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When I decided to add a seasonally themed wreath to the door, this sorely outdated wreath came to mind, “If I take off the current accessories and add new ones, the whole wreath will look brand new.”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

 

Dec 212017
 

Looking for a quick craft to add interest and color to your garden? How about a gift without spending a lot of money? Glass Garden Flowers, also known as plate flowers, are the perfect fit!

Materials needed:

  • tube e6000 glue
  • acetone
  • cotton swab
  • various plates, saucers, cups, candle holders, lids, condiment dishes, etc.
  • PVC elbow pieces, conduit connectors, bud vases, etc. for back
  • paper towel
  • sheet/drop cloth – not mandatory, but will make clean up easier
  • Pipe or rebar, to act as a “stem”

Step 1

Gather various ceramic or glass pieces. Plastic ones work, too, but may not hold up in cold weather. I picked up an assortment while at a thrift store. Turned out to be “50% off everything” day. The pieces I picked up ranged in price from $0.25-$1. I could have spent more, but was looking to make several without spending a lot out-of-pocket.

Step 2

Clean pieces. To get glue, residual stickers, and marker off, use a cotton swab dipped in acetone. (You can pick up a bottle of finger nail polish remover and cotton swabs from the Dollar Tree if you do not have any.) I find it easier to pour a bit into the lid and wet the swabs from there.

Dry thoroughly.

Step 3

Pair pieces together to get the look you want. Play around with the arrangements. Not all combinations looked like I thought they would, while others surprisingly worked.

Once you get them arranged like you want, take a picture if you plan on moving them. 😉

Step 4

Glue pieces together. Working with one group at a time, deconstruct the stack. Working from the bottom up, glue pieces together.

Step 5

Glue connector on the back. After letting the pieces dry enough not to move, flip the stack over and glue a connector piece on the back.

There are many various ways to do this. I tried three – using a bud vase, using conduit connectors and using PVC pipe elbows. Each has their benefits and drawbacks.

Bud vases – can be found cheaply and often in abundance. However, if the vase is too big, the flower will “dropped” on the support post. These also add weight.

Conduit connectors – cost a bit more (around $0.40 each in a pack of 5), are stocked at local hardware stores, and lighter in weight than vases.

One potential downside I noticed is the open side pointing up. This means rain can go down your support pipe, if it also happens to be hollow. If you live in a cold region this may result in snow, ice, or freezing of precipitation in this area. A solution would be to glue a coin or small metal piece on top of these.

PVC elbows – light weight, cost me around $0.40 each, found commonly at local hardware stores (or leftover from a DIY project), easy to attach, and snug fit to post. Not sure how these hold up in cold weather, as I have not tested them.

One lesson I did learn, thankfully before the glue cured completely, was to place the metal connectors far enough back from the edge of the plates so the posts can actually fit into them. Be aware of the lip along the bottom of the plate!

Step 6

Create, install, and attach to a support stem. This can be a variety of items, anything which is strong enough to support the weight of the flower. Some use rebar, conduit pipes, or other metal structures. PVC pipe is too flexible to use and would potentially break under the weight and deteriorate from being exposed to the weather.

If your flower is small enough, you may be able to use copper pipe.  I love the color these add, though it is more expensive and was too flexible for the weight I was working with.

I cut my poles to 2.5 ft, pounded them into the ground about 6 inches (till they felt secure), then placed the flowers on top. While I did not use rebar the help support the flowers, I believe I will do so in the Spring, due to the kind of soil we have. Inserting a foot or foot and a half into the ground, then sliding the “stem” over it would be an even sturdier option in my garden.

Enjoy!

Sep 192016
 

full-sun-bed-with-garden-shed

Even the most beautiful of gardens will still require things that may not be so beautiful – buckets, gloves, shovels, wheel barrows, pots waiting to be used, compost piles in the process of breaking down, etc.  Whether these items must be seen or hidden in side a building or container, they are all a part of the business of gardening.

Knowing these items are needed, how do you then keep them being an asset to your garden rather than a distraction from the beauty you are trying to create? Sometimes all it takes is some consideration before moving forward.

In the photo above, you can see the top of the garden shed.  Instead of distracting, the materials used, the shape of the roof, and even the color of the building itself compliment the garden.  At some point in this garden’s history a decision was made to build in this style.  They could have just as easily put up a cinder block building with a green metal roof.  The function of that building would have been the same, but the visual impact would have been vastly different.

Instead of trying to hide a building that would have been an eye-sore, they chose to build something from the start which would add to the enjoyment of the garden.  Even in winter, when all the leaves on the trees have dropped, the flowers have faded away, and the tall grasses are not so tall, the building stands as a welcome sign, inviting you come visit.  Not often found on garden sheds, the small porch and its overhang have provided both shade and protection from the elements to more than one visitor, my family included.

This post contains affiliate links.

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.”

May 172013
 

“Joy” and “Gleeful” were two words you could have used when I found out that Abe’s Market not only has two different coupons that you can use right now, but that they are can be used at the same time (stackable).

The first coupon is good through tonight, April 17th  –

Free Shipping on All Purchases at Abe’s Market!

The second coupon is good through April 19th –

Abe’s Spring Sale: 20% off Entire Purchase with code SPRING20. 

Goddess Garden - Natural Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 (8 oz.)

Artterro - Garden Art Kit

 

Great Marsh Artisan Skincare - Gardener's Hand Scrub

 

Earth-Kind - Fresh Cab® Botanical Rodent Repellent

 

Back to the Roots, LLC - mushroom kit-SMALL

Orientwork Inc. (dba b.b.begonia) - Fernando - One 6ft x 9ft Indoor Outdoor Designer Rug Made of Recycled Plastic

 

What are you going to use these two great coupons for?

May 152013
 

DSCN7620

DSCN7621

I added two stepping stones to the mulch along my front walk.  These were gifts a few years ago.  At the time I knew exactly where I wanted them, but the spot wasn’t ready.  When I began working on edging and mulching the front walkway I told myself that it would not be considered done till these two stepping stones were finally put in their spots.

Apr 042013
 

Plow and Hearth have so many great things for your home and garden. A few years ago I purchased some flannel sheets that are still in great shape after several winters of use.  I love looking through their magazine to see what new items they have to offer.  Below is a wishlist I have put together of 2o items that I would love to add to my garden.  Yes, I know it isn’t Christmas time, but I am very much dealing with Spring Fever right now. =)

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If  you happen to see something on their site you like, here is a great deal on shipping. $1.99 Standard Shipping on orders of $75 or more! Use Code:LSPRNGPH

What would be on your gardening wishlist?  How do you decide what to decorate with in your garden?

This post contains affiliate links.