WFMW: Gardening In Sucky Soil


I like to say that I enjoy gardening. Because, really, I do. Not that you would have known it from the state of my garden over the past couple of years. Frankly, life took a front seat for a while, and my flower beds took a back seat. Actually, they took the trunk.


Okay, okay…they were pulled along behind on a flatbed with half the slats missing.


The point is, they were in a sad state.


However, My Beloved and I, in an effort to make our dream of country living a reality, have been slowly getting our current house ready to sell. Which means lots of painting and tiling and fixing and carpeting and wiring and otherwise sweating a lot. And finally we turned our attention to the front view, because, as you might know, if your house has dying plants and cracked shutters, it might as well also have red piggy eyes glaring out the windows and a deep gutteral voice that growls GET! OUUUUT!!!!!



“Curb appeal” is the term, I believe.


Our house was lacking.


So, I took stock. On one side of my porch is a glorious, fabulous hydrangea. The thing is huge. It is happy. It makes my soul sing. On the right side of my porch are some heroic columbines who had bloomed vigorously but were pretty well spent.


Nothing else.


The thing is, I had planted in the past, planted and planted and planted. And things had died and died and died. I knew what I needed to do. I needed to start over and begin by amending the soil. I had known this for quite some time, but lacked the motivation and the energy to act upon it. And now time was running out. I needed color, and flowery happiness, and I needed it, pronto.


Then it came to me (on a flaming pie! No, not really, but can you name that movie?).


I would create little oases of good soil within my crappy-ass soil. I would simply buy the plants, plop them into pots filled with kick-ass soil, and bury the pots in the ground.


Now, let me clarify by saying that I am not trying to fool anyone. The pots are visible. It’s obvious that they are there. But by doing this, the pots can be lifted and the soil can be amended at my (or the subsequent owner’s) leisure. Or, one can simply repot when the plants are larger and keep going that way. The bottom line is, the plants will live!! Huzzah! I am absolutely thrilled with the results, and I think the flowers are breathing sighs of relief as well.





Don’t forget to check out We Are That Family for more WFMW ideas than you can shake a stick at!

WFMW: Homemade Wall Art

My second Works For Me Wednesday post ever! W00t! There’s no stopping me now!



As I may have mentioned, we have been repainting our house (inside) in order to cleanse it of (some) of the crazy, cockeyed, random, and psychedelic colors I have, over the years, subjected it to. The result has been some very clean, very bright rooms. Unfortunately they also look a little…sterile. My littlest boys’ room, especially, needed a shot of FUN.


The theme of choice was “outer space”, and so I set to work to find some wall art that would have the necessary complement of rockets and planets and stars, only to find everything exorbitantly priced. One print, for instance, would cost me $40, and there was a lot of wall-space to cover! So I revisited an earlier thought that went something like I shall never again have prints on my walls, but shall buy original art from real artists, or create it myself.


Finding canvasses on sale at my local hobby store for 30% off, I bought ten of varying sizes, and went to work.


I had never painted planets before. Or rockets. Or stars. But I had a vague notion in my head of what I wanted them to look like, and so I gave it a go. I started with my tiniest canvas (about 4″ x 6″), and painted Pluto. Now, I know Pluto has been demoted to a planetOID, but I’m not ready to let him go. He turned out pretty well. I was psyched!


Brush in hand, I painted Uranus, and Neptune. I liked them too.


I plowed through Mercury…






And Mars…



Their sizes, while not exactly to scale (Jupiter and Saturn would have required canvasses about the size of my house), at least give the basic idea of which planets are smallest and so forth.


I was procrastinating attempting to paint Earth, though. It made me a little apprehensive, what with its continents and oceans and polar ice caps and whatnot. But I took a deep breath, grabbed an atlas, and told myself that I could always paint over it (and over it…and over it…) if I totally muffed it.



Doggone it if it didn’t turn out all right, or at least recognizable!


Now, Jupiter and Saturn were really fun. I had bought really big canvasses for them…I think they’re 2′ X 3’…I astounded myself by managing to paint a perfect circle for Saturn. I don’t know how I did that. I don’t think I could do it again if I tried.



Jupiter and his big red spot was fun too…



Lastly, I painted a rocket. Gabriel really, really loves rockets right now, and so I painted a likeness something akin to the vessel Wallace and Gromit use to go to the moon in their classic claymation tale. Then I printed out the faces of the three little boys who are going to inhabit the room, and painted some helmets on them.



Can I just say that the boys are tickled pink and cannot stop talking about how THEY are IN the ROCKET and THEY are GOING into OUTER SPACE and THEY are LOOKING OUT the WINDOWS and HEY DID YOU NOTICE that THEY are IN the ROCKET, THEY, THEMSELVES???


Lastly, I painted over each and every canvas with a hefty helping of Mod Podge to protect from various elements like grimy fingers and boogers and sneezes.


Here are the walls, to give you an idea of the scale of the canvasses. Please ignore the barenaked window (curtains to come), the unmade bed (bedclothes to come), and the generally poor lighting.



(quilt by my fabulously talented aunt)


Now, before you start telling me you could never do such a thing, let me once again emphasize that I had never, ever, ever, ever painted anything on a canvas before. Ever. I had not painted planets. I had not painted rockets. I did not know how it would turn out. But I decided to play anyway. And I truly believe that you, too, can do just as well, and probably far better, if you just relax and play a little bit yourself.


Next time you need some art, before you plunk down hard-earned cash on some yawnerific print of a painting by some dead dude (or dudette), grab yourself a discount canvas, some $1 bottles of acrylic paint, turn on some music, and let the muse take over. I’d be willing to bet that what you come up with will be completely wonderful, and more importantly, absolutely original.


For more Works-for-Me-Wednesday ideas, check out Shannon’s bloggy carnival here!

My First Ever Works-For-Me Wednesday Post!

Oh, I’m so excited. Frankly, I have never done a works-for-me Wednesday because I never had anything work for me. Okay, so that’s an exaggeration, but honestly! I could never think of anything worthy of posting at such a venerable institution as…


However, I do believe I have some information that is exceedingly valuable today. Exceedingly. Especially in these tough economic times. Behold, I give you…


Burt’s Bees Lip Balm (retail $3)…

After accidentally travelling through the washer and dryer in my jeans’ pocket.

The horror! The horror! My sweet, beloved lip balm, who had only ever given me comfort and solace and buttery soft lips, treated in such a disgraceful manner! I was bereft!


But then I had a flash of brilliance. Actually, I remembered what a friend of my daughters’ had done in a similar circumstance, but I can still call it a flash of brilliance because I remembered it. And that’s not just brilliant for me, folks…that’s borderline miraculous.


At any rate, I heated some water in my cute little red teapot that my son-in-law bought for me (such a nice boy…**cyber cheek-pinch**) until it was almost boiling…

And then I poured some in a cup…and dropped in the beleaguered BBLB…

After about ten minutes, I took it out and stood it on its end.

 It looked a little lonely, so I moved it next to the Burt’s Bee’s Hand Creme so they could chat about the ordeal.

I realized later that I could have put it in the fridge and it would have hardened up faster, but apparently my brain can hold just so much brilliance at one time.


So there ya go. Expensive, beautiful lip balm, without which my lips would shatter and disintegrate, SAVED!


for more WFMW tips, check out my main homegirl, Shannon, over at Rocks in my Dryer