Category Archives: Do-it-Yourself

Bringing Your Garden To Life

What sets a beautiful, manmade landscape apart from a natural field? Often times it’s the hours of gardening, strategic placement of flowers, and unknowingly, counter-productive methods of groundskeeping.

Such a predicament has left professional horticulturists like Larry Weaner and Thomas Christopher scratching their heads, searching for a compromise to the problem – how can one intertwine beauty and fruitful landscaping practices?

As Thomas Christopher outlines in the preface of his new book, Garden Revolution: How our landscapes can be a source of environmental change, he believes that gardeners should be able to construct intentional scenes of art, cultivated in a way that allows the greenery to evolve naturally and in an environmentally-positive way.

When Christopher, author of Essential Perennials and The New American Landscape, met Larry Weaner, professional gardener of 30 years and founder of the New Directions in the American Landscape conference, he immediately recognized a complementary spark.

Weaner had been creating natural landscapes for years, distinguished on a national scale for his intertwining of art and environmental science.

61J0jcnLj-LTogether, Christopher and Weaner joined forces to create Garden Revolution, a collaboratively-authored book of designs, influences, applications and pictures released in May 2016. The book depicts the story of Weaner’s hybrid landscaping work, while simultaneously illustrating Christopher’s dream to cultivate a garden that gives back.

The book is broken down into four core sections: “The Learning Process,” “Design,” “In the Field” and “Postscript.” Vivid photographs of the men’s work enliven each section of the book, all incased within the subtle green flower-print of the hard-back binding.

The book, published by Timber Press, currently retails at $39.95 and is available for purchase here. However, you can enter to WIN a copy of your own on our Facebook page!

Written by Emily McCaul

St. Patrick’s Day Sips

We know that the St. Patrick’s Day parade downtown over the weekend was a hit, but we also know that you probably had your fill of all the green beer you can stand. So, the Bella girls set out to find some delicious green cocktails for you to enjoy this Thursday!

blarney-stone-cocktail-5The first comes from Jenny B. at Honey and Birch blog, “Blarney Stone Cocktail.” If you love whiskey as much as the Irish do, then this is the cocktail for you.

 

 

sparklingshamrock5However, if you want something a bit more girly, then check out “The Sparkling Shamrock” from TarynWilliford.com. This cocktail is served-up in a champagne glass with the perfect amount of melon liqueur.

 

sangria-683x1024Or, if you love wine as much as we do, try this “Green Apple Sangria” from made with chardonnay and ginger beer from MadeWithHappy.com!

 

 

Irish-Julep-FEAT-2Lastly, if mint is your thing, try this new twist on an old classic from RealHouseMoms.com, “Irish Julep.” This drink is made with Irish whiskey and mint leaves for some sweetness that’s just right! Give these cocktails a try and tell us which drink was your favorite!

 

Written by Kathleen Duffy

Winter Organization!

With the start of a New Year, most of us will go through our homes or work to evaluate how to make this year even better than the last.
Everyone would like more organization in their lives; we are so busy with our daily activities that sometimes we tend to neglect the obvious. Fortunately, the solution to organizing the chaos is easier than you think.
The first step is to purge! This is such a difficult word to some people. We hold on the materialistic items and get too comfortable in our surroundings. Ask yourself a few questions about each of your belongings:
Can I live without it?
Does it make a statement about my personality or lifestyle?
When is the last time I used it?
These questions will work when deciding on furniture, clothing, books, and even collectible items!
Next, let’s tackle organization tips for mail, magazines, and types of paper. Functionality and creativity are important. For example, if you have room for a small table at the entry way– have decorated baskets to collect the type of paper that makes its way to the home or office.  Baskets are a wonderful asset for any storage solution.
One of the biggest obstacles we encounter is what to do with an item that is not working for us. Some items will need to go to one of the many organizations in our area that collect clothing and other goods for those in need (like women’s shelters). Make sure you also check out consignment shops like The Golden Shoestring and EuroExclusives. The extra cash for items you aren’t using can really be helpful for the start of the year.
Finally, decide on presentation. There are endless possibilities for organizing your remaining items like baskets, shelving, hooks, and trunks. Make it simple or elaborate—a true reflection of your style. Check out our Pinterest page for DIY ideas!
This opportunity can lead us to establish better habits and find what we need to make our lives more productive. All you need is time, commitment, and ability to follow through and create your own organized space. Have fun, be creative, and remember: organization can be a positive adventure!

Written by Diane M. Straub

DIY Memory Jar

Have you made a DIY Memory Jar yet? They are perfect for the end of the year (or difficult moments during the year) to reflect on all of the moments that have brought you joy. We went with a simple design that is easy to recreate or modify to fit your personality!

IMG_1241Start with any type of jar. You can even go green and use one from pickles or jelly!
Get creative! If you are starting a memory jar with your family, decorate it together. The beauty of this project is that you can cover your jar with anything from scrapbook paper and stickers to photos and ribbon. Just be sure to include 2016 on it!
Cut up small strips of colorful paper and place them next to the jar to record your memories. (You can even use Post-It notes for this part.)
Collect all of your joyous moments (big and small!) throughout the year in your jar! At the end of 2016, open it and reflect on all of your memories.

Happy 2016!

Written by Kristi Hall

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