A Front Yard Fairy Garden

My girls have been wanting to create a mini fairy garden for quite some time. We finally pulled it all together this week, so I thought it would be fun to share.

Here’s the garden – for now! We keep wanting to add things as we go.

fairy garden

Let’s take you back to the start.

After looking through pin after pin of adorable and quite elaborate fairy gardens, we decided to keep it simple and go with a large saucer as our base. We filled it with potting soil so it was ready to plant and decorate!

saucer with supplies

Below is a birds-eye view so you can see a few of the plants and fairy treats we planned to use.

top view of supplies

A plant tip

Think small in terms of your plants. Don’t use things that will grow too tall – like herbs. As much as I wanted to fill this thing with flowering thyme, I knew it would take over in just a few short weeks. For one, I used succulents, which are great for this kind of thing.

succulents

We’ll get to that fairy hut in a moment. Let’s keep talking about plants for just a quick sec.

In the next picture, you can see I also chose Creeping Jenny, which is a darling ground cover with tiny leaves. The girls and I think the fairies like to hide in these trailing vines.

Creeping Jenny will do just what it says – creep along the ground. But it’s easy to cut back or even divide and replant somewhere else in the garden, if needed.

creepy jenny

A few things you’ve probably noticed are the “flying” ladybugs and wood chip stepping stones. Those all came from Hobby Lobby! They have a small section of miniature garden supplies under the brand of My Garden Friends. <3

Some cute things you’ll find from My Garden Friends.

red mushrooms ladybug picks wooden chairs

I actually bought our mini trellis and furniture from a garden store many years ago. They were stashed away with my gardening tools. I was a happy camper to uncover them for our project.

fairies

Now, our fairies were from Hobby Lobby. That was something we didn’t already have, and is a must-have item. Right?

Something to keep in mind if you have birthday parties coming up: these make awesome presents.

You could package up a fairy garden kit as a gift!

Our kids gave a package of fairies to our Mimi for Mother’s Day. As many of you know, she’s a master gardener. We thought this was a perfect gift and addition to her lovely garden. I’ll take a picture of where her fairies landed when I visit next!!

Now, are you ready for the fairy hut?! The secret supply, IMO, is this moss-on-a-roll. It’s genius.

supplies for fairy hut

It is incredibly easy to unroll and hot-glue to any surface. It has a mesh backing that holds the moss together.

All I did was buy an inexpensive plastic plant liner and glued strips of moss to the outer edge. We also cut an opening so the fairies could easily crawl inside for a cozy rest.

more supplies for fairy hut

That’s pretty much the grand tour of our mini garden. Here’s another angle of the finished project so you can see all of the pieces in place.

top view

And here’s what it looks like tucked in our front garden.

in the garden

Big note here…the reason it’s in the front is because Puppy Leo has suddenly decided he wants to dig holes to China in our backyard AND eat anything he sees that’s new or interesting in the garden.

I wasn’t about to risk putting the girls’ project back there and have it torn apart or eaten. So, in the front yard it went. Now all of our friends and neighbors can enjoy it, too. That’s a plus.

We’re off to watch our garden grow and fairies fly.

Have a sunny, fun day.

Kate

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Friday Wrap: Show & Tell

Y’all, this has been a crafty kind of week. You know the kind where the tips of your fingers are caked in glue and your kitchen table is a forest of ribbon strands and paper scraps? It’s my personal little heaven.

I haven’t stopped long enough to blog about it all, but I plan to give you a sneak peek today (like foreshadowing) and I’ll go into more details in some upcoming posts.

So, as always on these cheer-filled Fridays, here are a few highlights of the week…

{ONE} Corsages by Kate

Remember how I told you my son recently turned 13? Well, he hit the teenage ground running. He has not only seen every PG-13 movie he can get his hands on, but also asked a girl to his first school dance!! Precious.

He agreed it would be a nice gesture to give his date a corsage. Friends, have you seen the prices on corsages lately?! The basic is $30 a pop. For a middle school dance, that feels a bit much. In my usual “I can totally make one myself” approach, I googled how to make one myself.

Next thing you know, and less than $6 a piece later (thanks to greens from the garden), I made not just one, but three wrist corsages for Evan and his friends to give to their sweet dates. Look how they turned out! (Brandon thinks I should make a business out of this.) Lol!

DIY corsages

The arrangement in the lower right was a little treat for myself. The garden roses began blooming this week, so I snipped the first bloom and tucked it in an antique vase from my mom – along with sprigs of flowering thyme and velvety Lamb’s Ear.

{TWO} Lemon Balm & Lavender Bath Sachets

While I was putzing in the garden – and looking for things to stick in corsages – I harvested a few lemon balm leaves and lavender. I read somewhere this makes an awesome bath soak, so I thought, “What the heck?”

I have a stash of organza jewelry bags that I use to store my earrings and delicate necklaces. Turns out, they also make great sachets. I filled the bag with my garden goodies and dropped it into a hot bath. I also added some Epsom salts, which is an awesome way to get your Magnesium, btw. Anyway, it smelled like sweet lemonade and was perfectly relaxing after a long day.

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{THREE} Nail Polish FOTD (flavor of the day)

While we’re on the topic of treat-yo-self… After I removed all of the craft glue from my fingers and had a nice soak in the tub, I re-painted my nails with this darling color from Essie called A Splash of Grenadine. It has just the right amount of purple to pink ratio for me. Love this so much for spring!

IMG_0585

{FOUR} Slug Traps

Okay, so here’s something to file away in the “good to know” category: the slugs are in full effect! I have a ton of pansies blooming in the front garden at the moment, and many of them started showing signs of stress this week. You can see slug-nibbles all around the edges. #notcool

pansies

Poor pansy!

I’m not about to let a slew of slimy bugs who “got no shell over here, baby” ruin my garden. I posted some tips awhile ago, and I’m going with the beer trap method. I used the good stuff, too, because I’m like, “One sip for you, one sip for me.”

I whipped up several of these traps and tucked them all throughout the garden. Let’s hope and pray this works.

beer traps for slugs

Notice the darling little mushrooms next to the terra cotta saucer of beer? I’m using those in the fairy garden I’m making. More on that project next week. Eeep!!

{FIVE} Yay for Arbor Day!

My PSA for the day is to go plant a tree, if you can! Today is National Arbor Day. Now, it seems some areas also celebrate this holiday at different times. You can check this handy map to see when it falls in your area. Either way, today is a good day to breathe fresh air and thank our lovely trees.

Have a weekend to remember, my sweet friends!

XoXo,

Kate

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The Diary of a Real Housewife

 

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Feast on Your Easter Grass

It might sound strange to grab a handful of grass from your Easter basket and toss it into your next smoothie, but that’s exactly what you can do when you grow wheatgrass!! Plus, there are all of these health benefits. Thanks, Easter Bunny!

Rosie4

Speaking of…here’s our little Easter bun, Rosie. She loves to eat wheatgrass. No wonder she’s so healthy! <3

Oh, and while we’re still on the topic of eating grass, have you seen this video clip of Adele in Jamba Juice? It’s hysterical. Enjoy your daily laugh.

Okay, now for the serious business of preparing our baskets…

Wheatgrass grows super fast. In fact, in less than two weeks you can have a lush basket. If you start this week, you’ll be right on time for Easter. And depending on how quickly your seeds germinate, you might even need to “mow” before you add your eggs and ribbons!

Here are the super easy instructions for growing your own Easter basket grass.

Supplies

{one} A plastic plant saucer that’s close to the size of your basket.

 

{two} A quality potting mix.

{three} Wheatgrass seeds!

{This is from Amazon, but you can get this at most health food stores.}

{This is from Amazon, but you can get this at most health food stores.}

{four} Spray bottle.

spray bottles

{These are from Dollar Tree. Sometimes Walmart carries these in the health and beauty section.}

Now What?

This process will remind you of making lasagne. Here’s why…

  1. Fill about 3/4 of your saucer with potting mix.
  2. Spray with water to moisten the dirt.
  3. Plant a generous layer of seeds. There shouldn’t be any dirt showing.
  4. Cover the seeds with a light layer of potting mix. (See all of the layering – like a lasagne?)
  5. Spray the fresh dirt (your top layer) with water. You want there to be enough water for everything to be wet, but not swimming.
  6. Place the saucer in a warm, sunny window to “bake.” 😉

Growing Tips

  • Before planting your seeds, rinse them in cool, clean water. Then soak (completely covered) in cool water overnight. This helps speed up germination.
  • Wheatgrass does not do well in direct sunlight once it has started sprouting. So find a spot that allows for indirect light once you have some greens.
  • Use a water bottle to spray your wheatgrass as it grows. Make sure the soil is always moist. If it dries out, the sprouts will turn brown and die very quickly.
  • It should take about nine days for wheatgrass to grow six inches >>

That’s it! Here’s hoping your grass hops to it in time for Easter.

-Kate

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Friday Wrap: Pre-spring Gardening!

Happy Friday!! The weather is still pretty nice around here, so let’s continue the garden theme from yesterday’s post. Shall we?

Here are five things on my pre-spring gardening checklist at the moment:

{ONE} Set up a compost area

compost bin

{Instructions for this DIY compost bin are here!}

This will be my first foray into composting. I’m pretty intimidated by the idea, but I think I can do this. My girls just started one at their elementary school as a garden club project, which gave me a dose of confidence. I have a good, flat place in my yard for a bin, and I found a tutorial for this little DIY number. So I’ve added this to my project list. More to come on this whole business, I’m sure.

{TWO} Save containers for seedlings

I like paper egg cartons best.

{source} PS. I like these cardboard egg cartons best for seedlings.

I’ve been trying to eat more protein lately, because swim suit season. So eggs have been on the menu every morning. This is a doubly-good thing because egg cartons make wonderful seedling starters. So, thank you, eggs. (I totally heard Jimmy Fallon’s voice as I wrote that.) Now I can get growing sooner than later.

{THREE} Shop for seeds and plants!

Digging in the dirt is super fun, but shopping for seeds and plants is probably one of the best parts of gardening. Right? Sometimes I’ll pickup seed packets from my local garden store, and other times I’ll order online. I recently came across this cool company called Seeds of Change. They have 100% organic seeds and some quality tools and supplies. You should check them out.

{FOUR} Prep garden tools

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t looked at my shovels, pruners and gardening gloves since October. Now is a good time to pull out the tools and give them a little TLC. I’m going to scrub off the dirt and give them a light coat of oil on the metal parts, then store in a bucket of sand to keep them rust-free and sharp until we’re in full season. Here’s a quick and easy tutorial for cleaning your tools.

{FIVE} Tend to the bed

This is the part where I roll up my sleeves and get a little messy, because now is a good time to get outside and check for signs of growth. I’ll add fertilizer to the bulb plants as flowers begin to emerge, prune fruit trees and rose bushes, and plant the cool season veggies and herbs – like arugula and parsley! Mmm…

I have some work cut out for me, but it’s all happy stuff. I love digging into any garden project. Here’s to a terrific weekend. Hopefully it blooms with all sorts of lovely surprises – like sunshine and 70s.

-Kate

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A Blooming Warm Winter

Can you believe I’m writing about gardening this time of year?! It’s because this warm weather has tricked my plants into blooming already! Where I live we don’t usually see blooms for another month or so. But this has been the winter that never was…no snow days or long stretches of freezing temps that require cups of delicious cocoa. I’m sure the garden was like, “If this is how it’s gonna be, I’ll just bloom already.”

And so it did.

IMG_0068

Well, hello there!

What does this mean?

If plants are in fact blooming, like mine are, we’ll just enjoy their fresh faces a little sooner than normal. Now, if the weather decides to dip below freezing or dump snow, the flowers will probably be damaged for the season. Sad face.

The redeeming part is that a bloom-freeze shouldn’t have any adverse affects on the bulb’s performance in the seasons to come. For now, though, there are a couple of things we could do.

{ONE} Cut and Enjoy

For any flowers that have bloomed, we could simply cut and bring them in the house. They can’t survive the cold temps outside, but we can extend their life inside – where they’ll brighten up our kitchen tables!

{TWO} Protect the Buds

plants with mulch

These are actually garlic buds that are protected with straw.

Once we’ve taken care of the blooms, we can protect any unopened buds by covering them with dry leaves, straw or mulch. As soon as the weather warms up again, and the threat of frost is gone, just uncover the plants and allow them to continue to grow as normal.

Pretty simple, but worth thinking about so you get the most from your bloomin’ beauties. I’ll have more pre-spring gardening tips tomorrow. See you then, my friends.

-Kate

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Lovely Pots of Potpourri

I was looking for a simple, yet thoughtful gift that I could make in batches for our friends and neighbors. When I came across this recipe for Christmas potpourri, I knew it was a sure-fire winner.

It’s the perfect blend of cranberry, cinnamon and citrus that will spark the Christmas spirit in any home. I brewed myself a batch just to make sure. Wasn’t that so nice of me? 😉

This was found on Yellow Bliss Road, which is a wonderful blog if you haven’t hopped over to see all of the delicious recipes and crafty ideas. I made several batches of the potpourri today, and I can’t wait to make like an elf and deliver my handmade goods.

Here are three quick tips for assembling these gifts.

{ONE} Get the right size jar

ball jar

You want to be sure all of your ingredients fit inside. If it’s too small, you won’t get your orange to fit. If it’s too big, it will look like you’re being chintzy with your potpourri. I found that a 16 oz. jar was just right. I had a few on hand with white lids, and then I bought the rest from Hobby Lobby just like the one shown.

{TWO} Use small oranges

Cuties

Cuties ended up being the perfect size for a 16 oz. jar, as well as the perfect amount of citrus for the rest of the ingredients in the jar. You don’t want anything to overpower. Equal fragrance for all!

{THREE} Throw all of the spices together

christmas potpourri

You can kind of see all of the spices at the bottom.

The recipe called for smaller, plastic bags to contain the “powdery” ingredients. I just put everything directly into the jar to keep it simple. No-fuss is a must in my life.

This is what my gifts looked like when they were finished.

christmas potpourri

I tied the recipe on the jar with a ribbon and used round Avery labels for the lids to add a touch of holiday flair.

christmas potpourri

Here’s the top view that shows the Christmas label. <3

Happy gifting! Only three more days ’til Christmas. Eeep!

-Kate

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Five Fall Garden To Dos

While the temperatures are still mild and it feels pretty darn awesome to be outside, I think I’ll get organized in the garden. Here are five simple things I plan to do this weekend to tend to my plant babies:

{ONE} Clean it up

This might sound like a no-brainer, but now is the time to cut back perennials and clean out any dead leaves or annuals that have called it quits. So I’ll get out my pruners and go to town.

{TWO} Plant some bulbs

I always have dreams of having fields (yes, plural) of gorgeous spring tulips, daffodils and iris surrounding my home. Then I wake up and realize I must first plant them. Now is the time to get those suckers in the ground. The best thing to do is find a sunny spot to plant and set them deep enough in the ground. How deep, you might ask? I’ve actually heard this is the most common question about planting. So…

A good rule of thumb: Dig a hole two times deeper than the bulb is tall.

{THREE} Water everything in sight

We’ve had a dry fall so far, so it’s super important to turn on those sprinklers or my favorite: the hose that grows (not pictured, btw).

{FOUR} Spread some compost

I don’t have an official compost pile at the moment. It’s one of those things on my “to do at some point in my life” list. So for now, when I need to apply a quality compost, I get mushroom compost or something similar and put about an inch in the garden. This will break down over the winter months and improve the quality of the soil. That equals a happy, healthy home for our plant babies. It also means you might not have to fertilize come spring. Yay!

{FIVE} Apply mucho mulch

I might not get to this step until a little later. Once the ground is cold, I’ll put down some mulch over all of the perennials. I like to use fresh fallen leaves. Here’s a great article on how to process your leaves for mulching. Hay from your Halloween decorations makes great mulch, too.

Isn’t this a gorgeous porch?! This might have to be my next “to do”. Have a great week and enjoy the garden!

-Kate

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Friday Wrap: Feelin’ Like Fall

The calendar just rolled to October, the weather dipped into the 50s, and Pinterest is blowing up with Halloween crafts and goodies. It finally feels like fall, y’all. I officially love this season and all it has to hold. Here are five things on my current “must have, make or do right now” list:

Blogged while smelling a marshmallow fireside and sipping a Starbucks house blend.

{ONE} Lion Costume

This made me burst into laughter thinking about little Leo being a lion for his very first Halloween. What do you think? Should we do it?

{TWO} Fayetteville Ale Trail

There are some cool little breweries cropping up all over Northwest Arkansas. Someone was smart to organize an Ale Trail that allows you to drive around the area and sample a few flights of brewed beer. It’s complete with a ride so you don’t have to worry about driving and passports that you get stamped at each location. This month seems like the perfect time to organize this with friends. Octoberfest, anyone?

{THREE} Beautiful Pumpkins

This is such a beautiful look. And I adore white pumpkins. All you have to do is take a small tube of caulk to decorate a pumpkin. You could use plastic or the real deal. Once the caulk has dried, spray paint the entire thing for a lovely, dimensional effect. I’m totally doing this tomorrow for a crafternoon project.

{FOUR} Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

Speaking of pumpkins…I want this double layer pumpkin cheesecake in my belly right now. Doesn’t this look like a little slice of heaven?

{FIVE} Simmer Down Now

This is such a busy time of year with school activities, sports and whatnot. If you don’t have time to totally clean or organize the house, it’s totes okay. You can at least make it smell good until you have a chance to pull out those cute rubber gloves of yours.

Cheers to a wonderful fall weekend, my friends!

-Kate

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Friday Wrap: Back-to-School Week

Friends, it’s Friday! That means we made it another week, and it’s time for a quick wrap up of what went down in the Andersen house. This is pretty much in chronological order…

{ONE} Back-to-School Pictures

back-to-school

Happy back-to-school season! It has been so fun looking at everyone’s pics on Facebook and Instagram. Our classes started Monday, and this was our contribution to the picture party. I was relieved to see everyone looks relaxed and pulled together. What started as a well-organized morning turned into a darn near sitcom as we chased our puppy, Leo, around the house retrieving socks and shoes from his mouth – while also getting five Andersens dressed, fed, brushed and out the door in time. I didn’t manage to dry my hair, so I was the mom who looked like a wet dog dropping off her kids on the first day if anyone didn’t recognize me. My girls were super sweet and said, “Mom, it’s totally okay to just drop us off at the door. We got this.” Yes, they do. And nothing could make me feel more proud.

{TWO} Non-Sandwich Lunch Ideas – Also Gluten Free

If you’re looking for some creative ways to pack your kids’ lunches, this is a great resource! My kids get tired of the same sandwiches, so I wanted to start the year right full of ideas. I bought a couple of Lunch Blox Kits from Walmart to help pack these “bento box” style lunches. So far they’re working great. Here’s to happy lunching!

{THREE} The Magical Puppy Kong

puppy Kong

Okay, so y’all know we have a new puppy. We weren’t quite prepared for all of the chewing, nipping and biting. Yikes! I know part of the situation is that he’s teething. So I’ve been letting him sink those choppers into some frozen washcloths and other teething toys. There’s one that he particularly L.O.V.E.S. It’s the Kong for puppies.

If you have a dog, you’re probably familiar with these magical toys that dropped down from heaven. So far Leo has NOT been able to destroy this thing. That’s a miracle unto itself. And he’s still interested in playing with it! We’ve filled it with all kinds of treats, which keeps him super happy and engaged. The only tricky part is not introducing too many new foods at once (just like a baby) or puppies get a tummy ache. That happened to us, and Leo needed some probiotics. Oops. All better now.

{FOUR} Garden Living

I ventured over to this darling new garden store near my home in Fayetteville, AR. My garden goodness, this place is really beautiful and offers hard-to-find items in our area, such as Italian hand-thrown pottery and Dutch garden tools. I purchased a bottle of specialty hummingbird food on my first outing, which seems to be delicious according to the three little birds that continue to frequent my feeder. I’m definitely going back multiple times, and I encourage you to check it out. They have an online store, too!!

{FIVE} Garden Therapy

lavender garden

All of that shopping must have put me in a gardening mood. Although, when am I not? I headed to my brother’s hobby farm up in Missouri yesterday and spent the day pulling weeds in the lavender garden. It was incredibly therapeutic. The sky was clear and the wind was soft. Huge bumbles and butterflies were fluttering around while I listened to a cool playlist on the iPod that my nephew had compiled. The more I dug around and brushed against the lavender leaves, the more fragrant the air became. Even though it was hard work, during those few hours, all was well with the world. Certainly a nice place to be.

Have a blissful weekend, my friends. You deserve one!

-Kate

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Back-to-School Worry Stones

Heading back to school was always full of mixed emotions for me. On one hand I was super excited to see friends whom I didn’t get to see over the summer, and on the other I was nervous about new teachers and harder classes. My kids are the same way. We start to have upset tummies and canker sores this time of year. Not fun.

I decided to look for some helpful tools.

I discovered the concept of worry stones, which gives kids something small and tangible to hold onto when they feel stressed. They can simply reach in their backpack, lunchbox, or pocket to pull out their stone and allow it to absorb their worries and help them feel grounded. Especially when it’s paired with a reassuring phrase they can say to themselves, like, “I am safe and calm.”

The idea reminds me of the Kissing Hand.

In this classic children’s book, a momma raccoon places as kiss in her baby’s hand before he goes away to school. He’s able to keep her kiss with him all day – or in this case all night, since raccoons are nocturnal.

In the spirit of Kissing Hand, I used to draw a heart in the palm of my kids’ hands and kiss the center before sending them off to Kindergarten. It worked wonders, and is definitely something to try if you have little ones. Now that my babies are entering 4th and 7th grades, they may have outgrown this tradition. For the girls, it would just depend on the day.

We’re giving worry stones a try.

We scouted the garden for pretty rocks, then my husband and I kissed each rock before slipping them into little travel bags for school.

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Hopefully these will help ease the stress a little. At the very least, the kids have some cool stones to show their friends.

Here’s to a stress-free, back-to-school week all around!

-Kate

PS. Email me if you’d like to purchase a special worry stone harvested from a natural river bank here in beautiful Northwest Arkansas. It will arrive in a little organza bag and have instructions on how to work the stone. Only $3 plus shipping. Email: katejandersen{at}gmail{dot}com

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