Saturday, April 28, 2012

~April Showers Bring Squeals and Laughter~

The flowerbed on the south side of the house is a sorely neglected area much to my dismay.  We have been fortunate to have very loamy soil in most areas making weeding and gardening an easy job.  But not here.  The weeds were getting out of hand and it was time to get to cleaning but I needed to wet the soil down some.  Time to set up the ol' sprinkler!

 Tater Tot and Bubba were spending the night and the temptation to play was just too much for them.  Since it was a rather balmy the 80s...we let them indulge.

 Let the squealing and laughter begin.  And, getting soaking wet, of course.

 Bubba was so entranced with how the water felt on his hands that I don't think he realized he was in the arc of the water and not getting wet.

 Tater Tot, on the other hand, wouldn't be still long enough for me to snap a picture!

 You know what they say.  While in Rome....

You wouldn't know it by the expressions on their faces, but they had a grand time getting drenched and flitting around in the yard like water bugs.  Time for the party to end and go in for their baths.  More water, but not quite as much fun.

We're supposed to get some drenching this weekend but it won't be coming from the sprinkler.  A good way to end the month I must say.

Have a glorious weekend~
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Friday, April 20, 2012

~Creating a Terrarium~

I can remember, many moons ago in my early 20s, that terrariums were quite popular.  Maybe it had something to do with the hippie generation.  Not that I was a hippie or anything.  Quite far from it!  Even though my green thumb was not even a a tiny bit green and I had no idea what I was doing, I tried my hand at making one.  And, if I recall, it didn't do so well.  I believe terrariums went by the wayside for a good many years and now it seems they are making a comeback.  Or else I've been living in the dark ages!!

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 Anyway, after seeing them on the internet and in a few blogs lately, I decided that I would try my hand at it again.  But I didn't quite know what type container to use so I started doing some searching to give me ideas to tuck away in the back of my mind for that " some day" when I was ready to create one.  I love the details of this one.  Reminds me of the beautiful greenhouses that were used by the wealthy many years ago.

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 I know I've seen a full-size version of this one somewhere but can't recall exactly where.  Can you imagine strolling through a beautiful greenhouse like this, taking care of your plants or overseeing the work that your gardener did?  If I had a beautiful one like this, I'd most definitely have a gardener ;)

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 Talk about refurbishing.  Have you ever wondered what to do with your old wall sconces that you're not using anymore?  How about using them as mini terrariums!  I personally don't care for the color but this is one super clever idea!!

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 Or how about a mini, mini terrarium?  I can imagine having one of these on my desk or sewing area while I work.  Or on a windowsill in the kitchen while washing dishes.  It would be so therapeutic, don't you think?

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 Too small?  Okay, how about refurbishing an old aquarium.  I mean a really BIG aquarium!  I don't know how much more work it would take to maintain one like this though.  I always picture terrariums as being somewhat maintenance free.

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 I like the idea of creating clusters of terrariums.

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Now this is being creative!  Old, antique, okay... vintage canning jars, cloches and small bottles.  I think the idea of using different mediums to create the unique contrasts of a garden in a jar is my favorite.  How in the world does one get a small plant into such a tiny opening?  Reminds me of the old ship in the bottle thing.  I still haven't figured that one out.

 I really hadn't planned on creating a terrarium yet but when I was in Lowe's over the weekend, buying replacement plants that didn't survive the extreme heat we had last summer, I spotted some pretty terrariums for sale.  Okay, while I'm here.... Not knowing exactly what I was going to do, I went ahead and purchased several different plants, went to Wally World and picked up some aquarium gravel (I thought the smaller rocks would go better with the small plants) and some Spanish moss (I couldn't find the Sphagnum moss that was recommended).  Got the lidded jar at Target for six bucks.

 The guy at Lowe's wasn't that helpful.  He just gave me some general ideas and said to "get them over in that area".  So, after going back and forth trying to decide which combinations would look best AND survive, I opted for some ground cover plants and especially some with small leaves.  I'm amazed at the beauty in such tiny things.

 This is a ground cover called Platt's Black.  Talk about tiny!!  Reminds me of what one would see on the floor of a really lush forest.

 I wanted a small-leaf Caladium but, since I couldn't find one, I chose the Stained Glassworks Coleus instead.

 This is another ground cover plant called Whitewater Prostrate Speedwell.  Look at those tiny leaves!!

Sorry that this one is so fuzzy but it was the only picture I took of this Vinca Vine.

I've never had a fern and, even though I wasn't sure I was going to use it in the terrarium, brought it home as a "just in case'....if I didn't use it there I could surely use it somewhere else in the house.  One can never have too many plants, you know.

 Some of the instructions I found as how to construct the terrarium recommended activated charcoal to keep down the mildew and smell.  I forgot to buy some and decided to try some regular charcoal.  I got out my trusty hammer, put the charcoal in a couple of layers of plastic bags and pounded away.  Note to self:  do it outside next time.  It does make a bit of a mess.  Will it hurt my plants?  I have no idea.

I placed a layer of moss in the bottom to help absorb moisture, a layer of the gravel, a small amount of charcoal and then another layer of moss to prevent the soil from sifting to the bottom. I ended up doing my layers several times as I felt I had them too thick.  Once satisfied, I added a couple of inches of potting soil on top of that. 

I realized that if I put my plants in the jar as is, it would be too crowded so I broke them into smaller sections.  I manhandled them pretty badly as I arranged and rearranged them to my liking.  I'm hoping they'll survive after all that.  The Vinca Vine ended up being a tad tall even though I scrunched it down pretty good.

I created a little vignette of the remaining pieces of plants.  I figured if I botched up the terrarium and the plants didn't make it, I will have the 'leftovers' to try again.

The plants aren't supposed to touch the glass wall, but I couldn't get them in the center very well.

For the time being, the plants are displayed on my vintage sewing table where they get some sun on the north side of the room.  I think I'll put the terrarium on the ledge above the kitchen sink.  The plant vignette will probably go upstairs in my sewing/craft room.  Obviously, I ended up not using the fern but I'm going to replant it.  Maybe as a hanging plant?  For now, it will sit on the bottom shelf of a little plant stand I have in the breakfast area until I decide where to put this homeless little beauty.

I'm not the best gardener in the world, but I have managed to keep most of my plants alive and thriving somewhat.  And I'm glad as I do enjoy having them in my home.  How green is your thumb?

Have a blessed day~

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

~Easter Swap Reveal~

Yes, I know Easter is over and most of you have already put away your decorations but I so wanted to share with you my recent Easter project.  Recently, I threw my name into the hat for the Vintage Easter Swap over at It's A Very Cherry World.  It was lot of fun getting to know my "partner in crime", Erica of Golden Egg Vintage.  We are years apart in age but have so much in common with our interests and collections.  In fact, some of the things we swapped were much along the same lines.  You'll see in a minute. :)

 I painted an Easter basket a light shade of blue (one of Erica's favorite colors) and went on to decorate some paper mache eggs.  I thought I would try decoupaging strips of spring like fabrics...

 but I was disappointed in how they turned out.  It was very hard to even see the fabric that I had already applied.  On to plan B.

 I found an old book at an antique/junk store.  Normally, I love to collect old books but the pages in this particular one were so brittle and falling out so I didn't cringe at the thought of using them for craft projects.  I took several pages, tore them into small strips and decoupaged onto the eggs.  I knew it was going to be kinda messy and so glad that I opted to wear some disposable gloves.  Still, I had problems with the glue sticking to my fingers and pulling a bit of print off the pages.

 I should have taken a better close up picture of the eggs but you get a good idea of how they turned out.  I applied a final coat of Mod Podge and love the way they turned out.  Oh, the Easter basket....I decided it was too blue and applied a white wash with some watered down white paint.  I just used the little acrylic paints sold in craft stores.

 I decided to add the ducky Pez container and candy along with some adorable cupcake liners and finished the decorating with a big bow of crinkled seam binding.  Little did I know that Erica had taken a course in French Pastry Arts in NYC and she loves to bake.  How cool is that?

 I found this little Easter bunny at a thrift store.  She was a bit dirty and her outfit was a bit outdated.  I brought her home, gave her a bath and proceeded to redress her with this pretty soft blue-gray fabric.  I couldn't remove the outfit so I had to sew around her using a basting stitch with embroidery floss.

 I added some vintage buttons for earrings, some crochet lace for a collar and a bow made of some more of the crinkly seam binding with another vintage button.

I think she turned out quite well, don't you?

I apologize for the quality of this picture but it was the best I had in this series. :/

 I have a small collection of vintage postcards and decided to frame one in the small picture frame that I dressed up with some white paint and crackling glaze.  I found some coordinating scrapbook paper from my stash to create a type of mat.

 Erica loves to collect vintage items...girl after my own heart :)  but I couldn't find an actual vintage plate to give to her.  I spotted this one at Hobby Lobby.  I loved it and prayed she would love it, too.

Aren't the graphics adorable?  Reminds me of the story of The Little Red Hen.  This is my Easter project for Erica.  You can find out what she thought in her post HERE.  Okay, my turn....

 These are all the little treasures that Erica sent me.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven!!!  Oh my goodness, look at these.  I swear that Erica could hear me shriek all the way to Minnesota.

This little bundle of fabric is just too cute.  I told Erica I can't decide whether to cut into it or display it.  And the vintage sewing items.  Oh my.  I lost my mother 25 years ago and one of the few things that I have that belonged to her is her sewing basket.  She wasn't much of a seamstress but there were several different sewing notions such as snaps, binding, scissors, thimble and such that she used and I will always cherish. I plan to refurbish the sewing basket and will share it with you one of these days.  Erica didn't know about the sewing basket but adding these items to my mom's treasures will be such a joy.  Did you notice the price of the rickrack?  Eight cents!!

 Erica creates card tags and sent me several little paper items to create my own along with my very first tag!  I  don't know if I'll ever have the time to create my own card tags.  I do want to start collecting a few though and what better way to display my first one but with the scrabble tile attached to a mini clothespin.  A vintage flower and a children's wooden block with my initials.  See the vintage card on the right?  Remember, I sent her one, too.  I thought it funny that we were thinking along the same lines here.

                                                          Too, too cute!

I oohed and aahed over these little gems.  I have a collection of vintage kitchen utensils above my kitchen pantry.  I know Erica didn't know this.  The pastry cutter with wire blades is one item I don't have.  I was ecstatic.  And the little bunny mold?  Goodness!!  I felt like a child at Christmas.

And, of course, no Easter is complete without a little basket and some chocolate.  She's definitely a girl after my own heart!  Thank you, Erica.  You are a sweetheart.  I'd love for you to stop by her blog, Golden Egg Vintage, and say 'hey'.  She's a new blogger and I'm sure she would be thrilled with your visit.  Tell her I sent you her way.

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