Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Eight Happy Thoughts...

I've been tagged! Katie at Gardenpunks tagged me with the 8 Happy Thoughts meme. I'm not feeling all that happy today, actually. I've worked close to 40 hours in just the last 3 days. All while my husband is in Chicago. I'm going to try this anyway. Don't I need my happy thoughts the most when I am feeling down?

Here are the rules:
When tagged, you must link to the person who tagged you. Post these rules before your list, then list 8 thoughts that make you happy. At the end of your list, you must tag and link 8 other people.

1) Oxford, Mississippi. For those readers out there that know Oxford, you know what I'm talking about. Thacker Mountain Radio, book readings by your favorite modern authors at Square Books, and of course Ole Miss football.
2) Yocona River Inn. Actually, I could name eight of my favorite things on their ever-changing menu and be done with this post!
3) London: Hyde Park, Indian food, full pints, empty pints, late nights...
4) My English roses.
5) Talking on the phone with my dad and brothers. When I was a freshman in college, if I got homesick and wanted to speak with everyone, I'd just call around dinner time. My dad and brothers would spend more time talking with each other than they would with me, but that was OK. I just enjoyed being in the middle of it all again.
6) Sunday mornings with Chip. His lattes are divine. We take it easy.
7) Standing in the crowd watching a band I love play a live show. I don't get to do this much anymore. Recently I saw The New Pornagraphers in New Orleans on Halloween night. Best ever was Built to Spill in Nashville.
8) Gettin' so dirty in the yard that I've gotta soak my pants in soapy water before they go anywhere near my Whirpool Duet washer.

And I'll tag:
Connie at Notes from a Cottage Garden
Jenny at The Clem Family
Kate at Kate Smudges in Earth, Paint, and Life
Leah at The Findings of Me.
Phillip at Dirt Therapy
Rachel at No Really... This is My Life (maybe it will bring her out of her posting drought)
Susan at SM Squared
Sylvana at The Obsessive Gardener

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Flipping though the Pages... Which Magazines do I Recommend?

Katie at Gardenpunks asked, "Magazines - Which ones do you read/recommend?"

I subscribe to Food + Wine, Cooking with Paula Deen, and Better Homes and Gardens.

I like this magazine. My most favorite parts are the chef profiles and the features of restaurants all over the world. On our trip to London this year, we visited Gordon Ramsay's Maze on a recommendation from F+W. I don't often cook recipes from this magazine because the ingredients can be hard to find in small town Mississippi. But I love reading the recipes and staying in-the-know on cutting edge flavor combinations.

I was a big Paula fan when I ordered this magazine last year. I got a deal because I ordered a gift subscription for my aunt for Christmas. I quickly found out that couldn't cook anything in the entire damn magazine because the recipes are so unhealthy. Has anyone noticed that on her show lately Paula acts like she is drugged or something? She is like a Paula robot instead of the real thing. I dunno. The cake issue was awesome, but that was the only issue I kept recipes from. I won't resubscribe to this.

The past two years I've subscribed to BHG. The two years before that, it was Southern Living. I go back and forth between BHG and Southern Living because they are very similar. I do get better holiday decorating ideas from BHG though. I'll probably continue to do my rotation of BHG and SL.

The next few are the magazines I read or pick up at the store.
My grandparents subscribe to Organic Gardening and every time I go for a visit I find myself reading this one. Now that I have a vegetable garden, I plan to subscribe to this magazine. I just don't see how I can make it through my first growing season without it.

Cottage Living is my new favorite. I've picked it up every month since about June. Everything about this magazine just speaks to my style: the decor, the attitude, and of course the gardens. I'd love to live in one of the cottage communities they promote. I'm not a subscriber yet, but I plan to subscribe next month. I highly recommend this one.

Other magazines I pick up sometimes are Martha Stewart Living, Mother Earth News, Kiplinger's, dwell, and those random BHG special interest publications.

What about you?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Crafty Little Project

Hello there! Boy, am I proud of my latest craft project! What do you think of it? I call it a dried-flower window. Wouldn't it look just wonderful in your garden cottage? Haven't you been looking for a way to use all those dried flowers left over from this season's blooms?

I originally got this idea from a booth at the farmers' market in Birmingham. When I saw it, I thought, "Wow, that is super cute!" Then my mind got to working and I thought, "I could totally make that." I already had the window. I just needed the supplies.

Here are the supplies I used:
  • old window
  • foam board with printed grid
  • pencil
  • nail or screw with a pointed tip
  • faux stone spray paint
  • dried flowers in a multiple of colors, or a single color if that's what you want to do. I used purple, orange, green, and yellow.
  • florist wire
  • raffia
  • staple gun
  • staples
  • duck tape
  • picture hanging kit

Here's how I did it... First, decide which side of the foam board will be the back and the front. Mark off both sides of the board with outlines of each pane. Trim the foam board so it will fit just inside the outline of the window. You'll want to leave enough room so that the foam board may be stapled to the window later, but not so much that the foam board is peeking around the edges.

Next, on the foam board place an X in the center of each outlined pane. The grid really comes in helpful here. Then, take your nail or screw and poke holes, not too big, on either side of the X. This is where the florist wire will be threaded through to hold the flower bundles. Now that you know where each flower bundle will go, spray paint the front side of the foam board with faux stone paint. Let the paint dry according to package directions.

While the paint is drying, make your flower bundles. You'll want one bundle for each pane. Take a few stems of each dried flower, just enough to look substancial. Trim each stem to fit inside the pane. Arrange them on the floor to see how the colors look best together.

Once the spray paint is dry, you are ready to assemble the final product. Take a length of florist wire and bend it into a U shape. I used two lengths twisted together for more stability. Thread each end of the wire through the front of one of the holes. Do this for each pair of holes made for each pane. Now, take a flower bundle and stick it in the loop created by the florist wire on the front of the board. On the back of the foam board, pull tight and twist the ends of the florist wire to secure the bundle to the foam board. Do this for each pane.

Now that all the bundles are attached to the board, you can cover up the florist wire with a few strands of raffia. I simply threaded the strands in between the flower bundles and the foam board then tied it in a double knot in the front.

So how does yours look? Are you ready to attach the foam board to the window? If so, simply place the window face-down on the floor and center the foam board (also face down) on top. Before you attach the foam board with the staple gun, you may want to pick everything up and take a look at it to make sure it is centered. When you are ready to attach the foam board to the window, take your staple gun and put a few staples around the edges of the foam board to attach it.

Lastly, I put on some finishing touches to make it hangable. Take each twisted wire and secure it flatly to the back of the foam board with duck tape. If you don't already have a way to hang your window, attach a picture hanging kit to the back. And... take a look at your cute dried-flower window!!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Making a raised bed for the irises

I've done some work on the raised bed I'm going to move the irises to. Not much progress, but some. We've been busy with football season and just life in general, and I haven't made much progress. I'm not really sweating it though. Too many other things in life to worry about.

Here's what I've done so far:

First, I dug up the cast iron plants so I can move them somewhere else. Remember, they were getting way too much sun under this tree, very yellowed and wilty in July and August. Next, I dug up two azaleas that were in front of the cast iron plants to make room for the new raised bed. I dug out and leveled off the place where I plan to put the bricks. Then I put the bricks in place. I only had sixteen bricks and it looks like I'll need about 24 more. The raised bed is only going to be two bricks high. All this took about 45 minutes. Not bad for a lunch-break garden project! Now if I could just convince my husband to go with me to buy some more bricks today then maybe I could finish this thing this week.

We finished clearing out the bed where the pool pump is. It looks a ton better already, but we still don't have the fence up. The fellow that was supposed to help us install it got sick on the day he was supposed to come over. We have an outline marked in the soil and everything.
I'd like a shortish (4 ft?) wood picket or lattice fence. Something that provides coverage but isn't so tall that it totally blocks the line of sight to that side of the yard.

That gate (right side of the photo) needs some help, too. It is falling over and seems to be sinking into the ground or something. Once we get the fence in place, we want to move some of the pool equiptment and toys (vaccuum, nets, floats, etc.) over here, too. I'm tired of looking at them all the time hanging out by my herb garden.

All in all, we are making progress!