Last week, BJ and I snuck away for a fun vacation together. Since I was a little girl, it has been my dream to visit Walt Disney World. I signed up to go on a trip in high school, but unfortunately, the trip was cancelled due to circumstances outside of the students’ control. Since then, I told myself that I would take a trip to Disney before having children. This Christmas, BJ bought us two tickets and wrapped them inside another smaller gift and gave them to me. It was the best Christmas gift I’ve received so far. I might’ve cried… okay, I did. I cried. While we were at Disney, Epcot was celebrating the International Flower and Garden Festival presented by HGTV. The show ended over the weekend, so if you didn’t get a chance to make it this year, here is a little peek at all the beauty that surrounded Epcot. I highly recommend visiting Epcot during the show in the upcoming years. It is neat to see all the Disney characters in flower form. Gardens were all over the park and the flowers were in full bloom. These dahlias caught my eye as we exited one of the rides. In some areas, the gardens were decorated to look like specific scenes. Many of the scenes use bright pink and red petunias. There were also floating flower pots on many of the ponds and lakes around the park. Each pots included different varieties of petunias. Throughout Epcot, there were themed gardens sponsored by companies such as Rain Bird. My favorite themed garden was a screened-in butterfly garden that allowed you to view hundreds of butterflies. And then there were the character topiaries. The topiaries were definitely my favorite part of the entire show. The detail was incredible. My nephew would love to see the Lighting McQueen and Tow Mater topiaries. Cars is one of his favorite movies. Here is Tinkerbell, she was located outside of the butterfly garden. She was difficult to spot, so you had to look closely to see her. Outside of the Epcot World Showcase, Sorcerer Mickey and his was putting his magic powers to work on the broomsticks. In the World Showcase, many of the characters were located in the countries they represent. For example, Woody was in the United States section of the World Showcase. Belle, Beast and friends were in France. And Captain Hook and Peter Pan were in England. Here are a few more of my favorite topiaries from the World Showcase. Even Snow White’s red lipstick and bow were stunning. There were so many more character topiaries and other displays scattered throughout the park. There were also seasonal food stands located throughout the World Showcase. We didn’t get a chance to try any of the seasonal kitchen stands, but the foods looked and smelled delicious. The gardens all over Walt Disney World inspired me to come home and get to work on our gardens. It’s time to plant our veggie garden so I’ll have a few upcoming posts on our progress. In the meantime, look for a wrap up on our spring gardens coming later this week. We had an amazing experience at Disney World. Since it was my first visit, I learned a lot about how to navigate the parks and things to keep in mind for our next visit. I’ll share some of the things I learned in an upcoming post.
(On Sunday I discovered that the tulips that I thought were Rembrandt tulips are actually more varieties of lily tulips and our Rembrandt tulips started blooming! See below for updated pictures.)
And we’re back. It’s been a busy few months and although it was not really planned, I took a break from writing to catch up/focus on myself and our home. Since I last posted, BJ and I started a new workout routine, we started eating a healthier, more organic diet, and we also completed a few projects around the house.
To kick off our new series of posts, I first want to start by mentioning that we will be adding some new material to Frame By Frame Style. With our new organic eating, I also purchased a juicer and I will share a few of our recipes for delicious juices and other treats we are making. I also plan to share tips and tricks and resources for eating organic. I’m not an expert by any means, so as I learn new tips, I will share them with you. You can also check out my Pinterest board A Cleaner, Greener and Leaner Living for pins on healthy eating and living.
Before we dive into the healthy eating and living posts, I have an update on our flower bulb planting last year. In the fall, BJ and I planted around 150 tulip and crocus bulbs in our front yard garden beds. Now, six months later, the flowers are blooming!
First, at the beginning of April the crocuses (or croci) came up and bloomed. We planted purple, white and yellow crocuses and saw all three colors bloom.
The first to bloom were the lily tulips. In the evening, they close like regular tulips but during the day when they are in full bloom they open to look more like a lily. Our lily tulips are blooming in a bright pink, bright orange and a white/pink variety.
We also planted Rembrandt tulips. The Rembrandt tulips are very bright and have pointed tips.
Here is another look at our peacock tulips. Our tulips are still blooming so look for more pictures to come.
I’m really thankful that we are seeing our fall planting come to fruition. It was a harsh winter for most of the United States and the Midwest experienced cold temperatures that were below -15F (-30F wind chill). I wasn’t sure if any of our flowers would make it through the tough winter but they did and I’m so glad! They will be really beautiful for Easter this year.
How did your gardens fair through the winter?
Along with the success of our planting, we are also experiencing a bit of a rabbit problem. In our side garden, the rabbits have enjoyed our tulips a little more than I would like.
Eventually, we would like to elevate our front gardens so I’m hoping that will end our bunny problem in the future. In the meantime, I just have to cross my fingers and hope they find some wild flowers to eat that are not in our yard… or maybe they will eat our dandelions instead. One can hope.
More posts coming soon! Stay tuned. 🙂
Chilly weather finally set in at our house this week, but before the frost arrived, we finished prepping our garden for the coming winter and spring. It may seem a little early to start thinking about spring, but fall is a great time to plant spring flower bulbs. After watching this DIY video from Lowes, I was feeling really ambitious:
In my ambition, I decided to buy 150 tulip bulbs to plant in our garden. At first, 150 bulbs didn’t seem like that many. They came in bags of 50, so three bags seems reasonable, right? I didn’t realize how much it would take to plant 150 tulips. Not to mention the 24 crocus bulbs I also bought. Note for next time: tulips should be planted 6 inches deep and 6 inches apart.Before we started planting, I had this grand vision in my head that we would just dig a few holes and spread the tulip bulbs out. That’s not exactly what happened after I read the planting instructions.
I arranged the bulbs in the on the sidewalk and in the grass near the intended homes of the bulbs. Once I laid out all the bulbs, I realized how much work it was going to take to plant 150 bulbs…
We started planting during the daylight hours and had to finish well after the dark skies set in. A neighbor walking by commented that she once ran over a tree while attempting to garden at night. I’m not sure what that meant, but I was determined to get all the bulbs planted in the same evening. It’s important to get the bulbs in the ground before the frost comes so they have a chance to survive through the winter. We were getting dangerously close to the first frost of the season.
Thanks to BJ’s help, I was able to get every last bulb planted. We touch nearly every part of the garden while planting so during the following week, I added a fresh layer of mulch, to help protect the bulbs, and tame the unsettled dirt.
As I mentioned, it was well after dark when we finished planting the bulbs so I grabbed a few photos of the gardens the next day. Here is what the unsettled dirt looked like:
Now that all 174 bulbs are planted, I cannot wait to see how they look in the fall. Even if we only have a 50% survival rate through the spring, that is still 75 tulips!
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.
After I removed the hibiscus plants and the weeds, our gardens looked dramatically different.
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.
After I finished the gardens, the pots on our front porch needed some TLC, so I replanted them with mums and aster.
The outside of our house is ready for fall!
Until next time! Enjoy your home improvement projects.
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.”
My latest Target clearance find is this tall teal vase. It was originally $29.99 and I bought it for $14.98.
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.
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.
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.
Have you ever found a great item on clearance and couldn’t wait to bring it home? What’s been your favorite find?
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:
Up next: an update on our vegetable garden.
Our lilies are blooming! Our lilies are blooming!
Can you tell that I’m excited? 🙂
I love spring/summer garden posts. It’s hard work maintaining a garden (as most of you know) so it’s always nice to share the fruits of our labor with those who enjoy/appreciate gardening.
I planted the lilies pictured below right after we moved into our house three years ago. Each year, the lilies keep getting bigger and more beautiful. The first to bloom this year is our stargazer lily.
I think the lilies below are called “razzle dazzles.” They are a deep rich red color, which I really like.
We are still waiting for our orange tiger lily, day lily and orange tropical lily to bloom. More updates to come!
Spring has finally arrived! It may be nearly a month since the official start of spring, but with the trees blooming, flowers blossoming and warmer weather, it finally feels like spring.
And with spring weather, comes spring flowers! Our hyacinths are back and in full bloom.
A few weeks ago, I noticed that our hyacinths were starting to peek out of the ground. I was really worried they wouldn’t survive the late winter snow storm we had in March, but they persevered. Last week, the hyacinths’ buds were starting to pop open for the first time.
This is the third season for our hyacinths. Two years ago, I planted them as full-grown flowers and each year they’ve come back. This fall, I might add a few more bulbs so next year we have a full row of hyacinths and tulips. I planted a few tulips when I planted the hyacinths, but I’ve only had luck with one tulip coming back each year. Time to add a few more bulbs and see if they make it through winter.
It’s almost time to plant annuals for the summer. Here is my late spring/early summer gardening to do list:
1. Plant more petunias.
I had great success with the petunias I planted last year. Despite the severe drought, they spread across the garden and were really beautiful.
Last year we added a layer of mulch to our garden, but after several rain storms, it’s time to mulch again.
3. Plant a vegetable and herb garden in the backyard.
I’ve got big plans for a vegetable and herb garden this year.
I picked up these seeds at Target and it’s almost time to start planting them! BJ and I enjoy cooking with fresh vegetables and herbs and we’re hoping that if all goes well, we will have many homegrown veggies and herbs to choose from!
There are a few more items that BJ and I thinking about adding to our garden list for the year, such as edging the gardens with stone, but for now, we are going to focus on our first three items and add more as we go. Do you have any big plans for your garden(s) this year?
I love the movie Elf and I always enjoy watching it around the start of December to get into the holiday mood. We kicked off this December with a marathon of Christmas decorating and each night this week we’ve been adding a few more decorations. It seems like I keep pulling more and more decorations out of storage!
Here is a peek at what we’ve been up to over the past week.
Friday night, I started by decorating our mantle. I changed our previous flower arrangements to red orchids, mistletoe and willows. We also hung the stocking we bought during an after-Christmas sale at Crate and Barrel a few years ago. And of course, the mantle isn’t complete without Zoey’s “meow” stocking, also from Crate and Barrel.
I love this time of year and it’s so nice to look around and see little touches of Christmas throughout our home. Our kitchen island is even looking festive this year with the placemats and table runner I found on sale (plus coupons) at Target.
Remember our Christmas wrapping paper frames from last year? They’re back!
I also started on the table arrangements for the dining room table. I still have some work to do on the main centerpiece, but here is a peek at the wintry vases I put together with some faux snow, Christmas vase filler and a few pinecones from our Fall vases filler. Pictures of the completed table look to come.
Last but not least, here are our Christmas trees. The tree below is located in our foyer by the staircase.
And here is our big beautiful tree in all its glory. It is so nice to sit on the couch and look over at our glowing tree. When the fireplace is going and the tree is all lit up, it’s so cozy and feels like Christmas.
Now if only the weather would cooperate and send us some snow. Then it will really feel like Christmas!
Yesterday, we went to the first stop on the book tour for Sherry and John Petersik of Young House Love and attended the panel session for their new book, Young House Love, 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love. We also had the very awesome, yet very brief, opportunity to meet them when they signed our copy of the book. BJ scored the award for most awesome amazing husband when he left the panel session to snag a place in line so we could get a (very limited) copy of the book. Best husband ever!
Here is our copy:
And… confession… I was super dorky and nervous when I met Sherry and John. I was so excited to tell them that they inspired me to write this blog and how I really enjoyed their blog and projects. I kinda got a little shaky and instead of calmly signing BJ and my name in their book, I think it probably looked more like scribbles. But with all the dorky, nervousness aside, I was super-inspired when we left the book show and I was so glad we went to hear them speak and got a chance to meet them and get a copy of their book.
So what’s makes a book signing with your favorite home improvement and DIY bloggers complete? A trip to Ikea, of course. We left the book signing with me super inspired and recapping the entire presentation for BJ (We tried FaceTime while he was in line, but it didn’t work. Boo.) The great part about all the things that John and Sherry mentioned in their panel session is that we are actually in the process of trying to show our house some love for an upcoming reappraisal. With financing rates as low as they are, we are hoping to take advantage and get a new lower rate on our loan. Part of the process is to have the house reappraised since we are on the edge of a few financing rates.
Sherry and John’s advice during the session was invaluable and some of it I definitely needed to hear… such as “design and use your house for how you live.” It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting your house to look a certain way because it’s what you think other people will like, but you should design your home for how you live. You’re the ones that live there every day and call your house your home, right?
So with a reappraisal on the horizon and me still inspired from the panel session, here is our “Show Your House Some Love for the Reappraisal To Do List.” Or at least that what I’m calling it.
1. Weed the garden and replant the potted mums
In September, I planted mums in our new pots out front and they looked great until the frost came in and killed them. They looked so pretty after they were planted. It was a bummer they didn’t stand up to the cold temperatures. I tried covering the pots with blankets on the nights they called for frost but it didn’t keep the cold from getting to them.
Today I went back over to Home Depot and picked up some new mums to replace the brown ones on our front porch.
2. Spruce up the loft so it looks like we use the space
Our loft is one of those challenging spaces that were not really sure what do with. But after listening to the Young House Love presentation, we decided to use the room for how we live. Here is the loft in its current state:
My master plan is to use our college alma mater’s colors in a tasteful way. While we were Ikea this weekend, we picked out some Poang chairs with blue cushions and I’m now on the search for some yellow-gold chevron fabric so I can make curtains and pillows We are also going to hang some photos of the stadium and campus. The idea is to make this space a movie/game area inspired by our college. But it has to be tasteful. We’re not about to plaster our school’s logo on the wall with a ginormous vinyl graphic and call it done.
While we were at Ikea, we also found our future loft entertainment/storage center:
3. Organize and clean the spare bedroom and BJ’s office
I haven’t talked much about our spare bedroom or BJ’s office because they weren’t much to talk about. After we moved in to our our house, the spare bedroom and BJ’s office quickly became the two rooms that we stuffed everything into and then ran out and shut the door behind us. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
This weekend, we conducted a major overhaul of the spare bedroom and BJ’s office so they are presentable, usable rooms in time for the reappraisal. And we want to finally use those spaces for the way we live instead of just stuffing them full of items we don’t want to deal with.
4. Finish the crown moulding and baseboard projects
Last year, we started putting up crown moulding in the living room and kitchen and here is where we left off:
We also ripped out the trim in the dining room when we tiled the floor last year and we haven’t had enough time to replace what we tore out.
The remaining crown moulding and baseboard are now purchased and ready to sand, paint and install.
That’s our list! This week we are going to jump in and try get the list accomplished before we have the house reappraised. It’s time to show our home some love. Wish us luck because it could get crazy around here!