Evergreen Wreath D.I.Y.

WreathintroThis morning my husband woke up to “Christmas with the Rat Pack” playing at full blast and our kitchen table covered in fir boughs, holly and other forest gleanings. Was this some sort of mad holiday bacchanalia?

Naw, it was just me finishing up our new wreath for the front door. While he gave me his sleepy thoughts on twig placement over morning coffee, I reflected that making evergreen wreaths is probably one of my favorite random skills I’ve picked up over the years.

All it takes is a frame from the craft store (which only costs a few dollars) and some evergreen boughs (easily gathered after a winter storm).
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What You’ll Need:

  • Wire Wreath Frame
  • Evergreen Boughs
  • Pruners
  • Pliers
  • Wire
  • Wirecutters
  • Decor: Ribbons, bows, twigs, berries etc.

To Start:

Make a small bouquet of evergreen sprigs. I use about four or five. You can trim them now for more uniformity or leave them long for a wild, woodsy look.

IMG_20141203_120838023Now lay your bouquet between two spikes, then fold them over with the pliers. Try to get them fairly tight, but don’t hurt yourself. You’re going to overlap all your succeeding bouquets of greens and by the time you’re finished, you’ll find that it’s quite sturdy.

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It comes together pretty quickly. And once you’ve laid your base, you can begin to wire on fun things like bits of holly and twig.

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Before long you’ll have your own homemade wreath to hang on the front door, over the mantel or wherever you choose to show off your mad crafting skills.

Wreath

This wreath was primarily based on found woodland bits and bobs, but remember you can go so many directions….sparkly ornaments, gingerbread people, robots….basically a wreath can reflect whatever your current interests might be.

Have fun with it. Happy holidays guys!

The Mysterious Mr. Fox

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Now that the season’s winding down,  I wanted to send my gardening clients a little thank-you note. And of course, since Halloween is my absolute, number one favorite holiday, it just had to be a Halloween card!

I’ve had foxes on the brain ever since our little excursion here. With that in mind, I thought what about a fox dressed up for All Hallows Eve in a mysterious mask? Oh yeah, I’m all about the adorable critters.

IMG_20141023_140813416 IMG_20141022_125707581_HDR IMG_20141022_132305215_HDR IMG_20141023_140921052A couple years ago I made some Valentine’s cards with potato stamps, and had a lot of fun doing it. So I wanted to give it another go. Here’s my process.  To make these I simply did some trial sketches, then outlined them on my potato. I made a few different fox faces and ended up with this one. After the fox had dried, I carved a little mask, and dipped that in black acrylic paint. Voila! Foxes! I added the eyes and nose with a black gel pen.

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On the inside, I wrote, “Thanks for a Boo-tiful 2014”. Because, you know, the only thing awesomer than Halloween is a Halloween pun. How about you? Are you making any Halloween cards or crafts this year?

Plant an Autumnal Patio Pot

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Recently I planted a fall container for our patio. This time of year nurseries are full of brightly-colored foliage and sweetly blooming violas. After awhile it was just too hard to resist.

This planter combines my two favorite seasons, autumn and spring. I love them both for their cool sunny days, ideal gardening weather. And also for the sense of renewal that comes with each of them.

burlap wrap

The Container

I re-purposed an old nursery pot from work. This is quite a big pot, which can be expensive, so if you go dumpster diving at a nursery, ask permission before hauling away any of these big pots. Oftentimes, nurseries will keep them for their ball and burlap trees in the spring.

I used an old burlap sack to line the outside. You can actually plant directly into burlap sacks, however since our patio is quite wet throughout the winter, I thought it might rot through. After folding it inside the top of the pot, I tied it off with some hemp twine.

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I did drill several holes in the bottom of this pot. It didn’t have adequate drainage, which is important especially during out wet winters, and most especially because I planned to add bulbs to this container.

The Plants

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I wanted a variety of foliage color and shape. And of course, since this is an autumn to spring pot, I chose evergreen perennials.

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My first pick was Heuchera ‘Crimson Curls’, I love the pinky underside of the dark foliage, and its luminescence in the late-afternoon sunlight. A time of day that we often sit on our patio.

There are so many gorgeous Euphorbias. Like Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ or the red-tipped Euphorbia ‘Rudolph’. Based on the heuchera I’d chosen I decided to go with on of my current crushes… Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’. Brightly variegated leaves, as well as purply-red tips that I thought would be nicely highlighted by the deep-purple of  ‘Crimson Curls’.

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Lately, I can’t get enough lime foliage. And Calluna vulgaris ‘Wickwar Flame’ boasts that plus a wash of orangish-red in the winter months.

heatherAnd you’re probably thinking that’s quite enough foliage for anyone, but what about succulents? I thought the ghostly shade of this sedum made it remarkably appropriate for a autumn palette.

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…And after years of lusting after this plant and gifting it to others, I finally bought one for myself. Lack of hillside to tumble down be damned!

Hebe pimeloides ‘Quicksilver’. The arching black stems with delicate silver leaves reminds me of a line from The Raven

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain

Thrilled me–filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before.

Perhaps not the bit about terrors, but the thrilling and the silken sad uncertain rustling most definitely. Can foliage truly be this evocative? Just take a look.

hebeThe best thing to pair with such startling foliage I felt, were violas in antique shades.  They bloom a bit more than pansies, which are also a great choice for winter containers. Don’t be tempted to toss them after a freeze. Their leaves will lie down and look very limp, but they are still alive and will perk up as soon as the temperature rises.

violasTo put some ‘spring’ in my container, I decided to include a few bulbs. Generally when planting a layered bulb pot, you wouldn’t plant things with woody roots over the top like euphorbias etc. You’d just do pansies or groundcovers. I wanted to give it a try anyhow and I went with daffodils and tulips which I thought might have pointy enough stems to poke through.

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One thing to keep in mind, if you plant a layered bulb pot. Put the largest bulbs on the bottom. Also include a good organic fertilizer with some bone meal in it, in each layer.

I’m not sure how these bulbs will do with the cold Bellingham winter, so I will probably add a layer of bubble wrap between the burlap and the pot for extra protection from cold.

Of course, since it’s October. I had to add a few gourds/pumpkins for embellishment.

gourdsHere’s what my pot looks like after a couple weeks of growth. As you can see, the violas are taller than the euphorbia!

container2How about you? Are you doing a fall container this year? What sort of things will you be planting?

Thrifted for the Home: Drawer to Shelf

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Today I want to share a fun and simple project that I did with my Dad awhile back. I needed a cabinet for my bathroom. Rather than paying for new lumber, I was able to find a drawer and some plywood for shelving at the friendly Re-Store in Bellingham.

I didn’t own all the tools I needed to complete the project, so my Dad brought some of his. After converting the kitchen into a temporary woodshop, we put this shelf together one afternoon.

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It was a fun way to spend some time with my Dad, and for just a few dollars I ended up with a useful shelf for my bathroom. Here’s the materials we used:

  • Old drawer
  • Junk plywood
  • Wood Glue
  • Wood staples
  • Old garden stake (for shelf supports)

As for tools you can see that we had a staple gun with a compressor, a portable table saw (How cool is that?) and a square. We also used my screwdriver and a level to hang it. (Yes, we used wall anchors.) How about you? Have you repurposed anything for your home lately?

Newspaper Pots

Although I seed most of my vegetables directly into the garden or use store-bought starts, at this time of year when cold winds keep me indoors, I can’t help but want to grow a few things inside. And despite our small apartment, and the mess it makes which my ever-patient husband tactfully ignores, I get a lot of enjoyment out of watching this phenomenon on a daily basis, from the first tiny spears of green poking out of the soil, to the growth of tiny leaves.

This year I’m feeling a bit crafty, as well as longing to bring the outdoors in and so I decided to make some of those newspaper pots that I’ve been seeing around. Pots from free material that I already have lying around, plus recycling? It all sounded pretty great to me. Project!

Pots for Web

Supplies needed:

  • Newspaper
  • Can or other cylindrical item
  • Numerous cups of tea or coffee
  • A rainy day (very important)

I made use of the excellent tutorial over at Bonzai Aphrodite. It didn’t seem to take long to get the knack of it, and before long I had a dozen new pots.

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The final step or step 5 is to tuck the inner flap into the outer one, thereby securing the seam.

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I also added a bit of tape to the bottom, just to secure them. Voila!

voila

 

 

 

 

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