Confessions of a Garden “Gone Wild”

True story: I let our gardens go a little wild this summer.

We were really lucky at the beginning of this summer. It rained every few days, and other than pulling out the occasional weeds, I didn’t spend much time in our gardens after Mother’s Day. As the summer went on, it rained less and less until we entered a drought. Even in a drought, the weeds kept growing and I didn’t stay on top of pulling them.

Last year’s drought was brutal. I spent every day hand watering our potted plants and flower beds just to keep them alive. By late summer, we lost the battle to keep our grass green, our potted plants were dying and I was exhausted. This year, I wasn’t in to spending that much time in the gardens.

Along with the drought and the weeds this year, our hibiscus plants decided they were going to take over. They not only looked overgrown, they covered up one of our sprinklers and it could no longer water the garden and yard effectively.

Instead of ripping the plants out, I wanted to transplant at least one hibiscus in the garden on the other side of the garage. However, I abandoned that idea when the plants put up one heck of a fight.

The hibiscus eventually lost the battle when I cut their roots in several pieces.IMG_7406

After I removed the hibiscus plants and the weeds, our gardens looked dramatically different.

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I also trimmed our cherry blossom bushes and dead-headed a few of the plants that were finished blooming for the summer.

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Lastly, I needed to split the bulbs for our gladiolus. Since I failed at transplanting the hibiscus, I planted the split gladiolus bulbs in the garden on the other side of our garage. Next, I’m going to plant a few spring bulbs in this garden and put down some fresh mulch.

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After I finished the gardens, the pots on our front porch needed some TLC, so I replanted them with mums and aster.

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The outside of our house is ready for fall!

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Until next time! Enjoy your home improvement projects.

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An Easy Fall Wreath Project

Labor Day, the unofficial end to summer has already come and gone and I’m now thinking about decorating our house for fall, my favorite season. The other day, I came home and noticed that our neighbors were already decorated for Halloween (still a little early for that, maybe) so I decided to start our fall decorating frenzy by making a fun fall wreath.

In the spring, I made this monogram wreath for out front door. It was such a big hit, and I enjoyed seeing it on our door so much that I decided to make a fall version with a twist. Instead of a monogram letter, I decided to spell out “fall.”

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My fall hydrangea wreath is really easy to make and only requires a few supplies. If you would like to make your own version you will need:

1. A grapevine wreath
2. 5 or 6 hydrangea stems in your choice of colors
3. Wire cutters
4. Wood letters (I found ours at Michael’s)
5. Spray paint in your choice of color(s)
6. A glue gun
7. Ribbon to hang your finished wreath

Before you get started, cut off any tags from your wreath, flowers and letters.
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For our fall wreath, I chose gold, cream and green hydrangeas.

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First, I cut each hydrangea stem to about two inches. This is just enough so that the stems hang out of the back of the wreath, but not so far that they push the wreath away from the door.

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To cut each of the stems, I used wire cutters (and a whole lotta elbow grease!).IMG_7441

The letters I picked out came in a white-wash finish. I like the white letters, but since I chose cream flowers, I wanted to paint the letters something other than white.
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Since I only wanted to paint a few letters for my wreath, I bought this little can of spray paint in a maize color.
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Next, I took my letters outside and coated them with the maize spray paint.
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While the letters were drying, I attached my flowers using hot glue. You can also use floral wire, but I think hot glue is faster, and easier.

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Once my letters dried, I attached them using hot glue.

For the final touch, I added a ribbon loop to hang the wreath.
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And here the finished product!

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Enjoy!

Picking the Perfect Palette: The Loft

Fall is on its way and soon we will be diving in to our indoor home improvement projects. When it comes to painting our house, we always wait until the weather is cool enough to open the windows and pull in some fresh air. Fall is usually a great time because the air is not too moist and sticky. In the meantime, we are deciding on the color that we will paint our half wall in the loft and hallway. I chose a palette of yellow, blue and blue/green paint chips for our alma mater color scheme and taped them to the wall using painter’s tape. Now we can see our choices on the wall while we make our decision.fbfs_colorchoices (6)With this palette, I chose complimentary colors to our existing room colors. We have several different shades of blue in our room which is why I chose the blue and blue/green chips for our palette. I chose the gold and yellow chips to complement our maize yellow pillows. I like the idea of the golds being closer to the shade of the pillows because we do not have several different shades of gold existing in the room.

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The color that we choose for the loft will carry around the half wall and down the catwalk hallway. With that being said, we need to choose a color that compliments both the loft and the hallway. I think I’m leaning toward the golds,  but I can’t make up my mind. I also really like the blues. Decisions, decisions.

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On another note, you might’ve noticed that we have new curtains in our loft. I liked the previous curtains, but they were slightly to short. Some folks like their curtains to be just above the ground but I prefer the curtains to touch the ground. Finding out the curtains I bought were too short was definitely a lesson learned. Always measure before you buy! fbfs_colorchoices (4) copy

When I went back to West Elm, where I bought our gray curtains, I found the same pattern in dark blue. I like the dark blue even better than the light gray and this time I made sure to buy a longer length. fbfs_colorchoices (2) That’s it for now. I’ll keep you posted on our paint chip selection process!

Summer Time and the Decorating is Easy

I love great clearance finds at Target. With back to school season right around the corner, that means summer seasonal items are now on clearance. I love perusing Target for clearance items during these seasonal switches.

Tip: for those who are not familiar with where you can find Target clearance sales, they are sometimes found in the aisles, but they are also on the back side of the aisles. Below is a diagram of what I mean by the “back side of the aisles.”

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My latest Target clearance find is this tall teal vase. It was originally $29.99 and I bought it for $14.98.

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Sometimes you can hold out on these finds and come back a few days later when the prices are marked down even lower. However, you take the risk that the item might not be there when you return.

As soon as I saw this vase, I thought it would look great on our dining room table. I really enjoy decorating the dining room table for each season and I thought this vase would look great with some late summer decor.

I picked out the vase filler below to put in our Crate and Barrel glass vases to compliment the teal vase. The filler is a mixture of floral, greenery and seashells.

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After I added the filler, our Crate and Barrel clear glass vases looked like this:
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For the teal vase, I chose a simple flower arrangement of three sunflowers, two yellow and one white. Because the vase is so tall, if you use big thick flowers you can go simple and let the flowers lean on the edge of the vase. If you want a fuller look, you could add more sunflowers and some additional greenery or filler. You could even leave the vase empty because the color will let it stand on it’s own.

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Our completed table is bright and colorful. I’m really enjoying the color combination of teal, orange, yellow gold, white and green. I love this color combination.

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Have you ever found a great item on clearance and couldn’t wait to bring it home? What’s been your favorite find?

Summer Gardening, Part 2

In our last post, I updated you on our front flower beds. Out in the back yard, our vegetable garden is really taking off. So far this summer, we’ve harvested our first zucchini and fresh parsley.

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Our basil plant is getting really big. We need to start incorporating fresh basil and parsley into our meals so we can use more of our fresh herbs.

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One thing I’ve noticed about our vegetable garden is that it does not need much as maintenance as I originally thought. Other than continual weeding, watering and harvesting, I haven’t spent much time maintaining the garden. I bought plant food when I first planted the seedlings, but haven’t used it yet. The vegetables look like they are holding their own without the extra food.

Our corn is doing really well. I did have to stabilize the stalks a few weeks ago. They were leaning after a heavy rain storm so I put a big clump of dirt next to each stalk and although I was doubtful of my “temporary” solution, the dirt clump did the trick and the corn stalks have stood straight ever since.

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We are starting to see a few ears growing on each of our corn stalks. I can’t wait for fresh sweet corn. Out of all the vegetables we planted, I think I’m most excited to enjoy our fresh sweet corn. Hope it is delicious! fbfs_corn_2

The green beans I replanted are up and hopefully we will have fresh green beans to harvest.
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Our yellow pepper is still going strong. I’m not sure when we will see peppers growing, but I’m still hopeful.

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We have a zucchini and a spaghetti squash that may be ready to harvest in the near future.

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How are your summer gardens?

Summer Gardening, Part 1

This summer has been successful for our gardens. Our efforts started out a little rocky, especially for the vegetable garden, but now we are enjoying the fruits of our labor.

In our front flower beds, the day lilies, hibiscus, gladiolus, petunias and black-eyed susans are looking beautiful this year. Early in the summer, we experienced moderate temperatures and rain which helped keep our flowers happy. They are in better shape than they were during last year’s heat wave.

Here is a peek at our blooming flowers:

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Up next: an update on our vegetable garden.

Guest bedroom

Prior to the arrival of our July 4th guests, we made a few updates to the guest bedroom.

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We added curtains, which previously resided in my office and we also arranged a collection of West Virginia postcards on the wall.

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BJ and I both lived in West Virginia for many years, and although I wasn’t born there, it definitely feels like home. If you haven’t been to West Virginia, it’s worth a visit, especially for the beautiful scenery and great people.

While at a family reunion this summer, I picked up a few postcards honoring West Virginia’s 150th birthday. I carefully taped each card into place in a mix of white and black 4×6 frames from Ikea.
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Our guest bedroom now contains a mix of furniture that we will eventually replace. In the meantime, the furniture is serving its purpose. For bedside tables, we are using two old end tables that came with our previous couch set. I think we may keep these end tables, but they desperately need sanded and finished. I’ve added them to my list of fall projects once the weather cools down.

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I’m still debating if I want to try my hand at painting the dresser. It is a hand-me-down dresser from BJ’s college years family and he does not have any sentimental attachment to the piece. Because it is veneered, it will be difficult to paint, or even spray paint. I will have to score the surface before any paint will stick (if it even does). If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. I’m interested to know if there is a more effective/easier way to paint veneered furniture or if I should just let it go and buy a different dresser for this room.

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We have a few more projects slated for this room, but here is our progress to date:

1. Hang curtains
2. Add a headboard to the bed
3. Add throw pillows
4. Hang WV postcard collage
5. Update dresser
6. Refinish end tables turned bedside tables
7. Paint?

Two down and five more projects to go! We are well on our way to completing the look of this room.