The Suburban Farmer

I love spring! The flowers are blooming, the grass is lush and green, and the leaves are popping out on the trees. The girls have been noticing all sorts of different birds that I didn’t even realize live here – robins, for one. They’re frantically looking for bird nests, but we haven’t seen one, yet.

We’ve started planting our vegetable garden and feeding all the plants in the yard, getting ready for warmer weather. I’ve given the girls their annual “bee” talk, about how we need to protect the bees and not hurt them because there aren’t as many as there should be anymore. We try to use products in the yard that are as natural as possible to help out our little pollinating friends.

With that in mind, I started a compost bin last fall. Compost bin, you ask?! Yes, I’m becoming a Suburban Farmer. I felt badly that I kept throwing away so many veggies and veggie by-products (like broccoli stems, kale stalks, carrot tops...) that I wanted to put to good use.

The soil in our backyard is virtually clay and doesn’t support life of any kind, even weeds. Every time we plant something there is a long process of mixing the clay with all sorts of additives like compost (from the store) and planting mix. And then we cross our fingers that we used enough! 

I’m hoping all the great nutrients in the compost we create will revitalize our drab soil and perk up the garden. At the very least, it won’t do it any harm. By the way, there are some pretty strict rules as to what you should and shouldn’t compost. Here’s a quick guide to follow. We kept kitchen scraps out of it (other than clean fruit and veggie waste) because the compost bin started smelling a bit funky. Not exactly what I had in mind for a nice backyard scent. Keeping bread, etc., out of there really fixed the smell.

After months of adding to the compost bin, churning it up and watering it, the time came to check out what we had created. Because we’re constantly adding to the pile, not all of it had decomposed to dirt, but the bottom third of the bin was definitely garden-ready. We put it on plants that were in need of help (two of our hydrangeas have seen better days and needed some extra nutrients) and added it to our raised vegetable bed. I thought we’d have so much more dirt, but we don’t live on a farm, so there’s a limit to how much compost we can create. Still, I am so excited about it! We’re reducing the amount of trash we send to the landfill and putting nutrients back into the soil, naturally. And the girls love finding worms after the rain to put into the bin. I love that they’re learning, in a very hand’s on way, what worms do for the earth and that we don’t need to throw everything away in the trash.

Here's a super easy tutorial that's more or less what we did. Compost bins can run into the hundreds of dollars, crazy. We bought a $10 trash bin at Lowes, drilled some holes, and secured the top with a strap so critters wouldn't pry it open. Quick and easy! Plus, once it gets too heavy, you can push it on its side and roll it around to mix up the contents.

I started a Compost Pinterest board so I would feel like I knew what I was doing. I’m ever the researcher/planner.

And, not surprisingly, there are a ton of counter-top bins to put your waste in before hauling it out to the yard. Now your compost can look pretty on the counter!

Here’s to creating compost bins and dirt of your very own!

Valentine Buys and Craft Ideas

With Valentine's Day only a week away, I'm setting the mood at home by baking heart cookies, bringing out my Valentine's XO Wreath, and diving head first into Valentine crafts with the girls

On a personal love-note, my husband and I just celebrated the 15 year anniversary of our first date. How did that happen so quickly?! I still feel like we're in college and haven't aged that much. Time flies when you're having fun and in love!

Buys

I thought I'd do a quick round up of some fun love-themed gifts and decor to help everyone else get into the mood. They're not your traditional romantic gifts, these are a little more fun and lighthearted. Because after 15 years, that's what love is, right?! Hope these spark a little V-Day love in your worlds!

Craft Ideas

It wouldn't be a holiday if I didn't have some DIY on the menu. I found some new Valentine crafts that would be so fun to do! I'm hoping I have some time this weekend to get one of them done. Find even more ideas from years past here. Cheer's to Crafting Love.

Spring Fling

It's officially here! 

Spring break is this week (as much as a preschooler who goes only two mornings a week can even understand what spring break is), Easter is over, and my spring updates have begun. I've retired my winter-white bedding for the season, fallen in love with touches of pink and copper, and I'm imagining all sorts of updates I can do in the house on-the-cheap.

I don't know if it's cabin fever, but I've been feeling so restless lately! Not only do I feel like my home decor is getting stale, but I'm cleaning up a storm - I was even dreaming of cleaning the entire refrigerator last night, not a good sign. They do say "Spring Cleaning", clearly for a reason and maybe its not just because things are dirty.

In the hopes of putting my craziness behind me, I've brought out my spring bedding, an ancient Anthropologie duvet cover and shams that I fell in love with years ago and just can't shake my love for. It screams spring to me, serene and calm.

My very-much-loved Anthropologie duvet cover

My very-much-loved Anthropologie duvet cover

It's amazing how a quick trip to the linen closet can make my bedroom feel fresh and ready for great weather. Gotta love shopping my home!

I did make a small investment to update the family room with pink accented pillows from World Market. They have such a fun selection of pillows that aren't crazy expensive. On my pillow trip I even found a copper accented mirror for the family room. I'm not sure what has sparked my sudden desire to decorate with pink, but it feels much more fun than the browns I previously had and puts a smile on my face.

My trio of frames in the kitchen have also gotten their seasonal update. They are the Ikea Ribba frame in walnut (unfortunately a discontinued color). The 12"x12" opening is perfect for scrapbook paper that I can change out whenever the mood strikes. They are red patterned Ikat, stripes and Chevron stripes right now.

Another way I'm looking to freshen up the house it to search for wall art/decor for the master bedroom. I stumbled upon a great Elle Decor post about downloading free prints and framing them inexpensively. I hadn't thought to do this, LOVE IT!

I'm also still hoping to get my paper towel roll art put together for above one of the dressers in our master bedroom; hopefully before my towel roll stash explodes out of the bag - I'm great at saving them, just not so great at getting my act together to use them! So, I have two good projects ahead of me. I'll keep you posted! 

Check out my Pinterest board for more spring updates that may just inspire you, too!

Easter Round-Up

Maybe it was residual winter clouding my brain, but I feel like I've been living under a rock the past few weeks - uninspired to do much of anything crafty or design-worthy. I had at least three projects I wanted to do for Easter, but didn't even break them out of the bag! So sad.

I did grab two craft projects at Target that I could do with Toddler G. Thank goodness, otherwise my funk would have put a cloud on her Easter!

My everyday moss wreath dressed up with left-over pink ribbon and some of the Target rabbit crafts I did with Toddler G

My everyday moss wreath dressed up with left-over pink ribbon and some of the Target rabbit crafts I did with Toddler G

Here's to being more inspired now that I feel like spring has arrived!

Let the Walls Do the Talking

I must be preoccupied with the blank walls in my home, because all I think about is paint, art work, mirrors, anything related to dressing my walls. 
I recently bought a set of sea urchins from Target and am loving them on the wall!

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Since hanging them up and being absolutely pleased with how they look, I've been all about 3D art.
I've spent hours searching high and low to come up with a few collections of items that would be fun to hang on the wall that isn't the traditional piece of framed art. Here are some that really struck a chord with me:

Wall Discs of all Sorts

Collections of Objects

Animal Sculptures

These are so much better than the taxidermy sort, at least in my opinion.

Wall Plates

I've never been one to collect plates, but in my wall decor search I found that One Kings Lane has a ridiculous amount, all styles and shapes! It got me thinking, when I was growing up my mother had a tremendous Scandinavian plate collection on the kitchen wall. I had to throw one into my Wall Plate gallery as a nod to her, love you mom!

From Circles to Squares and Other Shapes

I know there's a lot, but I couldn't resist. There are so many options that its mind boggling. Which are your favorites? I'd love to know!