Paint Bucket Flower Pot

I needed a vase for some flowers upstairs, but didn’t want a traditional one.  I walked past this on the table and thought it would work perfectly. So, this one is pretty simple to overstate it.

Step 1. Get an old paint bucket.

Step 2. Get some flowers.

Step 3. Fill bucket with water and flowers.

Step 4. Strategically Place.

Super easy, gives character and looks nice. If you only have 2 minutes to your day to do something, this gives a great pop to an area. It would be beautiful  jazzed up with a vintage treatment or decor, but I liked mine just as it was!

Home Brewed Aphid Control

Every year right around this time, when the garden is in the beginning stages, my annual arch nemesis comes out:

The Aphid.

These little bugs love to lay their tiny black eggs all over your sweet plants, curling the leaves and then hatch and eat the plants, so you can’t. It’s pretty annoying, and this year they have decided to lay their eggs on my brand new fruit trees, especially my pear.

There are a few things you can do to help control these buggers, but most of the time it involves chemicals. I grow my food not only to save money, but because frankly I specifically don’t want synthetic chemically treated plants and thus food.

So there was the dilemma: how to take care of these terrors without caving, and without paying with my firstborn for organic chemicals (and let me tell you, Aphids are not going to wait the shipping time it takes for them to get to you). Thankfully, after much research I found a recipe that seems to be popular across the board. I’ve read about it working on fruit trees as well as vegetables. Short of buying ladybugs or wasps to release into my yard (yes, there are indeed one alternative), I’ve decided to go the home brew route. I didn’t use exact measurements, I just used my spray bottle as a guide.

Aphid Control Home Brew: (approximate)

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • a few small cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • a teaspoon of dish soap
  • a teaspoon of vegetable oil

Mix the first three ingredients together with hot water and let steep for an hour or so. If you prefer, puree them all together first and then put in water to steep. Strain through cheesecloth or light dishcloth and put into a spray bottle with the dish soap and vegetable oil. About oil – know what it does to your skin on a sunny day? It will do the same to your plants, so be careful not to go overboard. Toasted plants might take care of aphids, but you certainly won’t get anything yummy to eat from them.

The other thing I threw into mine, which is also known to help with aphids, is some citrus. Do NOT add items with sugar, this is going to attract other unwanted pests (like ants) to your plants. I used straight lime juice and only a little bit, maybe a teaspoon or less.

Here’s a few other things you should do as well:

  • Clean the leaves each morning to get off any eggs
  • If your plant can tolerate it (i.e. not a new seedling) give the plants a good spray of water, and make sure to get underneath, this will knock the aphids off.
  • After cleaning and spraying with regular water, spray your plants with the mix above. Note that you’ll probably have to re-apply it throughout the season, this isn’t a one shot deal.

That’s all for now, go to town with that spray bottle and get rid of those buggers! I am determined to not let them have my crop this year, if blight doesn’t get some of it first again – but that’s another post for another day.

Inspector Out,

Heather


Reclaimed Window Chalkboard


Last month we took down our old barn. I had decided, coincidentally during the tear down, I wanted to make a chalk menu board for our wedding. While Andy took the barn down piece by piece I noticed an old double pane window, which was drafty and broken. It had a natural rustic look to it so I decided give it a new life.

Here is the simple “how to” turn an old window into a chalkboard. Even though this will eventually hang in my office, I’ve decided to cover the back with fabric. As it is actually for our wedding,  and it will be propped outside., I wanted to make sure the back looked nice.

Supplies:

  • Chalkboard paint
  • Brush
  • Sandpaper (100 grit or so)
  • Any cleaner that won’t leave a residue (alcohol, paint thinner, acetone, etc – BE CAREFUL HANDLING THIS STUFF)
  • Gloves to protect your hands against glass removal and any cleaners
  • Something to prop the frame off the ground, I used an old crate
  • Window frame & glass/plexi or plywood that fits in the window

Reclaimed Chalkboard Window

  1. Put your gloves on
  2. Put your gloves on. Seriously.
  3. If possible and easy, start by taking the glass out of the window. Set the glass aside.
  4. Prop the glass up on your crate or other item. This will make it a lot easier to paint. I used a piece of original glass from the window, and a piece of Plexiglas from another window. If you cannot take the window out, make sure to tape around the frame so you don’t paint on it!
  5. With the 100 grit sandpaper, light buff the window pane to scour both sides. This will help the paint hold. If you don’t do this, the chalk paint will peel off of the glass – I figured this out first hand.

  1. Wipe down the window pane with your cleaner, to get the dust particles off and let dry.
  2. Put down your first thin layer of chalk paint, let it completely dry and lightly scour the top with sand paper again. Make sure to wipe off the dust from sanding between layers. Keep adding layers until you can no longer see through the glass and it’s smooth. I did 3-4 coats.

  1. Paint one coat, unless you want it dual use, on the back (if you want both sides chalk ready, then layer each side the same) This will help keep plexi or wood from warping. I only did one coat since I was covering the back with fabric.

  1. Insert the panes back into the wood frame when dry and attach as necessary for your window.

Fabric Backing : optional

  1. Cut piece of material to fit behind the window pane.
  2. Fold down edges and staple to frame. Every window is different, so you’re going to have to play around with what works best. It’s easy to pull the staples out and retry. I did 2 other styles before I came up with how I really liked it. Thankfully my frame is rustic looking anyway so I wasn’t concerned with staple holes. If you have a nicely painted frame you’re doing this with, lay it out ahead of time so you can make sure you get it to fit your window the first time. Remember – you can touch up your paint if you have to, no biggie.


Update: Want to see how the frame turned out for the wedding? Check it out here!

Happy Reclaimed Lovin,

Heather