22 June 2012

I'm Out On...

I will be away on summer vacation for a while and won't be posting again until the second week in July.  I hope you are spending some time relaxing as well.  See you soon. 

21 June 2012

by the season

SUMMER: June 20 - September 21

July 3 | Buck Moon
August 1 | Sturgeon Moon
August 31 | Blue Moon

Seasonal Food

+  Eggplant
+  Green Beans
+  Zucchini
+  Bell Peppers
+  Basil
+  Swiss Chard
+  Peas
+  New potato
+  Sweetcorn
+  Cucumbers
+  Okra
+  Strawberries
+  Peaches
+  Rhubarb
+  Raspberries
+  Walnuts
+  Cantaloupes
+  Tomatoes
+  Cherries
+  Blackberries
+  Nectarines
+  Apricots
+  Mangos
+  Plums
+  Watermelon
+  Fig

Fire*side Reflection (The most honest and real answers surface when sitting around a campfire with friends and sometimes even strangers.  Reflect on this question with loved ones or in your journal)

          What is your idea of earthly happiness?

4(for) green acres tip or tidbit

The focus this summer is really going to be on water, which was June's challenge.   Much of the country is still in drought and several wild fires are raging.  Create a water budget for the summer and stick to it.  Be wise with this resource.  

The 4(for) green acres challenges this season will especially motivate you so be sure to participate each month.  


Now that your summer garden has been planted, it's time to weed, mulch and add compost tea as a side dressing.  Mulching is great because it helps control weed growth, retains moisture in the soil, and keep plants with low hanging fruit from rotting when they touch the ground.  Mulch doesn't have to be expensive.  It can be as simple as leaves from the fall or straw.  

Compost tea is natural fertilizer that will give your plants a boost just as they are starting to produce your harvest.  I typically make my own (but I don't use an aquarium pump), but it's also available to purchase at garden centers.    


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18 June 2012

Repurposing Vintage Locker Baskets

I ran across a treasure recently.  cc's family has land in the country with barns filled to the brim with junk.  It seems as if her grandfather was a "collector."  As her father was cleaning out the barn one day, he unearthed 15 or more locker baskets.  He stacked them in the toss pile and I happened to snag a few that were in the best condition.  

He had no idea how much these baskets are worth.  While I was out antique browsing I found two locker baskets on sale for around $30 each!  I took a quick picture because I knew he wouldn't believe me.  

These baskets come in so handy, but they needed cleaning up first.  I am fortunate to have a large sandblaster at work, so a co-worker of mine sandblasted all of them to get the rust off.  Once they were raw I was able cover the name plate and spray paint them. 

I painted basket 507 in white for my bathroom.  I have a vintage dentist cabinet painted a turquoise green that holds my towels and I'm using basket 507 to hold wash cloths.

I painted basket 504 in bright blue to place in this room and hold all my favorite publications. 

My favorite detail about the baskets are the number plates.  I wonder if the lockers came from a school or an employee break room.  They were made by Kasper Wire Works in Shiner, Texas (also home of a really good beer) so they didn't travel far.

I have a few more that will more than likely end up in my studio for storage of paints and other products, but I haven't decided on a paint color yet.  What would you do with them?

14 June 2012

How to Make Your Own Stationary Envelopes

May's 4(for) green acre challenge was to ban junk mail.  I ended up with more junk mail than usual this month.  Maybe because I tried to get off the mailing lists, or maybe because I was more aware of what was arriving in my mailbox.  Typically, it gets thrown into the recycle bin, but with the abundance this month I decided to upcycle it instead of tossing it.

Colorful catalogs full of dresses I'd never wear, a 50+ page catalog from Restoration Hardware, security envelopes with pretty stripes: there was potential in all of them.  The easiest thing to do was put a spin on this junk in order to send it right back in the mail.  I turned them into envelopes of all varieties. 

I started by gathering my favorites from the pile (recycled the rest) and collected the templates.

click on image to print small template size

After that, it was a matter of cutting out the images to the size of envelope I wanted and gluing them together with a glue stick.  I made envelopes for small gift cards, letters, and greeting cards.  I will simply affix a white label to address the envelope and send it off. 

Simple as that.  No more purchasing envelopes.  You can use stamps and stencils for embellishment and a basic glue stick or Japanese washi tape to seal it.

12 June 2012

Old Music Stand

This is one of my recent purchases.  I bought it for $5 at a flea market.  It was rusty and missing a screw on one of the upper arms.  I walked by it several times, and something about it made me decide I needed it.  I brought it home, cleaned it up, replaced the screw and then spray painted it with copper paint.

I was limited to the colors we had in the garage, and since it was rusting I wanted to get something on it pretty quick.  It would look fantastic with a pop of color.  I'm thinking peacock blue or yellow!

cc hates it, so for now it's banished to the one room I have full control over; my studio.  It actually serves a pretty good purpose there.  I couldn't figure out what to do with it, but then I ran across this rustic studio and the light bulb went off.
{Mari Eriksson photo found here}
I like to work standing up and I typically have different books I'm referencing for inspiration or instruction and they always get in the way on my work station.  Now the music stand can hold my books and free up my table.  Mine is not near as neat as the one in this photo, but hey, it was a bargain!

What would you do with it?

11 June 2012

What to Do When You Want to Give Up

There are some days I wake up and wonder why I garden.  To my amazement, something always grows even when I'm neglectful.  Gardening is work.  Not that I'm afraid of work, but I can't help but ask what it's all for occasionally. 

The mockingbirds are eating my tomatoes, the ants have annihilated my strawberries, and the cabbage loopers, well, they are an annual problem.  Not to mention all the weeds that keep finding their way into my delicious soil.

But then, there are the rare moments when it all comes together.  When halfway through eating supper it hits me that all but two of the ingredients on my plate came out of my garden.  As if eating the food my very hands grew was almost rote.  I blossomed with excitement.  This is the pinnacle I've been trying to reach.  I am far from feeding my family 100%, but the idea that eating what we have available takes me one step closer to reaching my goal.  Plus there is the fact that I didn't even think about it.  

However hard the process is, I can assure you it is all worth it.  Just knowing what I'm feeding my body isn't full of pesticides or other chemicals, genetically modified, or is processed seriously makes me giddy.  I'm slowly learning it's about trial and error.  To be cliche, Rome wasn't built in a day, and I'm coming to terms with the fact that the perfect (to me) homestead cannot be built in a season.  I needed the reminder too, and it tasted like real food. 

So my advice to you is - keep moving - keep growing.  If one tomato is all you end up with, so be it.  It's about the journey, not the destination.

By the way, the meal was...
sausage* and sauteed onions
steamed purple carrots
roasted rosemary potatoes
tomato & basil salad with vinaigrette*
strawberries, peaches, and blackberries for dessert

*not from the garden

08 June 2012

Flora Friday

My yard is in full bloom and I'm in love with all the color.  I snapped a few shots Memorial weekend at dusk while the colors were vibrant.  I wanted to share them with you.  Have a great weekend.

01 June 2012

June 4(for) Green Acres Challenge

These monthly challenges are your opportunity to cultivate your own acres. They are designed to challenge your creativity, test your will power, and pull your awareness to the footstep you are leaving behind. 

By participating in these challenges and sharing them with others you are spreading the message. Over time, those around us will be making better choices as well. The goal is not to change how you live your life, but rather think about the implications of those choices and tweek them for the best outcome.


Water has been on my mind as of late.  Here in the south we are in a drought.  Last summer's heat and lack of storms sucked the moisture right out of the area.  While we have had rain, it is not enough to replenish what we have used.  I can't imagine going into another Texas summer with very little water.  What would you do if all the water ran out?    

We use water for everything.  We use it for hygiene, washing laundry and dishes, to cook, water plants, swim, to produce electricity, irrigate crops... The list is endless, the need, boundless, and yet we take it for granted.  While it is a renewable resource, we do not have control over nature to supply us more when we need it, so consuming it consciously is almost mandatory.  

It's also a matter of your health which trumps every other reason.  The primary reason our bodies function is because of water.  Our bodies can not live without water for more than three days versus three months without food.  If it's that vital to life it's that important to protect it.    

This challenge has many facets.  For the month of June I want you to think about water from every angle.  It's the beginning of summer and our consumption of water spikes.  We will be drinking more, watering our lawns, and swimming.  Answer the following questions and start making a conscious shift to conserve and protect your water this summer.   
  • How clean is the water you are drinking?  Are you drinking it out of a plastic bottle that will heat up in the sun and leach chemicals into your water? 
  • Do you really trust your municipal water?  It's full of chlorine, and fluoride which has been linked to endocrinological damage.  What additional measures are you taking to filter out these toxins?
  • How often do you water your lawn or garden? Does your grass really need to be watered daily?  What time of day are you watering? In the early morning or the hottest part of the day when most of it evaporates?
  • Take an assessment of your water and create a water budget.  How much water do you actually consume and how much water do you actually need?  Where can you eliminate waste? 
  • Are you collecting all the natural water you can with rain barrels and buckets? 
  • How often do you shower and how long is your shower?  

Taking the challenge and want to tell others about it?  Grab the 4(for) green acres badge in the sidebar and post it on your blog or website.