A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: July 2012
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30 July 2012

Quick Fix DIY Trashed Chair | FREEk DESIGN!

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So this was the state this chair was in when I picked her up from the side of the street.  Actually, she was a little worse off because the wood was a sad, dirty blue color.  A fresh coat of green spiced her up a bit, but still left much to be desired.

Since I am not a chair weaver, caning expert or patient, I decided to "make it work" with a 10 minute solution.  First things first, all those little pieces were simply stretched back onto the seat top and hot glued with a super strength, super hot hot glue.  (Do you know the glue is FAR less effective if it is not warmed up to its full heat capacity??  Just, like your oven -- it is well worth it to pre-heat!)

After quickly affixing the woven pieces to the chair base, I simply layered two fabrics over the "messy" part.  
The first is a placemat folded in two and the second was a winter scarf, knotted underneath the chair to keep it tight. 

There was one other problem with this chair though...

The legs were beat up badly.

Solution?  A little bit of twine wrapped around the base of each leg and secured with twine.


So for $0 dollars and just 10 minutes, I've got an extra spot to stash clothes and books in the bedroom and I am happy as a lark!  

Chair - FREE
Paint - Leftover
Placemats - Dining Room
Scarf - Coat Closet
Twine - Garden Shed
Hot Glue - Craft Closet

What have you FREEk designed lately??

More: FREEk Archives

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27 July 2012

We Learned How to Grow Potatoes - Now it is Time to GATHER!

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So on Wednesday I showed off my first potato harvest of the season in [Gathered].  
Those potatoes looked pretty beautiful didn't they?

What I didn't show you was the process behind the gathering.  
It was decidedly UNbeautiful, but very rewarding :)

In fact, it is quite ugly to be frank.  You have to wait until the potato stems have dried and and 
almost completely withered before harvesting and it is an ugly sight.  Add the cobwebs and well...?

It's ugly.

...but LOOK at that cluster of potatoes!

All that from one little slice of potato!

Here's how it works...

After harvesting the buckets of potatoes from the garden, I throw the stems in the compost and we start digging in, eating up all those potatoes. When I am cutting potatoes for a meal, I take off a little bit more generous of a slice than I normally would from any of the ends that have prominent buds.  In this case, the buds have already started growing.  (That never happens in YOUR pantry, now does it??)

Leave those little pieces out so they dry a little and form a skin on the exposed cut.  It takes just a day or two and then they are ready to plant.   The only thing to watch out for is a moldy potato.  Once in awhile you will get a few like this:

Toss those and plant the rest!  When I'm harvesting the potato plants, I sometimes find these little weasely guys too.  
Those go right back in the soil from whence they came and will most likely form their own little plants. 

 The cut ends of the potatoes that have had a chance to chit (or dry) go right back in the tires too for another round of growing by fall.  
In a few short months, the second harvest should come rolling in right on schedule!

26 July 2012

A Place for my Soul to Breathe...

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I know...you think I'm going to get all preachy on you today. Well, I am, but not really. You see, the way I interact with God -- the way my soul grows -- it isn't very preachy. I grew up in church and I went to a Christian university and we still go to church faithfully -- and all added up? That is a lot of preaching. I get a little tired of preaching. Don't you?

What I don't get tired of are those moments when I can feel my soul breathe. I don't know if you have had those moments (I hope you have!), but once you feel it, you will always want more.  Those moments when something lifts in your heart and you are simply at peace.  You aren't crazy happy. You aren't even full of elation.  You aren't even necessarily joyful.  You are just at peace.

For me, that peace is directly tied to the way God speaks through nature.  Perhaps it is childish of me that I find God the most through his tangible, smack-dab-in-your-face gifts instead of his more lofty spiritual gifts.  In any case, I'm not going to argue with how and when.  I just love the feeling of freedom when my soul breathes. 

Perhaps you are wondering when I'm going to get to the point.  I'm getting there I promise.

A few years ago, we had just moved to Pennsylvania and we were living in a townhouse.  We were supposed to live there for a year but I was a little baby and needed a garden and a place for the boys to run.  Looking back, I know that realistically, we should have stuck it out.  Quite honestly, I knew I was being ungrateful in my heart at the time.  I just couldn't stand it.  I couldn't stand the babies waking the other babies up because the quarters were too close.  I couldn't stand the stark whiteness and "townhouseiness" of it all.  I couldn't stand the fact that my poppies bloomed 1/4" wide because they were being grown in pots that couldn't support them.  I was tired of not having potatoes and tomatoes growing in my backyard.  I was tired of not being able to paint walls and hang things on them.  I was just a plain old baby about it all.

However.  I am a little bit glad that I was a baby because we ended up with a house that lets my soul breathe. 

I still haven't told you what I'm talking about....

Let me show you.

It is those places where sun glints through the plants like diamonds and that place where the sky goes on forever.  It's that place where the green fills your eyes and then coats your veins and tumbles down into your heart.  It is that moments when you breathe in the air and feel it living you life.  It is the country and the woods and the beaches and the ocean.  It is rocks and grass and trees and sky.  It is the place where God reaches out and can physically touch us.  My soul can breathe when there is space and life and light and growth.  My soul can breathe when I can feel God.

Those photos?  Those aren't of my home.  Those are of the [incredible] Rapid Canyon Ranch in Wyoming.  The problem?  We can't afford hundreds and thousands of acres of unbroken sky.  We can't afford a home where neighbors are invisible.  We can't afford a mountain. 

However.  We can afford a home that lets my soul breathe.  Sometimes you have to get on your knees and look under the plants to see the way the sunlight glows through the leaves.  A blanket and a baby and that view?  Your soul can breathe.  Sometimes it is looking the right direction.  Maybe you have a busy street in front of your home, but out the back you can see rolling hills in the distance.  You don't have to own those hills for them to grace your heart.

All that said...my soul can breathe now.  If I wouldn't have been such a baby, my soul could have breathed in that townhouse, but I was too stubborn.  I wanted grass and trees and room to plant.   I wanted sky and breeze and trees to climb.  I wanted to own my little piece of land and raise chickens and chase groundhogs.

It's understandable, but still childish.  
I missed out on a few months of breathing because I was so busy worrying about finding a place to breathe. 

Are you in a space where it feels like you can't breathe?  Re-evaluate your space, add some life, try to embrace your space and you might try adding a few of my styling tips to help.  In any case, breathe.  You can't live without it.

25 July 2012

[gathered.] 4

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Potatoes are the bounty of choice this week, spilling out of baskets and buckets all over the house.
From teeny to tiny and huge and a little scary, these pots are going to feed us for weeks to come!

What have you gathered this week?

24 July 2012

Bigger and Smaller

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As you read 'A Nest for All Seasons', you might have noticed a bit of a change.

The nest is getting bigger!

...oh and the nest is getting smaller.

You see, I typically write medium sized posts - the kind you can digest in a sitting easily. 5 minutes and you get through the whole thing, actually read every word and maybe pin it if you like it. Those posts are good -- they are my bread and butter, but I was starting to get tired of the medium road. Medium posts aren't meaty, and they aren't quick enough for skimmers. I want a balanced diet here on this little writing space I call home.

SO. I've started delving deep into a couple of posts. I want you to get a full article. Something that takes 20 minutes to really read, think about and maybe DO something thanks to the post.  Remember the redbud post? ...or the crappy posts post?  Keep your eyes peeled for 'carrot seed confetti' coming soon!  These posts are WORDY...but I hope you read them! I think it is important to talk about the deep and the real once in awhile and I hope you will be inspired by what inspires me.

On the other hand, I also want posts that don't take much time from you, but strike a puh-POW into your brain. I want just a few words -- but words that really SAY something.  I want a few pictures -- but pictures that really SAY something.  A sense of place -- a picture of life condensed to a thought.


So you might see a couple new series popping up here at the nest. 
 The first two have already begun and if you missed them you might want to check out [gathered.] and What do you guys DO all day?

Would you rather visit by following along on pinterest?  
Each series has a board so you can follow along if you wish!  Visit [gathered.] HERE and What do you DO? right HERE

The reasoning behind these two series??  The purpose?  The thoughts behind the posts?  
Well, that will be explored in a couple of those long, lengthy posts, but for now -- I would like you to just be puh-POWED.

Maybe this little phrase will puh-pow YOU as much as it has puh-powed ME...

...and that's all for today folks :)

23 July 2012

What do you guys DO all day?

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20 July 2012

DIY Birthday Chart

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Welcome!  This morning I've got to share with you a project that has been on the back burner for months [MONTHS!] and it should not have been.  The total project took about 30 minutes start to finish, but took ME 6 months start to finish.  Ridiculous!

What is it?


A Birthday Chart.

I don't know what your habits are, but when it comes to birthdays, my habits are LAME.  I cannot remember birthdays for the life of me and always feel guilty when I miss one.  I've made board after board, list after list, reminder after reminder and nothing works.  I tried the facebook birthdays alert thing, but it is never early enough to actually buy a gift or send a card.  I tried having a list by my bedside, but it got lost in the shuffle of gardening magazines and sudoku puzzles each night.  I tried making a chalkboard with a list of birthdays, but I never looked at it.


What to do?

I needed a chart that was front and center, adaptable to adding new birthdays (we have babies popping out the wazoo in this family) AND something that looked like it fit in with our decor.

The solution?


19 July 2012

Do you have your winter reading list ready yet?

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So this morning I read a blog post about Elizabeth Lawrence's Garden Study and I was instantly struck by how parallel our lives are.  She sat at her desk, in front of a large open window watching her garden grow and writing every thought that flit through her head.  While the romantic notion of that process is not quite the reality in my home, it happens.  While it doesn't happen as much as I wish it could, I am grateful it happens.  I am grateful to have a desk, and a big window and a garden teaming with life  and the words to share it with you.

I know gardening still isn't in vogue. [My husband tells me he still just doesn't get it and asked yesterday how there could possibly be more books written on gardening that I haven't read yet...oh the rabbit hole that sent us down :)] I know gardening still isn't a subject that makes 99% of the world tingle in their toes and rip open a book to read someone's thoughts about it.  I know this.  It doesn't seem to matter.  I still want to read about gardening and I still want to write about gardening.  I am hoping you do too.  ...at least a little bit.  I'm hoping to convert a few of you.  I'm hoping that I will be able to open a door for a few people and show them why gardening fanatics are so darn fanatical.  That would be enough.  Just a few converts -- a few of you introduced to this kind of life.  That would be my success. 

Back to Elizabeth though...she wrote.  ...and wrote and wrote and wrote...and I haven't read much by her because I've been waiting to find a huge box of ancient gardening books at a book sale for pennies.  I would fight to the death for it and pay my $1.50 a bag and happily devour the books for months on end.  Well, several years have passed and no luck.  Soooooooo, amazon it is!  I spent a few minutes rounding up the best priced books by Elizabeth Lawrence and another perennial favorite Beverly Nichols...and contrary to my normal practice, I bought them.  I didn't hem and haw much.  I just bought them.  I know these are the kind of books I keep forever and read again and again, so I bit the bullet, paid my 30 bucks and bought them.  I am now set for winter with my seed packets, index cards, seed catalogues and now?  My gardening books.  They will arrive one by one, little cardboard boxes and yellow envelopes full of the most exciting little bits of gardening wisdom and insight.  I can't wait!

Prepare yourself -- you might want to go hide over on the DIY page if gardening isn't your thing.  There is going to be a lot of garden talk around here!

Here is a sampling of the books I bought and a few I still want....

What will you be reading this winter????

Remember,anything you buy through that link above gives a little kick back to 'A Nest for All Seasons' and keeps the garden wheels turning!  
Whether you pick up a few gardening books, diapers or sweet pea seeds -- it counts!  THANK YOU for your support!

18 July 2012

The day I went to the edge of the Earth...

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Wondering where I found these views??

 If you follow along on facebook, you might have noticed a few photos from Wyoming last month.

My new and dear friend Becky Pickrel of Woven Decor invited me to her [amazing] ranch and today I am proud to finally share it with you!  I can't share the crispness of that piney air or that feeling of freedom you get from boundless miles of sky, but I tried to capture just the teensiest piece of the magic for you...

Check out the amazing interiors of Rapid Canyon Ranch right HERE!

PS -- You do know that I'm always sharing behind-the-scenes photos, previews, coupon codes and MORE every day on facebook right??  
You didn't??  Well, come check it out darlings!

17 July 2012

What do you guys do all day?

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13 July 2012

[gathered.] v3

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