Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ready Or Not, Garden, Here I Come!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Whitney Farms for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you follow my blog at all, you know that I have an ongoing love affair with my little patio garden and I get downright giddy when spring arrives. The early part of our Michigan year has been full of stops and starts - we had that period of unusual warmth in March and now, with April almost over, our weather is slightly under the weather. We even had the threat of snow last night!  However, I think we're finally heading into a warmup so I can start working outside.

My garden has suffered a little the last few years as I have been dealing with back issues. Last summer I was recuperating from my back surgery so I consciously decided to let my garden do whatever it was going to do without much intervention on my part beyond my brother's help to cleanup and put down some mulch. It grew kind of wild last year, but right now it's pretty sad looking. It needs some serious weeding, pruning and, of course, new plantings.  I lost my climbing rose last year so I need to fill that trellis again.

I really need to focus my attention on it this year - especially improving the soil which I'm sure has been depleted thanks to my neglect the last few years. I have also been attempting to move more and more to organic gardening and have done some reading and educating myself.  I found one huge solution: 

Whitney-Farms-Logo_Banner_New_C.jpg (6 documents, 6 total pages)

Whitney Farms® 25 years of experience has driven them to develop their protein-based formulas designed to provide all the macro and micronutrients plants need to thrive. They have a full line of 100% natural plant foods and soils. Their organic plant food contains low to no dust and no odors, it's easy to apply, and provides beneficial microbes. I love that it contains no additives, nothing artificial, just good stuff from the earth to nurture my beautiful perrenials and annuals.  Perfect!

My garden has been good to me - it's time for me to give some love back. I can't wait to get out there and get going! How about you?

Here's the push you need: a $3 coupon for Whitney Farms organic plant foods and soils!

Organic Plant Food

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Happy digging!

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Sunday Funnies

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fingers Crossed for my Dogwood

This is the Dogwood tree in front of my condo.  It was here when I moved in almost 20 years ago. I love it because it's pretty in all four seasons, but for the last several years it has been very sickly.  I have treated it, watered it, pruned it and worried over it through every season.

This Spring, however, I'm cautiously hopeful - the tree is looking better than it has in a long time. Sure, it's still a little scraggly; I've had to prune a lot of dead branches.  But these lovely pink blossoms make me smile and give me hope that we might have won this one!  Stay tuned ....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Funnies

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pass/Fail - A Sort-Of Tutorial

I always want to do more project tutorials so you can see how much I plan my projects, how precise I am, how everything turns out just the way I want it to.  You didn't buy that, did you?  

Truth is, I tend to be pretty spontaneous in starting a project, I don't usually have a thoroughly thought out plan, and I'm usually half way through before I realize it might be working out okay but I have forgotten to take any pictures.  Fortunately, I get only mildly upset if something doesn't quite work out the way I thought it would, and I like the challenge of coming up with a solution mid-project. With all that in mind, I decided to expose the twists and turns of my newest little project.  

When we were downsizing my sister's place this little tin was on its way to the trash bin.  I thought it was too cute to toss, even though it was in pretty sad shape.  So it came home with me. 

I liked the painted roses, but the tin was in such bad shape I didn't think I could salvage them.  Nevertheless, I took closeup photos of the flowers.

My first step was to clean up the tin and paint it "candy pink." So far so good.

Then I decided to add gold rub 'n buff to the raised trim. 
I used the scatter brush in Photoshop to create a sheet of butterflies and Mod Podged them to the tin.


Back to the beginning ...  I tore the butterflies off, repainted the tin and started over. 

Remember the flowers on the original tin that I photographed?  I cleaned them up in Photoshop, resized them, and printed them out on rice paper. 

I first layered plain white rice paper on the tin with Mod Podge.

 I then tore out the individual roses and planned to layer them over the rice paper. 

I had printed these on an inkjet printer and immediately afterward tried to Mod Podge them on to the layer of rice paper.  The colors ran and it turned into a sloppy mess!  I pulled off the flowers and ...

Wow! I like it!

It looks like a soft and delicate watercolor by Monet.  I liked the effect, so I continued to do it on purpose all around the tin.  I gave it another coat of Mod Podge, re-attached the rings, and pronounced it:


 So now my pretty pink tin needed a bouquet of flowers to complete it.  I "borrowed" some lovely pink tulips from my neighbor.  

And then I "borrowed" some branches from my flowering pink Dogwood tree.  I like the shabby chic look of this version. 

So ... even though it's a little tough to live with sometimes and I'm not always happy about it when things fall apart, I do like the fact that I can roll with the punches, so to speak, and hopefully come up with a solution when the original plan goes bad.  And if I can't come up with a solution, then my motto is:
"If at first you don't succeed, hide all evidence you ever tried."

How about you? Are you better than I am when you plan your project? Does it always work the way you want it to?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I. Want. To. Win.

The Everything Etsy blog is having a great giveaway - not only a Kindle but several giveaways from Red River Paper. I use Red River products so if I can't have a Kindle I'll take one of those!  
Here's what Red River is giving away and here's the link to enter: Winwinwin.
1 Box 8.5×11 Polar Pearl Metallic
1 Box 8.5×11 UltraPro Satin
1 Box Inkjet Printable Greeting Cards with Envelopes Glossy
1 Box Inkjet Printable Greeting Cards with Envelopes Linen

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Big Frameup

I'm finally reaching the end of refinishing all the frames I acquired from my sister, as well as all the extra frames I had in my stash.  Here's three more empty frame collections. Ooooh, such pretty colors!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

Did Mark Twain live in Michigan?

In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.  –Mark Twain

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter ... Eggxactly!

I don't do a whole lot of decorating for Easter but when I pulled out a few of the decorations I had to stop and think for a minute.  It's kind of disconcerting when you realize that things you bought new or created are now considered "vintage." That's the case with these fabric covered Easter eggs that I bring out every year.  Remember when L'eggs pantyhose came in a large plastic egg? As I recall there was a pattern specifically meant for use with those L'eggs containers. The pattern is long gone but these eggs remain and best I can figure I made these over 20 years ago.  The fabric scraps were left over from placemats and napkins I made. Those are long gone too! Anyway, I still like these eggs and I'll probably keep using them until they fall apart.

These marble eggs are newer, although I have had them for more than 10 years, I believe.   
This little rabbit and duck were rescued from the donation pile after my Aunt/Godmother passed away.  These little critters were a bit the worse for wear, but a nice layer of glitter and they are good to go for many Easters to come.  Whenever I bring them out I can't help but have sweet memories of my Aunt - both of us have early April birthdays so they often fall near the Easter celebration. Her birthday would have been three days ago.  My birthday is tomorrow - Easter Saturday.

Whatever plans you are making for Easter - religious services, cooking, baking, time with relatives and friends - I hope everything is going well so far. Try not to stress out too much - it's supposed to be a joyous season!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

We Have a Winner!

The winner of the memoir by Jen Furer, Out of Status, is:

Stephanie G Scigliano

Congratulations, Stephanie, I will contact you for your information. Thanks to all who participated and please be sure to stop by again. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Just One More Day...

 Just one more day to comment and be entered in the drawing for Jen Furer's book, Out of Status. It's a heartwarming and bittersweet memoir - a very special book written by a very special person!

Go here:

What About MY Stuff?

I haven't been much of a regular blogger for the last few months for many good reasons. I'm almost always a very busy person and I pride myself on being able to multi-task and accomplish a lot on any given day.  However ... about the last month or so I have come as close as possible to a tipping point.  One of the few Spanish phrases I know has been running through my head: NO MAS NO MAS!

Several things are contributing to the chaos, but the most demanding lately has been the push to help my older sister downsize from a one-bedroom condo to a studio apartment in very lovely independent living place.  I found out even a small condo can hold a lot of stuff!  It has required a lot of storing and disposing of 20 plus years of living. My sister has three boys and one girl. Unfortunately, one of the boys lives out of town, another just returned from 4 months out of the country, and the third is a pilot so he's hardly ever home.  That left the only daughter to help her Mom prepare for the move, both emotionally and physically. After all, my niece ONLY has a husband and four children (two in college and two still being home-schooled)!  I had to help!

I see an end in sight - we're scheduled to finally move my sister into her place in another week or so. This whole experience has left me with a chilling thought: What about MY stuff??  I have a condo with two floors, a basement and an enclosed patio.  I don't consider myself a hoarder (except for art supplies!) but my place is certainly full of STUFF.  A few years ago, one of my online friends, Stacey from Artsnark Artifacts, featured my studio space not long after I had remodeled it.  Looks nice, huh?

 Here's what it looks like this morning when I'm in the throes of several different projects. Total chaos.

I'm not getting any younger - in fact, my birthday is this coming Saturday and I'll be one year away from sliding into another decade.  I'm reasonably healthy now that my back is fixed so I'm certainly planning to be around a lot longer, but we never know, do we?  And my great line always has been since I don't have any kids to lay a guilt trip on it's up to me to take care of myself in my old age.  :-(

So ... once my sister is settled - I know better than to say when things slow down because they never do - I intend to do two things: start sorting my place to get rid of stuff that doesn't pass the "need it" test. And to review my estate papers to see what I can do to leave instructions about what to do with my STUFF and take the burden off my relatives and friends.  I guess how much you think about these things has a lot to do with how old you are. 

Did I think about this before a few years ago? No way. What about you? Do you think about what you'll leave behind, besides people you love and hopefully sweet memories in the minds of those people? I'm pretty sure the STUFF won't mean as much as that does.

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