Thursday, March 29, 2012

Week 1 in the Garden

Gardening is a skill I much admire and covet.  Every spring I have big dreams of turning my lackluster yard into a beautiful garden.  It has yet to happen, although this year I finally started a vegetable garden.  It's the first time I have tried to grow vegetables.  I'm excited, although I'm trying to keep it in check as my previous gardening experiences have almost all been complete disasters.  I even have trouble keeping houseplants alive.  So having a go at a real vegetable garden is pretty ballsy in my book.

This (mis)adventure started last week.  We had some spare lumber on hand that the boyfriend had picked up.  If you are interested for your own project, I used six 2x6s and two or three 2x2s.  The boards weren't all in the best condition (some warping and dings), so I didn't go to town making sure I had everything perfectly centered or squared.  I cut the 2x6s at 36" for the sides and 80" for the front and back.  Then I cut the 2x2s down to 8" and used them as my anchors.  I hammered the 2x2s into the ground in the corners and then used outdoor screws to attach the 2x6 boards.  I thought I would use a lot more 2x2s, but I just needed one in each corner for the boxes to be stable.  In the end, it looked like this:

Obviously, my raised beds are not really all that raised, and I'll tell you why.  Most places in Austin boast a thin layer of dirt before you hit rock, but we, surprisingly, seem to have very nice soil in our backyard.  And since I'm 88% sure that this entire project is going to turn out to be a disaster, I also didn't want to spend a huge chunk of money on bags of dirt.  Our backyard is completely fenced in and receives very few animal visitors, so in the end I thought a simple 6-inch wall would be protection enough (mostly from the lawn maintenance guys).

My son, who is very excited and active in this project, and I pulled up the grass and the boyfriend came in to help us mix up the native dirt with the some manure and Miracle Grow for vegetable gardens.  I bought mine at Wal-Mart, who seemed to have the best prices of the stores I checked. 

Next came the planting.  I tried to buy items that we eat a lot of, and in the end I bought way too many seeds and bulbs for my planter capacity.  I found this lovely plan online and used it as a rough guide to a family starter garden:

Here's what I planted in the first garden:

And in the second:

As you can tell, I bought plants for the peppers and tomato.  Everything else I'm attempting to grow from seeds.  Since I didn't get started on this entire project until last week, I sowed them straight into the ground instead of starting them inside in starter beds.  I'll probably change that next time, since it's much easier to correctly space plants and then you don't have to worry about thinning them.  But first we'll see if I make it through this season with any success.

I also bought more herbs that I'm going to grow in some containers.  I'll hopefully get that project started this weekend.  Any other newbie farmers out there?  Or old pros with some sage advice?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Buy or DIY?

Which would you do?

Buy it ready-made - Crate & Barrel Ibiza Rasberry 23" Pillow

$79.95 each

Or make it yourself using this fabric - Robert Allen Woven Jacquard Ikat Fret Rasberry?


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Modern Classic Office Inspiration

I'm planning on traveling to Atlanta in the next couple of months to visit my best friend.  We've known each other since third grade, but unfortunately haven't got to see a lot of each other lately because of the whole "she lives in Georgia and I live in Texas" deal.  We were lucky enough to both be visiting family in Louisiana last year and we got to hang out, but it's been a long time since I made an actual trip to see her.  Too long - she bought a house almost three years ago and I still haven't seen it in person.  Bad friend.

Paying a visit has recently become much more affordable with Southwest doing direct flights to Atlanta from Austin.  This is great news for our family because the boyfriend's brother also lives in Atlanta, so we always have a reason to head that way.  Anyway, the trip is tentatively scheduled around June if both of our work schedules cooperate.  I was just going to do a long-weekend girls' trip, but the other day when we were talking she asked me if I could spend a week so I can help her work on her house.  She's my bestie for a reason - that's possibly the nicest favor anyone has ever asked me.

Basically, she moved in a couple of years ago, bought a few new pieces, and hasn't had the time or inspiration to really decorate.  According to her, she has three rooms that are basically still undefined spaces, and her home office really needs organization.  And she hasn't painted - not one wall!  I'm all for not rushing into decorating a space and instead living in it for a while to see how the space works for you.  But almost three years is definitely enough time and she's ready to start.

There are a lot of challenges to this trip.  First off, we have really different taste.  I'm very much a bohemian, DIY kind of girl.  Where she is much more traditional and classic.   There's also the challenge of shopping (and finding great deals) in a city I'm unfamiliar with.  And of course, the biggie - never having seen the space(s) before.  Makes for a difficult time planning, so right now I'm just looking for inspiration and having her do the same so we can compare notes.

Since she has an entire bedroom dedicated as her home office (and she works crazy long hours as an attorney), so far I have been concentrating on office space inspiration.  I'm definitely loving the idea of floating the desk and adding lots of organization.

So far, this image is speaking the most to me:

Better Homes and Gardens
 It's an image that has been around for a while, but it has a lot of positives.  I love the mixed storage including the wonderful texture of baskets.  I like the idea of using neutral furnishings and wall color and then having little pops of color around the room.  And the huge floating desk that doesn't take up a lot of visual room, but probably still has adequate desk storage. 

The problems:  although the Expedit provides a lot of storage, it just screams IKEA to me.  And it definitely needs a rug.

I'd love to also incorporate good seating - a couch or daybed, some chairs.  Really make it a space she can feel comfortable in and will want to spend time in.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dining Table Envy

Red lacquered table and yellow chairs... hmmm...

What my heart truly desires or just another project for the list?