A DIY All-Natural, Guilt-Free Fall Wreath

Fall is just around the corner, and if you have a garden you know what that means:  Fall garden cleanup!   But why not make it fun?  Today I’m sharing an amazingly simple wreath that I made last year using garden clippings that would otherwise have gone into the compost bin.

The wreath didn’t cost anything to make.  I also didn’t need to use wires, cages, or any other man-made materials so, once the season was over, the entire wreath could be composted.

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Creating The Wreath

I’d been meaning to get rid of an overly-ambitious grape plant that I’d placed along a fence.  The fence was not enough structure for the rambling beast to climb on, so I needed to prune the beast back several times every summer.

But then I saw some beautiful DIY grapevine wreaths on Instagram.  Since I had plenty of grapevines, I decided to try making my own.

And it was so simple.

 

Start With Green Vines

I used freshly cut vines that were still green and pliable.

After removing the larger leaves from the vines, I started by wrapping two vines around each other.

And then carefully forming them into the shape of the wreath.  I just kind of wove the ends around each other and tucked them in to secure them.

Then I wrapped in more vines, one by one, making sure to wrap them around any loose ends that needed to be secured so that the wreath wouldn’t unravel.  To make sure they didn’t snap, I tried not to force the vines or wrap them too tightly.

They were fun to work with.  The tendrils gave the wreath a lot of personality.

 

 

I made two of these basic wreath forms and gave one to a friend.

DIY Grapevine wreaths

I put the second one in my greenhouse for a few days until it dried.

What if I didn’t have grapevines to work with?  I’ve been meaning to experiment with other safe, non-toxic green, flexible vines and twigs.  This year I’m going to try making a wreath with the long branches of my butterfly bush – while they are still green and pliable of course.

Add Accent Foliage

The wreath form had dried to a mellow brown color and was very solid.

By then it was time to prune my hydrangeas, so I cut several hydrangea flowers on long green stems and wound those stems through the gravevine wreath – again using no wires.

The photo below shows the back of the wreath, and you can see the green hydrangea stems winding through the wreath.

DIY Grapevine wreaths

I shook the wreath a few times to make sure everything was secure.

I hung the wreath on the door, and the hydrangeas gradually dried on their own.  I’m not sure if every variety of hydrangea would dry so nicely, but I was lucky with this one.

 

The Result

The wreath looked nice and fresh for weeks.

DIY Grapevine wreaths

 

DIY Grapevine wreaths

Turns out that stupid grape plant has value after all.  So it gets to stay.

 

A Holiday Wreath

I could have simply tossed the wreath into the compost bin once the season changed.  But it was still pretty solid.  I was feeling too lazy to create a holiday wreath from scratch, so I just removed the hydrangeas and re-decorated it for Christmas.

For the holiday version, I used Deodar cedar twigs that I’d found on a walk. The long, flexible twigs worked well to wind around the grapevines.

DIY holiday wreaths

 

But I cheated this time and added wired pine cone springs (which helped secure the cedar sprigs) and a few other man-made materials that I already had on hand.

Not the best Christmas wreath I’ve ever made, but I went with it anyway.

DIY holiday wreaths

You can’t really see the grapevines, but they are under there!

Wreaths are so fun and easy to make.  If you love experimenting with them, check out some of my other wreaths – like my hoppy harvest wreath, my foraged wreath, and the wreath that the storm blew in.

 

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A DIY Old-World Concrete Garden Trough

I love anything that has an “old-world” look, and I’ve always admired the ancient-looking concrete water troughs that I’ve seen around Europe.  Many of them have been converted into garden art or planters that grace the gardens and town squares of quaint villages.

But, around here, concrete troughs usually have three significant disadvantages:  They are hard to find, they’re expensive, and they are very heavy.

So today, I’m sharing how I recently made my very own “old-world,” lightweight(ish) concrete trough.

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Starting With A Styrofoam Box

This project is not my brainchild.  I found the method years ago in a magazine – most likely Better Homes and Gardens or Martha Stewart Living.

What I loved about it was that these concrete-wrapped Styrofoam planters were lighter than similar planters made entirely out of concrete.  And it seemed like a great way to repurpose a Styrofoam container.

Back when I first came across the magazine article, I tried the method using a small rectangular Styrofoam box.  After many years, that smaller concrete planter is still holding up very well (although it’s actually too small to be of any practical use and has been relegated to the no-man’s-land behind the garage).

For this recent project, though, I used a much larger Styrofoam shipping box that had been taking up space in our basement for some time.  I’d been saving it because, measuring at 32″ X 13″ X 10″, it was just the right size to serve as the inner core for a small concrete trough.

But it was significantly larger than any of the examples I remembered seeing in the magazine article.

Would the method from the magazine work on such a large piece of Styrofoam?  I was going to find out.

The first step was to clean my Styrofoam container and pull off the strips of tape stuck to it.

Making Drain Holes

Since this cement trough would be used as a planter, I needed to put a couple of drain holes in the bottom.

Wrapping the Styrofoam Box With Wire Mesh

The next part was the hardest and most unpleasant part:  Wrapping the Styrofoam box with wire mesh.

I used galvanized, 23-gauge wire mesh (also known as hardware cloth) with 1/4 inch squares, similar to this product.

Galvanized wire mesh

Wearing heavy work gloves and long sleeves, I cut it to the sizes I needed with tin snips,

And then formed it as tightly as I could against the box, at times pounding it lightly into place with a rubber mallet,

And sometimes using a little wire to loop through and hold two adjoining sections together.

I did my best to make sure that any sharp edges were pointing inward.  I covered the entire box with wire mesh, lining the inside walls with it as well.

This all took a lot of time and, despite all my precautions, the wire did bite me a few times.

 

Covering The Wire Mesh With Concrete

I don’t remember exactly which concrete mix the magazine article recommended.  I chose to use Quikrete Sand/Topping Mix.  It’s actually meant to be used as a base for laying pavers or patching steps and walkways.  What I like about is that, when mixed with water, it has a smooth consistency.  It is for projects that will be under two inches (but not less than a half-inch) thick.  (For projects under one inch thick, it’s recommended to replace some of the mixing water with Quikrete Concrete Acrylic Fortifier.)

Wearing gloves, eye protection, and a dust mask, I just mixed small batches by hand (more on that below).

I wanted the trough to have a bit of an old-world patina, so I stirred a few drops of the Charcoal Quikrete Liquid Cement Color into the water that I used to mix the concrete.

The mixture looked darker when it was moist.

I applied it to the Styrofoam box with a trowel, making sure to press it firmly through the wire mesh and then cover the mesh completely.  I smoothed it as much as I could with the trowel.

Then I used a small whisk broom to level the concrete.

I followed that up by smoothing the concrete with a large drywall knife (because it’s what I had on hand), and it worked well.

But I was not going for perfection.  I wanted it to look a little rustic and handmade.

So why did I need to work in small batches?  Because the topping mix that I used can only successfully be applied to horizontal surfaces.  So, I could only do two “sides” at a time:  Whichever two sides were sitting horizontally.  And then that needed to sit in place and dry before I could reposition the trough to work on two more sides.

Needless to say, this project took me a few days to complete although, once I had my stride, it was only about a half hour of active time each day.  I covered the entire box, inside and out, with concrete.

At times, the project got messy and seemed to be spiraling out of control.

The bottom of the trough after cement was applied.

I was wondering if it would even hold up.

But it all worked out in the end.

 

The Result – And A Problem Solved

This new “old-world” trough helped me get a handle on the long-neglected herb container garden behind my greenhouse.

Before: The chaos of my old herb garden.

Many of the herbs had outgrown their containers or weren’t getting sufficient water.  I moved the larger herbs out of pots and planted them elsewhere in the garden. Then I cleaned up with area a little, and my husband Chris and I leveled a new spot for the trough.

And then Chris moved the trough into the area we’d prepared.  He was able to pick up and carry the trough to its new location by himself.  Had it been a solid concrete trough, there is no way he could have done that.

Once in place, we found we still needed to do a little work to the area.  I was able to tip the trough on its end to get it out of the way and then muscle it back into place by myself.

It’s not super lightweight, but it is lighter than it looks.

 

DIY concrete garden trough

My cement work is not perfect, and the color isn’t completely consistent.  But, to me, these quirks give it a bit of character.  I am hoping that it develops even more of an old-world patina over time.

DIY concrete garden trough
After: A little order in the herb garden.

 

DIY Concrete garden trough

 

Different herbs need different soil conditions and moisture.  The herbs I chose for the trough all do well in rich, moist soil.

DIY concrete garden trough

From left to right, the herbs I planted are:  Chives, tarragon, cilantro, Thai basil, and Italian parsley.

How long will this trough hold up?  Only time will tell.  I will count myself lucky if it lasts as long as the first, much smaller piece that I made using this technique.

The good news is that (although I would not advise trying this) just yesterday Chris briefly stood on the rim of the trough to reach something on the top of the greenhouse.

And the trough held up!

 

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Cute DIY Moss Pouches

No special skills are required to make these cute and natural-looking moss pouches.  And the fun thing about this project is that it is not an exact science.  If something ends up crooked or a little lopsided, it just adds to the natural look.

But if someone is looking for perfection, this may not be the right project.  When the plant is watered, the bottom of the moss pouch gets soggy – and a bit of the soil residue can even leach out.  For that reason, these moss pouches should be kept on a saucer.

Making the Pouch

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I started with a 12 X 7 piece of sheet moss (specifically, Instant Green Supermoss) and a similarly sized piece of light-duty landscape fabric.

I removed the paper backing from the sheet moss to expose the grid.

And I placed the landscape fabric over the grid where the paper backing had been.

Then I folded the moss and fabric in half so that the moss was on the inside and the landscape fabric was on the outside.  Then I pinned the sides together.

On the bottom part, where the fold was, I cut each corner at a 45-degree angle.

Then it was time to stitch.  This project was messy, with little bits of moss coming off of the sheet.  So there was no way I was going to put this into my lovely little sewing machine.  I would stitch it by hand.

Because the grid that the moss is adhered to is somewhat loosely spaced, there wasn’t much for a thread to hold on to.  So I needed to use a fairly thick thread.  I used embroidery floss (in a mossy color) and a large needle.

And I found out the hard way that, for the stitches to hold, I would need to tie big, secure knots at the beginning and end of every run of stitches.  I double- and triple-knotted everything.

With this in mind, I simply stitched up the right and left sides of the pouch and left the top un-stitched.

At this point, it looked a little like a pocket.

Now it was time to turn it right-side-out.  Because the moss tended to shed from the sheet when disturbed, this had to be done very carefully.

Now I had a moss pouch with a landscape fabric inner lining.  It was not yet ready to stand on its own, but I had a solution.

I folded the top of the pouch (approximately an inch of it) inwards all around the opening.

And then I stitched four evenly-spaced pleats into the top.

 

Simple inward-facing pleats in four locations

This was to make sure the top would stay folded inward, and it would make the pouch more likely to stand on its own.  It also gave the pouch a cute little inward curve at the top – while still providing room to place the plant and soil inside.

I coaxed and manipulated the bottom of the pouch a bit, and it was almost standing on its own – but not quite.

So I tried the simplest thing I could think of:  I placed a generous handful of decorative pebbles inside.  This weighted the bottom of the pouch enough to solve the problem.

Then I just carefully packed in some pre-moistened potting soil mix and planted a cute little Himalayan maidenhair fern and few birch twigs.  All done!

DIY moss pouch planted with a Himalayan maidenhair fern

 

At this point, with the added pre-moistened soil, the pouch was fairly stout and heavy – and it was standing on its own very well.  Still, I probably wouldn’t trust having it around rambunctious kids or pets.  Nor would I plant it with a large, top-heavy plant.

Now, it’s worth mentioning again this these moss pouches are not watertight.  When the plant is watered, the bottom leaks, so I placed them on a saucer.

 

 

I’d made several attempts at these pouches before I came up with this simple design.  So I put my earlier prototypes to good use.

I used one of them as a vase wrap:  I placed a little spike frog inside a baby food jar, added water, and placed it inside the moss pouch.  Then I added tiny cut daffodils and some twigs.

And this all went into a cute little cage I’d found recently at a thrift store.

DIY moss pouch in a decorative cage

 

The Result

I love how unstructured and natural these moss pouches look.  It’s fun to combine them with a few home decor pieces for an interesting mix of nature and refinement.

 

They will be nice for St. Patrick’s Day and then they’ll make an easy transition into Easter decor.

My smallest DIY moss pouch holds a Lemon cypress cutting and sits in a vintage dessert bowl

 

 

 

DIY moss pouch planted with a small cyclamen

 

They would also be cute as gifts or to use in the garden.

 

With the right plants and decor, I could see these moss pouches looking good in just about any season.

But how long will they hold up and actually look good? That I don’t know yet, but we will see.  One reader suggests misting the sheet moss daily to keep it green.  That makes sense and is certainly worth a try!

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

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Easy-Peasy Tulips In A Champagne Bucket

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might remember my elevated tulips floral arrangement from last year.

Tulips arranged on a cake stand

It sat on a cake stand and actually looked a little like a cake.

I love working with tulips when they are in season because they are so beautiful and affordable.  Recently, I stumbled upon a 24-stem bunch at Trader Joe’s.

So many tulips!  I decided to fill my champagne bucket with some of them in an arrangement that uses many of the same materials as the elevated tulips arrangement did – but is even simpler to put together.

 

The Materials

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I use my thrift store champagne bucket for floral arrangements all the time.  Champagne buckets make any flower or stem look so elegant.  I grew paperwhites in mine this past Christmas.

The bucket is 10 inches tall – too tall for me to just plop the tulips into.  So I would need a shallow bowl with a flat bottom that was just the right diameter to fit inside the ice bucket – near the top.  Luckily I had one.

I also needed a few decorative stones, some spike flower frogs, and my live Spanish moss.

Materials for easy-peasy tulips in a champagne bucket

 

The Method

I put the decorative stones in the bottom of the champagne bucket to weigh it down.  Now the arrangement wouldn’t be top heavy.

Then I the cut the tulips to the length I wanted them and put them on a few spike flower frogs.  I used about 11 of the tulips in this arrangement.

tulips on spike flower frogs

I set the shallow bowl inside the bucket and filled it with water.

Making easy-peasy tulips in a champagne bucket

And I carefully placed the flower frogs with tulips inside the shallow bowl.

making easy-peasy tulips in a champagne bucket

Now I just needed to conceal the bowl.  I used my live Spanish moss to give the arrangement a cute “scarf.” Live Spanish moss is an air plant, and it should appreciate the evaporated water that will come up from the shallow bowl.

Dry Spanish moss would probably also have worked for this arrangement.

champagne bucket centerpiece

All done!

The Result

Since tulips keep growing after they are cut, my arrangement got a bit leggy after a few days.

But actually that gave it a dramatic flair.

champagne bucket centerpiece

More Easy-Peasy Stuff

Recently we hosted a little birthday dinner for my mom, Erika. So, I needed a centerpiece, a cake, and a gift.  I wanted to get all fancy, but my inner voice kept warning me to “Keep it simple.”

The Centerpiece

This vintage fan vase makes arranging flowers so easy.

tulips in a vintage fan vase

There are so many fun vintage fan vases out there.  I am always tempted to add more to my vase collection.

The Cake

I made this super-easy fruit-topped almond cake.  It didn’t quite turn out looking like the photo in the recipe, but it was close.

fruit-topped almond cake

Next time I’ll use an 8-inch cake tin instead of a 9-inch so that the cake is taller.

 

The Gift

I wanted to give Mom an exotic plant to grow in her sunroom.  I was fascinated with the tree ferns I saw on our recent trip to Hawaii, but I could not find any locally.

Luckily I found a young Tasmanian Tree Fern Dicksonia antarctica at SevenTropical on Etsy.  It was surprisingly affordable, it arrived quickly, and it was a healthy plant.

And I found a hand-painted Farval overpot for it.

A young Tasmanian Tree Fern (Tasmanian Tree Fern Dicksonia antarctica) in a Farval overpot

I only wish the plant had come with care instructions.  (And maybe it did and I overlooked them.)  But that is easy to Google.

 

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A Fifteen-Minute Garland

Last December, I was on a walk and came across a beautiful branch of hemlock that had been brought down in a windstorm.

Hemlock branch

So I brought it home.  Although hemlock does tend to dry quickly and become brittle indoors, I love it because of its small and adorable pine cones.  They can add so much natural charm to holiday decor.

The twigs and pine cones on this branch draped so gracefully that I decided to make a simple garland for the archway between our living room and dining room.

Preparing the Greens

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I shook the branch off really well and sprayed it with a little peppermint oil, which is a natural insect repellent, before bringing it in.  I left it outside for little while to give any insects that might have been on the branch ample time to escape.

Creating the Garland

Creating the garland took, at most, 15 minutes.

I cut the twigs off of the branch and laid them out (on the laundry room floor) to form the length of the garland.

Hemlock garland in the making

I used 22-gauge florist wire to securely connect the twigs to one another.  Then I just wound a narrow (3/4 inch) holiday ribbon through the garland.  I concealed the florist wire with the ribbon where I could.

That was it:  The hemlock, the florist wire, and the holiday ribbon.

 

Hanging the Garland

Even with help from my husband, this part of the project took a while.  We didn’t want to damage the wall by using nails, so we (and by “we” I mean Chris) hammered little nails to the top of the picture rail.  Then “we” used clear fishing line to suspend the garland from the nails

Hemlock garland
You can see the nail in the picture rail here, but the fishing line is almost invisible.

 

DIY Hemlock garland

The nails would be easy to remove, but we left them so they can be used for other garlands and bunting.

 

The Result

The garland was very simple, but that was exactly what I was in the mood for last year:  The beauty of nature without any glitz or gaudiness.  

The draping greenery and tiny pine cones created a fun little “enchanted forest” feel.

Hemlock garland

 

Hemlock garland

 

Hemlock garland

With the remaining hemlock twigs, I made a small wreath to hang in the window.

DIy wreath

 

Hemlock Doesn’t Last Long

The garland was fine for a couple of weeks but, when I took it down, I was reminded of why, despite its charm, hemlock isn’t used much in holiday decor:  When I moved it, needles fell everywhere.

It had become very dry and brittle indeed.

So, if you do use hemlock in holiday decor, just make sure to keep it away from anything that might cause it to catch fire.

Hemlock is fun to use in fuller wreaths too, such as this foraged wreath that I made back in 2014.

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Releasing My Air Plants into the Wild – And a Spring Garden Tour

A while back, I briefly mentioned my current plant crush:  The air plant called Tillandsia usneoides (or live Spanish moss).  I’d been admiring these plants for some time, and recently I broke down and bought a few.

They are very versatile.  I even used one as the outer ring for my elevated tulips arrangement.

Elevated Tulips

Spanish moss is the mystical-looking stuff that hangs from live oak in the South.

At my house, it just hangs from a tall vase and resembles a beautiful sorceress.

Live Spanish moss
Fun trivia: Spanish moss is not really a moss, nor does it come from Spain.

 

Caring for My Spanish Moss

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Every couple of weeks, I soak the plants in water for six to eight hours.

Live Spanish moss soaking in water

Sometimes I toss a couple of small drops of plant fertilizer into the water.

After their long bath, I hang them to dry.

Live Spanish moss drip drying after soaking in water 6-8 hours
Live Spanish moss turns a beautiful shade of green when it’s wet.

Alternatively, I could mist the plants every 3 or 4 days.

This plant loves filtered sunlight and good air circulation.  In my climate, it yearns for the outdoors in spring and summer.

So recently, I decided to give the sorceress what she wanted.  I would release her into the wild.

 

Releasing My Air Plants Into the Wild

Of course it’s safety first for my beloved Spanish moss.  So the sorceress went only as far as my front porch, but at least she’s outdoors.

Live Spanish moss

 

She hangs from a potted corkscrew willow branch where soft breezes and morning sun can caress her.  My thought is that this closely resembles what she would be doing in her natural habitat.  And here, I can make sure she gets enough mist to (hopefully) stay happy and healthy.

Live Spanish moss

Kidding aside, I’m hoping to see this plant grow and multiply this summer.  With more of it, the decor possibilities are endless.

Will the birds try to use the Spanish moss for nesting material?  We will find out.  I’m whisking the sorceress indoors at the first sign of trouble.

But right now I think the lion likes her.

Front porch decor

 

porch

 

A Spring Garden Tour

These photos might have you thinking that I have some tiny modicum of  control over the garden, but don’t be fooled.  As always, chaos is winning.

So I have decided to just go with it.  If something wants to form drifts and take over, maybe that actually means less work for me?  I can kid myself anyway.

Urn in garden drifts

 

After all, it’s hard to get mad at the adorable sweet woodruff that has taken over my patio garden.

Sweet woodruff

 

Patio

 

Patio

 

Or the poppies that are everywhere.

Poppies

 

This time of year, everything is so fresh and green.

Birdbath

 

It’s amazing what a difference a couple of months can make.  Here is our front birdbath now.

Birdbath and peonies

 

And this is what it looked like during “The Big Snow” in February.

Birdbath in snow

 

And now in the shade garden, where the snow had flattened the undergrowth, the tiki is being taken over by hardy geranium.

Tiki
This Easter Island-inspired tiki was carved by Chris’s brother.

 

Over on the fence line, the bees are crazy about the blooming hebe.

fence

 

I am a pushover for topiaries because they can help bring a little structure and order to the chaos.  Recently I pruned this succulent (which spent the winter in the greenhouse) into an orderly shape.

Succulent

 

The peonies I planted last year are still scrawny, but I did get a beautiful blossom from one of them.

peony
The packaging for the peony tubers simply said “pink.” Imagine my surprise at this beauty.

This time of year, there is always plenty to do in the garden.  You could probably tell that I still have a lot of work left.  Gardening (or “taming the beast,” as I think of it) is the main reason that my blog posts are so few and far between in spring.

Thanks for visiting today and coming along on my spring garden tour.  If you get a chance, check out my Summer Gear page – one of the new “rooms” in my updated Shop.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials or endorsements.

Sources

Live Spanish moss  can be found in better plant nurseries or on Amazon.

 

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An Easy DIY Hanging Garden Sphere

The Inspiration

This past February, while Mom and I were strolling the marketplace at the annual Northwest Flower and Garden Festival, we came across a booth that had these hanging garden spheres by Rustybirds.com.

Hanging garden spheres by Rustybirds.com

 

They really appealed to me.  What a unique alternative to a hanging basket!  And they were so simple and classic that they would look great in almost any garden setting.

Unfortunately I had already spent my limit at the marketplace, so I took the photo hoping that I could find a budget-friendly way to reproduce the sphere.

I can tell you right now that I didn’t – not entirely anyway.  But I did come up with something very fun, affordable, and simple to put together.

 

The Materials

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I was hoping to use bare metal wire cages and apply the same rust technique that I used on these soup cans to get the a similar patina.

But the bargain hunter in me could not resist the $5 apiece metal baskets that I found at a local discount store.  They even came with their own coconut liners.  But they had a black vinyl coating, so the rust technique would not work on them.  Black they would stay!

Hanging baskets with coconut liners.

I took the coconut lining out of one basket – the basket that would serve as the “top half” of the sphere.

I left the lining in the other basket – the basket that would serve as the “bottom half.”  (I did trim the lining down a bit as it seemed too large).  This “bottom half” would contain soil and plants.

Then, just to help with water retention for the plants, I fitted the inside of the coconut lining with a layer of landscape fabric.

I covered the outside of the coconut lining with sheet moss.

Prepping the hanging basket.
Prepping the bottom half.

I didn’t have one large piece of sheet moss to use, so I just layered a few of the sheet moss scraps that I had onhand.

Then I added potting soil and, because the sphere would be hanging in part shade,  I planted it with New Guinea impatiens and baby tears.

Bottom half completed

 

 

Building the Sphere

So how would I fasten the two halves together?  And preferably with something that I could easily reopen?  I pondered this for some time before realizing that the chains on the baskets already had clips that would work perfectly.

I removed the chain from the “top half” basket.  That chain would not be needed.

I kept the chain on the “bottom half” basket.

Then I just attached the “top half” to the “bottom half” with the fastening clips from that chain.

This photo explains it better than I can.

The two sphere halves clipped together with the chain fasteners from the bottom half.

 

Voila!  I had my sphere.

DIY hanging garden sphere.

I’d lined up the two halves so that the wire patterns of each mirrored one another.

Now I have a strange and unique “globe” hanging on my front porch.

DIY hanging garden sphere.

It hangs at eye level from a large S-hook.

DIY hanging garden sphere

It’s early in the season, and the plants I used are still small.  So right now, the shape of the sphere is the main attraction.

To read an update of how this sphere did over the summer, click here.  To say the least, we had a few surprises.  But they were good ones!

I’ll be using this sphere for another purpose when the holidays roll around.  So stay tuned.

And as long as you’re here, hop over and check out my brother’s beautiful budget DIY garage rebuild using reclaimed materials.  I’m so proud of him!

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Elevated Tulips

I recently visited a thrift store where I spied a simple and classy silver footed cake stand.  As I was deciding if I really needed it, an announcement came over the PA that all pink-tagged items were on sale.  Since the cake stand had a pink tag, I took that as a sign that I was meant to have it.

I’ve always been a pushover for pedestals or any kind of elevated or footed container. 

And just the way a cake looks so much more impressive on an elevated stand, if I take a common, garden-variety plant, and place it in an elevated container, that somehow makes the plant look more important.

Here, elevated milk glass containers lend class to baby tears and the mystery bulb that I dug up from my garden.

So today, I am sharing the simple way that I used my silver cake stand to display a bunch of grocery store tulips.

 

The Goal

For this project, the goal was to take a small bunch of cut tulips (cost:  $1.69) and make them look like they were growing out of a moss-covered chunk of earth.  This chunk of earth would be elevated on the stand to contrast natural materials with polished elegance.

The Materials

Disclosure:  Affiliate links are used in this post.

I used five tulips, some sheet moss (my favorite go-to for floral and decor projects), a little reindeer moss, a shallow water-tight saucer (in this case, a plastic faux clay saucer), spike flower frogs, and my newly found silver cake stand. 

And I used one more surprise material that I will show you later.

The Method

It was easy.  I cut the sheet moss to size to wrap it over the top of, and around the sides of, the shallow saucer.  I tucked the ends of the sheet moss underneath the saucer.

I cut a large hole in the middle of the sheet moss so that I could place flower frogs inside the saucer. 

And then I cut the tulips to the desired height and secured them onto the flower frogs, spacing them somewhat evenly.

I placed the saucer on the cake plate and filled it with water for the tulips.

Then, using reindeer moss, I covered the hole I’d cut in the sheet moss.  This was to conceal the flower frogs.

It looked a little like a “tulip cake,” if there is such a thing.  I thought it was kind of cute, and I was tempted to leave it at that.

But I added one more thing – an outer ring of Tillandsia Usneoides

Tillandsia Usneoides (live Spanish moss) is a beautiful and amazing air plant.  It is my current obsession, and I will be writing more about it soon.  For now, let’s just say it was the icing on the cake (okay, more like the icing around the cake).

I can simply replace these tulips with new ones once they get tired – or try a different type of flower or even a combination.

And maybe one day I will use the stand for a real cake.

Resources:

Sheet Moss and Reindeer Moss can be found in craft stores and on Amazon.

Tillandsia Usneoides can be found at better nurseries and on Amazon.

Spike flower frogs can also be found in craft stores.  Vintage spike frogs are fun and collectible.  Check out this selection on Etsy.

I was lucky to happen upon that silver cake stand, so simple and elegant.  Cake stands like it probably turn up every now and then on Etsy.

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A Birthday Party and a Cake Experiment

The big snow that I talked about in my previous post has finally melted, and I can almost hear Mother Nature saying, “Now where was I? Ah yes, spring!”  

Tiny flowers in the shade garden are no worse for the wear after being buried for days under a heavy white blanket.  

Amazing.  And such a cheerful sight. 

I decided to bring some of that spring cheer indoors for a small family birthday party that I was hosting.

An Easy Spring Container Garden

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As part of the party decor, I set up this little indoor container garden.

 

I used a primrose, a fragrant hyacinth, and spike moss to fill this cute footed pot that I found at Goodwill.

After the party, the birthday girl took it home with her (which is why I included the plant tags in the container).

A Whimsical Table Setting

For the table, I used a mix of newer and vintage blue-themed Villeroy & Boch pieces.  

We’ve collected, inherited, and been given these pieces over the years.  What I love about Villeroy & Boch is that many of their patterns, even the vintage ones, are a bit playful.  They put a whimsical spin on classic china.

Repurposed Valentine’s Day Flowers 

For the centerpiece, I just used some of my Valentine’s Day roses in a vintage fan vase.

It didn’t take up much table space, and it added a little visual tension to the blue-and-white theme.

So the dinner went well, and by now my family was lulled into a false sense of security – because they had not yet seen The Cake.

 

An Experimental Orange Rum Cake 

Here I should mention that this is not a cooking blog.  And I would never, ever, claim to have expertise in baking. 

You’ll see why when I show you the birthday cake that I baked.

Syrup-infused orange rum cake.

What is that brown stuff on top?  We’ll come to that.  

I knew the birthday girl would enjoy a fruit-flavored cake with little or no frosting.  The words “orange cake” popped into my head.  So I googled it.

I found this recipe for a syrup-infused orange cake.  But instead of following the recipe for the cake, I just used a boxed yellow cake mix and substituted orange juice for the water.

Then I followed the recipe for the orange syrup portion, but I decided to make it an orange rum cake.  So I substituted some of the orange juice that the recipe called for with spiced rum.

 

 

It was all going really well.  The syrup was infusing into the cake.

It was time for the final step:  Making the glaze.  I’m not sure what I did wrong, but my glaze cooled into rock-hard clumps the minute I spread it onto the cake.  It stuck to the spatula. It stuck to my teeth.  I knew then that if I finished spreading it on the cake, I’d need a chain saw to cut into it.  So I stopped.  All done!

Next time I’ll skip that part.  I served the cake with whipped cream, and it was actually pretty tasty – for an experiment.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials or endorsements.

 

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
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