Thursday, May 30, 2013

Learn to Enjoy Working in the Garden

When I got married almost  two years ago, I really wanted to try gardening and make our outdoor space a space that I would use and enjoy.  It helped that our backyard had a lot of potential.  Most of the work was already done.  It just needed to be cleaned up a bit.  We had a fish pond, a small waterfall, and a lovely Japanese Maple tree.  The flower beds were already there.  They just needed to be filled in and edged.  Even with all of that in place, a lot of work needed to be done.  Sometimes I would feel overwhelmed.  I didn't know what to do first or if I could even grow anything.  Today I'm going to share a few things that have helped me to enjoy working in the garden.  Maybe it will help you too!

Set Reasonable Goals

If you try to get everything finished in one day, you will quickly tire and quite possibly achieve nothing.  Instead set small goals that you can accomplish and feel good about.  Last year I decided I would focus on the flower beds right around the back of the house.  This summer I'm going to focus on fixing up another corner of the yard.  Your goals can be even smaller.  For example, "tonight I'm going to weed the front of the house" or "today I'm going to prune the bushes."

 Work at  Moderate Pace

Work at a pace that you can get something accomplished but still enjoy your surroundings.  If you are working so fast that you can't enjoy the sound of the birds chirping, you are working too fast.  Take time to smell the roses.  Literally!  At our house at 12 noon and 6 o'clock in the evening every day, the town church bells play hymns for fifteen minutes.  This is a part of my gardening routine that I have really come to enjoy.  If I'm working too fast, the church bells help me to reset.

Work in the Coolest Hours of the Day

If you need to work in the hottest part of the summer, work in the morning hours or the evening hours to spare yourself the noonday sun.  (Wear a hat and lots of sunscreen!)

Plant things that have a chance to succeed! 

I learned this lesson the hard way.  If a plant likes the shade, do not plant it in full sun and vice versa.  Just because you like a plant, doesn't mean you should grow it in your yard.  If you want to be a successful gardener, pay attention to the needs of the plants.

Plant a few vegetables or herbs.  

This is a great way to enjoy the "fruits" (again, literally! I'm sorry.  I couldn't help it!) of your labor.  The last few weeks, I've really enjoyed walking out the backdoor and cutting some lettuce and herbs to throw into a salad or onto a sandwich and enjoy.  I also suggest planting your herb garden close to the house so it's easy to snip a few and use in cooking.  Last year I planted my lettuce around a corner and out of sight, and I would forget about it.  I ended up not using a lot of it.  This year I decided to plant it right beside the herb garden where I could see it from the kitchen window.  Now, every time I look out the window, I'm reminded that I have a lot of fresh lettuce and spinach to use.

Learn to Accept Defeat

Sometimes flowers just don't grow.  Sometimes they die.  It might not be anything you did or you didn't do.  For whatever reason, it might just not work.  I'll never forget talking to one of my colleagues a few days before the end of the school year.  I told her that I was going to try gardening over the summer.  I told her that I'm a perfectionist and that sometimes makes gardening challenging.  She said, "this will be good for you."  She was right!

Get digging!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

DIY Statement Necklace

Hello!  Today I'm going to share a statement necklace that I made.  I decided that I wanted a chunky statement necklace with mixed metal chains and pearls.  I checked a few out on Etsy, but there were $75 or more.  I decided that I could make one for myself much cheaper and cutomize it to exactly what I want.  It's a simple project if you're willing to take the time to find the necklaces.

You will need:
1.  several vintage necklaces of your choosing
2.  needle nose pliers
3.  wire cutters
4.  jump rings

You may also need a lobster clasp if you can't use one from the necklaces you chose.  You may also need jewelry wire if you chose beaded necklaces or pearl necklaces that you will need to attach to a jump ring.

Tips on selecting necklaces:
1.  You can find affordable necklaces at vintage shops, antique shops, or flea markets.

2.  Choose long necklaces or necklaces with layers of chains to get the most for your money.

3.  Choose necklaces with something special about them.  You may want rhinestones, or little charm that will make your necklace more interesting.

4.  Chain necklaces are the easiest to work with, because you can attach them directly to the jump rings.

5.  If you can't find exactly what you are looking for at vintage shops, you can supplement your necklace with chains found at any craft supply store.

The first step to making your necklace is to decide how long you want your necklace.  I like to use one necklace as a guide.  I cut one of the chains to the length I wanted using the wire cutters and matched all of my other chains to that length.  You will want to wear safety glasses when you are cutting your chains, because the pieces do tend to jump up in the air as you cut them.

I like to use as many parts of the vintage necklace as I can.  I used this section of chain (above) as an extender for my necklace.

This necklace is much easier if you choose necklaces that have chains large enough that you can attach them directly to the jump ring.

If you want to use a pearl or beaded necklace, you might have to restring the pearls.  The problem with many pearl necklaces is that they may not have a chain at the end to attach it to your jump ring.  To attach my pearl necklace, I had to restring it and tie the end of the wire to a jump ring.  It wasn't difficult, just a little time consuming.  Be sure to leave enough extra wire at the end so that you can easily tie it.

Once you have cut all of your chains to the length that you want, attach one end of each chain to a large jump ring.  Use your needle nose pliers to open and close the large jump ring.   When you have all of the chains attached to the jump ring on one end, twist and weave the necklaces together until you like how it looks.  Then attach the other end of each chain to a jump ring.  Attach a lobster clasp to one end, and an extender to the other end.

Put your necklace on and admire how it looks!


Linking up at Finding Fabulous

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Complete Guide to Sewing

When my mom came to visit on Mother's Day she brought me this book that she found and didn't want anymore.  I took one look and knew I wanted this book in my library.

It has some helpful reference sections.

And of course, some interesting pictures from days gone by.

I love the his and hers tie and scarf!

Do you have any books like this in your collection?  I'll be back in a few days with a statement necklace DIY.  Take care!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Field Trip: Olde Factory Antiques and Crafts

I recently visited Olde Factory Antiques and Crafts in Hummelstown.  It's a three-floor antique and craft shop featuring about 150 dealers.  I found some unique things that would add style and flare to anyone's home!  

This booth was close to the front of the shop.  Take a look at the coffee filter flowers and recycled book flowers decorating the walls.  Someone needs to snag those cute chairs for outdoor entertaining this summer.

I love this pretty table runner used to hide the storage space inside the chest of drawers.  

This place was filled with pretty, vintage china.  It would be a great place to go to mix and match a china set for an event or for your own china cabinet.

Antique shops are great to go to if you are looking for art.  I didn't buy these guys, but I did pick up a few other pieces of seriously affordable art!

This was such a cute piece.  It's a set of nesting tins.  This would add character to any kitchen.  You could use the large tin to store spoons and spatulas by the stove top.  They would also be great to use as storage for a home office or a craft room.  

Another mini tea set!  It was hard to walk away from this little gem.

This booth really stuck out to me.  The curator clearly put a lot of thought into the items and how he or she would display them in the booth.

I think these brass reindeer candle holders would look adorable decorating a mantel at Christmastime.  I'm kicking myself for not buying them.

Check out this mural painted on the elevator doors!

Of course, I loved this booth!  It was filled with different kinds of tea and tea-related items.

I think this unique painting might look nice with a white mat and a white frame.

I can't decide if I like this chair or not.  What do you think?

I hope you get the chance to check out the Olde Factory in Hummelstown.  I had so many pictures, it was difficult for me to decide which to share with you!  Even if you don't find anything you want to take home with you, it's fun to look around and imagine the stories behind all of these treasures.