sets of windows to the left of the door are my sewing room and the sewing annex. My clients comment that it must be wonderful to just sit and watch all the birds in the fountain and on feeders but you know I rarely have time to just sit with wedding gowns stacking up!
Just so you have a little sewing treat this week, a follower sent me these photos of a skirt she had made for a friend (photos have been over-lightened to show details):
One of my best friends was having a hard time finding RTW clothes that fit and a couple of years ago I made her a couple of skirts which we fitted over Skype. Then she proceeded to lose some pounds and then some more and everything had to be taken in about 2 inches everywhere.
To spare me the trouble, she very proudly said that she would alter the black one.
When I visited her this summer, she said she would really like me to fix the lining on the black one and put it in my luggage and when I came home I discovered this!
The lining had been altered without ease. It was totally stretched and torn and then, I didn’t dare ask, mauled by a rabid dog or I suppose, cut with an office shredder.
She must have been pretty desperate for a black skirt to wear it like this for this long.
I replaced the lining with stretch lining, which as you all know, takes longer than making a new skirt.
Despite the hack job, she is still my friend…
Amazing isn’t it? She is very lucky to have a kind friend who will fix this mess!
As preparations for the Holiday season approach, I hope you all can find a little time to sit with a loved one and count your blessings for this year. I have so much to be thankful for…it is a very long list!