Friday, September 2, 2011

My Spooktacular Wreath


My favorite time of the year is here.  I love the Fall Season leading up to Christmas better than any time of the year.  I love the crisp fall air, the smells, the colors in the trees.  

And I absolutely love Halloween.  I love the colors, and the decorations, and helping my children pick their costumes.

So, even though it's just the beginning of September, I got a head start making a new Halloween wreath.  

My friend Alison's sister-in-law from over; made a fantastic wreath, so I decided to give it a try. 

Here are my materials, which ran me about $30 from A.C. Moore.  If you are very thrifty, you could structure your purchases and use a 40% off coupon with each separate purchase.  The sign was $7.99, and the mesh ribbon was $9.99 each, so you get the idea.  I however; am an instant gratification person, so I went for the one time coupon deal, and there you go.

(1) roll of black mesh 2" ribbon, 25yds
(1) roll of orange mesh 2" ribbon, 25 yds
(1)wire wreath, 18"
(2) rolls accent ribbon, your choice of lenght & color
floral wire
sign or other decoration

First, cut 3ft strips of each color of the mesh ribbon. 

Then knot the strips around the wire wreath, alternating the colors.

Next, cut the accent ribbon into approx. 12in. strips, and knot it onto the wreath, in any pattern you prefer. 

The last step is to wire your sign onto the wreath, which I anchored from each side.

Finished Product!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lasagna Gardening- The Only Way To Garden!

Patricia Lanza is a fabulous lady who 20 some years ago came up with the Lasagna Gardening Method.  She has written three books, including Lasagna Gardening: A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling, No Kidding!

With her technique, you layer brown and green yard waste and organic materials, much like you would layer a lasagna with pasta, sauce, and cheese.  Then nature "bakes" these layers into a wonderful fluffy soil full of rich compost. 

I am going to to show you why I am in love with her method, and how ever since I have discovered it, this is the only way I garden.  This method is perfect if you are:
  • starting a new garden from scratch
  • weeding an existing garden
  • expanding to an existing garden

The materials needed you probably have on hand already:

Green Layers

Grass Clippings
Barn Litter
Coffee Grounds
Blood Meal

Brown Layers

Newspaper (use as first layer)
Cardboard (use as first layer)
Shredded paper
Fall leaves
Wood chips/twigs/shredded branches
Peat moss

Invasion of the weeds and grass!

Choose the area you want to start your garden.  Or, if you are working on an existing garden, pull any weeds that have not gone to seed (these can be used as "green material".  This is totally optional!!).

Storm Damage

For me, first I have to clean up some storm damage, and trim some bushes.  The clippings I will leave right on the ground however; because this is "green".


First, you will lay down the cardboard and newspaper over the area you have chosen as your garden.  Once this is arranged in the shape you prefer, you need to give it a good soaking with water.  

Next, you will begin your layers of green and brown with a ratio of 4:1;  four parts brown to 1 part green.  You will want to make these layers several inches high-like a lasagna.  Keep in mind, the sun will "bake" these layers down flat rather quickly while it is still warm out, so you may have to replenish your layers a few times before frost.

The wet newspaper and cardboard will kill any existing grass and weeds on the existing site you have chosen, as well as attract earthworms that will till your soil.  By using all of the above mentioned waste, you are recycling the easy way!  You also are conserving water, as all of the materials are concentrated and moist.  Best of all, you are not having to use any chemicals to rid yourself of weeds or unwanted grass, and your green and brown materials will produce all natural chemicals that should aid your growing efforts!  So pat yourself on the back for living a greener lifestyle!

When you are ready to plant your seed or seedling, simply pull apart some of your layers, add water, and watch everything grow! 

I will show you the progress after a few weeks of additional layering, and adding in some fall plants.  So for now, at least my butterflies are happy again!
My Erected Butterfly Bush

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tangled- Part One

Well, as I said, I would show you what my youngest daughter's birthday cake looked like.  She turned 3 in January, and she had to have a


So here it is:

I was pleased with my work at the time, however; nine months later, I feel like I need to up my game.  My challenge is this:  my family really really doesn't like fondant icing.  So everything I used on this cake except for the turret, was homemade butter cream.  The turret was made from rice crispy treats and fondant.  I have searched the Internet and found some fabulous creations that put this puppy to shame.  Check out Laura's creations at the Corner House blog: Emma's Rapunzel Cake.

So I have two weeks to plan my masterpiece.  I think this time I will concentrate on keeping my cakes in the base and a smaller layer in the living quarters, leaving the tower made from a solid material.  I have frozen the turret from January, but I may re do.  If you have any suggestions, let me know! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

What Are You Waiting On?

My attempts at a natural garden have gone to the wayside during the dog days of summer.  Everything was looking pretty spiffy, then I had an attack of voles (if you don't know what these are, google the Devil); and things went down hill quickly after that.  So now, I have some overgrown weeds to contend with, and some overgrown bushes, and some storm damage to boot.

In addition to that, my poor little birds are quite upset with me, I had to take down all of their feeders but one until after the storm passed, so now they are wondering when I am going to get my act together! 

Tomorrow, I am going to show you my plan to "attack" my weeds with a technique that is non-invasive, using the lasagna garden method.  I love this approach, because it is so simple to do, and you are simply adding to what you already have, without having to use chemicals that could be dangerous to the butterflies and birds.  (I love my butterflies and birds!!)  Fall is the perfect time of year to do this, because then the layers will protect your perennials, bushes, and bulbs all winter long, and "bake" your soil so that come spring you will have some lovely, rich soil on top of what you started with. 

Now its off to feed the birds!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

We Are Thankful

Unless you been pulling a Rip Van Winkle, than you know that Hurricane Irene is making it's way up the east coast.

My family has been very fortunate this time, we have not suffered any damages. However; my thoughts and prayers are with those this morning who are without power,  who have suffered damages to their homes and businesses, or unthinkably even lost a loved one. As this storm continues its path, I pray for everyone in that path and for their safety.

Bath, NC

New Bern, NC
Raleigh, NC

Friday, August 26, 2011

Once Upon A Cake

Well, it I guess you can say it all started with a cake.  Three times a year, for every one of my child's birthdays; I go on a Google search to come up with inspiration for their birthday cake.  Sometimes I already have a vision of what I want to do, and the interenet simply provides me with some very impressive ideas for add ons or slight adjustments.  The blogging world has been a vast resource for birthday cakes in the past, as so many talented indiviuals (mostly moms) have so graciously posted their accomplishments for the world to see.

I am a huge Disney nut. Needless to say, I have created Disney monsters with my children.  Both of my daughters have had nothing but Disney birthdays. However, it is fun coming up with cakes for their birthdays.  My son has had some non Disney birthdays, and they have been fun, too. 

I hope that my learning curve is improving with each cake, and although I claim no real talent, it is fun, and at least I know what kind of indgredients are going into the cakes.  So what is coming up?  Well, school is back in full swing, and with that means my middle daughter's birthday is just weeks away.  She is planning on having a Tangled Birthday party (who knew?)

So two upcoming posts will be a Tangled "Part 1" and Tangled "Part 2".  Wanna know why?  Yep, you guessed it.  Her baby sister beat her to it and had a Tangled Birthday back in January.  So I will share with you the cake that I made for her, and what my thoughts are for the next one. 

Hopefully, neither daughter will feel jilted, no cake is ever the same! And they lived happily ever after...