Tag Archives: DIY

DIY: Plant Stakes

It’s no secret that the weather in Colorado can be a bit hit or miss…or a lot hit or miss. It’s not uncommon to see several seasons whip through the state in the span 24 <or fewer> hours .

Once Spring rolls around, I pay particular attention to the forecast. It’s important to be up to date on the highs and lows (for planting, of course)…and also helps to plan projects that may occupy an otherwise dull weekend when you’d hoped to be out in the sunshine, hands in the dirt, but instead are sidelined inside the house due to wet and cold weather.

A couple weekends ago were no exception, and the wet/cold blew in. Luckily, I had a fun project lined up to pass the time.

Plant Stakes!

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Always admiring the options on Etsy, and studying the tutorials on Pinterest; a weekend forecast promising time indoors seemed the perfect opportunity to exercise my crafty side!

What you will need:
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-Polymer clay (I used Sculpey – it was on sale at Hobby Lobby and I’m familiar with it as my aunt -the artist – works in this medium)
-Block of small alphabet rubber stamps
-Glass juice glass (or something to roll out the clay)
-Exact-o knife
-Stamp pad (optional)
-Oven

What you will do:
1. cut the clay apart at the grooves in each block
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2. roll clay flat (you can decide the thickness, but remember that you don’t want them too flimsy or they may easily break)
3. cut one end into a point so stake will easily push through soil.
4. stamp word with rubber stamps
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5. <optional> if you want color – add ink to the rubber stamps and go back over your original stamped word

6. bake in oven per suggested guidelines on the clay package

I made mine in a variety of shapes and sizes — and made a special ‘love u’ stake for a project I put together as a gift for my mama for Mother’s Day (which I will share with you in another post).

These are the perfect little addition to any garden – or sweet potted plant gift!


Mid May Already??? And Seedling Update!

Hi Friends!

It’s been more than a minute since I’ve even logged on to my blog. A couple weeks ago I thought I was getting my feet back under me, only to totally disappear all of last week again. Ugh! I’m soooo sorry!

Life happens tho. Am I right? Anyone else totally surprised to fully  partially comprehend that we are officially half way through the month of May? If I’m honest, I think part of my brain is still stuck in late March.

So much is happening around here. It is Spring, after all! And with Spring comes much to be done. Battling Colorado weather (you never know what you’re going to get), I’ve been trying to take advantage of every opportunity to get outside and get things rolling in my veggie and flower gardens. I’ll have much to update you on in the coming weeks…

I think I promised many, many weeks ago, an update on the seedling project. With Spring planting upon us the seedling project has mostly wrapped up so this is more a final post on the project than it is an update, but as I indicated above, time is flying by.

I’m quiet pleased with how the seedling project ended up. There were lessons learned, for sure, but it was mostly a success. A success very much felt <by my bank account> as I checked out at the nursery last week. I had to buy very few plants — and if I hadn’t had a total lapse in judgment, I’d have bought even fewer than what I ended up needing. As I said, lessons learned.

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As my seedling project wrapped up, I took care to acclimate my plants to the outdoors before sticking them in the ground (a step I’ve mostly neglected in the past – and likely the reason my previous attempts have been such a disaster).  I think a solid week of acclimation is the way to go. Find a place that gets some sun (but isn’t blazing hot) and is somewhat protected from the wind and just let the plants sit. Remember that being outdoors will also likely mean you need to water a little more frequently – but only do so when the soil has mostly dried out.

Where I went wrong was with my veggie plants. My tomatoes were struggling anyway (for reasons unknown) but my pepper and cucumber plants were going crazy….and then I put them outside too early. Well, not too early, but had my head been on straight, when the weather cooled off again (and didn’t warm up for 2 straight days) I should have brought them back in…which I didn’t….which is the reason I had to buy new pepper and tomato plants (GRR!) and will be a month and a half behind with my cucumbers (double GRR!). Oh well.

Everything else is doing wonderfully – I’ve even planted quite a few of my seedling babies and they are going strong. Aside from a couple plant varieties that didn’t come up at all (?) I’d mark my first run at this project a HUGE success and will probably look to expand on my efforts next year!

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Did anyone else take on a seedling project? Any final notes or updates from your end?

Happy Planting!
H

 


Dresser Makeover

Right after the first of the year, J asked me what I thought should be our next ‘big’ project on the house. There’s a long list of many things to choose from, and I spent some time thinking on this when it occurred to me: we need to FINISH all the projects that are already started. You know, all those little finishing details that sometimes go by the wayside – and then you realize it’s been years. Things that will add up in both time and money, and that linger on the ‘to do list’.

We’ve worked our way through this house scraping popcorn ceilings and painting walls. And while these aren’t big ticket home update items, they are very messy and time consuming (especially scraping popcorn ceilings). By the time the paint is dry and the mess is completely cleaned up, I’m usually somewhat worn out on the project. Add to that the excruciating amount of time it takes me to make a decision about decor details anyway (window treatments, wall decor, etc.) and it seems that I never quite get a project FULLY done.

So, committing to FINISHING some projects around this house, I started in the master bedroom this weekend (which was ceiling scraped and painted back in Oct 2014 – lame – I know)  and wanted to share with you one element of final details (other details on the finishing touches/projects later)…this dresser makeover.

This dresser has been in my family since my dad was a kid. When we cleaned out my grandmother’s house, I salvaged it from the garage sale. It’s not a fancy piece, and it’s had a dozen coats of different paint over the years (I added another in 2009, along with new drawer pulls, pictured below), but I love the clean lines and ability to take this old, yet still functional, piece of furniture and turn it into something modern and eye catching.

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To tackle a project like this you will need the following:
-Sanding materials (electric hand sander, sandpaper, block sander, liquid sander — your choice, I used an electric hand sander)
-Wood filler (if there are any holes or dings in the furniture that need filled)
-Damp rag
-Primer
-Paint
-Polyurethane finish
-Paint brushes
-Optional: New drawer pulls

Getting started you will want to lightly  sand the piece of furniture; anywhere you intend to paint. This helps your new paint stick. Fill any holes or dings in the furniture with wood filler. If you are changing out the drawer pulls, determine if the existing holes will suffice for the new hardware. If you will need to drill new holes – the old ones need to be filled at this point.

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Once sanded and holes have been filled, wipe down with a damp rag to remove all dust.

Then, prime the furniture. I used 2 coats since I was going from a dark to light color, but also because I wanted to be sure the new paint color would remain ‘true’ without influence from the previous dark paint.

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Next, add your paint. I did 2 coats of this as well. Use your judgment as to how many coats you will need following examination of the paint after it’s dried.

Finally, after the paint has completely dried, add a coat of polyurethane to seal the piece. If you want to do more than 1 coat of poly, follow instructions on the can.

I added 6 new drawer pulls, found on sale at Hobby Lobby, just to change up the look a touch more.

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In total, this transformation cost me $51. I had to buy the paint (1 quart = $13), new paint brushes ($15), and the drawer pulls ($23). On hand I had the dresser, sanding materials, primer, wood filler, polyurethane, and the lower drawer pulls were re-used from the last makeover.

Not to shabby when the alternative could have been buying a new dresser for hundreds of dollars!image
And, I LOVE the finished product! It’s just what our master bedroom needed — a statement piece in a bright color!

Happy Monday!
H

 

 

 

 


Seedlings: Seedaholic.com

I am approximately 6 weeks into my seedling project and things are coming along quite nicely. I’ll do a more detailed update another time but today I wanted to share with you this website I came across while searching for seeds during my planning phase (you can read about that by clicking here).

For this project, I wanted to grow lots of things that I can’t generally find in the nurseries, but also a handful of plants that are tried, true and loved. Turns out, some of those tried, true and loved plant varieties that I pick up in the nursery were hard to find in seed form.

I searched and searched and searched and eventually came across Seedaholic.com. This company, overseas, has all kinds of unique seed options that I couldn’t find anywhere else and I was surprised that their prices are competitive and shipping costs aren’t all that high (something I initially wondered about when I decided to order from them).

It takes a little longer for the order to arrive but what I found when I opened that package was jaw dropping. The way in which they package their materials and the information that comes with the seeds is something I’ve just never seen before.

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Each of the different varieties came with a full color information sheet on starting and ongoing care of the plants; and all the seeds were meticulously packaged in a small envelope which was inside a small plastic zip top bag.

When it came time for me to get these seeds started, I immediately understood why they were so hard to find…some of the seeds are so small they look like no more than a teeny-tiny speck of dirt. The sticker on the outside of the envelope cautioned me about the tiny seeds and encouraged having everything ready to go before even opening the package – but I was still in awe! I can’t even begin to imagine the difficulty in harvesting these seeds from plants at the end of season.

At the time of my order I figured I’d never have to order most of these seeds again because the listing indicated something like a gazillion seeds per package. In my ignorance I figured I would plant 3 seeds of each variety per seed-starting pod and they would last forever. Joke was on me. Just when I thought I kept it to around a dozen seeds per seed-starting pod, they germinated and I missed the mark by…well…a LOT.

Regardless, I’m super impressed with this company. Everything I’ve started has come up without any trouble and is growing wonderfully — even for this girl who really doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing and is making it up a bit as she goes with this project.

Give Seedaholic.com a look – they’re pretty impressive!

H

 

 


Seedlings: Getting Started

Last week I shared with you a tidbit about the seedling project I have started this winter. If you missed that post, you can read it here.

Today I wanted to share with you how I went about getting started, and what eqiupment I’ve purchased — at least for now. As I mentioned previously, I’m sorta learning as I go and it’s really unknown what twists and turns this thing will take (and whether or not I’ll really have any success)!

I started planning for my seedling project last summer, and spent a great deal of time looking for unique seeds and the best prices. It’s not necessary for you to spent as much time, or for online ordering, unless you want some unique and cool stuff…in which case, unless you have a super cool store locally to purchase seeds, online becomes a necessity. Local nurseries carry seeds, as do places like Walmart and Home Depot so they are easily accessible.

So, first and foremost, pick out what flowers or veggies you want to grow and purchase those seeds. I ordered lots of catalogs online, and things I knew I wanted but couldn’t find in the catalogs I did some internet searching for (I’ll do a post another time about a site I found that has the uniquest seeds, that come beautifully packaged, from overseas).

Then, determine the approximate date you will want to plant outdoors. Using a calendar, count back the number of days until bloom (instructions on back of seed packets, or google for this info)–this is when you will want to get your seeds started indoors. I’m planting lots of different varieties and there is a wide range of start dates, especially since some will go in the greenhouse in April, while others have to wait until after Mother’s Day for outdoor planting. A simple calendar with the calculations already done has helped keep me on track for getting the ball rolling indoors.

I did a rough calculation of how many of each variety I will want to plant outdoors. This is important as you will need to have an idea of how many seedling starter pod spaces you will need. Then I purchased these starter kits made by Burpee, and bought online from their store:
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I bought both the regular (for most of the flowers) and extra large size (for veggies). I intend to do another post with my feedback on these handy kits – for now, just know I’m pleased with them.

My online cliffs notes education also informed me that there are 3 essential elements for successful seedling growth:
1) Light – 16 hrs per day
2) Water – consistent moisture, balancing too dry versus too wet, hence the reason for the starter kits that are self-watering.
3) Heat

So my setup looks like this (beware, terrible picture to follow):
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I found this heat mat on amazon.com for MUCH cheaper than I could find anywhere else. If I’m remembering correctly, it was about $35. It’s actually a bit too big for my current operation, but I believe <or hope> I will quickly ‘grow into it’ – pun intended!

The plant light came from Home Depot, to the tune of $50. The store carries them in stock; in the department where other industrial-type lighting is stocked. I also bought a timer to control the 16 hrs per day lighting requirement, and highly recommend you do the same if you are embarking on a similar journey. It just makes things easier.

So, here’s your ‘getting started’shopping checklist:
-seeds
-calendar (these can be printed for free online)
-seedling starter kits
-heat mat
-plant light
-timer

And, your ‘getting started’ to do list:
-select seeds
-purchase supplies
-calculate starting times for each seed variety

So…that’s that!

Happy Planning!!!
H

 

 

 


Seedlings

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I love to garden. Veggies and flowers. We own a beautiful home with a gorgeous yard…lots of areas to plant, not to mention my sizeable veggie garden. In an effort to save money, several years ago I vowed to spend more money up front and put lots of perennials in the ground. The idea was that over the years our yard would be stunning and it would cost less an less.

Clearly that plan was a bust because each year, regardless of the perennial plan, I end up forking over lots of money for plants anyway. Annuals mostly.

There are just too many annuals to love <and buy>. And, I live in Colorado so there isn’t a veggie plant to survive our winter.

So this last year I came up with a new plan. I determined to start lots of my own little seedlings. I got excited flipping the pages of seed company catalogs — you have no idea (or maybe you do, how do I know what you know?) what sorts of wonderful and unique plants exist out there that you don’t usually find at your local nursery…or, I don’t find them at my local nursery anyway.

I launched into this project with enthusiasm and determination. I carefully selected many varieties of unique plants, researched the cheapest resouces to purchase, waited for sales and free shipping offers. I researched and read about starting seeds indoors and bought the recommended eqiupment (after shopping for the best deals, of course). I planned which seeds would need to be started at what time, since they all have different ‘time to bloom’ timelines. And then I waited…and waited…and waited…(I was way ahead of planting timelines).

Finally, the weekend arrived when the first seeds needed to make their way into moist soil and be nurtured with just the right amount of moisture, light and heat. Suddenly, my excitment faded into something different…anxiousness. You see, I rock the world of outdoor gardening. I can totally handle the uncontrollable elements outside the walls of my house. BUT, I have NEVER been successful growing plants from seeds in the controlled environment that exists within the confines of my own home. And here I am, in all my arrogance, with a full on seedling project planned. Yikes!

So, here’s what I do know:
1) I have only minor expertise of how to make this happen, thanks to the internet, not based on any of my own successful experience (as there has been none)
2) If I hadn’t already spent the money, I might have talked myself out of this project all together. But, since that ship has sailed, I’m diving in with moderate confidence.
3) I’m going to take you on this journey with me,via Simply Eclectic.
4) This project could be a total flop OR maybe I’ll find my new calling, quit my job, and open a nursery….(long shot, but hey, a girl can dream!).

Stay tuned…more to come on the specific details of this project…

Hope your weekend was relaxing and rejuvenating!
H

 

 

 


Wedding Mints

Thirty-one days! We are thirty-one days away from the wedding! It’s ONE MONTH from today! Holy cow, the time has really flown by!

As we get closer, I’m going to start sharing some details of the big day with you. This has very much been a DIY event – not because we were working with a $5,000 budget for the whole shebang, but because it’s always wise to stretch your money as far as it can go AND because nothing beats personal touches.

A few weeks ago we gathered for a wedding work weekend in Nebraska. The theme of that particular work weekend seemed to be Food. We tested appetizers and drinks for the cocktail hour following the ceremony and pressed mints…hundreds of them…and by hundreds of them I really mean close to 1,000. One thousand little mints.

Aren’t they pretty?

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I didn’t get a great picture. We made three colors: white, light purple, and dark purple.

They’re sparkly, and beautiful, and perfect.

I’m also told they aren’t ‘mints’ because they aren’t made with mint flavoring but rather almond flavoring. But, what are we gonna call them? Almonds? No, that will just get too confusing so for the purpose of this wedding they will be called ‘mints’.

Wanna know a secret? I don’t even really like the kind of mints that go with cake and nuts at fancy events. I’m told that these are delicious though, so I’m going to trust that they are. Just as I will trust that the cake is yummy and amazing because I don’t like that either.

What I do love about them is that they were homemade and they will add a wonderful touch of purple (accent color) to a mostly black and white event.

How do you enjoy your mints at a fancy event? Minty? Almond-y? Dry and chalky and reminiscent of a packing peanut (you know the ones I’m talking about)? With nuts and punch? Alongside a giant slice of wedding cake?

H

PS: Last week in this post I announced a game and giveaway. There hasn’t been a lot of participation, which I am totally disappointed over because I think it would be really fun to see what stories people come up with. If you wanted to participate and just forgot – give it a go today! The deadline is Friday the 17th!


DIY Compost Bins

Another project, that we happened to knock out over the weekend, and one I’ve been dreaming about for over a year, is the completion of two DIY compost bins.

I’ve done a lot of research on composting, the different methods and the ‘how to’, and have wanted to start some DIY compost of my own. The timing hasn’t always been right. The materials weren’t always available. There were always reasons to not get started…until NOW!

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Compost can be done in outside piles, or in containers. I have a large enough garden space to do an outside pile, but I want to wait and see how things all come together before going that route. Therefore, I decided on container compost for getting started. Maybe I’ll expand to the outside pile later…we shall see.

So…for this project, J was able to round up a couple of old barrels that previously had non-toxic materials in them so the barrels themselves are essentially recycled too…cool huh?

We cut the top of the barrels off using a sawzall. Then, I rinsed them out real good and let them dry. Next came the drilling of holes. If you want to compost using barrels, they need LOTS of holes so there’s adequate drainage and flow of oxygen. I drilled lots of holes up and down the sides, and the bottom, and a few on the lid.

Then, J ran some rubber around the cut edge, just so the cut edges would come together a tad better, and he added a hinge to one side and a clasp to the other.

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That’s it! It’s a simple enough project to get started. If you have a couple of old yard waste trash cans with lids lying around you could have one of these put together in a snap!

The important thing is that the lid attaches well. The reason being is that the compost needs to be ‘turned’ every few weeks or so and the easiest way I can figure to accomplish this with the set-up I have is to kick the thing over and roll it around the yard a bit.

It’s amazing how the small things in life, like a DIY compost bin, totally excite me! I will blog another time about the ‘how to’ for composting – not that I’m the expert, I’ll just be sharing what I’ve learned in my research.

Do you compost? Why or why not?


Tea Wreath

To celebrate this most recent snap of cold weather, I decided to come down with the cold that’s being passed around my office (thanks co-workers!).

This baby came in mighty handy as I’ve been fighting the crud:

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My beautiful friend made me a tea wreath for Christmas. Isn’t it cool?!?!

Not only is it very pretty but it’s been nice having an assortment of hot tea to soothe my sore throat the past couple of days.

I think she got the idea from Pinterest. She is one of those people who pins DIY and craft ideas and then ACTUALLY goes out and tries some of them! I am guilty of pinning tons of stuff that I think I’d like to try…and get no further than that.

Maybe that should have been a New Years Resolution – work on some projects from my Pinterest board. Maybe next year…

Are you guilty of this as well? Lots of good intentions for tapping into your creative juices but never actually getting there?