Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Weekend pick me up!

Okay, so, it's definitely been a while since I've updated! Ugh, I've been so busy between personal events, holiday, Mother's Day, you name it! I'm hoping to be back in the swing of things now. This weekend was the first weekend we've really had to ourselves, and I wanted to Drylok the basement. Oh how I've been wanting to do that for quite some time! No dice, though. You could take one look around our house and realize there were more important things to take care of.

Well, needless to say the house has been desperate for a nice clean, and that's exactly what we did. Let's start with the kitchen, since that's always a great place to start! At first washed out glance, you can tell it's messy. I mean, really messy.

Let's get a little closer:

Sink full of dishes, pots and pans everywhere. Trash, super grody. Well, thanks to the power if pictures, here is the after.

Ahhh, much better! I've been using Mrs. Myer's counter top spray in lemon verbena, and can I just say that I love it. It makes cleaning so much more enjoyable. It smells so fresh and clean, and nothing like chemicals. You can also see my poor dying garden. I'll have another post about that later, it really is a sad tale.

See that cute little bud vase? It's actually got my green onions in it. They look fabulous, and have been doing well. A nice update versus the nasty thing I was keeping on my stove, yuck.

Ah, the poor dining room. This room is always serving as our catch all. The bookshelf doesn't even belong there, it's supposed to live in our upstairs office (that we need to repaint). Table is filled with junk, clothes everywhere.

The poor cat food area. I don't know how they put up with me.

Here you can see how much trash we actually keep lying around. My boyfriend loves pizza, so we've always got pizza boxes strewn about. And beer bottles. What can I say? We're in our mid twenties, isn't that what we do?

The after, while I know I still have some clothes on the chairs of the table, I was doing laundry and my basket was full, so they were heading straight for the next load.

Speaking of laundry...

Oh yeah, needed to do some laundry.

This is the poor console table in the living room. We just bought it a few months ago, and it's already loaded!

 A little pruning and this is what we are left with. The coffee can is for Victor's loose change.

Then there is this monstrosity. The living room.

A little work, and presto!The pile on the couch was for things that needed to upstairs when we went.

That pile of shoes on the media table are for donation, we put them there to remind us that they need to go.

And this bad boy, is all the trash we collected just from the downstairs! Wow, unbelievable. Even more surprising, is Victor actually ended up taking it all down. It's gone, completely gone.

And here's a little breakdown of what we actually did Sunday afternoon:
  • Gathered up all the trash, took it to do the dumpster
  • Moved all the things that belonged in different rooms to their appropriate room
  • Disinfected the entire kitchen
  • Washed the kitchen windows/window sill
  • Washed all the dishes, pots and pans
  • Put away said pots and pans
  • Disinfected the half bathroom (toilet/counters)
  • Cleaned the cat box
  • Two loads of laundry
  • Cleaned off the dining room table, gave it a good wash
  • Finally emptied all our luggage and put it away
  • De-furred the couch
  • Brushed all 3 cats really well
  • Swept, vacuumed, and mopped the entire downstairs
It feels so good to walk into a cleanish house everyday coming home from work. What did you end up doing this weekend?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It's been so long!

So, we've been out and about out of the state for friend's weddings, among other personal stuff. This weekend is Mother's Day and again; no down time! Where has all the time gone?! The older I get, the more time I lose, I swear.

Anyways, next weekend I plan on dryloking the basement! I'm going to try my darndest to post every Tuesday with projects accomplished over the weekend, so be ready for 05/22!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Seedling Progress

Sorry I haven't been around much (if anyone actually reads this)! I've been having some personal stuff going on, but I'm hoping to get a lot done this weekend, so expect some posts next week! I've got an out of state wedding coming up at the end of the month, so I wont be around then, either.

Anyways! I wanted to share how well my little seedlings are doing! It's been about 3 1/2 weeks since I've planted the little buggers, and I still haven't done any research on them, and they doing super. It's so exciting to wake up every day, run downstairs and see how big they've grown. My sugar snap peas are literally growing an inch a day. It's insane.

Here you can see the sugar snap peas and the broccoli. They are doing the best. Ignore the hair dryer, I'm sure everyone has a hair dryer in their kitchen. See how they are bending to the right? That's where our screen door is.

The basil has just started coming up (far left). The cilantro (left) is doing great! I'm happy with this, since cilantro is the herb that I use the most. The oregano (right) has just barely started sprouting. Its very small and thing in comparison to the basil and cilantro. And finally we have the catnip (far left) which is coming up slowly but surely. Also, please ignore the mess. We just had breakfast, and my boyfriend has been home from work all week, so there is stuff everywhere...

I'm pretty happy with this lot. They just started coming up and then they started going crazy. To the left you can see the chives, the parsley in the center, and the green onions on the right. I have some green onions in the fridge from the grocery store I will be planting this weekend. Can never have too many green onions.

And these are my slow growers. I have them directly in front of my back door. The roma tomatoes just started coming up on the left there. Nothing with the sweet peppers in the center, and a single sprout for the big boy tomatoes on the right. I plan on making a calender today on when they should be planted outside, and all that good jazz.

For a little over three weeks, its not bad progress! I can't wait for the day when I can actually pick something edible off them!

Friday, March 30, 2012

DIY Seedling Markers

 So when I purchased all the stuff to plant my seedlings I totally forgot to buy popsicle sticks or something to mark them. I was trying to think of a cute way to mark them without having to go out again or spend more money, when I thought about trying to do something cute with little bunting banners. I know its one of those cliche trends right now, but I thought it'd look nice. That's when I remember that I'm lazy, and I totally wasn't ready to commit to making small triangles for every letter, for every plant. So I decided a small banner would be cute. I used to scrapbook, so I have a bunch of card stock scraps, you know, the kind you can buy in a bag from Michael's for like $5. Perfect!

The first thing I did was pick out some colours that I liked. This image is from Design-Seeds (I unfortunately can't find the original link!), and I just love all the way these colours look together. It's definitely going to be the palette I plan on using outside. Luckily the card stock I had on hand matched this nicely.

Gather your supplies. For this project you'll need:
  • Pen/Pencil
  • Card Stock
  • Dirty Scissors. Or clean ones if you're fancy.
  • Measuring Tape
  • Toothpicks
  • Hot Glue Gun (you could try Elmer's if you want. I originally used a small super glue tube thing, but it didn't hold at all)
  • Optional: Beer. I do most of my arts and crafts mildly intoxicated, and listening to the radio. I suppose it doesn't help with efficiency, but it definitely makes it more interesting.

Then I grabbed my peat cells to measure how much space is between the center of two cells. 2" was perfect.

This is the design I went with. Its basic, and sort of looks like a banner. I tried a few other shapes, and if you're artistic more power to you. This was the best one I made. I free handed it, so its not perfect, but I'm okay with that. You could also print a clip art banner from Word and trace it onto the card stock. I don't have any ink in mine...

Whatever you decide to do, make sure your design is a little longer than the space you need. This is so you have enough room to glue whatever will be holding your markers in the dirt.

For a little preview you can hold up your marker to see what it'd look like. This way you can tell if you've left enough room for your tooth picks to be glued into the right place.

Trace your template onto the card stock. Mine just happened to be big enough for a few banners on each piece.

Once you've got them all cut out, write the names of the plants on the side you didn't trace on. Then flip them all over and glue your tooth picks on the traced side making sure they are facing the right angle. Leave them a few minutes to dry.

Then you're done! Again, this is a cute project to do if you've got stellar handwriting. My normal handwriting is the bubbly print of a high school girl, but I attempted to do some cursive. Some of them came out okay, like this Sugar Snap Peas one.

Most of them turned out like this.

Or this. Clearly, I don't care if I use an "O" or a scribble for a letter.

But, they came out alright. These obviously wont really work in a garden unless you laminate them to prevent soaking them each time you water, but for seedlings you don't have to worry very much about the moisture.

What do you think? How do you mark your plants?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Seedlings Planted!

That's right, over the weekend I finally made it to Home Depot, no thanks to that old to-do list, and managed to pick up some seeds while I was there. I managed to pick up the following:
  • Peat Cells (3 Packages of 32)
  • Vigoro Tomato and Vegetable Food (I'll admit I have no idea what to do with this, yet)
  • Miracle Grow Flower and Vegetable Soil
  • Vegetable Seeds:
    • Watermelon (didn't plant yet)
    • Roma Tomato
    • Big Boy Hybrid Tomato
    • Gourmet Blend Lettuce Leaf (didn't plant yet)
    • Black-Seeded Simpson Lettuce Leaf (didn't plant yet)
    • Green Onion
    • Broccoli
    • Sugar Snap Peas
    • Green Peppers
  • Herb Seeds:
    • Catnip
    • Italian Parsley
    • Oregano
    • Cilantro
    • Chives
    • Sweet Basil
I have no experience gardening, or starting seeds. I read a little bit about it online, but really, not enough to actually know what I was doing. I figured I'd just jump into it and see what ended up growing.

This was my set up. I don't know what the weather is like where you're from, but it was 30 degrees in Mass, and I did not feel like bundling up, so I grabbed a cardboard box, a little packing tape to make sure the bottom was all sealed so dirt didn't fall everywhere, my peat cells, seeds, spoon, and (not pictured) a small glass bowl.

 I filled each cell with one spoonfull of the soil. Some seeds said they had to be buried 1/4" from the surface, others were 2" so make sure you plan your soil accordingly! I lightly packed the dirt down with my fingers.

This is my photographic attempt at showing what the soil looks like with a hole in it for the seeds. I suppose if you're smart, you'll just follow the instructions for planting the seed however deep its supposed to go. I did a sort of mixed method where I put some seeds in the hole, then spread some out along the rest of exposed dirt, just so there more chance of getting them to grow. Or to smother them, I'm not really sure.

I was having a really hard time getting the seeds out of the bag and into my cells without dumping too many in one and leaving others bare, so I grabbed a tiny glass bowl to dump them into. It made it so much easier to distribute!

These are the tomatoes, you can see a few of the seeds are tucked away in their little holes, and some are spread out on the top layer.

Then I just topped them off with more soil, lightly packed, and spritzed them with lukewarm-ish water. Should the water be lukewarm? I don't know. I read on one of the prepared green house starter kits at Home Depot it should be for that kit, but I figured, it couldn't hurt my little seeds. Right?

And that my friends, is how I started my seedling journey. To those who are interested in perhaps starting their own seed adventure, here is how much mine cost:

3 Peat Cells (Package of 32): $7.77 ($2.59 each)
Vigoro Tomato & Veg. Food (3.5 lb): $5.98
Miracle Gro Flower/Veg Soil (1 CF): $3.33
Seeds: $15.19 (~$1 per pack)
Total: $32.27

Anyone else starting some seeds? Or a garden? I plan on posting a tutorial on how to make your own plant labels, and if you have nice handwriting (in comparison to my awful handwriting) they are super cute! Stay tuned!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Garden Dreaming

So I've been streaming old Jamie at Home reruns, and I've got to admit, it makes me pretty bummed to own a condo with small allocated gardens instead of a house with a yard. I've wanted to do a garden since I've moved in, but being lazy, I planted a whole bunch of flowers and watched them die. Well, I do have an excuse! The only hose that my unit actually has (I live in a town house) is at unit 3, literally, smack dab in front of his front door. It's like, 10" away from his front door. During the warmer months, of course everyone has their door open! It's just weird. I don't really feel comfortable lurking around someone's front door long enough to unravel the hose, bring it all the way to my yard, going back to turn it on, wrapping it up when I'm done. None of my neighbors are really on talking terms with us anyways, they are all rather unfriendly. Bummer.

Anyways, during our basement clean out I stumbled across my watering can and was reminded if I was less lazy, a garden would stand a fighting chance!

So this is our house when we went to view it while it was still on the market. Sometime in August, 2006. It doesn't look too bad, the little bush on the right side of the door is a little wonky, but otherwise not terrible.

This is the same poor garden last night, after a chilly but not snowy winter. Ignore the bag of peanuts, unlike sane people I enjoy encouraging squirrels to come around. I'm not sure what happened to this little privacy bush in front of the window, but he is NOT a happy camper. I'd love to rip up both bushes this year.

Wonky town is looking about the same, I think he's moving away from the house. This front corner of the house is also where we get the most water issues in the basement. As you can see by my amazing phone photography skills, there is a gutter/pipe there that's supposed to lead the water away, but it doesn't work as intended.

This is the best image I have of our back garden when we saw the house. This picture was just to show how much common ground is part of the condos, and our actual garden pretty much stops at the first window.

Annnd here she is today. We've never actually gone outside int he back. You know why? Our screen door has been broken since we moved in. Yep. Awesome home owners. I'm really looking to change that this year. Look at that light?! (Our condo association is actually responsible for fixing anything on the outside of the condo outside the garden plots.)

And this is the side of the house. Again, the condo association is supposed to maintain the window wells, clearly they have not. So this year I'd like to take things a little more into my own hands where legally possible.

Here's the game plan (using The trees and rocks are part of the common ground area, I included them so you can kind of visualize the area. This is relatively to scale, not 100%.

1.  Oak Leaf Hydrangea Pee Wee as a sort of "privacy bush".

2. Hosta Sum of All is a big leafy plant that I think just has the most gorgeous colours.

3. Anemone Sylvestris are short, sweet little flowers to keep near the front of the bed. How cute are they?!

4. Astilbe 'Peach Blossom' these should come to about the bottom of the window, and they have a gorgeous peach colour.

5. Front door inspiration from Pintrest (originally found here). I love the modern planter and the giant house number. I plan on doing something similar, putting a fern in the planter and finding a big ol' "1". Love this.

6. Hydrangea Limelight gorgeous, big flowering bush. Blooms almost all year long. I think this would look fantastic going around the corner of the house

7. I'd LOVE to do something like this hanging off that part of the roof that over hangs. I plan on planting lettuces, herbs, spring onions, and chives.

8. Tiarella 'Sugar and Spice' these are shade loving flowers. As you can see from all the trees we have around us, during the summer it drapes the entire space in shade. I want to plant them all along the side of the house to give it some colour.

9. Schizophragma 'Moonlight' is a vine. I want to put a modern climber near the second basement window for them to climb up, I think the bright white flowers are gorgeous, and will bring a little more interest near a small outside dining area.

10. I really want a small out door dining area. Some of our neighbors have one, so I figure it can't be against the bylaws so long as its close to the property, and doesn't impede much of the common grounds. I figure a small, 32" table like this set from Crate and Barrel:

And this super cute charcoal grill (also from Crate and Barrel):

And I think we'd build a small prep table, something like this:

11. I plan on using two big planters to fill with herbs. Parsley, Cilantro, Basil, Rosemary, Thyme.

12-15. I want to plant an edible garden in the back. I'm thinking of (12) potatoes, (13) shallots/garlic, (14) onions, and (15) tomatoes. Things that we use every day. Depending on the space, maybe add some sort of peppers.

What do you guys think? Any plans on a garden this year?