Rain, Rain, Go Away, So I Can Make My Herb Garden Today

I planned to do this project last week, but we got so much rain last weekend that I could not finish the project.

Here is my inspiration for the project from The Robin’s Nest:

The Robin's Nest

Last week, I started the project by spraying the inside of the terra-cotta pots with Thompson Water Seal for Multipurpose.

herb garden, diy, chalkboard paint

Here is a picture of the pots all laid out after I sprayed them with the water sealer.

herb garden, diy, chalkboard paint

It says to wait 24 hours to apply a second coat, so I figured that was the appropriate amount of time to wait before applying the chalkboard paint.  But by the time 24 hours passed, it was poring down rain, so I had to wait almost a week.

So almost a week later, I used Krylon Chalkboard Spray Paint on the pots.

herb garden, diy, chalkboard paint

I laid them all out on a box, so they were elevated so they could get a more even coat and grass would not get in the way.  *In the picture below, one of the pots already has its first coat.*

herb garden, diy, chalkboard paint

Here is what the pots look after the first coat.

herb garden, diy, chalkboard paint

The can of spray paint said it took two coats before a chalkboard finish is created, so here is the second coat.

herb garden, diy, chalkboard paint

Then, I planted one herb in each pot.

herb garden, diy, basil, thyme

The herbs I chose were basil and thyme because they seem to be the herbs I use the most.  If you need directions on how to plant a flower or herb check out my post on Container Gardening.

The final step, write on my chalkboard pots with chalk and a little accessory!!

chalkboard paint, herb garden, diy

I am a little disappointed with the final product, but I  think a lot of it is due to I am a newbie at spray painting.  From this far away, they do not look too bad, but up close, the paint job is a little uneven.  There were several tips on the can that I should have taken more seriously.

  • Remove all dirt.  I just wiped the inside of the pot I already had, but I did not touch the outside of the pot.  Nor did I touch, the new pot I bought.  Additionally, both of them had stickers on them and I only removed the sticker; I did not take time to remove the sticky left behind.
  • Apply thin coats. I have a hard time remembering that when it comes to paint, less is more.  Puddles and drips are definitely not a good thing when it comes to spray painting and I had some puddles and 1 drip.

I think listening more closely to both of these steps would help make my paint job more even and smooth, so be sure to pay close attention to the directions on the can of spray paint.

And the Budget Breakdown:

  • 1-6″ terra cotta pot-$0, already owned
  • 1-6″ pot-$1.48
  • 1 terra cotta saucer-$1.25
  • 1 saucer-$1.48
  • 1 plant of basil-$4
  • 1 plant of thyme-$4
  • 1 can of Thompson’s Water Sealer for Multi Surface-$5
  • 1 can of Kyron Chalkboard Spray Paint-$4.80, regularly $8 with 40% off coupon

Total:  $22.01

What do you all think?  Do you have any tips for spray painting?  I think I am going to bring these in during the winter and keep them in a window seal.  Do you keep a herb garden all year round?  I have never done that before, so do you have any tips on how to grow fresh herbs all year long?

My Interview with Sherry Petersik

I am so excited for today’s post.  Last week, I got to interview Sherry Petersik from YoungHouseLove!!!!!!!!

younghouselove, sherry petersik

YoungHouseLove is my favorite DIY blog for numerous reasons:  their great style and projects which come with excellent step by step instructions and pictures, but most of all they seem like very down to earth people with a passion for DIY and sharing their story as they go. And that seemed even more evident within the short time I got to spend interviewing her.  So without further adieu, here it is:

Heather Marshall:  How do find inspiration for DIY projects and room ideas, since you post 1-2 times a day that is a lot of inspiration to come up with?

Sherry Peterisk:  It is really like a combination [of DIY and our life].  I think some of our posts are more on our life and that does not really require more research or things that we have found work for us.  I think that is one thing about having a blog that is the story of your life and sharing that.  Instead of trying to be Real Simple and telling other people how to organize or interviewing experts on how to pick a paint color.  It’s really more of sharing our first person experiences, so it feels less research heavy.  Although, of course, when we tackle DIY projects, we hit the Internet, ask contractors, friends, and leave no stone unturned until we are reasonably certain something is not going to back fire.

HM:  And you have sort of hit on my next question.  Which is when you are doing a particular project for the first time, such as, I know you and your sewing machine are sort of frenemies or anything with power tools can be quite scary, so how do you research the topic and how to do that particular task properly, so you come off as credible sources?

SP:  I think a lot of it is googling and asking experts.  For example, my mom is better at sewing so I might just call her and be like, “Honestly, can I do a zipper?  Do you think I can do a zipper?”  and she will tell it to me straight.

And when it deals with what we would call the heavier duty or more safety conscious projects, we do more research for those just in the name of keeping it safe for our family and also keeping it safe for others who might replicate something.  For example, when we knocked out a wall, we had to go through measures to make sure we don’t need a permit, make sure it is not load bearing.  If it is complicated, we get a contractor to help us.  And we sort of do the same thing with electrical.

We always say what’s the worst that could happen?  And if the worst that can happen is I sew something and it looks ganged up and I throw it away, that’s not the worst that can happen.  But if the worst that can happen is the house burns down or the ceiling falls in, then we are all about experts.  We always tell everyone that the big disclaimer is we are not experts.  We are learning as we go, but we kind of think that is the fun of it.  We think people are following along because they feel like they are like us, so not being experts kind of works in our favor, although, it does require us to figure things out and do some research before reporting to everyone what we are doing.

HM:  How do you guys overcome obstacles when doing your projects?   You guys are always very honest about anything bad that happens, like the sandbox trauma and how the sand ending up being harmful to Clara, so how do you determine what to do next when something goes bad?

SP:  We are always very honest.  I think if our goal was to be Perfect Sally Homemaker and the Tool Slinging Husband, then we wouldn’t share the struggles.  But since Day 1, we have been this is a blog about our adventures and misadventures.  It’s always an interesting curve because at the times it’s always very frustrating when something doesn’t work, but by the time we find a solution and blog about it, it is sort of like a nice arc.  It’s like your half hour TV [program], where there is a conflict and a resolution.  And it’s nice to hear from people who say, “Oh my gosh, you saved me so much trouble.  I would have done it the same way you were doing it and I am so glad you told us it didn’t work and I am so glad you were honest and you saved me time.”

HM:  Like I said, my blog will be for people who are renting, so they can’t really tear out a wall or paint an entire room, so what would be your one tip for people trying to decorate their apartment or rental?

SP:  I always think about this, and maybe it’s hard when you are in an apartment or rental because you see the limits, but I always look at apartments or rentals and see all the things you still can do.  At least 50% of the projects we share, you can do in an apartment or rental because you can paint furniture or you can hang art.  There are so many planes [you can change]; there are the floors, you can add a rug; there are the walls, you can hang stuff or even lean a giant canvas that you have painted to add color.  Then there are all your furnishings, you can add color with pillows and linens, and lamps can be brightly colored.  To me, every single thing in a room is an opportunity to add personality.  I have seen apartments or dorms done so amazingly, then if it’s really your passion you shouldn’t feel limited because there are so many fun things you can do.

HM:  What would be one of your favorite things about doing DIY projects?

SP:  This is going to sound so weird, but I like before, like the planning.  It’s not that I like research, but I like the brainstorming for more creative things because that’s when there is all these possibilities.  A perfect example is when we built Clara a play kitchen.  Like the most fun we had was we went on a walk with her to just get out of the house and talked in code because we did not want her to know about her play kitchen, so we were like, “The kitchen project that we are going to be doing…” but we never said for Clara and we would say things like, “Maybe a bowl could be the sink” to just figure it out.  And it was just a fun walk because we were just thinking and brainstorming together.  And of course, the obvious answer is I like seeing it all come together, but it is very fun to me going into something new because you have all the opportunities.  In the middle of something, it can start to get dodgy because you are committed to something like this tile or this color or this fabric and there are more boundaries.  But I guess in the beginning there are no boundaries and I guess that can be very scary, but it also means like you can decide to go for it and can do something very different and its all wide open.

Isn’t Sherry the best!?  I am so grateful she took time out of her busy day and allowed me to interview her!  Thank you again, Sherry!  You provided some great information and I can’t wait to get some more DIY projects under my belt!

Container Gardening

Once spring has sprung, I can’t wait to go outside and plant some pretty flowers.  And although I live in an apartment, it doesn’t mean I can’t create a beautiful garden.  For those of us who live in apartments, container gardening allows us to participate in the spring time ritual of creating a garden.  I have had two other container gardens in the past, so I am by no means a container garden expert, but I am going to give you directions on what has worked for me in the past.

Here are the flowers I picked out this year:

container gardening, flowers

The next thing I had to do was drag out all my pots from the past years.

container gardening

This apartment does not have an outside storage closet, so they sat outside all winter.  They were pretty dirty.  If you are in the same boat, I recommend going inside and taking an allergy pill before taking on the next step.  I made the mistake of not taking one before I started this project and almost sneezed my nose off.

So since they stay outside all winter, I had to dust off all the dirt and pollen.  To make the task even more cumbersome, we do not have a faucet on the porch, so I just wiped them down with paper towels.

After cleaning them, it was time to fill them up with dirt…  doesn’t make a lot of sense typing that after I just spent 10 minutes cleaning them.  Haha.  But anyways, I started adding dirt to the pot and filled them up to just past 3/4 full.  Make sure you are using potting soil if you are planting in containers.

container gardening

If I was filling a larger pot, I just dumped the soil in the pot.

container gardening

Then, I dug a hole in the soil where I wanted to plant my flower.

container garden

Then, I got the flower ready to plant.  In order to take it out of its container without harming the plant, I smashed the bottom of the container a bit, which loosened the plant.  Then, I slightly pulled the flower out of the container.  Here is a picture of how it looks once it is removed from the container.

container garden

Then, to help it grow faster, I broke up the roots gently.  And placed it into the hole I dug.

container garden

Then, I filled in any of the hole that was left over and patted soil over the top.

container garden

It took about an hour and a half to finish all my pots, but it was well worth the time.  It has rained a lot since I planted them, so the flowers have really started to bloom.  Here are the pictures of my beautiful container garden:

container garden

Here is my flower-pot with snap dragons and wave petunias:

container garden

The next two pots have snap dragons and impatiens in the rectangular pot and the large, round pot has pansies, wave petunias, snap dragons, and some other pink flower I do not know the name:

container garden

I love these white snap dragons!!

container garden, white snap dragons

Here is a close up of the pink flower that I do not know the name:

container garden

And the last pot:

container garden

And here is the budget breakdown, which I happen to think I got a pretty awesome deal.

  • pots–$0, already owned
  • 4 Wave Petunias–$8, buy 1 at $4 and get 1 free
  • 6 pack of Impatiens–$2
  • 4 pack of Pansies–$2
  • 2 4 packs of Snap Dragons–$4, $2 each
  • 1 flower I am not really sure what it is called–$5
  • 2-1.5cf bags of soil–$2, regularly $6 each, but had a $5 rebate
  • Groupon like deal–$10, pay $10 get $20 worth of flowers

Total–$13

Like I said, I am not an expert at container gardens, I have only had a few container garden.  Here are some more tips from Container Gardening Guru.  What do you all think of my small container garden?  I also planted three strawberry plants, but it is my first time, so I didn’t want to include those since I have no experience there…  Maybe next year.  Do you guys have any tips for my container garden or my strawberry plants?  Have you planted your garden yet this spring?

Making Sentimental Wall Art

So after our wedding, we had a lot of stuff I wanted to be able to keep and cherish forever, but I didn’t know how to do it without keeping it in a drawer and forgetting about it.  Until, I saw this pin on Pinterest.

wedding decor, diy

So, I gathered all the stuff from our wedding that I wanted in our shadow box and got busy.

wedding decor, diy

And here is the lovely Wilson with the shadow box.

wedding decor, diy

Then, I arranged everything just the way I wanted it and got it ready to be pinned with sewing pins.

wedding decor, diy

And here is the final product:

wedding decor, diy

And the budget breakdown:

  • Shadow Box from Michael’s–$20, I think it was around $40 with a 50% off sale
  • Sentimental Wedding Items–FREE

Total:  $20

What do you all think?  Did you keep some stuff from your wedding?  How do you display it?

Paint Chip Art

I like this project for two reasons.  One, it was pretty much free art (I just had to purchase the frame).  Two, it was a project from my favorite DIY blog, YoungHouseLove.

Here is the inspiration for my project from YoungHouseLove:

diy, paint chip art

So the first thing I did was grab my big purse and head to Wal-Mart.  I felt like I was stealing, but the paint chip samples are totally free, so I stuffed as many as I could in my purse.

After I got home I laid them out.  I chose yellows, greens, blues, and purples to match our bathroom, where I decided to hang it.

diy, paint chip art

The chips got a little messed up in my purse, so I separated them out by color.

diy, paint chip art

As you can see in the picture above, the paint chips I picked up needed to be trimmed a little on the top because it had the paint name and a lot going on the bottom because it had the Better Homes and Garden logo and a punch out circle.  So, I cut the bottom part off on all the paint chips first with a paper-cutter.

diy, paint chip art

Then, I went through and cut the top part off of all the paint chips with the paper-cutter.  I just eye balled the cuts, but made sure it was still bigger than I actually needed it to be, so I had wiggle room when taping them on the paper later.

diy, paint chip art

Next, I had to get my paper ready that I was going to tape the paint chips too.  My frame was 17×11.  I had a hard time picking out my frame because an 8×10 frame was too small for the art and a 16×20 frame was too big for the wall I wanted it on, so we ended up picking 17×11 frame.  So since the frame was 17″ tall, I taped 3 pieces of printer paper together.

diy, paint chip art

Afterwards, I took the color piles and put each color in the order I wanted them in for my paint chip art.  I started by taping the darkest yellow chip in the bottom, left corner of the piece of paper with a loop of scotch tape on the back of the paint chip.  Then, I continued taping all the yellow paint chips down.  Then I repeated that for all the green, blue, and purple paint chips.

After I finished the purple paint chips, I ran into a problem.  The piece of art was not 11″ wide, so there would be a sliver of white showing once it was framed.

diy, paint chip art

That is where those scraps I cut off each paint chip came into play.  I took all my purple scraps and cut a little sliver from the bottom part and taped it to my art to extend its width.

diy, paint chip art

And here is the final result:

diy, paint chip art

diy, paint chip art

And the budget breakdown of my almost free project:

  • Paint chips–free
  • 11×17″ frame–$13.50, originally $30 with a 40% off sale and a 25% off coupon

Total–$13.50

What do you all think?  Have you made any free art recently?  Or any other free projects?  I love free!!

My First Time Sewing

So, I received a sewing machine over two years ago for Christmas, but I never took it out of the box.  To be honest, I was scared of it.  My only other experience sewing was in 7th grade in FACS class where we made patchwork pillows and my was a hot mess.  It had holes every where and that was with help from the only girl in the class who had sewed before.  But I asked for a sewing machine anyways because I had big plans for it once I got over my fear of it.

Well the other day, the time had come for me to get over my fear.  I had bought my material and had researched how to sew curtains in Singer’s The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing and my favorite DIY blog Young House Love.  I took the sewing machine out of the box.  But I did not know what to do next…

Thankfully, my sewing machine came with a DVD Instructional Guide that showed me how to thread the bobbin and thread the machine.  Although all sewing machines are a little different, the concept is the same, so I included a How To Video for those other beginner sewers out there.

So after I got my machine threaded and ready to go, I was on to the next scary step…  Measuring and cutting the fabric.  Even still, this is always my least favorite part because I am scared to mess up because once you cut it is final.  So after a lot of stress and research online, specifically the two references mentioned above, I decided what would work best for me was to buy 5 yards of fabric, cut it in half, and hem the 4 sides.  A great tip I have learned is to use tile grout or a rug as your reference to cut a straight line.  But since I was just cutting the fabric in half, I just folded it in half and cut down the fold.

Then, I took one panel and pinned 1/2 inch seam on one side.

sewing, curtains, DIY

Then to be extra cautious, I went back through and ironed the seam in place.  Generally, instructions will tell you to do one or the other, but this was my first time sewing, so I was a nervous wreck and wanted to make sure everything was perfect, so I did both.  And, I still do both because I feel it works best for me, but you can pick what works best for you.  The next step is to hide the rough edges of the fabric and is optional depending on how you want the backs of your curtain to look.  So, if you choose to hide the rough edges of the fabric, you will just measure and fold another 1/2 inch seam.

sewing, curtains, DIY

Then, I took my panel to the sewing machine and sewed the one side that was pinned and ironed.  Don’t mind the band-aid.  It was just a battle wound from all the pinning I was doing.  Did I mention I was extra cautious and pinned a lot!

sewing, curtains, DIY

Afterwards, I repeated folding a 1/2 seam, then folding another 1/2 seam, and sewing each side until all four sides were done.   By this time, it was getting pretty late, so Wilson wanted to help me hurry up and finish, so we could go to bed.  Here he is helping Mommy finish the curtains.

sewing, curtains, puppy

So, I took Wilson’s hint and called it a night and decided we would tackle the next panel tomorrow night.  I was scared of it anyways because it involved more of my least favorite task…  cutting fabric.  The other half of the fabric I bought was missing a chunk from when the lady had previously cut me a sample of it to match it to our bedspread before I bought it.  So before I could begin measuring and marking my 1/2 seam, I had to make sure the fabric was straight.  So I laid it out on a rug and cut off the rest of the fabric to make one straight line.

sewing, curtains, DIY

Then, I could make this panel just like the last one.  Fold, pin, and iron a 1/2 inch seam along one side.

sewing, curtains, DIY

Next, refold, pin, and iron another 1/2 seam to get rid of the rough edge.

sewing, curtains, DI

Then, sew that one side.

sewing, curtains, DIY

And then, repeat until you are finished with all four sides.  If you want you can be finished with your curtains after that step, but I wanted to add black out fabric behind them, since they were for our bedroom.  I bought 5 yards of black out fabric.  I cut the blackout fabric in half to make the two panels like we did for the curtain panels.  Then, I took one curtain panel and cut the black out fabric down to be a little smaller than the curtain panel.  I did all this as an estimate with my eyes; I did not get exact with it and measure everything out.  Then, I did the same thing with the second curtain panel and black out fabric panel.  I did not sew my curtain panel to my black out fabric.  I just clipped them together with the curtain clips.  It is not really noticeable and now I can reuse the black out fabric if I choose to make new curtains for this room, but right now I am in love with my new curtains!  Here is a picture of the back of the curtains and the black out fabric.  You can hardly tell they are not sewed together and from the front of the curtains, you can’t tell at all.

sewing, curtains, black out fabric, DIY

Here is the finished result!

sewing, curtains, DIY

sewing, curtains, DIY

Here is Wilson with the curtains.

sewing, curtains, DIY, puppy

sewing, curtains, DIY

I also bought some more fabric and made some matching pillows for the bed.

sewing, pillows, DIY, puppy

So here is the budget breakdown:

  • 5 yds of 54″ drapery fabric ($7 per yd)–$35
  • 5 yds of 54″ black out fabric ($5 per yd)–$25

Total–$60

I am very proud of my curtains, if I do say so myself, especially since they were my first sewing experience!!  And let me tell you, that black out fabric does wonderful things, like letting me sleep in on the weekends WAY past how long I should.  What do you all think?  Not too shabby for a first timer, huh?  Have you been sewing lately?  Do you have any tips for a novice sewer, such as myself?