April Showers Brought Plenty of May Flowers

Happy Thursday! The unofficial start of summer is this weekend, but before we kick off the celebrations, I want to take a minute to update you on how our tulips did this spring.

Our tulips started blooming the week before Easter and continued all the way through mid-May. It was exciting to see the variety of tulips as they bloomed. Each week we added a new color to the mix.

I normally share photos taken with my DSLR, but I had so much fun taking photos with my iPhone this spring, that I thought I would share those with you as well.

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We also had another successful year for our hyacinths. They been coming up every spring since I planted them over three years ago. This fall, I will dig up the bulbs and split them so we can have more hyacinths next year.

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Now that the tulips are gone, it is time to trim the plants and get them ready for next spring. Look for more garden posts to come!

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The Most Magical Flower and Garden Show on Earth

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. EpcotFGF_1 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. EpcotFGF_9 In some areas, the gardens were decorated to look like specific scenes. Many of the scenes use bright pink and red petunias. EpcotFGF_26 There were also floating flower pots on many of the ponds and lakes around the park. Each pots included different varieties of petunias. EpcotFGF_11 EpcotFGF_29 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. EpcotFGF_25 EpcotFGF_24 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. EpcotFGF_28 EpcotFGF_27 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. EpcotFGF_23 Outside of the Epcot World Showcase, Sorcerer Mickey and his was putting his magic powers to work on the broomsticks.EpcotFGF_22 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. EpcotFGF_14 EpcotFGF_16 Belle, Beast and friends were in France. EpcotFGF_13 EpcotFGF_12 And Captain Hook and Peter Pan were in England. EpcotFGF_6 EpcotFGF_31 Here are a few more of my favorite topiaries from the World Showcase. EpcotFGF_17 EpcotFGF_18 Even Snow White’s red lipstick and bow were stunning.  EpcotFGF_20 EpcotFGF_19 EpcotFGF_8 EpcotFGF_21 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.

Update: Spring has sprung!

(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.

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photo 2-2The crocuses are gone and now our tulips are coming up in stages. A few are still buds, but we have plenty that are already blooming in time for Easter on Sunday.
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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.

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We also planted Rembrandt tulips. The Rembrandt tulips are very bright and have pointed tips.

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I took many pictures of our tulips and this is my favorite of the tulip pictures I captured. This is a peacock tulip. They grow a little taller than the other tulips and have a softer look. 
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Here is another look at our peacock tulips. Our tulips are still blooming so look for more pictures to come. IMG_0795

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.

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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. 🙂

Getting our garden on

Our vegetable garden is officially planted! But before I show you the finished product, let’s go back a week so I can tell you all about our crazy veggie garden adventures…

Two years ago, our backyard looked like this:

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It was pretty empty.
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Last year, we added a gazebo to our patio to help spruce up the backyard and to make it a little more functional.

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This year, we decided to add a vegetable garden to our backyard. But the big question was, where should we put the garden? In order to plant our veggie garden, we first needed to decide on a place in our backyard and then measure out the appropriate space. In my last post I mentioned our plans for the patio. In order to know where we wanted to put our garden, we decided to map out patio design. From the design, we were able to take a few rough measurements and place the garden in a location that would be incorporated into the patio design down the road.

After taking the measurements for the patio design and marking off the garden using spray paint, we then used a tiller to dig up the soil.Thankfully, one of our good friends let us borrow his tiller for this project. Using a tiller was a huge time saver despite our very damp and muddy soil.

Since our yard is mostly clay, we bought top soil to lay over top of the clay. We calculated that it would take 27 40lb bags of top soil to fill our space. That’s 9080 lbs of top soil! Much to my surprise (BJ wasn’t skeptical, of course) were able to fit all the bags in my car but it was definitely riding low. Good thing we only live a few miles from Lowes!

On the evening that we chose to till the current soil and lay the new top soil, a scattered thunderstorm came through and it rained for about 30 minutes. This of course, didn’t help because we’ve had so much rain that the backyard was already damp and soupy.Once it stopped raining, BJ started tilling while I made our dinner. Gotta eat sometime, right?

After dinner and tilling, we added the top soil and laid our organic garden mat.

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It was pretty late by the time we finished laying the mat so we decided to wait until the next day to plant. In the meantime, our seedlings were growing like crazy in their starter kit.

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Then, the next over the three days it rained and was cold… so fast forward a few days to Mother’s Day.

I spent several hours on Sunday, cutting holes in the garden mat and planting our seedlings. By Sunday afternoon, all the seedlings were planted. We planted red and yellow tomatoes, sweet corn, green beans, zucchini, green and yellow peppers and a few herbs such as oregano, parsley and basil.

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Once the plants were in the ground, we covered the mat with peat moss and watered the entire garden.

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That night, BJ and I covered the entire garden to protect the seedlings from the potential frost.

After several days of planning, tilling and planting, our garden is complete. Now, we’re keeping our fingers crossed and hoping our little seedlings make it! After this year, we’ll see what crops produced vegetables and which didn’t. Next year we will adjust our game plan based on our results. Since we’ve never planted a vegetable garden before, this year will be our baseline to determine what will grow and what will not.

Do you have a vegetable garden? What vegetables and herbs do you have the most luck with each year?

Fireplace Spruce Up

Happy Saturday! I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend so far. We’ve been busy working on DIY projects and plans and I will have new posts to share with you soon.

Before we dive into our latest projects, I wanted to share some small decor upgrades we made to spruce up the look of our fireplace.

I found this large blue vase and sand blasted milk jug at Target during their Threshold sale a few weeks go. I’ve had my eye on the blue vase for a while and when it went on sale, (and I had a coupon) I couldn’t resist bringing it and the milk jug home.

After we added the vase and milk jug to the area in front of the fireplace, I decided to swap the flowers in the tall vases for white dahlias.

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The yellow bloom twigs in the large blue vase came from Michael’s.
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I like varying depths and dimensions that the vases add to the space. And Zoey’s blanket basket is still close by so she can sleep in one of her favorite spots.

More posts coming soon!

Hello, Hyacinths. Hello, Spring.

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.

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Now they are in full bloom!
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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.
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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.

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2. Mulch

Last year we added a layer of mulch to our garden, but after several rain storms, it’s time to mulch again.

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3. Plant a vegetable and herb garden in the backyard.

I’ve got big plans for a vegetable and herb garden this year.

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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!

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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?

Easter Egg-tastic

Happy Easter!

Every Easter, I always look forward to spending time with family, celebrating the special reason for this season, and dying Easter eggs.

I love traditional dyed Easter eggs, but it’s also fun to see all the creative ways that people dye their own eggs. I searched around Pinterest for creative Easter egg ideas and below are a few of my favorites.

These eggs remind me of robin’s eggs. So pretty. Teal is one of my favorite colors.
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These eggs were dyed using blueberries.

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The design on these pastel eggs was made using rubber bands. Very clever!

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These speckled eggs look like they will hatch baby birds! You could easily make the speckles using a Sharpie.

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These are my favorite! Every designer needs some Pantone eggs!

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Here are our traditional Easter eggs. This year, they seemed to turn out extra bright. Maybe next year, we’ll mix it up and try one of the techniques above.

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Have a wonderful holiday!