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Starting a vegetable garden isn’t as easy as it looks…

Maybe a better title for this post would be “I’m a plant murderer”.

A few months back, I was inspired by this pin, and many others like it, to start a vegetable garden.

When to plant chart...

It looked easy enough – plant seeds in little pods, use old concrete blocks to build a raised bed, fill with garden soil, add plants, water, watch them grow, weed the beds and pick lovely veggies/make lots of salads. Uhm… yeah, not so much.

The part about planting the seeds in little starter pods was easy enough, but then the first day I put them in the sun for too long, they all died. All of them.

Okay, I’m not the type of girl to just quit, so I started over. Moved the starter trays to a new position on the porch so it would get direct sun all morning. Re-planted the seeds and waited. This is what I had a couple of weeks ago.

I was pretty excited about all the peppers, but my tomatoes weren't coming up.

 

I love how they grow in the direction of the sun.

At this point, I tried to put them out in the sun for longer periods of time, but on day two of this part, I forgot about them as we were working to get our refrigerator from the old house moved into the new house, so they got a little wilted in the Florida heat. They went back to being kept under the covered porch for about a week with the hope that they would miraculously un-wilt. I faithfully sprayed them with a water mister every day. Yeah, that didn’t really help, but they weren’t dead. Just wilted and sunburned.

In the meantime, my brother helped to set up the concrete block raised bed. I went to the local soil/rock sellers, where I purchased two yards of soil, and got it delivered to the house. Unfortunately, the driver dropped it as far away from the planting bed as it could possibly be. So, my husband, who must love me very much, made many trips back and forth with the wheelbarrow to fill it up for me. God, I love that man 🙂

Today, I went out to plant the little buggers and it was a mess. I couldn’t get the plants out of the cups. Or, I should say I couldn’t get them out in one piece – they all crumbled and fell apart when I tried to get them out. I tried many methods of extraction… the wiggle, the tap, the pencil pushed through the bottom hole, to dislodge them but none of that worked. I was left with just a bunch of little plants with tiny roots. UGH! I tried to plant what was left of them, but I’m pretty sure they will all be dead by the morning.

I  guess I am starting over tomorrow with seeds, directly planted in the soil. I have to admit that it makes me sad that all those little plants had to die because I don’t possess a green thumb.

Is it ever too late in the season to start a vegetable garden?

Hope your adventures in gardening are better than mine.

Eliesa

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Pinning away…

As I’ve mentioned before, I love Pinterest. For those of you that don’t know the wonder and joy of Pinterest, it’s a virtual cork board of sorts. For years, when I found something I found interesting online, I would bookmark it, and then promptly forget about it. Now, I can save all everything to my Pinterest boards and it’s there for quick access when I am ready to start my projects. What I love even more is that I can see what other people are finding. I can’t begin to tell you how much this has opened my eyes, and mind, to all things I never knew existed. Like blogs about all the things I love – photography, DIYing, decorating, cooking, organization and craft ideas. And a million tutorials to teach me how to do just about anything myself.

Yes, I realize that many of the things I pin will ever actually materialize in our house, but some things actually have. For example, my daughter found this pin a few weeks back.

chocolate covered pretzels - oh yum!

And today, we made them today for her to bring to school tomorrow for Halloween.

Our version – chocolate covered pretzels

One of the benefits of both of us being on Pinterest is that I’ve learned so much about her by what she is pinning. And we spend time together making what we find – BONUS! Since she is 17, I know this time is precious and I just love every second!

I have made these ham and cheese soufflés, which we stored in the fridge and the kids popped them in the microwave for breakfast before school.

Our version wasn’t so pretty, but man, they were yummy! 🙂

Our version

I showed this pin to my friend, Cricket, who made it for her Alien themed Halloween party this year…

Cricket made hers on top of a cake…

Alien abduction

I think one of my favorites so far was another one my daughter found for her new room.

She showed it to my husband, who painted this for her. (he would do anything for that girl! 🙂

Trees

I’ve also learned a lot from Pinterest. Like, how to use Borax and sugar to kill ants (and about thirty other things it’s useful for). And 1001 uses for vinegar (1001? Who knew?!).

I find photography tips and tutorials.

And a plethora of images and stories that amaze me.

And things that make me laugh out loud…

Let me know if you would like an invite, and you can find things that inspire and amaze you too!

Linking up to

http://ana-white.com/2011/11/princess-pocket-bookshelf

for the

and

http://www.potentiallybeautiful.com/2011/10/i-actually-made-something-from_30.html

Photobucket

The light (fixture) hurts my eyes…

When we first looked at our new house, I loved the natural light that filled it. What I didn’t like were all the light fixtures. Every one of them were builder-grade, and the cheapest ones at that.

There were “pimple” light globes in the bathrooms, hallways and even our bedroom.

Every single one of the bathrooms had these light bars above the sink.

And the fans on the porch were literally shaped like domes, their blades drooping. I wish I had pictures of them, but it was one of the first things we changed out because they were a safety hazard (and more importantly, UGLY!).

We’ve been slowly changing out the lights, mostly waiting until I find a great buy or when I just can’t take another day of staring at them. Home Depot and Lowe’s have been great for finding clearance lighting at ridiculously low prices. The other day, I went to Home Depot and found a bunch of their display lights were on clearance for 75% off of the clearance price!! I picked up this for $11…

And this one for $12…

And they replaced two of the ugly globe lights. Love them!

While I was there I also picked up this for $19 – yes, $19!! They were originally selling for $129 at the store. I’m using a picture from the Home Depot website because it’s still in the box. Online, they are on clearance selling for $38 – I think there are a few more at the store if you are interested.

picture courtesy of Homedepot.com

Sadly, even at this awesome price, it doesn’t fit with my decor (wrong color), so my friend is going to take it. I also picked up two of these pendant lights that matched for $14 a piece and they too will need a new home (anyone??)…Most of the new lights in the house have come from the clearance sales at Home Depot and Lowe’s. I think the only things we’ve paid full price for was the fans for the master bedroom and the porch. I’ve picked up $4 bathroom light fixtures, new in the box, that were originally $139. It’s insane how low they will mark them down when they are just trying to get rid of the old stuff!

I am fortunate to have a brother who knows a lot, about a lot of things. He can fix just about anything, and is such a perfectionist that I know he’ll do it right. Since I don’t know a thing about electricity, Johnny started the week off with taking down two chandeliers (and put them back up when I was done repainting them!). One of my favorite bloggers that I found through Pinterest is Kate, from Centsational Girl, and she is a lover of spray paint. She has painted just about everything you can imagine with a fresh coat of spray paint, and I just love how her projects turn out! She’s done a few chandeliers/lights, including this one…

Centsational Girl's - chandelier after

so I read all her how-to blogs on the subject and jumped right in.

The chandeliers that were left by the previous owners are not exactly something I would choose, but these two have pretty good bones, just horrible finishes. I decided that before I got rid of them, I would attempt to re-paint them and see if they could be saved.

foyer light - before

This one is in the foyer. It’s a cruddy picture, sorry!

Foyer light - before

This pic shows the original color a little better…

And this one was over the dining room table.

Dining room light - Before

Why weren’t they the same color since they were literally next to each other (about ten feet apart) and basically the same style?? Not a clue.

Upon inspection, it turns out they were both originally had a gold finish. At some point, they were spray painted – and it was not a good job. The previous owner must have spray painted right over the dust. Lovely. I had to sand every last inch of them. Fun times. Don’t be jealous. I wiped them down, let them dry and then, I sprayed them with Rust-oleum Universal Metallic paint in Brushed Nickel. I was expecting it to be a little more silvery, but it had a little bit of yellow/gold tint to it. Either way, it was WAY better than it was.

And here they are after their mini-makeover…

Foyer chandelier - after

Dining Room chandelier - after

I love that they match now, and that they don’t look so dated. The only thing I’m worried about is whether I should have painted them black, since the gray we put on the walls is maybe too similar and they blend in too much? What do you think?

Another makeover that took place was the outdoor lights at the gate.

Gate light - before

They are at least 12 years old, and I doubt they have ever been cleaned. When we first moved in, they were on all day and night, and there wasn’t a switch in the house that operated them, and nothing at the gate turned them off and on either. Eventually, all of the bulbs blew out and we didn’t rush to replace them until we got them looked at by an electrician. My brother took them off the posts, we cleaned them out (ugh, so many dead bugs and other gross things) and he replaced the original bulb sockets from three candelabra lights to one standard light. This allowed us to use energy saver bulbs, which last longer and cost less to run than regular bulbs. When we had the electrician come, we found out that the sensor that was supposed to be turning it off every morning was defective, so we had that replaced. Now, they run from dusk ’til dawn, just like they are supposed to. I love to save money every place we can 🙂 After sanding down the worst of the rust and bubbled paint (there wasn’t much), I primed them with Rust-oleum metal primer and then used Rust-oleum Painter’s Touch in Espresso Satin finish spray paint.

Original lantern color - forgot to take the close-up before pic BEFORE we started!

And this is what they look like now…

Gate light - after

It’s amazing how just a good cleaning and a fresh coat of paint will bring something back to life! Eventually, we’ll replace them with something a little more substantial because they are a little small for the size of the post they sit on. For now, I’m just happy that they work, won’t cost an arm and a leg to run and look 10 times better than before!

Besides all of those lighting projects, we also had two lights installed off the back of the house, my brother replaced the broken motion detected light by the garage and the hubby switched out yet another bulb light for my new laundry room light. Suddenly, things are looking a lot brighter around here.

So, last week was all about getting the laundry room done, and changing the lights out around the house. This week is about getting things back in order and repainting the rest of the trim and doors around the house. I love how crisp and clean it looks and it makes the new color on the walls pop! I can’t wait to be finished with that task, it’s my least favorite thing to do.

What projects are you working on this week?

It almost makes me want to do laundry…

So, the laundry room re-do is done!! In case you don’t remember, because it was really not memorable at all, this is what it looked like last week.

Boring. Bland. A little depressing.

But now, after many days of work, and lots of energy spent, this is our new laundry room!

We replaced the old washer and dryer, and the new ones were my jumping off point for all the color choices. I was able to find an “oops” paint at Home Depot that worked perfectly with the dark teal. Have I said yet that saving money makes my day? I repainted the trim and doors to match the rest of the house. I used a oil-based paint from Sherwin Williams that is made specially for doors and trim. It covered in one coat, and it super durable. The puppy has already tested that out for me – he’s figured out that if he jumps on the door handles, the door will open! So far, not a scratch on the doors though, so I’m glad I opted for an oil base, even though the fumes are pretty heavy for a few days.

I love my new light that I got for $29 at Home Depot last week, originally $79. It is so bright compared to the dreadful “pimple” light that was there, and much less sad looking. It was just one of the 7 light fixtures that I bought for the house last week. They were clearing out their older stock, and getting rid of all their display items. (I’ll be posting the pendant lights I bought for $11 later – so cute!)

The cabinets that were above the washer and dryer were no longer easy to get into because the height of the new set, so we took off the doors and now I can get into them with much less effort.

The cabinet that was in the corner behind the door was great for storage, but really made no sense in the laundry room when there wasn’t a table to fold on, or a place to put the laundry baskets. One of the first things I pinned on Pinterest was this cabinet.

My original inspiration...http://pinterest.com/pin/49927730/

With a little modification to include a place to stash the dirty clothes hampers, this is our version. So, my brother moved the old white cabinet out into the garage for me and we replaced it with…

This!!!

I love it! I can’t tell you how many times I have tripped on the baskets coming into the house because there was simply no place to put them that wasn’t in the way – the room is just too narrow! So, I designed it to have four cubbies for baskets, one for each of the humans in the house, and a space to roll the dirty laundry containers into so they were out of the way.  This keeps the walkway clear, gives me room to fold and a place for each person to collect their basket of clean clothes (or rummage through it to pull out one thing and leave the rest is more like it!). It literally makes me happy just to see it! I painted it white first, then taped off the design and painted it the same color as the walls. Ideally, I would have loved to get a granite piece for the top, but I just don’t want to put out all that money when we still have lots to do around here.

We put up a shelf above the cabinet, and it’s the perfect place for the dogs’ medicines, shampoos and other grooming supplies, tucked away in the boxes, which keeps it from looking cluttered and messy. And I still have room for other “stuff” that I am sure will accumulate. And three years after I bought it, I finally hung up the octopus delicates dryer, after a coat of white spray paint! Our family’s collection of baseball hats seem to always get lost and had no where to “belong”, so we put an eight foot long hat rack along the wall that faces the washer and dryer.  It’s a perfect use of space that otherwise would have been unusable because of it’s high traffic flow.

And I made a leash hanger for by the door, using the same fabric I used for the boxes. Eventually, I’ll add some hooks for keys and my purse too.

 I love it when things have their own “home”. It makes it so much less stressful when you’re trying to get out the door.

The only thing I would still love to change is the ugly utility tub. It will happen, just not today.

So, there it is… it makes me giddy each time I go in there! I almost want to do laundry… almost.

 

Linking up to…

over at http://www.bowerpowerblog.com/2011/11/pinterest-challenge-project-antiqued-window/

Easy Halloween decorations

While looking for Fall decoration ideas, I found this on Pinterest. While I don’t eat much candy corn, decorating with it is fabulous! (Visit Woman’s Day for more ideas on decorating with candy corn.)

Woman's Day Halloween Hurricane Lamps

I loved them because they didn’t scream “HALLOWEEN!!” at you, so you could use them for all of Fall. Perfect for me because I am not someone who will change decorations too frequently. The only problem was that I wasn’t going to pay $40 for the large hurricane glass, or even $25 for the smaller one. I suppose we should just get this out there now: I am cheap – thrifty, if you want to be nice about it. I love a good bargain, and it physically pains me to pay a lot of money for anything. So, I set out on a mission to find something that would let me get the look, without paying that price. It turned out to be pretty easy, actually. Walmart had something very similar for $5! And because I don’t believe in “matchy-matchy”, I bought two similar lamps, both $5 each.

So, here’s the cost breakdown

  • Two hurricane glasses each $5
  • The shorter candle was about $3
  • Taller candle was $5
  • Bag of candy corn was less than $2.
  • Total Cost = $20!

I love it on table by the front door, next to the silver(plated) pitcher I found at Faith Farm for $2. Have I mentioned that I love that place?

Added bonus: the candles are scented, so it smells lovely everytime you walk by.

My $20 Version!

The only down-side to using candy corn for decorating? My son keeps eating them!

So, what are your favorite Fall/Halloween decorations?

 

Linking up to  

over at http://www.houseofearnest.com/2011/11/02/a-little-gold-lining-for-your-wednesday/

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