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

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

Soothe Eyes Naturally with Chamomile & Honey

Soothe Eyes Naturally with an Herbal Poultice

Soothe Eyes Naturally with an Herbal Poultice

And the allergy season is upon us!  Seasonal allergies definitely throw us for a loop around here – and we need a solution to soothe eyes STAT!   Whether irritated from pollen, cedar, or baby bunny fur (a story for another time ;), Mother Nature is here to help.

An easy, homemade natural remedy can be a saving grace to soothe eyes, and often works better than over-the-counter and prescription eye drops…

And believe you me, I have tried them AWwwwLlll, honeychile. 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

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

Quick & Easy Fall Wreath

Fall Wreath Final w OwlAs Fall has descended upon us these past few weeks, beautiful autumn wreaths are everywhere to spruce up homes for the season.  However, my taste is pretty simple, and even on the most basic of wreaths, I have not been admiring the price tags starting around $40 and up – and that’s even at my favorite discount stores.  So I began to wonder if I could create a cute Fall wreath with a few basic supplies and  the stash of craft goodies I have around the house. Continue reading

Easiest Thing Ever: Homemade Coffee Creamer

Homemade Coffee Creamer Ball JarWhen I first heard about making your own coffee creamer (beyond plain ol’ half and half ;), I figured it would be complicated and possibly time-consuming. Turns out, it is literally one of the quickest, easiest things you can make at home – and one of the healthiest switches from an otherwise highly processed, preservative-laden product.   Not to mention, the homemade version is just SUPER delicious!!!  You’ll never go back to that store stuff once you try this.

So here goes- let’s do this thing. Continue reading

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Dishwasher Detergent Result GlassDishwasher detergent seems to be one of those items where we always seem to be looking for something better.  Especially as someone who prefers the more natural route, though still wanting exceptionally clean dishes , believe me, I have tried them ALL!

With my recent efforts to change over to as many homemade cleaning products as possible, it seemed like I was starting all over again.  I had a favorite big-name brand of dishwasher detergent that I became loyal to over the years – and though the “natural” products never quite measured up to that degree of commercial-grade sparkle, I always felt much better using them.  Unfortunately, they do get spendy – and are harder to find.   Continue reading

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

Laundry Detergent BucketOne of my latest obsessions is making homemade cleaning products.  My mom initially turned me on to the idea of homemade laundry detergent when she reported making 5 GALLONS of laundry detergent – that worked well! – for just a couple of dollars.  Whaat?!  This appealed to me on so many levels.
There are so many good reasons to make your own laundry detergent.  To live more naturally, consume fewer products with less packaging, reduce chemicals in our homes and on our bodies, and to stem the pollution going into the waste stream and waterways – and last but certainly not least, to save money.  Laundry detergent has always been one of the most expensive items on my grocery list, especially since liquid detergent is pretty much all we can use in our HE machine – so this is an awesome way to conserve in the household budget.   Continue reading