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.

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!

A Colorful Thanksgiving Feast

Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you are able to spend time with family and friends today. And if you are away from home this holiday, we wish you a wonderful day and hope that you can make it home soon.

As we prepare to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving feast, here’s a glimpse at our Thanksgiving table before the meal. It is simple, yet colorful. I love bright colors for a Thanksgiving table. Why not bring all the beautiful colors found in our favorite foods to celebrate the meal as welI as our friends and family. I chose green for green beans/green bean casserole, yellow for corn and mac and cheese, and orange for sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.

Our bright and colorful Fiestaware pops against our Vera Bradley Yellow Bird placemats and napkins.


Our Crate and Barrel vases and Target vase filler are also incorporated into our table decor. You might remember them from a previous post.

Our centerpiece is comprised three sunflowers that I picked up at Michaels a few weeks ago and some pussy willows that I used in a previous centerpiece. For the vase filler I used coffee beans because they are a rich neutral color and give off a nice aroma that does not take away from a meal. Sometimes scented potpourri or candles can be too overpowering. I usually go with unscented candles on a dining room table unless they are for looks and not to burn.

Here are a few more photos of our table all dressed up. Our white Ikea lanterns are also on our table this year. We used the lanterns as table centerpieces for our wedding and they keep finding new life in our home. Lanterns makes great reusable centerpieces.

How are you spending your Thanksgiving this year? Any plans to dress up your table?

Have a great holiday and make sure you enjoy all of your favorite foods! My favorite Thanksgiving comfort food is definitely homemade mashed potatoes. Yum! I’m hungry just thinking about them!

A lofty transformation

A few months ago, our loft looked like this: There was no furniture, just an end table, a few old video game systems, insulated purple curtains I found on sale at Target , and board games. This room needed serious help.

For two years I pondered all of the possibilities of our loft. After much discussion and various ideas of how to use this space, BJ and I settled on a movie/game room tastefully decorated in the colors, photographs and memorabilia of our alma mater.

This Fall, we started taking baby steps toward our functional movie/game room by adding two blue Poang chairs from Ikea.

Next, we added two maize yellow patterned toss pillow covers from Etsy. I found two 18 x 18 pillow inserts for our covers at Jo-Ann Fabrics.

Two 18 x 18 Pillow Covers: Yellow and White Chevron Zig Zag & Gotcha Lattice

After the chairs and pillows, we added new curtains. I had my eye on a pair of curtains from West Elm but wanted to see them in person before purchasing.

After browsing the curtains options at West Elm, BJ and I agreed the curtains shown above were still our number one choice. We chose these curtains because we wanted something with a bold pattern and neutral color palette. These curtains also complement our chairs well.

It’s amazing how just a few small changes can make a big difference. By adding chairs, toss pillows and curtains, we’ve completely changed the look of this room. We also changed out the previous end table with two Ikea Lack tables we already owned. And lastly, my bike and bike trainer will spend the winter in the loft so I can work out.

Here’s another look at the before and after.

Before:


After:

The next stage of our loft transformation is to add a storage/entertainment center. We’re thinking it might look something like this one below that we found at Ikea:

Once it’s all done, the loft will be a place that we can hang out in the evenings and when our families come to visit, they can relax in this room as well. It’s turning out to be a nice little retreat at the top of the stairs where you can ride a bike, watch a movie, play video games or curl up with a good book.

Chilly Fall Nights

How do you relax on a chilly fall night? Here’s my favorite way… cozy by the fire!
That’s right, it’s October and we officially turned the heat on this past weekend. For the past two weeks, we were just turning the fireplace on at night. When it started getting chilly in our bedroom, we decided to turn on the whole house heat.

Zoey is very excited we decided to turn on the heat and start using the fireplace more.

On other note, did you notice, the fun fuzzy pillow in the first picture? We added some fuzzy pillows to our couch for the fall and winter.

And since it’s getting dark early, our candle has been glowing bright in the kitchen earlier and earlier each night.

Time for some hot chocolate by the fire. Have a great week!

The Blanket Basket Acquisition

When you’re a cat owner/lover, you quickly learn that your stuff, is really your cat’s stuff. Your original purpose for items when they come into your home may not stay that way for long.

Take this basket:


We bought it with the intention that we would use it for blanket storage. Now that we have a bigger couch, we can have extra blankets available for guests or to snuggle up with on a chilly evening.

But since this is really “Zoey’s house,” as we often joke, our blanket basket is now Zoey’s basket.

But that’s why we love her. She is a keeper and definitely brings joy into our home.

Does your pet claim particular items as their own?

Chrysanthe-mums the word

Happy first official day of Autumn! The weather is beautiful here today. I hope it’s as beautiful where you are!

In preparation for the start of Autumn, I decorated our front porch with new pots full of beautiful chrysanthemums.

=-] <;— Quick side note: As Zoey walked across my keyboard she somehow entered that smiley face. So I guess she likes the new mums!

Ok, back to the task at hand. I decided to go with taller pots for our porch mums this year. And these were on clearance at Home Depot. Winning!

Last year, I had several small pots and two pumpkin pots for Halloween. Here is what our porch looked like last year:

This year, instead of planting the same color mums in the same pots, I decided that wasn’t exciting enough so I planted two colors in the larger pots and planted one color in the smaller pots. And after I finished throwing potting soil everywhere, the finished product of our pots looked like this:

Our porch is looking very festive for the first day of Autumn. I really like the larger pots. They are more visible on our porch.

That’s all for this post! I think I will celebrate Autumn with some hot apple cider on this chilly windy day. Have a great weekend!

Fall Forward

Fall is still a week away, but I’m feeling inspired by the beautiful fall-like weather here in the Midwest. Today, I started decorating our house to welcome in the season.

In my last post, I mentioned that I had left over vase filler from another project. It is “left over” no more. The remaining filler found a home in our Crate and Barrel vases on the dining room table.I also added some fall filler to the mix for a different look.


What I love about this mix is that the vases look different from every angle. Here is the other vase on our table:

I also put up the fall leaves on our stair banister today.

And of course, the fireplace got a little love as well.

Have you started decorating for fall?

I love fall and I can’t wait for apple crisp and hot apple cider!

Have a great weekend!

A little vase filler goes a long way…

A few weeks ago, I was browsing the clearance racks at Target and I stumbled across this great vase. I think it was originally $17.99 and I bought it for $7.49. I thought it would be perfect for our bedroom to sit on top of the new dressers we bought at Ikea. If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I love tall vases and this vase was a great find.

I was scouring the clearance section again at Target and over the weekend I found this beautiful vase filler on clearance! It was originally $10.19 and I bought it for $3.05!

Since it was such a great deal and I absolutely love the colors, I bought two!

Our master bedroom is full of deep rich oranges and greens and I thought the red and plum tones would complement the green and orange well. After I spent a few minutes arranging the filler, I came up with this:

It looks beautiful in our room on top of our dresser. It’s new home is next to tall arrangement of orange poppies.

I even had enough vase filler left over to use it in the arrangement of gerbera daisies by our bed. It looks better than the former sea shell filler that didn’t go with the decor of our room. I plan to incorporate the sea shells in our bathroom instead.

After the tall vase and the gerbera daisy arrangement, I still have some vase filler left over and I already have a few ideas of how to use the extra.

Have a great week everyone!

Fall is on its way!

It’s starting to feel like fall again! The weather is back in the 70s, college football season is among us, pumpkin lattes are being served and the leaves are starting to turn a little less green. It’s time for football games, sweatshirts and hot chocolate.

Fall officially begins on September 23 this year, but today certainly felt like autumn weather to me! It was a gorgeous 65-70 degrees!

The forecast for this week is going to be awesome! Only getting into the 80s one day (courtesy of weather.com):

If you search for “Fall” on Pinterest, the boards are literally buzzing with inspiration for home decor, fashion, photography and more. I love it! Fall is one of my favorite color palettes with the deep oranges, reds and yellows!

To help celebrate the coming of Autumn, I changed the scents in our wallflowers to fall scents and I started decorating for the chiller months.

Since it’s not officially Fall yet, I decided to only get out a few of my autumn decorations. I still have more stored away in our spare bedroom closet and I will continue to bring them out over the next few weeks. I didn’t want to go to crazy this weekend. After all, I’m one of those people that complains about retail stores decorating for Christmas before Halloween.

Thanks to a long holiday weekend (Happy Labor Day everyone 🙂 ) I had some time to work on projects and get the house cleaned up for friends and family that will be visiting us later this month. On Saturday, I picked up some square frames for a project I’ve been wanting to do for years, but just never got around to it. I’ve had some fabric remnants siting around and I thought it would be great to use them as wall decorations. This weekend, I finally completed my project!
If you’re interested in doing this project, you will need four square frames, four fabric remnants and scissors.
From the fabric remnants, I chose four pieces that I liked and cut them to fit the frames. Pretty easy!
The finished product turned out bright and colorful:
I chose the bright colors to go against the purple wall in my office. Later this evening, we are going to hang the Ikea shelves in my office. I’m excited! Once we get them up and I get everything organized on them, I will post with pictures of the finished project. More to come soon!