Great Northern Gardening Experiment, Part 2

Gardening Mid SummerA couple months now into our Spring seeding and sprouting, and we are officially in the midst of Summer gardening… and it is OM!  Much of the garden this year was grown from seed and some fruit roots, with a few small berry shrubs thrown in for good measure.  We did see some returning plants from our first year, and things are coming along quite nicely – however, just a little slowly.

Everyone here says it’s been a wet season thus far, though even moving as we did from Texas last year, I find it has been very hot as well.  I will say, 85 degrees with 80% humidity really DOES feel like 105!  Now I understand why the farmers get up so early.   Continue reading

Fairy Forest Cottage with a Side of Jam

Fairy Forest signsWow!  So it’s been almost 2 months since I’ve posted anything here – which is definitely a sign of the season.  With the onset of spring gardening and the end of Mighty O’s school year, needless to say, we have been MIGHTY busy!!!

When we moved in last year, I declared that 2016 would be the year of OUTSIDE – since there was so much work INSIDE  to deal with for 2015… and so it’s been off to the races since the sun came out here.

Top projects over the last several weeks have included handmade teacher gifts (lavender sugar and lavender lemongrass body scrub), tending to the Great Northern Gardening Experiment sprouts and getting them into the ground, clearing and re-envisioning long-neglected beds, planting in over 250 bulbs and roots, and over 30 fruit shrubs and flowering bushes (with a few trees still to go!), turning our “mud pit” off the deck into a huge pebble patio, and – of course – keeping the Elf entertained with plenty of books, hikes, creative projects, and even a few camp days and play dates here and there.

Shew!! So now that I’ve exhausted myself just thinking about all of that… I decided it’s time for a new hobby (of course).   Continue reading

Stars, an Angel Wing and Whitewashed Beadboard

Beadboard Hallway Wall Stars Beadboard After CloseupOne long, dark hallway, yards of knotty pine beadboard with chair rail, plus a few of the most frequently used rooms in the house… and Houston, we have a project!  So what’s a DIY girl to do?  Gather up lots of white paint, an angel wing or two, and bunches of stars… of course!

My everlasting kitchen cabinet painting endeavor changed course and became more intensive since I first started, so I’ve been taking a break by finishing up this space instead, which is basically the super highway of the house.   It was so dark and claustrophobic, I loathed to even run to the powder room, so I knew it had to be brighter and more inviting, especially for guests.  I also wanted to incorporate some whimsy, to give this ol’ gal some flavor and personality in an unexpected way. Continue reading

Great Northern Gardening Experiment: Starting Seeds

Starting Seeds CompleteAs a newer gardener – and brand new to growing in the Northern latitudes – there’s a lot I am figuring out… like the necessity of starting seeds early to work with a much shorter and cooler growing season.

Last Spring, my first priority was settling into our new house, so I got a pretty late start on things.  Besides which, a garden plot still had to be tilled out, compost delivered, and finally starting seeds commenced, and somewhat randomly, since I wasn’t really sure  what might grow successfully in our new environment. Continue reading

Repurpose an Old Wine Rack <--> Organize the Things

Repurposed Wine Rack Close ViewIn my new era of DIY-ing, I’ve come to realize there are so many things I’ve given away or otherwise replaced in the past that I now know could have simply been repurposed – saving time, money, and energy all around – as well as adding a certain homey charm and truly unique decor to our home.

This cute little wine rack was always a fave, so I never got rid of it, though just haven’t been able to find the right place for it for a few years now.  It’s a lightweight wrought-iron with an inset resin wood-grain top that, a couple rounds ago, I painted white, with a metallic champagne for the inset. Continue reading

Organization on the Run: 1000% Better Under the Kitchen Sink

Organization Kitchen Sink Tension RodIt’s been a busy time here, with projects large and small under way every which way you look, and nary a moment to post about any of them!  Needless to say, I’ll have a lot of catch up in the WOILA! department to come… though in the meantime, thought I’d at least keep the good juju flowing by sharing my latest life-changing, super-easy, why-didn’t-I-do-this-10-years-ago quick and dirty organization revelation. Continue reading

The Upcycle: Maximizing Your Clothing

Skina ShipmentWe’ve all heard the phrase Reduce-Reuse-Recycle.  Over the years, I’ve gotten progressively more engaged with these ideas, and now I feel guilty anytime I don’t… reduce, reuse, or recycle.  I’ve eliminated our trash can at home, replacing with a large recycle bin and composting, and now find there are really only tiny amounts of “garbage.”  It’s been an interesting process to realize how much we threw out before that could have gone to better use!  I’m of the mind now that unless it’s hazardous waste, there is probably some way to put it back into the stream.

Today, I thought I’d describe my personal upcycle/recycle process when it comes to clothing, which is one of the easiest (and most fun ;) ways to begin incorporating a more eco-friendly approach in household consumption. Minimizing my wardrobe is a continual work in progress, so as I do, I want to make sure that I make the most of what I’ve got and have already soaked up in terms of resources.  A lot of this can apply to other items throughout the house, too.

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Sticky, Tricky Fun: Painting a Chalkboard Wall

Chalkboard Wall Final RecipeI’ve yearned for a chalkboard wall FOREVER – admiring them in magazines, *pinning* them, and generally salivating anytime I see a gorgeous wall o’ chalk, especially out and about at restaurants, where they’re often oversized and detailed with the most beautiful  colors, images, and calligraphy.

My yearning deepened last year when I was homeschooling Mighty O in the Waldorf method, where chalk drawing is a central tool in exploring fairy tales and traditional rhymes with young children. We had so much fun with chalkboard artistry involving gnomes, fairies, golden geese, and so many other magical creatures.

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3 Steps to Super Cute Storage: Adding Rustic Style to Glass Jars in Just 2 Minutes

Ribbon Jars 3 FinalMy mantra over the last few years has been “Simplify.” Each time the New Year rolls around, I renew my dedication to this principle – and this year is no exception.  This journey is very much a work in progress, though the more I get down this road, the more I realize that the key to simplifying successfully is to find just a few things that work in my home and life for a number of different purposes.

Using up and whittling down the excess starts to get more clear and a whole lot easier this way. As I identify the hard-core multi-taskers of daily life, it’s helping me have to manage less, buy less, and be able to do the things I enjoy a lot more.  This concept seems to apply well across the board, whether it’s wardrobe, cleaning products, cooking ingredients, or what have you.  I’ve found that one of the most effective tools to rise to the top of my utility scale are glass jars.   Continue reading

Homemade Holiday Gifting: Vanilla Brown Sugar Moisturizing All-Natural Body Scrub

Brown Sugar Scrub WrappedI love homemade gifts.  There’s nothing that says love and care better than something you create with your own two hands, whether it’s for the holidays, a birthday, or just because.  I’m always creating something, or 10 things (more likely ;)… whether it’s big home projects or small crafts, though most often it’s for my home, family, or sometimes to sell – and not as often as I’d like for something to give.  So when the time comes, I really enjoy making gifts – and I like to keep it pretty simple, too.  During the holidays, it’s especially helpful if a project is quick and easy , for you or even the kids to create.  This one is great for last minute gifts, too – since you probably already have everything you need to make it. Continue reading