Tag Archives: Projects & DIY

Food for the Soil: Compost Update

A few years ago I blogged about compost…and the DIY project that went along with it. If you missed those posts, or if you never had the opportunity to read them the first go-round, here are the links:

DIY Compost Bins
Composting 101

After a few years of composting I wasn’t sure how enchanted I was with the dang thing. I got everything set up, and made sure to keep the balance of brown and green just right so as to avoid having my backyard smell like a landfill on a hot summer day. I turned the compost every so often to keep it all mixed up and jivin’ in the way that it does to break down into something delicious for my soil. And it just seemed to take forever. Some things didn’t break down all that well, there didn’t seem to be much in the end result and maybe it was my general lack of patience but this project felt like a whole lotta work for not a whole lotta reward.

This winter I resolved to re-purpose the barrels for growing potatoes and just be done with it…until something magical happened.

Okay, magical might be a stretch, but it was mind changing and turns out, I am enchanted with making my own compost. Who knew?

When J dumped the barrels this spring, for what I thought was the very last time, I spied something quite pleasing to the eye. I raced from the deck to the garden to get a better look…that compost was so rich and wonderful I was actually quite beside myself. I only regret that I didn’t get a picture snapped before he tilled it in. Rats!

And so, I’m back to composting.

Turns out, what seemed like not very much compost in those barrels once it had broken down is in reality more once it’s been dumped out. Funny how looks can be deceiving. I can get on board with that.

And here are some lessons learned — because why go through the pain of it yourself if you can just learn from someone else??

  • The plan I had for ‘turning’ the compost in my original “DIY Compost Bins” post didn’t work as efficiently as I had hoped. I found it was just as easy to turn the compost with a pitch fork right in the barrel.
  • I didn’t follow my own advice about keeping the compost wet. While you don’t want it sopping wet, moisture is part of the compost making equation. Mine was too dry, I’m sure, which is likely the reason it took eons to do its compost thing. I’m leaving the lids off the barrels going forward and will let Mother Nature have at it. As long as there’s ample drainage opportunity, which mine have, it should be fine.
  • A few foods didn’t seem to break down all that well for me so I’m no longer adding them to my compost as part of the ‘green’ mix. Those are: corn cobs, & avocado skins and pits. Even egg shells didn’t break down quite like I thought they would but I’m still adding them, I just crush them up before tossing them in the barrel. And in some instances, coffee filters, but because I know the benefits of coffee grounds in compost, I’ll continue to add them and those that don’t break all the way down are easy to pick out once the barrels are dumped and the compost is spread out with a rake.

For more information on what not to add, what to add and how much, etc. visit my Composting 101 link above. And if you have any other bits of wisdom about composting DIY, please share in the comments section below! I am clearly not the expert on this – heck, I just had to talk myself back in to continuing!

H

 

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Mother’s Day: May 14th

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching. I hope you have already given thought to how you will honor the mother(s) in your life, but if not, now is the time to get those wheels turning.

 

Last year I put together the most awesome succulent potted arrangements for my mom. After finding these cool terracotta pots, shaped slightly different than your typical terracotta pot, at At Home store, I set off to score some succulents and cactus soil at HomeDepot.

 

Note: my internet research taught me that succulents will not thrive in regular potting soil – cactus soil is a must. Or you can read up on mixing your own soil that will help succulents live a long and happy life. I can’t speak a lot <or at all> to that as I used the easy route for that detail.

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I was so pleased with the final product. I even considered just keeping them for myself and picking up some PJ’s for mom (but, I didn’t, because I’m a good daughter like that). Oh! And the frog just casually hangin’ off the side? Every year for the last I don’t know how many years, I’ve bought my mom some sort of <sometimes obnoxious> “plant art”. All of her potted plants inside are adorned with something like this. I picked up the frog (which I think it quite cute, actually) from Hobby Lobby. 

I also made a little plant stake, not pictured, that said “Love U” and tucked it into the smaller pot – you can read about that, and see it too, in this post. 

 

This year I ordered something special for my mother that hasn’t arrived yet. I’m losing confidence that it will get here in time at this point, so will end up being a belated Mother’s Day gift. Ugh. I hope I’m wrong, but I’ve got a card and have planned a visit back home so I’m hoping that will suffice until this treasure arrives – and even more hopeful that when it does, it was worth the wait (you know how that sometimes goes…you order something, are excited, wait forever and it finally shows up and is a total dud?).

 

Any special Mother’s Day plans or gifts you care to share with our blog family? Hit us up in the comments section below.

H 

 

PS – I don’t get any sort of kickback from Hobby Lobby, At Home or HomeDepot for name dropping them on my blog. They are just all stores that are my ‘go to’ when I’ve got projects in the works. And I added links to their websites on here so you can quick search if this post sparked any ideas that require investigating if these store have what you need.


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
IMG_2376
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!


Another Work of Art

Shortly after Christmas I mentioned in a post that the homemade gifts I gave for Christmas were my favorite. I shared with you the counted cross-stitch ornaments that I worked on through the summer and had one other project I wanted to share with you. I am finally getting around to doing that today. Part of the hold-up was I wasn’t able to connect with my dear friend to give her this gift until February, the other part of the hold-up was that it slipped my mind…until late last week (I’ll tell you why it sprung back to mind late last week in tomorrow’s post).

Backing up even further, last spring I shared with you this project that I worked on while visiting my aunt:
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A girlfriend of mine raved over this piece of art, going so far as to request that if I were to die, she called dibs. She literally talks about it every time she lays eye on the thing so it only made sense that I make her one of her very own.

Knowing the time involved in rolling these coils of paper, I began the project in early summer and worked on rolling paper, a little at a time, as often as opportunity presented itself. Finally, as the holiday season drew near, I had enough and piece this together:

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She was elated when she opened the gift to reveal her very own piece of art and immediately started talking about how she would incorporate it into her décor…or maybe use it as inspiration to re-decorate a room in her home.

This is just one of the reasons that homemade gifts are often times the best – to give or receive. I know there is nothing that I could have purchased for her at a store that would have sparked this much excitement.

Plus, I might mention, that often times there’s nothing as therapeutic as an artsy project. Do you find this is true for you?


We Did It! We Did It!

I hope this Monday morning finds you all coming off a wonderful weekend.

My weekend was wonderful, for several reasons:
1) I got to hang out with one of my favorite little dudes while his mommy worked – and we were VERY busy
Owen
2)My man and I spent a good portion of Saturday afternoon lounging around and relaxing….and napping…because I LOVE napping, always have.
3) A girlfriend and I enjoyed a very nice brunch on Sunday, followed by a refreshing hike through Red Rock Canyon
4) more napping Sunday afternoon…then I had to buck up and get my chores for the weekend done: sheets washed, bathroom cleaned, weekday breakfasts made, dinner on the table (well, couch, we don’t have a table right now because there isn’t room in the teeny tiny apartment. But, it sounds weird to say “Dinner on the couch”).

Another reason my weekend was wonderful is WE DID IT!!! Over the weekend my followers count hit 76!!!

As promised, a random drawing has occurred and we have a winner for the Santa ornament!

Moon Santa

Moon Santa

Here’s how it happened: I logged on first thing this morning to Random.Org and asked it to draw me a number between 1 and 76. The resulting number: 3. Then, I went back through my followers, based on date they signed up to follow. And the winner is……APieceOfLisa!!

A special thank you to each and every one of you who follow the blog, and give me a ‘like’ or a comment when you come across something that tickles your fancy. I love knowing you are out there. I love your feedback. I love your support. You are all the greatest!!

There are many more adventures coming soon – we are closing on a house in just under 2 short weeks and there will be projects (I got butterflies in my stomach just typing that!). Stay tuned…more adventures and more giveaways in the future!!

-H

PS: if you wondered what’s on the menu for this week, here it is:
Pork Chops, Rice, Veggies
Lasagna Soup, Garlic Bread
Stuffed Chicken Breast, Pasta, Veggie
Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Salad
Smoked Sausage & Cheesy Potato Casserole
AND – I have a recipe or two coming your way this week – depending on how many recipes I remembered to snap pictures of before we gobbled them down!!


Getting SOOOO Close!

Over the summer months I announced a giveaway on my blog, as soon as I had 75 followers.

I just checked and am at 72!! We are getting SOOOO close!!

So, here is the deal: those of you who read the blog on a regular basis, but haven’t signed up to ‘follow’, how about you do the group a solid and sign up? It’s really not a big deal, and definitely not a hassle…it takes a matter of seconds, and you will always be informed of new posts (and nothing more as it relates to my blog or wordpress) via email. What if I stopped linking my blog posts to my FB page? Would you fall completely out of the loop?? We wouldn’t want that to happen!

I’ve mentioned how easy it is to sign up to follow, several times, but in case you need a refresher here it is: once you are on my blog there is a box where you enter your email address (toward the top, on the right). Enter your address, and click the button, and that’s it!!

I’m really counting on rounding up 3 more followers so that I can get this guy on his way:

Moon Santa

Moon Santa

This is a handmade (by ME!) Christmas ornament. Yes, it’s January so Christmas is LONG gone but you can add it to your collection and enjoy it at the end of this year – or reserve it as a gift for someone and say that you’ve started your ‘Holiday Shopping’.

As soon as I hit the 75 mark I will draw a name at random and that’s the winner! I’ll have the winner email me their address and drop this dude in the mail.

AND – just in case you needed further incentive to join the following, winning means getting something in the mail other than bills or junk AND it costs you nothing!!

Happy Thursday!
H


Santa & His Gifts

You have read, in past posts, about the Santa ornament cross-stitch collection I am working on. Well, today I am proud to share with you the most recent Santa in the collection:

This one took a LOT of time. Lots of color changes. Lots of back-stitching detail. I think he turned out so awesome though!

You can check out the other designs that I have finished by clicking here. Going back, and taking into consideration this new one, do you have a new favorite? Or, does your favorite remain with one you picked previously? Post a comment with your vote, I’d love to know which one you love the most (so far).

Also, did you remember that I’m hosting a giveaway? Just a reminder that when I reach 75 followers I will draw a name at random and the winner will get the first finished ornament in the collection, Moon Santa:

Moon Santa

Registering to win is easy, just sign up to follow my blog (either by email or wordpress reader, if you have a wordpress account). Share the news – with any luck we will have 75 followers by December and the winner will get this little guy just in time for the holidays!

Speaking of holidays, I’ve recently become aware of how fast this time of year is closing in on us. I keep thinking I am going to get organized and knock out the tasks of the holiday early this year. I’ve got one gift purchased and am thinking, almost daily, about gift ideas for others.

Have you begun any holiday prep yet? If so, what? How do you like to tackle the busiest time of year?

-Hilary


Disappointing Garden Update

As many of you are aware, I have been extremely excited about my garden this summer and have been sharing this journey with you.

I have sad news to report. Last weekend when I was out of town, there was an invasion of sorts (bugs) and I came home to a sad sight. The green bean and cucumber plants are done.

They looked like they had dried out. I knew this couldn’t be true because arrangements were made for watering to occur in my absence, and it rained while I was gone. Upon further inspection I found bugs. I believe they are the reason for this disaster.

So, with a heavy heart, I pulled up the beans and cucumber, and bug dusted the tomato and pepper plants so as to prevent spreading of this ‘issue’.

Then I came inside and turned these:

into this:

and it made me feel a little better.

I’ll probably feel even better when this homemade juice makes its way into a frosty mug with a bud light…and I can toast to the good that came from the garden before the bugs spoiled it all.

Happy Weekend, All-
Hilary


Santa Project

I’ve been away from my blog for several days. Sorry, friends. I’ve been preoccupied with other ‘life’ things…but am back now and hope to finish out this blogging week strong.

This morning I wanted to share with you the Santa Project I’ve been working on. I am working to cross-stitch a collection of adorable Santa ornaments. I’ve got 4 stitched at this time, here they are:

1

2

3

4

I’ve got several more before this collection is complete, but I think it’s coming along nicely AND will make wonderful Christmas gifts.

Remember that #4 is up for grabs as part of a giveaway that I mentioned some time ago. As soon as I have 75 followers I will draw a name at random and that will be our winner! It’s as easy as signing up to follow my blog via email (insert your email address in the box at the top right of the screen and click the button) or signing up to follow on your wordpress reader.
If you read my blog often but haven’t yet signed up to follow, please support the blog by signing up…you know I’ll love ya for it! Share the news with your friends & family. Get them to follow to, and we can get this giveaway show on the road!!

Which of one is your favorite so far?

-Hilary
 

 

 


Game Winner Announced!

Thanks to everyone who gave the game, posted here, a shot. You all noticed so many changes between the two photos.

Indeed, the house has been through many changes. You hit on them all, here’s a re-cap of what you pointed out:

-Change of season (one photo was taken just before spring, the other mid-summer) so the trees have leaves, there flowers are growing and the grass is green!
-Color of house. When I moved in the house was a tan’ish color with brown trim. It is now Slate Green with white trim (and the finishing touches will happen soon).
-Front deck re-finished. The front deck was refinished last summer. I also added a flower garden in front and hanging basket of flowers off to the side. The bush to the right also got a trim.
-Color of roof. After a terrible hail storm 2 summers ago the place got a new roof.  And, an addition of a satellite dish that the previous owners didn’t have.
-Lack of gutter down spout. These haven’t been re-hung since we painted because they need sprayed white before going back on the house.
-Fewer bushes/trees. When I moved in there were bushes and trees planted everywhere. Most have been taken out.
-No more birdbath. There was a birdbath in a random spot of the yard, that the previous owners took with them (the first photo was taken before they moved out and I moved in).
-No more trailer, addition of Greenhouse. Toward the back of the house they had a large trailer that overhung the driveway into the yard. This is the spot where my garden is currently planted, and protected by my awesome greenhouse. Also gone with the trailer is the truck you can see poking out from the side of the trailer.
-One participant also pointed out the trash can sitting in front of the greenhouse. Great find! It’s actually the can my grass clippings go in to so they can be hauled to the city compost area.

So…for the winner!

There were 6 people who posted their finds in the comments section. I found a random number generator online and asked it to give me a random number between 1 and 6. It told me the number was 2. The second person to post was Amy.

Yay Amy! You are the winner!!

Send me your mailing address to osbornhj@yahoo.com & I’ll get a fun little prize sent your direction.

Thanks to everyone who participated. This was fun!

-Hilary