Sunflowers in a Mason Jar!

One of my closest amazing girlfriends surprised me today with these gorgeous sunflowers in a pretty blue mason jar. They came with a note sharing the philosophy of a sunflower. I’m so lucky and grateful! It’s been a long week full of stress. It’s so nice having friends and family who just… get me. Happy weekend.

This photo is not enhanced – they really are this bright!

And doncha know? She got part of my blog name embossed on the jar! Ain’t she a peach?!





Fresh Cut Yard: Our ‘Out Front’ Makeover

Exciting things are happening on our homestead! Projects that took a long time to complete – pauses and phases and unexpected work – are finally coming together! Wahoo! Before and after time…

Below is our house about 4 long, snowy winter months after we bought it in December of 2009. We had just trimmed some very unruly bushes, cleaned out a ton of trash and dead plants and mowed the “lawn”. Weren’t she perty?

Next is about 1 month ago. We had removed bushes, removed aluminum siding, awning, and flashing. Next, Andrew spent last September and October painstakingly restoring, sanding, and painting the paneling and rebuilding the wood stairs. That black railing is the old one painted! And the steps.. only the treads are new. This was about 100 parts labor and 3 parts cost.

About 12 hours after the above photo was taken, we woke up bright and early to get this next step started. Picked up a truck load of top soil, leveled the yard, tamp-ed it down nice and tight…

Then we laid fresh green sod. We got ours at Lowes for about $75. We’ve since had to patch a few ‘dead spots’ so beware of quality – we think the sod was poorly watered since it was dry when we got to the garden center and sitting out in the hot sun. Water is key! We laid this before the mini-drought broke and 3 days of rain ensued! Yes!

We let this settle and attach itself, then I woke up at the break of dawn one Saturday to get shrubs and bushes and plants. I got there with a plan and completely scrapped it. I kept my basic goal in tact which was to obtain plants that would stay alive all year long so we wouldn’t have shrub skeletons greeting guests and passerby during the winter. I can’t wait to put twinkly lights on the evergreens and the red berries on the Needlepoint Holly will be so happy in the gray winter. Below are the plants in the truck. I got the bigger evergreen (not pictured) from a local nursery.

My generous mom gave me huge hostas from her yard for the side…Forgive the blurriness – I took this at 7 am the day after we planted them.. at 10 pm. By street light.

Skip ahead. Mulch. Mulch. Dig. Plant. Mulch. Grow.


Here’s the edge detail below – we made this using pavers found under the house and random rocks around our property (cough cough we dug up two smaller rocks from the alley cough). There’s one of those pesky brown spots! Say it together now.. water! See how the sod hasn’t attached to the ground below yet? It looks like a shag rug and would not need mowing for another 2 weeks. We’ve mowed it about 3 times now! It grows FAST! We accidently gave it a very short buzz cut this past weekend – it looked like normal height grass just 48 hours later for an idea of growth speed. Like 1/2 mm an hour. Which is like 70 mph in plant world.

This is the BEFORE for the “side yard”.. Yes, we literally air quote it when we say that out loud.

And the AFTER-ish.. This photo was taken a day or two after I planted those hostas – how snaggly and knarly do they look here?! Bad hair day, yard!

It now looks like that first photo above. The hostas look amazing, full, perfect, and healthy. The succulent-looking plants beside them will grow to about 2′ round and sprout pretty purple flowers in the fall. They are already double that size! Thank you, rain! You can barely see in the photo, but there are two plump ferns planted at the other end to frame this bed until we figure out what we want to do with it. We’d like to leave it as mulch, but we’re always adding, improving, and re-vamping.

Hope you enjoyed our front yard flip! I can’t wait for the blooms to pop in a few months! (The hostas in a few weeks!)

Homes for Herbs: Add-on

How could I resist a little supplement to the original post? These hanging herb boxes are so charming. If you love rustic country vibes on your porch, patio, or in your dining room or kitchen, these herb boxes and other notable treasures can be found at Farmhouse Wares. I love how antiques are pieces of history, a reminder of how far the modern world has come.

Above, Farmhouse Musings, the official blog of Farmhouse Wares, shows the nesting boxes with baby’s breath. You could put any flowers you choose in these pretty, rustic boxes. I’d fill with simple wildflowers… or herbs. 😉

Notable Stationary: Sparrow Nest Script

I love this stationary from Sparrow Nest Script on Esty. I’m a sucker for the art of calligraphy. I also appreciate how a simple thank-you, i-love-you, or hello can go a long, long way. Each one inspires me to dig out my stamps, pens, and return address stamp + inkpad and send some snail mail!! I’m sure I have people to thank, friends I need to show how much I love them, and people to surprise. How happy and simple are these sweet notes below?

The first three are shout-outs to my mama for loving me without fail for 28 years (this includes the time I was in her tummy growing strong for my big ’85 debut). Hi mom! All photos lead to Esty shop here!

Happy Mother’s Day.

Mad for Mason Jars, Part Two!

While skipping around Etsy recently, I stumbled across these adorable hanging mason jar candle holders by Sweet Tea Clothing Co. My adoration for this old to new, southern staple definitely warrants a[nother] feature. I’m so happy I found these treasures just as summer is around the corner. All photos link to shop. These hanging lights below caught my eye first.

Aren’t they perty?
In fact, the framed mason jar wall sconce/vase is also pretty. Place a votive or tea light in the jar and hang wood panel to an outside (or inside!) wall.And the mason jar succulent planters.And the mason jar string lights.What happened to the inside of the lids when they were replaced with breathable wire mesh? Gift tags. Adorable.All twinkly, fresh creations are by Sweet Tea Clothing Co. Visit their Etsy shop here. And while you’re there, click on the profile link for a simple sweet tea “how to”. Ah, I love the south. Why, oh why do I not live there!?

Happy Thursday!

Fresh Cut Kitchen: Beverly Weidner

Before we dive in, some background on how I came to be so very excited about this renovation. When it comes to Beverly Weidner, I’m the proud, wide-eyed little sister who is all up in her blog-sharing over on her two(oh yeah!) facebook pages. Ok, one is a page. One is her profile. I “friended” her, liked almost every food post, and the rest is history. We’re best friends! But really, she’s the whole package. Pretty inside and out, pretty kitchen have-r, amazing chef, and laugh-worthy narrator. I hope I’m convincing because she has not personally cooked for me and gabbed over a glass of wine… yet.

Here’s a pic to break up my chatter.


Back in March, on my big ‘ol Spring b-day, Bev wrote on my wall. O.M.G. Having played her up as a famous blogger-foodie-chef-lady for months, my mind was beyond blown when she wished me a happy birthday. Ever since, I’m convinced – and I don’t miss an opportunity to share it enthusiastically – she’s gonna be famous. On TV. Making people laugh right up there next to Ree and Paula on Food Network. In her sparkly new kitchen.

Mark. My. Words. People.

Bev, you mark ’em, too – I can’t bear to be wrong about these things!

You can imagine my excitement when she agreed to be my first official Fresh Cut. So here you are – behold, a truly Fresh Cut Space. Finished just last week. And she didn’t miss a beat on her morsel posts. Designer and chef. Go girl.

Before the overhaul..

Grab your Ray Ban‘s – it’s so shiny bright! Ta-da!!

How classic is that hardwood flooring? And the clean, crisp white? I’m in awe.

I’m a sucker for cute, snuggly coffee-maker nooks.

And cutting board slots! And pretty cutting boards in general.

Coil-y, stainless sink heaven.

Repeating the warmth and rustic feel of the floor balances the space. I love shiny white when it befriends natural wood.

More shelves and happy vintage glasses.

The “coffee station.”

Two words: functional display. Love. Go ahead. Pin it. I’ll wait.

Twinkly lights! This makes me that much more giddy about our bathroom renovation featuring: super, glittery halogen track lighting. Doesn’t it just feel like your in the tropical sun? No? Close?

Kudos to Bev and Aaron and Eric and all those people who made this space the dreamiest little kitchen. I bet the food is going to taste so much more delicious (if that’s possible)!

Design and photos by Beverly Weidner on her fancy camera. In fact they’re even prettier over on her blog. If this looks familiar, I shared a little link to Bev’s post over on my FB page last week! Go see!