Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Start of an Apartment Container Garden (this could end badly)

Do you ever just get carried away with an idea? Usually, I thoroughly research before starting a project or making a purchases that could fail miserably. For some reason this time I just threw caution to the wind and came home with a sizable collection of baby plants and delusions of grandeur about a patio container garden.

For a beginner, it was bit ambitious but go big or go home I suppose. The collection includes strawberries, banana peppers, green bell peppers, and spinach, plus an "herb shelf" with mint, lavender, and parsley. Y'all. I went all in. But all in, in all the wrong ways. Just in case anyone out there is an naive about keeping plants alive as I am, I'm going to fill you in on all the mistakes and lessons so far so hopefully you won't have to make as many on your own.

For starters,there is a huge difference between garden soil and potting soil, which is probably insanely obvious to everyone but me. I didn't make this realization until reading the bag AFTER transplanting the first few plant babies. This was corrected the very next day with a healthy blend of potting soil and Compost Plus. Needless to say, I also had to grab some gloves since the Compost Plus is fresh off the dairy pasture...

Next, I had bought long, deep canisters called veranda boxes which don't come with the drain holes already popped out. You're supposed to do that yourself. I didn't notice until after filling the containers so fixing that took some fancy finagling. The herbs are in a smaller, shallower window box. Aside from the original drainage issue the boxes are great. They're heavy enough that wind doesn't bother them but light enough that I was able to move them inside when there was a freeze warning the other night.

The last lesson was on overcrowding. I had this image of lush, abundant garden boxes overflowing with edible greenery... I had put 4 pepper plants all right next to each other with about an inch inbetween before reading that they need some distance to allow roots to spread without competing for nutrients. Plants, like people, like their personal space. Who knew?

So in a nut shell: potting soil, draining, and space are the magic words. At least I knew enough to check how much sun they would need! After repairing the many, many mistakes, it was time to add the first personal touch with wood-burned plant markers. Oh, and did I mention they were free? Because starting a container garden is surprisingly expensive if you don't already have a ton of stuff on hand.

You will Need:

Wooden paint stirrers
minimal fear of burning yourself

The nice man at the paint counter of Home Depot didn't even make a face when I asked for 8 paint stirrers without buying any paint. The hardest part of this project is following the curves in letters. Straight lines are nice and simple but even the slightest of curves gets a little complicated. Write out the labels while waiting for the woodburner to heat up, then very carefully go over the pencil with the burner. Watch your hands--that this is NOT playing around. I also recommend having a few extras you can practice on before going for the real thing, but I'm obviously a very novice woodburner so maybe that won't be an issue for you.

They're plain, but sturdy and rustic. If you really wanted to get fancy you could paint them or weatherize them.

You might be proud to know that not only are all of the original plant babies still alive, I actually have some seedlings sprouting for zucchini, eggplants, mini tomatoes, and sunflowers. The professionals didn't even have to start these. Naturally, a gardening Pinterest board was created.

Do you have any gardening experience? Container or otherwise. Any tips or rookie mistakes to avoid? I'd love to know!


P.S. Happy belated Earth Day :)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Weekend Inspiration: Put Some Bunny Ears On It

Happy Good Friday!

The offices are closed today so guess what lucky girl is sitting on her couch with a cup of coffee wrapped in a blanket at 10 am? THIS GIRL. It's pretty much the greatest.

One of the more exciting ideas that's come to mind in this free time is making Easter baskets for friends and family. Baskets for kids are easy: Candy? Check. Adults have more of a variety of passions but everyone can agree that adding bunny ears  anything makes it universally adorable. The basic idea behind these grown up Easter baskets is to take one "big" thing, put some bunny ears on it, then fill the rest of the package with coordinating items. Here's just a few ideas:

For the Craft Beer Connoisseur:

Some other ideas to add would be coasters, a bottle opener, and maybe some Advil (keeping it real). Bonus points if you use the 6-pack box as your "basket."

For the Beauty Addict:

Make sure to use a dry erase marker on the mirror and NOT a permanent marker. The dry erase wipes right off when the novelty wears off.Pack it up with some lip gloss, travel sized hairspray, and fancy scented make up remover wipes. All things that will be useful no matter how much they already have in their arsenal of beauty supplies. A cute make-up bag is an easy choice for a basket substitute.

For the Cook:

Fill out the package with some fancy flavored olive oil and a jar of herbs or spices to coordinate. Wrap it up in a decorative tea towel and you're good to go.

All the bunny ears were cut from plain white felt. Repositionable glue dots held everything solidly in place but also ensure it will come right off when your friends are ready to use their gifts. Obviously this Weekend Inspiration is a little different but when the mood strikes you can't let it pass you by :)

What other themes would you create for a grown-up Easter basket? What other items would you add? I'd love to know!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Send a Smile: Easter Card Printables

There are few things I love more in this world than mail. "Real" mail. You know what I mean. A letter or a card has the potential to make my entire week. A package? I get so stinkin' excited I've been known to call friends just to tell them I got a package (P.S. Sorry if you've ever been on the receiving end of one of those pointless calls...). Luckily I'm not alone in this enthusiasm. Everyone I've ever talked to about has agreed that getting real mail is pretty much the best.

These little notes took just a few minutes to make but will hopefully be just enough to make a friend smile. And because smiling is important, I thought I would share them with y'all in case you know someone who loves mail too.

You can click any link below to download the one you want (if any, of course).

"Some Bunny loves you! ... Spoiler Alert: It's Me." 
"I could just eat you up! ... But I won't. Because I love you." 
"You're one of a kind... And colorful too." 

Printed on regular computer paper, they're quarter folded and then trimmed to 4" squares. You can add any embellishments you want; I tried a piece of ribbon on the peep card but decided to keep the others simple. The slightly more tricky part is the envelope. If you don't have a pre-made one on hand all you need is a piece of construction paper and some tape.

Fold the edges in 2" on each side, then fold the bottom up 4". Fold over the top leftover inches, then tape the edges. I used washi tape but later found that it could pop open pretty easily though so I would recommend using regular scotch tape either underneath, over top, or instead before mailing.

That's it! Then comes the REAL challenge: remember to send it in a timely manner... Does getting mail brighten up your day? What little thing makes you excessively happy? I'd love to know.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Weekend Inspiration: Easter Eggs

Growing up, dyeing Easter Eggs was always a must with my family. Even now that my sister and I live elsewhere I've heard stories that Mom still colors a few and hides them around the house for Dad to find. Celebrating holidays to the fullest extent is basically in my blood. I couldn't let a Weekend Inspiration post go by ignoring it!

1. These Easter Egg cookies are gorgeous. A different kind to decorate!

2. A perfect shabby-chic way to give old plastic eggs a new life.

3. These paper napkin covered eggs are gorgeous and quick. No one would know it took no time at all...

4. Leave it to the Pioneer Woman to create Rice Krispie Treat easter eggs.

5. Remember those salt dough ornaments everyone loved at Christmas? Don't retire it yet!

6. Embroidery floss + balloons + glue= floss eggs

7. I would make this garland, but I'm pretty sure if Home Depot sees me go near the paint samples again they will call security.

8. These braided eggs look amazing, but also a lot of work. I let you know if I figure out a lazy way to accomplish the look.

Are you already preparing for Easter? What's your favorite way to decorate eggs? I'd love to know!


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