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myherbgarden

I love fresh herbs! I really feel like they make most meals taste a million times better. I’ve decided to opt out of planting a vegetable garden this year, but decided I’d at least start a herb garden this spring.

It can be expensive to buy the wilted kind you can get prepackaged at the grocery store, so for me it’s worth going through the effort of making and nurturing a herb garden.I would have saved even more money if I planted them in the ground, but I wanted easy, and didn’t feel up to making a garden from scratch. Not this pregnant chica.

Anyways, the downside is I have to water them more frequently, and they probably won’t grow as big, BUT the upside is I never had to till a garden from scratch, and they sit conveniently right outside my back porch so watering is super easy. I just do it whenever I have to take the dog out, and only if they happen to need it (dry soil = watering time).

Garden Plans

(The arrangement is what I came up with after researching what herbs pot well together. Opinions range from “pair whatever you want together” to very methodical pairings. I went for a mildly methodical approach. As if mildly can even go with methodical! ).

herb plans

I started with the herbs I most frequently use in cooking: basil (my personal favorite!), parsley, cilantro, rosemary, sage and mint. I recently picked up some thyme and oregano that I want to add in. I use them sometimes, but not as much, so I wasn’t in a rush to buy them, but after repotting the basil, and rosemary, I have some extra room for those extra herbs (plus, I bought four of those massive green tubs).

pottedherbgarden

I originally had all the herbs I bought in the 12″ terra-cotta pots, except for basil, which prefers plastic. I read terra-cotta is the best pot you can grow herbs in (except for basil). They are wonderful little pots, but also very pricey.

The 12″ is fairly affordable (around $7-$12), but once I had to repot the herbs, paying for a 11 gal terra-cotta pot would  be more like $30- $50. I’m a little too cheap for now, so I went for my homemade version: $4.58 plastic tubs from walmart, drilled underneath for drainage. Which is also much cheaper than the plastic garden pots (which ranged from $10-$20). 

A little drilly-drilly on the bottom of the tubs is all it took to make the tubs into pots. I flipped over an already bought plastic pot, and copied the arrangement of holes onto my homemade kind.

I prayed a little blessing over these herbs. I don’t think I’ve ever asked for my garden to be blessed before, but already they are looking better than my herbs from previous years. Honestly, mine usually look great in the spring…but suffer from the humid summers of North Carolina, but I’m feeling optimistic about this batch, and looking forward to using them! I know my basil looks so ready to be used already!

Are you growing any herbs this year? Do you have any experience with what really grows well together? Any tips and techniques on keeping them alive through the hot summer months? haha…but seriously.

Amanda.

Hahaha, and this is how my baby is utilizing my leftover tubs:

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smell-good vacuum.

Maybe you have this issue with your vacuum and maybe you don’t, but after awhile, ours starts to smell like our dog. That is, after using it several times, the “leftover” smell is kind of stinky. So, this is a super easy, no-fail trick. All you need are some cotton balls and a smell-good scent you don’t mind using.

I’ve used vanilla extract, peppermint extract, and lavendar essential oil. Our favorite is peppermint extract, and is the best choice for me because vanilla extract gets used a lot in our house and isn’t cheap, whereas I only ever used the peppermint extract once around Christmas. Not quite as precious.

Plus, my husband and I LOVE the smell. The lavendar worked out well, but I put WAY too many drops into the cotton balls, so the smell was way too overpowering and headache inducing. 3-4 drops should do it, not 7! I guess I was being overzealous because I wanted to kill the dog hair smell.

The steps:

I usually grab a few cotton balls (4 or 5), put them in a small bowl, and soak them with some of the smell-good scent. I then put them into the vacuum bag, and use the vacuum as needed.

Enjoy your sweet smelling vacuum! It even kind of lingers for the day. Read More

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Recipe:

Correction: this is only cloth diaper friendly if you use UNSCENTED soap! Learned that one the hard way. Sorry if I lead anyone astray. IVORY SOAP ORIGINAL is no longer unscented. An alternative I want to try in the near future is Dove Sensitive Skin, Unscented. Currently I’ve been using Nellie’s All Natural Laundry Soda and it’s been working great on my bum genius diapers! You really don’t want to mess around with those little bums. The wrong detergent can lead to a bad diaper rash fast. It’s not as cheap as a homemade detergent, but seeing as I only use 1/4 of the detergent per cloth diaper load I get my dollars worth.

  • 6 cups of Ivory soap bars ground or grated in the food processor ( hint: 1 bar makes approximately 1 cup)
  • 3 cups of washing soda
  • 3 cups of borax

Combine the ingredients and store in a labeled container. Use 1 tablespoon for lighter loads; 2 tablespoons for heavy loads.

Total time: 10 min prep, 15 min clean up = 25 minutes

Estimated cost: $4

This batch should last at least 2 or 3 months for our family of three.  After using it for four months I can say it works. You might want to have a stronger detergent on hand for real greasy/dirty work clothing, because it doesn’t work the best on my husbands work clothes, otherwise it works perfectly fine as a everyday mild detergent.

Some tips on making it right…because it took me a couple tries to get it right:

  • Unless it’s just because my food processor is weak, chopping the ivory soap into little chunks with a knife prior to placement in the food processor helps to make the soap break down into smaller pieces. You really want them to be small, or they won’t dissolve in the wash.
  • After you have grated or ground the soap, process the washing soda/borax with the soap to create  even finer soap bits (see photo). For some reason it’s the only way I’ve been able to make the soap bits very small which is so essential, otherwise you’ll get pieces of undissolved soap on your clothing.
  • I use a cheap dollar store measuring tablespoon, and store it in the container seen in the photo above. The container was only a couple dollars and bought at Wal-Mart.

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That’s all. Fairly easy to make.- actually very easy to make, and it saves lots of money. Money saved means more money you can spend on new clothing (or if you’re a saver-type, more money saved period).

I promise the next couple posts will be more wardrobe/clothing based, but I just wanted to get the practical side of laundering out of the way.

Amanda.

It’s day 11 of no more procrastinating (the important, non-urgent things in life)…click HERE for the beginning.

I’ve always wanted to dedicate one of my walls to art…you know, incoroporate “wall art” into my home. I like this look above a couch in a living room, or on a wall in the entranceway. I decided to at least try it in our entranceway, even though I still don’t I have all the framed art I think I’d like.

My Inspiration:

Pinned Image

And isn’t one of the cures to no more procrastinating giving up on perfect circumstances to try something? So here was my shot!

Before/After photos

After….not quite as clear and crisp as my inspiration, but you have to start somewhere, right?

I’m not crazy about the landscape piece being in the mix, or the tacky gold-framed mirror (definitely want to paint that now), but I’m happy about the start, and I’m excited to collect more framed pieces (I think I’m in love!).

Here’s a closeup on the canvas chalkboard I made (super easy to make by the way, click HERE for the dets):

I simplified version of the purpose of our home…”an oasis from the battle.”

It was nice to finally give my bird art a “home.” I think all art deserves some sort of home (be it on a wall, in a frame, or leaned against some books…). I simply made “cut-outs” of my birds,  then I pasted them with an ordinary glue stick on one of my old prints, and finally put them in a couple of new white frames I bought for half off at Micheal’s (5.99 each, oh yeah).

Here’s what they looked like before:

Birds were drawn with pencil and india ink…on sommerset paper.

I’m obsessed with squares, and was hoping I’d be able to house them in a square frame, but apparently it’s really challenging to find square frames. So I was flexible, and tried to work with the rectangular frames I purchased from MIcheals.

I think it’s important not to be too precious with your art…you need to be able to take risks to land on something genius. So that’s what I did, I took a risk *gulp* and cut out some of my birds, and pasted them to an old blue print:

I’m not sure if it’s genius, but I think I really like how it turned out.

Here’s another one I cut out, and pasted onto one of my small canvas pieces:

Here’s  the last one:

Here’s where I got the blue background from:

This is the frame I used to make my own chalkboard.

Here’s my early bird sketch/scribble, housed in a new frame: It’s not apart of the orginial bird art (haha), but it’s on the wall now, so I thought I’d share it.

Note: And just so I’m not confusing anyone when I say a “print” here’s an explanation”: it’s a form of art where you use a printing press to apply pressure from one etched board to a piece of paper (more often than not) to create art. Etching, and silk screen are two very common examples. A very elementary version of this is a stamp pressed onto paper.

 Printmaking was what I focused on in my last years at college. It’s funny how even when you’re far removed from something you love you can find yourself incorporating it in your life anyhow.

What do you think? Do you think the art looks better on my walls? Or did you prefer the “bare” look? Any suggestions on what I could add or take away from the wall?

Thanks for stopping by,

Amanda.

(Hi! Click HERE, just in case this is your first day.)

Oh a wreath. I always thought a wreath can make a door look that much prettier, so I decided to try making one myself. Plus, it’s one of my top 5 things I wanted to do this fall. My inspiration? Kelly, from The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking, did a post on making a wreath, as a part of her 31 day challenge of savouring the season.

The Steps

I only spent 5.86 at Micheals (one 18″ wire wreath frame, and one roll of wire):

The materials:

I trimmed some of my bushes to make my wreath (about 10 minutes):

I winded the branches around the wreath frame, and used some wire here and there to keep some intact. It really was that easy, no need to over think it.

Keep on wrapping them until the wreath is the desired thickness, then hang on your door with your hanger of choice:

I love green and white!

I had a little hanging device already on my door, so it was that much easier. Here’s my pretty instagram shot:

What I really like about this project, is once the fall is over, I can re-use the frame for Christmas, and make a Christmas wreath! Yeah! As for keeping the plant “alive” I plan to spray the wreath every once and awhile with some water. Simple, easy, and cheap. I like it!

Do you have a super easy wreath project you’ve completed before? I’d love to get a link to your site,  or you can just post the description in the comment bar.

Have a great day!

Amanda.