A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: January 2017

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10 January 2017

Planting in the Winter

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It is around this time every winter that I really start to miss planting. It has really only been about a month since last the shovel met the soil (trees went in the week after Thanksgiving), but I am really starting to miss it now that the days are lengthening a bit and cabin fever is starting to settle in. It's like a slow awakening to spring that ignores winter as if it is simply an annoyance to wade through.

Frozen Plants at A Nest for All Seasons with Amy Renea

Once the ground is frozen solid though, outdoors is not an option. If you have a wee bit of light though (or can hang some lighting from a shelf), you can absolutely get a little planting in these long days of winter. Here are two of my "tide me over" planting strategies.

Cuttings

If you brought in a few plants from the porch at the end of summer, they are probably starting to look a little scraggly. This is the time of year that I trim up those plants, making sure to get 6-8" pieces to use as cuttings. Sweet potato vine, in particular, does very well with a fresh start. The roots will grow in the water and make for a pretty addition to the kitchen sink for weeks and weeks. They can be discarded, sometimes planted into a pot again or planted out in spring. Your choice.

Growing Cuttings in Water at A Nest for All Seasons with Amy Renea

I've also gotten the chance to test a new watering system for cuttings and thus far, it has worked out well for coleus and sweet potato vine cuttings. ( Southern Patio Self-Watering Pot Insert - see below) The cuttings are not actively putting on a lot of new growth, but they are holding steady, which is more than I can say for the declining sweet potato vines in my other pots at the moments (those have turned mainly into cuttings now!)

Self Watering Southern Patio Pot Insert at A Nest for All Seasons with Amy Renea

Self Watering Southern Patio Pot Insert at A Nest for All Seasons with Amy Renea

The idea is simple - a basin of water sits in the middle of a pot with a wicking rope 
running out to the opposite side of the pot. A tube allows you to add water to the basin when needed.

Self Watering Southern Patio Pot Insert at A Nest for All Seasons with Amy Renea

I have only run into one problem and that is when I overwater (it is a habit -- i DO try to quit). Since the watering system keeps the underground soil fairly moist, when I water from above (I need not) excess comes rushing out from the drainage hole of the pot quickly and sometimes makes a mess. If I would simply trust the watering system, this would not be an issue.

Bulbs

My second strategy for dealing with the long days of planting-less winter is to buy up fall bulbs on clearance and start planning spring baskets and pots. If the ground can be worked, I can toss a few into the ground as well, but typically by the new year, these clearance bulbs aren't going to be sunk into the garden. Instead, I pile them into planters (tightly for a good show!), cover with soil, lightly water and leave them in the basement to chill. Periodically throughout the winter, and then mores as spring starts whispering, baskets and pots are brought into the light, watered and the flower show begins! I sometimes have enough blooms to make little May Day gifts from these baskets.

Planting Fall Bulbs for May Day Baskets at A Nest for All Seasons with Amy Renea

Happy Planting!

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06 January 2017

My House got "New Years-ed"

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This year I didn't formally make any resolutions. However, I found that I did subconsciously start "New Years-ing" myself and my home. I made those dentist appointments I have been putting off (in fear…long story…but a good dentist is worth MILLIONS, I tell you.) and have scheduled LASIK surgery for February. Scary things, good things, new things. I would say the house updates were less terrifying, but then I remembered the day we moved THIS TABLE. I was certain someone would have to go to the hospital with a broken toe (I am so glad they didn't!)

Fixing a Marble Table with Sugru in the Stonecrest Kitchen

Our old table was nearing 14 years?? old and literally starting to fall apart, so we started shopping for a replacement. True to form, we found a beautiful, solid marble table on sale for $199. We eventually were given the "final" price of $99 and then had to pay a few hundred for piano movers to get the thing to our house. Yes - PIANO movers. This table weighs a ton. Literally, around a ton. It separates into two parts and the bottom piece is not so bad to move, but the top is a monster.

When the movers brought the table, the kitchen floors were still being redone and we had to set it in the next room over from the kitchen. Once the floors were complete, 4 very strong relatives moved it into the kitchen. The table broke a flat dolly and took 45 minutes to move from one room to another. Again - I am SO GLAD no toes or fingers were broken.

 Back to the price though…THIS was why:

Fixing a Marble Table with Sugru in the Stonecrest Kitchen

There was a massive chunk missing out of one corner.

However, we have reclaimed marble throughout our house in this exact shade of ivory and the table fit the dimensions of our kitchen perfectly. It would serve well as a table as well as a sort of "island" for more prep space while cooking. It was NINETY NINE dollars and tables like this retail for $10-15,000. THOUSAND. Could I fix it well enough to hide this??

Fixing a Marble Table with Sugru in the Stonecrest Kitchen

I thought it was worth a try and Sugru had asked if I wanted to sample their moldable glue...

Fixing a Marble Table with Sugru in the Stonecrest Kitchen

…so I requested some yellow, brown and white hoping I could fake "marble" veining.

Fixing a Marble Table with Sugru in the Stonecrest Kitchen

Here is the first layer application of the glue...

Fixing a Marble Table with Sugru in the Stonecrest Kitchen

NOW. I am the first one to admit my work isn't perfect, but the glue has held up
surprisingly well and I would TOTALLY do it again.

(I would ask the movers to wait a couple weeks though and not risk relatives' toes.)

Fixing a Marble Table with Sugru in the Stonecrest Kitchen
Marbling patch halfway finished
 Here is the Sugru fresh from the package - looks a bit like play dough:

Fixing a Marble Table with Sugru in the Stonecrest Kitchen

To imitate the coloring of the table, I put a small bit of yellow and brown inside a full package of white and mixed it gently until the coloring was basically off white with small streaks of brown and yellow.

Fixing a Marble Table with Sugru in the Stonecrest Kitchen

Once it looked like this, I gently adhered the glue to the table and used the heel of my hand to smooth it on.
That process made the "veining" much less prominent and subtly colored.

Fixing a Marble Table with Sugru in the Stonecrest Kitchen

Can you see the patched corner?

Fixing a Marble Table with Sugru in the Stonecrest Kitchen

Here is a closeup:

Fixing a Marble Table with Sugru in the Stonecrest Kitchen

See how the glue adhered perfectly to smooth out those cracks? 
Like I said, it is NOT perfect, but it is not noticeable at first either and the table has been excellent in the space!

While I had the Sugru out, I went ahead and fixed another problem that has literally been bugging me for YEARS.

Fixing a Lamp with Sugru

Have you ever had a lamp that tilts like that? 

Every time we move, several lamps tend to break right at the collar, but are otherwise fine.
I fight with them, constantly straightening them and cursing them every time I walk in the room.

Sugru took 15 seconds to apply, a day to cure fully and I haven't cursed the poor lamps again.

Fixing a Lamp with Sugru

Moving on from the Sugru commercial…

I also bought a hung a few new paint by numbers thrift finds:Thrifted Paint by Numbers Art at A Nest for All Seasons

 AND (clapping hands wildly!) bought and hung a pot rack all by myself.

Pot Rack at Stonecrest Kitchen

 You wouldn't think it is such a big deal, but hanging things is NOT my forte and I usually skip essential things (like finding studs), but I hung this rack by myself and hung it RIGHT and I wished I had done it years ago. All of those pots were shoved in those cabinets under the stove and as much as I organized them, they were always a pain to get out. There is also a power switch to the propane under there, so the pots and pans would forever be hitting that switch and turning the stove off. Having the pots UP and out of the way has been WONDERFUL. Pot rack was about $25 on Amazon HERE if you have also been putting off this simple upgrade.

Whew. Now the first snow of the year has come down and those little irritating "to-dos" have been scratched off and the house is at peace. It feels good.

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