Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Just wanted to share this tidbit deal I ran across...Spring Hill Nursery is currently offering $20 off a $20 purchase of their Liquidation Items (doesn't include shipping). Shipping starts at about 7.95 depending on what you buy. The savings is only valid on their LIQUIDATION ITEMS, but there's alot to choose from in that section...7 pages worth! Ranges from roses to trees to ferns to citrus plant to plant pills, lots ot choose from! Enter coupon code 414217 in the 'key code' box at checkout...don't forget, you'll have to pay your own shipping, but this is a GREAT deal to get some goodies for FREE only to pay shipping!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Planted some garden

According to the online-version of Farmer's Almanac, my region was to have experienced the last frost on April 7...I don't know if I want to trust that date, though. It would be just my luck that I plant my mator plants and they'd get bit, wasting my time and effort, as well as money. So, with that, the girls and I planted a few things, but I'll hold off another week or so before I plant those. This is what I did plant: In bed #1, the green onions and yellow bulb onions went into the ground. In bed #4, one row of beets and 4 mounds of cucumbers went in. Then, the oldest wanted some jalapenos, and with no room in the garden plan for them, she's gonna have to grow them in pots. I'd gone to K-Mart the other day and they had their 6 pk flowers and garden plants for $1.89. So I picked up some flowers, but also a pk of jalapenos and Celebrity tomatoes. I gave one of my friends 2 of the jalapeno plants, but had the oldest plant 4 of them in 2 different planters...we shall see how well they do...I still feel that it's too early. The tomatoes I left on the front porch and will keep watered and safe until I feel it's time. The soil still feels a bit cool to me, and with that, I'm not so sure how well any of it will germinate. Also, the crappy topsoil that was delivered just has way too many clumps in it, not large clumps, but small ones, and they're hard as's taking forever to sift it out. As it is, I'm not sure how well the beets will turn out having to grow around clumps in the soil, they're probably going to be pretty malformed, lol. I also got under the back deck cleaned out, the hubs mowed and weedeated (which is an event all in itself, lol) and a stump got ground down and dirt put on top. Yes, we were going to the fence up around the garden this weekend, but I've got to make sure we do everything by the book. As it is, if they try to have me remove my garden, since I've already planted, we'll have a restraining order against them...but that won't happen. All the neighbor can do is complain (for no reason other than to whine, but that's what he does). So, I've got to call 1Call to get them to come out and mark any and all underground utilities/wires, etc. This will ensure that everything is by the, I went and found out how far away from the front road I can plant my lilac bush, so that will go in this coming weekend, as well. *sigh* it takes time, but it'll get done! mulched around another one of my rose bushes while I was at it, just another thing to check off my garden/yard to-do list, lol

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tipsy Pots Tower Planters

These are so cool. I picked one up at the St. Louis Home and Garden Show last year, pd about 20 bucks for it, but I shouldn't have...they're way too easy to make! The only thing with mine is that it's not permanent, as it can be moved, and if you make it, the rebar goes into the ground, so it has to stay where you put it or all the pots will fall off. But aren't they cool? I just LOVE mine. I'm going to be planting phlox in the bottom pot this year, which I think I'll like alot better than the perennial succulents that I have in there now (they're not as colorful). Read the super easy step-by-step instructions on how to make one, all you need is a large pot, then subsequent smaller pots, and a long pc of rebar....that's it, well, the dirt and flowers or herbs or strawberries or whatever else you wanna plant, but that's the basics. If you have one or are gonna make one, take a pic and forward it, I'd love to see it!!! NO, I'm gonna plant some purle heather in the bottom, YES, that's it....I LOVE Mexican Purple Heather...gorgeous!

A garden update...

First off...we worked on my garden from sun-up to sun-down Sat and Sun both and then we were hit with a nasty neighbor issue. He has given us nothing but problems since we moved in, we don't have to mind our business because he'll mind our business FOR us, lol. He decided that the corner of our property is not ours, it is considered 'common ground' to the subdivision, and as such, everyone in the sub has to agree that we can do this and he doesn't, therefore we can't do it. He's correct, it is concidered 'common ground' to our subdivision, however, there is no way anyone can get to this piece of property unless they trespass on our property, therefore it isn't considered 'common' because it doesn't have 'common' access and cannot be used for any 'common' purpose. It's basically not property that people in the sub are encouraged to utilize, it's a short stip or property that's attached to ours that runs the length our our property back to the only power line & pole in our subdivision, as our electric lines run underground. SO, attornies are advising that we ignore him and the city, as the city has no authority or jurisdiction over this piece of property or the garden we installed on it or the fence we're putting up around the garden (the fence is not a boundary protector, but landscaping and to keep the deer from eating my mators, lol)...especially considering we have less then 9 months and we can actually legally claim that strip of property based on Missouri law, which we'll do. I was advised to begin planting ASAP, which I did tonight with my onion sets, so that if they do decide to do something, a simple restraining order will stop it, and to make sure we get the garden up ASAP, as well, just in case they change the ordinance in an attempt to stop us, at which time the fence will have to be 'grandfathered' in...*sigh* soooooooooooooo, at the beginning of the week I was so upset, I was in tears. I thought for sure I was finally going to get my garden, then the a$$ decided to start his crap yet again, and we were giong to have to move the garden...which I knew would take my hubs another 2 yrs to get done, meaning I wouldn't have my garden. But then the attornies are basically saying, 'call their bluff' cuz it's a small town and they can't afford to fight us over a 30' pc of property that no one except us can legally step foot on, it's not worth it to them, even if it's just to shut our neighbor up, they don't have the time or resources for something so, we'll see....wish me luck, lol...gonna take pics and post of my little garden soon...the fence goes up this weekend, it's picket and gonna get painted white. I can't wait!!!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Here's my plan...

I've updated my garden plan. As you can see, I've numbered my garden beds and listed what will be planted in each, with exception of the pot holding a sing jalepeno pepper, lol, that's all my daughter's doing AND her responsibility to keep alive...I know, I know, that's alot of plants in those boxes, lol. They're a little over 4' wide and 8' long. I can do it...I've mapped each box out, measured between each plant and each'll work. It WILL! better!

This is my the moment

Yep, this is it...this is the view of my garden from my back deck at the moment. You can see the tarped pile of fresh topsoil to the left. We had to cover it since it's rained about 3 times over the past week since it was would've been too wet and muddy deep inside the pile if we hadn't covered it (can you see the rut that the dump truck left? lol)s. That topsoil will be dispensed into those 4 raised beds this Saturday...planting of certain items well commence on Sunday. The fence and mulched pathways will follow...they must, as we have many deer that saunter and meander through our backyard in the evenings and I do NOT want my little garden to be a buffet for them...or the bunnies, lol. My girls and I have been planning and planning and I think we've gotten more seeds than are going to realistically going to fit in this little spot, but we're gonna do our best, with having a few things in pots along the edges, even, such as our strawberries. When I was young, it was easy to find someone doing yard work who needed and wanted a little help, even paying 20 or so bucks to the lucky teen that was chosen...nowadays, those teens aren't so easy to come by...but we'll manage. Will be mixing some bagged manure and even a little sand in with the topsoil as it's being dispensed, then will take my little tiller (it's little, lol, and it's MINE, I run it and it fits my hands just fine) and will mix it all in. I do everything the old fashion way, ya adding ashes to the dirt instead of buying the proper additive from the store, lol. The hubs says, 'I'll get it in there, and Sunday, you and the girls can do your thing, I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to gardens." We promptly told him that we will be teaching him and he WILL be out there with us working the garden this summer, lol. So...this is the BEFORE pic...and will be posting an AFTER pic once the dirt's all in, then will continue to post pics to show our little garden's progress.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Faux cakes and cupcakes...make them yourself! I did!

I've been a self-taught cake decorator for almost 20 years now (wow, that's intense to say, considering I'm only 38, lol). anyhoo.....I'd seen at the little boutiques the faux cakes, cupcakes, candies and such sitting around the vignettes of tea sets and tea cups and thought, 'man, I could do that, I can just make my own.' So got on a tangent and done some 'studyin' up' on the subject...research (blah, I LOATHE research, lol) but I did it...and because these types of crafters and decorators keep the product secrets closely guarded, it was only through trial and error that I found the correct products and techniques to make them and to make them look good. And since I HATE it when people don't share those secrets, thinking, 'if I don't share, then that's more people that will PAY for the stuff that I make.'....ya'll, there's a time and place for that thinking, making faux cupcakes, in my opinion, is not where that belongs, lol. So, I'll tell you MY findings and what I used. Other's do other things, probably, dunno cuz they don't share what they use, lol...but this is what I found.

First, you're gonna need spackling. For the light fluffy decorations such as leaves, star piping with the large star tips, and such, I found that they turned out so much better when I used the Fast'N Final Lightweight Spackling. To 'ice' the cakes and cupcakes, I didn't want to 'waste' the lightweight (I did on some though) so I used regular Vinyl Spackling. For decorations, I used silk flowers, but others have used paper flowers. If you're good and quick, you can use the Lightweight Spackling (the vinyl will be too heavy) to pipe flowers and roses, but you have to remember how time consuming that can be, and if it's to SELL rather for your own decor, people may not want to pay for the labor and time that it takes...just something to keep in mind.

Other supplies needed, disposable cake decorating bags, tip couplers, and whatever tips you want to use, as well as whatever color acrylic paints that you want. If you want to add candy sprinkles, look around for 'just the right' look of seed beads, use your imagination to get the look that you want. I also took various colored foam sheets and a reg. hole punch, punched a bunch out and used them as the round candy sprinks you see on all the full and yummy cupcakes. For cupcakes, this is a big time trial and will definitely need a cheapy or old cupcake pan (or 2), cupcake cups of your choice and spray foam. You need to keep in mind that they will need to be weighted down so that they don't just roll around or easily toppled when being used for decor...I've found that using the glass pebbles at Dollar Tree works well...and also, don't get the super cheap, flimsy liners, because the foam will expand them and you won't be able to use them, they'll turnout ugly looking. You might want to cut out a lightweight cardboard disc to fit in the bottom of the cupcake because the underside of the liner will 'pucker' and look unsightly after the foam dries. Once you start using the spray foam, you'll usually have to use it all, it doesn't really 'keep' I usually have several prepared cupcake pans lined up at once, and you'll have plenty of cupcakes practice on and make for yourself, gifts, craft shows and such. Place the liner in the cupcake pan, place the cardboard disc in the bottom, put a couple of the glass pebbles down...prepare the rest the same way. Next, begin to spray the cupcakes. When I start spraying, I like to spray slooooooooooooowly, in a circular motion around the pepples, then over the pebbles, then I place the nozzle inside the pile and continue to slowly spray until you have a mound that barely reaches the top of the liner. Don't worry, it will expand upward to make a mound over the top. By putting the nozzle inside the mound, it promotes a rounded, smooth cupcake surface, and looks like a real cupcake. If you keep the nozzle above the mound and spray, it'll work, as well, however you'll end up with bumps and ridges and it won't look natural at all. After a few hours, you'll be tempted to think that the cupcakes are done and will be able to be painted...nope!!! if you do that, then the next morning you'll look at them and find that they were still expanding and you'll be able to see a considerable amount of unpainted foam. Just wait until the next day to paint them (which is optional). If you choose to paint your cupcake tops, which I like to do, you'll want to mix a couple of paints to get the right color. I find that buttercream yellow with just a couple of drops of caramel brown, dabbed on with a foam brush, makes them look like a vanilla cake and really yummy. A little paint will go a long way, because you'll be decorating the tops, you'll usually only be able to see a little of the edges, so just paint about 1/2" from the liner up. OH, pixie dust!! I LOVE pixie dust!!! It's a super fine glitter that makes my faux cakes 'glisten' and I just love the look it can see it sparkle in the photo.

Now, for cakes and cookies, (petite fours and little tarts are totally different animal...will explain later in the post), you'll use styrofoam, either already formed or that you'll cut yourself, it's your choice. For the larger cakes, I use the regular foam (not the kind of foam you can add water to, never use that kind of foam for these projects) blocks or discs. The discs, I'll add 'icing' between them to make them taller, then you 'ice' the outside and top (hint, I use a lazy-susan plate when I decorate my cakes and such, but to 'ice' them all over, I like to take a two pronged fork, and stick the fork in the bottom, that way I can get all of the cake covered.

Your 'icing'....I like to use the vinyl spackling for all-over icing, because it'll keep your cost down and it'll make your lightweight spackling last longer. Add a few squirts of whatever acryllic paint that you wish and stir. The is a perfect use for those butter bowls you've been keeping around, lol. Use a cake spatula to 'ice' your cakes and cupcakes.

You can also make foam 'faux' cookies by either cutting foam to your liking (which is messy) or by buying the styrofoam shapes at your craft store. You can use Fimo clay to make other embellishments, such as chocolate chips, super easy, and look SO realistic!

Ok, I think that's about it...I've uploaded one photo here, but I've posted many more in my 'photo gallery' for everyone to see.

Petite fours and little tarts aren't made by using styrofoam, they're made by using newspaper, water, and glue. Martha Stewart has an excellent tutorial on those, which is the one that I used when I made mine.
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