Take a look at my succulents

Succulents.

I don’t know why, but  that word sounds downright dirty to me. In spite of their grown-up, dirty sounding name, they can be the cutest little plants I have ever seen. I mean, have you seen the teeny-tiny, adorable containers they come in at the store?! So little. So cute.

SucculentsThis little leggy one on the end is my favorite…Elephant Bush. I have another one sitting on my piano that I’ve had for about 6 months.

Elephant BushSuch a pretty plant. The best thing about it is that it doesn’t require much from me. Just a big drink of water every two weeks or so, and a spot in my brightest room.

SucculentsThese little guys are sitting on my dining room table.  I have no idea what that spiky flower thing is, but I love it.

SucculentsI definitely recommend keeping some of these guys around. They don’t require too much attention and they add so much to any room.

SucculentsOkay, I’m done showing off my succulents. Hope you all have a wonderful day!

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Babies and Book Ledges

Hola! I actually have a legitimate excuse for not posting for so long. I had a baby! Charlie Fay was born last Friday morning and she is absolutely perfect! I will post the birth story another day since I am still working on it, but I do have something pretty awesome to share today!

DIY Book Ledges

Sam has been busy on his paternity leave! I am so happy his job allows him some time off. It’s been really great for us all to bond with Charlie and for Milo’s transition into sibling-hood.  Sam built these amazing book ledges using this tutorial from Ana White’s website.  We were able to keep the $10 budget by splitting the 8ft boards 3 ways. The only thing he didn’t do was use a nail gun on the front ledge.  We don’t own a nail gun, so he just used wood glue to hold the front part in place.

DIY Book Ledges

Milo was just thrilled that all of his books have a home now. It’s more fun for him to pick which books he wants to read before bedtime with all of the covers showing.

DIY Book Ledges

I love these book shelves and can’t wait to hang some on Charlie’s wall, too! We also plan on doing some honeycomb shelving in her room to show off her girly trinkets.

Well, that’s all for today! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

DIY Baking Soda and Cornstarch Ornaments

Hello! I haven’t fallen off of the face of the earth, I have just been so busy with holiday activities! Also, my Milo has been a sick little boy for the past 5 days…a little goodbye gift from his last day of preschool, I guess.

Anyway, I wanted to update and let everyone know that I am going to be absent for a little while longer, but I am coming back after the holidays with a new look for Me + Three {and counting…}! I’m really excited for all of the upcoming changes and anxious to see how I manage to stay on top of it all while adding a new baby to the mix.

I will leave you with a one more Christmas DIY project that I completed yesterday. I am not sure if these have another name besides “baking soda and cornstarch ornaments”, so that is what I’m calling them.  These are probably my favorite DIY ornaments because I can be totally lazy and leave them as they are, white and sparkly, or I can paint and decorate them how I want!

Baking soda and cornstarch ornaments

Baking Soda & Cornstarch Ornaments

Makes roughly ten 3″ cookie cutter ornaments

1 cup baking soda

1/2 cup cornstarch

2/3 cup of water

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and place over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture forms a ball of dough. Transfer dough to a bowl to cool enough to handle. When dough has cooled, knead until dough is nice and smooth. Roll out to desired thickness of ornaments (I did about 1/4″). Cut out shapes with cookie cutters, use a drinking straw to make holes (for the string) at the top of the shape, then allow them to dry overnight so they can harden. Make sure they are drying on a flat surface and if they begin to curl up, just flip them over to flatten them out again.

Mine took about 12 hours to harden enough for me to paint them. I picked up some Martha Stewart patterning tape along with some of her metallic paint in yellow gold to make the stripes. And you can decorate them however you like! These are definitely going to be an every year DIY ornament project for my tree!

DIY Baking soda and cornstarch ornament

And here’s the {mostly} finished tree! I seriously need a tree topper, but with Christmas being in a week, I don’t think we’re going to have one this year.

rustic christmas tree

Alright, I’ll see you all in a few weeks! Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

DIY Cinnamon Garland {DIY Christmas}

DIY Christmas

Welcome to the 2nd post of my DIY Christmas! Last week I made some Rag Ball Bulbs with cute little wooden snowflakes. This week, I’ve made a decoration that takes me back to my childhood – cinnamon ornaments {made into garland}! My house smelled amazing as these were baking.

DIY Cinnamon Garland

Cinnamon Ornament Recipe:

1 cup applesauce

1 1/2 cups cinnamon

Preheat oven to 200F.

In a bowl, mix together the applesauce and one cup of the cinnamon. Mix well with a spoon, then add the extra 1/2 a cup a little at a time until the consistency is right. You just need to be able to roll the dough out with a rolling pin, so that is where the consistency needs to be.

On a piece of parchment paper, spread some cinnamon and begin to roll the dough out to about 1/4″ thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out your shapes and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Use the end of a chopstick or a skewer or something like that to poke holes in the upper part of the shape(Make sure whatever you are using will make big enough holes for the string to pass through). Bake for 1 -2 hours, or until they are hard.

DIY Cinnamon Ornament Garland

Now your going to string your string through the cut-outs.  I strung together 8 {about 6 inches apart} at a time since I don’t really enjoy super long garland {it gets on my nerves to have to walk around and around the tree while hanging it}. I say wait to do the embellishments until after the string is finished because I had a bit of a hard time getting my twine to go through in one piece.  I made the mistake of not checking to see that the chopstick hole was big enough for the twine to move through, so I had to work around that.

Now you can add whatever pretty embellishments you managed to find. I found these textured sticker things at Wal-Mart {of all places?!}.  Let it dry before hanging on the tree.

DIY Cinnamon Ornament Garland1

Come back tomorrow for that Christmas-themed giveaway I’ve been talking about! And don’t forget to check out the other post from this series:

DIY Rag Ball Bulbs

Favorite Gardening Reads {so far…}

I’ve been reading up on gardening in the southwest lately and I have found that I actually really enjoy reading these books. I could seriously delve into a horticulture book and not come up for air until it was finished. I never though I could read these kinds of books and be sad when they were finished and I had extracted every ounce of gardening knowledge from their pages. But now I’m sad. Must. Buy. More. Gardening. Books.

Favorite Gardening Books

1. Extreme Gardening: How to grow organic in the hostile deserts by Dave Owens

This book is a must-have for gardeners in the Arizona desert. According to the author, there is a whole other set of rules that come along with gardening in this part of the US, and he covers them pretty well! So well, in fact, that I have a beautiful, thriving flower garden full of dianthus, geraniums, alyssum, begonia, stock, bottle brush, trailing rosemary, and blue plumbago! I couldn’t have done it properly without this book. I would have had no idea what this (nearly lifeless) soil needed without his book (which was just a healthy dose of soft rock phosphorus and compost).

This book has full chapters dedicated to vegetables, herbs, flowers (including roses and sunflowers), fruits & nut trees, and lawn care.  He covers how to choose each variety for this part of the country, how to plant it, how to care for it, and even how to enjoy and protect it! Of course he also covers organic pest control, and Arizona gardening basics. I take this book to the nursery with me and I feel no shame whatsoever whipping it out when a pretty flower catches my eye (or nose).

2. Talking Dirt: The dirt diva’s down-to-earth guide to organic gardening by Annie Spiegelman

If you don’t think you’d enjoy reading a book about gardening, this might be the book for you. The writer has a wonderful sense of humor that I can totally relate to with chapter titles like Going Compostal!, Butterflies in the ‘Hood, and Return of the Killer Tomatoes.  She discusses the seemingly mystical botanical naming system, covers the anatomy of a plant, provides a list of all the tools you need and why, and so much more, all while providing a few really good laughs (that is, if you have a sense of humor).  At the end of each chapter she provides a plant recommendation complete with care instructions, origin, hardiness zone, and growing requirements.  She also provides a “whaaa-whaaa rating” from 1 to 10 depending on the difficulty of care just to make sure you don’t embarrass yourself in front of your neighbors.  This was the first gardening book that I ever read, and may be the reason I can enjoy reading them so much, so I’d start with this one if I were you!

3. Grow Organic by DK Publishing 

This is a pretty generic organic gardening book that covers all of the basics…along with beautiful photos.  It has a pretty good section on composting, and a pretty large section on growing organic vegetables.  If you need/love photos, then this is a great book.  I reference it when I feel like I might not be doing something right (like tamping?).

4. Desert Gardening: Fruits & Vegetables by George Brookbank

This is another great book written for gardeners in the desert southwest.  It’s pretty dry if you don’t already enjoy reading gardening books and requires a lot of imagination when looking at the photos. See for yourself:

Desert Gardening by George Brookbank

 

But come on, people! This is, by far, the only complaint anyone has about this book. It is packed full of information about desert gardening and has taught me so much that I wouldn’t have known had I not been able to look past the terrible photos (gosh, that sounds shallow and superficial).  Like grapes! I had no idea that grapes could survive and thrive here! But they can, and George tells me how! He has a whole chapter dedicated to peppers. And my favorite thing? The Desert Gardener’s Calendar.  You all know me. I love to plan. I love calendars. Something about little squares with numbers in them indicating the day of the year just motivates me to write stuff in them…then forget about the stuff that I write…then feel guilty when I go back a few pages and see that I forgot. Darn. Anyway, he gets super specific in his tables, even including the elevation, which really changes up the calendar for some vegetables.  If you are serious about gardening in the desert (Arizona, California, New Mexico) I definitely recommend this book. The photos will make you cry, but the information and knowledge George Brookbank provides makes up for the tears you will shed.

I am hoping to add a few more books to my library this Christmas (**Christmas hint-Christmas hint** My husband told me to yell that really loud before I mention something I might want for Christmas):

1. Month-by-Month Gardening in the Deserts of Arizona by Mary Irish

2. The Garden Guy: A seasonal guide to organic gardening in the desert southwest by Dave Owens

3. Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture: A practical guide to small-scale, integrative farming and gardening by Sepp Holzer. 

Do you have a favorite gardening book or resource? Share! Share!!

DIY Rag Ball Bulbs {DIY Christmas}

DIY Christmas

I’m really excited about Christmas this year. Especially since this is our first Christmas in our own home and Milo is old enough to experience all of the joy and excitement that comes along with this wonderful holiday. Also, I have decided that I am going to DIY all of my Christmas tree ornaments, stockings, and most of the decorations! It should be a fun process and by DIYing everything, I will be able to get the exact look I am going for without having to spend all of my husband’s hard earned money at Pottery Barn.

I’ve spent countless nights tirelessly searching Pinterest for DIY Christmas tree ornaments and have narrowed it down to about 10 projects, all of which will be shared here, with my lovely readers!

DIY Rag Ball Bulbs

Now I’m sure you’ve seen a tutorial for a rag ball bulb floating around the DIY section of Pinterest. I read a few of them and decided to cut out a few steps from the other tutorials, so this is what I came up with.

For your supplies, you will need:

3″ styrofoam balls (or you could go bigger). You will find these in the floral section of the craft store.

fabric of your choice (I went with the fabric from my two couch covers and burlap)

scissors

glue

twine

embellishments

Alright people, it doesn’t get much easier than this. Simply cut 6-7 one inch (roughly 12 inches long) strips of fabric for each ball. You can fray the edges by ripping the fabric if it’s thin enough or by pulling the threads from the edges (make sure you are cutting along the grain). Then glue them to the ball.

DIY Rag Ball Bulbs1

Make sure to leave an inch or two at the top so you can tie the strips together with twine. After all the styrofoam is covered with the strips of fabric, cut about 10 inches of twine, and tie around the top to secure all of the strips together. From here you can add the embellishments by stringing them onto the twine and tying a double knot in back to secure again. Then simply tie one more double knot near the ends of the twine so you can hang the ornament! Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

DIY Rag Ball Bulb2

Come back next week for my November giveaway {which is Christmas-themed!!}

Have a great Thursday!

Also, check out other posts from a DIY Christmas:

DIY Cinnamon Garland

Brag Post! {Ana White Camp Loft Bed}

My father-in-law scored major Grandpa points this past weekend when he delivered a big boy bed for Milo made by him!

bed1

Milo was a little unsure about the steps at first, but they were quickly mastered when he figured out he could reach his books and stuffed animals that I keep on the shelf.

Bed

You can find the plans here on Ana White’s website. I love looking through her plans and adding things to our ever growing to-do list. Sam especially loves it when I add new projects. Haha.

bed3

He did such a great job, even rounded out the sharp edges for safer play!  It’s really a cool thing because Sam’s grandpa built him a bed too, so it’s kind of like Milo’s grandpa is starting a tradition.

Happy Milo

Milo is pretty darn happy about his new bed and will be able (whether he likes it or not) to enjoy it until he’s 18! Haha. Thanks, “Paw”!!

Sofa slipcover {update}

I have been so terrible with this slipcover, but I finally sewed the skirt on yesterday! I just need to hem it at the bottom then trim the random threads and I’m done!

20131031-105500.jpg

I’m pretty excited about my upcoming DIY projects! For November I will be doing DIY Christmas tree ornaments since I have nothing for my Christmas tree…come to think if it, I don’t even have a tree yet.

What Christmas DIY’s do you have planned?

Oh! Don’t forget..today is the last day you can enter the giveaway to win 4 bars of handmade goat’s milk soap from MilkNMore!

MilkNMore giveaway

Easy DIY Compost Bin

IMG_4961

Have one of these laying around? Well, I have about 10 sitting in the garage, so I thought I’d put them to good use and make a few compost bins! Why do I want to collect food scraps, yard waste, cardboard, and other compostable items in a pile in my backyard?  I’m glad you asked! Instead of laying it all out myself, I’ll let this lovely infographic from WellHome.com do the work!

How-to-Compost-infographic

So, now you have a few good reasons to start a compost pile and are familiar with some different methods. The next step is to find a spot! You can really start a pile anywhere, you don’t actually need a bin. I live in a subdivision, have a fairly small backyard, and have a toddler and a dog, so I thought a bin would be my best bet. I also suspect a neighborhood cat of eating some of my front yard flowers, so I opted for a bin with a lid.  It’s really so super easy to make your own compost bin.  Just find a container with a lid, something big enough {this bin is 30 gallons} so you can easily turn the pile when needed.

IMG_4962

After working my husband to death this weekend {he installed 2 ceiling fans and painted the rails to the futon}, I batted my eyes and asked, in the sweetest voice possible, if he would drill some holes in this plastic bin for me. Basically, you want any excess liquid to be able to drain out, so drill some holes in the bottom of your container. He also drilled holes all around the container so more air could move through.

When you’re finished with that, add your compostable items! I’ve read that you should cover the bottom with “brown” items then  add “green” items and try to keep the ratio at 3 parts brown to 1 part green, and to turn the pile once a week or so. I’m new to all of this, so we will see if this advice is correct. The stuff is going to break down regardless, and I think it’s pretty easy to correct any problems along the way.

I do want to add one more photo. While I was trying to take photos, my son insisted on getting inside the box, so I snapped some photos of him in there, but he didn’t realize how flimsy the bin was and immediately fell face-first into the dirt. This is the photo of the moment he realized it was over:

Yep, I'm about to eat dirt.

Yep, I’m about to eat dirt.

**Don’t forget to enter my current giveaway!**

Have a happy Thursday!

A Nursery for Charlie Fay

I mentioned a few posts ago that I will be converting my guest bedroom/office/sewing room into a nursery for my baby girl, who is expected to arrive in January.  I’ve been gathering ideas for her room and have pretty much decided that grey and white are going to be the main colors, with pops of bright, girly colors all over the room. Here are a few things I’ve been eyeing:

PicMonkey Collage

1. Big Band Rug – Land of Nod

2. Honeycomb Wall Shelf – Land of Nod

3. Azure Bamboo Changing Pad Cover – Aden + Anais

4. Grey Organic Crib Sheet – Giggle

5. Landscape Floor Bins – Land of Nod

Of course, I have tons of DIY’s in mind such as a cloth triangle banner for the back wall, some ledge shelving, and a few colorful canvas paintings.  I’m so excited to be having a little girl! Having a boy is super fun and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world, and now I get the amazing privilege of raising a daughter.  I’m a lucky girl.