Feb 222018
 

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When I first heard that Easter was on April 1st, I thought for sure someone was trying to pull an early April Fool’s joke.  Turns out I was wrong and they were right – Easter is on April 1st this year!

As if to continue the odd joke, it is the middle of February and our weather currently feels like spring.  Never before have I felt so far behind so early.  Goodness Golly, it is the middle of February!  While it is a warmer winter/spring than what is normal, and we may still get a freeze, it is a good reminder that Spring is on our doorstep.

I have been doing better at getting ahead of things this year.  While the pre-planning for Valentines Day this year did not happen as I had hoped it would, I did hit the after-holiday sales and am set for next year’s gifts, treat bags, and cards all at 50-75% off!!!

To keep the ball rolling, I decided to tackle a few other ideas and get a step up on Easter decorating.  We are not huge Easter Bunny fans, so no Easter Egg Trees like I had growing up.  Instead our decorations will focus on the Christian aspect of the Easter celebration – Jesus’ crucifixion (Good Friday) and resurrection  from the tomb (Easter).

The decorations this year will fulfill two roles – a garden craft and an update of a front door wreath that really should have been tackled a few years back. Looking to keep our budget small and incorporate several items we already had, I made my plans then loaded up the kids and headed to the local Dollar Tree.

The Front Door Wreath

When we were moving a year ago, there were items I had to decide whether to take or pass along.  This wreath was one items that I hemmed and hawed about for a few minutes.  It was an item I had picked up second hand years ago. By this point in its life, the accessories has seen better days – they were looking faded, dusty, and fairly droopy.  However, the wreath itself was in good shape, a nice big twig wreath.  So, it made the move with the intent to update it once we were here.

When I decided to add a seasonally themed wreath to the door, this sorely outdated wreath came to mind, “If I take off the current accessories and add new ones, the whole wreath will look brand new.”  That is just what I did.

After a quick stop at the Dollar Tree, I found a sign to use.  It was large enough not to get lost from a distance and simple enough to read as one goes my the house.  I then chose flowers along a complimentary color scheme.  Too many colors would have made it look busy and lacking.

Then the hard messy part began – clearing off all the old accessories (ivy, fake flowers, ribbons, etc.).

The ribbons were fairly easy to remove, as they were stuck in between the sticks of the wreath with short metal spikes.  The greenery, however, was harder.  The flowers were hot glued on and the ivy was tied on with small bits of wire.  A little muscle and an old pair of scissors made short work of getting down to the base.

I could now see what I had to work with, thankful I did not throw this out last year.

To make the most of the two flower bunches I had, I removed each flower stem from the group.  There is wire in the middle of each plastic stem, though not too thick so a pair of scissors and slow firm clips easily separated them.  Now I could mix them up and weave them in place as I wished.

 

I tried a few ways of arranging the flowers before choosing one method.  A ribbon was even added at one point, so see if something further was needed.  By taking pictures, I was easily able to compare various looks and see the overall effect from further away. (These photos were taken with utility in mind, not aesthetics for posting online.)

After looking, and asking opinions, I decided to nix the ribbon and keep it simple.  If the ribbon had been wire trimmed then perhaps it would have worked.  As it was, this was a bit of very floppy ribbon from my craft supplies and was not laying right.

I think the over all reinvention of this wreath was a success.  I love how it goes with the color of my door and has a fresh clean look to it.  All for only $3! Easter At Dollar Tree – Everything Is Just $1

note: I am aware it is hanging crooked and it is driving me crazy.  I tried to fix it at that time, but had to head inside to make supper.  I did straighten it some this morning, but need to go back out and do a better job of getting it all hanging correctly.  Right now I am happy to have it hanging and not still sitting in the attic and on my to-do list.

Resurrection Garden

While at the Dollar Tree getting supplies for the wreath above, I also picked up a few supplies I needed to finish making a resurrection garden.  This is an idea I saw online and thought would be a great reminder to have at home, to bring our thinking back to what we are celebrating. Contrary to what the kids may think, the main focus of Easter (for us) is not eating chocolate Easter bunnies and finding brightly colored eggs around the yard.  Sorry, kids.

I already had an extra pot, but needed to pick up: soil, a small clay pot, stones, and grass seed.  3 of those 4 things were to be found at the Dollar Tree.  A few dollars more were spent on a small bag of seed from a big box store nearby.

 

The supplies for this project included:

*I have yet to acquire these items, but am on the look out for them.

The time to put this together was less than 5 minutes, though it will take several days for the grass to sprout and begin growing.

First, due to the depth of my pot, I added soil to the bottom.  Not wanting to have to cut a pot in half, as I had seen other tutorials do, I turned the pot on its side and partially buried it in the soil.

I then covered the back of the clay pot and the back half of the larger pot with extra soil, making a mound.

The smaller clay pot is set off-center, allowing me to make a trail out of the pebbles leading up the mound. Once I find some small sticks I will add 3 crosses to the top of the ‘hill’.

Lastly, I sprinkled grass seed on the soil and moistened it with a spray bottle.  Each day I will moisten it again and should see grass appearing in about a week’s time.

This will make a great visual aid in telling the Easter story, as well as a reminder of why we are celebrating the season.

There you have it, two fairly quick, budget-friendly Easter decorations for your garden.  This last one would be especially great to bring some green to your home if you are in the midst of a dreary winter and are antsy for something to grow.

What are some of the ways you are decorating this year?  Share in the comments below, I would love to hear about or see what you have been working on.

 

Mar 282016
 

2 snowy seats and table

Recently I shared 3 projects I would love to make for my garden from wood pallets.  While searching for idea, I came across a few more that would work great for the yard.  These are also projects in which I can involve the kids. 

How about this great porch swing, but turned into a tree swing? I know the perfect limb ….

A shelf to tuck in along a porch corner? Sold. Finding furniture I can leave out rain or shine, or snow, is hard to find. The screened in section of our porch is usually protected, but still is prone to moisture and lots of wind.  There is a section of wall perfect for a shelving unit. It would be a great place to store outside toys, games, and items for entertaining. A much better idea than the low table we currently have which has become a dumping ground.  This is also a project that could be worked on at any point in the year.

I am really liking the idea of this Ottoman for the porch. It would fulfil various needs as time arose – storage for toys or cushions, an extra seat, IR an ottoman. There is the slight detail that this is made from a crate instead if a pallet, but it is a great idea to go from.

Mar 282015
 

For those who are in an area still under snow, in the messy transition I call The Mud Month, or who need something to help them get to their Happy Place, I though I would share a few recent things I have read from across the web.  These are items that I thought were interesting, taught me something, or are things I would like to try.

Speaking of Happy Place:

Bonni L. Grant talks about – Antidepressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy – After reading the article I summed it up for my husband, then suggested I just roll the boys in dirt every day to help with their moods.  He laughed but then said, “Um, no.”  Jack overheard and thought it was a GREAT idea.  As I am more okay with them being dirty, with actual dirt, I foresee the summer being one where they are ‘tan’ from dirt during the day and sparkling white at night.  Would we be able to eliminate sunscreen if we did this?

 free-standing-vertical-pallet-herb-garden

Roeshel, at DIY Show Off, has a tutorial for a Free Standing Pallet Herb Garden.  With extra pallets around the yard right now and a deck that gets either full or partial shade, I know a project that will be happening soon.  Even if I did not already have the pallets around, I have heard of a source of free pallets in Big Town that I could stop by and obtain some from.  If the shad garden ever gets finished started, I will also already have landscaping fabric to use.  Perfect timing.

It also seems like something Jack could help with.  I am looking for a few things I can get Jack and George interested in making and potentially selling.  This seems like something they could handle, with help.

Jessica, at 104 Homestead, has some Low Cost & No Cost Trellis Ideas.  I love trellises, though am never sure where to put them.  As I think around my hard I realize there are a few places that these could be use – a corner where our phone line comes in underground, in front of our air conditioner, in front of some ugly basement windows, etc.

DIY Adirondack chairs

This (sorta) Old Life has a DIY Adirondack Chair Tutorial, giving 8 steps to show you how to make the chair.  I know it may jinx me to say this, but this project seems like you could make a set of chairs, or a few more, in one day.  Not sure if you were going to paint and stain, that would take longer, but I think they would at least be constructed.

Tomatoes in quart containers

IFAS researchers produce three new tomato breeds.  It only took about $25 Million and 25-years.  These are not even the finished varieties that we will see, once they come out.  I appreciate all the work that went into this, but wonder what prompted the need.  For that kind of money, I would think it was more than getting a better tasting tomato.

The United States is not the only place where new hybrids are being introduced.  Kenyan farmers will benefit from “New tomato breeds released for outdoors and greenhouses.”  The price and time frame for these hybrids being created and reproduced was not noted.  What was shared were the advantages of each.  For farmers who may already be struggling, these new characteristics will be very helpful.”{The Tyika} gives an extra 2 to 3 months of harvest compared to Anna F1. It is also more resistant to yellow leaf curl and mosaic viruses, grey leaf spot, root rot and nematodes.” and “In addition, “it’s sweeter and less acidic,” adds Soren Vester of Sygenta East Africa the company that released the breeds, and Tylka F1’s fruit size can weigh 130 grams compared to the weight of an Anna F1 fruit that reaches 120 grams.”

Oct 212012
 

Decorating has never been one of my strong suits.  I try, but will never win an award for it.  That is okay though.  It is also not high on my priority list.  Thankfully, my husband also agrees, though he has a stronger desire for it than I.

Take the current season for example.  My decorations in front of our house include two pumpkins and a wreath.  Actually, the weather is made up of fake evergreens in the shape of a heart with a dark red ribbon.  It really doesn’t look too bad and goes with the house fairly well.  I think it is from last Christmas or Valentines Day.  (No, I don’t change decor very often.  You caught that did you?)  The pumpkins are sitting on each side of our entry way steps, one on each side.  I would have mums out there too, except they didn’t do too well in that area and began to look very bad.  And that, readers, is my decorating for fall.

Last year I used several different specialty pumpkins I had and stacked them.  I liked the look of them, though something seemed to be missing.  Perhaps it was the scale that was off.  A stack of pumpkins on each side of my steps just did not create the impact that I had hoped.  They looked small sitting next to the house.

Something that has caught my attention, and I’ve been meaning to do, is adding something to the pumpkins.  We don’t decorate for Halloween, so no Jack-o-Lanterns.  Perhaps instead something that can last until Thanksgiving.  Maybe adding our initials to the pumpkin.  Or even painting it first, then adding the initials.  I thought about even just painting it with a stencil or pretty color (think white with line spray of gold).  These don’t seem like hard projects, just that I’ve never done it before.

If you do create a Jack-o-Lantern, one idea that I thought was neat was using glow sticks inside them.  Imagine a while pumpkin, either painted or naturally white, with green glowing eyes.  Just break the stick and put it into the pumpkin at night.  The green/yellow/pink glow will give it something extra.

Have you tried painting pumpkin?  Any suggestion?

How have you decorated for the fall?  If you have something you are really proud of, share it.  If you like I will even post it so we can all enjoy your decorating talent.