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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

A birthday wish fulfilled (or in process to be fulfilled)

As Tina mentioned in the comments from yesterday's post, today was my birthday (and it was Tina's, too).

When asked what I really wanted to do on my birthday, I said I wanted to overhaul our front porch. The porch had become rather neglected and unkempt-looking over the past couple of years. It was an eyesore. I had been thinking for a couple of months what I would like done here and made a list of what I wanted/needed to get it done. 

Just a warning, this won't be a budget makeover. This is my only birthday gift. I have tried to avoid overspending, but I did spend. My hope is that we'll have a lovely place to sit on summer evenings, chatting with neighbors as they walk past. I'll take you along with me for this project. It won't be a one day and I'm done sort of job, but will take several days, maybe a week or two to get it finished.

Here is today's start.

During the day, my daughters went to Home Depot and Value Village with me in search of some of the things on my list. After coming home from shopping, my daughters and I had a lovely lunch on the patio then got to work.

Here's the sad before picture. I'm so embarrassed to even show it to you, as it demonstrates my neglect in keeping things looking orderly and nice. Neither the bench nor the chair are suitable for actual sitting. My husband will take a look at both and see if they can be repaired. The stone was covered in moss and has been too slippery on rainy days to allow anyone to step on it. The wall pots have been ravaged by squirrels. The cushion is faded. And the whole space looks cluttered.

After dragging everything off of the porch, I got out a spade and began scraping the large patches of moss. One daughter came behind me and scooped up the loose moss to add to the compost. We got out the power washer and all took turns cleaning off the stone. This in itself made such a difference in the appearance of this area. It never ceases to amaze me how simply cleaning something can add so much improvement to that thing's appearance. 

Once the porch was washed, I added a new doormat. (The one in the before photo is our Christmas door mat -- oops!) Both daughters helped me plant these new hanging baskets. So far we've put begonias into the baskets. I'd also like to find a trailing plant to add to each.

A couple of new lanterns will add ambiance to our summer evenings. These are LED candles that can be turned on/off or set on a timer with a remote.

Next up is some seating. My husband came home as we were finishing with the cleaning. After we put all of our work tools away, he helped me assemble part of the new seating. I'll show you more tomorrow.

One of the activities I love most is sprucing up our living areas. It brings me so much joy in all stages, from the planning, to the actual work, and finally to the enjoyment of a refreshed space. To spend an entire day immersed in one of these projects with my family alongside is my dream day. I love my family for taking part in my dream today. This is a birthday wish fulfilled. I hope you all had a wonderful day, today, too!


  1. Happy Belated Birthday! Glad that you got to do the thing you most wanted alongside your family! The porch is looking very nice!


    1. Hi Cat,
      Thank you for the birthday wishes!
      How are classes going?

  2. Happy Birthday, Lili!! I am glad you had your birthday wish fulfilled with your lovely daughters and husband. Nothing beats spending time with your loved ones, accomplishing a task, and celebrating a special day -- all rolled in one. I love working on projects with my husband for this reason. We start each day going over our wish list of things to do and lay out our plan of action. Lots more gets accomplished when we work as a team.

    I must say, I had to rub my eyes and question what is wrong with your "before" picture, looks beautiful to me. But seeing the "after" was even more impressive. You have such a beautiful home. I always think you would vehemently disapprove if you came to my house lol

    Have a great day,

    1. Hi Laura,
      Thank you! The way you and your husband have always worked so well together is something I admire. Didn't the two of you have a business together before retirement?

      I think with the before photo it's hard to see how junky everything was beginning to look as I could see it in person. Broken this and that and the porch had become a place where stuff just got dumped. I'm already so much happier with how it is turning out. It looks clean and tidy. I'll be adding color with pots and flowers this next week, too, and that will add beauty I hope.

      Enjoy the rest of your day, Laura!

    2. Yes, you're right, for 21 years. We work really well together. He's a doer and I am more a thinker which made me seem and sound like his boss unfortunately.


    3. Your comment brought a smile to my face, Laura. Have a lovely evening.

  3. That is a lovely transformation! I'm guessing that faces North where it's shaded most of the day therefore all the mossy stuff.

    I also love doing stuff around the house with my husband. Like Laura, we plan what we want to do and then get moving on it. Last year was lifting old grass full of weeds and then replacing it with sod. Another project was a wood surround around a tree that was rotting so we replaced it with the wood surround from another tree that we had cut down. We cut limbs and branches from a tree that moved to our burn pit and cut them all to burn but due to wind lately we filled up our burn pit again so we'll tackle that on a non windy day. There will be lots to do this year too. We'll do the projects as we see them needing to be done.

    1. Hi Alice,
      Thank you! Yes, this is the north side of the house. You and your husband have tackled some big projects. It's fun, though, isn't it, when you're working with your husband. Good luck with this year's projects!

  4. I thought your before picture looked good. The faded things didn't show up much in the picture. Of course, slippery is not good, but I liked the look of the moss. But then you showed the picture after the pressure washing. Wow! It looks great! I understand how a day working together with your family is a gift in itself. I get the same pleasure with my family.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      Cleaning the porch seemed to make a huge difference.

      I really enjoyed working with my family yesterday. I told them over dinner that this was such a wonderful birthday. My husband had some time to work with me today, too. It was not only good to have help, but a nice time to spend together.

  5. Darn that moss in the Pacific Northwest! Been there, done that (even on the south-facing side we had some!) Cleaning that off already transformed the space, so I see why you're excited; but like some of the other ladies, I scratched my head a little at the "before" before seeing the "after". (wink) Our front deck is much more disreputable (and a little mossy, too!) Sounds like a lovely day. All best wishes to you and the family for the year ahead! Sara

    1. Hi Sara,
      Yep, we have some moss on the south side of the house, too. Fall, winter and early spring bring so much rain in the PNW. Hopefully your weather and energy will cooperate so you can get your front deck set-up for summer enjoyment soon.

      Thank you for the good wishes, Sara!

  6. Thanks for the birthday wishes.

    I'm with the other posters in thinking that the "before" porch looked good. The "after" one does indeed look fantastic. What a great birthday present.

    I bought myself a new desk chair and went up to the tulip fields (La Conner) last week - those were my special birthday things. My mom's birthday is tomorrow so my sister and I are bringing her a homemade lunch. She lives in a group home and the cooking isn't great, so she will enjoy a change.

    - Tina

    1. Hi Tina,
      What a fun way to spend your birthday, going to the tulip fields. We did that one year when my kids were younger and I was bowled over by the beauty.

      I love your plans for your mom's birthday. Have a good time with her tomorrow. I'm sure she'll really appreciate the time with her daughters and the lovely homemade lunch.

  7. Add me to the list of people who didn't see anything wrong with the first photo. Your porch looks fantastic and I just may borrow your idea of updating your house for future gift ideas for me. Great idea!

    1. Hi Kris,
      The before photo really doesn't show how dilapidated the furniture was or how cluttered it looked up close.

      I've done this before, asked for help on a project as a gift. It's a fun way for me to spend a day, and I think my family members, for the most part, enjoy working on these projects, too, as it's usually only one day.


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