A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: February 2014

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27 February 2014

Honeycomb Stained Porch and Picnic Table

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I have a big old concrete porch.    It is great for the kids to chalk color on.  Otherwise, it is a big blank canvas of NOTHING.  It was bothering me.  Also bothering me?  The awful, unfinished "finish" on the basic picnic table we bought at Lowe's last spring.  It was looking SAD by the end of the season last fall, so right before the winter winds came swirling in, I spruced them both up a bit with one go.  Ready to see?


Yup.  That is the newly finished table and "rug".  Fun eh??

Now what is really funny is that a few days ago, that area looked like this:

As the snow started to melt, I could see bits and pieces of the "rug" coming through and it got me all excited to share with you :)

Here was the BEFORE before:

BEFORE & AFTER


It is very simple really.  I used some leftover porch stain (redwood, I believe) from THIS LITTLE PORCH MAKEOVER 
and the stencil I had leftover from OUR BABY GIRL NURSERY and came up with a no-cost makeover that makes me smile everytime I see it.



The table was just unfinished pine, so the stain went directly onto the wood and took two quick coats to finish.  

The floor "rug" took a little more work.  Basically, I set my right line of the rug with a piece of duct tape (see the yellow in that very first photo?).  I then set up my stencil and went row by row painting over the concrete with the wood stain.  Yes, it is wood stain and not meant for concrete floors.  Yes, the concrete already has a layer of paint on it.  No, I don't care if it fades a bit.

You see, I intended this rug to look a bit like those old Turkish rugs that have started to fade and wither away in portions.  I could have done a paint finish with clear lines and striking colors, but that wasn't what I was going for.  I used my brush with just a tiny bit of stain so that the finish would be a bit faded to begin with, but will naturally weather more over time.  Call me crazy, but I LOVE it.  ...and I LOVE no $$$ makeovers.  

How DIVINE is that DESIGN???


Pin It

Honeycomb Stained Porch and Picnic Table

Pin It

I have a big old concrete porch.    It is great for the kids to chalk color on.  Otherwise, it is a big blank canvas of NOTHING.  It was bothering me.  Also bothering me?  The awful, unfinished "finish" on the basic picnic table we bought at Lowe's last spring.  It was looking SAD by the end of the season last fall, so right before the winter winds came swirling in, I spruced them both up a bit with one go.  Ready to see?


Yup.  That is the newly finished table and "rug".  Fun eh??

Now what is really funny is that a few days ago, that area looked like this:

As the snow started to melt, I could see bits and pieces of the "rug" coming through and it got me all excited to share with you :)

Here was the BEFORE before:

BEFORE & AFTER


It is very simple really.  I used some leftover porch stain (redwood, I believe) from THIS LITTLE PORCH MAKEOVER 
and the stencil I had leftover from OUR BABY GIRL NURSERY and came up with a no-cost makeover that makes me smile everytime I see it.



The table was just unfinished pine, so the stain went directly onto the wood and took two quick coats to finish.  

The floor "rug" took a little more work.  Basically, I set my right line of the rug with a piece of duct tape (see the yellow in that very first photo?).  I then set up my stencil and went row by row painting over the concrete with the wood stain.  Yes, it is wood stain and not meant for concrete floors.  Yes, the concrete already has a layer of paint on it.  No, I don't care if it fades a bit.

You see, I intended this rug to look a bit like those old Turkish rugs that have started to fade and wither away in portions.  I could have done a paint finish with clear lines and striking colors, but that wasn't what I was going for.  I used my brush with just a tiny bit of stain so that the finish would be a bit faded to begin with, but will naturally weather more over time.  Call me crazy, but I LOVE it.  ...and I LOVE no $$$ makeovers.  

How DIVINE is that DESIGN???


Pin It

26 February 2014

Notes on Planting Spinach Seedlings

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I am DYING under all of this snow y'all!!  I keep planting pot after pot of seeds indoors, but it still isn't enough.  I need to see real soil again!!  OUTSIDE!  Since right now God isn't listening and the soil is still covered by an impenetrable layer of snow-ice-snow-ice, I will look back at last year's Spring and plan away for this year.

One of the absolute must haves on my list?  SPINACH.


Don't mind those holes.  We grow enough spinach in spring for the bugs, the groundhog, the rabbits and the people.  Now.  You must know I don't like spinach very much as a salad ingredient, though plenty of folks do.  I find it to be too chewy and I like my salads crunchy.  In fact, I much prefer a cabbage salad to a lettuce salad, but that is besides the point.  I DO like spinach when cooked into recipes and when blended into green smoothies.  It is a super food, so while I don't love it fresh, I love to get it into our tummies somehow.  Get my green smoothie "margaritas" right HERE!


A few notes about planting spinach:


A.  Sprinkle seed generously.  It can grow fairly close together and will make a nice mass of green that you can easily cut.  Growing spinach crowded like this means none of the clumps will get very big, but who likes big, old spinach anyway?  The little baby leaves are the best!  Harvest them early before they get tough!

B.  The nice brands of spinach DO taste different.  You can buy super cheap spinach or spend a few more bucks and try different varieties.  I always like the Martha Stewart seed varieties, but I suggest finding a couple mid-range varieties adn trying them out.  It is still only a couple dollars for a LOT of seed!

C.  Plant a little at a time.  You do NOT have to plant the whole seed packet at once!  Plant 15-20 seeds in a fairly large plot, then sow another 10-15 in a few weeks.  You will get two nice crops of spinach this way.  You can also do this indoors in pots RIGHT NOW.  Plant a few seeds of spinach each week and your one little pot will keep you in fresh greens until the soil is ready for planting in early spring.

D.  Spinach isn't the only green you should be planting in indoor pots!  Try beets (for the greens!) and swiss chard (pick the leaves when very little!) to spice up your hot pasta dishes and freezing smoothies!



Pin It

Notes on Planting Spinach Seedlings

Pin It

I am DYING under all of this snow y'all!!  I keep planting pot after pot of seeds indoors, but it still isn't enough.  I need to see real soil again!!  OUTSIDE!  Since right now God isn't listening and the soil is still covered by an impenetrable layer of snow-ice-snow-ice, I will look back at last year's Spring and plan away for this year.

One of the absolute must haves on my list?  SPINACH.


Don't mind those holes.  We grow enough spinach in spring for the bugs, the groundhog, the rabbits and the people.  Now.  You must know I don't like spinach very much as a salad ingredient, though plenty of folks do.  I find it to be too chewy and I like my salads crunchy.  In fact, I much prefer a cabbage salad to a lettuce salad, but that is besides the point.  I DO like spinach when cooked into recipes and when blended into green smoothies.  It is a super food, so while I don't love it fresh, I love to get it into our tummies somehow.  Get my green smoothie "margaritas" right HERE!


A few notes about planting spinach:


A.  Sprinkle seed generously.  It can grow fairly close together and will make a nice mass of green that you can easily cut.  Growing spinach crowded like this means none of the clumps will get very big, but who likes big, old spinach anyway?  The little baby leaves are the best!  Harvest them early before they get tough!

B.  The nice brands of spinach DO taste different.  You can buy super cheap spinach or spend a few more bucks and try different varieties.  I always like the Martha Stewart seed varieties, but I suggest finding a couple mid-range varieties adn trying them out.  It is still only a couple dollars for a LOT of seed!

C.  Plant a little at a time.  You do NOT have to plant the whole seed packet at once!  Plant 15-20 seeds in a fairly large plot, then sow another 10-15 in a few weeks.  You will get two nice crops of spinach this way.  You can also do this indoors in pots RIGHT NOW.  Plant a few seeds of spinach each week and your one little pot will keep you in fresh greens until the soil is ready for planting in early spring.

D.  Spinach isn't the only green you should be planting in indoor pots!  Try beets (for the greens!) and swiss chard (pick the leaves when very little!) to spice up your hot pasta dishes and freezing smoothies!



Pin It

24 February 2014

Spot the Imposter | DIY TIPS for Creating Bouquets with Dollar Store Flowers

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I gave you a few tips for Spot the Imposter arrangements a week or so ago.
Today, we are going to go into a little more detail.  Ready to dive in?  Let's go!


Remember my orange Spot the Imposter arrangement?  Remember that I told you there WAS one little orange rose that was real.  Can you see her now?  Actually, there are two real roses, one open and one closed in the photo above.  The reason I choose the fake flowers with orange and yellow shading was to highlight these pretty orange roses from the garden.  I only got two off of a new rosebush I am growing, so fake flowers were the best way to stretch my blooms into a full bouquet.  Make sure you put the real flowers front and center in your bouquet to get the most bang for your buck!

How to Pick Dollar Store Flowers


Here is a closeup of those fake flowers.  Notice the shading from orange to yellow.  Sometimes shading can read really fake if the colors are off, but if you can find shaded petals that match a real flower in your garden, it will be hard to tell which is which.  Plain colored fake flowers are a little easier to spot than the well-shaded varieties.


You also want to pay close attention to the foliage when purchasing fake flowers.


Sometimes the softer fabric leaves can look real...


The plastic leaves NEVER do.  Cut those puppies OFF!


It is better to use less and less of a fake flower (cutting off leaves, stamens, other plastic parts) than to use too much.  You want the fakes to blend in so much that you cannot tell that they are fake.  Plasticy green is a dead giveaway.  Chop chop chop.

How to Integrate the REAL Plants

USE GREEN.  Notice how the real green foliage makes a break between the real and fake flowers?  It helps fool the eye into wavering between real and fake when there is a little distance between the two.  When they are placed directly side by side, it is easier to tell one is fake.


USE GREY.  I love using grey in arrangements because it "calms down" overly bright colors.  Fake flowers are often VERY loud and unnatural looking and a little grey goes a long way towards remedying that.  The plant seen here is a lovely, soft feathered lambsear.  These plants are very cheap, easy to grow and easy to propagate (double).  Some even call them weeds.  I love them.



Arranging the Bouquets


When arranging your flowers, start with the biggest "problem".  In this case, it is the fake flowers.  We are trying to disguise them.  Seperate them into two bunches, even though they come on one stem.  The more we can seperate them out, the less fake they will loook.


Add in a second attention grabbing plant like the smokebush seen here to mimic the angles of the fake flower groupings.  When you are making the same "movement" with a real AND a fake plant, attention is focused on them as a whole, not singly on the fake plant.  Add in your greens and greys to separate and tone down the loud oranges and add your showcase orange roses front and center.  

Mission. accomplished.


Pin It

Spot the Imposter | DIY TIPS for Creating Bouquets with Dollar Store Flowers

Pin It

I gave you a few tips for Spot the Imposter arrangements a week or so ago.
Today, we are going to go into a little more detail.  Ready to dive in?  Let's go!


Remember my orange Spot the Imposter arrangement?  Remember that I told you there WAS one little orange rose that was real.  Can you see her now?  Actually, there are two real roses, one open and one closed in the photo above.  The reason I choose the fake flowers with orange and yellow shading was to highlight these pretty orange roses from the garden.  I only got two off of a new rosebush I am growing, so fake flowers were the best way to stretch my blooms into a full bouquet.  Make sure you put the real flowers front and center in your bouquet to get the most bang for your buck!

How to Pick Dollar Store Flowers


Here is a closeup of those fake flowers.  Notice the shading from orange to yellow.  Sometimes shading can read really fake if the colors are off, but if you can find shaded petals that match a real flower in your garden, it will be hard to tell which is which.  Plain colored fake flowers are a little easier to spot than the well-shaded varieties.


You also want to pay close attention to the foliage when purchasing fake flowers.


Sometimes the softer fabric leaves can look real...


The plastic leaves NEVER do.  Cut those puppies OFF!


It is better to use less and less of a fake flower (cutting off leaves, stamens, other plastic parts) than to use too much.  You want the fakes to blend in so much that you cannot tell that they are fake.  Plasticy green is a dead giveaway.  Chop chop chop.

How to Integrate the REAL Plants

USE GREEN.  Notice how the real green foliage makes a break between the real and fake flowers?  It helps fool the eye into wavering between real and fake when there is a little distance between the two.  When they are placed directly side by side, it is easier to tell one is fake.


USE GREY.  I love using grey in arrangements because it "calms down" overly bright colors.  Fake flowers are often VERY loud and unnatural looking and a little grey goes a long way towards remedying that.  The plant seen here is a lovely, soft feathered lambsear.  These plants are very cheap, easy to grow and easy to propagate (double).  Some even call them weeds.  I love them.



Arranging the Bouquets


When arranging your flowers, start with the biggest "problem".  In this case, it is the fake flowers.  We are trying to disguise them.  Seperate them into two bunches, even though they come on one stem.  The more we can seperate them out, the less fake they will loook.


Add in a second attention grabbing plant like the smokebush seen here to mimic the angles of the fake flower groupings.  When you are making the same "movement" with a real AND a fake plant, attention is focused on them as a whole, not singly on the fake plant.  Add in your greens and greys to separate and tone down the loud oranges and add your showcase orange roses front and center.  

Mission. accomplished.


Pin It

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