Friday, February 27, 2009

My Favorite Houseplant

When it comes to beauty and ease of care, you can't go wrong with the Bromeliad. Even without a green thumb, anyone can keep one of these plants as they are so easy to grow. The plant somewhat resembles a catcus, it's leaves are stout and beautifully variegated. Bromeliad's only need low light, nor do they require frequent watering, making them ideal for a house plant.

One of the best parts about this species of plants is the flowering habit. Each plant only blooms once, however the bloom will last 2 to 3 months. At the same time the plant will set out "pups", new plants that grow from the base of the mother plant. Once the flower begins to fade, the mother plant begins to die. You can either pot up the pups for new plants or allow the mother plant to die and allow the pups to grow in it's place. I have read of gardeners who have had a Bromeliad bloom more than once, although I have not had the good fortune to have this happen to me.

So, if you want to have some greenery in your home but are afraid of taking care of a plant, try a Bromeliad, the bright light the leaves send off along with a beautiful bloom, makes this plant a true favorite.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

For The Boy Toy in Your Life

I think most of the people I have known over the years have had one of these little pine toy boxes for their kids. They are inexpensive and come unfinished, so they can be stained or painted to match the child's bedroom. I recently redid my son's old pine toy box for his daughter, and I had lots of fun doing it. These boxes can be redone so easily, and if you have some painting skill you can go all out. If your not very paint friendly, how about finding a roll of cute child's prepasted wallpaper, cut out some cute shapes and paste them on the box. A coat of sealer would keep the box looking great for years to come. It's just the thing for your "boy's toy's"!

This toy box available at:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

When Something Old is Wonderful

For many of us reusing or recycling is not only necessary, but prudent. So many young families simply do not have the funds to go out and purchase new clothes or furniture when it's needed, so this is the time to look around and see what you have that you could makeover to fit your needs.

I remember when my kids were young there was no matching bedroom for them, we used whatever we had. And what we had was a very old set that had been given to us, it must have been 50 years old and the style was hard to figure. Still, it was solid and had large drawers, it just needed a update.

If a piece of furniture is very old and is not an antique, the best way to bring it into this century is with paint. Paint can hide a world of flaws, and if the color is carefully chosen and applied, you could give many, many years to the use of the piece.

Painting a old dresser for a child is great fun. You could just give the piece a nice paint job, or you could take it a step further and decorate the front of the dresser with a motif you know your child will love. This chest of drawers with it's flowers and butterfly's is perfect for a little girl, but you could just as easily paint it for a boy.

So, if your given an old piece of furniture don't automatically think you'd never use it. Look at it in a different light, see it painted in a hundred different ways. You just may be painting a family heirloom that your kids will pass down to their grandkids!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Of Rocks and Ferns

Living in the Pacific Northwest, a scene such as this one is very common. In a damp and rainy clime the ferns can spring up in the most extraordinary places. You can see them growing out of the shingles of roof's, on tree bark, on moss laden rocks and just about everywhere in between. The most common fern around here is the Pacific Sword Fern, and it has a shallow root system that doesn't need much soil to grow in. I love seeing them on the branches of my Oak tree's, a mass of them growing out of the clumps of moss that love this tree. After a storm I always make a sweep of my yard because I can usually find big, heavy clumps of moss and ferns that have blown out of the tree. These I "plant" in other area's where I want some ferns, any shady spot will work as long as it gets the moisture it needs. Sometimes, a single branch will be so heavy with moss and ferns that in a high wind, the branch will snap and fall. For me this is a windfall! I will find a pretty, shady spot for the branch and plant a few violets, and presto, a lovely little garden.

If you have native ferns or moss in your state, take advantage of them. The moss looks so pretty with any number of small flowering plants and can make a shady, difficult area come alive.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

All it Takes is One Terrific Piece

For your garden to really stand out among others, all it takes is one terrific piece to set the stage. Depending on the style of your garden, something as simple as a arbor can be the focal point you need to highlight an area in your landscape. Arbors come in many style's and are made with everything from wood to iron. Since many gardeners that I know try and make garden items from found objects, it would not be too terribly hard to find the branches and twigs needed to erect a simple arbor such as this one. For a arbor to really stand out, place it so that it can lead from one area to another. Or stage the placement so that it frames a object in the distance.

While most people I know would train climbing vines on an arbor, I don't feel this is totally necessary. Let the arbor itself become the focal point instead of covering it with plants. Or use a plant that is sparse in nature, such as a clematis, that would still allow much of the arbor to show.

Whatever the style your garden has taken, keep in mind that if you keep most items in the same style, you will create a more cohesive look. With this arbor, a pair of twig chairs would look great or perhaps a slab of wood from a fallen tree that could be used for a bench. Over time you could collect a set of items that really make your garden stand out from the rest.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Customize A Spot in Your Home

How cute is this idea? For those with a casual decor such as cottage or country, these painted words are about as charming as you can get. These words would be so easy to paint, trace the letters with a stencil and choose a color that matches your decor. I would add a coat of sealer so that shoe scuffs wouldn't mar the paint. I love to hear what other words you could come up with for a flight of stairs.....let me know, would you?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Painting Your Home With Garden Decor

Are you a young homeowner with a tight budget? One of the easiest and least expensive ways to add design to your home is with paint. I remember when I was first married and my husband and I bought our first home, money was really tight. We were slowly buying furniture but there never seemed to be any extra for wall art. This is where paint can come in, for the cost of a couple quarts of paint you can give yourself one of a kind custom art. If you can copy a design from an art book or a picture you can find online, you can paint your own art right on your walls. For lots of ideas and how to, please read an article I wrote on the subject.

Metal in The Garden

I have been traveling for many years looking at other people's garden's as well as to visit large botanical gardens. The one thing that always stands out for me is all the different water features that I've seen. From very large examples with waterfalls that drop hundreds of feet, to a birdbath size bubbler, they are all wonderful and add so much to one's garden. A water feature can be made with just a few items or you can combine several to achieve something very unique.

This example is just a small bird bath with a most beautiful metal sculpture. You could do this on your own very easily, even using an existing birdbath. The sound would be soothing and you would have the bonus of drawing birds and other wildlife to your garden.

To see this metal sculpture and others, please visit:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Trends in Garden Decor

More and more often, we see our outdoor spaces being decorated with items that were traditionally only used inside. But today's garden decor items are being made with materials that can withstand the elements and we can now find decor that looks great and doesn't mind being rained or snowed on.

One such item I found is this beautiful butterfly illuminari that would look just great hanging on a wall surrounding our patio. Incorporated on the wings of the butterfly are candle holders that would look so pretty when lit at night. A trio of these butterfly's could totally change the way a dark patio looks at night and would encourage gatherings. The company that makes these unique hanging's also has a dragonfly and they look great day or night.

Making our patio a part of our home's living space is a trend that is long past due. There are so many ways to decorate our patio, take a clue from your landscape and make your outdoor space come alive.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Allure Of Garden Gates

Gate's provide so much more than an entry from one outdoor space to another, they can be used for utility purpose's such as going from one field to another, to go from the front yard to the back, or to keep passerby from accessing your property. Sometimes you don't even need a reason to add a gate to your landscape, they can be used as hard scape in your landscape design. I think we have all seen gates that we simply think are so unique that we wonder why we have never installed one on our property. One of the best uses for a gate is to frame a view, those gates that are installed in a fence with a frame that is enclosed. If the gate is situated correctly, from a space further back you can look thru the gate to a vista beyond or a beautiful tree in the distance. Today gates are made with a much wider range of material than wood or wire fence. Craftsman are using antique items welded on a frame or metal cutouts that make up a picture. An old screen door can become a gate or simple bamboo branch's tied with hemp. The design is only limited by your imagine, even a plain wire gate can be dressed up with a wreath or a welcome sign. Salvage yards are a great place to find an old gate which can add some history and design to your garden.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Rusty Accent Pieces

Every garden space should have a focal point, on a patio this could be anything from a large beautiful clay pot overflowing with plants to a antique wagon. This planter table is rusted to the 9th degree and has a galvanized tray for a top that is deep enough to be planted. This table would be perfect for succulents, mosses or even a beautiful bonsai. Placed on the patio in a predominant spot, any item such as this would surely be a major focal point. If your lucky enough to have a sun room, a collection of rusty items like this table would be the perfect furnishing's for a plant filled room.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Salvage Metal Style for your Garden

Metal accents in the garden can run the gamut from old wagons to well-worn tools and everything in between. One of my favorite pieces is a 3 tiered iron bakers rack that sits on my patio, it is an ever changing collection of items that have their moment in the sun. I love the versatility of this rack, I can change it according to the seasons. Another of my favorite ideas is to hang items on the walls surrounding the patio and the garden shed. Some might not think that the outside wall's should be decorated, but I say, "why not?" Now, I'm not talking about all the outside walls, but those that are private and only visible to you. I like hanging baskets on the garden shed as they are so useful not to mention beautiful to look at. The baskets I use outside are the twig/branch type, sturdy and able to handle a load of veggies. Do you have a large wall surrounding your patio that looks bare and just plain boring? Look around for items that are able to tolerate the weather and set the stage for a wonderful space.

If your interested in reading more about metal style for your garden, please read a article I wrote on the subject:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Is Your Garden Full Of Junk or Treasure?

When it comes to our garden that old saying "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is ever so true. You may like 600 garden gnomes scattered all over your property or you may go for the formal layout with beautiful statue's sitting up on 6' brick columns. Whatever your style, we all love our garden, it is truly the best place to create beauty and nurture not only out plants but ourselves as well. I love being out in my garden, weather it's working at keeping everything at it's best or just sitting in the sun admiring something I've done. I believe the one element that everyone should have in their garden is a water feature, the sound of water trickling from a pipe or the roar of a waterfall, is a sound that we all find soothing. Add to the sound the wildlife that water attracts, and it's a real bonus to our space.

In the weeks to come, I'm going to be writing about all the different items we can decorate our garden's with, from what some would call junk to the more austere. My hope is that everyone can find a style they love and want to incorporate into their garden.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Time Management For The Home Worker

More often nowadays people are working from home. It is not unusual anymore for someone to have an online job which enables them to stay at home thru out the day. That can be a Godsend if you have young children, a disability or simply live in a very rural area. Working from home can save time and money, your the one taking care of your own kids without giving up half your salary and your not spending time driving back and forth to a job.

There are drawbacks though; sometimes family, friends or even neighbors feel that it's ok to come and visit and chat for awhile. The kids think nothing of asking you to get up and get them something they could have easily gotton themselves. Your at home but there are still many demands on your time. If this sounds like you, then take a minute and read a article I wrote for ways to overcome interuptions while your working at home.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Grow Your Own Herbal Tea

I don't believe there are many who don't just love tea, it's great hot or cold and can really take the chill out of a cold day. Growing your own tea may sound daunting, but actually you just use the herbs your already growing. Any herb can be made into tea, simply dry your fresh leaves and steep. For the complete how to on mixing your own herbs for a wonderful brew, please read a article I wrote on the subject.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

How To Paint a Teen's Room With Attitude

Painting a teens room can be a challenge, especially if your teen wants something that resembles a subway or a barracks. We want to allow them to express themselves in their own room without the space giving we parents the shivers every time we walk in. Half the battle will be having a honest talk with them about what is permissible and what simply can't be allowed. It is my belief that if we can make their room as fun and functional as possible, then they will actually want to spend time at home. If you would like some fun ideas about making over your teens room, please read a article I wrote on the subject.