Patio Pretty

Thursday, March 13, 2014

It may rain a lot in Portland but when it is nice outside it's simply beyond-words lovely. That was the day we had yesterday (and I think there's a bit more to come too!). With that I did a some more manual labor done outside in my garden area, pulling periwinkle (never plant that stuff it's evil!) and digging more dirt in an effort to level it all out to make way for the fence that will soon be going in (cross fingers / knock on wood!!). We also went for a long walk with a certain dog that pulls and pulls and digs her heels in when we go in any direction other than her "safe zone," so today my arms and back are sore and tired from all the pulling and digging. But it's worth it. For days like we had yesterday, it's very worth it. 

You may remember at the beginning of the year I said one of my goals was to prettify my garden/patio space, this lovely outdoor area from, from JL Design, has been floating around in my head since I first saw it a couple years back. I love the simplicity, the earthy tones, and those tea light on the fence are so pretty. 

Spring Flowers

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

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I know I am not alone in flowers being one of my favorite signs of spring. This week we are suppose to be back to sunny skies and temperatures in the 70's. This makes me want to fill my home not only with the much needed sunshine but bouquets of flowers. My favorites are tulips, white tulips to be exact. I just love the simplicity of having a bouquet of tulips, no fuss or fillers needed. But I have so many others too.

Roses are a favorite of mine. My grandmother had rows and rows of rose bushes and she would pour over catalogs each each year to add to her collection. When I think of her one of my most frequent images that comes to mind is setting in the grass next to her in the hot sun as she tended to her rose bushes. My grandfather would also buy her a rose bush each year for mothers day and looking back now I love the sentiment of such a gift. Even though they are gone I know their rose bushes are still there growing and blooming each year. (Sometimes I think about going in the dark of night and digging them up and bringing them back to my house but then I realize that would make me crazy. I am kidding. Mostly.)

A few others are Peonies, ranunculus, poppies, stargazer lilies (oh they smell so good!), and I could go on but I may end up listing every flower I know the name of. What are some of your favorite flowers?

Make: Gold Terracotta

Friday, March 15, 2013

It seems I have another terracotta painting project DIY (I swear don't sit around painting terracotta all the time). Anyhoo, I saw these really beautiful terracotta pots that have sheets of gold leaf laid on them and I felt inspired to (try) to recreate them. Unfortunately I couldn't find gold leaf sheets so I went ahead and just got some gold leaf paint. These are definitely not quite as lovely as the others but it was so simple and turned out well enough that I am happy with them. . . for now. Someday I want to give the other method a shot, they are just so pretty!

I tested three methods, the first, just using really light brush strokes so that the terracotta shows through (I think that's my favorite). The second I applied two coats, let it dry and then took a steal brush to it. The bad news is it didn't turn out how I had envisioned (I was hoping to get that gold leaf sheet look - it was not happening), the good news is this paint does not come off so easily! I brushed and brushed and still didn't break through to the terracotta layer. And third I went for a nice simple one coat job - this definitely was the best method for getting a nice shiny gold look. Now my plants have a little bling. A little tip I will pass on for those that may want to try this: do it outside, that tiny bottle of enamel paint smells super toxic and I am guessing isn't so great for breathing in in an enclosed space.

Happy weekend!

PS if any of my reader friends are interested in a coupon code for powell's books let me know. Maybe they read my blog and my secret subliminal messages got through because I got an email that said "to one of our most loyal customers . . ." and they gave me four coupon codes for 25% total purchase and free shipping (of course it could just be that i spend a lot of money there!)  . . . so there's three left - because, yep, already used one. They have to be used by the 18th, feel free to send me an email if you want a code.

Make: Living Wreath with Succulents

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What you need: Wire Wreath Form / Succulents (indoor or outdoor) / greening pins / fishing line / Sorghum moss / Dirt (I re-used the dirt from my succulents 
First get a pail or bowl of warm water and place moss in it. I bought my moss in a small bag for about $4 in a craft store; floral section (I got my greening pins there too; $2). I actually bought 2 bags but because I used a small wreath frame (12in) I think I only used about one bag worth as I had a ton left over.

Then take your succulents out of the container and remove all excess dirt just exposing the roots.

You will want to make a work station for assembling your wreath. I did mine outside and laid down paper bags because it was quite messy. 

In the part of your wreath that has the dip in it start laying a layer of your moss down. Make sure you squeeze the excess water out of your moss before you lay the layers down. 

On your next layer add a layer of dirt. Place one more layer of moss on top of the dirt.

Wrap it all together with the fishing line to keep it in place. I suggest cutting a very long piece of fishing line for this so you can just wrap it in one go and tie the ends together. 

Flip the wreath over to back (the side that is raised a bit) and place a layer of moss on that side as well. Repeat the fishing line step.

Lay out your succulents around your wreath to give you an idea of how you want them place. Then poke holes to place the roots in. To secure the plants in place use the greenery pins around the base of the plants. 

Once you have completed assembling your living wreath you can let it dry overnight to get rid of any excess water. To care for it just spritz it with water once a week. 

I was asked to participate in a "craft war" over at BuzzFeed, Shift to make a "modern and hip" wreath. I don't think I have ever seen a wreath and had the words modern or hip come to mind, so it was not an easy task coming up with such a wreath! But I thought it was a little different take on the normal holiday wreath and would work for the holiday season as well as the summer months. It wasn't as difficult to make as it was messy and truth be told I think I might take it apart and plant the succulents in little pots for the winter, as one of my new house plants have already died (the tropical one, the one i thought was the healthier of the two!).

New Plants

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I can check house plants off my wish list - at least for the time being. You may remember from this post I was inspired to get a couple after seeing so many wonderful images of house plants on pinterest. The aloe vera is a little sad looking but I have this weird guilt complex about putting back anything once living that I pick up - say a bruised apple, if I pick it up I just don't have the heart to reject it simply because of it's minor imperfection. Well, as you can imagine plants are even worse because they are actually alive. So I ended up with the worst looking aloe vera of the bunch. The other is generically labeled a "tropical plant," because I got these at the grocery store, and not a nursery, which is why they will inevitably die here in a few weeks. (self-fulling prophecies and a weird guilt complex - i hope there are no psychologists reading this post!) So I guess here are the before pictures of my plants! I am still hoping to get the Calamondin tree that Little Rus suggested for me but I shall see how these fair in the coming weeks first.

The painted pots are such an easy DIY!

Make: Simple Succulent Terrarium

Friday, September 7, 2012

What you need:

Glass vessel. I bought this one at the dollar store. I say "vessel" because you could use almost anything: a mason jar, bowl, vase ...


Moss/Ground Cover (that's totally optional but you could probably find some outside if you wanted to use it!)

Rocks or Rounded Glass


Optional items: Sand. Activated charcoal: if you use this place it on top of the bottom layer of rocks).

What you do:

Place a good layer of the rocks or the glass at the bottom of your jar.

Optionals here: Place the activated charcoal on top of the rocks/glass then place a 1/2 inch layer of sand on the top of rocks/glass. (I used soil and sand and placed the sand on the glass pebbles and then placed the soil on top of the sand)

Add soil. I mixed in a few of my rounded glass pieces to further help arriate and I just had a few left over. You can add as much soil as you like. It really depends on if you want your succulents submerged in the vase or if you want them to stick out the top a little bit. I went for something in between.

I started placing my succulents in the soil and then cushioned it with the ground cover as I went along to give the top a nice greenery as well as to make sure my succulents were kept in place.

Water every 2-4 weeks and keep in partial shade. If you find loose leaves you can place them in soil and they will sprout and grow new plants! And then you can make more and give them as gifts to all your friends!

I love these little terrariums for simple, year-round centerpieces. I have also seen them used as centerpieces for wedding tables and it looks really beautiful.

Happy Weekend! 

Favorite Finds | 10 | For the Birds

Thursday, July 12, 2012

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One of my favorite parts of summer is waking up with a little breeze falling in my window and hearing the little birds chirping outside. But while I hear them I never really catch a real glimpse of them, always flying off in a blur.  I have been wanting to get a birdhouse or birdfeeder for sometime but I guess I just haven't been too inspired by the ones I have found to actually get one. The truth is I know nothing about birds! Often when going for walks with my twins they ask me "what's that bird?" and the only one I can say with certainty is a bluejay. I think some might be finches or sparrows but actually I don't know the difference between the two. Which is pretty awful considering one of my twins middle names is Sparrow! I have often thought having a little birdfeeder in the back would be a fun task for my little guys to do as well as possibly turn it into, dare I say, a learning experience. Kids love animals, at least mine do, so I am certain they would absolutely be fascinated by getting regular bird visitors. My grandparents had a birdfeeder and I remember they always had such a variety of birds that would stop and peck around, we would sit in their lawn chairs and watch them in evening. My favorite part was when mama's birds would bring their little baby birds with them to have a snack. This might have had something to do with the fact that my favorite childhood book was Dr. Suess' "Are You My Mother?"

So here is a little collection of some I put together from the backyard chirper, that are so unique and different, I am seeing a birdhouse in my future! 

This was a sponsored post by the backyard chirper.

Watching My Garden Grow and Grow and Grow

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Calendula with a little busy bee atop

I read a few days ago that in 117 years of record keeping this has been the wettest spring in Portland, Oregon. I am thinking that last year holds first place. We have had horrible weather, the kind that people describe Portland as, wet, grey, rainy, all the time. I have always been irritated by this because it's just not true! But no one that has hasn't been here for more that a few years would believe me and would probably think I was completely delusional.

But I am always looking for that silver lining - and I can find it in my garden.

I do not have a green thumb. I do have a green heart though; I love to work with soil and flowers, herbs, vegetables and anything beautiful and/or useful. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, my gardens never survive very well - and let's not talk about house plants! I know it is because I probably don't give it the right attention, I like to talk baby-talk to my garden mates rather than water them regularly, and I watch my vegetables get to massive proportions before I will cut them back or harvest them at all. But I plan to change that this year, because my garden is thriving without me! I planted most of it last year to no avail, but this year it is growing strong, and beautifully I might add. Perhaps it is all the rain, or the fact that we didn't get any snow this last winter but my garden just started growing! Maybe this particular garden really loves baby-talk, but I am vowing to school myself on what to do after you plant the garden. Geez, I should have done this sooner, but I definitely owe it to this hardy garden.

If you don't see a name below the photo that means I forgot what is was, d'oh! Can you identify these lovelies?

Rainbow Chard

Beautiful Poppy

Walla Walla Onion Blossom


 Romaine Lettuce

Strawberries, Almost ready!

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