A Minimalist Nature-Inspired Holiday Wreath

I didn’t think I was going to get around to making a holiday wreath at all this season, but a recent walk in the neighborhood after a snowfall changed my mind. A large fir tree branch had come down, and with it some attractive cones.

So I brought it home.

I used it in some simple front porch decor, which I’ll talk about later, but there was plenty left over for a wreath.

So this is how I made my wreath.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more on my affiliate links, please see this page.

A Homemade Grapevine Wreath

For the past few years, most of my wreaths have had a homemade grapevine wreath as the foundation.

One of my earlier DIY grapevine wreaths

Grapevine wreaths are so easy to make, and I talk about the process more in this post.  It was time to cut my grapevine back for the season anyway, so I just used the clippings to create a simple wreath to go with the fir greens.

A DIY grapevine wreath and fir tree clippings

The beauty of the grapevine wreath is that the vines are loosely woven around one another, so no wires or strings are needed.


Tuck In The Fir Greens

Then I tucked in the fir greens, winding the stems through the grapevines to secure them.

As you can see, I was keeping it very minimalist.  I wanted the greenery to be only on one side of the wreath.

Add Color

Usually my wreaths cost me nothing to make because I only use greens from my own garden or ones that I foraged on a walk.  But this time I splurged – sort of.  The great thing about procrastinating on holiday decorating is that, by the time I get around to actually needing something, it’s usually on sale.

Like these dried orange slices.

And these faux berries.

I am not sure what kind of berries they are intended to be, but I am guessing they are rose hips – although they look more like tiny pomegranates.

I set about adding the faux rose hips and dried orange slices to the wreath.  The rose hips were on flexible wires, so they were easy to secure.

I had never worked with dried orange slices before, and I learned that they are a bit delicate and brittle. The best way I found to attach them to the wreath was to loop some wire through them – making sure to include the rind since it was more durable than the fruit part.

Adding wire to a dried orange slice before securing it to the wreath

And then attaching them to the wreath.

After I finished the wreath, I gave it a good shake to make sure everything was secure.

The Result

I had originally intended to make an asymmetrical wreath – with the greenery covering one side.  But, once it was finished, I liked it better with the greenery at the bottom of the wreath instead.

So now I have this.

I did a simple satin ribbon with no bow because I prefer it that way, but a bow could certainly be attached as well. Or the ribbon and bow could be skipped altogether.



The Rest Of The Foraged Fir Branch

The fir branch helped me redesign my front porch planters for winter. Last spring, I did a new mixed planting of annuals in the planters. (The details of that project, and the plant list, are in this post.)

The plants did well all summer and into fall.  But, as of about a week ago, the only plants still thriving were the dusty millers.  Apparently they can tolerate some frost and cold.

So I took everything else out of the planters and left the dusty millers. I propped them up with some gold-painted branches that I’ve had in storage for years.

And then I just added the fir branches and some clippings from two different cypress trees that grow in our garden.  I just pushed the clippings into the soil.

Finally, I added a few pinecones and some faux berries from storage.

The planters don’t look spectacular, but it is a nice natural look that will get us through the winter season. And, at a cost of zero, it was a budget-friendly project.

Nature-Inspired Gifts

So if I can make a nature-inspired wreath, why not wrap up a few nature-inspired gifts?

And especially since, often times, natural or eco-friendly gifts are made by small companies of artisans.  I’d be helping to support the “little guy,” and I always love that.

Here are just a few of the gift ideas that have me dreaming today.

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Gifts for Warmth and Comfort

Seeing these comfy-looking organic handmade wool slippers by Haussimple Wool makes me want to curl up with a good book.


Eco Handmade Unisex Organic Wool Slippers House Slippers for Natural Brown
Photo courtesy of Haussimple Wool


I’m guessing even the woman who has everything might not have these natural yak woolen gloves by Handcombed.

Eco gloves; photo courtesy of Handcombed.


An Oatmeal and Honey Deluxe Bath Bomb by CopperCatApothecary would make a fun stocking stuffer for someone who needs a little pampering.

Oatmeal and honey bath bombs; photo courtesy of CopperCatApothecary.

Gifts for the Cook/Baker

It seems embossed rolling pins are everywhere this year.  This “Herbs” rolling pin by MoodForWood is designed and made in Poland using wood from environmentally responsible sources.

“Herbs” embossed rolling pin; photo courtesy of MoodForWood.


These spools of eco-friendly cotton baker’s twine by The StitchinKitchen would make wonderful – and affordable – hostess gifts or stocking stuffers for cooks or crafters. And the adorable wooden spools can be reused after the twine is gone.

Wood Spools of Baker's Twine Colored Twine Craft Twine image 2
Photo courtesy of TheStitchinKitchen


I love the look of BackBayPottery’s four-cup batter bowl, which is handmade in California.

Batter bowl; photo courtesy of BackBayPottery.

Gifts for the Bird Watcher

Bird nesters seem like a great way to attract birds to the garden by providing them with fibers to build their nests.  I love how this llama fiber bird nester by Evergreen Oasis Farm has an eco-friendly grapevine cage.

Alpaca fleece nesting ball Grapevine nesting balls Bird image 1
Photo courtesy of Evergreen Oasis Farm


This hanging wild bird seed feeder by Birdzy Shop doubles as yard art and a conversation piece for bird lovers.

Owl Hanging Wild Bird Seed Feeder Bird Lover Gift image 1
Photo courtesy of Birdzy Shop


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

Want to see more? Check out my photo gallery, where you can browse my posts by category.




A Foraged Thanksgiving Centerpiece

It seems that festive holiday decor creeps into our homes earlier every year. And, in the process, the beautiful fall season gets rushed and overlooked. This year, I’m making an effort to slow down and fully appreciate the fall season. So, in that spirit, I’m sharing a Thanksgiving centerpiece that I put together using only a sugar pumpkin and foliage that I foraged from my fall garden.

Preparing The Pumpkin

At a local grocery store, sugar pumpkins were marked down to a post-Halloween price of only 25 cents each.  I got two and used one for this centerpiece.

I cut off the top and scooped out the seeds and goop.  With a small water-filled glass beaker set inside to contain the foliage, the pumpkin would serve as the vessel for the centerpiece.

The small glass beaker gets filled with water and set inside the pumpkin

Foraging For Decor

I roamed my garden looking for anything that still looked fresh or had great color.  The first things to catch my eye were hydrangea blossoms. They were the same variety that I used in this wreath a couple of years ago.

The blossoms dried nicely on that wreath and looked beautiful for weeks.



I kept looking – for fall color, berries, pinecones, grasses, seed heads, anything with fall interest.  It was a small pumpkin so I wouldn’t need a huge amount of foliage.

Here is what I came up with.

The Centerpiece



A Douglas fir sprig with a pinecone, hydrangeas, and a berry-laden shrub helped to bring color and texture to this centerpiece

For some reason, my pineapple sage plants are blooming very late this year.  They don’t seem a bit deterred by the morning frost we’ve been having.

So I used those red blossoms along with straw-colored grasses and sprigs of the dried seed heads that I had gathered from a gorgeous hike we’d been on several weeks ago.

Abundant dried seed heads and grasses in this meadow

Centerpieces are seen from all sides.  Here is the reverse of this centerpiece.

Maybe I’m too practical, but sprawling Thanksgiving tablescapes don’t make much sense to me.  There are so many serving dishes that compete with them for space on the table.  I prefer something more compact.



This pumpkin could leak, so I have a saucer under it.  And, of course, a hollowed pumpkin vessel won’t last long. This centerpiece is for me to enjoy now – almost a week prior to Thanksgiving.  I got the second sugar pumpkin because I will be making a fresh centerpiece for the actual Thanksgiving holiday.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving!

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

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3 Simple Budget Paint Projects That Help Boost A Home’s Character

I must begin this post by apologizing for not sharing anything on my blog for a very long time. There was was so much that I wanted to share but no time to actually sit down and write about it.

One of the things keeping us busy has been a small 1920s cottage that we manage.

It had been continuously occupied for many years, but this summer it became vacant. And that was our chance to finally get in there to do a little maintenance and make some upgrades.

So today I’m sharing three very simple budget paint projects that helped boost the charm and character of this adorable little cottage.

This post contains affiliate links.  For more on my affiliate links, please see this page.

1.  Bi-Color Exterior Window Trim

One of the not-so-cute things about this little cottage is that it has vinyl siding that cannot be painted. I would call the color of the siding “faded tan” for lack of a better description.  The original siding is still underneath so, yes, we’ve considered removing the vinyl siding to see what kind of condition it is in.  But a project like that is real roll of the dice, so we’ll save that for another time.

The vinyl siding needs almost no maintenance, but the wooden window trim was in need of a repaint.  Chris sanded and prepped all of the windows for paint.

The house has its cute, original mullioned windows. So, to highlight them, we decided to go with a bi-color paint scheme when repainting the trim.

This is such a simple way of adding charm to a home’s exterior.

The colors we used were Behr Palais White (GR-W15) and PPG Pine Garland (1126-6). These colors soften the utilitarian look of the vinyl siding – and they make the mullioned windows pop.

The front door received the same treatment.

Not every window lends itself to this bi-color trim paint treatment, but luckily these did.


2. Painting The Interior Of Built-Ins A Contrasting Color

The kitchen has a cute built-in hutch.

The hutch interior was a bit worn and needed a paint touch-up.  But we didn’t have any of the white paint left. What I did have was plenty of PPG Periwinkle Blue (30BB 33/235) left over from my living room refresh.  So, rather than trying to match the existing white, I used that color on the cabinet interior to create some contrast.

The periwinkle blue works with both the wall color and the white of the hutch’s exterior frame.

It’s just enough of a contrast to set off that fun vintage frame.

I used a small paint brush for the corners and crevices. To get a smoother surface than a paint brush or roller could give me, I used this little paint tool to cover the flat surfaces.

This project added a touch of charm to the kitchen and, since I used paint we already had on hand, it cost us nothing.


3. New House Numbers

It was finally time to do something about these bland little house numbers that hung next to the front door.

Besides being unattractive, they were too small to easily see from the street.

So I got an inexpensive wooden plaque from a local craft store. Because of the space between the front door and the window, the plaque couldn’t be wider than about 9 inches.

I wanted art deco house numbers to honor the era of the house, but many of the art deco stencils I found were stylized to the point of being a bit difficult to read.  I finally found this stencil, which walked the fine line between style and practicality.

I painted the plaque with the Palais White trim paint and then experimented on the back of the plaque with several application methods for the numbers.  I ended up spray painting them with a gloss black spray paint that we had on hand.

I didn’t enjoy this project as much as I thought I would.  The stencil, while probably great for other types of crafts, didn’t work super well for my spray paint application. Even though I carefully masked everything within an inch of its life, I still got a bit of overspray that needed to be touched up with the white paint.

But someone with more advanced stenciling skills would probably breeze through a project like this – which is why I included it in this list of simple paint projects.

Anyway, this project worked out reasonably well in the end, and it definitely lends more charm to the front entrance than those dingy aluminum-framed numbers.

This project had me obsessing over house numbers and the impact they make on the overall look of an older home.  So I created this companion post, which features some of the beautiful and period-appropriate house number plaques I found for older homes.  If you’re looking for house-number inspiration, check it out.

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

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Vintage-Inspired House Numbers For Older Homes

Whatever the architectural style of a house, carefully chosen address numbers can help to support it. They set the tone and aesthetic even before visitors reach the front door.

Older homes especially benefit from period-appropriate address numbers –  whether that house is a colonial brownstone, a brick Tudor, a craftsman bungalow, a whimsical little cottage, or a midcentury ranch.

This post contains affiliate links.  For more on my affiliate links, please see this page.

Here are a few of my favorite vintage-inspired address plaques by the talented craftspeople on Etsy.

Mucha Art Nouveau Whimsical Home Numbers Address Plaque image 1 Art Nouveau Copper house number Plaque 6/150mm high image 1 Art Nouveau Cast Bronze Square House Door Number Sign Address image 1
Beelman Inspired Address Sign Engraved Designer House Numbers. image 1 Rustic Address Sign Farmhouse Decor House Sign Personalized image 1 Mid Century Metal House Number Sign Modern Address Sign with image 2
Contemporary House numbers address Sign House Plaque image 1 House Numbers Address Tiles Framed Set Custom Address Tiles image 1 Metal house numbers address plaque housewarming gifts image 1

I came across these finds while searching for address numbers for a 1920s cottage that we are sprucing up.  For that cottage, I ended up taking a DIY approach to the house numbers by using paint.  Check out that project, and two other paint projects, in this companion post.

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

Want to see more? Check out my photo gallery, where you can browse my posts by category.


How to Improve Your Backyard: Tips for a Beautiful Outdoor Space

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Your backyard is an extension of your home. Just like you would take care of the inside of your house, it’s essential to take care of the outside as well. A beautiful and well-maintained backyard can be a great place to relax and escape the stresses of everyday life. This post covers a few design tips for improving your backyard and making it into a space you’ll love spending time in.

1. Start With A Plan

Before you start making changes to your backyard, it’s important to have a plan. What do you want your backyard to look like? What kind of activities do you want to be able to do in your backyard? Once you have a vision for your backyard, you can start to make changes that will help turn that vision into a reality.


2. Choose The Right Plants

One of the most important aspects of creating a beautiful backyard is choosing the right plants. Not all plants are created equal, and some will be better suited to your specific climate and soil type than others. Doing some research on which plants will work best in your area will go a long way in helping you create a backyard that looks and feels amazing.

3. Elevate The Yard With A Walkway

Consider adding a walkway if you want to add some visual interest to your backyard. Walkways can be made from a variety of materials, including stone, Mexican saltillo tile, brick, or even concrete. They can also be designed in a variety of different styles to suit your taste. Adding a walkway to your backyard will not only make it more visually appealing but will also make it more functional.

4. Add Some Shade With Trees Or An Awning

If your backyard doesn’t have much tree cover, consider adding some shade. Planting trees can provide much-needed shade in the summer months, and they can also add some beauty to your backyard. If you don’t want to plant trees, you could also add an awning or pergola. These structures will provide shade and can also be used as a place to hang plants or lanterns.

5. Create A Focal Point

Every great backyard has a focal point. This usually draws the eye and serves as a starting point for the rest of the backyard design. A fountain, statue, or piece of art can make a great focal point. Alternatively, you could use a fire pit or outdoor kitchen as your backyard’s focal point.

6. Add Some Privacy With Fencing

If you’re looking for ways to improve the privacy of your backyard, fencing is a great option. There are various fence types and materials to choose from, so you can find something that fits your taste and your budget. A well-designed fence can also add some visual interest to your backyard.

7. Work With What Space You Have

If you have a small backyard, don’t despair! There are still plenty of ways to improve it. Instead of trying to fit too much into your space, focus on creating a few key areas. For example, you could create a seating area for entertaining, a spot for gardening, or a place for your kids to play.


Taking the time to improve your backyard can be a great way to make your home more enjoyable. These tips should help you create the backyard of your dreams!

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

Want to see more? Check out my photo gallery, where you can browse my posts by category.


6 Tips For An Energy Efficient Home This Winter

The following is a collaborative post.  For more on my collaborative posts, please see this page.

Winter is upon us and with it comes the need to think about how we can make our homes more energy efficient. Being energy efficient means that we are using less energy to heat and cool our homes, which in turn saves us money on our utility bills. It also helps to reduce our carbon footprint and protect the environment.

There are a number of things that we can do to make our homes more energy efficient this winter. Here are just a few tips to make your home more energy efficient this winter:

1. Get A Home Energy Audit

Getting an energy audit is the first step to making your home more energy efficient. An energy auditor will come to your home and assess how well it is insulated and what areas need improvement. They could also recommend ways to make your heating and cooling systems more efficient. You might skip this step because you think your home is already energy efficient, but getting an audit will give you a better idea of where your home stands and what improvements can be made so be sure to get one.

2. Check For Drafts

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Another way to make your home more energy efficient is by checking for drafts and sealing them up. Did you know that roughly around 20% of the heat in your home is lost through drafts? You can check for drafts by holding a lit candle near doors and windows. If the flame flickers, then you have a draft.

Sealing up drafts is one of the most effective ways to make your home more energy efficient. Drafty windows and doors can let a lot of heat escape, so it’s important to seal them up. You can usually do this yourself with weatherstripping or caulk.

3. Add Insulation

One of the main ways to make your home more energy efficient is to upgrade your insulation. If your home is not well insulated, heat will escape through the walls and roof and you’ll end up spending more money to heat your home. If you live in an older home, chances are it could use some more insulation.

Adding insulation to your attic is one of the best ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency. You can also add insulation to your walls and crawl spaces. But insulating your home on your own can be a big job, so you might want to hire a professional service such as iFoam in Greater Tulsa to do it for you

4. Lower The Temperature

One of the easiest ways to save energy is to simply lower the temperature on your thermostat. You can also lower the temperature at night or when you’re not home so you’re not wasting money heating an empty house. Just make sure you dress warmly if you lower the temperature too much!

For every degree you lower the temperature, you can save up to 5% on your energy bill.

5. Get A Smart Thermostat

Photo by Erik Mclean from Pexels

A great way to save energy and money is to upgrade to a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats can save you up to 30% on your energy bill, so it’s also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. With a smart thermostat, you can control the temperature of your home from your phone so you can make sure your home is always at a comfortable temperature.

6. Educate Your Family And Friends About Conserving Energy

Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

One of the best ways to save energy is to educate your loved ones about it. Show them how easy it is to save power without making any big changes and see how much of a difference it makes. You can start by showing them this list of tips on how to conserve energy and save money. Teach them about the benefits of conserving energy and how it can help the environment. Who knows, maybe they’ll even start conserving energy themselves!

Winter is coming. And with it, higher energy bills. But there are things you can do to make your home more energy efficient and keep your costs down. Some are simple and easy, while others require a little more effort. With the tips above, you’ll be on your way to an energy-efficient home in no time!

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

Want to see more? Check out my photo gallery, where you can browse my posts by category.


Lighting Tips For Designing A Warm And Welcoming Outdoor Living Space

The following is a collaborative post.  For more on my collaborative posts, please see this page.

Summertime is the perfect time to enjoy your outdoor living space! A well-designed outdoor living space can be a great place to relax and entertain guests. If you’re looking for some tips on how to create a warm and welcoming outdoor space, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we will discuss some of our favorite tips for creating an inviting outdoor living area. So, read on and get inspired!

1. Enhance Your Overall Outdoor Living Space Look Through Event Lighting

Photo by Greg Gulik from Pexels

One way to really enhance the look of your outdoor space is by incorporating event lighting. This can range from string lights hung overhead to lanterns placed around the perimeter of the outdoor area. Event lighting creates a warm and inviting atmosphere that is perfect for entertaining guests. Additionally, it enables you to use your outdoor area later into the night.

What types of lighting should you be using?

– globe string lights

– outdoor lanterns

– outdoor sconces

– solar lights

If you’re looking for some tips on how to create a warm and welcoming outdoor space, event lighting is a great place to start. By incorporating globe string lights, outdoor lanterns, or outdoor sconces into your design, you can create an inviting atmosphere that is perfect for entertaining guests. Solar lights are also a fantastic choice if you want to enjoy your outside space later in the evening. Therefore, don’t be scared to experiment with various lighting options to see which one suits your environment the most.

2. Light Up Your Patio

Photo by Nehongraphy from Pexels

Another great way to make your outdoor space more inviting is to add some outdoor lighting. There are a number of different ways to do this, so you can really get creative. You could install outdoor sconces along your patio, hang lanterns from trees or eaves, or even place candles around your seating area. Whatever you do, just be sure to add enough light so that your guests can see and enjoy the space.

There are a few different things to consider when choosing outdoor lights for your space. First, think about the overall atmosphere you’re trying to create. If you want a more relaxed vibe, candles or string lights might be the way to go. But if you’re looking to light up your outdoor space for entertaining, you’ll need something a bit brighter. Second, consider the practicality of your outdoor lighting choices. Will your guests need enough light to see while they’re walking around? Will you need extra light for cooking or grilling? Keep these things in mind as you make your selections.

3. Add Landscape Lighting

Photo by thanhhoa tran from Pexels

If you have a garden or other landscaping features in your outdoor space, adding some landscape lighting can really make the space shine. Path lights are a great way to light up walkways and gardens, while spotlights can highlight special features like sculptures or water features. You can even use string lights to create a magical look in your garden. No matter how you choose to do it, landscape lighting is sure to take your outdoor space to the next level.

Which types of lighting should you use? Well, that depends on the overall look you’re going for. If you want a more natural look, solar lights might be the way to go. But if you’re looking for something a bit more dramatic, electric lights will give you the bright illumination you need. Just be sure to consider the cost and maintenance of each type of lighting before making your final decision.

4. Ambient Lighting For Comfort

In addition to outdoor lighting, another great way to make your outdoor living space more inviting is to add some ambient lighting. This can be done in a number of ways, but one of the most popular is to use outdoor string lights. You could also use lanterns, candles, or even tiki torches to create an ambient light source. Just be sure not to go overboard- too much light can be just as off-putting as too little.

When it comes to choosing an ambient light source, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, consider the overall mood you’re trying to create. If you want a relaxed atmosphere, candles or tiki torches might be the way to go. But if you’re looking for something a bit more festive, string lights would be a better choice. Second, think about the practicality of your chosen light source. If you’re using candles, for example, you’ll need to make sure they’re placed in safe locations where they won’t start a fire. Tiki torches also need to be used carefully, as they can be a safety hazard if not used correctly. Keep these things in mind as you choose an ambient light source for your outdoor living space.

5. Post Lights Or Flood Lights For Privacy And Security

If you’re looking for a way to add both privacy and security to your outdoor living space, post lights or floodlights are a great option. These lights can be placed around the perimeter of your patio or deck, and they’ll provide enough light to deter intruders while still allowing you and your guests to enjoy the space. Just be sure to place them in strategic locations so that they don’t become a nuisance.

When it comes to choosing post lights or floodlights, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, consider the overall style of your outdoor living space. If you have a more modern aesthetic, sleek and simple post light would be a good choice. But if you have a more rustic space, antique-style floodlights would be a better option. Second, think about the level of light you want. If you’re looking for a bright light source, floodlights would be the way to go. But if you want something a bit more subdued, post lights would be a better choice. Keep these things in mind as you make your selection.

We hope these tips have inspired you to create a warm and welcoming outdoor space of your own. Be sure to experiment with different lighting options to find what works best for you. And don’t forget to have fun! After all, that’s what outdoor living is all about. If you need professional help in imagining your outdoor space lighting, a service such as Blingle! can help you transform your outdoors.

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

Want to see more? Check out my photo gallery, where you can browse my posts by category.


10 Ways To Give Your Garden A Makeover

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Does your garden look a little lackluster? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. With a little time and effort, you can have the luscious landscape you’ve always wanted.

All you need are some basic gardening tools, a little know-how and, of course, some inspiration.

To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of 10 landscaping tips that will give your garden the makeover it deserves.

1. Get Rid of Dead Plants and Weeds

The first step in giving your garden a makeover is to get rid of any dead plants, tree branches, or weeds. Not only do they look unsightly, but they can also spread disease to healthy plants.  Roll Off Containers are a convenient option for disposing of large amounts of garden debris.

2. Plant Some Trees

Trees are not only beautiful, but they also provide much-needed shade and privacy. If your yard doesn’t have any trees, consider planting a few. Just make sure to do your research first, so you choose the right trees for your climate and space.

3. Add Some Color

Flowers are a great way to add color and life to your landscape. If you’re not sure where to start, check out these flower gardening tips.

4. Create Interesting Borders

Edging is a simple way to create visual interest in your garden. You can use stone, brick, or even metal to create borders around your flowers or other plants.

5. Use Mulch

Mulch is a great way to protect your plants and keep your landscape looking neat and tidy. It also helps prevent weeds from taking over your garden bed.

6. Put Up a Fence

If you’re looking for privacy, consider installing a fence. There are many different styles to choose from, so you can find one that fits your landscape and your budget.

7. Install Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting is not only functional but it can also be used to create ambiance in your backyard. Use string lights, lanterns, or solar lights to brighten up your yard and make it feel more inviting.

8. Add a Water Feature

A water feature is a great way to add visual interest and the sound of running water to your landscape. There are many different types of water features to choose from, so find one that fits your space and style.

9. Clean Up Your Deck or Patio

If you have a deck or patio, make sure to give it a good cleaning. Power wash it, scrub it down, and remove any furniture or decor that looks worn out. Then, add some fresh touches like new outdoor cushions or potted plants.

10. Add Some Comfortable Outdoor Furniture

After you’ve put all this work into your landscape, you’re going to want to spend some time enjoying it! Add some comfortable outdoor furniture so you can relax and enjoy your beautiful backyard.

There You Have It

With these ten tips, you can give your garden a much-needed makeover. A little time and effort will go a long way in creating a landscape you love.

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

Want to see more? Check out my photo gallery, where you can browse my posts by category.


Three Ways To Add Value To Your Home

The following is a contributed post. For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Whether you are looking at renovating your home or selling it, it is always a good idea to think about how you can add the most value to your property. This will ensure you are getting as much as you can out of your investment. 

Adding value to your property can benefit you, your family, and your bank account. For example, if you are choosing to sell your home, adding value by undertaking a well-planned renovation project will make your home more attractive to buyers and maximize its potential to sell at a higher price. 

You can also benefit from adding value to your property if you are not selling it and plan to live in it for the foreseeable future. Adding value can ensure you have a safe and sturdy place to live, protect the structural integrity of your home, and help you avoid potential issues or surprise home-related expenses in the future. You can customize your home to your tastes and make it the sanctuary you have always dreamed of. 

Adding value comes with many benefits, regardless of your end goal. Here are some of the top ways you can add value to your property. 

1.  Deal With Any Major Issues 

Many homes have issues that are hard to see. You have to go beyond the aesthetics and investigate the structural integrity of your home. You should take time to inspect (or have a professional inspect) your entire property, from basement (or crawl space) to attic, to see if any issues need resolving, or if there are any potential issues that you might be able to prevent from happening.

For example, there might be an obvious issue in your basement that requires restoration water damage services from a professional. Alternatively, you might find a few cracks in the wall, peeling paint, squeaky floors, and warped walls that indicate a future structural issue. It is important to identify the big and the small issues so you can include them in your renovation project. 

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is to only think about the aesthetics when it comes to a renovation.  They may choose to simply cover up defects such as water damage. But failing to correct structural issues as part of the restoration can bring trouble later – which might even include having to reverse the hard work you did in your renovation project. 

2. Redecorate 

If you have not updated your home decor in a while, your renovation project is the perfect opportunity to do this. Paint and decor tend to look worn and dated with time. This can change the entire atmosphere of your home. Redecorating your home is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways you can upgrade your home and make a big impact.


Whether you decide to refresh the colors and decor you already have, or choose to go in a different direction and make a statement, you will notice a huge difference in how your home looks and how it makes you feel. When planning your renovation, make sure to budget in time and money for redecorating. 

3. Make Your Home Sustainable 

There is no better time than now to invest in making your home more eco-friendly. There is global concern over the environment, which has resulted in governments all over the world introducing new targets and ways for homes and businesses to be more sustainable.

Not only does this mean you can play a positive role in helping the environment, but it can also make your home run more efficiently and save you money. There are many different ways you can be more sustainable in your home. For example, you can install smart technology that will keep you up to date with your energy usage. Installing additional insulation to ensure your energy is not leaking through cracks is another way to save. You can also install renewable sources of energy, such as solar panels, in your home as part of your renovation project. Making your home more sustainable is a great way to increase its value. 

Whether you are selling your home or making it more comfortable for you and your family, it is always a good idea to consider increasing its value when you plan your next renovation project.

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

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Growing Ground Cherries Just For Fun

Last summer, I was browsing a local nursery. Most of their 4-inch vegetable starts were on sale because it was a bit late in the season to plant summer vegetables and have much success. But I felt sorry for a scraggly little ground cherry plant and bought it anyway.

I didn’t give it much hope, but the plant soldiered along and sporadically produced a few ground cherries, not many, over the course of the summer. It was enough to intrigue my then-kindergartner nephew. He sought out the fun little husk-wrapped fruits whenever he visited, and their flavor was sweet enough for him to enjoy. That alone made the plant worth it.

So, this year, I bought a healthy-looking ground cherry plant early in the season.

Treating The Ground Cherry Like A Tomato

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The plant itself looked a bit like a tomato plant to me, so I treated it like one:  I kept it in my small greenhouse during our unseasonably cold Pacific Northwest spring and early summer.  During its stay in the greenhouse, I moved it to a larger pot where I planted it deeply in the soil – as the plant tag suggested, and as I would do with a tomato plant.

It turns out my suspicions were correct: According to my research, ground cherries and tomatoes are both a part of the nightshade (Solanaceae) plant family.

After just a little while in the greenhouse, the plant was starting to show a few blossoms. They looked insignificant, but they quickly began to take on the telltale paper lantern shape of the husk-wrapped fruits.


Ground cherry blossoms and developing fruit
Ground cherry blossoms and developing fruit

I moved the ground cherry outside in late June. Now, in late July, it is about two feet tall. Like a tomato plant, I have it in full sun and give it regular water. Other than that, it’s been very easy care.


Why Ground Cherries Are Fun

Ground cherries get their name because you know the fruit is ripe when it falls to the ground.  No guesswork here – just check the ground for these little gift-wrapped surprises that the plant seemingly sheds only when no one is looking.

ground cherry fruit ripened
Ground cherry – ripe fruit falling to the ground

This year’s harvest from this one plant has been moderate but steady.  I’m getting several little gift-wrapped fruits a day.

ground cherries

I can’t decide whether the fruit (which is semi-sweet) has a mildly nutty flavor or a vaguely pineapple-y flavor.  Maybe it has both. At any rate, this fruit is not like anything else I’ve ever had.



I’ve been removing these cute little gems from their bio-degradable “wrappers” and using them on salads.

ground cherries

But many of them never make it that far.  Like little candies, they are eaten on sight by either me or my visiting nephew. I think he likes unwrapping them just as much as he likes eating them.

Ground cherries are also good in jams, salsas, and pie fillings. But that would take more of them than I am getting from this one plant. I’m not sure why I almost never see ground cherries at farmers’ markets or anywhere else.

A Couple Of Not-So-Fun Things About Ground Cherries

It really is important to only consume the ripe fruit. The ripe fruit is the only part of the plant that is not toxic.  So, if you grow ground cherries, never consume (or let anyone else, including pets, consume) any other part of the plant. And never consume a fruit before it is ripe.

The other not-so-fun thing about this plant is slightly less terrifying: The plant itself just isn’t very interesting to look at.

ground cherry plant

Yep, pretty boring. To me, the fruit is the most attractive part. But, as of today, the plant is still producing fruit and even forming more flowers.


What I’ll Do Differently Next Time

I read that I could grow a ground cherry plant in a 5-gallon container but, next time, I will either use a larger-capacity grow bag or plant it directly into the garden – but away from the overhead sprinklers. The plant doesn’t necessarily look unhappy, but it could probably have done better in optimal conditions.

And I will grow more of them because they really are fun and yummy, and I’d like to try out a few of the recipes I found.

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

Want to see more? Check out my photo gallery, where you can browse my posts by category.