Top Ten Blog Posts of All Time

This year is a big blog anniversary for me. I have been blogging for 6 years. Hard to believe it’s been that long. Lots has changed since my early blog days, but every now and then it’s fun to see where you have been. These are the top ten most popular posts on my site to date, according to Google Analytics: 1) DIY Drain Cleaner I had no idea that this post would be so popular when I wrote it. I was sure it would be the biggest bomb of all time. I recall I had nothing better to talk about that day than cleaning the drain. My photography has gotten lots better since then, so be understanding! Last summer I made a You Tube Video of cleaning your drain, if you need some pointers, check it out! 2) How to Hem Suit Coat Sleeves This tutorial is not quick, but you can hem your own sleeves without spending a fortune! Step by Step instructions are included! 3) Christmas Wine Bottles: This is an easy project from my 31 Days of Pintrest Series. Back in the early blogging stage, I was short on  ideas so I decided to recreate 31 of my favorite Pintrest projects. Some worked great, many did not! I still love these bottles, and they are one of my most Pinned posts. There are so many great ways to decorate with a simple recycled wine bottle! 4) Betty Bling: She is still one of my all time favorite projects, this little garden head was easy to make and so much…
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A Trip to the Orchard

It’s hard to believe that fall is here AGAIN. Wasn’t it just fall last year? My sense of time gets more warped the older I get. It seems like we were just here picking apples last year. This year is even better for we had an excellent growing season. I love the apple logo at our favorite orchard. It’s so quaint. It’s even more adorable on this old truck. Our youngest son was rather reluctant to come apple picking. He quickly changed his mind when he realized how beautiful the apples were. He now tells me he wants to work here some day. We came home with bags of Empire, Golden Delicious and Jona Free apples. We sampled each one on the drive home. They were all excellent. The orchard also has several different types of grapes that you can pick. The vines were loaded and we brought home a bag full of Concord grapes to make jam. More on that soon! I always enjoy seeing how professionals find ways to use sustainable gardening methods. This Mason Bee house was one of several along the orchard groves. The bees make there homes in here and pollinate the apples in the process. I love it! This farm raises black Welsh sheep. They sell their wool for yarn and you can buy fresh mutton, although I can’t imagine eating such a darling creature! They use the sheep to clean the orchards after the picking season is over. The animals eat the fallen apples and even find the weeds. Such smart farming! Isn’t…
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Spooky Succulent Garden

Halloween isn’t one of my favorite holidays. However, I usually have one small decoration around this time of year. This time, I made a Spooky Succulent Garden. Succulents are about the spookiest thing I can think of. They are sharp, odd shapes and colors, and have almost no roots. The best thing is that they require almost no care. I started with a saucer filled with cactus soil and some succulents that needed transplanting. I came across these mini figurines at the Dollar Tree and I thought they would work great for this project. I had the crows left over from my decorations from last year, but I think they also came from the Dollar Tree. To make the garden, I decided where to put the plants first. I wanted the “castle” to be the center of attention at the back of the tray and tried it out on a plastic container.  In the end, I decided to use a flower frog to put it on.  If you don’t have a frog, a plastic container would still work. Then I placed the trees, sticking them down into the soil to anchor them. I purchased black aquarium gravel at Walmart to make the plants stand out and give the entire garden that spooky appearance. I removed the castle because I wanted it to sit on top of the soil along with the other figurines. I put the gravel over the soil, and patted it in place. I placed the castle on top of the soil next. The castle is sitting on…
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Azaleas in Bloom

This is a sponsored post, any opinions given are completely my own. An exciting thing happened this week, the Southern Living Encore Azaleas began blooming! I was thrilled to see they are thriving after being in the ground a short time. If you remember, Southern Living sponsored this post earlier in the spring. My plants are still in the early stages of development, and they are rather petite right now. That’s okay with me, I know they will do great things. I planted the azaleas according to the directions, and they have thrived all summer. We had steady rain this year, so I didn’t have to spend a lot of extra time watering which was nice. The plants are covered with blossoms, I have been watching them every day waiting for them to bloom.   The biggest trick to being successful with Azaleas, is using a good fertilizer. I like the type that you just sprinkle down in the hole before you plant. Then you can add a bit more on the surface as needed. My other secret ingredient, is coffee grounds. Lots of them!Add them to the roots of your plants about once a week. Azaleas like acidic soil, and it’s a great natural boost for your plants. I am thrilled to see that these blooms look just like the ones on the tag! I no longer have to sneak into my neighbors yard to covet his Azalea blossoms. This pink variety is called Autumn Twist. It won’t be long and my neighbors will be sneaking into my yard to…
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Planted Chicken Coop

I miss my chickens. The yard is so quiet without them around. The coop has sat lonely in the back yard for nearly a year. I decided it needed some flowers.   If you recall, we built the coop from plans that we purchased on Ebay.  It has been a focal point in the yard ever since. Last fall, we had problems with raccoons and birds of prey in our yard. We lost 3 chickens, and decided to give the other two away in order to keep them from being eaten. Sometimes, being a pet owner is hard.   My sweet Alfredo and Barbie-que would approve of the new decor. The coop was planted with 3 plastic window boxes that I screwed into the top of the the roof. I filled them with Miracle Grow soil, and plants that I purchased at 75% off retail. I am always looking for a good deal. It cost only $10.00 for the geraniums, vinca vines, marigolds, and dahlias that filled the boxes. They will bloom until frost, as long as they are dead headed and watered regularly. I am looking forward to getting some more hens next spring! Adieu!

Chemical Free Paint Remover

    This post is sponsored by Home Right. Any opinions given are completely my own. I have had this vintage sap bucket for a long time. I have used it for lots of different things, but mostly for holding flowers.  I had painted it numerous times over the years, but haven’t used it much as of late. I was tired of the painted look and I wanted to bring back the galvanized look it had originally. The thing is, I HATE chemical paint strippers. I have used them many times, and I just refuse to use them any more. Have you ever used paint stripper? It’s nasty! The acid burns your skin, your eyes water, it smells horrible and most of the time you need to reapply multiple coats to get rid of each layer of paint. It is hard to scrape off, time consuming work, smelly, and expensive stuff to use. Not to mention toxic, I am sure! This is what the bucket looked like before I stripped it, pretty tired looking. The paint was peeling off and just looked BAD. I came across this heat gun recently at a blogger’s conference.  I was thrilled when I saw what it can do, I couldn’t wait to try it out. Thank you Home Craft!   The heat gun gets really hot, between 800 and 1000 degrees. Because of this, I decided this was a project best done outside. If you aren’t careful you can actually ignite things when you are using it, so it pays to be cautious. I…
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How to Plant Azaleas

This is a sponsored post, any opinions given are completely my own. I was a happy camper earlier this week. I got a huge box full of beautiful Azaleas from Southern Living.  I love Azaleas, they are so colorful! We usually don’t see a lot of them here in Wisconsin. Generally Azaleas like well drained acidic soil. There are some varieties you can get for the Northern Zones, we are a zone 5 here but I have found that many Zone 6 varieties do well if they are in a protected spot. Our neighbor has a big, beautiful Azalea bush, it was blooming not long ago and I trespassed into their yard to take this picture because it was completely breathtaking. Don’t you agree?   The Southern Living Encore Azalea Collection is just as breathtaking. I chose two varieties for our yard, Autumn Sunset is a dwarf shrub with beautiful red blossoms about 2.5″ across. This plant will grow to be about 3 feet tall and 3.5 feet wide. It makes a good choice for landscape boarders. The other variety I received is called Autumn Twist. This one gets bigger, 4.5 feet high and wide, with variegated pink and white blossoms.  I can’t wait for them to fill in this empty spot along the side of our house. It is very lacking in charm and color.   The first step to planting is to lay out exactly where you want your plants to go. I have a vision of making this boarder wider next year, so I planned to have…
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How to Make a Flower Crown

    I have been dreaming about flowers lately. They find their way into my dreams, my shopping cart, my home and garden. I just can’t get enough of them. Recently, I attended a party at the SNAP Conference where we made Floral Crowns from faux flowers. They were nice, but I am a sucker for the real thing. I found these flowers at the market the other day and on a whim, I decided to give the Floral Crown a try. The flowers weren’t all that expensive, about $15.00 for all. I was not disappointed. Here’s how to make your own Floral Crown: Supplies: Floral Wire Floral Tape Wire Cutters Pruning sheers 1 bouquet Baby’s Breath or other small flowers 1 Mixed flower bouquet with Daisies and Chrysanthemums 6 spools 1/8″ craft ribbon in various colors (white, blue, pink, purple, magenta, green) scissors measuring tape   The first step, is to cut 20 pieces of wire, about 6″ long. I attached my measuring tape to the table with Scotch tape to make it easy to measure. I also cut 9 pieces of 3″ wire. Then I measured the circumference of my head, mine was 21″.   Starting with the small baby’s breath branches, I wired several of them together with the 6″ wire pieces. I trimmed the ends of the flowers to about 8″ in length. When they were firmly attached, I grabbed another spray of them and wired them to the stems first ones, making a chain. I continued this same process until my chain measured 23″. This was…
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Vintage Blue Trunk

  I had a great day today, hunting for treasures. My treasures are not gold, but of the vintage variety. This Vintage Blue Trunk has to be one of my favorite finds of all time.     At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to love the old blue paint. In fact, I toyed with the idea of painting it white, or navy blue. But as I began to put it together with some of my other favorite things, I started to change my mind. I love the worn down paint. I love that it has rust around the hinges. I love the dings and scratches and chips.   When I added some fresh lilacs to the mix, I began to love it even more. Someone even carved their initial “N” into the wood above the lock. I find it charming. I was temped to carve my initial there too, but I didn’t. My kids were watching. That wouldn’t be a good example for them. But, I was really tempted. I even had a jack knife in my pocket. I controlled myself today, but perhaps I won’t tomorrow.   I am going to be spending a lot of time sitting out on this porch this summer.