Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Habits that Make You Sick

Before Thanksgiving I battled back a cold. After Thanksgiving, I caught the cold. A week later, a mean virus snuck in and beat me down. I spent Wed. morning in the emergency room because I couldn't walk or sit up, I was so dizzy. It's terrifying to wake up, be hit with dizziness and nausea, be unable to walk to the bathroom so you have to crawl instead. I still fell over.

This got me wondering how to keep my house just a little cleaner and a little more germ free during these winter months. Remember last year I was in bed the first two weeks of December with an awful cold and a bit of flu.

I came across an article on WebMD that I thought was worth mentioning.

6 Daily Habits That May Make You Sick

It's a quick read, and totally worth the time.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pretty Little Ornament

Here's a new pretty I got at Pikes Nursery this year. Such a pretty olive green, with a hint of gold and sparklys too. The shape was what attracted me.

- alice

Monday, November 30, 2009

Removing Wax from a Table Runner

I'm trying one of Martha's tips for getting wax out of table linens. A candle had an accident on my pretty red table runner, so the iron and I are in the process of cleaning up said accident. These steps should work for most fabrics.

You'll need:

Paper Towels
Blunt tipped knife/object for gentle scraping

Step One: Remove as much extra wax as possible.

Step Two: Place the table linen and spot of wax on a stack of paper towels.

Step Three: Put another stack of paper towels on top of the wax spot and then place warm (not hot) iron on top of the paper towels. Leave it there for a minute at a time, then check for progress. Depending on the amount of wax, you may have to rotate or replace the paper towels as the wax soaks into them.

Can you tell where the wax was? (I can't either!)
Good as new

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Planting paperwhites

It's almost that time again. Get ready to plant your paperwhites. Here's a video to help.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

On the Hunt...

I'm on the hunt for a frame. You see I'm starting to gather more and more baby pictures. And pet pictures. And I'd like to add a few family pictures too. Normally I like those simple, elegant black with thick white mat frames that hold a 4 x 6 or two. But with all the variety of pictures I've been getting in the mail lately, I'm thinking I need to expand my horizons.

You see, we currently have one of those ribbon boards in the kitchen and I stick photos, business cards, etc up there. And after it gets full I take everything down and start over.

DH, sweetie that he is, has expressed interest in keeping at least one picture of the nephews out. I expressed interest in keeping a photo out of my kids, even if they have four legs and fur.

So we're thinking a picture frame with space for multiple photos...and it must be easily changeable...b/c we'd like to update it as kids grow and families change.

All that said, I'm looking for advice. Do you have a favorite frame? Place to shop for frames?

I'll let you know when we decide on something. :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Declutter How To

I tackled the library/extra guestbedroom closet today. This is the closet that used to house all my craft supplies. Can you believe it? Now, it isn't that big....

Now it stores books, magazines and gifts that I purchase well in advance. It also actually has space to *ding* *ding* *ding* hang clothes my guests come!

But as of this morning you couldn't see the floor. I'm sure all those of us who've recently ( I say that but it's been like 8 years) "moved out" will understand this next dilemma. When mom and dad clean out there house and give you all your junk back. Oh. Boy.

This has been going on for a while. and every so often I have a giant need to purge.

So, start with a big bag or box and label it trash. Then have a box for keepsakes. And last, a box for things to keep that do not go in this room.

Ready? Set the timer for 5 minutes (you do have a kitchen timer, right?! So handy!) and get to work. Just pick up the nearest pile and start tossing.

I like to get rid of trash first. It's easy to see what's trash. Envelopes. Packaging. Slips of paper. Boxes. Bags. Olddddddd magazines. You know, trash.

Be hard on yourself. Will you ever use it again? Have you thought of it recently?

I usually come across an item that I've been looking for for a while. Those are the items to keep. Everything else needs to go bye-bye. Toss, donate, sell. Get-rid-of-it.

Your trash is someone else's treasure, so lighten your load.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Corner of a Kitchen

Thought I'd show off a corner of my kitchen. The straw holder used to be hot pink. I gave it a makeover with a special spray paint in a dark brass/bronze color. It looks like hammered metal. Not bad for a $1 purchase from Big Lots ages ago, huh? The clear tube is actually plastic, but you can't tell unless you squeeze it.

The little church inspired birdhouse is actually a little vase. Perfect for one summer flower, don't you think. I think this was a whopping $.69 at my local "junk" store.

And the little Rosemary sign I got at a great little flower nursery over in Birmingham, Alabama. I can't really hang it in a green kitchen, otherwise you can't see the Rosemary. LOL

So this is a quick reminder that it doesn't have to be expensive or perfect to incorporate into your home. You just a) have to love it, and b) be willing to change it up a bit. Spray paint is your friend.

Have a fun project you recently completed? I'd love to see it.
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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Project Progress

Don't have a finished project to show yet, but we do have primer on the porch. I'm taking a much needed cool down and thought I'd show the proof of the progress. :) Have a wonderful Saturday.
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As promised, here's a picture of the tassel I made. Since DH and I enjoy a good bottle of wine, I decided to use a cork. This one has a beautiful leaf detail on it. The colors are olive, champagne, and chocolate. One of the ribbons has merlot poka dots.

The long champagne fringe is a remnant from walmart. As is the green fringe. The ribbons are from Michaels. And the top brown fringe is from Joanns. DH had a ball trying to hunt down the perfect thing. He did good, don't you think?

I used a glue gun and a wood candle cup as a base for the fringe. We're really pleased with the way it came out. I have supplies for one or two more. Just need to pick out a good/pretty cork.

So there you have it. One finished project.

Yesterday, we pressure washed the front porch and the north side of the house. After years of water restrictions the poor house was a tinge green. No more water restrictions so up the ladder I went. And now it's all clean. Whoop!

Today's goal: repaint the front porch. And perhaps tidy the tool bench in the basement.
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Another Finish a Project Weekend

We had such good results last weekend that I'm announcing that this weekend is another Finish a Project Weekend.

I finished my tassel last weekend.
And made progress on several other things as well.

Today's goal... pressure wash the porch. If I'm lucky, inspired or Hubby decides to help, I may be able to get the front and side of the house done. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Finish a Project Weekend

How many projects do you have that need finishing? If you're anything like me, you have a few. Guilty secret, yes. So I'm designating this weekend as Finish a Project Weekend...

Just a few projects I have that need finishing:

I'm making a valance for the laundry room.
I'm also making artwork for the laundry room and I just need to put it all together.
We've been meaning to put down weed killer and fertilizer on the yard... for a month.
I'm a little behind on my summer decorating...eeks.
Oh, and I need SOMETHING to put on my front door. It's nekkid.
And I have a tassel that I need to finish so I can hang it's beautiful self up.

What about you? Any projects to finish?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Necklace lengths...

One hobby of mine (thanks to my dad) is jewelry making. If you like to make jewlery too, or just wear it, here's an interesting website discussing the lengths of necklaces.

Included lengths:

I'll admit I'm really liking the Opera length lately and am looking to make some necklaces that length. Here's another website with photos rather than drawings. It's discussing pearls (wonderful pearls.) And examples of what to wear with each.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Heirloom Tomatoes

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Instant Herb Garden

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July Gardening Checklist

It's the middle of summer but that doesn't mean you can't get out in the garden. There's still plenty to work on your tan.

Check out this handy dandy checklist:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Projects, projects & more projects

In case you've been wondering where I've been...I'll tell you.

Two weeks ago our car went caput...which lead to a week long journey to buy a new one. Needless to say there was tons of research, phone calls, and hours of haggling involved. In the end, we came away with an AWESOME car.

Last weekend we went to visit nephew #2 for the first time. He's a little doll. And boy did we enjoy the new car... :)

The yard and the house have kept me busy, busy, busy. My roses are doing well, the veggie garden is weeded and growing. It's almost time to set out my tomatoes and peppers. It's time for some container gardening...once I get the porch and deck repainted/stained. Which means calling in the pressure washing guy. And the lawnmower still needs fixing.

I've been wanting a new bedspread for a while now... something lighter, cleaner...summer ready. I've been wanting white.


In this family?? Big dog. 2 fuzzy cats. Laid back husband...

Imagine my shock when we came home from Target the other day with a beautiful white and taupe bedspread...DH says "we might as well see if we can live with white." So now I'm protective. No dog on the bed. All pets (including husband... ;) ) must be supervised. Absolutely no eating in bed.

Not sure if I like this new protective side, but I love how clean the room looks. And that it's making me tackle the rest of the curtains... and accessories. I can't wait to show it off. I even have an orchid on my nightstand... WHOOP! I'm afraid I'm going to need some help finishing this space. And then I'm heading for the needs a paint job.

I have big plans, people. Big plans. And as soon as DH gets home (my camera is in the car) I'll have pics!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Food from the garden

We had lettuce from the garden the other day. Wow! Yummy.

And this morning, I pulled off my first strawberry from the bush. Woo Hoo! SOOO Yummy! If you have a small sunny spot, I recommend getting a big (16 inches at least) pot, fill it up with good, well draining soil, a bit of fertilizer, and two or three strawberry bushes. So simple, so yummy!

Sadly, I should have taken a pic before I ate the strawberry. .... Oops! ;)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Video: How to Hang Art

This is a great refresher for all of us as we do a little spring cleaning, redecorating and rearranging. Some simple design principles that will really pull your home together.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm Alive...

Biltmore Gardens in 2006

Hello out there in blogland. Yes, I am alive... just been busy in the garden. Have all sorts of cute stories to tell. But it's raining today, which is why I'm inside...blogging.

Laundry is in the wash and now I'm off to tackle the master closet. I do this about twice a seems to stay sorta organized for about 5 months, then that sixth month, yikes!

Also decorating for Easter and visiting other blogs to see what friends are doing. Joy always has awesome decorations. More cute things over at Bless Our Nest... And at Southern Hospitality of course.

I've got all sorts of pictures to upload... maybe once I get the closet done and check out a few blogs. By the way, are you on twitter? If so, send me your url so I can follow you. :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Quick & Easy Tips for a Spring Ready Porch

Spring is here in Atlanta. The sun is out again. Temp in the low 70s today. Sorry for all of you who have snow to deal with.

The warm temps are tempting me outside and I'm looking at my porch and deck thinking "hmm, it's time for a makeover." Whether or not a make over is in your budget, here are a few tips to tidy up your space and get it ready for warmer weather.

#1 Get rid of trash.

If there are pots of dead plants, wrappers, coke cans, plant labels and other assorted trash on your porch, grab a trashbag and clean it up.

#2 Clean up dead vegetation.

If you have dead or dying plants, or just something that needs a trim, now's the time. Empty pots into your compost pile (or the trashcan.) And get your snips out and trim up any plants that need trimming.

#3 Declutter

What's cluttering up your space? Forgotten decorations? Extra pots? It's time to declutter. A clutter free porch looks so much better. So clear it off.

#4 Sweep

Sweep the walls and the floor. Dust off tables, chairs, and other surfaces.

#5 Add a decoration or two.

Now's the time to add a colorful, Spring inspired decoration or two. Pillows, bows, wreaths are all great options. Don't be afraid to switch out pillows, add a matching throw and/or tablecloth to give your space a little sparkle. Use old frames to create instant artwork.

#6 Add a Spring plant.

Tulips are great. So are daffodils and crocus. Even a boxwood would do. Create a focal point with a colorful arrangement.

#7 Make doors & windows sparkle

Take a damp cloth (a window cleaner may be necessary) and wipe down windows and doors to get rid of winter dust.

#8 Make a list.

Make a list of things that need fixing or painting. Perhaps the door could use a new coat of paint or you need to fix a shutter. Make your list as you're tidying your porch so you'll have it later.

Read more on this topic
Homemade Simple
Cindy's Porch
Old Fashioned Living

Monday, March 16, 2009

Review: Real Simple Magazine

Happy Monday everyone! It's the beginning of a brand new week. I'm sure you have lots to do, but I have a quick review for you to start the week off.

If you're like millions of folks in America, I'm sure you've read or heard of Real Simple Magazine. I remember when they came out with their first issue. People were aflutter about this new magazine that would change the way people live.

The folks over at Real Simple contacted me about looking over their March issue. They're excited about their article about 71 ways to save money. Their total? Over $19,000 this year.

Who doesn't want to save $19,000? Okay, get outta here then. But come back tomorrow. ;)

So I dove into the magazine, remembering all the things I love about it. Their product comparisons (I personally prefer carmex and the lip conditioner from - neither of which were listed, but that's my opinion.), I adore their advice column where normal folks like you and me write in with tips, and I really like their recipes.

There are many things to love, which reminds me, I need to reup my subscription.

About their money saving article... to be honest, there were things in there that gave me good ideas, but for me personally, most of them were "been there, done that." Not to say that you won't find it useful...

But I personally have never spent $20 a week on flowers. When I read that some people do, I turned to Hubsters and said "OMG, I'm supposed to be able to spend $20 a week on flowers. Did you know this?" Yeah, I'm totally excited about that possibility.

Seriously, I have house plants. I always have. Philodendron is a great house plant, low maintenance, only asks for water every few weeks and really likes bad lighting. I also have small Boston ferns, maiden hair ferns, snake tongue plant, orchids ($7.50 at Walmart) and a variety of others. None of which I paid over $5. And there is one in every room.

Next, we don't go to movies. In fact, I waited in line at the kiosk of one of those mega theaters, got up there (it was 4pm which in our area means matinee) and the price was $10.50. 30 minutes of waiting for $10.50? I turned around and walked off. Saw the same movie at my local (still new, just not as monstrous) theater for $5. No wait. It has to be a major event (like James Bond) for us to see a movie in a theater. For a few reasons. Concessions. Overpriced? Heck yes. Insane ticket prices? Heck yes. Kids disturbing my enjoyment, people talking on cell phones, and popcorn in the hair, huh!

Do I understand that theaters have to make money some how? Yes. Do I like the prices? No. Do I have to go there? No. That's why we have a theater room in our basement. Nothing fancy. Just a TV with a stereo that provides a bit of surround sound, some old couches, comfy blankets, a discount mini fridge and an older microwave that acts as our concession area. I'm decorating it to look like an old timey theater. And guess what... no phones, no kids, no popcorn in the hair.

Honestly, did you buy one of those large flat screen TVs for Christmas? Do you have a VCR, TV and/or DVD player in your home?! RENT! Make it a Friday Night movie, complete with your own affordable popcorn, a beer, and a blanket.

We love hulu. We also subscribe to netflix. And on occasion, we'll rent from the redbox (mentioned in the article) or from our local grocery. With a handy dandy wire, we can watch hulu or netflix insta-watch on our TV in the movie room. Wire cost? $8. Do I mind seeing advertisements on hulu? NO! They're shorter than on TV. Not to mention if you get to a movie theater early (like I do) You have to watch 30 minutes of advertising anyway. 30 minutes of ads or 15 seconds worth 4 or 5 times during a show? That's whopping minute!

As for books, I support my library, but I will always buy books. I never buy hardbacks. I buy paperbacks. $3 romance novels that give me hours of enjoyment. Or ebooks. Not the $9 rip offs. Again $3 or $4 romances. Let me think..... $10.50 for a movie I may or may not enjoy (plus all above stated issues with theater watching) for 2 hours or 5 hours of blissful quiet in my own home for $3, that's such a tough decision.

Here are a few other things we did that cut back on costs:

*got rid of a land line. Hate talking on the phone anyway, and we each have a cellphone. We switched to Vonage. Cheap, free long distance. I can call Europe for a penny a minute or something like that.
* got rid of our second line and toll free line. We own our own company, thus the second line and 800 number. But those two weren't getting the use we thought they would, so chop chop.
* we reduced our cable as low as it would go. We still have high speed Internet because we own our own company... web design would be hard without it.
*we got rid of a car. Honestly, we've used one car for 5 years now. No sense keeping the other and paying insurance on something we never used.
* we found out about a group insurance rate we're eligible for. Saving over $200 a month there.
* we don't have kids = cheap.
* we don't have iPhones, big screen TVs or go on elaborate vacations. We don't drive a monster vehicle that gets 5 miles to the gallon. We don't buy expensive clothes, shoes, or jewelry.
* we love yard sales, thrift stores, etc. It's so much fund to find a "find."
* we're not afraid to redo something... a chair, a table, an accessory.
* we don't belong to a gym, country club or golf course and have never wanted to.

So where do we spend our money?
*out to eat
*house projects

It should be noted that we're very blessed. We're lucky this go round. During the last downturn in 2002, hubby was without a job for 9 months. I was still in school. We do our best to work hard, diversify our incomes, save money, have a savings. But we also don't watch the news. We try not to make decisions based on the chaotic views of some. We try to be frugal, give back to others, and lead by example. Is our way the right way? Who knows. It's our way. We're happy. We're blessed. We still buy things we want and need. We have that luxury this go round. We understand that not spending is not going to solve an economic crisis. We do things ourselves to save money, but we also hire out to help others make money.

All of that said, Real Simple gets an A. I will resubscribe. But I hope that every issue from now on is not so locked into "don't spend, save every penny" mode. That's as depressing as the news.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

When will they get here?

I've been enjoying all sorts of birds lately. Now I'm ready for my hummers to come back. I've got my shepard hooks ready. Feeders too. According to this map, last year in my area the hummers came back around March 16th. That's exciting b/c that's only a week or so away. It's so warm out, I might put the feeders out this weekend.

Great resource (map):

New Birds in the Anderson Garden

So far this year I've identified:

Tufted Timouse
House Finch
And a woodpecker: I think it's an Ivory Billed
Mourning Doves
and Robins

There are more birds, yet to be identified. Still waiting on the Hummers.

yesterday's progress

Yesterday's High: 80 (In March. First day of march = snow)

I divided several liriopes...whew, what a job! Transplanted them.

Divided my sedum into four new mounds.

Divided two of my day lillies that were too clustered together.

Planted two new roses, Climbing Peace and Climbing American.... poetic, don't you think?

Extended the bed that the roses are in.

Raked leaves and in general, weeded things as I went along.

On the 9th, I started a whole bunch of seeds, yelllow & roma tomatoes, impatiens, thyme, and whole bunch more.

I'm waiting for my other seeds to hit a growth spurt. It seems like they've all been the same size for a week now.

I have a few that are already spending afternoons outside getting ready to go into the cold frame.

Have also been organizing the garage, since the garage sale. And I've got my eye on the tool room in the basement....and my craft room of course.

Organize Your Bookmarks

I've been using Delicious now for about a year now I guess and I really like it. I like that I can save a bookmark from any computer. I like the tags. I like that the firefox addon/extension i have has a Delicious bar so I can see my most recently saved bookmarks quickly.

But, sometimes I'm not so on top of tagging. So today's goal is to go through 20 bookmarks and double check the tags.

Tomorrow's goal is the same. This may take a while. Current bookmark count: 886. See what I've bookmarked.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hardy Volunteers

Recently hard a new term: hardy volunteers.

These are annuals that are prolific reseeders. When we moved into this house I noticed a little leafy vine with adorable red flowers growing in the side bed. No idea what it was, a weed or something else, I enjoyed it. Come to find out it was cardinal vine.

I enjoyed finding that little gem in the garden and I'm looking forward to finding varieties of other plants that will reseed themselves and surprise me in the years to come. So far I've had tremendous success with violas. :)

Questions and Answers

Also known as notes to self.

How much to trim off of lantana: 1/3 to 1/2 per year, you can prune it back throughout the growing season to make it bushier.

How much/when to trim hydrangeas: about 1/3 of the oldest stems per year... now my grandma used to cut hers back to the ground and each year, poof, huge beautiful bushes. But then again, grandma has a super green thumb.

Can you divide a snake plant? Yes. Spring is best. Break apart the root ball. They evidently like to be pretty root bound, so I'm thinking mine will go into two smaller containers. Mine seems like to like terra cotta. I'd love to put it on the porch this summer.

Some great info on growing hostas in the south.
I'm in 7b, just outside Atlanta.

More great tips for starting a compost pile.

More notes to self: acid-loving plants - camellias, azaleas, gardenias, hydrangeas, rhododendrons, and blueberries

Coffee in the garden? Yep! Starbucks gives away the used coffee grounds to gardeners to use in their gardens and compost piles.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Report from the Garden 3.8.09

The weather this weekend has been incredible. We had a yardsale (very successful), I trimmed the liriope, did some general weeding in the bed in front of the porch.

We built an official compost pile based on Allen Smith's directions in the following video. Very easy, very nice looking, already added to it. We made ours 4 x 8, instead of 8 x 8. I'll take a pic soon.

I also trimmed up the lantana and crepe myrtles, weeded the flower beds next to the curb, killed some ants (life is so glamourous), planted some seeds, did tons of research, cleared out some trees from the backyard, and pressure washed the back of the house.

We also planted a red climbing rose next to the retaining wall... I follow Allen Smith's recipe for rose planting as well.

Our mini daffodils are coming up by the dozens. I'm so thrilled!

The tulips are leafy, little flower buds tucked down inside. I can't wait for them to bloom.

Oh, and our bradford pears are this close (holds fingers an inch apart) to blooming. Seems a little earlier, but then again, the weather is beautiful. 75... perfect for gardening.

And the lettuce has sprouted beneath the hoop house. No signs of the potatoes Mr. Hubby planted yet.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Water Globes

I've been meaning to review my Water Globes for a while now. I got my first one for Christmas and by the end of the week I'd gone out and gotten more.

Rating: 5 stars

I love these things. In case you don't know what a water globe is:

They're a bulb shaped piece of glass that you pour water into, stab it into the soil of a pot, and let it water your plant.

What I love about them is that all my house plants look so much healthier now that I have them. They get a constant small amount of water, helping them grow better and stronger. I'm seeing more shine, more leaves, and more perked up plants.

I have 9 water globes, 8 are from WalMart.

Crafty Gardener posted about water globes the other day and asked for opinions. I agree that bigger pots may need two globes or more frequent filling. I use a long bamboo skewer to poke a hole in the soil before inserting the globe. I use the same skewer to clean out any dirt from the globes tube. I find it easiest to fill all the globes on the same day, using the faucet in my bathtub (zero oxygen vs. the faucet in the kitchen that has a filter). I do them one by one, keep a rag handy for spills, and keep the skewer close by too. Smaller pots might tip over so I recommend bracing the globe against something (a wall, furniture) after insertion.

Having the globes reminds me to turn my houseplants (for even growing) since I poke the globe in a new hole each refill. They also force me to take a closer look at the soil and the plants versus doing a drive by watering. I have to say, my plants are happy and so am I. I can't wait to use these outdoors this summer.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Time to clean the coffee maker

I mentioned that I do things when they strike me... Like the coffee maker. One day you just look down and think, when was the last time I gave this thing a good cleaning.

I followed Real Simple's instructions. 2 cups of white vinegar, 2 cups of water. Run it through the coffee maker like usual. Then I run clean water through two more times. Then I put any parts that can go in the dishwasher in to wash, give everything else a wipe with a damp cloth. And done!

Monday, February 23, 2009

February's Word of the month: PLAN

As in Plan Ahead, Plan for Today, Plan for Tomorrow, Game Plan...

Up until a year ago I was one of those people who bounced (okay, crawled) out of bed and was off to do whatever needed doing. Unless...there was an important event that needed planning. Then I was all lists, calendars, schedules, notes, etc. But my day to day life was less structured and most of the time I didn't plan ahead, didn't prepare for things.

But then I got tired of showing up to family events without my camera or having forgotten to bring a card. So I started planning a head, just a little for those type things. What would I wear? Do I need to clean anything? Where is that great pair of shoes? Do I need to bring anything? Etc. My goal was to be one of those women that is so completely together. You know the one. Perfect hair, trimmed nails, nice outfit, on time with a smile and her camera in her purse. Yeah, I wanted to be her.

I'm not sure if I am her yet. But I sure am trying.

So this month's word is Plan. Plan for tomorrow, plan for today, plan for the unknown. Prepare yourself. Get ready early. If there are things you can plan ahead of time do it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

My new greenhouse

Today, well, this week, I've totally been hooked on my new greenhouse. It's wonderful! Spacious (and yet small), warm and cozy for the plants.

Drop by Hooked on Houses and share what you're hooked on this week.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Organizing the Pantry

Does anything feel better than an organized pantry? Okay, some things... but an organized pantry is high on my list. Here are a few tips & pics from my recent organizing adventure. And what an adventure it was. Let's just say that the pantry had gotten a little... full.

And the trash can isn't even in there!

The most frustrating thing about organizing a pantry? All the expired food that you've forgotten about. The next most frustrating thing? When you have boxes that are 3/4 empty!

But that's all part of the organizing process. I grabbed my trusty organizing tote (yes, I have a tote dedicated to helping me stay organized. I use one of those plastic totes with a handle and have 3 old "camping" mugs inside it to help the organizing tote, well, stay organized. You can't have an unorganized Organizational Tote, now can you? The mugs are plastic and therefore lightweight. Inside the tote I have have labels, lots and lots of 'em. Hanger thingy-ma-jigs from Post-it. Velcro ties, twist ties, pens, markers, tape, and ziplock baggies (in two sizes). Oh, and post its and my label maker... which seem to have crawled out of the tote in this pic: I grabbed my tote and got to work. I tossed out at least a dozen boxes. For that half bag of croutons I simply ripped the top off the box, folded the bag down several times and then put the box top over the folds and used a clothspin or two to hold everything shut. These bundles (yes, there were more than just croutons!) were then placed in a plastic basket, labels facing out! Ahh, organized as last.

But wait... what about that half empty box of rice that has no bag... and no hope of staying fresh without some help? Suction containers to the rescue.

I simply cut the back of the box off and taped it to the container. (Great package design, btw. i was able to cut the type and cooking instructions all at one time and it fit perfectly.)

Now...if I could just see everything in the back. It's not that I'm short, it's just that too many items are the same height and I only have one of those two shelf can organizer things. So until I can get more, I recycled the empty boxes. Yeah, remember the twelve from the trashcan? I also grabbed my stash of grocery bags. We keep these around for scooping kitty poo. So the empty box turned into this:

I taped it shut. And then it went to boost the back row:

See it there below the oatmeal, raw sugar packets and kosher salt? Another thing that I did was lay all unopened boxes on their side, label out. See them laying there on the left? That way I can see at a glance what is open and needs to be used and what is those two boxes of cake mix. *sigh*

The next level down is items we use most often...cans, oils, vinegars, etc.

I use those slim plastic tray/boxes to keep smaller like items together. This makes it super easy to grab items from the front of the shelf and see what's going on in the back.

Now you see them, now you don't:

On the next shelf down we have a plastic tub for snacks, breads, and chips. There's also a container for pasta.

On the shelf below that, oh boy, all my baking supplies. I organized those after the holiday baking frenzy.

And on the floor I have a cute basket for onions and potatoes.

So... now I need to take pictures of the back of the door, where I keep all my spices, but here's the after picture. A little tidier I think. It feels tidier!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

An Ahah Moment

I love Ahah moments... if I were in a cartoon, the lightbulb above my head would be burning bright right now.

It seems like I'm always needing a pen downstairs, and yet they never stay downstairs. They get shuffled to the bedroom or office or pocket book or, well, who knows where those critters run off to. Becuase they don't have a "home." But the point is, I have a plan. Well, I've had it for a while but the implementation wasn't so... there. The plan? To label food with a date as it comes into the house. You know how on baking soda boxes there's a spot where you can write down what date you need to change the box?

Pure brilliance!

So I thought, why don't I write the buy it date on boxes and cans and things that way I know when I got it, in case there's no expiration date. My problem has always been keeping a sharpie handy for the labeling. I was always faithful to those Baking Soda boxes though.

So my solution? My lightbulb moment?

I have a pen organizer with a magnet on it. I've had it forever! It's the kind you stick in your locker in highschool. And right now it's organizing markers on my desk. Not very handily, I might add. So I thought, why not actually stick it to the fridge and use it again! Yeah, such a dumb lightbulb moment. But I'm pleased b/c I'm reusing something I already have, using something for it's intended purpose, and solving a problem I've been having.

Now I can store a sharpie, pens, and even a letter opener on the far side of the fridge. (That way it's not visible unless you're deep in the kitchen.

Garden Journal 2/18/09

I did a little seed starting today. This past weekend I purchased a portable greenhouse, it's taken refuge in a corner of my kitchen near a bright window, above a heating grate. Since I did so much kitchen organizing yesterday, today it was the plants turn. I planted the last of my tulip bulbs in a few springish containers... I'll be sure to do this prior to, oh, February next year. Time just passed me by. I also can't wait to divide my bulbs. I'm getting so many since they've been in the ground about 3 years I think. See, this is why I need a journal. :)

So what did I plant today?

A mystery seed... it fell out of the seed packet into the container, but I think it may be Rock something or other. Rock Cress I think.
moss rose
sweet peas
black eyed susan
snap dragon
and grourds

I also found a great article on how to bring my poinsettias back for this Christmas, so I trimmed those back, watered a bit, and put them in the greenhouse.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A welcoming doorway

I haven't had a chance to post any pictures from the flower show yet. We'd lost Pumpkin the day before, so it was hard to enjoy all the flowers. But I have something new to share with everyone...

A year or so ago we bought a new door lock kit for the front door and we put it up this weekend...nothing like procrastination. It looks fabulous. Now I need to repaint the rest of the door to look as fabulous.

Now this, this is not my front door. It is very inspirational though. It's got color and height. Texture.


Susie over at Bienvenue is talking about doors as well, well, first impressions and don't you think doors create first impressions.

How is your front door looking? Does it need a new coat of paint? A wreath? A new doormat? Speaking of, is the doormat centered? I just think a centered doormat makes everything look tidy, but doormats have a way of sliding around on my porch...

Here's another door for inspiration:


If you'd like to take a pic of your front door, I'd love to see it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Head start for hummingbirds

I do things when they strike me. Today, it's getting ready for the years hummingbirds. I'm sorry to say I neglected my dear little friends most of last year. This year, I'll be more prepared. I'm getting a jump start by cleaning their feeders again (since I left them out with my pots, oops) and I'm going to go ahead and mix a milk jug of food. I bought powder... b/c I could never remember if I had anynow, now I have plenty. Once the powder is gone, it's on to the premixed kind. I'm sure it costs more, but shortcuts are my friend. Premixed hummingbird food can be frozen ahead of time. It stores, thawed, for 2 weeks.

Loss and Blog Apathy

A little over two weeks ago my cat Pumpkin was run over behind our house. We always knew the road was there. We debated heavily on getting a fence. Since our animals never went back that far, and our backyard is all trees, we were leaning against not getting one. This was my garden kitty, as I call her. But now I see she was so much more. Out of our three kitties, she was the cuddliest. She was my first kitty. She was my buddy. She loved being outside with me, or inside, on my lap.

To say I'm devastated is putting it mildly. I'm amazed how much one can love 12 pounds of fuzz. I'm also amazed that having two other kitties has not helped this painful transition at all. The two of them together come no where close to filling Pumpkins paws. They're shy and not as cuddly. They have their moments. And they're very endearing... but they're just not Pumpkin.

I haven't felt like doing much of anything that reminded me of pumpkin... and gardening and organizing remind me of her. Because she was always there to lend a paw... even if it was just to act as a paper weight. :)

But my pantry desperately needs organizing, so I guess I have two new recruits to train. :) Stay tuned for pictures. I need to share the South Eastern Flower Show photos with you...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Video: Boost your relationship

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here's a great video on how to renew, boost, and revitalize your romantic relationship. Quick and helpful, so give it a watch and boost your relationship today.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Video: Help the Birds

Depending on where you're at in the world, you may notice birds heading north or to your birdfeeder. Here in the south, I like to feed the birds who've hung around all winter long.

So give it a go and enjoy your feathered friends.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Growing Potatoes

Mr. Husband and I had great success growing sweet potatoes last year so this year we have our sights set on regular potatoes. We can't wait!

As normal, I'm doing research to make sure everything goes smoothly and I thought I'd share a page that I found with plenty of info about growing potatoes.

It says potatoes like acidic soil (below a ph of 7) and I wanted a refresher on how to make my soil acidic. I found a whole page of ideas including mixing pine straw with the soil, using coffee grounds, or an acidic fertilizer. This afternoon will be a great time to take stock of what I have in my basement.

And as a side note, I found a neat video on how to plant shallots. I haven't had much...okay, any, luck with growing my own onions, so you can bet that you'll be seeing lots of tips around here about that.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Looking for something to plant?

I found a really incredible webpage with dozens of pictures of plants. So if you have something in your garden you're wondering about, or just looking for something new to plant, check out these photos and names:

Monday, February 2, 2009

When to plant Gladiolas

Mr. Husband, Mom-in-Law and I went to the South Eastern Garden show this past Saturday and it was fabulous as usual. I'm totally ready to garden. I saw a good deal on gladiola bulbs at Lowes and brought those home.

I already had tulips and since Mom-In-Law bought us this awesome auger (that's it's name actually) we had no excuse here in Georgia to start planting bulbs. Let me say, Mr. Husband and I love the auger. It makes such quick work of planting.

As for when to plant the Glads... I was wondering that so I came up to the ol' computer and did some research. As soon as the ground can be worked. So I went ahead and planted a row of five. I'll do another row in 10 days, and so on. Constant blooms.

Thanks to this website for the info on Glads... if you've got Glad questions, check it out.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Video: 16 more quick tips for Home Office Organization

Here are 16 more quick tips for organizing a home office, especiallyy if you're short on space.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Help someone in need

Do you have a friend or neighbor who's feeling the pinch? Are they scrimping on groceries? Tightening their belt?

As you're going through the Sunday paper or coupon books, save coupons that they might find useful.

You could even clip coupons and put them in a folder labeled coupons and leave it at church for others to add to and use.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Video: Organizing Home Office Supplies

I don't know which I love more: office supplies or organization. This clip reminds us to stock office supplies and keep them organized and handy.

Go ahead and test those pens, pencils (sharpen if needed) and highlighters. Get rid of any that don't work.

Purge the trash, old to do lists, and paperwork you don't need. Start with one cubbie or just a square foot of desk space. That'll be your starting point.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A decorative idea for readers

I just love love love this bookshelf. One day soon I'm going to have to get these for my library.

I think that interesting collections of books (I'm totally hooked on books) make a great finishing touch to any room. Think coffee table, kitchen, entry way, bedside table. And you know me, I'm also hooked on anything that will help me stay organized or display my faves. I don't have many collections or displays, but I do have a billion books... :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Purple Petunias


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Video: Organizing a Closet

This is a great video to remind us all of what we've (most of us anyway) heard before. A simple, quick way to start off a new year right.

So hop to it. Organize those closets.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

So I'm just getting around to showing off my Christmas decor... If you're totally sick of Christmas, sorry!




Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Product Review: Pedi Paws

Rating: 5 stars

I have three cats and a dog. The cats don't mind getting their nails trimmed that much. Tip: wrap them in a snuggy towel. Stick out one paw at a time and talk softly.

But with the dog... I'm never sure exactly how much to cut and I get the feeling he knows it. I've never cut too much, but I'm still apprehensive.

Enter the Pedi Paw.

I love this thing. And I think that the dog does too. He lays quietly and let's me file his nails. I file his nails more often than I'd cut, but it works for us. The motor seems strong enough and you get an extra sanding wheel which I'm sure I'll need in a few months. All in all, definitely worth the investment.

Get yours:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Organizing Tip: Earrings

A few years ago my mom gave me a big jewelry box. We're talking one with lots of drawers, a mirror, wings, and legs. It's pretty tall. And I love it. I love having all my jewelry organized.

But I have a bad habit of taking of my earrings wherever my ears start to hurt. Which is usually in bed while I'm reading, after I've gotta all snuggled in. Yes, I usually forget to take my jewelry off before getting into bed. And you know, once I'm all snuggled into a warm bed, only a fire or a sick pet could get me out.

So I take the earrings out and put them in my nightstand so they don't get lost. I've learned to embrace my quirks.

Which is why when I was organizing the other day and found an old, small jewelry box, I stuck it in my night stand to hold the jewelry that I tuck away in there. I've found that once it's full I can just take it back to the big box and put things away.

Lazy? Yes. Organized? Yes. Work for me? Yep.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Inspired by...

I love finding new inspiration on others blogs. I have an eye out for new chairs and I came along this post. What a difference paint and fabric make! I'm totally inspired! Now to find a chair like that.

Home & Life goals

It's goal time here at A Walk in the Garden and boy do I have lots of them. I talked before about my blog goals for 2009, but today I'm talking a little more about Home & Life goals.

In the last year or so I've been really concentrating on quality. Quality furniture, rather than disposable good for now furniture. Substance. And making our house a home. A home to me is a warm cozy place with softly glowing lamps, soft rugs, plush cushions, and snuggly blankets. It's clutter free and is full of favorite accessories, memories and pictures. It's the little things. The finishing touches. The pleasant smell in each room. It's the warm smile after a long day. It's a pot of coffee in the morning. It's afternoon sunlight filtering through the windows or a brand new day at dawn's first light. It's organized and serene. It's a safe haven from the world. A home is taken care of just as it takes care of you.

I have plenty of goals and resolutions for 2009. Resolutions follow me all year long. Things like being punctual, smiling more, commenting on others blogs. Goals, however, I've broken down monthly. I think having a deadline will help.

I haven't decided the difference between goals and to do lists yet. So for now, I just write things down that need to get done, feelings I want to achieve, things I want to accomplish.

So for January a few of my goals include:
* take down Christmas decorations
* decorate for Valentine's Day/Winter
* update the family address book (we use Highrise HQ)
* get rid of an old couch we never use
* sell our secondary car that we never use
* have friends over for a nice dinner
* reorganize master closet

For more goal inspiration...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Video: Organizing Lipstick

I love all things organizational. This video combines going green with being organized. While it looks a little labor intensive, it could be a fun project for a rainy Sunday.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Finishing Touches

I always love a well finished room, don't you? Welcome to Finishing Touches Friday... where I look at the finishing touches that make a house a home. You might find pictures from my own home, links to other blogs, or even catalogs.

Hooked on Houses is having a party and I thought I'd join in with a little something I'm hooked on.

The door of our home office has a problem staying I'm totally hooked on attractive doorstops! Isn't this one beautiful? It's from Ballard Designs. And I'm not totally shocked by the price. $25. Get yours here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wordless Wednesday