Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Trouble At Sweetwater!!!


Autumn officially began on Saturday....

We had to cover the flowers to keep them blooming and it looks like it was worth it....


This week has been one filled with warm days and bright blue skies.....and it seems it will stay warm for another week!





But still....it is time to start thinking about Fall Decor around Sweetwater!




The Planter on the front steps is filled with a few mums, 
some transplanted sedum and a nice ornamental cabbage....
pretty cheap buys from Home Depot!



I pulled out this door decoration from the box of Fall stuff.....


But then.....
THE TROUBLE BEGAN!!!


My lovely table decoration looked like this when I got home from work today!

TROUBLE.....your name is MARVIN!!!

And that isn't the worst of it!!!


Notice the arrangement next to the menu Pig.....
It started out on the mantle next to the mirror....
But NO!!!
Marvin the Terrible decided that he would hop up there and bat it around....
AND ....
while he was up there he tried to crawl behind the big mirror 
that is just propped against the wall!!!
SO...
rather than risk the mirror crashing to the floor....
I had to put this up on top of the refrigerator!
(at least until Marvin figures out how to get up there!!)


I put this planter with artificial leaves and cattails on the mantel along with a fall themed wreath....I think it will keep Mr. Marvin from jumping up there because there isn't enough room for him to get a foothold....we shall see!


After seeing all the cute tutorials for those stuffed velvet pumpkins....I searched through m fabric stash and DID NOT find any velvet....(guess a trip to the fabric store is in my future)!

I did have these two scraps of fall colored silk....and the pumpkin stems I had been saving since last year.....so I whipped these up!!!  Seriously....they took all of 10 minutes each to make!!!  

And....best of all....when Marvin starts batting them around they won't break....Hah...I foiled that little guy!!!

Tomorrow I plan to stop and pick up a few pumpkins and gourds....those are kitten proof too!  I just wish Maxine could teach Marvin some manners!!!


Here is a handy tip for keeping your pumpkins from spoiling!

Give them a nice good soaking in the sink with a little Chlorine Bleach.....
This kills any bacteria that would cause them to rot!


When I take the time to do this...the pumpkins last all the way until Thanksgiving!



Happy Fall.....and wish me luck with Marvin!!!
I shudder to think what will happen when the Christmas Decorations come out!!!





Wednesday, September 19, 2012

NO COST Fall Planters!

We have certainly had some beautiful fall weather the last few days!
The temperatures here did dip into the low 40's a couple of nights ago.....so a killing frost can't be too far away.

The planters around the firepit were looking pretty sad....

to be honest....

I never much liked the plantings in them this year.

anyway.....by last weekend they definitely needed a fall spruce up!!!

And of course.....I didn't want to spend ANY money!!



Every year Mr. S and I take a drive through the countryside to cut a handful of cattails for the mantel....




We did that 2 weeks ago.....







 





 I always spray them with a little clear spray paint to keep them from fluffing all over.... fast and simple!











Anyway....back to the planters....I asked Mr. S. if he could get me a WHOLE BUNCH MORE....
What a guy....he used his lunch hour to go tramping through the bushes and cut some!
.....about a 50!!! 


I think this was almost better than when he sends me flowers from the florist!!!!
All that involves is a credit card and a phone....

this was way harder....


 And.....
Can you believe that I saw a teensy bunch of 4 cattails in the floral display at the grocery store for $3.99!
That means Mr. S. saved.....hmmmmmm........about $75.00....not that ANYONE in their right mind would spend that on CATTAILS!!!!



I stuck these into a planter so that I could  spray them with more clear spray paint.....

There are some milkweed pods in there too....another project...another day!!!!



once they dried.....


I was ready to get started!






I moved all the smaller planters down into the garden and only left the four biggest pots....

I couldn't bring myself to pull up the Profusion Zinnias that are still sort of blooming....
but I did cut out the obvious dead stuff...


I stuck the cattails in......


Took a short walk to the ditch for some Pampas Grass switches.....


And there you have it.......

 FREE FALL PLANTERS....


A fire....
A glass of wine....
A bottle of beer....
A perfect early fall evening!








Monday, September 17, 2012

Halloween Spell Book Tutorial

This is essentially a repost of something I wrote last year.
It is WAY too early for me to start decorating for Halloween!
BUT.....
Some of YOU...are way ahead of me and actually planning and making decorations for next month.....and I thought you might like to try this fun project!


I love this wonderful decorative set of Halloween Books that my daughter gave me a few years ago.



They came from "The Shop Around the Corner" that I told you about from our Weekend Wander in Waconia!

Alas....this cute little shop is now closed....and I sure will miss it!


Last year I put the books on the entry hall  table with the Owl I splurged on....

We even saved the "perfect" branch to use again this year!

When the time comes....I will probably do something similar to this!


I loved the idea of these books  so much that I wanted some for my school Halloween display....and of course I didn't want to spend the money to buy the "real" thing....

I did a knock-off version and only spent $7 instead of the $25 for the originals.

Since this was BB (before blog), I can't do an actual tutorial with photos.....
so I will try to explain how I made them!




I bought these paper mache books in a set of 3 from Michael's for 6.99


  • I painted the outside with flat black craft paint.
  • I painted the book page area with metallic gold paint.
  • I printed out the cover and spine images on my computer
  • I used Modge Podge to attach the printed titles and cover to the books

And here is the finished result! 
I left them loose....instead of gluing them together....so I can stack them every which way!

I will put them on the center table in the Media Center with all of the Halloween books for kids to check out.....
Last year a kid actually tried to check one of them out.....He was so disappointed when he found out they weren't real!






I still have these photo albums that I bought at Goodwill.....hmmmm


I am thinking I will distress these....add some Halloween themed titles and have another set....


I meant to do this last year and never got it done!!!  Maybe this year!
Wish me luck!




Speaking of Halloween....there is really nothing better than a good spooky book to read to your kids.....check out this post with lots of suggestions!

There is plenty of time to get to YOUR library and check them out!!!

 Halloween Books for Kids!


Enjoy!!!  I am going to relish the rest of September and NOT rush into Halloween!!!
Link Parties
Throwback Thursday  

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Making Florist Bouquets Last!

It was our Anniversary on September 5th!
Who knew all those years ago what a busy time the first few days of September would be!

So busy in fact that there have been years when I forgot and Mr. S  was the one who reminded me!

This year....Mr. S. surprised me with flowers delivered to school!! 
He was going off on a fishing trip....I was busy with the first days of school...
The flowers were a special way to celebrate our Anniversary!


This photo doesn't do the arrangement justice!  
It was stunning and brightened my office for the whole week!  
I loved the way the florist packed all the unique flowers into the glass vase and used a hosta leaf inside to disguise the stems.  

Hmmmm....I am going to have to try that!

I brought it home for the weekend and by Sunday night it was looking a little droopy!

So....This is what I did.....


I simple took the flowers out of the original vase.....put some floral foam in another vase and rearranged them....I added 1 Gerbera Daisy from the garden....

AND....

Mr. S. said he actually liked this one better......what a guy!!!!

THAT arrangement lasted a whole week......now it is Saturday Morning....

AND....the arrangement looked like this.....

But not for long....

One last consolidation.....


So now these flowers are 10 days old....
I can probably get at least another 4 or 5 days out of them!!!

Thanks for the flowers Mr. S!

You all have a great day....we are off to a fun Pop-Up shop where the Sweetwater Son-In-Law is showing off the great looking shoes he designs and sells....
Greenwich Vintage
I will write more about that soon....but if you live in the Minneapolis Area....the event is called Northern Grade!  
 Great Fun...Great Shopping....Great People Watching!
Maybe we will see you there!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

This Week At Sweetwater!

The first week of school is over....Whew!!! It is always such a busy time....fun....but exhausting!  If you think your kids come home tired after their first days....

Imagine the adults!!!!  
Mr. S. was smart enough to go off with "the guys" to fish....
nice for me because then I can stagger home and just "chill" after those long first days!

 But....Look at these gorgeous fresh faces ready to learn!
Their obvious enthusiam and excitement makes all the hard work worth it!
These photos are from Our school's DAY ONE celebration!
We all gather on the front lawn of the school....music playing....dancing....celebrating! 
It is a wonderful way to begin the year...

The Sweetwater Garden is usually one of the "casualties" of the shift in focus from home to school.

THIS YEAR....I am dedicated to NOT letting that happen!!!
I got to thinking......

Why is it that In MAY....I am so exciting and refreshed when I go out in the garden after a busy school day?
HMMMMMM.....
Maybe in SEPTEMBER....gardening could be the same kind of therapy!

SOOOO....I am committed to keep watering and fertilizing those flowers that I enjoy so much!




I replaced some "tired" plants with this annual grass....even after the frost it should stay looking nice!  You can get some great bargains on these grasses right now!


 It is hard to believe these Dahlias started out in little 4 inch pots.....I keep cutting them and bring them inside for small arrangements! I know I could dig them up and keep them in the garage to plant again next year...but I probably won't....hey they only cost 3 bucks a piece!!!







Hardy Garden Mums are such great late summer blooms in the garden!


I have to admit I am not good at pinching them back all summer like you are supposed to...I let them bloom and use them in arrangements all season.....



And now....they are in full bloom....and they will stay looking nice even after our first frosts.

Mums last a long long time in cut flower arrangements!

These bronze colored flowers are some of my favorites because the color goes so well in our house!

















I just adore Sunflowers!  Most years the deer munch them right down to the ground...but this year we have a nice stand right outside my "work room" window.  I will let them reseed and hope that this happens again next year!

















The "Profusion" Zinnias and Rudebekia are looking good too!














It didn't seem to matter to them that we had such a hot dry summer...












These Gerbera Daisy plants were gifts way back in May....



Never before have I kept them alive and blooming all summer!







Usually they die from the center and stop growing after a couple of weeks....

These guys don't seem to ever quit!!!

I wonder what I did RIGHT this year!!!









 Lots of fertilizer, dead heading and watering has kept the deck plantings looking pretty good so far.....

 

the Sweet Potato vine is kind of taking over.....maybe next year I will find something different for trailing......








 The bistro table has this support ring on the bottom that is just the perfect size for a round planter....

The impatiens loves this sheltered shady spot....alas it will be the very first victim of any cold evening....but in the meantime it is looking fine!!!!

Maybe I will make a fall arrangement of some sort when the frost comes!













The fall color of this Sedum spilling out of the planter fountain is really pretty....




I might add a couple of two dollar mums to replace the Begonias so that it keeps looking good for a month or so!









I would have to say that this "end of season bargain" plant  (five bucks!)
was well worth it!!!

HMMMM.....that was on sale in July....


2 months later....



still going strong!!!







Minnesota weather in September is unpredictable....90 degrees one day....50 degree mornings the next!

 I actually looked it up and found out that the average first killing frost in our area is not until the end of September ...three weeks away!!!!

So until that time....I am challenging myself to keep all these beauties looking good...and enjoying them!!!
Wish me luck!