Monthly Archives: July 2012



This is my rotating composter. I bought it from Home Depot about five years ago and it still puts out some great soil. Note the bucket under it to catch ‘compost tea’.

I’ve been composting for as long as I’ve been gardening – and that’s a long time!  Compost is free and just about the yummiest additive you can give your gardens.  I mainly use my compost for my vegetable gardens as well as a top-dressing for my flower beds.  Compost is basically decayed organic matter and it is valuable to improving your soil and putting back the organisims that have become depleted.

The basics to composting is to keep it green and brown.  By that I mean you need an equal amount of nitrogen rich material, like grass clippings and vegetable scraps and peelings – and carbon rich material like bark, leaves or shredded paper.  You can add any vegetables, peelings, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea (even in the bag!) and left over salad scraps.  Do not use any meats, cooked food, bones or pet waste.  These items will attract pest – big and small, and do not break down well.  You can add additional nitrogen with manure (cow or chicken) which also contains high levels of soil organisms.

The actual process of composting generates a high heat which causes the natural break down of organic matter.  It also helps to kill weed seeds and pest and some diseases.  It takes a couple of weeks to reach its maximum temperature and matures in about three months.  Turning the heap speeds up the process and keeps it from compacting.  You want to keep the pile moist but not wet.  I compost enough to mix in with the soil of my Fall garden and  Spring garden which makes for some very rich planting soil.

The perfect size for a compost pile is 3x3x3.  It should have a lid and slats or panels to keep the heat in and conserve moisture.  I use a rotating composter I bought from Home Depot.  It is much easier for me to turn and I like that it is off the ground.  I place a bucket under the composter to catch ‘compost tea’ and I use that in my watering can on my container plants and vegetable garden.  It is nutrient rich and my flowers love it.  I don’t even use a fertilizer on my container plants, the tea is just perfect for them.  ( I would NOT use this in the house – could be a tad stinky!!)

I would suggest doing a web search for ideas on making your own compost bin.  You can even make one out of FREE pallets!  If you would rather buy one they can be found at most garden centers and big box stores.  The one constant rule is to be sure to ADD to the pile and turn and aerate it regularly.

When your compost is done it should look, feel and smell like rich dark soil.  You shouldn’t be able to make out any of the things you put into it.  Happy composting!!!


Mason Jars and Vases


There’s no end to what you can do with Mason jars and old vases you have around the house.  I wrapped them in string, rubber bands and even tape – put about 3 thin coats of spray paint, remove the wrappings and TA DA!  On the vases I used two different colors that blended well together.  I love how they turned out.  I stuck some candles in them and they look beautiful!  The Mason jars go with us camping – just the right touch for the great outdoors.

Tutus for my Two Girls


I have two beautiful granddaughters, Layla is 5 and Joley is 3.  They both hit these ages two days apart and are having a big birthday bash on Friday.  I wanted to do something special and ‘girly’ for them so I did some searching on Pinterest – yep, I’m addicted, too – and came across a great site called Treasures for Tots.  This gal makes some beautiful and fun tutus that are easy and no-sew.  She does hers in about 30 minutes, it took me about 2 hours for this first one!!  I have one more to make before tomorrow’s party.  Wish me luck!!  If the girls love them I can see making them a bunch for play and hanging out in.  I look forward to making different lengths and colors to match their favorite characters.  Joley loves Spiderman so I plan to make her a red and blue one.  Great way to ‘girly’ up characters that are more boy driven.

Mosaic Mermaid Project


Loved working on my Madame Mermaid project.  I cut her from plywood after making a template from the back of some Christmas paper – they have those wonderful one inch square markings!  I knew I wanted her to be ‘curvy, so I drew ‘half’ of the mermaid and then cut her out and traced her shape onto the plywood.  After that it was just about placing all the glass mosaic tiles where I wanted them.  I did her skin in a light weight spackle and added the starfish.  This sounds very simple, but it did take me about 4 days of hard work to get her done.  Snipping glass tiles is a slow process.  What a perfect addition to Joe’s Bar. 

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She sparkles so pretty when the sun hits her from the sky lights.

Camo and Denim Planters, How-To


The first thing I did was measure the pant leg in several spots, then bend and tie chicken wire to fit each leg.  I make a ‘basket’ at the wasit to suppot the plant.  When puttin into place drive two metal posts through the ground to keep the planter upright and stable.  I made these two for my neighbors, Ana and Albert.  He is a big time hunter so I thought the camo pants would be perfect.  That’s actually me in the last two pictures!  Hey!

Joe’s Bar


I wanted to build my husband a bar, but when I saw this great old wood dresser I decided to ‘reinvent’ it as the bar.  I painted it black and took out the two side drawers to add more space for larger itmes.  I used the door fronts to make a false door.  Then came a top coat of white and a crackle finish.  I love how it turned out and the hardware was the perfect finish.  Drinks anyone?!

Container Gardening


three blue pots of different sizes filled with a variety of yellow flowers

I thought I would spend some time talking about a favorite subject of mine, the container garden.  This was a special request from my sister, Carrice, who lives in a condo and has limited gardening space.

There are three important steps; the container, the soil and the plants.  Lets start with the container.  Anything that  can have holes drilled in it can be a container.  Use your imagination!  I have used tool boxes, wheelbarrows, beds, wash tubs and much more.  You can also go to your local nursery and buy some pots, too!  I think groupings look best if you use an odd number of pots, (think throw pillows on the couch or bed) usually 3 or 5.  They can be different sizes and colors as long as they compliment each other.  Make sure there are drain holes.  This is VERY important as you don’t want your plants to rot.  You may need to drill some holes or just use a screw driver and bang on it with a hammer.  OK, now we have our containers, lets put some pebbles, broken clay or marbles on the bottom to help with drainage and then move on to our potting soil.

Select a high-quality potting soil that contains additional ingredients like peat, vermiculite or perlite.  If you are a composter (my next blog) add about a third of your own rich soil.  Compost is full of beneficial soil microorganisms that can help prevent disease causing spores and bacteria.  Most potting soils now come with a slow release fertilizer added to the mix – even better.  You should also consider using a water-absorbing polymer.  These little beads can hold up to 10 times their original size.  I soak mine in a bowl before I mix them in with the soil.  You only need about a tablespoon per pot – a little goes a long way.

Now lets talk about the fun part – selecting the plants!  Decide if your containers are going to be in the sun or shade, you will want to buy your plants based on this information.  I could give you a bunch of suggestions but each zone is different.  I would suggest you go to your local nursery and ask the helpful staff to recommend some appropriate plants for your location.  I don’t follow any plant color rules.  I pick what pleases me and makes me happy.  Sometimes I’ll do a pink and purple container, sometimes it might be yellow and red.  My wheelbarrow has every color under the sun.  Now, lets put our selections in our containers.

I call this The Thriller, The Filler and The Spiller.  The Thriller is the star of the show.  It should be the tallest, boldest or most interesting.  (think center piece)  This could be a foliage plant such as an elephant ear or ornamental grass or it could be a rose bush or small tree.  Plant the Thriller in the center of the container or towards the back.  Next comes the Filler, this is going to be the burst of color surrounding the Thriller.  I tend to use annuals that come in the 4″ pots so I can crowd them in and they give the longest color for the season.  (you can also trade them out for the next season)  The last plant is the Spiller.  These are the plants that are going to spill over the pot and soften the edges.  It gives the container the finished look.  Lantana, purslane, verbena, ivy or sweet potato vine are a few plants that are perfect for this job.

Now lets put a slow release fertilizer on top of the soil and add a top dressing to your containers.  You can use mulch, (they have some great designer colors now)  or pebbles.  This will help keep the moisture in and the weeds out.

Keeping your containers moist is very important.  During the summer months some containers may need to be watered twice a day depending on your zone and their location.  Water pots, let it soak in, water again, let it soak in, water one more time.  Now you have a beautiful instant garden!  The fact that they are containers makes it easy to move them around and change locations if you want.

I hope you found this helpful.  Please feel free to give me your comments and any recommendations for a future blog you would like me cover.