Posted in DIY

DIY Terrarium and Amazon Tree Cuttings

So, you know that period of time after you find out you’re pregnant where you feel like you’re just barely surviving and incapable of anything extra? That’s where I’ve been for the last three months. At twenty-two weeks I’m emerging from the fog and ready to tackle ALL the projects! And I have a ton (nervous laughter).

For now, I’m tending to my growing collection of houseplants and my big dreams of planting trees to block out the Dairy Queen and Exxon behind my house. (Insert personal rant here) Oh, and to the teenagers that hang out at the bank revving your engines and listening to mumble rappers…screw you. Also, I’m pretty sure some of you are not teenagers and therefore need to grow up a bit. Moving on.

Now to the good stuff…

DIY succulent terrarium

John knows I’m not into roses or sappy cards for Valentine’s Day, so he went with this pretty little geometric terrarium. It’s perfect for the baby succulents sold at Home Depot, which is where I picked up these beauties.

This planter is pretty small, so in retrospect two succulents may be overkill because I’m not sure how big they’ll be able to get in there. With that said, I can always transplant and switch them out.

I bought some plain old river rock to line the bottom. This is recommended for succulents to ensure proper drainage. Then, I threw a layer of potting soil on top. Most plant experts suggest soil made specifically for succulents and cacti. (Now, I’m not going to lie…I’ve been throwing mine in regular soil for years and nothing terrible has ever happened) Just don’t water too much! After putting these down in the soil, I tossed some more rocks on top.

I could have probably gone with less soil, but it worked out fine after I used my trusty tablespoon to move the dirt around.

I struggled to get my hand in the tiny container to situate everything, so I used a tablespoon to dig and arrange the rocks.

Completed Succulent Terrarium DIY

Trees for Privacy

Now, back to our privacy issue in the backyard…I spent months researching what trees would provide privacy in the shortest amount of time. Each Google search brought me back to these willow hybrid cuttings. The description says they’re capable of growing 12 feet in a year.

I was skeptical, but I got 18 cuttings for less than I’d probably pay for a tiny shrub at Home Depot, soooo here we are.

They arrived wrapped in a damp paper towel, completely naked sticks. I was prepared for this because the description was pretty honest about what to expect.

I threw them all in glasses of water and put them in the kitchen window. In two days, the had root sprouts. Two days later, they started to get new growth. At this point, I’m scrambling to get these into some potted soil because the growth is unbelievable.

I’ll probably find whatever pots I can and get these in soil for a few weeks before transplanting them into the ground. I have no doubts they’ll put on substantial height this spring/summer.

They can be planted on their own or in a line for optimum privacy. I received 18, so I’ll probably do a combination of both. The recommended care is pretty simple; don’t use fertilizer until a year of growth, water frequently, and mulch around the base.

Fingers crossed they hide our yard from the road and don’t take over the neighborhood like a wild bamboo forest. 😬

Posted in Uncategorized

Holiday decorating hacks for homes with toddlers

My house is a literal wreck this morning. To be honest, it’s been a wreck for over a week now because these kids won’t nap at the same time because of the barometric pressure, a sleep regression, or a witch has put a hex on me. I don’t know why. The gist is…NOTHING IS GETTING DONE AROUND HERE.

Sure, I have my tree up, but that was only because my husband wanted it up. I’m going to sound like the biggest Scrooge, but I kind of hate Christmas. I will admit that I like it a little more since having children, but the decorating thing never puts me in a good mood.

Having toddlers trailing behind you undoing all the hard work you just attempted obviously doesn’t help. So, if you’re like me and sick of seeing your decorations demolished, here are some LAZY life hacks.

  • Only decorate half of your tree and sacrifice the lower branches to be dusted with Cheetos and fruit snacks. OR buy the soft felt ornaments they always seem to have at Target and save those for your little one’s favorite limbs.
  • Forget about cute hearth decorations for the fireplace. There is no hack. They will be destroyed. Buy the least gaudy Christmas stuffed animals and stack them there. Call it a day.
  • Pretty candles and ceramic house displays? Sure, if you have a shelf high enough to remain safe from your 16 month old and his new obsession with climbing ALL THE THINGS.
  • Okay here’s a more positive tip. Instead of splurging on intricate ornaments and the most expensive wrapping paper because they complete your Instagram aesthetic, buy holiday themed throw pillows and blankets. You know, because they can’t break those.
  • Dollar General candles smell better than expensive ones. Okay, that was positive right? And no one is sad when they get tossed off the table to be shattered two days after you bring them home.
  • Lastly, just forget about putting bows on your presents under the tree. Unless you’re wrapping everything on Christmas Eve, you’ll be LUCKY if the name tags survive.

I know, I’m pretty much the biggest Grinch with the tiniest heart, but I’ve been burned by their tiny toddler hands one too many times and to be fair, Halloween will always be my jam. I will say that I enjoy the activities that they enjoy and we’ll call that a win. Maybe we’ll do some homemade ornaments and garland this year so they can feel more involved and I won’t be as paranoid about everything breaking.

Here are some links to unbreakable decorations (tested by real “demolition artists”)

Also! Target is having BOGO 50% off on wreaths and garland πŸ‘‡πŸ»πŸ‘‡πŸ»πŸ‘‡πŸ»

For all the garland gatherers, your season is here!
Stock up on Christmas wreaths and garlands for the holiday.

Posted in Uncategorized

Efflorescence, old newspapers, and atomic spies

So I’ve been huffing and puffing about this old brick in my fireplace for a couple weeks now. You see it’s slowly being covered with these white patches on the exposed brick.

No, it’s not mold. I know this because I already had that minor heart attack when I saw the same splotches on the exterior walls in our basement. After obsessively googling and scraping away at the walls, I’ve determined our masonry has efflorescence, which is basically just salt deposits surfacing from porous material.

A dead giveaway of efflorescence if the way it sheds a sparkly dust when you scrape it with something. Efflorescence also dissolves in water whereas mold will not.

No biggie. It’s fine. They make cleaner for it and I figure I’ll use it on our fireplace since we actually see it every day but today we found a surprise when John started to tear out the old particle board from the fireplace insert.

At some point in the 1950s the owners decided to brick up our fireplace rendering it useless (I’m fine πŸ₯Ί) and in the process they must have packed it with old newspapers. Although very brittle, they were a nice little surprise on this otherwise boring Wednesday.

We’re guessing this paper is from sometime in 1953 judging by the article on the Rosenberg’s (Atomic Spies) ☝🏼

We’re total nerds so we thought it was cool.

Here’s to hoping we unearth some more surprises in our old Craftsman to go along with the old newspapers, dirty brick, and the huge pile of coal still waiting to be used at the bottom of our coal chute.

Posted in DECOR

I’m not into farmhouse (Don’t come for me)

*Previously published on Harness Community Magazine

I know. Everyone is all about Chip and Joanna and the white and gray. They love shiplap and knocking out walls. Tobacco baskets, repurposed metal kitchen tools, pictures of cows…I get it. I enjoy those things in moderation, but the whole farmhouse trend does it all at once. And I’m not here for it.

Even when I lived on a farm, I favored cabin details and real antiques. Hobby Lobby knockoffs weren’t my fave. Now, I’m not gagging at Hobby Lobby. I do love certain items from there but fakes of real items I could find at the thrift or antique store are not on my shopping list. I know, Joanna doesn’t get her stuff at Hobby Lobby. I know.

But here’s the main reason I’m over FARMHOUSE.


Photo by Mark McCammon from Pexels

Over this ☝🏼

And thisπŸ‘‡πŸ»

Photo by Milly Eaton from Pexels

I’m probably pissing people off at this point, but that’s not my intention. It’s not that I think it looks bad. I think it all looks the same.

And I could be wrong. It’s subjective after all. {In thirty years I may hate everything I have in my house now when I look back in pictures.} I just think homes should have room for more distinct personality.

Sure, all styles bleed into each other a bit and I’ll admit I like the light and airy look Fixer Upper introduced. I like open shelving and houseplants. I just think cow pictures, farmhouse signs, and whitewashed furniture will go out in time. Just as the primitives trend…

It’s just my opinion but,

When there’s room for exposed brick, a funky light fixture, or something dreamy and old…I’m here for it. Everything in moderation, especially the token elements of farmhouse style. You don’t have to have it ALL.

Obviously I’m not a huge Fixer Upper fan, but there’s a couple design shows I do enjoy because they leave the period of the house and don’t bulldoze over with gray walls and shiplap.

I dig this πŸ‘‡πŸ»

Photo by Dmitry Zvolskiy from Pexels

And this πŸ‘‡πŸ»

Photo by Hemanth Nirujogi from Pexels

Hometown happens to be my fave because they always take the original timeframe of the home into consideration. Usually something is handmade and they document that, giving me the feeling that I can replicate their project. I think their focus on revitalizing their small hometown also pulls on my heartstrings a bit.

Taking something old and making it feel new is my favorite thing to do. I like:

  • yard sale furniture
  • old cigar boxes
  • vintage art with a new frame
  • antique glassware
  • houseplants
  • clawfoot anything!

Maybe my style is granny-chic? I don’t know but I do know that no one’s decor looks exactly like mine. I’m not telling anyone to try decorating like me either. If you did, I’d probably follow suit and change mine drastically just to keep the uniqueness I enjoy.

And if you enjoy farmhouse, by all means, you do you. I’m just sharing my personal preference. ✌🏼🏑🌿

*I do still LOVE a good farmhouse sink

Posted in DIY

Our β€œlazy” DIY patio

I’m a sucker for a good Pinterest inspo photo. So when I saw these cozy English garden inspired backyards I felt the nagging pull to start nagging my husband about it.

I wanted flagstone with clouds of ground cover blooms around the perimeter πŸ₯°. Let me be the first to tell you…I did NOT get flagstone. When we no longer have toddlers and dogs that trash our yard, I’ll splurge on expensive landscaping. Until then, I’ll be doing the as seen on TV version. And that’s fine.

(Here’s our DIY budget saver patio)

Now in the spring, I’ll probably give it a border of perennials but I’m happy with the end product. I also plan to build some planters with lattice that extends over the fence so we can grow some vines for added privacy in select areas.

We found this concrete mold at Home Depot that gave us the faux stone look for cheap.

The process was pretty simple. It took us one evening to dig up the yard and nail down the shape and size we were going for. The next day (or two πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈwe have kids remember) we leveled out the dirt. When it was time to pour, the husband used Sakrete. Within a few minutes of filling a mold, the stones were firm enough to pull the mold away. So there’s no waiting or needing to buy several molds.

In the process of digging up the yard for this project, we made a minor discovery. Our house was built in 1900, right? Well apparently there used to be a stable on the back corner of our lot and we found the walkway leading out to the foundation.

We investigated around the fence and discovered the bricks go all the way back to a concrete foundation, complete with a brick floor. Once we finalize our plans for the storage building, we’re going to push that fence back and uncover the entire path and landscape around it. English garden vibes am I right?πŸ„πŸŒ·πŸŒ»

Posted in DECOR

{Come on in}

You won’t find anything remotely “farmhouse” in here and I don’t mean any offense in that. It’s just not my jam. No, I’ve been dreaming of owning an old house for as long as I can remember, and with that comes a mashup of vintage and modern trinkets.

(I’m would never call my style feminine. I tend to favor a more masculine approach to decorating and a small portion of John’s collection of tobacco pipes fit in nicely on our kitchen shelves.)

We didn’t do any of the remodeling restoration work here, but they nearly nailed every detail in what I’d call my perfect home. Which is crazy because we’d never met them in our lives.

Needless to say I was thrilled at the prospect of filling this house up, but we started from scratch with most of our furniture. Because we were coming back from Alabama to stay in John’s family farm, we sold most of our furniture just to avoid packing it up. Enter IKEA!

(The couch, coffee table, and side table are all IKEA finds. I mixed patterns with the rug and curtains but I think it works πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ The rug is an Amazon find. I refuse to splurge on my floors with two dogs and two kids.)

Another large portion of our downstairs decor includes bits and pieces I’ve snagged at antique stores and flea markets since we moved in together in 2011.

(Like these Colt prints I picked up in Deland, FL.)

(Or this gossip benched I discovered at a yard sale a few years ago)

I guess I’d label our house as eclectic with classic touches here and there. My favorite decades are the 20s and 30s and my dream house looks like a speakeasy, so I try to bring that in wherever possible.

We’re nowhere near done, but the first floor has a definite vibe already. While the upstairs, including the master bedroom, is still a bit of a blank slate. Stay tuned for peeks of how we’re decorating the second floor, including IKEA hacks for toy storage 😬.