Monday, October 29, 2012


Hi friends! 

I just wanted to take a quick moment to shout out to my friends, family, and any of you reading this who are in the pathway of Sandy today. She's forecast to be quite nasty, and the sheer size of the storm (especially in comparison to Irene who hit the East coast last August) is mind-blowing. Be safe, and make sure you have a plan in place to evacuate should things get out of control! 


Monday, October 15, 2012

ET: Extra Terrarium

Happy Monday! Can you believe that we are already at the middle of the month of October? Time has been flying by lately. Todays post is something I completed over a month ago but wasn't able to share with you until today. If any of you were drooling over the terrarium trend we saw this spring and summer, then this project is the one for you! Feel free to make your own and share it with me. It's really easy to make your very own.

For the LONGEST time I have wanted to create a terrarium, and that day had finally come. I pinned images to my Pinterest board for months and months, dreamed about how awesome it would look sitting on top of our fireplace mantle, and even wrote the materials on my "To-Do Shopping List." It was high time I got cracking on it, especially since I planned on doing it on a budget. I finished this little project for less than $3!

Here are the materials you will need to make your very own:

Glass container with lid (I used a large apothecary jar)
River pebbles (I purchased these from the dollar store, and used approximately 2.5 bags)
Soil (I had a bag of leftover potting mix)
Moss/plants (I dug up some moss from our backyard)
Decorations (Optional. I added a gnome to keep the moss company)

The first thing you need is to layer the river stones at the bottom of the container. I bought two bags of large stones and two bags of smaller pebbles, and mixed them up. This will provide some drainage for whatever plants you use. I ended up only using about two and a half bags for my container, so the rest I will keep handy for either a second terrarium (bet you can't just build one) or some other project.

Next, you want to add the soil. Be sure to leave enough room for your plant to fit inside comfortably with the lid closed. I used leftovers from a bag of potting mix I had in the garage, but you can also dig up some earth or compost from your yard/garden.

Then, it's time to add your greenery! I chose moss from my back yard because it was free and easy to use. We had lots of it growing in an area beneath one of the trees, so I simply harvested it by carefully prying it up from the ground with a butter knife. Planting the moss was as simple as placing it on top of the soil. Once you have your greenery firmly planted, feel free to decorate. I used a few leftover stones and a cute little gnome to tend my "moss garden". I also left a bare spot in the soil which will give me the option to add another plant later on.

Lastly, water! Depending on the size of your container add enough water to dampen the soil, but don't flood it. You don't want to create a mud pit. The rocks will provide drainage, and with the lid closed your new little habitat will retain and recycle the moisture. Don't forget to put your container in a place that gets a little bit of sunlight each day. I love gardening, but I don't always have the greenest thumb. This is one of the best ways to keep plants, especially if you're like me and forget to water them! My husband and I have always talked about building an aquaponic system, but in the meantime this was an easy and affordable way to bring a little bit of nature into our home.

And that's it! Easy peasy. Kind of makes me wonder why it took so long for me to put one together! I can't wait to see how my moss garden will grow, and I've got room to expand by adding another plant. Has anyone else succumbed to the terrarium trend we saw this year? I'd love to see what you've created if you made your own, so please share!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Our Fall Mantle

Fall is here! One of the things my daughter and I both look forward to is redecorating the house for season changes and holidays. It was something that my mother did with us as a child, and even though she worked a lot to support my sister and I, I valued that time we spent together. And I always knew that it was a tradition that I wanted to pass along to my children.

Our daughter LOVES the holidays, and Halloween is probably one of her favorites. And while I the decor we chose may not necessarily be so creepy or spooky, it's definitely fun and colorful.

It's also still a work in progress. I'm hoping that this weekend we can hit the pumpkin patch and bring home a few mums to fill my empty basket and some pumpkins to carve. I basically used things I had already had on hand from the previous year, and also a few things I had brought home from my mom's house (remnants of my stuff that lingered in her attic since I moved out). The garland (it's actually 3 pieces) is from the dollar store, the witches are German heirlooms, and the pumpkins I bought at Hobby Lobby and Target last year. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

And here is the lower half. I still haven't gotten around to scrubbing that other half of my fireplace! The perfectionist in me didn't even want to post pics showing the brick because my laziness is a bit embarrassing. I guess there's no better motivation to get on it than that! We've also yet to paint the inner brick inside the hearth, but now that I've given the furnace cement plenty of time to dry and cure, we should be good to go. I've been researching faux hearth electric heaters available to insert in our fireplace, and so I think that it is a best, least expensive, and cleanest option at the moment. More on that in a future post. 

I love my ceramic basset hound. He was another attic remnant of mine from my childhood. I think I found him at a thrift store, and since we had a couple basset hounds while growing up, I immediately snatched him up. He wasn't nearly so pretty then as he is now, though. I washed him up, gave him a fresh coat of white paint, and stuck him in the best place any dog would naturally gravitate: in front of the fireplace. It's a favorite spot for our two pooches, too, and we haven't even lit a fire yet. 

Everything else, aside from the apples in the owl planter, were things I had collected in previous years. The apples I bought from the Salvation Army thrift store back at the end of August for .99 cents. I bought them with the intention of panting them white and perhaps glitter dipping them, but I left them original since their bright colors coordinated so well with my leaf garland. 

So, that's our fall decorating at the moment. What do you think? I'm pretty pleased with how it all turned out, especially since it all cost me a total of $1. Some mums and pumpkins will really top it off. The best part is that it will all easily transition into the next month for Thanksgiving (with exception of the witches). I love using things that are so versatile. 

How many of you have already begun to decorate for fall? Do you make it a tradition like we do? Feel free to share your decorating pictures with me!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Life Gets In The Way Sometimes...

Happy 10-11-12!

Sorry for being absent for so long, but life gets in the way of things sometimes. And that has certainly been my struggle for the past month. Health concerns and running our household (while ill) on my own while my husband was away for a month of training kind of put both my DIY plans and this blog on the back burner. Please accept my apologies for disappearing. I hadn't planned on being gone for so long, but now that I've regained most of my energy, I am ready to kick things back into gear!

Today I wanted to start things off kind of simple. I have a few things around the house to share with you, like my fall mantle, but part of me wanted to just speak from the heart a little bit on the subject of perfection. I am guilty as all get-out of being a perfectionist. Sometimes to the point that, if it isn't perfect, it's not worth doing. Anyone else feel that kind of pressure? I'll also say that in putting myself out there with this blog, I began to feel more and more like I had to do things "just right", or post a certain amount of times a week to stay fresh. To be truthful, I've never been good at keeping a routine. It's just not who I am. And while I'm a self-proclaimed list addict and I would consider myself organized, but I've never kept a journal or diary. Trust me, I've tried. And after a while I would slowly tumble off the wagon. The longest I've kept a journal was 6 months-- when I wrote to my husband nightly during our first deployment as a couple. At the time, we had been married for only two months, and I was pregnant with our daughter when he left. It was actually very therapeutic for me to use it as a means to "talk" to my husband, even when he couldn't be there, and I think it helped me relieve a lot of stress. So why didn't I keep writing once my husband returned home? Well, those of you who have children know that babies can be a handful. In fact, my husband didn't even come home until a month after our daughter was born. You can imagine my stress for that last month. I also had a relationship to resume with my other half, and after spending so much time apart, it took us time to both readjust. Deployments are emotionally hard on both parties, and it takes time to find your groove again. So much had changed for us both now that we were parents, too. I guess I felt that writing in a journal would be irrelevant now that my husband was home and I could just talk directly to him. 

So, you see, my diary days were short-lived. I think that is part of the guilt I feel in making sure that I stick with this blog and the need for "perfection". I intended it to be a way for me to relieve my stress on the projects I like to bury myself under, but it is also a way for me to communicate with our family and friends and keep them up to par on what we've been doing. Instead, I've been setting myself "guidelines" on what I should write about and how often, and I would compare myself with some of my favorite blogs to read and feel like a failure because I wasn't completing projects on the same level.

My little hiatus gave me the opportunity to step back from things and gain a new perspective. I also gained a new blog title in the process! I felt as though I was heading in a direction that felt forced and confined when I would rather have the opportunity to freely share what matters to me. I am really looking forward to picking up my hammer and paint brush again, but I'd also like to add another dimension of DIY into the mix... baking/recipes, arts/crafts and sewing, and maybe even our classic car restoration. And rather than keep a library of posts stocked up and scheduled, I'd like to just write about what inspires me at that moment rather than cranking out posts like a machine.

Does anyone else find themselves in the perfection trap? What do you think of the new blog name? I happen to think it suits me pretty well, and thank my husband for his genius in coming up with it (shh... don't tell him I said that. I'll never hear the end of it). :)