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Monday, January 20, 2020

winter white garden

Hi all and Happy Monday!
I am inspired to post my Southern winter white surroundings.
Thinking about the North East covered in a blanket of white snow makes me shiver. So I thought I would share warm Southern winter white scenery with my Northern friends and family...
my garden
Brilliant trumpet like petunias

Spectacular iceberg roses

Bunches of beautiful hydrangeas

Stunning established fragrant jasmine

Trailing petunias

Alba roses

Pretty periwinkles

I even decorate with white shells in the garden..

I love winter whites inside in the too. I have paperwhite narcissus  blooming in all of my greenhouse windows!

As much as I love being warm in my garden all winter long, I do find myself getting homesick sometimes. I would be happy if anyone wants to share their white snowy surroundings with me!
Thanks for visiting!

Friday, January 17, 2020

warm memories

It sure is cold in many parts of the country right now. I try to remember to have a grateful heart every day that I live on the Gulf Coast of Florida and winter is nothing like my memories winters in Canada or West Virginia! Winter is now a time for me to look forward to cold fronts because cold fronts bring in the seashells not the snowflakes!
*You will notice some descriptive words are bold, these are the items I used and links to where you can find them.

If you aren't lucky enough to be at a beach right now, let me you have a random bag or box of shells you brought home from a summer vacation?
I thought I would post some seashell inspired projects and crafts for you to try this weekend in case you are cooped up in the house! I have collected shells my entire life and here are a few of my latest seashell projects...
I found this little wooden shelf "ladder" at a yard sale for 50 cents! It was very country, it had a warm stain and a heart cutout at the top. I painted it white and covered the shelves and heart cutout with an old map. I glued on the map using Mod Podge and then gave it several protective coats. Once dry, I used E6000 to attach shells to each shelf. 
For the next simple project, I created a shadow box by painting a wooden wine crate white and distressing it with sand paper. Then I glued a map to the inside (I used the Mod Podge again). Once dry, I affixed random shells and found objects to the box using the E6000 once again.

This charming old bottle has a crack so I turned it to the back and secured it in place with glue. The sea glass color adds a different texture to the shadow box.

I pick up bits of everything special at the beach: from sea whips to urchins to driftwood. You can add picture wire and hangers to the back to hang on a wall or simply display your shadow box on a shelf.

I love to make wreaths! So adding shells to a wreath seems like a natural fit. The base is a huck wreath I make by wiring twigs, wheat and millet to a wire wreath base.

Then I use my high temperature hot glue to add a thick border of shells, sand dollars, starfish and sea urchins around the center opening. Then I added some bits of natural green reindeer moss and tiny white silk flowers to add a natural soft touch to the finished wreath. This type of wreath needs to be kept indoors and out of direct sunlight. It could fade over time.

For a super cute and really easy project, paint an inexpensive lamp a fresh beach color using spray paint. Once dry, attach a beautiful shell and/or starfish to the lamp base. E6000 is the best adhesive for this project too. You could use hot glue, however, the shells could pop off over time.

I bought this lamp at a second hand shop. I sprayed it with Krylon Catalina Mist. Once dry, I dry brushed Kliz Dark Wax over the base and let dry. Finally, I attached a shell and starfish with E6000.

The next project is shell inspired. I painted and covered the seat of a garage sale chair (only $5).
First step is to remove the seat. Next, spray paint the entire chair with Rust-Oleum Vintage Teal satin paint.

Once dry, I sanded it lightly all over. Then I sprayed the entire chair with a light coat of matte white paint. I've used every brand and I like them all! Once this coat dried, I sanded the entire chair again allowing some blue to come through. Then I dry brushed some Waverly Celery matte chalk paint randomly in patches all over the chair. After everything was dry, I heavily sanded the natural wear spots like the corners and edges. I covered the seat with Waverly Coral Shell Spa fabric.

Whether you live near the beach or in the cold North, dig out some seashells and create something! Savor the memories from vacations past. It will warm your heart and remind you
of summer breezes under the sun.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

staying on track

Getting on track is one thing,
but staying on track is quite another.
One way to do this is to create a basic chore chart.
It goes back to those childhood memories of lists on the refrigerator or chore charts in the laundry room.
Good memories and a good idea as well.
Everyone is different and every list will be different too. I thought I would share my schedule in case it inspires you.
I try to work my favorite projects every other day
so I have things to look forward to.

Monday: clean the floors, shake out mats
Tuesday: water plants, clean the kitchen
Wednesday: clean the bathrooms
Thursday: laundry and pay the bills
Friday: dust the house and pick up clutter
Saturday: household or garden projects
Sunday: launder bedclothes, clothing overflow
I try to find ways to make may chores a bit more fun. For example, when I sit down to pay my bills I will take an extra few minutes to send a sweet note or card to someone special.

Although I like to keep to the chore chart, it's also important to have some duties that are preformed on a daily basis...
*make the bed in the morning
*wipe down the bathroom counters
after getting ready
*sweep entry, mudroom or high
traffic areas after work
*disinfect kitchen counters after dinner
*de-clutter at the end of the day

Try to keep your Saturdays or Sundays open for household projects you enjoy. Whether it's cooking for the week ahead, crafting, sewing, remodeling or gardening (my all time favorite). We all need time to smile and decompress!
Housework can become overwhelming if it gets too far ahead of you. The key is to get on track and do your best to stay on track!
All it takes is a simple chore schedule.

Friday, January 10, 2020

quick pumpkin bread

Although I love to bake, I do like to find quick and healthy options. I recently discovered Pillsbury's boxed Quick Bread mix.
 The best part is that the mix alone only has only 1 gram of fat (and about 100 calories) per slice. I'll show you my substitutions that made it not only quick and healthy, but extra yummy too!
Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees.
Next you will want to spray the entire inside of a loaf pan with a fat free cooking spray.
You can follow the instructions on the box but it adds 5 grams of fat and 40 additional calories per serving.
Here are the substitutions I make...
Combine the wet ingredients in a large bowl:
1 cup of water
4 egg whites or 1/2 cup of egg substitute
3 tablespoons of applesauce
Add the pouch of dry mix to the bowl.
Stir 50 to 75 strokes by hand.
Do not over work the batter.
* I add one cap of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon
of ground cinnamon  to the mixture.
Pour the combined mixture into the greased baking loaf pan.
The box instructions had a suggested bake time of 45 to 55 minutes, however, my loaf was finished at 35 minutes! I know all ovens are a little different but this was s a huge difference. So I would start checking at the 35 minute mark for sure!

Carefully take the bread out of the oven when a skewer is cleanly removed from the center of the loaf. You can serve it warm in the pan or you will need to allow the bread to cool before removing from the pan to serve.
This is a perfect bread for a lazy Saturday morning brunch. Or you can prepare it on a Sunday evening and you will be able to kick start your Monday morning with a warm, yummy and healthy breakfast!
You will be shocked how moist and flavorful the bread really is...
Serve it alone or with fruit if you're trying to be healthy. Or you can make a somewhat healthy spread option by combining 2 tablespoons of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of Splenda and 1 teaspoon of honey.
Mix well and serve on the side.
I hope you are inspired to make something quick and easy
to warm your heart on a cold winter day!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

start with a leaf

I thought I would share one more tip
while I'm on the subject of succulents.
Propagation from a leaf.

If you were following along with the last post, you might have had a bit of collateral damage. Succulents are fragile and while handling them a leaf or two might fall off.
Each leaf can grow a new succulent!
Use the 3,2,1 soil mix.
Click HERE for the recipe.
Fill a terra cotta saucer with the soil mixture or you can purchase cactus soil mix.
Allow the leaf to dry for 2 to 5 days,
then lay the leaf directly on the dry soil.
Leave a small space between each leaf.
Set the saucer in a sunny spot and mist the soil with a spray bottle every other day.
You will need patience for the project.
It can take more than a month for a tiny plant to appear,
but it's so worth the wait!
Look how precious!
If you want to create living art
here is your chance to design a mandala.
A man~da~la is a geometric configuration representing the universe in Hindu and Buddhist symbolism.
It requires a number of various leaves and a lot of creativity.


You can actually create any design you wish!
Be patient and be prepared to replace a leaf here or there if one should shrivel or rot.
The end result can be spectacular!
Happy winter gardening...