A Story of Pot

Well, potting to be more specific.

Recently I noticed some of my plants were looking a bit dead. But, as Miracle Max would say only mostly dead. Nothing a little magic potting can’t save.

Over the past few years I picked up a dozen little tin pots most from the Target $1 spot and thrift stores.

The problem is that there is no draining so the plants vary between being over watered and dead or under watered (for fear of over watering) and mostly dead.

I solved this problem with a hammer and a single nail. By first repotting the flowers into a new tin (I had a few to spare), I worked my way through each one putting holes in the bottom for drainage.

Yes, I’m using old cutting boards for potting. And, if you’re feeling quirky, make a little design with the holes:

By the end there was only one plant really, really dead.

Oh, and have you ever received or bought a plant with the cute plastic cover tied around the base? That plastic is cute death for a plant. I noticed it was still on one of my flowered pots and traps the water in the bottom. Trust me, it was disgusting.

If you have some smallish rocks, use those in the bottom of tins like these before adding potting soil. It helps drain the water and weigh down the plant in winds.

Here they are – all repotted and ready for water:

I think they’re going survive.

And my favorite new plant has to be this one:

I’ve also cleaned up the garden stuff in the garage. It used to look like this:

I like to call this ‘organization de boxes’ and it shows that I keep a lot of junk. Some I’ve recycled, others repurposed for storage. I have kept the good pots for more flowers (someday) and most everything else is organized.

I did keep the red folger’s coffee container which now holds my extra sprinkler parts. The blue basket has my gardening gloves and the dark green tin (bottom left) which looks black in this pic has all of the tools.

Much nicer than the box look!


Guest Room Accountability

Back on June 29th I decided to make a commitment to getting my guest room all cleaned up for company by the end of July.

How come a month seems so long until it’s over?

Here’s what I wrote then and here’s the follow up one month later.

I’ve got a pile of clothes and fabric sitting in my guest room that I really need to tackle. I’ve decided to cut the cotton into strips so I can make a braided rug so I’m posting for accountability. I think by the end of July I should be able to cut the strips, roll them into balls and then I can worry about doing the design and braiding later.

Well I took the clothes that could be cut into strips and cut them up. Still haven’t decided what to do since the fabric isn’t ideal for rugs. These will most likely turn into braided chew toys for the dogs.

The sheets have been ripped, rolled and readied to weave though!

(this is about 1/4th of the fabric I have to work with since I have 4 more sheets in a similar hue to work with)
I found a great dog bed today so I won’t be making my own – now I need to decide what to do with the old pillows piled up. First thought is to use the stuffing to beef up big dog’s bed and bleach the covers and cut into strips. Am I making this too difficult?

Quite frankly, yes, I was making things too difficult. The dog’s bed did not have an easy zip opening like I was hoping so I would have to take out the seam, add the stuffing and then sew it closed again. Nope! Old pillows went out to the trash.

Older blankets need to go to the animal shelter and old sheets are going to be re-purposed as either pillow covers, dog crate liners or rugs.

This is where I got stuck the most. It’s a nice blanket, you see, just a few holes from bored dogs who started gnawing. Well, the blanket is kinda scratchy. And an ugly color. Okay okay, sending it to the animal shelter! It’s already in my trunk with the extra dog bowls.

I have a HUGE pile of fabrics I don’t need that will be getting worked on this summer! Already started with a duvet cover that became curtains and two matching pillow cases that were shortened for throw pillows.

In addition to making these bedroom curtains:

and matching throw pillows, Mom and I made two pillows for the guest room that match the existing curtains that we made last year:

it’s hard to tell because of the picture but the blue in the curtains matches the pillows perfectly, just different size stripes.

After these projects were done, I went through the rest of the fabric with a critical eye. What will I use this for? Do I need these linens? Why did I buy a butterfly pillow?!

I also came across so many things that need to be cleaned, repaired or donated and worked through that pile. Many things went to my friend E for sewing repairs or were just donated.

The rest of the guest room came together… vacuuming, dusting, putting away books.

The last little thing to do is hang the mirror behind the door (since I have a mirror or three in every room…):Now I’m ready for guests!

Patio Love

About a year ago I wrote about Working at Home and how I use my front porch as an extended office when the weather permits. Since then I’ve done many more contracted hours and more updates to the patio. It’s one of my favorite areas in the house.

It all started with this bench which was a hand-me-down from my grandparents and, though it’s missing some wood slats it’s in great condition and shaded by a thriving sugar maple tree.

After the bench came a side table, a few planters, then flowers until this is the patio I have today:

Next to the front door I have more flowers in tins:

And a growing collection of watering cans so I can keep my flowers from withering in the summer heat:

and this patch of dirt has some shade lovin’ flowers and a few plants that I’ll be filling up with fall flowers soon:
Still this bookshelf is one of my favorites with baskets, plants, candles and room to place a drink.

One of my favorite spaces!


Clearing Bathroom Clutter

Recently I’ve been intrigued by the idea of completely emptying each room in my house to clean, organize and assess what I have. For some spaces, like the garage, that’s a terrifying idea and it may take 2-3 days.

But I think it’s a good idea because you really have no idea how much crap you have until you have to move. Otherwise it just gets shifted around a little at a time (usually to make room for more crap) and until you have to fill boxes and physically move stuff it’s hard to assess.

So I started small: the master bathroom.

This is also coinciding with my new website page currently under construction with a whole house tour. I hate putting up bad pictures and most areas in my house have not been photographed or the photos are so out of date I refuse to use them.

So as I clean and organize I also take fresh pictures so I can finish the house page soon.

Tools I recommend:

boxes for donation and relocated items, a bunch of rags, cleaning spray and newspaper (to clean the glass)

coffee, music on the iPad, a friend to chat with on the phone.

I started by emptying the room:

including clearing off the counters, moving towels and rugs out and the dog water bowl. The only things that stayed were hanging on the wall or in the shower. I have a tension rod shower organizer that is a pain to install so it stays.

Despite the room being empty I did not deep clean the room. I simply wiped down the shelves and drawers and cleared the dust on the counter top. I did Windex the mirror but the floor is still pretty dusty. Really, the focus was to clean up the stuff, not the space.

I used the master bedroom to spread everything out and start sorting, pulling together like items so I could see how much I had. Some things I still have too much – like 3 boxes of unopened toothpaste. Seeing as how I have six tubes of half used toothpaste, I choose to donate the new ones.

Other things just need to migrate back to the other bathroom or another room in the house. A box full, in fact. I found old glasses to donate and a lot of make up that I will never wear again that got trashed.

This organizer holds most of my crap and is a leftover from college. From make up to contact lenses, I use a lot of little white baskets to keep everything organized in here.

Top cabinet has jewelry, makeup, soap, lotion, etc all organized and streamlined. I didn’t take before pictures but I estimate about 30% of my “stuff” is either in the pile to donate or already in the trash.

Under the sink is mostly towels, hair dryer, etc while the drawers hold the things I use daily (toothbrush, floss, soap, hair brush). Someday soon I hope to replace the towel rods in this room – I’m looking for a set to match the new dark brown mirror and until then towels hang over the shower stall and behind the door.

And yes, this is one of the reasons I don’t freak out about cleaning anymore. As soon as I get the room “camera ready” you can see above that the dogs drink the water and drool all over the rug and shed all over the clean floor.

Oh well, my trash cans have *gasp* trash in them, the dogs slobber and my sink never stays clean of toothpaste for more than a day and I still feel accomplished! Besides, isn’t he cute?





Summer always seems to go too fast, doesn’t it? Sure the cooler weather of fall is fun and all but these long summer days just fly by too fast for me.

One of my summer projects was to find a new volunteer place here in town and I recently started building a website for a charity group – I’ll unveil it when it’s actually done and pretty! I’ve always been on the other side of the web, maybe writing some content, posting through wordpress, but never actually designing or creating a site, especially from scratch.

I’ve learned I’m not great at it. So for those of you who wrongly accuse me of being good at everything I say this website is proof I’m not and you’ve never seen me attempt to play volleyball.

But it’s given me a smidgen of confidence to play around with this site since the only one I have to please is me. So far I activated a new theme (though I’m cranky that I can’t do the Gallery Plug-In I want for my photography) and designed a new banner. Still working on the sidebars and updating the categories in my older posts but back to 2009 I’ve edited all of the posts.

That’s 19 months worth of posts.

I also have a few static pages under construction – the ones that are complete About Me and My Boys are pretty simple right now, I might jazz them up later.  Once I get all my photos transferred to the Mac I’ll be ready to finish the House Tour page and an updated Project page so I can track changes to the property here.

I’m also thinking WAY ahead to renting this place out when I move and want to have a slew of gorgeous photos to share.

So while many things are changing, I’m still the Type A, overachiever who started college classes when I was 14 and went from debate novice to national champions in a years time. And baring a brain injury that’s not going to change!

Photo Wall : Origins

I’m slowly working on prints for my master bedroom wall after moving furniture around in my bedroom (the bookshelf went to the other side of the room). Basically I started with a blank slate:

thanks to my Dad installing these awesome lights from Ikea as part of my Christmas gift last year. But I can’t stand a blank canvas so I started adding framed prints on the wall.


The frame came from a consignment store I also ordered a mat for the picture frame from Michael’s. It’s a large print of this pic:

The print was $27, the mat was $17 and the frame was $14 so the entire project was less than $60.

I’m working on adding more frames to the wall and selecting more of my favorite prints.

I end up putting a lot of holes in the wall as I buy more frames and shuffle things around but since I’ll be prepping and painting the room soon enough all those holes will get covered up.

Since I’ve been collecting frames I’ve decided to group them by color in each room.

The guest room gets the crisp white frames:

The office gets the silver frames:

And all the black frames go up in the master bedroom (I’ll be spray painting the ones that need touch up):

This large print is okay, not great and has the Tolkien quote ‘not all who wander are lost. Ug. Basically I’ll be replacing that as soon as possible but the print and frame were only $8 and needs a little bit of touching up.

I finally picked up some black spray paint so I’m working on a few other frames in the garage.

The large frame on the far right is going to be sanded and painted black. I’m working on finding the perfect canvas print to add to the frame. I’ll be filling in a few more medium and small black frames and printing photos soon.

And one of these days I’ll actually get the scaffold, prep the room, clean and texture the ceiling and paint the walls.

One day…

Thrift Decor

I’m more than accepting of the fact that I’m weird. Odd. Color outside the lines, so to speak. So while seeing those magazine perfect photos like this are fun:

I can’t help but see this:

and that makes me a little nauseous. So while I see some things that I think are pretty or would be nice to collect I don’t want to spend a lot of money.

Or much money at all.

Enter: the perfect compromise.

By shopping for older things I find the best of both worlds, cute things for my house and no sizable dent in the wallet. Like this great bookshelf that I bought for $5 then stained.

Right now it’s sitting next to my swinging bench on the front patio:

along with my $1 Sun Tea jar, a plant holder from Ikea that was $4 and a great vintage basket for my books and magazines that was $8.

It means that I can spray paint or stain the things I find, it’s okay if they’re dirty to start or imperfect. I don’t have to have the perfect thing and pay a ton of money for the magazine perfect look.

I’ve found some fun things lately like two new picture frames that were $3 each and this milk glass collection

The short one on the left came from my Grandma’s house, the largest one was $2 and the the smaller ones were $1 each. Very pretty and easy to store in the garage until I get fresh flowers cut. A nice collection to round out what I already had for $4.

I’m still working on the wall of pictures in my master bedroom, I prefer to use my own prints from my town or travels like this one:

So if I spent $3 on the frame I can buy a custom mat and high quality print and get a great piece of art for under $25.