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Friday, March 30, 2012

A Springtime Terrarium Tutorial

When they were passing out green thumbs I forgot to get in line. Sure, I can keep certain types of houseplants alive. But thankfully I can blame the changing of the seasons for the regular demise of my outdoor pots.  When dear Bev of The Willows announced she had opened a new garden shop and was having a class on creating terrariums I showed up with bells on!

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There are two types of terrariums ~ closed and open. A closed terrarium, shown in the photo above, is generally more on the self watering end of the spectrum but still requires a weekly misting. An open terrarium is like a traditional house plant only dressed up. Over time both may need the soil changed out or nutrients added and perhaps an occasional haircut.

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So of course the first step is selecting a container. Bev had some beautiful. Lovely antique jars, round bowls and miniature conservatories.  I had brought along my own container.

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Although I created two terrariums on my kitchen counter, an outdoor work surface is perhaps a better choice if you want to get messy.

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You begin by adding a thin layer of pea gravel to your container to aid in drainage.

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Next add in enough rich soil for your plants to grow comfortably in.

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An interesting fact that I learned is that if you mix a bit of charcoal into the soil it allows air to diffuse within the soil which creates better quality soil (a natural fertilizer in essence) and helps keep bacteria at bay. 

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Of course you have to select the plants. Pick smaller varieties of your favorites.

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Succulents work really well in a terrarium environment and need very little watering.

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After you have potted your plants wet a bit of moss and cover the soil. The layer of moss will help to keep the soil moist longer.

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Next is when it really got fun for me. Decorating your terrarium. You can add in bits of driftwood.

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Try standing the driftwood straight up to help train a vine plant like in Kristina’s awesome vintage dairy jar.

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Or just lay it horizontally across the moss and soil to add a bit of visual interest.

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What about a wee bird in a nest? Looks like one of the eggs is ready to hatch.

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I’ve gone a bit overboard making terrariums since then.

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But wouldn’t this be a darling bit of spring to bring someone as a gift?

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I am already thinking about an antique glass battery jar.

I would need tongs to position everything in this one. But cute no?

Maybe add in a few gardner’s ala Amélie.

Garden Gnomes Elves - Plastic - Retro

And a wee toad stool or two via Etsy.

I am sure the Fashionista will want a forest of deer.

Not even Sweet Boy’s plastic zoo animals will be safe.

What would you put under glass?


Linking To:

Nesting Place

Thursday, March 29, 2012

An Everyday Spring Tablescape

Right off of the kitchen there is a little nook that our family enjoys the majority of our meals. It is a bright sunny spot that looks out onto the pool. I found the table at a discount store a few years ago. I am thinking about painting the thrifted antique bentwood chairs to match the table legs. What do you think?

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In an effort to be more environmentally conscience we use washable placemats and napkins. They are changed out every Saturday. (Unless there is an episode of spilt milk.) I adore this vintage linen set. It makes me happy to set a pretty table and takes just 5 minutes to do so. I know many families with kids hesitate to use nice things but in the end they are just things. Even children appreciate a lovely table and believe it or not, learn to respect the pretty. Although by the end of the week the reality is that the linens need a good soaking in oxy clean. :)

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We found our everyday dishes over 10 years ago while living in Germany. The drinking glasses were bought for a song at T J Maxx several years ago. As I Francophile I love the fleur de lis emblem. However my cub scout and his pack leader dad call them the Boy Scout glasses.

I recently made the napkin rings HERE.

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I couldn’t pass up this thrift store spoon and fork with an “L” monogram.

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Although grocery stores such as Trader Joe’s and Fresh and Easy occasionally provide a $5 centerpiece for the table, I love the current terrarium that adds a springtime focal point.

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Tomorrow I will share a step by step tutorial on how to create your own bit of potted bliss.


Linking to:


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

W.I.W.W.~ Spring Has Sprung

It is truly the best time of year to live in Phoenix. Temperatures range in the 70’s ~ 80’s right now. I try to get outside as much as I can before the fierce heat arrives. We are lucky to have a pretty park that is just three walking minutes from our front door.  I made the trip wearing my new Charlotte Russe sandals.

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I packed a little lunch in a basket that is probably older than some of my readers. Does anyone remember the Longaberger basket parties held in the early 90’s? One of Grandma Jingles vintage hankies makes for a perfect liner. The jean capri’s were found on clearance at Target last summer.

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A close up of the Anthropologie blouse purchased on clearance two summers ago and the polka dotted sweater was found at last fall’s clearance from Old Navy. A treasured necklace designed by Susan Rifkin. It was a birthday gift from Cousin T a few years ago.

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The Fashionista and I each brought along a book to read on the dock.  

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Surprise, I am very much old school. No kindles for me. I love the smell, touch and weight of a real book. Weekly trips to our local library are such fun for me. “The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette” is recommended for anyone who is crazy about the Queen and French history.

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Where and what are you reading?


Linking to:

The Pleated Poppy

Special thanks to the darling daughter  for her mad photo skills and letting mom borrow her Lilly Barrack bracelet.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A $15 Front Porch Makeover

The week started out with a 39 degree low but it now appears that spring has arrived in sunny Phoenix.

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On the front porch I cleared off all of the winter décor and hosed everything down. The red cushions that looked so cheery all through the holidays now appear tired and faded. The desert sun does a number on outdoor fabric even in the winter.

I plan on giving the bistro set a paint update before summer arrives. Dark bronze probably, although I am tempted by the thought of turquoise. Hmmmmm.

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I began with a vintage French linen cloth and topped it with a large basket I have had for years. Next came a plastic liner topped with a coconut fiber liner. I saturated it with water so it could easily stretch apart to fit the basket.

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The basket was filled with gerbera daisies, pansies, miniature petunias, coleus and alyssum and topped off with a bit of Spanish moss.

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On lovely afternoons I will sit out on the front porch watching Sweet boy and a gaggle of neighborhood kids play baseball or soccer in our cul de sac. Often a neighbor will join me.

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Care for a wee bit of refreshment?

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This Polish tea set is a longtime favorite of mine.

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The peanut butter cookies are a bit of melt in your mouth heaven. Care for a bite?

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You can take care of any crumbs with a napkin I made from antique ticking.

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Two pillows I had made last year were repurposed as soft and fluffy seat cushions.

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Want to know the best thing about having a table on the front porch? My awesome neighbors leave me wonderful goodies.

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Phyllis’ spectacular blossom’s now grace a side table next to Mr. Décor’s favorite reading spot.

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Yes, it is a sweet spot full of promise and hope to be sure.

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Let’s hope the blooms last at least a few more weeks before the heat sets in.

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Hope you have a spring in your step today!


 Linking to:

A Stroll Thru LifeBNOTP, The Shabby Nest, Tatertots and Jello, Common Ground, Addicted To Decorating, Southern Hospitality, Someday Crafts, Savvy Southern Style

Monday, March 26, 2012

A $7 Springtime Wreath Made In Under 30 Minutes

After the winter pom pom wreath took me like 300 hours to make I wanted something quick and easy for the front door this spring. As you know I also really love inexpensive creations. This wreath hit it out of the ballpark on both counts.

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I began with a wire frame I purchased at Joann’s for 50% off. The burlap garland was found at Michael’s and I used a 40% coupon. The total for the two items was $5.00.

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It is best to do this project outside as burlap can be a bit messy. Simply make a loop with the burlap ribbon and push it under and up through the wire ring.

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I went back and forth across all three rows. Scrunching the loops together to get the desired fullness.

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The entire roll of burlap ribbon was used to get this effect. Some faux willow was added that I purchased at Hobby Lobby. The stem was $3.99 at 50% off.  It was hot glued onto the burlap.

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I had the bird’s nest and quail eggs on hand. But you can find them at any craft store. A few of the branches of the willow were woven into the nest to make it blend better. Simple green wire holds the underside of the nest onto the wire wreath form.

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Don’t worry, you can’t see any of the wire wreath form even from the side.

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Tomorrow I will show you what is on my front porch.


 Linking to:

320 Sycamore Under $10 Under 1 Hour