Mandala Monday

ImageIt was time to harvest some of my herbs and it also happens to be Mandala Monday.  Here’s what I came up with.  I used a newspaper with an announcement of one of my favorite farm stands winning a local “best-of” for the background.  It’s a really loose design, with some long shoots from my thyme around the outside of the circle.  I added in some shoots from a variety of mint plants in the center and then put some cilantro on top with the flowers from the cilantro (going to seed for coriander) in the middle.  I love it and the best part is how my hands smell after picking and playing with the herbs.  Or maybe the real best part is the delicious things my wife will be able to make with them.

Here’s the before (the mandala) and the after (with them drying on my porch):

ImageSpeaking of my amazing wife, it was my birthday yesterday and here’s what she got me (among other things).  It’s a regular cornucopia of craft supplies.  Did I mention that she’s amazing???

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2 More ICADs

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Here are two more additions to my growing ICAD collection.  I LOVE this exercise and am so grateful for finding the project and having the courage to jump in.  Thanks, Tammy!  Here’s the link to her page, in case you want to join in (or be inspired):

http://daisyyellow.squarespace.com/icad/

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I’m enjoying seeing other people’s ICAD contributions almost as much as I’m enjoying making them myself.  Here are some other WordPress bloggers who have some great collections going:

http://trashbubblesandlifeslittlebits.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/i-think-icad-i-think-icad-i-think-icad/  – Lynn is posting hers once a week.  Although she doesn’t promise she’ll be able to keep them up for the whole summer (but who can?), I love what she’s done so far!  The coolest thing is that in another post she’s given a link for turning a print (in her case, an ICAD) into fabric at http://www.spoonflower.com/ .  I really want to try it!

http://missdiane73.wordpress.com/2013/06/08/icad-day-8/  – She’s posting a couple at a time.   This is my favorite of hers, so far.  I love how graphically bold it is and I like that she’s also using quotes on her cards.

http://thebatamonblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/two-more-war-comic-icads-a-theme-in-my-artwork/  – Here’s a young artist who’s jumping in on the fun.  He’s using pencil drawings for his cards and has a great eye for shading and dimension.  Keep up the great work!

Chair Planter

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I was tag saling and came across this beautiful distressed green chair with no seat. It was practically screaming at me to plant flowers in it… so I bought it for $3. The paint was already perfect so I just decoupaged on some flowers I cut out from a cool piece of tissue paper I had laying around.

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After I sprayed the heck out of it with clear matte sealant (about 10 coats), I made a kind of basket out of chicken wire and put it in the hole where the seat would have been. Using gloves would have been smart at this point, because my hands were not happy with me after that. I stapled it in with a ton of staples and then lined it with garden fabric, also stapled in. Then I filled it with dirt and plopped in the flowers. I used white petunias and vinca vine, thinking they would fill it out and overflow quite nicely. The vines were my wife’s idea. Some mulch to top it off and voila!

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It’s found a nice home under my peach tree.

Here are some examples of planter chairs I found on WordPress and from some that I’ve pinned on Pinterest (my go-to page for anything I want to remember):

http://flowersavvydesigntips.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/an-old-chair-takes-front-seat-in-the-garden-when-it-becomes-a-planter-by-sharon-mcgukin/  – Nicely executed and with directions.

http://laceandlures.blogspot.com/2009/03/my-little-flower-garden.html  – My DREAM garden look.  So much color, so much upcycling, and a birdhouse!

http://www.cre8tivedesignsinc.com/2010/05/chair-planter/  – I LOVE how she threw a bunch of random “objects” in to this one.  A flea market extravaganza all in one little garden display.

UPDATE:  I was posted as a “guest blogger” on 30 Days/30 Things- a really cool blog by folks who challenged themselves to create 30 things using upcycled items for 30 days.  They did it and then decided to continue posting ideas from other people until they ran out of ideas.  That was 817 days ago!  How cool is that?!?!  Here’s their site- so many AMAZING ideas!

http://www.weupcycle.com/tag-817-gastbeitrag-beetstuhl/

 

Birdhouses

I love birdhouses! They can be so unique and creative and the only requirement is that they have a hole to let the bird in. The “bones” can also be purchased at Michael’s or similar craft stores and are like a blank pallet.

I saw a collection with books used as roofs at a local artisan’s gallery (Pinch, in Northampton, MA). I though they were amazing. It prompted me to try my own. I love decoupage, so it was only logical to use pages from the book to decorate it. I painted my own little designs, as well. I made two as raffle prizes for our Jill and Jill. My niece won one of them, so I can visit it whenever I want.

This one was just painted and decorated. I made it to match my son’s playroom and then screwed it to the wall with a screw through the hole.

My favorite birdhouse was made for my wife by her father. It’s made out of a tree branch, primarily, with a knot for the hole. It’s so organic and rustic, but amazingly beautiful. We actually put this one outside on our fence. I hesitated because I didn’t want it to get ruined by the weather but it would have felt like a crime not to give it back to a family of birds.

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I recently found these metal birdhouses at Market Imports in Raleigh, NC and fell in LOVE.  They make me want to learn how to use the welder my wife got me for my birthday last June.  (I’ve been too scared to take out of the box- I’m afraid I’ll either kill myself or become addicted to welding and not want to stop.)

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I keep adding to this post!  These are the coolest birdhouses I’ve found so far.  They were outside “Ross’ Grill” in the Provincetown mall.  I love the combination of found items/objects.

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UPDATE: I my eternal quest for interesting birdhouses, I just came across this blog. She’s making a whole collection for a craft fair. It’s like birdhouse Heaven!
http://crazytraylorcreations.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/trail-market/

Glass bottle edger

ImageWe got married in our backyard last September and had a ton of wine, beer, root beer, and Mexi-Coke bottles (my favorites).  I couldn’t bear to recycle them and knew I’d find something to do with them if I kept them for a while.  Now that it’s Spring and the snow’s finally melted and the ground unfrozen, I decided to “plant them” and use them as edgers.

I made circle of them, buried upside down, around our peach tree.  It was really easy.  I picked a distance from the tree, just outside the mulch and weed barrier I currently had down and used my “tools” to measure out the radius from the tree trunk.  I loosened the ground with a sharp spade, pushed them in as far as I could with my hands, and then used a rubber mallet to pound them in the rest of the way.  Believe it or not, none of them broke in the process!  Unfortunately, there was one casualty:Image

My spade broke soon after I started in on the wine bottle edger for around the fire pit.  I was starting to get a blister on my palm, so I guess it was a good time to take a break, anyway.  I was, however, pleasantly surprised when the pattern matched up perfectly at the end.  Sheer luck!

Now, we have a pretty and inexpensive edger (about 15 cents a foot) that reminds us of our special day.

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Painted Flower Pots

My son painted flower pots for his other mom for Valentine’s Day and then we used them to start plants for our garden. The top picture was one I sprayed with chalkboard paint (I love that stuff) and then he drew and wrote on it. Unfortunately, when I sprayed it with sealant (so the chalk didn’t smudge or run if it got wet) the wetness of the sealant destroyed most of the chalk design. (Whoops!)

The middle picture is of a couple he painted with a flower motif with foam brushes and acrylic paint. I love that, too. It’s cheap, easy clean-up, and it comes in a million colors. I sprayed them with glossy sealant and they turned out great!

We planted several herbs from seeds and have been trying to start new plants from scraps. We’ve been doing well with the green and yellow onion. We tried celery, which grew great in water but when we put it in dirt it withered and died. We’re trying some romaine “butts” now. In the water they’re growing like weeds. (Fingers crossed.) To start the seeds, we used Keurig coffee pods so they wouldn’t get lost in the big pot. I’ll let you know how they transplant!

20130328-002455.jpgUPDATE:  The Keurig pod seed starters did not work out.  😦  Apparently, there’s some kind of mesh, build-in filter that the roots got all tangled up in.  And, I think I used too much coffee grounds mixed in with my potting soil on a few of the plants.  Oh well.  I guess I’ll need to find something else to use these for.