Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Rustic Cedar Boxes

I reached a milestone recently...100 followers!  Of course, we all know blogging isn't a popularity contest, but the feedback for all the work is rewarding.

I mentioned in my last post that I had some new cedar boxes I was crazy about this summer.  I started scheming this project as soon as the weather began to warm this spring.

I had been meaning to stop at the big box home improvement stores for some wood to build some wooden boxes to contain some of my garden supplies and pull together some of the small flower pots on the deck.  Then I came home from work one night and found my new next door neighbors replacing part of their fence.

Usually I'm pretty bashful about asking for things, but this time I spoke up.  Oh, let me take some of that old wood off your hands!

My new neighbor looked at me like I was nuts.

No worries...she'll get to know me soon enough!  I pulled enough wood to build two boxes, one for the potting bench and one for the deck.

I found the iron cherub at a local antique store, although I doubt he's an antique.  I've had this terra cotta pot for years, and it's my favorite.

Too bad trash day came so quickly, but they have three more sides of their fence that I'm sure they'll replace eventually.  I'll have my crowbar ready.

I'm linking up...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Potting Bench Update

Last summer, I turned an old workbench in the garage into a potting bench for the garden.  Since the homeowners association does not allow sheds or similar outbuildings, the potting bench has been very handy.

It's held up pretty well under the elements, considering it was not originally built to be outside.  It will probably need another coat of paint soon, and since the top is made of plywood, eventually it will have to be replaced.

If I had been designing my potting bench from scratch, I would have added an upper shelf, like a hutch.  But since I was using what I had with minimal modifications, adding a hutch wasn't going to work. 

Then I found a rustic shelf I loved for its brackets last year at Restore, but I couldn't make the brackets fit against the fence, until I realized I just needed to turn them upside down.

The statuary is an antique store find a couple of weeks ago.  There was a sundail in the same booth, and I agonized over the decision.  But I fell in love this little guy's patina.

I usually don't have much luck with petunias.  I'm crossing my fingers I can keep these beauties alive this summer.

I freshened the lime-wash finish on the terra cotta pots this morning.  I like doing this when it's hot outside so they dry quickly.

To age terra cotta, I use a couple of heaping tablespoons of garden lime in about a cup of water.  Stir to dissolve the lime the best you can.  It probably won't completely dissolve, which is fine.  Brush on with an old paint brush, taking care not to let it drip and run.  If you do it on a hot, windy day, it will dry quickly.  Brush the excess lime off.  It's a more natural-looking aging method than using paint, the results are instant, and it's not icky like the old yogurt technique.

Sedum...it's so easy to make new little plants. Just clip a piece off the parent plant and stick it in potting soil.  This one has roots coming out of the drainage hole, so it's time to go into the ground.

Another new addition is this sweet rustic box. I love it so much, it's going to get it's own post. The tool box is a thrift store makeover from last year, and I'm happy to say it's holding up well too.

One yard ornament that was decommissioned last year was a plastic birdbath.  Plastic yard ornaments are so inexpensive, but they become brittle over time.

The bowl cracked but the base was still fine and I liked the scrolls, so I kept it until I could find a use for it.

Can you believe a three inch convex truck mirror fit perfectly in the center?  My husband thinks it looks like a wheel, so I wouldn't use it in the house, but it looks fine in the garden.

I'm trying to use more color, so I like the pop of red it adds to this corner.

The lantern is another Restore find.  I think I paid $2 for it.  I pulled the wiring out of it and hung it on a shepherd's hook.  I don't have much luck with hanging baskets (too hot and windy in Kansas).  This cute lantern doesn't need water!

I'm linking up...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mary Carol Garrity Spring Home Tour

After visiting Mary Carol Garrity's home last autumn, I knew I had to go back for her spring tour.  Ready for some eye candy?

Mary Carol is a gracious hostess, greeting everyone at the front door.  I'm always too bashful to ask for a picture.

In a time when chippy, distressed painted furniture is EVERYWHERE, I love that Mary Carol's style is traditional at heart (although I'm not really sold on that slipcovered chair).

I love this little nook she carved out of the foyer.

And if there is one thing she's good at, it's arranging a tray.

The den is right off the foyer.  It's very dark and masculine.  I couldn't get good pictures in there last year with my point-and-shoot, so I took along the DSLR this time.  Notice the TV on the drop leaf table?  Love that!

You know what else I like?  She doesn't obsess over hiding the cords.

In her most recent blog post, she said that she's excited about the use of color.  I'll be honest, I thought her living room had some hits and some misses.

The coral pillows with the accent vase = Hit!

The geometric pillows against the antique painting?  Hmm...

Moving on to the dining room. 

My jaw dropped.

OK, I'll admit, it's not my style.  But the place settings were very pretty.

And check out her sideboard!  Do you see it?  See the basket filled with empty wine bottles?

Yeah, I copied her.  Copied it with an old laundry basket!  See my version here.

Everytime I see her breakfast area, I reconsider my thoughts jettisoning our whimpy nook in my dream of a future kitchen remodel.

Imagine spending long winter evenings with friends and family around a fun board game at this table.  And I hate board games! 

Note to self: My pets deserve fancier bowls.

And if you are wondering, her historic home has a kitchen which is small charming.  That gives me hope for ours, which is also charming small.

I do love this vignette next to the stove.   Another note to self.

Another testament to the power of a good tray.  I wish my junk mail looked this good.

Are you overloaded yet?  Shall we to go outside?

Don't you love this heart-shaped stone at the garden entrance?

Everyone was gushing over the blue hydrangea.  Rightfully so.  They seem to be very tempermental in these parts.  My own hydrangea is impressively...wilted.

Honey, you don't contemplate it.  You drink it!

Personally, I think gardens have enough green in them, so I would have liked a little more color on the table.

Regardless, the place settings were lovely.

I loved the conversation area.  I really had to fight the urge to straighten that pillow on the right for my picture, but it just seemed rude for me to restage it.

Besides the trays, the other thing I think Mary Carol Garrity does well is layering textures and finishes, like weathered garden statuary side by side with glossy ceramic planters.

I think this is why her look is so popular and why women were arriving BY THE BUS LOAD to tour her home.  She makes marrying the old and the new together look so easy.

Of course, I braved the crowds in her two stores in Atchison, KS, Nell Hills and Garrity's Encore, and I didn't come away empty handed.  I'll be sharing my interpretations, and I hope you have been inspired too.

If you pin, please be sure to give Mary Carol credit for her work.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Random Garden Thoughts

This is my first post since Blogger changed their dashboard (grumble).

The first weekend of May is traditionally our big planting weekend, with fingers crossed Mother Nature doesn't surprise us in the next 10 days.

This year, we planted the last weekend of March, and the clerk at the nursery warned us about putting the tomatos in the ground.  Snort.  They need to be staked and soon!

The peonies were just about finished blooming Saturday morning. We had heavy rain with a little hail Sunday morning, which probably finished off the blooms.

I'm running out of room in the existing flower beds, so this year I decided to focus on bringing other decorative elements into the garden and doing it for as little money as possible since I have bigger projects I'm saving for now.

Thanks to Craigslist, I scored a trunkload of goodies from someone who was clearing out a garden from an older home last year, including two chippy, rusted wire baskets.  I discovered they looked pretty good nestled inside one another, but I wasn't sure what to put inside it.

I've been taking cuttings from my sedums and starting them in small terra cotta pots.  I feel stupid for ever buying sedums because they are so easy to start from cuttings.  Just cut off a small stalk and stick it potting soil.  So now I have all these little pots of sedum setting around the deck.  Then I rememered those wire baskets.

I picked up a jade plant at the garden center and moved the aloe outside as we do every summer.  Don't they look great clusted together?

More recycled and dumpster-diving finds to come!