September 14, 2011

Its Still a jungle out there

So when we left, the left side of the garden got a little cleaning and some new plants added to the collection. But what about that jungle of a walkway? If you don't remember, the second part of my garden makeover involved this mess....

The flowers are pretty but the day lilies kept getting bigger and bigger and with our cozy house, I felt that it was too much. So I decided that I wanted to clear them out and create a pattern. Instead of just getting rid of the day lilies, we felt that they could use another home. Remember the shed we built in the back yard?

Well if you look closely you on the bottom left you will see the garden box we built there. Genius right? That's my father in law for you. He always comes up with the best ideas. We figured that it would be nice to have some flowers there to make the place feel more homey. So we transplanted as many day lilies as we could. I will take a picture of them next year when they hopefully come back fighting.

After the garden beds were clear in the front we did a little shopping. We knew that we wanted the plants to be long lasting, small and able to handle part sun. This was not exactly easy. We went to Lowe's first since its closer but their garden section was a bit difficult to navigate and didn't have many part sun options.

Then we went to Home Depot. Here we hit the jackpot. First we found these babies:

A dwarf evergreen shrub. This works great because it can handle part sun, I can keep it cut small and it will last year round. So we grabbed 6. That still left me with what type of flowering plant I could get. That one was trickier. After weaving through the garden center longer we found these:

It's called Lilyturf. I chose this plant because it was a perennial, it stayed low to the ground, it was a pretty blue, purple flowers guessed it- it's part sun. So we went to work planting and mulching. Unfortunatley I forgot to take a picture right after we mulched and it was truly glorious. Instead I took a picture after not only Hurricane Irene but a tropical storm as well.

I love how it is more open now. The walkway looks so much bigger and people can focus on other parts of the garden. Plus now I can line the walkway with annuals to highlight it and lead visitors to the door. I can't wait.

There is still more work to be done. Although I cleared out the right side of the garden when I moved the hostas, I haven't put anything in there yet. I have no idea what to put there and I may have to wait another winter before I figure it out but I'll get there....eventually.

September 13, 2011

It's a jungle out there part 1

So remember yesterday when we talked about the excited, happy, good looking newlywed couple?

Yup, there they are! Well did anyone happen to notice the jungle around them?? I mean even looking back now I don't remember the front garden looking so wild but here is the evidence.

Before I even get too deep into this post I should mention that I never really had any experience with gardening before we moved in. I had plants in apartments and places we stayed but never a garden that was all my own. Talk about pressure...

One of the first things Tim and I did to the front was remove the Humongous hasta plants that were in the small section of our garden. We felt like they were suffocating that smaller space. I had a strong impulse to rip everything out at that moment but my voice of reason (my hubby) convinced me to wait. He was right too. By the time we moved in it was getting pretty chilly so we decided we would wait until the spring to see what came up and surprised us.

Winter came and went....

And we were excited to see what would spring up. But I wasn't ready for all of this.

It was too much for me. I was starting to wish that I ripped everything out in the fall but if I did that I would have missed out on these gorgeous flowers:

Aren't they pretty? I have no idea what they are but I am glad I didn't rip them out. After spring was in full swing though I realized there were some ground covering and weeds that I didn't want so I went to work. First we planted these gorgeous blue and purple plants and cleared away the weeds. It started to look better already. 

These were working out great. The area looked more open and yet still full of flowers. This did not come easy. It took me hours and hours to do all the weeding, pruning, digging and planting that by the time I wanted to work on the jungle up the walk way I was wiped out...But I wasn't too tired to check out my neighbors yards for some inspiration and tips.

This neighbors garden had elements that I really enjoyed. I liked the idea of having small bushes that would remain relatively healthy looking all year round. I also wanted to plant perennials in between. The last point I liked about this garden was that it had some sort of pattern to it. The rest of my garden may be random but I like that idea of a pattern up the walkway to lead to the front door.

With all these ideas in mind I got to work on looking for plants that would be part sun (since I have a shady lot), perennial and smaller in size (to avoid the jungle affect).

I will talk more about the steps I took to finding the right plants tomorrow and explain why I am now in love with Home Depots garden center.

September 12, 2011

Arranging photos in the home

I am working on a fun art project right now that I can't wait to show you but until then I am going to talk about hanging artwork.

Picture one year ago, excited newlyweds moving into their first home.

Good lucking couple, aren't they? :)

Now imagine how petrified I was to put a single hole in the freshly painted walls of my new home. Hanging photos and art can be really overwhelming but I used a few helpful tips when hanging my art.

First, there are many places online you can find tips and inspiration to hanging arts and premade arrangements. One that I found on Pinterest comes from brandsushi.

The first type of arrangement I went with was more random. It worked around the thermostat and light switch.

Since I went all "rogue" on this wall I used the theme, picture tint and color frame to remain cohesive.  Pretty smart huh? 

Another photo collage that was pretty intimidating to me was the staircase. Staircase art is a main focal point for any house especially since mine can be seen from the living room. So I took advice from the great king of rock and roll and remembered only fools rush in. ( I know- that one was pretty corny) I decided to layout my photos on the ground first so I can move them around easier. 

Sorry this photo is pretty blurry. It was done with my phone. I knew I wanted to layout my larger photos on a diagonal and then work my smaller photos to sit in to the pattern. I played with this a little before hanging.
Then the hubby and I worked from the bottom up hanging the larger pieces first and then molding frames around them.

I love how it came out! The best part about it is that it is a work of progress. We will continue to grow our photo arrangement when we find pieces to hang.

The last art arrangement I want to talk about is using the corner of a room to tie in similar art so your eye moves from one wall to another.

When my grandmother moved out of her house I found two watercolor flower pictures that my aunt painted. I decided to get brand new frames and hang them in our guest bedroom. The colors work off of each other really well and the room. It is one of the first things you see when you walk in.

Well those are just some of my walls. I have plenty of blank ones left in my house but I will wait until I find the perfect art to hang.

Does anyone else have severe anxiety over putting holes in their walls like I do? What are some arrangements you have though of?

ps: Wanna see more of my gallery makin, photo takin, art obsession? Check out my newest gallery here.

September 8, 2011

Did I miss something?

I'm not sure about you guys but I have had an interesting morning today. When I woke up I thought it was going to be a normal day. It was wet but not raining and the weather seemed fine. I happen to check facebook on my phone while I was trying to get up and I see some of my friends posting about their trains being canceled. I got nervous so I decided to check my train and then I see this on the septa website:

SEPTA West Trenton, Warminster (my train line), Lansdale/Doylestown lines suspended

Umm..did I miss something? My train is canceled as well as many others due to flooding. Then I turn on the news and they are showing pictures like this:
and this...
Amazing. Luckily, my home is on a good hill and the creek in our backyard doesn't seem to be flooding right now. I am really thankful that we have been okay so far. The puppy doesn't seem to mind the flooding...especially because I got to spend the whole day with him while I worked from home. I mean, he wouldn't leave my side all day. But how could you get mad if you turned around and saw this face...

Anyway, I hope all of you are safe and not trying to drive through any large puddles. You never know how deep they get. Hopefully the trains will be up and running in the AM. I know that tomorrow morning I will be glued to the news as I am sure most of my Philly suburb friends will be as well. So be safe and stay dry!

September 7, 2011

Spring...I mean Fall Cleaning

Hope everyone had a great labor day weekend! I know I did. Why you ask? Because I got my last taste of summer.
 Ahhhhh so relaxing. I love the beach. It was the perfect way to end my summer.

Not only did I get to put my toes in the water, tush in the sand but Hubby and I also got some much needed work done on the house. Last year by the time we moved in, the leaves were already starting to change so we didn't do much prep for the colder season. Now that we are a little older and a little wiser we learned that if we take the time to do some prep and cleaning in the fall, we will have an easier time when spring came around. So what does that mean?

That's right. I get to play with my dad's electric hedge cutter! *insert evil laugh*

We ignored our poor hedges all spring and summer. They were a mess to say the least. So I took the cutters and a ladder and in an hour or two they were much much better. While I was hacking away at our hedge mess Tim was using his dad's power washer to give our deck a little TLC.

If you can't tell that our deck needed it check out the line Tim "drew" in the next picture.


Aww he power washed my name. Still gross but kinda cute. :)

We also did some projects inside the house including putting a much needed ceiling fan in our master bedroom. More on that later but here's a little sneak peak.

And no-Tim and I didn't have a water balloon fight before this. Let's just say that Tim runs at a higher temperature than most of us. Think Jacob from Twilight.....but with lighter skin and red hair.

So that was our weekend. We hung out with some friends and family, got a little sun at the beach and we got started on all our pre-fall projects. What did you do? Any projects? Or did you soak up some last minute summer sun?

September 2, 2011

I forgot leaves grew on trees

So I figured since I am all over the place this week I would switch gears away from art and talk a little bit about my first time planting a vegetable garden. I should start by explaining that I had high hopes that we were going to have a great garden...why you ask? Because of my main man...
Isn't he handsome? Mind you-This is not his everyday outfit although he has probably worn that shirt more times than I care to admit. But that is another story for another post.

The reason I had so much faith in us was because Tim and his family used to work at the farm next to their house. At Kohler Farms he planted, picked and maintained alot of vegetables and flowers. Occasionally he also got to drive the tractor during the Halloween season. Cool huh?

picture from Kohler farms website

I also started getting more into gardening and I really wanted to have fresh vegetables all summer long. So we decided we were going to plant one this season. We decided to go with a raised bed design since we didn't know how fertilized our soil was and because a raised bed is better at retaining moisture.

Sorry I can't get this picture to turn right side up

In April we planted 6 tomatoes plants (1- cherry, 1- roma, and 4 plants from my grandfather), 2 cucumber plants, 1 eggplant, 1 red pepper, 1 zucchini and some lettuce seeds. I was so excited to watch them grown.

The months went by and I started to get really excited when I saw these little cherry tomatoes pop up.

Unfortunately they were not the only things popping up. There was one factor that we forgot to factor in- our trees or rather their leaves.

You see we live in an area with a lot of trees and when we planted these in April, we saw that the garden location was getting enough sun. What we didn't think about was the fact that none of our trees really grew back all their leaves yet. In the words of Homer Simpson, "D'oh!!"

So we quickly realized as the summer came that the garden was most likely not going to get the sun it really needed. As time went on we slowly started to see our garden grow a little bit.

In the end we got a handful of cherry tomatoes, 4 cucumbers,  2 big tomatoes, no lettuce, 1 zucchini, 1 eggplant and 2 peppers. Don't get me wrong- I am grateful we got something considering our poor location but now we can look back and remember a few things for next year.

1) factor in the fact that trees grow leaves which provide shade. i.e. move the beds
2) create large trellis's for the tomatoes to lean on - its amazing how high a plant will grow for some sun!

3) also create a trellis for the cucumber plants which began to take over our garden.

I hope you can take a few of these tips with you as you plan your gardens for next year. Now that we know a little bit better, I think our garden will be much more successful next year.

Has anybody else learned a lesson this year in vegetable gardening? I would love to collect all the tips I can.

September 1, 2011

You mean you can create art for a living!?

Hey folks! I am going to get on my soap box for a second. I love art. Every since I was little I have been really into drawing and painting. As I entered high school I seriously thought about making art part of my career. I realized that art could not only be a passion but a job too. So when my friend and fellow artist Amy overheard this conversation on the train, she couldn't sit by and not do anything about it. She decided to create the artistic rebuttal project.
This project encourages artists of all kinds to send in their statements and feelings about art and what impacts it has on our world. It's amazing when you sit down and look at some of these statements people sent in. It makes you realize how art is everywhere and there are people behind that work that made it possible. Here are some of my favorites.

This is a fun fact that I didn't realize about the national parks.

This one tears at my heart strings:

Of course I couldn't ignore this either and I had to contribute as well. I channeled my statement by thinking of what people use everyday that was created and designed by an artist. Of course it came to me while I was driving one night....
So there is my art tangent. I truly believe that art has helped in my life as well as many others. I encourage you to check out Amy's site and get involved. The more we spread the word, the better!

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