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Friday, July 22, 2016

Balsam Hill's "LIGHT UP the NIGHT" Summer 2016 Challenge

As I mentioned yesterday HERE, I am super excited to be invited by Balsam Hill to participate in their 
LIGHT UP the NIGHT Summer 2016 Challenge!

When asked what additionally I would like to have sent from a list of items, I chose this single ball LED lighted faux topiary HERE.  I mention "faux" because when I've been watering the terrace I have almost watered it twice... I'm not kidding!  Seriously "real" looking.  Before it arrived I honestly thought I would just use it for the photo shoot and then use it at the front door during the holidays.  I placed the topiary in the resin & crushed limestone urn that Balsam Hill also sent HERE and placed it in front of the shutter, turned it on, got distracted, went to work on something else and forgot it was there, until.... I walked back towards the table and I gasped at how beautiful it was and how perfect it looked on the barn wood and iron table.  The table needed it for height and composition and I didn't even know it!  It's staying right here all season long.  It runs on 2- D batteries and has a constant-on switch or a 6-hour timer switch.  Which is so nice as I'm always forgetting to go back outside to turn things off late at night.

And, look who showed up to join me on "light up the night!" Mr. Buck Moon! Perfect timing:)
 I did not know until this full moon that every full moon each month has its own name.  The names date back to Native Americans and were used to keep track of the seasons and events.  The Buck moon was so named because it is when the buck deer start growing their velvety antlers.  It is also know as the Thunder moon and the Hay moon.
We love the copper and cast metal fire pit

I love this photo because it is exactly what the terrace looks and "feels" like in the evening!  The only thing missing is the cocktail of your choice, and a puppy dog... or three!

Votive candles scattered about.

Close up as the night grew darker.

Doesn't the topiary look perfect here?!  You can see why I love it.

Later this night, after it was too dark to take any more photos, Dan and I sat on the terrace with the fire going.  This was our first night to use the fire pit and we both loved it.  It is a vast, big sky when you are sitting under the stars at night on the terrace and the fire pit made it feel so cozy. It's perfect for summer, and will be perfect for those cool fall nights, which are right around the corner!

The terrace wall illuminated with votives.  
  Royale Peachy Keen verbena hybrid in the vintage iron disks that I use as planters on the top of the wall.

Love this shot of the new topiary and fire pit together, and how you can see inside to the barn room.  The topiary and the fire pit are both wonderful additions to the terrace.  Be sure to see the bottom of this post for a coupon code from Balsam Hill just for you!

Wish you were here!

Thanks again to Mr. Buck Moon for helping me "light up the night!"

I love this wacky photo taken from the master bedroom upstairs porch.  It made me laugh as I'm very literal, so when someone challenges me to "light up the night" I do..... literally!!!!!  Ha! :)

Here's a recap of the Balsam Hill products used in this post:
single ball boxwood topiary
light grey classic urn
copper and cast metal fire pit, cover and spark guard
but, there are so many more on their website, so check them all out!

Balsam Hill has generously offered a coupon code for my readers for $30 off your Order of $299, or more.
Use the code:
 one-time use per customer; cannot be used with another coupon
coupon valid July 22, 2016 - August 28, 2016

Thursday, July 21, 2016

unpacking a challenge!

I was super excited last month when I was contacted by Balsam Hill inquiring if I would be interested in participating in their upcoming "Light Up The Night" Challenge promoting their all-season products that aren't traditionally part of their Christmas + holiday offerings.   I have coveted their gorgeous Christmas trees for a very long time, but I wasn't aware that they had other products as well.  So, I thought this would be a fun challenge and a good way to share this information with you too!  They offered to send me several items and the challenge would be to see how I would use them to decorate an outdoor space that can be enjoyed both during the day and at night.

What Balsam Hill had no way of knowing was that I had only recently come to the conclusion that I really wanted a fire pit on the terrace.  Dan and I have talked about one for years, but our image for a fire pit was either a large antique iron cauldron or a stone-ringed pit.  Both of choices seemed heavy and permanent and we just couldn't commit to that idea.  I had started looking around at all the usual local sources, but nothing had the "it" factor for me, nor did they seem well-made.  When Balsam Hill  offered to send me a fire pit I was thrilled!

I was literally giddy that the Balsam Hill fire pit has a solid copper bowl!  "IT" factor...  check
 Isn't it beautiful?!  Ella helping me unpack the boxes:)

I really love the neoclassic European scroll work design on the base.  I think it beautifully balances the visual of the large copper bowl.  The die-cast construction is made from one solid piece of metal with no welds or weak points.  It is made of cast aluminum so is lightweight and rustproof.

They also sent the spark guard cover which was really important for me since the terrace is close to the house, along with a couple of other goodies!!!  So, I hope you'll join me tomorrow when I show you how I used everything on the recently repaired terrace!  You can let me know how you think I did with the "challenge"and see the summer terrace!

Oh, and there will be a special coupon just for you:)
See you tomorrow!!

Monday, July 18, 2016

around the house a.k.a. keeping it real

So, early spring this happened...  
ouch :(

The terrace was expanded and completed as we were finishing up the barn renovation HERE in the spring of 2011.  (You can see the "renovation photo story of the terrace" HERE)
Later that summer hurricane Irene tore through New England and the wall was never the same.  I cannot complain too much however, as the initial tracking had the hurricane coming directly through our small village.  To see our location as a red dot on a weather tracking map being in the direct line of the hurricane was a fear I will not soon forget.  Irene changed course the night it was to hit southern New Hampshire and instead went on to devastate Vermont.  The damage to Vermont was shocking and heartbreaking, so I really can't complain that my stone wall was damaged.

The excavator man who did the initial stone wall and terrace wall came to repair the wall after Irene, but over the last several years there was more settling and movement of stones in the walls.  While perforated plastic pipes were placed in the initial construction for water run off  Dan decided that french drains would help abate the settling situation by addressing the rainwater drainage issue.  I had no idea how this wall would be repaired.  When the wall was initially built the huge granite cut-stones that were set into the grass for steps down to the garage/motor court hadn't been placed yet, so it was not like we could bring an excavator in to do the job.  Dan contacted the man who did our french drains around the farmhouse and after weeks of calling him, he comes out, agrees to the job and then drops the ball and is a no show.  At this point Dan decided to do it himself;  he had a plan.  I didn't ask how the plan would work as the whole situation was really bumming me out, so I put on my "rose colored glasses" and decided it would be fine!  On a walk with the girls a day or two after deciding he would do the project himself we had a very fortuitous chat with a neighbor.  Adam had just graduated summa cum laude and was taking the summer off before going for his masters in business.  He casually mentioned wanting to work some for extra money, but didn't want to work all summer long.   We knew he was a really good worker and that Dan would need help on the project, so it was a win-win!
This is cute Adam doing the dirty job of digging the trench for the french drain.  To say he is a hard worker is a ridiculous understatement; he is a nonstop powerhouse.  Millennials get a bad rap these days, but this one has an amazing work ethic.  That he and Dan worked so well together made the whole project go smoothly.

The trench for the new french drain.

 They followed the line of the original drainage pipe, so basically we now have a french drain set over a perforated drainage pipe.  They found the original pipe had been completely crushed where the pipe drained from the wall, so the new french drains should rectify the situation.  Yay Dan!

Look at those crazy piles of pea gravel.

Another drain was needed running from the north french door of the barn room to the corner of the stone wall.  The pre-made corrugated french drain pipes are from Lowe's and made the labor on this trench so much easier (at least that's what I heard;)  

The rebuilding of the stone wall.  Gotta love a handy (and cute) husband!

I decorated the yellow fertilizer spreader on the back of Big Blue with some large caribou antlers.  Doesn't it look nice?!!!! :)  I'm just joshing with you!!!  Though some who know me would totally think I would do that:)  The antlers have been in the garage forever, needing some rough ends cut  and they ended up in spreader to get them out of the way!  During the project Dan would drive Big Blue (on back roads:) to a rock quarry about 5 miles away to get scoops of stone for the project.  On one trip someone stopped him to ask him what he had in the spreader! 

Of course it was super hot on all their work days.  This day was 88 and wicked humid.  I was in charge of ice water, iced tea, lunch and beer, aka "mason juice" delivery to the job site :)  I was also in charge (self-appointed, of course) of reminding them to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours.  What would they have done without me?!!!;)

Making the finishing touches.  Ah- mazing repair!  I'm so proud of Dan, and Adam too- he had never worked with stones and was a natural.  They did a craftsman-worthy job on the wall.

The boys finishing up spreading the pea gravel.

I took this photo as I was sitting in a chair with a margarita "stupervising" and "helping" them finish up.  I think they really appreciated my contribution:):)!!  As I wrote on IG... this is how you know you are old- when you have a cute 21-year-old working shirtless, at times, for you and all you can think is "Is he wearing sunscreen?!"  lol  Hence the sunscreen on the table, cuz no he wasn't!!!  There will be no sun damage on my watch;)

The two cuties congratulating themselves on a job well done!
After getting his MBA Adam has plans to go into medical device/medial equipment sales, so if you or someone you know needs a super smart, personable, creative, extremely hard-working, all-around good person and cute salesman I can put you in touch!

The "almost" finished wall;)  Still some tweaking to do, but it's back together and stronger than ever.  We had a big rainstorm this afternoon and the new french drains worked like a charm!
(this photo is really pinky as I just took the photo at dusk and the sky to the east was very pink)

With the terrace back to its former glory we can now get back to cocktails on the terrace enjoying views like this!

Now, on to the next big project... which is having several sides of the farmhouse painted.  As Roseanne Roseannadanna would say, "It's always somthin' !"
What have you been up to this summer?!


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