I LOVE summer. I love nice weather, being outside, and of course expanding my crafting beyond the four walls of my house.
In case you haven't noticed, I've shut down my Etsy shop indefinitely. I was sad to shut it down in a way - it was really successful and I had a number of people want boards after I shut down. BUT, I was so completely overwhelmed. I work full time and am a newlywed, so something's gotta give. Plus, I was honestly getting a little burned out with birthday boards...although it was really fun to think about my handcrafted items making their way around the world! I'm still crafting away and making things for local craft fairs (come see me in Prairie Village on July 4th again this year!), but now I can make things at my own pace and fill up my free time with other fun projects.
Speaking of other fun projects...we've been super busy at our house. About a month ago I decided our backyard was pretty boring so we've decided to spruce things up.
We started with our deck. It's a simple deck with a roof...and before we had nothing but a small table and chairs set. And now...my little oasis :)
The chair, ottoman, loveseat, and area rug are all from Home Depot and really those were the only new purchases. That wicker trunk was a gift from my sister when I graduated high school (so yes, it's over a decade old). The two glass pillar candle holders were from Pier One last year.
Here are a few of my favorite things from the deck...
When pigs can fly bell. Hobby Lobby. Half Price. So about $7. SOLD!
A happy little gnome. Once again Hobby Lobby, half price.
This little cart is a hand me down from my parents and a great place to keep pots of flowers and lavender. Oh, and that little bird cage...it was the card holder at our wedding. I just took the sign off of it and threw a pot in it.
After the deck, I decided to tackle a vegetable garden.
I did this all by myself. In 3 hours. (pause for applause). No, seriously though...that was probably a bad idea. I ended up getting pretty sick afterward and thought it was just allergies but then it turned into a sinus infection. Moral of the story, no need to rock star it and do it all by yourself in one afternoon.
These raised beds were a kit from Home Depot (yes, we practically live at Home Depot). I started by staking out a good spot in my yard - plenty of sunshine and easy to mow around. Then I put together my beds which only took about 20 minutes. The kit is pretty awesome. I laid cardboard down on the bottom to stop any weeds/grass from growing up into my beds. Then filled with 30, yes 30, bags of soil. Mostly top soil with a few bags of garden soil mixed in on top. The lower bed houses herbs while the higher bed holds tomatoes, cucumbers, and strawberries. The best part about these kits - you can always buy another set and build on because they all interlock together. Perhaps next year...
Here's a close up of my herbs. I made my own garden markers using some scrap wood. I just cut the wood at an angle so I could stake it into the ground. Then I painted them all with some leftover craft paint, wrote the herb name using white paint pen, then sealed them in with multiple coats of clear coat spray paint. It was a quick project using materials laying around the house.
Then this weekend I ran up to Home Depot to grab a few plants for our front yard and accidentally bought a bunch of flowers. Sooo...time for a flower garden!
So this spot in our yard was honestly just some grass that wasn't in great shape after recent sprinkler repair. We started by using a garden hose to mark out where we wanted our bed to be. Mr. JG sprayed the spot with paint so we'd know were to dig. Then, we dug it up. We left a trench around the edge and put in some plastic edging, hammering into place with some spikes. Once we had our bed made, we arranged our plants in the bed. Mr. JG had to dig up holes for all of them (his back still hurts...he's pretty awesome to do this for me). Once the holes were dug, we laid down weed barrier fabric and cut out spots where the plants will go. Then we planted them. Our soil is pretty much clay, so I added some garden soil around the plants when I planted them with the hope it will give them a little better shot at surviving. Then, 5 bags of brown mulch covered the top and boom, instant flower garden.
I have no idea how these flowers will do - but they all said they needed a nice sunny spot, so here's hoping! Just in case you're curious, from left to right, the flowers are Camelot Lavender Foxglove, coral drift roses, speedwell royal candles, clematis (in the back with the trellis), orchid primrose, coral bells, more roses, and more royal candles.
And, what's a garden without a little crafting...
I made these teacup bird baths using some garage sale teacups and saucers, copper tubing, and a cap for the copper tube. Glue the cup to the saucer using a strong adhesive (I used a gorilla glue) then attach the bottom of the saucer to a copper cap using adhesive. I had to use epoxy for this because my gorilla glue wouldn't hold it. You can get copper tubing from Home Depot or any hardware store - then cut it into sections (mine were 4' long) using a hacksaw. Hammer your tubing down into the ground then stick your cap with attached cup onto the tubing. The cup can be filled with water and become a little birdbath and the saucer holds seeds. You're welcome birds, you're welcome.
Finally, we added a few hanging plants to our back deck...
And now...I think it's time for a backyard party! Who's in?