watching a garden grow

There’s something quite satisfying about tending your own garden. The dirt between your fingers, the first leaves that sprout, the satisfaction of nurturing (and eventually biting into!) your own homegrown fruits and veggies.

Now, I wouldn’t say that I’m an expert gardener. I wouldn’t even call myself a gardener at all, but I like to dabble. I have this terrible habit of letting anything that peaks my interest take a hold of me. Or maybe, I like to become the master of all things interesting? Nevertheless, gardening has clawed it’s way into my life and into a 30′ X 25′ plot in my yard.

Go big, or go home. That’s what they say, right?

I suppose I could have started small since this was my first real experience with gardening, but why not just dive right in? I never did have much luck with getting my toes wet… just gave me a reason to not jump in.

So this adventure began last year when my husband and I decided we would have to clear the land.

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This picture still cracks me up. It was actually gorgeous out, but Duca just had to have his winter gear on!

 

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This took several weeks to complete, and we weren’t even close to being ready for the garden. ¬†Thank goodness we planned ahead and still had a full year to prepare.

Now that the land was clear, it was time to build the fence and boxes.

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We rented the trencher from Home Depot.

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That machine was a beast! JG was able to trench the whole thing in under 30 minutes.

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Time for the posts!

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Starting to take shape…

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I wasn’t thinking and didn’t take any pictures of the building process of these boxes. Anyway, here is box no. 1.

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Box no. 2! Plus, we got the gate up to keep Charlie and the deer out of the beds. ūüėČ

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And box no. 3. That’s all of them for this season! We will build two mirroring boxes on that left side next year.

 

This year, we planted 25 bare root strawberries in that back L box, along with some radish. Tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, okra, green beans and squash are in that front box. Yukon golds are in that smaller bed.

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Watching these little strawberries grow is so exciting!

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I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to grow potatoes for some reason, but…

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The Yukon golds have really taken off.

 

And of course, I couldn’t have my own little garden without naming it.

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So, there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the first look at our garden, and I hope you tune back in to follow the progress of our dirty side: Hale’s Harvest.

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Handmade Hooded Vest

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And by that, I mean machine sewn by my hands. ūüėČ

Hello, everyone! ¬†I apologize in advance for this post. ¬†My original intention was to post a DIY tutorial for a hooded vest that I recently sewed up for my kiddos, but I could not wait to show you! ¬†So instead, this post is just to show you what is to come. ¬†Don’t mind the impromptu pics with food and phones! They were happy so I snapped the shots.

Hope you love it as much as I (and the kids) do.

 

What a difference!

Before I begin, let me start off by proclaiming my love for my husband. ¬†I love him dearly. ¬†And now that that’s out of the way…

I hate to admit this, but I need to be honest. ¬†Sometimes I want to punch my husband in the face. ¬†Not at all in the violent, full of rage type of punch. ¬†Just the quick “why on earth are you slamming those cupboards?!” type of punch. ¬†You know the kind I’m talking about, don’t you?

Well, last year I decided I was tired of being angry.  Tired of being awoken by slamming cupboards.  And tired of my simple (it IS simple right?) request being left unmet.  It was time to take things into my own hands.  And the answer?

Blumotion hinge adapters !

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I ordered the 10 pack, and it took care of all but one of the cupboards in my kitchen. ¬†I have 11. ¬†I could have easily bought an additional pack but I didn’t know if they would work the way I expected them to. ¬†My plan was to just install them on the 10 most used doors. ¬†I could always buy more later if they worked out well. ¬†Well, let me tell you. ¬†They are amazing!

The adapters are super simple to install. ¬†We did have to use our power screwdriver but that was expected. ¬†It took my husband about 30 minutes to install all of them. ¬†Now, try as he might, but he can NOT slam a cupboard! ¬†It makes such a difference in the house. ¬†It seems like with two small children we are always in the kitchen grabbing something for them to eat. ¬†Before the adapters, I would dread the banging echoes. ¬†Now, I can’t even tell when my husband is making a mess in the kitchen! And I couldn’t be happier!

cakes for grace

What is there in life if there is not grace? ¬†Simple elegance. ¬†Charm. ¬†The favor of God. ¬†It is a thing of admiration and aspiration in life, love, and religion. ¬†It’s beauty. ¬†It’s inspiration. ¬†It’s everything you hope to achieve in this world when the day comes to an end.

Yes.  Grace is beautiful, and she is my niece.

My sister and brother-in-law are expecting their first child. ¬†A daughter. ¬†Everyone is ecstatic… especially my son who can not wait to have another baby to love on! ¬†We recently celebrated Grace’s baby shower a few weeks ago. ¬†Instead of buying traditional gifts and wrapping them up, I decided to purchase a few things on their registry and decorate them into two diaper cakes.

This is not a diaper cake tutorial.  There are enough of those all over the internet, and I am not trying to reinvent the wheel.  When I first decided that I was going to make a diaper cake, I searched google high and low.  Two sites caught my attention and were my inspiration:  Alphamom and Sweetaprils.  Please check their blogs out because they are pretty awesome!

So, here we go. ¬†The first cake I started with was the motorcycle. ¬†It’s different, fun, and was going to look great on the gift table. ¬†I followed Sweetaprils tutorial fairly closely. ¬†Just a few minor changes. ¬†I decided to wrap the diaper tires with one receiving blanket each. ¬†I tucked the ends into itself to prevent it from coming apart.

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Next, I thought the motorcycle would look extra cute with pedals so I let the rolled receiving blanket extend out of the front tire.

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The only other change I really made was having the stuffed animal carry a bag of goodies! ¬†I just had too many things I wanted to give Baby Grace and had to find a way to pack it all in. ¬†ūüôā

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There you have it!  Diaper cake (motorcycle) #1.

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Let’s move on to diaper cake #2… the traditional cake.

For this cake, I modified Alphamom’s tutorial. ¬†My cake actually looks nothing like the tutorial’s, but it was the spark for my own design. ¬†Let’s move right in to the pictures.

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Well, there you have it. ¬†My first two diaper cakes made with love for all that is good in this world — Grace.

transforming a room: a closet into a nursery

My husband and I were expecting our second child, and just like most parents we were putting together a list of names — boy names. ¬†Sure, we tossed around a few names for a baby girl, but we knew we were having another boy. ¬†We could feel it. ¬†Plus, that’s what the Chinese gender chart told us. Just kidding!

So, there we were, waiting for the technician to start the ultrasound and *fingers crossed* find out what we were having. ¬†Boy. . . Girl. . .¬† It didn’t matter. ¬†We loved the child. ¬†But growing up with four other sisters, I knew what kind of special torture daughters could put their parents through. ¬†And I was terrified. ¬†My husband, on the other hand, was looking forward to a little girl. ¬†At the time, D was the epitome of a mama’s boy and Daddy needed someone on his team. ¬† It was just moments later we would find out Baby #2 was a . . .

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Little duck?!

Sorry, sorry! ¬†Just adorable baby feet! ‚ėļÔłŹ Here we go. . . Baby #2 is a. . .

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My heart stopped. ¬†A girl? ¬†Did she say we were having a baby girl? ¬†I looked up at my husband. ¬†Not with fear, nor disappointment. ¬†Instead, I was overcome with joy I could never imagine, strength I didn’t know I had, and faith knowing God had blessed my family. ¬†And I saw the same in my husband’s eyes. ¬†Yes, we were having a girl. ¬†My sweet, darling baby girl. ¬†And now she needed a room. . .

Okay, so the title of this post might be a little deceiving, but it’s not that far off. ¬†We didn’t really transform a closet. ¬†It technically is a bedroom fully equipped with a teeny closet, a window, and slanted cape cod ceilings as a bonus to make the room even smaller.

¬†I can take 6 steps from one wall to the other and 6 steps along the other two… but I have to start ducking my head after 3. ¬†I’m 5’0″, by the way. ¬†Believe me when I say that many people have walk-in closets larger than my daughter’s bedroom. ¬†But we knew what we were getting into when we bought our home.

Before turning the nursery into a nursery, it started off as my son’s. . . well, his nursery. ¬†The colors were beige and it worked just fine as a little boy’s room. ¬†It served its purpose as his nursery when we first moved in and continued to work well when we transitioned to his toddler bed. ¬†We always knew that one day he would move into the larger bedroom, which was already painted the perfect shade of blue.

Once we found out that “Baby” was “Baby Girl”, we moved D into his newly decorated dinosaur room and got to work on the nursery.

The first step was deciding on a color. ¬†Cool, muted, bright? ¬†Which route should we take? ¬†It didn’t take long before we knew she was going to be girly!¬†¬†Soft pink and purple paint was splashed across the walls. ¬†And it was beautiful.

We knew we wanted the room to feel peaceful.  Calm.  The slanted ceilings offered an opportunity to act as the sky reaching down in comforting embrace.  Slighty corny.  Yes, I know.  But I guess I actually do like my sloped ceilings.  Anyway, I searched everywhere for large cloud decals that could decorate the sky.  Finding the perfect design took awhile, but I finally found them at NewYorkVinyl.

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Next, a trip to Target! ¬†We were on the hunt for a white, shaggy area rug and wall decorations. ¬†Oh, how I love Target! ¬†We found the exact rug we had in mind. ¬†And it came in a 4 x 5’6″! ¬†It covers most of the hard wood in the room.

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We also snatched up Threshold’s Traditional Shelf Set of 3 and a white tree wall decal that I could only find in store (not advertised on the website anywhere). ¬†We decorated the shelves with dolls and books.

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The mudroom chair from IKEA was moved to the corner of the room because we just didn’t have extra money to spend on a real glider. ¬†It’s been working out great! ¬†Of course, we have her crib and a small chest of drawers that converts into a changing table.

My husband’s childhood rocking horse sits in a nook finishing off the nursery.

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My daughter’s bedroom might be small, but it is cozy, warm, and full of love. ¬†And this smile . . .

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tells me that it’s more than enough.

lemons into lemonade — successfully flipping a DIY oops!

I was on a mission… my first DIY project. ¬†It was going to be amazing, useful, and completely homemade. ¬†Who cares if I never bought wood or screws or nails before? ¬†My concept was ready and list in hand. ¬†I was going to walk into Home Depot like a boss. ¬†And I did. ¬†I measured out all the wood I thought I needed, grabbed a bunch of nails and, of course, snatched up a hand saw.

When I got home, my husband was thoroughly confused. ¬†What on earth was I going to make with all those materials? ¬†And then I told him… ¬†A shoe rack!!! ¬†I couldn’t contain my excitement. ¬†It was going to be perfect. ¬†A custom built, under-bench shoe box with two levels to keep all of our shoes neat, tidy, and HIDDEN. ¬†It was going to go riiighht under there….

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I was giddy. ¬†School girl giddy! ¬†My first piece of wood wasn’t even cut yet, and I was already patting myself on the back. ¬†Live and learn.

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Things were moving along. ¬†Measurements were taken. ¬†Boards were cut. ¬†Nails hammered in. ¬†Measure twice, cut once. ¬†Who hasn’t learned that from HGTV? ¬†This girl, apparently. ¬†You would think it’s a simple enough concept and easy enough to do that no one could ever mess that up. ¬†I was wrong. ¬†My beautiful shoe box/rack was too big… ¬†I think I was screaming at myself and crying at the same time. ¬†Well, there was no way around it. ¬†It just was not going to fit under that bench. ¬†Now what? ¬†There was no way I was going to scrap it!

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That’s when it hit me. ¬†A long, rectangular box? ¬†What else could it be but a toy box! ¬†In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best design for a shoe rack anyway. ¬†First DIY, remember?

My son, who was 2 at the time, already loved superheroes. ¬†If he wasn’t inherently drawn to them, he had two parents who may or may not have smothered him with everything Marvel. ¬†It would only make sense to DIY a Marvel themed toy box because that’s what a resourceful, superhero mom would do. ¬†Naturally.

So, first DIY project — take 2.

I painted the whole thing blue… Captain America blue. ¬†It was perfect.

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What next? ¬†What imagery to paint onto the lid? ¬†Got it! ¬†My son has this awesome Avengers towel that includes all of his favorites. ¬†Captain America, Hulk, Ironman, and Thor. ¬†Their faces were already perfectly positioned for me. ¬†Well, almost! ¬†I didn’t like how their mouths didn’t line up evenly so I, being the perfectionist-but-completely-NOT-a-perfectionist type person I am, if that even makes sense… I had to move their faces around to my liking.

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I sectioned out the lid into four even spaces and drew the faces on. ¬†Then it got a paint job… and another… and another… and another! ¬†The wood just soaked up the paint. ¬†It took 4 coats to finally get the painting where I wanted it. ¬†I can’t say I enjoyed that, but I do love how it turned out!

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Next, just for personalization, I decided to paint my son’s name on the front. ¬†I chose a font on the computer and printed out his name. ¬†One letter a page. ¬†That was cut out and traced onto the box…then painted… and painted… and painted again.

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Almost done!!!  I slapped a few layers of lacquer on the whole thing, inside and out.  After that, it got put together with some hinges I bought from Lowes and added some rope handles to finish it off.

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I am ecstatic over how it turned out!  I went to the store ready to make a shoe box and ended up with so much more!  The shoes under the mud room bench still look like a trainwreck but at least my son has a one-of-a-kind toy box we can all be proud of.

Things may not always turn out the way you planned.  Sometimes they turn out better.