Decorating with Nature

Some of my favorite designers use earth tones in their color palettes and natural elements in their work. I just love this look.

And with Earth Day happening this weekend, I thought it would be fun to round up some beautiful and easy ways we can incorporate nature into our own homes.

{Another lovely print by Katie Daisy}

{ONE} Fresh Terrariums

Succulents and terrariums are all the rage right now, and we can jump on this trend with the help of this tutorial. I also have some inspiration for you on this board.

{TWO} Botanical Prints

Have you ever found a cool feather, leaf, or frond on a fern that you want to frame and keep forever? I love this idea. Sandwich your treasure between two pieces of glass and add it to a gallery wall for an instant conversation starter.

{You can actually buy these acrylic pieces of art at West Elm.}

{THREE} Herbs for Fragrance

Our homes should engage all of our senses…from the moment we walk in the door. Strategically placing herbs and fragrant flowers around the house can add a whole new vibrant dimension.

I particularly like the idea of adding fresh eucalyptus to the shower. The steam draws the oil out of the leaves and creates a spa-like atmosphere – not to mention clears your sinuses. (Much needed during this crazy allergy season.)

{This is a list of 12 natural ways to make your home smell good. Enjoy!}

{FOUR} Painted Rocks

Wouldn’t a stack of painted rocks be so pretty on a coffee table or in a clear vase on a bookshelf?

I have a feeling the process of painting rocks could be very meditative – like coloring books. But if you’d rather leave the painting to the pros, you can find plenty of options on Etsy. Like these lovely stones. >

{These mandala-inspired rocks can be purchased here.}

{FIVE} Driftwood Art

Pieces of driftwood are a lot like snowflakes and thumbprints…no two are alike. And this makes them a natural candidate for artwork.

I couldn’t decide on just one photo to share, so here are a few elements of inspiration for you. >

{Get the DIY tutorial here for this decorative orb. It looks so easy to make – and would make an interesting addition to any bookshelf or windowsill.}

{Get the DIY instructions here to make this gorgeous sea glass and driftwood wind chime.}

{Coming full circle to planters…get the tutorial for this rustic and on-trend centerpiece here.}

That’s a wrap for today, my friends.

How do you plan to celebrate Earth Day this weekend – or any day? I’d love to know, so please share in the comments.

Have a beautiful day, with many blessings.

Kate

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Inspiration for Your Fall Garden

We’re inching closer and closer to fall, y’all. That makes my heart so happy. I love this time of year – especially in the garden. Earlier in the week I shared a few tips on getting our tools primed and ready, now it’s time to get some inspiration for what to plant!

Here’s a collection of ideas I’m thinking about. What’s on your fall planting list?

Culinary Herbs & Veggies

Some of the things I planted in the spring will carry over, like my tomatoes. Other things I have to plant fresh. For instance…

fresh lettuce

Fresh lettuce, anyone?!

One of my favorite things to plant in cooler weather is lettuce. So many varieties grow really well in the fall – and they’re quick to sprout straight from a packet of seeds! Instant gratification. Rosie our rabbit kinda loves it, too.

Parsley

Remember that one time I expressed my love for this underrated herb?

I also love planting fresh batches of parsley, basil and chives this time of year.

If you want a few other ideas, this is a little cheat sheet I tore out of a magazine back in 2008. Not even kidding. I keep this tucked away in my “garden” files. Yes, I have a manila folder for stuff like this. #cantstopwontstop

fall-veggies

If you zoom in, you’ll see broccoli, peppers, beets, radishes, spinach, cauliflower and peas added to this list.

Perfect Planters

In addition to tending to my personal farmer’s market, I like to jazz up the rest of the garden and entryway with some fall flair. I shift my overall color palette away from pinks and move toward purples. Pumpkins add a pretty orange accent.

Here are a few of my favorite combinations right now >>

fall-planter-with-tall-grasses

{via} You’ll notice purple fountain grass is kind of a theme in some of these ideas. I love the height you get with it, and it add texture with its feathery tips.

orange-leaves-with-kale

{via} This is quite a showstopper that uses yellow mums, bright peppers (and even a few artificial leaves) tucked in to accent the purple kale and fountain grass. So pretty!!

{via} This layered effect is really nice. The pop of orange from the pumpkins is awesome. And I like the combination of mums with the silvery dusty miller on the lower planter.

fall-planter-with-purple-and-bittersweet

{via} This colorful combo uses bittersweet at the base. You could easily find a wreath of bittersweet, and drape it around your planter to create this look. I also love the purple Mexican bush sage standing at attention in the back.

{via} This has such a lovely rustic look, doesn’t it? Both planters have coleus mixed with these honey supertunias.

purple-combination

{via} This purple bundle includes kale, mums, heuchera, and ornamental black pepper. I think it would be gorgeous with either white or orange pumpkins for fall. You could even accent the base of the urn with a burlap ribbon. Oooh,..

sweet-potato-and-coleus

{via} Finally, look at this luscious planter. It’s such a pretty combination of sweet potato vine and different varieties of coleus.

I could seriously search the Interwebs all day looking for gardening ideas. Online window shopping is the best. What ideas do you have? Let me know what’s going in your garden and planters!

One last note, if you’re curious about when to transplant some of your garden goodness, here’s a simple guide from this handy place. >>

XoXo,

Kate

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Eating & Drinking with Fresh Herbs

My herbs are growing like mad in the garden! There’s so much more than I can personally consume, so I decided to share some lemon thyme and sweet mint with my co-workers. I left large mason jars full of herbs in the kitchen area, and it was fun walking through the building and seeing so many people enjoying the harvest.

It appeared most people were quick to snatch up the mint, putting it in their ice water and teas, but no one took the thyme. They kept saying, “ I wouldn’t know what to do with it.” I’ve also heard this about lemon balm, sage, oregano and dill.

Culinary herbs have been a staple in my kitchen since I was a little girl. I owe that to my master gardener mom, who is also affectionately called The Herb Lady by her gardening friends. So maybe I’ve come to take my understanding of herbs for granted?

Herbs are pretty miraculous, really.

They not only spice up a dish or sweeten a drink, but also soothe stomaches, heal wounds and calm emotions. Once you understand their flavors and properties, they can become an essential part of your home.

While I have a decent understanding of basic culinary herbs, I’m definitely no expert. I ask my mom questions all the time. I also lean on google. In my searches, I found a few charts and recipes I thought were perfect for printing and posting in the kitchen.

In the spirit of sharing, I though you might enjoy them, as well…

If you want to dive right into heaven, try making herb butters. These are one of the items listed on the chart above, and they’re super easy to make. Here’s a an incredible recipe from a fellow blogger…

You can find 29 more butter herb recipes here!

As the saying goes, “I cook with wine. And sometimes I even add it to the food.” That’s me to a T. Check out this amazing chart that shows how to pair wine with herbs. Yes! I’ve never seen it laid out quite so nicely. Get a full look here.

Still on the topic of drinking herbs, here’s a lovely recipe for Summer Herbal Tea.

herbal teas

summer herbal tea recipe

Get the full recipe here.

Hopefully some of these charts and recipes give you a few ideas. (I promise to keep sharing.) And if a neighbor offers fresh goods from the garden, you can take full advantage of this flavorful gift.

Also, feel free to leave a comment with any additional tips or even questions you might have. If I don’t know the answer, I bet my mom does. 😉

Happy growing (and sipping) season, my friends.

-Kate

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Simmer the Sweet Scents of Fall

IMG_4514Don’t you love walking into a home that smells good? Our sense of smell is pretty amazing. It can trigger memories and sway emotions, so no wonder it feels warm and inviting to have a fragrance like Cranberry Orange drifting through the house on a cool fall day. It carries with it delicious memories. I also think the right fragrance can make a house feel clean and well cared for – and who wouldn’t want that thought running through the mind of your next guest?

There are tons of great options for making your house smell awesome. A trip to Bath & Body Works alone will provide hundreds of selections. P.S. I’m in love with Cranberry Woods this season.

But if you want to conjure up a warm, delicious (and inexpensive) aroma, try brewing one of these fall recipes on the stove. It works like magic making your family and friends feel, well, right at home-sweet-home.

Cranberry Orange

  • 1 sliced orange
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Bay Leaves and Cinnamon

  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 2 sticks cinnamon

Lemon Rosemary

  • 1 sliced lemon
  • 3-4 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Once you choose your concoction, toss everything into a small stockpot. Cover with water (about 2/3 full) and simmer until the smell drifts through the house. My heavens, this is a treat!

You can also opt for the oven. Fill a loaf pan with water and your favorite recipe above. Set it in the oven at 350 degrees until you start to smell the lovely fragrance. Then turn off the oven and prop open the door.

Tip: Freeze uncooked batches to have on hand when a friend or family stops by for an impromptu visit. So even if the house isn’t clean, it will at least smell like it is. I won’t tell.

Enjoy simmering some fall fragrances, and let me know which recipe is your favorite!

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Give Parsley a Chance

Parsley

Freshly picked parsley

Parsley is one of those herbs that’s usually tossed aside. And I mean that literally. In restaurants you’ll see it perched on the edge of a pretty plate – and that’s where it stays. It’s not the star player in many recipes, and it doesn’t have an elegant fragrance like basil, oregano or thyme. So what’s it good for?

To be honest, I was pretty nonchalant about parsley until I started planting it in my garden for my pet rabbit, Rosie. She looooves parsley, but only when it’s fresh. She’s a bit of a princess that way. So I always include a little patch in my garden for her.

Rosie the Rabbit

Meet Rosie the Rabbit! Pets deserve an organized and creative life, too. So you’ll see Rosie featured in posts from time-to-time.

Get creative in the kitchen

One day I casually tossed a few springs of parsley in my salad and loved its punch. It has such a fresh taste with hints of lemon and pepper. The next thing I knew, I was sneaking it into soups and stews. It’s native to the Mediterranean, but can be used in all kinds of dishes.

Here are some recipe ideas from beautiful Sunset Magazine. This article features 11 ways to cook with fresh parsley.

parsley-ravioli-with-brown-butter-sauce

Parsley Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce from Sunset Magazine. A plateful of yum.

Get healthy

Come to find out, parsley is really good for you. It’s rich in all kind of vitamins: A, B1, B3, C, and K. That’s a nice portion of the vitamin alphabet. It also keeps your immune system strong and encourages digestion. No wonder so many chefs nudge it onto our plates.

Some people even use it for medicinal purposes. A few of the more interesting options I’ve read include:

  • Reducing hair loss by massaging parsley essential oil into the scalp.
  • Relieving joint pain by eating parsley daily.
  • Treating insect bites with the juices squeezed from the leaves.

Grow your own

If I’ve piqued your interest, why not grow your own? It’s a cool-weather-lovin’ kind of herb, so right now is a great time to plant. Here’s a helpful guide from Gardening Know How.

As a tip, flat leaf parsley has a little better flavor for cooking than its curly cousin. You’ll want to keep that in mind when buying seeds or plants from the nursery. By the way, I’m a huge fan of nurseries that carry the Monrovia brand. They always have quality plants.

I hope you’ll give parsley a chance. Comment below or email me your favorite way to enjoy this healthy herb!

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Aromatic Herb Bundles for the Perfect Bonfire

Herb Bundle

This is the “Sweet & Lovely.”

Nothing says, “it’s fall, y’all” quite like a bonfire. Well, other than pumpkin lattes, cozy sweaters and apple-scented candles. Regardless, I’m a huge fan of glowy bonfires – especially on a crisp autumn night. Our family likes to sit out back huddled around our fire pit with blankets and cups of steamy cocoa. We usually crack open a bag of marshmallows while we’re at it. S’mores, anyone?

Now, the start to any fire, whether it’s an indoor fireplace or outdoor pit, is proper kindling. Any small pieces of flammable material will do: torn newspaper, old receipts, junk mail. It’s actually a great way to declutter. Just be sure to ask permission to burn certain items – like your husband’s Sports Illustrated. For a burst of fragrance in your kindling mix, you’ll want to toss in an herbal bundle. Mmm.

Plow and Hearth sells lavender fire starter bundles for about $25 each. They’re lovely. If you’d like to make your own for way less (MYOFWL), here are super easy instructions.

What you’ll need

  • Dried aromatic herbs – approx. 12-15 stems
  • Small strip of decorative paper – 1 inch wide x 4 inches long (optional)
  • Raffia – several strands

Neatly trim each stem to about 6-8 inches.

Divide the herbs in half. Gently gather each bundle and point the tops in opposite directions to create a “bowtie” effect. Tie the middle of the bunch with a small piece of raffia – just to hold it together.

Next you can wrap the bundle with a piece of decorative paper if you want to add a pretty design element. Hold the paper in place with another piece of raffia. This last piece of raffia will finish off your bundle, so make it into a pretty bow or just keep it simple like I did.

That’s it! You’ve made your super amazing bundle of aromatic goodness.

Herb Bundle Styled

This bundle is dolled up on a garden seat.

A few ideas to enjoy your new creation:

  • Use it for yourself! Toss into a bonfire for fragrant kindling.
  • If you’re not ready to light that flame, display a few bundles on your hearth or a garden seat like I did above.
  • Put one or two in a pretty dish on your nightstand – especially if it includes lavender. Lavender helps you sleep!
  • Give as a thoughtful hostess gift.
  • Decorate the top of a birthday or holiday package.

Here are some delicious combinations to try:

Sweet and Lovely

  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

Warm Spice

  • Sage
  • Tarragon
  • Oregano

Winter Wonder

  • Evergreen sprigs
  • Cinnamon sticks or vanilla beans
  • Small oak or maple twigs (or anything readily available)

I hope you enjoy your bundles of goodness! What fragrant combinations do you love?

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