Category Archives: Do-it-Yourself

Fear of Frost?

Tips to keep your garden growing through fall’s chill

As warm weather begins to fade to memory and frost threatens, even avid gardeners may be tempted to pack up their trowels and call it a season. You may think it’s better to leave the victory garden gracefully, than risk the disappointment of watching crops wither in chilly temperatures. But fear of frost and failure don’t have to stop you from enjoying a fruitful fall garden. With the right plant choices and a few tricks, producing a hefty harvest can be easy.

A few facts about frost
Frost occurs when temperatures drop enough to condense and freeze the moisture in the air. In fall, when air temperatures sink, it’s common to find frost layering the ground, leaves and crops. Frost may occur frequently in the fall before the ground really becomes frozen — known as a hard freeze.
While a hard freeze generally heralds the end of the growing season and frost can harm warm weather crops like oranges, some veggies actually do very well — and taste better — when nipped by frost. By stocking your fall garden with frost-loving varieties, you can ensure your garden remains victorious and bountiful right up to the first hard freeze. Not sure when the hard freeze will occur in your region? Check out the USDA Freeze Map.
When you consider the many advantages of fall gardening, frost shouldn’t be feared. Cooler temperatures mean you’ll have a more comfortable experience while working in the garden, and you’ll have fewer insect pests and weeds to deal with.

Frost-friendly choices
Just because the growing season is over for summer crops like tomatoes, you don’t have to give up gardening before the cold winter weather. Instead, clear out the remnants of summer plantings and debris and get the ground ready for fall favorites like spinach, cabbage, collards and kale. These hearty, leafy vegetables — available from Bonnie Plants — actually like the chill weather and can stand up to some frost.
Certain root veggies, such as radishes and turnips, also do well in cooler temperatures. All are packed with nutrients, so you can plant them knowing you’ll be filling your dinner table with fresh, nutritious, great-tasting veggies this fall. For a list of fall-weather favorites, tips and harvest advice visit www.bonnieplants.com.

21637979Get a good start
When planning your fall garden, time is of the essence. Start with well-established, vigorous plants like those Bonnie Plants offers in some regions at garden retailers.
Starting out with more mature plants not only allows you to get your fall garden growing faster, it helps ensure your vegetables are strong enough to endure unexpected or extreme temperature variations. And remember to choose short-season varieties that will produce quicker in fall’s shorter growing season.

When frost arrives
Even though your fall vegetables might be able to handle the cold, you may want an extra layer of protection for unseasonably cool nights. Fortunately, you can do a lot to protect plants from sudden dips in temps.
Growing veggies in the right spot can make a big difference. Choose a location for your garden that gets plenty of sun, especially in the morning when you’ll want plants to quickly shake off overnight chill. Planting in a raised bed also helps insulate plants and their tender roots from ground freezes. Container gardens are also great for fall; when a severe frost or hard freeze threatens, you can bring plants inside, overnight for protection.
Sometimes you may want to cover plants against extreme cold. One option is a cold frame. Typically constructed of wood and glass or plastic, the frame sits over plants like a portable mini greenhouse. You can build your own — an online search will yield plenty of how-to plans — or purchase a prefabricated one. For less severe situations, simply turning a pot or bucket upside down over tender young plants can be enough to shield them from cold.
When fall arrives, you don’t have to fear frost, or give up your garden. Success starts with choosing cold-hearty varieties that prosper and produce well in cool weather. Visit www.bonnieplants.com to learn more about fall vegetables.

Sew Quick, Sew Cute Giveaway

sew quick sew cute wrap skirtIf you want to learn how to sew without taking expensive sewing classes, pick up a copy of Sew Quick, Sew Cute by Fiona Goble.  This book teaches you the basics of sewing with a machine and by hand. It also shows you the basic tools and materials that you will need and how to use them.

It’s thirty projects start from the basics and work up, for you to practice you’re new sewing skills.  The projects include a pincushion, Christmas stockings, an apron, a child’s sundress, and more! They yield cute and practical objects that you will want to show off to all of your friends.
The instructions are comprehensive but easy to understand, and the illustrations and pictures help you visually match what you are doing.  The book comes with sewing templates that you need to scan and blow up in some cases to make the correctly sized items.

This book is great for anyone just learning to sew, wanting to learn to sew, or even a pro.  With adult help and supervision, this book is great to teach kids how to sew as well.

If you want to learn a new skill, and impress your friends with all of the awesome things you can make, pick up a copy of Sew Quick, Sew Cute today. Or enter our Facebook contest to win a free copy.

 

Written by Krista Knauer

A Splash of Color in the Kitchen

Sometimes a small splash of color is all you need to spice up a wall! If you’re looking for an easy way to add some creativity to your kitchen I definitely recommend this craft! This has to hands down be one of the cheapest, easiest DIY projects.

materialsAll you need:
Wooden utensils
Paint of your choice (as many as you want!)
Foam paint brushes (but you can really use any kind of paint brushes)
Nails or command strips

First…

I had four colors of paint and decided to have one paint brush for each color to make it easier. I used an old magazine to spread out my paint colors. I then decided how I wanted to paint the utensils (be creative!) I personally liked the idea of them all being a tad bit different. I had to then apply 5-6 coats of paint on the utensils to get the thick finished look I desired.

finished produc tNext…

Now all the work is pretty much done! The main thing left to decide was where to hang up the utensils. All the utensils had small holes in the top of them; therefore using a small nail could be an easy way to hang them up. I decided to choose to use a command strip on the back of each utensil to give off a cleaner look.

Then you’re all done! Don’t be afraid to let your home show off your personality, get creative! Go out and add some splash to your kitchen!

 

Written by Kristi Hall

Merry and Bright Holidays!

It’s time to bring a dash of Christmas cheer to every nook and cranny in the house. This season take on a new look with the unexpected hot pink, lime green and brilliant blue.   This color scheme is bound to create a stir and light up the joy of the season with family and friends. Here are the supplies needed and instructions for canvas. For Garland instructions go to www.lizbushong.com

supplies 1Canvas Supplies: 
1-16 x 20 inch primed canvas
1-16 x 9 inch wooden cut-out tree
1-package 35 mini clear lights
1- Star ornament for tree top     
18- Mini Styrofoam-glitter ornaments cut in half for wooden tree
1-tube E-6000
3 yards lime green small pom-pom garland and rickrack
Acrylic paint- Folk Art- Wicker White, Light Peony, Metallic Blue Pearl, Yellow Citron
step 3Martha Stewart Crafts- Glitter in Tourmaline, Sour Apple, and Blue Raspberry
Paint brushes- medium and small with fine point for lettering
Number 2pencil
Stencils- lettering for Merry and Bright
3 x 2 inch small wooden block with flat picture hanger
White electrical tape-optional
Scissors, Awl, Staple Gun

step 4Paint canvas with Light Peony, let dry.
Paint wooden tree cutout- Folk Art Wicker White, let dry.
Lightly trace wood tree cutout on center front of canvas with pencil.        
Trace or freehand lettering -Merry and Bright as shown with pencil.
With small tip paint -brush, paint every other letter with colors as shown.
Paint one letter color at a time, while paint is wet, sprinkle with same color of glitter, then shake off. Repeat with all paint colors. Allow to dry.
garland finish 3Position wooden tree cutout on traced front of canvas. Using the awl, poke opening holes through the canvas in the body of the wooden tree cutout openings. With E-6000 adhesive, glue tree to canvas.
Turn canvas over and using staple gun, staple tree from the backside of canvas.
108Cut a small opening in the canvas front above the tree point for a single light to shine through.
On the back of the canvas, starting at the top of the tree, poke mini lights into the canvas tree openings. To keep lights in position, tape wires with white electrical tape to hold on the backside of the canvas if desired. I only taped the top light with the tape, and then carefully stapled the lights to the tree from the backside of the canvas being sure not to catch the wire in the staple. End of lights should be at bottom of canvas. This will plug into an extension cord and hidden by the mantel garland.
On front of canvas, using E-6000 attach star ornament to top of tree, rick rack around edges of white tree, and pom-pom garland around perimeter of canvas.
Attach wooden block with picture hanger to the upper back of canvas with nails.
Cut Styrofoam mini glitter ornaments in half and glue to front of tree as desired, attach the ornament top onto the ornaments to complete the look.

 

A couple of stockings that aspire to hang on this cute mantel will complete the look. This Christmas make a statement, make it sassy and make it yours.   May your Christmas be Merry and Bright!

PROJECT DESIGN, PHOTOGRAPHY, and ARTICLE BY LIZ BUSHONG

 

Create a Cozy and Clutter-Free Kitchen

Clutter can disrupt the flow of any home, bringing unwanted stress and frustration, especially in the kitchen. As one of the most prominently used rooms, maintaining a clutter-free environment will create a happier and healthier space for your family to enjoy. Here are a few tips to help you achieve and maintain a fully functional, chaos-free kitchen.

1. Look better, feel better. Whether you’re entertaining friends or just hanging out with family, hosting others at your house is fun, but can also be stressful. Even if it’s last night’s dinner dishes or wine glasses from your latest soiree, allowing clutter to pile up in the sink can negatively impact the look and feel of the entire kitchen. 

To make cleaning easier, find the best faucet to meet your cooking and entertaining needs. Try installing the Lindley pulldown kitchen faucet from Moen. Its traditional style creates an impressive focal point at the sink and increases performance with its high-arc pulldown spout and multi-function spray. Plus, the Spot Resist stainless finish resists fingerprints and water spots, keeping your faucet looking cleaner, longer. In addition, it comes with a coordinating soap dispenser to get one less item off your counter, which will make keeping the sink area clean and clutter-free a snap.

2. Organize chaos. Unused items, like the waffle maker that you desperately desired 10 years ago (but have yet to use), needs to go. To make some space in your kitchen, grab three boxes: one for garbage, one for donations and one for belongings you want to keep. Allocate a few hours and begin organizing. While separating items, ask yourself when did you last use this? With the exception of holiday-specific dishes and tools, if it’s been longer than a month, donate it or throw it away. Once everything is in a box, find the best spot for items you’re choosing to keep.

3. Get creative. Many kitchens suffer from countertop overload. This is where too many kitchen appliances and miscellaneous items, such as mail, phone chargers and car keys, seem to find a home. The solution to clearing this area is simple – get creative. Dish towels are infamous for cluttering countertops. They don’t have a designated home and therefore, are carelessly strewn about. Establish a special spot for this kitchen necessity: mount hooks, towel rings or towel bars, on the side of an upper cabinet, the end of the island or in another kitchen work space.

4. De-stress your life. It happens to all of us: your significant other informs you last minute you’re having guests for dinner, and the chores you need to complete before their arrival seem endless. To make this experience less stressful, spend 15 minutes each day maintaining a clean and orderly kitchen. Place dirty dishes in the dishwasher, wipe down the countertops, sweep the floors, put away toys and tablets and file mail. Simply staying on top of these little tasks will make it easier to accommodate unexpected company and allow you to enjoy their visit.

Independence Day DIY

Burgers, fireworks, family and friends— all the magical elements that come together for one of my favorite holidays.  There’s nothing better than sitting out on the porch with something cold in my hand, hanging out with friends, and waiting for the first crack of fireworks.  The Fourth of July is one of the best times of year because it right in the middle of summer, everyone is enjoying the outdoors, and we get to celebrate our beautiful country’s independence.    

Every year we get invited to parties for the Fourth and every year I am scrambling at the last minute to find something of patriotic colors to wear.  We mostly get invited to barbecues, pool parties and back yard fiestas– so the attire is always casual.  Despite the casual nature of these parties, it is difficult for me to conjure up an outfit that is red, white and blue.  I don’t wear a lot of red or Old Glory Blue.  However, this year I plan on being prepared!

Since these last couple seasons have been all about resurrecting 90s grunge in fashion, I’m completely jumping on board and I have no shame in my game.  Not only was I a real child of the 90s, I have an affinity for sunflower printed denim and I appreciate the minimalism of fashion from that era.  Denim was all the rage and it was ripped, shredded, and loose.  Tee shirts, cropped tops, lose tanks, shoes that were comfortable, yet fashionable– think Rachel from Friends.  I remember some of my favorite outfits were denim overalls and white crew neck tank tops from Gap.  I think I was always comfortable too.  Unlike when skinny, cigarette pants came back in style… I digress.

So, when the influx of cut-off denim shorts and white crew neck tees started to make its way to the fashion streets, of course I jumped on that bandwagon. 

Without consulting Pinterest, or scouring the internet for “Fourth of July outfits”, I decided to create my own flair of patriotism.  I’ve seen shorts that have American flag pockets or glints of red, white and blue and I wanted to try it on my own without having to go out and buy a pair.  How hard could that really be?  I’ll tell you, the project is super easy and didn’t take me long at all. 

Here’s how to get started:

  1. caitlinphotojuly2First, you need to cut the jeans into shorts.  Rule of thumb: cut the shorts at an UP ANGLE.  NOT straight across.  This will ensure a better fit and that the leg opening of the short won’t squeeze your thighs.
  2. Squirt a half dollar amount of acrylic paint onto a plastic plate (of each color)or aluminum foil and mix with about a quarter size drop of water.  This will dilute the acrylic paint so that it doesn’t dry too stiff on the denim. 
  3. Choose where you want your American Flag decal to be placed.  I chose the back pockets.  It doesn’t have to be exactly symmetrical but make sure you reference the REAL THING before you start.
  4. Let paint dry, then wash on gentle in the washing machine.  Air dry.

(After cutting the denim, wash after to allow the fibers to relax.  They will naturally shred on their own to revealing that old, “worn in” look.)

Now I have something to wear to all of the backyard barbecues and I don’t have to stress about finding patriotic colored outfits at the last minute. I can wear these shorts with a white tee shirt and little white tennis shoes or sandals and I’m done!  I up-cycled my old jeans too!

 

Written by Caitlin Cheatham

Pinterest Inspired

Despite what you may have been led to believe, you do not have to spend $10,000 on your wedding day to make it perfect. Our June issue is full of ideas to cut costs and still host the best celebration your guests will attend this year! Pick up your copy today, and look for our article on Pinterest inspired ideas that will add an inexpensive but personal touch to your wedding!

The traditional cake topper may not appeal to you. Visit www.etsy.com for many shops with unique cake toppers. MeltingPotLove has several to fit almost every couple’s needs. If you do not see a cake topper that matches you and your spouse-to-be, they can create one just for you!

weddingpartyweddingparty1Plan ahead for your “Thank You” cards. Use your family and friends to create memorable photos and cards you can send to guests. Obviously, you are going to want to send them (unless you never want a thank you card or gift for any other occasion). Ask your wedding party to hold letters in one of your photos that spell the words, “Thank you.” Many photographers will let you use the image on websites like Shutterfly to print your cards. (Just remember, ask first!)

Think outside of the box for wedding party gifts. Pinterest has plenty of DIY ideas, but you can also check out Etsy.com for so many wonderful gifts for your loved ones. In addtion to being reasonably priced, they are already made!

wineforawedding1For any member of the wedding party, or for the bride and groom themselves, consider a personalized wine box from Wine for a Wedding. These boxes are perfect to celebrate any occasion, and you can have a special message engraved on the inside of the lid. You even have the option of ordering a bottle of wine to include in the box! They can create a box just for you by incorporating your photos, invitations, specific monograms, or a completely custom design to fit your needs. Visit their website to place your order. Watch our Facebook page this week for a chance to win a wine box of your very own!

 

We are constantly pinning new ideas to our Pinterest boards. Follow us, and stay updated on the latest wedding DIY projects, gifts for your family, and more!

DIY On a Budget

We love DIY projects! In fact, our Pinterest page is full of ideas on how to begin your next one! One of our talented interns, Kristi Hall, was recently inspired to give new life to an old piece of furniture. It was a lot easier than she had anticipated, and we want to show you how to replicate it!

nightstandThe Refurbished Nightstand


Goodwill is an excellent place to begin your search for items that are begging for a fresh start. During a recent visit to my local Goodwill, I came across this night stand. As a Pinterest addict, its untapped potential caught my eye.  

It was white with striped scrapbook paper taped to the front drawer, a plain door to the inside and two brown oversized knobs that added a vintage feel.  For only $5.95 I couldn’t pass the opportunity to start my own do it yourself project.

A week later, I was brainstorming ideas of how I could bring it back to life. The first step I took in deciding its destiny was visiting Lowes to choose a paint color. After debating on several choices, I decided on aNew Image2 mix between teal and mint.

With the help of a friend, I started sanding the night stand with a palm sander and sand paper. I removed the door, knobs and the drawer to sand those as well. After getting a smooth finish, I decided to use the door as a shelf inside of the night stand instead of having a swinging door. Next, I screwed in four screws to secure the shelf inside.

Finally, I began painting my masterpiece! I used a small roller for coating the majority of the paint and a squared sponge brush for the smaller, hard to get spaces. After applying a coat of paint on the night stand itself, I painted the drawer and the shelf. Since the vintage knob was one of the main elements that caught my eye once seeing it at the thrift store I decide to keep it instead of buying a new one.


Overall this DIY project cost under $15.00. Even with the rainy weather and my busy college schedule, the entire thing took less than a week to complete. Sometimes people get discouraged by taking on a do it yourself project because of the time and effort they often require. No matter how long it takes, it is worth it because, in the end, you’ll be so proud of the unique piece you’ve created!

If you have a completed DIY project that you would like to share with our readers, please email us at editorial@beckmediagroup.com. For more DIY projects from our monthly column writer, Caitlin Cranwell, pick up the latest issue of Bella Magazine!

Kristi Hall is a Senior at Radford University. Her education focues on Media Studies with a concentration in Journalism. She is the section News Editor for the university’s newspaper and enjoys taking on do it yourself projects. She’s from Danville, Virginia.