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22 May 2015

Progression of a Pea

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We all know what a pea seed looks like, right?  Basically a shriveled up PEA!  (see garden peas below).  Snow peas are slightly different with a smoother, whiter appearance (see below) and sweet peas are a surprise with their dark, almost black coloring (not pictured).

The Difference Between Snow Peas, Sweet Peas and Garden Peas by Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons

However, when the three types of peas start to grow, they look very much alike and grow in similar fashion.  Garden peas have more lateral growth and the tendrils reach out horizontally, while the sweet pea has more of a vertical growth at first.  Both are easy to recognize from weeds thanks to the little grasping tendrils that help them climb.  They show up very early after the first true set of leaves.

The Difference Between Snow Peas, Sweet Peas and Garden Peas by Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons

The Difference Between Snow Peas, Sweet Peas and Garden Peas by Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons

As they grow larger, pea vines (both regular and sweet and everything in between) will twine around and around whatever they can find.  You can use a traditional trellis, or something as simple a string  to guide the pea vine, but in our new garden this year, we have decided upon branches woven into a trellis as pea guides.  While we might have to use small twigs to get the peas going up and around the big lattice pieces, we plan to cover this puppy in beautiful pea vines.

The Difference Between Snow Peas, Sweet Peas and Garden Peas by Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons

Note that the box has no bottom, so it serves as a raised bed planter, allowing the pea roots to go deep into the soil.  There was NO garden prep however.  The box went straight over grass and weeds and in went a bunch of compostables (banana peels, coffee grounds), finished compost and then some bagged potting soil.  By the time the roots get down to those bottom layers, they will have had time to die (the weeds) and compost (everything).  SO much easier than till-till-tilling the soil, particularly if you are growing just a little bit!

Want to see more?  Follow along on Instagram for updates!

20 May 2015

Art Room Design DIY ::: Pom Pom Ceiling

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Previously, I shared the way I keep our family organized with IKEA cubbies and simple chalkboard tags.  Today, we are just going to dive into the fun stuff -- namely POM POMS.  This post has been previously published on Craft Unleashed and supply links are to Consumer Crafts (not affiliate links).

Before I show you the fun, let me show you the BEFORE.

Creating a Family Art Room with Pom Pom Ceiling at Stonecrest with Amy Renea of A Nest for All SeasonsCreating a Family Art Room with Pom Pom Ceiling at Stonecrest with Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons


When the house was a bed and breakfast, this was the billiards room, complete with pool table (of course) and hanging stick rack (check out the hangers still in the wall).  The colors were just far too dark for me and I had already pegged this room for my writing and photography, so the red had to go.  It was casting a terrible magenta onto every picture I took and I did not feel like battling it everytime I needed to do indoor photos in the winter.  Thus - BYE BYE carpet.

When we ripped up the carpet, we were VERY lucky to find pretty wide-planked (pine?) flooring underneath that matched the living room across the hall.  The wood planks themselves were in good shape, there was no glue to deal with (only staples) and the only repair will be filling in all the "chinks".  Lucky INDEED!

Creating a Family Art Room with Pom Pom Ceiling at Stonecrest with Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons
Living Room -- Note the floors in better condition over here...
Once the floors were neutralized, I focused my attention UP.  

Pom Pom Ceiling for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea Closeup

Once that wallpaper had been neautralized to photo-friendly white, the room was starting to get a bit boring.  Enter full garlands of pom poms strung swooping from the ceiling in joyful glee.   ...and yes, since you asked, they ARE only $1.67 per  foot length.  Talk about affordable!  While I have happily made plenty of my own garlands, I am much happier utilizing these pre-strung beauties!

Creating a Family Art Room with Pom Pom Ceiling at Stonecrest with Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons

So happy that there are now over 20 of them floating around my work room ceiling.  No, really.

Pom Pom Ceiling for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea Room
My worktable and prop storage dressers -- window on the right is my "lightbox"
Y'all, there is something SO happy about pom pom garlands above your head while you work.

Pom Pom Ceiling for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea

I didn't stop at swoops above my workdesk though.  The kids wanted some above their art table, so I was happy to oblige!  The table is small and round, so we decided to go with a happy circle design that mirrored the table.  We started by laying the pom pom garlands out, with the ends in the center of the table.

Pom Pom Ceiling for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea Art Table
$2 former school table from auction, kid's chairs from auction, 20 IKEA rug
The ends were secured together with white yarn and a couple knots.


Pom Pom Ceiling for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea Knotting

Then, the center of the garlands was lifted and secured to the ceiling with two clear push pins.

Pom Pom Ceiling for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea Circle

The result is 9 "tails" hanging down from the ceiling.  To make even "swoops", I stood in the center of the table and attached the garland pieces at exactly one of my arm's length, again with a clear thumbtack directly into the ceiling.

How to Hang Pom Poms on Ceiling for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea

I started with two pieces directly across from one another and then filled in the rest with even spacing between them.

Pom Poms on Ceiling for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea SmALL

I think these fun, inexpensive, fuzzy garlands would be perfect for a birthday party or wedding, 
but really, who wants to stop there?  Garlands all year round sound right to me!  

Creating a Family Art Room with Pom Pom Ceiling at Stonecrest with Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons

Next on the list -- I share the "clipboard wall" and show you how "THE BOOK" was created starting on the clipboard wall and ending up on the grid.  
See you soon!

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18 May 2015

Art Room Design DIY ::: Chalkboard Tags Organizing

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Before we leave for Puerto Rico, I wanted to share one of my favorite spaces here in Pennsylvania.  In fact, I have spent the large majority of my time during the day in this room since we moved here.  It could be called a multi-purpose room and we have called it the "red room", the "art room" and the "work room" interchangeably.  I think we have settled on the "art room" as that is our very favorite thing to do here!  Over the course of the week, I will show you how this space looked when we moved in, the surprise flooring that made me dance giddily around the house, how I made the room fit our family activities and how I used this room specifically for writing my first book.  Today, I am going to start with a little corner of the space that the kids use for art and we all use to keep our life (somewhat) organized.

How to Organize a Family Art Room with Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons
I previously published this post on Crafts Unleashed -- all links are to Consumer Crafts and are not affiliate links
Labels and tagging can range from very, very simple and utilitarian (labelmaker!!) to very ornamental (clay tags for plants!) to quite crafty and custom (Create your own stamps!).  Currently, I use all of the above, but tend to land somewhere in the middle for my everyday organizing.  My favorite label?  The humble chalkboard tag.

Chalkboard Tag

I have created my own chalkboard "stickers" out of Silhouette chalkboard vinyl, and was prepared to make more when I stumbled upon this great deal.  50 chalkboard labels...precut with holes for$1.97.  For less than $2.00 I can organize ALL of our cubbies and I do not have to break out the Silhouette!

Supplies:

Let's start with organization tips for the "little stuff," shall we?  The cute little tins are front and center because they are adorable AND because they hold the "little bits" I was always looking for and could NEVER find.  The chalkboard tags were written on with fine tip chalk markers (I love these from David Tutera) and attached with copper wire.

A. Envelopes.   You might think these are for letter writing, but think again.  We need envelopes for SO much more in our family.  Sending last minute money for a teacher present, corralling cut pieces of paper "money," stashing pictures to send to Grandma later...the list goes on and on and on.  I was always looking for envelopes, so now they have a dedicated spot.  I pick up various sizes in varying amounts at the thrift store or on clearance for pennies and they get stashed in a tin for the kids.

B. Combs.  Oh my goodness, boys.  They hate doing their hair and I was always running back from the driveway (waiting for the bus) to the bathroom, grabbing a comb and fixing their hair.  I finally wizened up and bought them in bulk from the dollar store.  I keep this tin full right by the door and my trip is shortened significantly.  Also -- they can never say they "can't find" a comb.

C. Pencils.  See them in the back?  Talk about driving me banana-pants!  Everytime it was time for homework, nobody could ever find a pencil.  Red pen?  SURE!  Markers?  Of course!  Pencils?  NOPE.   Now, this bucket stays full of pencils no matter how many they lose.  I pick up a 100 pack everytime it starts to get at all low.

D. Change.  Coins and Dollars, nothing big.  We have several of these "change depositories" throughout the house, but this one is specifically for the kids.  When I find money on the floor (no matter who it belongs to), it goes in the tin and the boys can earn money from the tin by doing chores.  It is a lot easier to tell them they can go get X amount of money from the jar than to constantly be pulling out my purse.

How to Organize a Family Art Room with Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons

E. Hooks.  We never have enough hooks.  I always buy them on clearance and keep a tin of them.  We are still new to this house, so before  hanging hooks, I gauge where we need them the most.  The best indicator?  Where do piles of sweatshirts, coats and towels accumulate?  Once there is a pattern, I add a hook.  This process has not yet found an end.  I am hoping someday we will reach our "hook capacity" as a family.

Underneath the tins is a set of cubbies that is turned horizontally.  From Left to Right on the top:

A. Mama's Cubby -- random stuff of mine that I need to put away.  The kid's are never allowed in this cubby.

B. Listen bucket -- CD's, Tapes and the like.  This is our art room and also our wrestling and dancing room -- all require good music.

C. Batteries.  WARNING: Store batteries in their original packaging or cover ends with electrical tape for safety.  We do the latter and keep a little planter with various batteries so that the kids can reload batteries when needed without a giant search and rescue mission.  Little Haeger planters <<< affiliate link to Amazon where they have a ton...but I like to find mine for less than a buck at garage sales and auctions) are my favorite quirky storage containers.

How to Organize a Family Art Room with Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons
Haeger Planter - 50 Cents at auction
D.  Extra throw rugs to replace dirty ones at various doors.  I found out early in motherhood that those little rugs are worth their weight in gold catching dirt.  Whenever I would go to wash one, inevitably the little guys would track mud in the house.  Now no rug goes in the wash without a replacement picking up the slack.  I buy them on clearance at Target for $2-3.

Bottom Row: My favorite row!  The chalkboard tags label the initials for each child and the cubby boxes are empty.  Why?  For half-completed projects.  I was finding that the biggest source of "stuff" in this room was art projects and craft projects that were not quite finished yet.  They weren't ready to be thrown away and they were not ready to hang up.  They were just there in mid-stage driving me crazy.  I finally made the simple realization that we needed a place for these projects.  Each kid gets a bin and when the bin is full they have to clean out the projects, finish them or throw something away.  Why did I wait so long to do this?

How to Organize a Family Art Room with Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons
NOTE THE RED RED CARPET!
Moving on to the next organization tips...(you didn't think we were finished YET did you?)

Adjacent to the horizontal cubby are two vertical cubbies and a small "art cart."  The art cart holds art supplies for the kids only and they are allowed to use them at almost anytime without help from adults.  One supply that is not on the art cart?  Glue.  Also...glitter.

How to Organize a Family Art Room with Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons
That lamp base is a Haeger too!   $6 at a thrift store and it WORKS!
I need a new shade however...
The quick run-down of time tested cubby organization tips musts -- my favorites are bolded.

Gym: Shoes, socks, weights, etc.

Sport: Soccer jerseys, baseballs hats-- whatever season we are in.

Photos: One box full of random prints -- all sizes that need to be organized further.

How to Organize a Family Art Room with Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons


Star Prizes: The kids earn stars for good behavior and chores.  The dollar store prizes are in a cubby and they choose their own.

Art and Craft: Stuff for the kids that they aren't allowed to get themselves.

Stamping and Such: Additional craft supplies.

Boxes include jewelry making, pens and pencils and craft paints.

Ribbon and String: For presents and crafting.  The kids get really creative with string!

Library Books: This box is empty unless library books are coming in or need to be returned.

Fix It Kit: Bandaids, Vaseline, tweezers and other injury related must haves.

How to Organize a Family Art Room with Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons


Use It Or Lose It: The first of the month, everything in this box gets thrown away or donated.  It houses all the little junk you don't know what to do with.  
If you don't use it or put it in its place within a month -- we don't need it anymore.

How to Organize a Family Art Room with Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons

...annnnnnnnnd that is the end of my organization tips folks...of the arts and craft area.

MORE TO COME!

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