Friday Faves: Shade Garden Plants

Shade Garden Plants

Most of our yard sees sun at some point during the day- even if just for a few hours or if its dappled beneath a tree.  But one part of our yard, next to our neighbor’s garage, gets deep shade.  Because of the angle our house and our neighbors garage it is just a small slice of yard that doesn’t get direct sunlight, even though only 2 feet away our tomato plants will grow.  So its a bright corner, just no direct sun.  And because its next to our garden and not hidden away, I want to make the most of it.  So this Friday Faves is all about dynamic shade garden plants.  And I’m not talking your average hosta (which are nice).  I want shade plants that bring vibrant color, pollinators, and seasonal variability.  Lamium is a nice spreading ground cover that will fill in big areas quickly.  Helbore are lovely in the spring- I never met one I didn’t absolutely love.  Astilbe are very romantic and summery.  Plantain lilies are like hostas (in fact, a lot of hosta are plaintain lily crosses) but these guys have longer stems- often in bright red.  And heuchera come in so many colors, flower a long time, and look great through fall.  My shade garden may grow slowly and be added to over time, but these are my top picks for an extra ordinary dynamic shade garden.

DIY Bathroom Air Freshener

diy bathroom air freshener

Sometimes our crafty ideas take a lot of planning and execution.  And sometimes they just work.  And by sometimes I mean really rarely.  But not this one my friends, this super simple DIY cost about 5$, took about 15 minutes total hands on time, and upgraded my bathroom 500%.  Ok, so 500% may be an overstatement, but you be the judge, because I’m totally in love with my new DIY bathroom air freshener.  Or as I’m actually calling it ‘the scent center’.  Because lets face it, sometimes you just need to light a candle in there.

diy bathroom air freshener

This is how it all started- with a crowded loo.  Atop the back of the potty sat a vase of dried eucalyptus, a candle and matches, assorted pretty soaps in a tray (tray made by me!) and qtips in a a bowl (also made by me!)  It was perilous.  The eucalyptus periodically would poke you when you sat down.  It was all a jumble.  But our bathroom was small and you know what, there was an entire empty wall just waiting to be filled- and filled with something functional, natch.

diy bathroom air freshener

So, with a few supplies that I mostly had lying around, I got to work.  First, I cut a pine plank to size- about a foot and a half long.  (We bought it originally for a shelf project for just 1$ at Home Depot.  Can you imagine?  Crappy gas station coffee costs more than a dollar…)  I sanded it and stained with just one coat- one was all it needed- with stain I already had.  Next, I raided my mason jar supply.  I have a lot but finding three matching ones was not easy.  I have cobbled together my canning supplies over years, by purchasing some, by receiving some, by taking some of my grandmothers when she died- heck, our old neighbors knew we liked canning so they would just drop off good jars for us by our back  door.  So very Cambridge.  I bought hose clamps roughly the diameter of my jars.  I already had a staple gun.  So really, like I said, a 5$ project.  I stapled the clamps down to the wood at pre-measured intervals (I found it easiest to staple them if I linearized the clamps first (linearized is a science word for make the circle a line- no kidding)).  I affixed a picture hook to the back for easy hanging.

diy bathroom air freshener

So much better, yeah?  I filled one jar with eucalyptus.  One as a votive.  One has matches, but you can’t reach them because they are regular matches- I need to pick up some long ones.  Once I do I think I’ll tape some sandpaper to the bottom of a jar to strike the match upon.  I also envision that I will swap out the eucalyptus for flowers from the garden, or change the candle with the seasons- you know- stuff like that.

diy bathroom air freshener

And the back of the toilet is not a jumbled mess.  I hung a watercolor painting of a minke whale from United Thread because why wouldn’t I? And now the bathroom is fresh, clean and organized (for now…).

I will be sharing this post on A Life in Balance and Chic on a Shoestring.  Please go check them out and all the great projects too!

Harvest Monday

harvest monday: meager begginings

This is my first contribution to Harvest Monday, a chance to share what you’ve picked from your garden and delight in other gardeners’ bounties.  So far it’s awful slim pickings.  We have some over-wintered spinach that really perked up this past week.  It’s pretty amazing considering we didn’t even have them in a cold frame.  They were honestly embedded in an inch of ice for all of February.  But tonight, we ate them!  Chives too- they have come back with gusto.  I only feel bad picking them as they are both just really getting started- I don’t want to maim my newly awakened baby plants.  But a girl’s gotta eat, right?

harvest monday pizza

My small handful of chives and spinach joined forces with some asparagus, ricotta, Parmesan, olive oil and eggs to make one hell of a spring pizza.  Oh, and the egg- it really is a must.  I think if our household has a motto- it’s put an egg on it.  Seriously.  Everything tastes better with an egg on top.  It’s like put a bird on it… put a pre-bird on it (Parks and Rec anyone?)  Anyway, the chives came through on the pizza and in the accompanying salad nicely, but the spinach was too hidden to appreciate it.  Maybe next week I’ll have enough for a spinach salad and really have a chance to appreciate the spinach properly- my parents over-wintered spinach was the best they’ve ever had, so I’m eager to try this mystical spinach.  Can’t wait for more things to start coming in!

I’ll be linking up to Daphne’s Dandelions- go check out the other great harvests!

DIY Jewelry Organizer

DIY Jewelry Organizer

My (not so very plentiful) earrings were kinda of haphazardly stashed in a box where they entangled themselves with necklaces, or on a decorative plate, where they jumbled all together.  I wasn’t a fan.  I wanted to make something (of course make!) that would do the trick keeping them all tidy, yet would look nice on my dresser so I crafted up this DIY jewelry organizer with just three simple supplies: Sculpey clay, an assortment of small bowls, and some gold leaf paint.

simple steps for a DIY Jewelry Organizer

I used white Sculpey because I wanted a porcelain look, but I briefly contemplated terra cotta Sculpey too.  Now, I chose Sculpey because I’m familiar and comfortable using it, but if you have another brand of oven-bake clay (or even air dry) that really toots your horn, then dive right in.  Using a rolling pin I rolled sheets of Sculpey about 1/4 inch thick out and molded them into the shapes of the small bowls I had.  I then carefully pressed them together into an appealing combination of sizes.  I took care to shape and smooth at this step.  Then- into the oven at 275 for about 30 minutes.

DIY Jewelry Organizer painting

After it cooled I sanded my creation with 220 grit sandpaper.  Honestly!  I had no idea you can do it, but it worked really well to even out most of the bumps and unevenness.  If you have a buffing tool, like a Dremel (oh geeze, this was like, reason number 50 in our house why we want a Dremel) you can even buff Sculpey to a shine.  Seriously, check out this lady.  I then painted some parts of my new dish(?) with brush on gold leaf.  This stuff stinks to high heaven.  Open a window.  This is so not eco-friendly.  I probably killed a million brain cells doing this.  But its pwetty.

Fancy and Organized DIY Jewelry Organizer

Finally, a nice place for my earrings to lie.  They are more apt to stick with their partners this way, and I can find them easily.  The little studs don’t get lost among the bigger ones.  Wondering where my jewels come from?  Mostly Etsy.  The two most left ones are from Sulu-Design (shout out!- the white and black ones are actually my first ever Etsy purchase from 2006!)  The gold leaves are from Contrary.  The silver hoops are from String of Blue.  Studs are from ES Design.  Looking through my Etsy purchase history I see I haven’t bought new earrings in 3 years!?!  Now that I can easily see all of my baubles, I think its time for an assessment and some shopping.  Oh darn.

I will be sharing this post on Chic on a Shoestring.  Please go check out the other wonderful projects!