Saturday, October 22, 2016

Autumn on Lake Pentucket

When we moved into our new home I thought I would be strolling down the street regularly to enjoy lovely Lake Pentucket (AKA Round Pond).
Do I? Of course not!
This autumn stroll was a reminder that I need to take more breaks!
It is so much more beautiful in the Fall than I imagined it would be.
The peaceful trail goes around the entire lake.
Looking up is a treat.
The colors are perfection.
Sideways trees!
I hope you enjoyed this autumn stroll as much as I did.

Thank you for stopping by! ~Val

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Upcycled Beads

I found these fun beads at a second hand store and made a lanyard for my shop!
Then made a couple necklaces for myself.
This can also be doubled up and worn short. I received a compliment from a stranger my first time wearing this necklace due to the color!
The red is very festive for the holidays but will be fun in the summer too!
I am in love with how these huge beads lay around the neck when doubled. 
 The rare, dreaded selfie of me.

This is a hair update too. I am a bit salt and pepper but am still more pepper than I thought I would be after transitioning to my 100% natural hair.

I hope you enjoyed my new pieces. I intend on playing around with some of the red beads for holiday crafting too.

Thank you for stopping by. Have a great week! ~Val

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Autumn Around The Yard

We still have plenty of flowers to enjoy in the Fall here like hydrangea.
A sedum that has become quite vibrant with color!
One of our clearance buys, echinacea, is still budding. I love the look of its buds before flowering.
Another $4 clearance purchase was lobelia (aka Fan Scarlet). This was supposed to be all red but much to our surprise after we planted it we are seeing pink on the same plant!
Its flowers can be a little messy looking but when they are perfect, they remind me of an orchid.
Our azaleas are ancient shrubs with flowers hanging on. I have given them a little TLC cleaning them up and will prune them some in the spring in hopes of making them flower well!
Here is one of the hostas we moved to the back from the front of the house. Its leaves were cut before moving and this is all new growth. It looks like complete success in giving them a happier home!
I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of our fall pretties! Thank you for stopping by. ~Val

Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Dollar Store Wreath

A $5 wreath! 
The foam wreath form I had which was a yarn wreath. After removing the yarn I spray painted it brown so no white would peek through. This was the same paint I used to paint the twigs in our entry way.
The $5 was spent on the flowers and leaves.
First I glued the mesh leaves to the form for coverage and loosely wrapped some natural rope around it for added interested and extra security.
With the flowers and other leaves I trimmed them so they could simply stick into the foam.
These were rotated around the wreath.
I felt there was too much open space left so I used the green leaves from the flower stems to fill in those spaces. Then I trimmed off any strange plastic stems sticking out!
Done! Much cheaper than the $20 - $30 ones I see for sale in the stores. It only took about 30 minutes total to complete.

I hope you enjoyed this Fall craft! Thank you for stopping by. ~Val

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Maple Glazed Walnuts

After picking up some delicious maple candied pecans at the farmer's market I had an urge to try making maple glazed walnuts since we always have walnuts in the house.

Nuts aren't the prettiest thing we eat so they don't exactly make for a nice photo.
This could not have been any easier to whip up!

Simple preheat a skillet over medium-high. 

Then add 2 cups of walnuts halves.
1/3 cup of quality maple syrup.
Also 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Then cook stirring frequently until the syrup is caramelized and the nuts are toasted. This only takes about 3 minutes!
The instructions I followed say to let cool. However eating them hot right out of the pan is amazing. I am thinking a great treat to satisfy a sweet craving on a cold winter's night. So I will be making this again!

A healthy snack but one needs to be careful considering how high in calories these nuts are.

Let me know if you give these a try!

Thank you for stopping by.  ~Val

Saturday, September 17, 2016

House Update

Now too much has been going on besides yard work. Great exercise!

Our new doorbell!
This is what was there. It worked but with its cover missing made for a hideous fixture! For some reason I couldn't get a clear photo.
If you are ever shopped for a doorbell you know there there is not much to choose from in terms of attractiveness. Our new one is metal and glass. Many other choices were plastic and cheap, but also pricey!

We had our basement windows replaced! This has been awesome since they were chaulked shut before. Now we leave the windows open and for a fresh smelling basement. A huge improvement from when we moved in. It doesn't even smell like a basement anymore.

We finished our entryway.
Then antique table was thrifted at $15 (I still can't get over the find)! The vase was Jim's. The sticks were painted from vines cut in our yard. The other chachki was something I had. The mirror was thrifted for $5. Another great find since it was perfect as is. So this was a $25 total with the cost of the paint for the vines.

We have been busy with the yard too getting it ready for spring. So when the anticipated (not wanted) snow melts we can order a huge mulch delivery to make it beautiful!

Our most recent project in our neglected yard is this messy corner.
This photo was take after I started to chop away at the ancient super thorny blackberry bush in our yard. The dirt spot was there the branches ended. From pictures you can't see how big it was, but trust me, it was massive and half the branches were old dead ones!

We were going to wait for the berries but decided we would rather make a pretty space here instead. 

Now we have an lovely view of the abutting neighbors' sheds. City living is a unique experience for me!
We are working on the vines growing along the fence which were hanging about 4 - 5 feet from the fence over our yard.

Our plan in the spring is to buy a bunch of arborvites or the like to plant long the ugly chain link fence that surrounds our yard. This will provide privacy and attractiveness.

The corner has a challenge to work around. Whatever belonged to this spread out old stump must have been a mess before it came down!

I would love to have a vinyl privacy fence installed along the borders but that would be way too expensive!

So with all the clean up we are having fun with our best purchase for the home thus far, the little fire pit! Now we need to get through all the piles of brush we created.
Jim's neatly stacked wood pile. We made use of some of the old stone we dug up recently from the yard. It is perfect for stacking the wood on!
I hope you enjoyed our continued updates. 

Thank you for stopping by! ~Val


Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Wooded Garden

This is a work in progress so it does not have a put together look yet.
This is the back corner of the garden that is wooded and grass does not care to grow. When I started cleaning it, inspiration showed up. 

First I bought 2 small holly which I love in winter. They only need 6 hours of sun a day and I think they get just about that. I had back luck trying to keep holly alive in the past so I am trying again. They need to be watered when it is not winter. Diligence is my problem!
Then Jim and I came across this Sedum Rupestre (Angelina) below. Neither of us were familiar with this plant but thought it has great vibrant color and softness! What sounded interesting is that they turn orange in winter. We shall see! People use these as ground cover, as filler and in rock gardens. We have sort of planted them on their own.
Lastly here we have 10 hostas that were growing along our front walkway. We were not fond of them there. The sun fried them and whoever planted them did not properly remove the sod first so there was grass growing through them like crazy!

Jim did an awesome job spacing them out. I like when a garden is not cookie cutter with patterns and such. I do the light duty work, he does the heavy duty work.
I read hostas can be moved during full leaf time by just cutting them back. I know I did a totally messy job but will manicure them some more before winter. They probably won't grow again until next year but we think they will be much happier in their new location. In the fall I am going to cover them with mulch so any grass left in them hopefully will not grow back next year.

In the spring we will get a huge mulch delivery which will really make this section attractive. Flower bulbs will go in this fall too so summer should be pretty and this area should fill in lushly!

While working in the area, Jim unearthed an old patio like situation that was half buried under dirt and moss. Judging by its shape it probably had a dog house on it.

A couple of the pieces have a cool mosaic look so we will repurpose them when we decide how to  use them best.
It kind of looks like we just buried a body in the yard since it is a rectangular shape.
Next we will be planting a magnolia tree in front of our living room window. We had been talking about what we wanted there but had not come to a decision. 

Then talking to our landscaper neighbor, she asked us if we wanted her young magnolia tree! She planted it a couple of years ago and it is still small but has decided over time it will not work in the spot it is in. So we are gladly going to take it off her hands and all of the neighbors will get to enjoy it when it flowers.

I hope you have enjoyed this peak at our newest garden area. I hope to be able to show a beautiful update next summer when it all comes together! Thank you for stopping by. ~Val