Friday, July 27, 2012

A Midsummer's Night Dream: A Green Garden

"Show me your garden... and I will tell you what you are like." ~Alfred Austin

I found this quote posted in the U.S. Botanic Garden in D.C. while visiting with my sister a couple years ago.  As beautiful as a quote this is, I hope Alfred Austin doesn't judge me based on my garden.

I told you that I would share the good and the bad.  Well this is going to be about the bad.  The very bad.  This summer has been very busy.  While this is no excuse, my garden has succumbed to our busy schedule.  In addition to our travels, the weather in Virginia has been scorching this summer, thus causing my plants to roast and wilt.

Here is what the garden looked like on July 5, 2012:


The garden looked good, but a bit over crowded.  The beans in the front and the zucchini overtook most of the garden. The eggplant in the back had blossoms, but no fruit yet.  Same with zucchini and beans.  The tomatoes were coming, but still green.  It looked like it would be a pretty fruitful garden.

The flowers that I planted back in April were scorched.  I took them out of the planters and added some new ones:


I also pulled some little "chicks" from my big chicks and hens plant and put them in new pots. I put the coffee filter at the bottom to hold the soil, filled it up with soil, and plopped in the new plant.  I love these plants.  They are so easy to take care of (they love the heat!) and they grow like crazy.  I've found that if easily I pull off a brown/dead leaf from a plant, a new one will grow.


I added a hosta in one of the blue pots because the previous plant died.  My zinnias are not doing too well, but the rest of the potted flower plants are:


The flowers in the front of the house got neglected and fried as well.  So I got some spikes ( my Gram always used these) and some nice pink petunias and planted those.  They are still doing well.  


In the following couple of weeks, I picked two medium sized zucchinis and made some delicious muffins and picked a handful of green beans.  That is all my garden produced in those few weeks.

Since then, we've been on a week vacation and made a few weekend trips.  I had to pull up the bean plants before our week vacation because they died.  The bell pepper plants aren't doing well and neither are the eggplant ones.  The tomatoes still aren't ripe or growing much either.  However, to my surprise, when I got home yesterday from last week's vacation, there was a HUGE zucchini.  I look forward to frying it.


The garden, as of today, is well...I'm not sure it would qualify it as a garden.  It is pretty dismal.

Taken July 26, 2012
However, the flowers are still doing well.  The zinnias are pretty much dead, but the hosta, lantanas, succulents, and the tall plant in the back (don't remember what it is but produces pretty white flowers) are doing well.

I think I might put more vegetable plants in pots next year and put the beans in the back with some sort of trellis.  I think that might help the garden a bit...along with a few less weekends away.  I hope for better luck and cooler weather next year...and hopefully Alfred Austin will be pleased next time around.

Now you can (or not this time) Do It Yourself Too !

~Stephanie



Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ready to Frame

I like to hang pictures around the house.  I have a set of brown frames in my living room and a set white ones that are in my stairwell going up to the bedrooms.  I mostly buy the same types of frames (I like a certain brown one from Kohl's and the white ones from Ikea), but I will occasionally find another type that I like too.  Whatever frame I find, there is usually one thing that irks me....when I have to hang them on the wall with the hardware that they come with.  It's usually the sawtooth hanger or a teeny triangle that goes on the nail.  I don't really care for either of them because they aren't typically centered on the frame.

I do like the way professional framers put the wire on the back. It makes it easier to hang and helps make it more even.

So whenever I have a frame that needs wire, this is what I do:



You'll need a staple gun, wire cutters, some type of sturdy wire (I use floral wire which does the trick), and rubber pads (optional - but help to keep the frame "stuck" to the wall and prevents any scratching).


First, I take cut a piece of wire that is about two inches past the edge of the frame.


Then I use the staple gun to attach the wire to the frame and twist the remaining wire.


Then I staple a part of the twisted wire just to make it a bit more secure. The last thing I want is my picture falling off the wall !


Then I put the rubber sticker on the back corner.  Typically, I would put one on each bottom corner, but because I didn't want take off the thing that stands up the frame, I only put it on the bottom right corner.  That way it's even on the wall.


And now it's ready to be hung !


The frame is one of the brown ones I love from Kohl's.  I have tons of them.  And the print is from an old magazine I found in my Grandma's house.  Looks good in the bathroom!

How do you hang up your frames?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too!

~Stephanie

Friday, July 6, 2012

My Pinterest Challenge: Earring Holder

One of my favorite blogs, YHL, posted a Pinterest Challenge the other day.  This little challenge gave me the push that I needed to start a project I've been 'pining' to do for a while.

I love earrings but I'm not a big jewelry wearer.  I usually wear my cross/medal necklace and my engagement/wedding rings.  When I want to switch things up, I change my earrings to match my outfits.  Currently, my earrings were placed in this... 


...a Pitt mug from college.  Yes, I know...not the most elegant of things to hold your earrings in, but hey, it worked ! I've been wanting to update my earring holder for a while, ya know, make it a little more grown-up, but I haven't found the right solution until I crossed the framed radiator grate from iHeartOrganizing. I fell in love ! 

I did a little research and found out that Home Depot had the radiator grates.  I went there and asked for a little help in locating them (I know my way around Home Depot, but not that well).  The grates were actually located near the lumber section on the end of an aisle.  There were huge sheets and then there were 12 x 24" sheets for about $19 each.  They came in silver, nickel, and gold colors and had a few design options to choose from.  I came home with two nickel coated sheets:



I finally chose the one on the left...just because.  I'm keeping the other one in case a friend would like one as a gift someday or if I want to change out the grate.  They are both just so pretty and delicate that I couldn't return the other one.  

I got the frame at Michael's craft store on sale and with a teacher's discount for a whopping $3 (sweet !).  It fits an 11 x 14" picture and had a double matte.  It was perfect.  I got the double matte because I needed depth in order to get the earrings to actually hang.  If you use a shadowbox like frame, it would probably be a little easier. 


The sheets are pretty flimsy, so I first tried to used a wire cutting tool to cut the sheet:



But I didn't like the way it was cutting so I just tried regular ol' scissors:


And it worked ! I only cut about 9 inches, so it was about a 9 x 12" piece.  I still have 14.5 x 12" left over to use on another one !

After I cut, I used an elaborate solution to tape the radiator grate to the larger white matte...scotch tape !


Then, to add more depth to grate, I added scrapbook foam adhesives to the back of the grate:


At first I only used one foam adhesive (12 total around the frame), but after I was finished, I excitedly tried to put earrings in and it was still too shallow :( - so I doubled up on them.  I used 24 all together.  If you used a shadowbox frame, you probably don't need to use the foam adhesives at all.

This picture was taken when adding the 2nd set of foam adhesives...some of the adhesives stuck to the matte when I pulled it apart
Backtracking a little: After I put the foam adhesives on the grate, I put on the smaller matte to help give just a tiny bit more depth.  Then I found a pretty piece of scrapbook paper to put behind it.  Otherwise you would just see the back of the frame.  

Don't mind the fingernail - Yes, I sometimes bite them.
After that, I just placed it inside the frame and put the back on.  PERFECT !


Now doesn't this look a little more grown-up and stylish than that Pitt mug?  I also purchased some sushi dishes a few months ago (a transition from a childhood jewelry box) from World Market to hold other pieces of jewelry and bobbi pins.  Here's a before and after:


All in all, I am very pleased with the final product. Since I only used about half of the radiator grate and I got the frame fairly cheap, this only cost about $15 (not including materials I already had at home: scrapbook paper and adhesives). Nice and easy !

How and where do you store your jewelry?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too!

~Stephanie


Thursday, July 5, 2012

It's Curtains For Ya

So I have this Love-Hate relationship with curtains.  I love how they can make a room look put together and homey, but I hate putting up the curtain rods.  There is just so much tedious measuring and what-not....but I finally found the PERFECT curtains to go into our dining room that made all that work worth it.

Even though we have a pretty decent sized window in the dining room, we don't get a lot of natural light in the room because of the angle of our house, the fact that we only have one window, and our neighbor has a pretty big tree to the side.  So I didn't want real dark curtains or ones that would block the little light that we have.  Here's the dining room window before:


I've been on the lookout for curtains since we painted the dining room in November.  I love my blue-gray color and wasn't sure what would look good.  I didn't buy anything until I knew exactly what I wanted.  I knew that I wanted a double rod so I could have white curtains closest to the windows.  I like the layered look.  So here are my purchases:


The curtains rods are from Target and I've also used them in our basement.  They are a pretty dark brown/bronze color and are simple, yet fancy enough to bring style into the room.

Both curtains are from IKEA.  The blue and white are called EMMIE KVIST and the white ones are MATILDA.  Both were reasonably priced - $70 total for all four panels.  

Hanging up the rods was definetly a two-man person.  I recruited Kerry to help out.  Just like when I hung up the towel rods in our bathroom, we just followed the directions on how to hang up the curtain rod.  

I started from the center of the window and marked where I wanted the first rod holder to go.  I just held the holder up and used a pencil to trace where the screws will go.

After I traced the holes, I got a drill to put a hole for the plastic screw anchors.  To help minimize dry wall dust, I layered two pieces of painters tape, folded it, and placed it on the wall under the pencil holes:


When I drilled, the tape caught most of the dust into a little pile.  Kerry wanted more coverage, so I ended up using three pieces of tape to make it a little bit wider.  It really helped to keep the area clean.

We continued drilling, putting the screw anchors in, measuring, and putting the curtain rods on the wall.  In all honesty, it really didn't take that long.  It was just tedious with the measuring to make sure everything was even (I'm a stickler for that !).  Since I've hung curtain rods a little crooked before (oops !), we really wanted to make sure this one was level and straight.

Once it was finished, Kerry helped me put the curtains on the rods and then place to rods in the holders.  It looks perfect !  The blue and gray flowers in the curtains match the paint color.  I was worried that the curtains would be too much blue and pattern in the room and not enough accent to the room, but when they went up, I fell in love.


Right now the curtains are "pooling" on the floor. I like them like this for now. I'll probably leave them "pooling," but if I ever get tired of them on the floor, I can easily hem them up.




I love the way that the curtains look in the dining room. I'm just tickled with them.  The dining room is just about finished.  I think the only thing left that I want to do is to change out the bronzy chandelier shades to seeded glass shades.  I think that will help to brighten up the room at night.

What kinds of curtains made your room complete? 

Now you can Do It Yourself Too!

~Stephanie

Monday, July 2, 2012

What's Your Style?



Today, as I was browsing around BHG.com, I found a decorating style quiz. I thought it might be fun to see what my "style" is.  It was eight questions with pictures as answers - nice and easy.  




It concluded that my style is Country French.  I think I can handle the country part, but not the French part.  I have nothing against the French, but the pictures that followed "my" style consisted of lots of frilly, flowery, lacy, ruffly, and girly styles.  




The only picture out of the 26 suggested ideas that was accurate was this one:

I definitely like the blue and white plates (I have almost the same blue and white plate lay-out on my dining room wall as well as some in my hutch) and the built-in bookshelf in the background.  I LOVE built-ins. I'm trying to convince Kerry to let me get one for our downstairs basement.  His Dad knows how to build a sweet built-in bookshelf, so it shouldn't be too costly.  

I'd say the only Country French room in my house is my dining room.  Everything else is a little more simple.

I retook the quiz and changed only one of my answers and it changed my style to something that I think reflects my home a little better:


The pictures that came with the Polished Style looked a little more like my home does now: simple, livable, practical, comfortable, durable, yet still has some classic elegance.  The Polished Casual is slightly more modern than my home, but is still a better reflection of how we live. 

Now it's your turn. Take the "What is Your Design Style?" quiz (even twice if you don't like the first results) and share your results.  Were they way off?  Exactly how you are?  Did you find any inspiration from them?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too!

~Stephanie


Register Here !

Here's a quick post about a quick fix to our house.  Even though the previous owners updated two floors of the house with beautiful hardwood floors, they neglected to update the floor registers:


These rusty things are all through the house !  So when I saw these at Costco:


I figured that I'd give them a shot.

They were EXTREMELY easy to put in.  Pull out the old, pop in the new:



They are a fantastic addition to the floor.  The box came with two for under $10 !  I put the other in the dining room.  I plan to replace all the registers throughout the house.  For about $5 each, they are a nice update to the house without breaking the bank.

What quick and simple update have you made to your house recently?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too!

~Stephanie