Friday, May 31, 2013

Moses Cone Manor, Blowing Rock North Carolina

I hope you've had a great week and are doing something fun for the weekend. 
Wanted to share with you some gorgeous scenery we've seen this week.

We visited the Moses Cone Manor in Blowing Rock, North Carolina and even walked 3 miles of trails. 
Thought we did good, until I found out that there are 25 miles of trails total on the 3,500 acre property. 

As we hiked the trails about 1,000 feet below, the gorgeous house really stands out and as I saw it for the first time I said "whoa, what is THAT?" 
It was pretty impressive.

With a little help from Mr. Google, I learned that it was the Moses Cone Manor and that it was open to visit. (well partly). House tours don't start until June, so we were a few days too early, but the Manor is now home to the Parkway Craft Center which sells crafts from local artisans.
Here's the breathtaking view from the parking lot:

This is the view from the front  porch. You can see Bass Lake below.

13,000 square foot Flat Top Manor  was built  as the Cone's summer home in 1899 and finished in 1901.

I thought the carriage house was beautiful, as well.

This is the back side of the carriage house.

I don't think I could ever get enough of this view.
We definitely plan to go back for a tour of the upstairs part of the house. I find historic homes and the story of the people who lived in them so fascinating.

Hope you have a good weekend.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Finished Planter Boxes and Garden Update

The planter boxes are finished and filled. 

I stained the inside with some food safe stain made from whey and thought I had some oil based stain  for the outside of the boxes left over from when we stained the raised beds, but it must have been used up.


Of course I couldn't remember which stain I used on the raised beds.
So I guessed.
It only took me a week to make it to the store to go pick up some stain.

I planted 4 pole beans in each planter box and since beans grow so fast, they had to be transplanted into the planter boxes before I had a chance to stain the outside.

The planter boxes have their new home behind the raised beds since that's where the sun shines for most of the day. The boxes are on wheels and can be easily moved if we need to get to the other side of the bed.

Next, we bought some 6 foot bamboo and tied them up like a teepee. Each bean plant has it's own bamboo stake. Can't wait until the beans grow up that high.

This past weekend I was finally able to put a couple of coats of stain on the outside of the planter boxes.

diy Planter Boxes, Growing Green Beans, vegetable garden

It had just rained  before I took these pics, so the boxes look a little splotchy. Actually, we had about a 20 minute deluge. 
Did you get rain where you are?
diy Planter Boxes, Growing Green Beans, vegetable garden

Of course, Mr. Fanatic hooked me up with drip irrigation to each planter box. 
How cool is that?
diy Planter Boxes, Growing Green Beans, vegetable garden

And being the proud "mama" that I am, here's are pics of the 4 raised beds in our North garden.
There are 6 heirloom tomatoes planted  in the closest bed on the left.    
I planted/transplanted most of them this weekend. Can't wait to see those tomatoes grow!

We've already harvested a pound of broccoli and a 1/2 of pound of snap peas from this bed and we're just getting started. If you haven't tasted home grown broccoli, I highly suggest growing some. Be forewarned though, that if you do, it will be difficult for to eat broccoli from the grocery store again.
raised beds, raised bed garden, vegetable garden

My kitties love to take cat naps nearby when I'm working in the garden.
Sam has to wear the "cone of shame" (from the movie Up) because he licks himself constantly. Buddy loves to hang around Sam outside.

The raised beds in the South garden are finally all planted. The lettuce bed is full of Romaine and head lettuce that was planted over a month ago. 
raised beds, raised bed garden, vegetable garden

The turnips and beets are growing, but I'm not sure what's below the ground.

I get a kick out of growing radishes. They pop up out of the soil when they're done, so there isn't any question as to when to pick. Another added benefit is they take only 30 to 40 days start to finish.

Now you're all caught up.
Would love to know if you plant a veggie garden...and what you like to grow.
If you'd like to see how we made them, you can read about them HERE.


Friday, May 17, 2013

16 Ideas For De-cluttering Your Pantries And Cabinets

Having worked as a kitchen and bath designer and as a custom closet designer, I've seen a lot of cluttered spaces. 

Seriously cluttered.

I'm talking pantries so full you couldn't find anything to save your life...
and linen closets piled so high that things fall on you when the door is open...
and walk in closets so full, you couldn't walk in them.
You get the picture.  

And even though I love to organize things,
I must admit there are a few spaces in our home that need some organizing.

How about you?

So, I've put together a board on of 16 fabulous pantries, linen closets and cabinets for all of us who need a little inspiration to de-clutter our spaces. 
You can find my De-cluttering Your Pantries board shown below HERE with all the links to see the full projects.
If you don't know about hometalk, it's "the largest home & garden knowledge hub on the web. It's fueled by the firsthand experience & advice of hundreds of thousands of home enthusiasts and professionals". 
Hometalk is a great source for diy and other home projects.

So, head on over to see the whole board on de-cluttering your pantries.

Have a great (and clutter free) weekend!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bring The Beauty In

I often go out to the garden and cut whatever looks interesting and bring it inside and put it in a vase. There aren't always flowers blooming in the yard, but there are a few in the Spring. 

Sitting outside yesterday looking out onto the woods I noticed how the leaves of the once little Japanese Maple on the edge of the patio were looking so red and vibrant. 

 Then I noticed the tree was looking a little overgrown and droopy. A few branches had grown and were drooping right over several of the nandina in front of it. 

Took me about a minute to go get some sheers to cut those vibrant red Japanese Maple branches.

Several of the  peonies had grown large too and some of the big heavy flowers were practically on the ground. 
I cut the droopy peonies and brought them inside and put them in a vase with some water with the branches.

They look perfect on the table in the Breakfast Room.

Think I'll go outside and cut a few blooms off one of the Knockout Rose bushes like my daughter did the other day.

What beauties do you have growing in your backyard that you could bring in?

wishing you a beautiful day


Monday, May 6, 2013

How To Make A Wood Planter Box

Mr. Fanatic made me some wood planter boxes this weekend. 
They are so pretty even in their unfinished state. 
You know I saw something similar on Pinterest 
and Mr. F loves to make things, 
this weekend he got out a few of his saws. 

lucky for me because wood planter boxes are pretty expensive when you buy them pre-made. 

The planter boxes are made with t-111  plywood siding, which has an 8" groove pattern in it. (it also comes in a 4" groove pattern) 
The first cut was 15" high and he used his circular saw with a metal guide clamped to the wood to make cutting a straight line easier. 

For each box he cut a piece 15" high x 18 5/8" wide. He centered the groves when he cut the pieces. He nailed the sides together with a finishing nailer.

He was able to make 3 boxes with one 4 x 8 sheet of t-111.

For the frames on the sides and tops he used 1 x 3's .

He used his Kreg Jig to put together the corners of the frames. This is a super, handy tool to have and Mr. F uses it when he's building something out of wood that he doesn't want nails or screws to show.  
Here's a little tip: he cut off 3/4" off one of the 1 x 3's (lengthwise) so that when they were put together, each side would be 2 1/2". If he hadn't done this, one side would be 2 1/2" and the other would be 3 1/4".

The corners were then attached to the box from the inside. 

Here you can see the corners attached. After the four corners were screwed on to the boxes, the top and bottom side frames were cut and screwed on. 

Finally,  he mitered the top frame and then cut a piece of plywood for the bottom. 

The finished bottom of the boxes are: 15" high x 20 3/4 wide
The finished top is: 22 3/8" x 22 3/8"
See the wheels underneath? It's on a dolly.
Mr. F made the planter boxes  large enough to fit over and conceal most of the dolly. (the bottom piece of plywood is attached about 2" up from the sides)

I am married to one smart cookie. (insert hearts here)

Here's how the cost breaks down:

$31.26 for 1 sheet: t-111 plywood
$33 for 11- 1 x 3 x 96 choice lumber pine
       $0- 3 pieces plywood for bottoms (used scrap pieces from another project)
$0- finishing nails and  1" screws and 1 1/4" Kreg jig screws (we had in our stock)
$0- we had the wheels already

$67.26 or $21.42 a piece.

not bad

Now, I just have to stain them and plant something in them...

You'll have to wait to find out what for another time. 


Disclaimer: The above post is how we made our planters. I don't take any responsibility for any errors or results obtained from using this information. Using power tools can result in injury. When using power tools, use safety equipment.

Amazon links are affiliate links

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

April Showers Bring May Flowers...

Happy May 1st everyone!
 May is my favorite month of the year. Not that I'm partial or anything, but the weather is gorgeous and Mr. Fanatic and I were married on the 3rd in 1986. 

Back to May flowers...

There's nothing like a bouquet of Spring flowers to brighten your day.

I love having flowers in the house.

Doesn't have to be anything fancy...
Just a little something can add so much.
I was a little sad when a little alstomeria stem broke off the original bouquet. 
Turns out the short stem looks perfect in a vignette in the Foyer in front of my new chalkboard

Here's the original bouquet in the Breakfast Room. See the droopy stem on the left? That's the one that ended up in the little green vase in the Foyer.

I love these little white flowers. 
Sometimes I find them with green centers and they are so pretty.

Of course, all white chrysanthemums are pretty too. They are in a little vase inside the silver wine bucket. Add a little burlap or Spanish moss...

I really need to plant these hydrangeas outside soon.  I rooted them last summer from a cutting from my neighbor's plant. Would love for them to grow into beautiful bushes like hers. 

Couldn't resist moving the pitcher of alstromeria into my bedroom after it was Spring cleaned on Monday. 
Don't you love how a room looks and feels when it's been cleaned top to bottom? 
Somehow the room feels bigger, doesn't it?
All of the bouquets were purchased at Trader Joe's for $3.99.  At that price, I can afford to splurge a little and buy a bouquet every week.  

Do you have something you love to splurge on that brightens your day?