I finally hung something on our bare white walls! The artwork is made even more special as it was created by my family.
- Set of 4 (custom ordered) Chair pieces by my mother. Check out more of her items on her Etsy Shop: FiberArchitecture
- Cupcake painting by my little sister as a reproduction study from a piece by Wayne Thiebaud. Check out more of her handmade items in her Etsy Shop:MMPKreations
Now I just need to find some time to put up all the other artwork I have planned!
Happy Belated Holidays!
We’ve slowly been getting back into the swing of home repairs…and I’ve definitely been slacking on my updates. But, I first wanted to recap some of the highlights of our first Christmas spent in the house!
- Our Christmas tree and presents! As an advocate of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”, I’m not a big fan of buying a ‘real’ tree. Instead I picked up a Nordic Pine indoor plant which we’ll be able to use for years to come!
- The newest addition to our household! Meet Ginger AKA “Slinky.” A very sweet little girl that Neil’s brother found abandoned out in the snow.
- Winter wreath. My handmade book page rosette wreath (that I started 2 years ago and finally found the time to finish) finished with a red ribbon saved from last year’s presents.
Hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and look for more updates, demos, renovations, and news soon!
View from the backyard after a rain storm.
A peek at our Autumn decorated front porch. I just love Autumn! The smells, colors, decor, sweaters, it’s by far my favorite season.
DIY Autumn Wreath:
- Wreath frame was created using grape vines found in the yard.
- Faux flowers, leaf garland, and burlap ribbon purchased from Michaels.
- I assembled everything as I liked it and secured items down with wire, so at the end of the season I can remove everything and reuse the wreath frame again…or reorganize this design again next year.
Now it’s time to add some pumpkins and gourds!
I certainly get my crafty, creative nature from my mother. Check out what she did for her kitchen backsplash!
Step 1 of her kitchen makeover: A perfect idea for people who can’t decide on one design. Creating a chalkboard backsplash allows you to change your kitchen whenever the moment strikes you.
Here is an example of classic black, but chalkboard paint now comes in a variety of colors, plus the many color options of chalk, the combinations are endless. Stencil or hand draw on designs and you’re good to go.
I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted any updates on the house. Time seems to just fly by. It’s hard to take care of everything all the time.
But, here are some of things I worked on this summer…
- Finally hung up the wire wrapped door numbers I made from scrap wire around the house. See the DIY Tutorial here.
- Got the garden growing nicely.
- Used the unused tiles (that originally were going to go into the in-law bathroom) as pavers around the raised beds. Neil said I could take the garden all the way back to the fence line, so I’ll have to thin out the pavers next year to get them all the way around.
- Put in the front walkway pavers. The slate tiles I used were all found around the property! Next year I’ll start the landscaping in the front.
I was very proud of my very first garden. I’m expanding it next year in order to get more yield and plant more varieties. But, check out some of the vegetables I got!
- Zucchini and bush beans (aka: green beans…pole beans/snap peas didn’t do so well, might not plant those next year).
- 2 huge zucchini and 1 cucumber on the left (ended up with about 8 huge zucchinis and 10 or so cucumbers total for the season)
- More bush beans and some celery (which I regrew from a store bought stalk)
- That’s a big zucchini! Definitely planting more of them next year so I can make some breads!
We also ended up with lots of tomatoes, cayenne peppers, herbs (rosemary, parsley, cilantro, basil, thyme, sage, marjoram), 1 bell pepper (that I will be picking in a few days), yellow squash, spaghetti squash, and lettuce.
The watermelon and pumpkin plants got eaten. The swiss chard, kale, and acorn squash didn’t grow (I had them in another part of the yard, so I’ll have to rethink their positions next year).
All in all I think we had a good summer. Hopefully I’ll have more interesting updates to share soon.
Since this is my first year having a vegetable garden, I did a lot of research in preparation. I discovered square foot gardening and companion planting.
Square Foot Gardening is basically a planting guideline that allows you to maximize the amount of plants you can put in a small amount of space. Depending on the variety, you can get 1 to 16 plants per square. For example: Tomatoes = 1 plant / sq ft area …Carrots = 16 plants / sq ft area….Watermelon = 1 plant / 2 sq ft area
I found it to be a very interesting concept and fit perfectly with my need for raised beds. I have shale dirt, which means that I dig about .5″ into the ground and hit rocks…not a very welcoming environment for vegetables.
So here is my 2013 Square Foot Garden Plan:
I’m still learning how it works and I’m really hoping that having that many tomato and pepper plants together is okay. If not I’ll just have to spread them out next year.
Companion Planting: With sq ft gardening you end up with plants very close to each other, so it’s important to consider what plants are grouped together. Some plants get along great, others will die if planted next to a plant that is incompatible.
For example: Tomatoes and basil go great together because the basil helps to keep certain insects away. But tomatoes and corn shouldn’t be planted together because they attract the same type of worm, which could cause both plants to die. Tomatoes are helped by carrots, but tomatoes cause the carrots to grow short and stubby.
It’s a very interesting puzzle to figure out. I changed the layout of my plots about 20 times before I finally planted anything. I hope it works out!
I finally finished my raised garden beds. Took a bit longer than expected. But, I also realized I started my seeds late, so it all worked out in the long run.
- Posts In: I reused the spindles from the old pool deck railings. Typically you’re not really supposed to use pressure treated wood in gardens…it does something weird to the plants I guess. But the spindles were so old and weathered that I figured using them for support posts would be fine…Cost: reusing old materials = $0
- Frame Work: The walls of the raised beds were built using wood pallets. I got them for free from one of my print vendors who just stacks them up outside when they’re done using them…But, they are pretty easy to find all over the place for free. Turns out that wood pallets are only about 3′ long and I needed them to be a little over 4′ to hit the posts, so I ended up overlapping them. Which I actually think I like better. Creates a more rustic handmade feel to it. The planks were attached to the posts with a nail gun. Cost: maybe about $4 in nails…if you’re gonna get technical.
- Finished Off the Beds: I filled the beds using a technique called lasagna gardening. This saved me some money, as I didn’t have to buy as much dirt to fill the huge beds and it is also said to be very beneficial to vegetables. Basically you layer different materials to create a nutrient rich soil for your plants. My layers included: Newspaper (which also deters weed growth), Dead Leaves, Grass Clipping, Compost (which my neighbor picked up for me for free), and topped with Organic Compost Garden Soil (which I got on sale for $3/40lb bag – bought 12 bags – YEAH Memorial Day Weekend Sales!). Then I strung cotton twine across the top so I could easily divide up the space for my square foot gardening planting technique (more on that next time). Cost: organic soil and twine = $38
- Started My Very First Garden: Then it was finally time to plant some vegetables! I just hope that after all my hard work I actually get to eat something.
- Bonus Strawberry Planter: I had old rain boots that I couldn’t throw away because: 1) I love them so much and 2) I hate throwing anything away. I found an awesome tutorial on Pinterest that made a strawberry planter out of old rain boots. So my hoarding paid off and they came out super cute. Plus, I still have 3 more boots I can fill! Cost: $9 for strawberry plants; $2 for a bag of potting soil.
Later on I may trim down the support post spindles. They make the beds look a little messy. But, I’m going to see how this planting season goes. I have a feeling they may come in handy for staking the plants, so it might end up to be beneficial to have them…we shall see…
So, I built 2 unique looking raised vegetable garden beds for about $40. Not too shabby. Next year I’m going to add 2 more beds (assuming that I can actually get this year’s crop to grow) and see if I can get that cost down to $0!
After just 2 weekends working in the yard, Neil and I are slightly sunburned and both have wonderfully attractive farmer tans.
- The pile of wood left from both the old pool deck and the old front porch. Rather tiny in comparison to what the structures used to be.
- Stairs from the old pool deck. I’m planning on using this as a tiered self for potted plants in my vegetable garden area.
- First coat of paint went on the hand-me-down wicker couch our neighbor gave us in the Fall. I thought hand painting the first coat would help save cost on spray paint, but it fill in all the gaps as well as I was hoping, so I’ll just have to keep an eye out for deals on spray paint.
- Neil got a new toy for his birthday!
- My pile of grape vines waiting to be used. First project is going to be building a base around the sink bird bath.
- The Yard (as seen from back back looking towards the house) It’s coming along very nicely.
The original front porch of the house has come a long way. Here’s it’s journey:
- Original front porch in need of some attention.
- Painted the front porch in an effort to make our new house look a bit nicer from the street.
- Added a new walkway (front slate tiles found in the yard) and some plants for a little extra curb appeal.
- Porch was removed to make way for new covered porch construction (we hadn’t planned to do it so soon, but it made sense with all the other work being done).
- Porch moved to the backyard because I had big plans for it.
- That’s where it sat all winter.
- Removed the railings and placed them in the ground to create edgers for my garden area.
- One on either side.
- Full view of area.
- Then painted the spheres on the spindles yellow, to match the color of the doors.
I love how they ended up…Much nicer than I thought. I think it creates a unique garden feature and allows us to keep some original elements of the house. Better yet, Neil and the neighbors like it too, which is good! Didn’t want them to be offended by all the “stuff” I’m planning on putting in my yard.
Now it’s time to add some plants!