Category Archives: Reusing

Bless This Hizzy: A Not-So-Traditional Embroidery Project

photo (1)Floating around the internet last fall was a picture of a cross stitch that I knew I had to recreate. I saw it and knew there was a place for it in my living room – a juxtaposition of two themes, the traditional and the modern. This is the world I live in – I love both old school homesteading traditions and sassy pop culture. I also love that there’s more to this picture than meets the eye. If you’re not looking closely enough, you’ll think it’s just a traditional sampler, but take a closer look and you’ll see it has a little more personality.

IMG_3574Since I’m not a cross stitcher, I decided to embroider my wall hanging instead. I printed out a picture of the cross stitch that I saw online  and then I worked to make it my own. I wanted the first and second line to rhyme, so I changed the bottom line to “fo shizzy.”

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IMG_3575After tracing the design with sharpie so I could see it better, I flipped it over, so it was backwards, and traced it onto another piece of paper with an iron transfer pencil (like this one)Be sure to trace the design outlines a couple times so that you end up with thick lines that will transfer well when ironed. Iron the design on to a piece of canvas.

IMG_3581Embroider your design. I used the chain stitch for the outside border, the satin stitch for the heart flowers and door, the backstitch for the lettering and the blanket stitch for the roof. My roof ended up looking a little “rustic” and if I were to do it over again, I would probably use a different stitch. But as it is, it’s got character.

IMG_3897I love the barn wood frames at Artist and Craftsman and thought it would be a good fit for this type of art. I took my embroidery and the frame to get it matted and set professionally and the result was fantastic.

IMG_3893Now that this is completed though, I need a new project for the rainy days of fall. What are you crafting these days? What projects are on your to-make list this fall?

Check out my craft board on Pinterest to see my to-make list.

Want to use my template? Click the button below to buy it for $0.99 and I’ll email you a pdf version of mine.




5 Reasons Why Wine Bottle Raised Beds Are the Best!

wine_pathIf I had a nickel for every time someone asked me if I had fun drinking the wine for my bottle-raised bed, I’d be a rich woman. The truth is while I did contribute a few bottles to the project, most of them were donated. The wine bottle raised bed that I created in the front yard is a conversation starter, for sure. Folks are always asking me what they’re for. So, here it is – the wine bottle raised bed lowdown and why I think you should make one!

beforeafter1. Ease – Building a wine bottle bed is easy and there are no tools required! Ok. That’s only sort of true. I used a garden hand tool ( like this hand weeder) to get some of the holes started. I created a “pilot hole” and then pushed the bottle firmly into the ground until the shoulders of the bottle touched the ground. I built my wine bottle bed as a raised bed – a contained border that holds “new” soil. The bottles help to contain the new garden soil and compost I loaded in.

Picnik-collage2. Sustainability – Recycling people’s wine bottles as the material for my raised bed meant I saved the lumber I’d normally use. The bottles stay out of the recycle plant and work in my garden instead.

upclose3. Drainage – Installing the wine bottles side by side allows for good drainage since there will naturally be a small space between each bottle.

wine_bottles4. Longevity – When I first installed my bed, someone asked about them breaking in the winter. They didn’t break last winter and are not filled with water, so I’m not worried about freezing water expanding and breaking the bottles. Also, glass takes hundreds of years (this resource says one million years!!) to decompose. That means they should last a hell of a lot longer than my wood raised beds. I’ll take it!

terrarium5.  Beauty – You already know I have a thing for glass art (check out my mosaic mural), so I think the bottles themselves look beautiful. But then, little ferns start growing in them, creating natural and unexpected terrariums and they become even more delightful! This has happened in almost every one of the clear wine bottles – it makes me smile every time I see it! As if I needed another reason to love this raised bed!

*Photo credit: The last two photos in this post were taking by my friend, Holli, at Holliwithani.com

Old TOMS Make Good Planters

Toms2No one at the Goodwill would ever step foot in my old TOMS. There was no way I could give them away. To describe them as worn out would be an understatement. They pounded the pavement for over a year to many fun places – Seattle, Asheville, Atlanta, Nashville. But they were Shabby with a capital S. It was time to get a new pair, yet I couldn’t bear to just throw the old ones away. What’s an earth-conscious gardener to do? Plant in them, that’s what. In about 15 minutes, my old Toms became hanging planters.

Toms_CollageFirst, I screwed them into the side of the garage. On the second shoe, I learned not to drill too far – you’ll drill right through the sole if you’re not careful.

DirtNext, I filled the toe part of the shoe about 1/3 of the way full with organic potting soil. Then, I gingerly set an everbearing strawberry plant into the shoe and poured some more potting soil in around it. I gently pressed the strawberry in place.

Toms1I watered those bad boys and my upcycled shoe planters were complete! The cloth provided the perfect amount of water retention and drainage! Win! Plus, from some views, they look like they’re walking down the garage, which makes me giggle. Functional upcycling + garden nerd levity. Win, win!

Build a Gutter Garden in Just Two Hours!

This image was floating around the urban farm social media pages a few weeks ago.

strawberriesAnd even though I have been wanting to build a gutter garden for a long time, this picture was just the kick in the butt I needed to spring into action.

IMG_4012Truth be told, this project took surprisingly LESS time than I expected. I sweet talked my dad into helping me and including our quick trip to the hardware store to get supplies, the whole thing probably took about two hours!

IMG_3994I was already prepared with soil and strawberries, so that did cut down on hands-on time. I hit up my favorite bare root plant sale earlier that week and ended up with about 50 strawberry starts for $14! Visions of strawberry rhubarb pie dance in my head!

IMG_3974Gutter gardens are a popular way to grow food in a small space. I started with strawberries, but I’m already planning to install more for leafy greens. If it’s a plant with a shallow root system, gutters are the perfect fit! The wall of my house, which borders my side yard, is about to get to work growing food – wasted space no more!

IMG_3987I bought two 10-foot gutters, cut them in half using my handy metal snippers and drilled a few holes in each one for drainage. I bought enough end caps to make four 5-foot gutter gardens. Glue the end caps onto the gutters – they’ll pop off the moment you pack the soil in a little too vigorously. Lesson learned.

screwWhen I started the project, I had no idea how we were going to attach them to the wall, but then I discovered that there are these super handy clip things that fit into the gutter with a screw already in place! I had to go back to the hardware store to buy a special screw driver bit to screw them in, but other than that, the installation was a breeze! I am fully confident the three screws I used for each 5 foot section of gutter will hold the weight of the soil and strawberries.

IMG_3962IMG_4006Now, I just have to hurry up and wait for the once empty, white wall to become a delicious shade of strawberry red. What are you waiting for? You should grow a gutter garden too!

For more information on growing strawberries, check out this helpful article.

*Bountiful strawberry gutter image from here