Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Good to the Last Drop...

It's no secret that I love the rain.
Giving thanks for every drop we had in May...

and hoping for more to come in June!
May God bless your garden with
just enough sunshine and a good dose of rain!
Happy gardening!

Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Salute

I'm proud to be an American.

Thank you to all the service people and their families
for the many sacrifices they have made.
Your deeds will not be forgotten.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Handy Household Hints from Heloise


"Discover Heloise's helpful ideas and tips for cleaning up, entertaining with ease, making repairs, getting organized, taking care of yourself, coping with nuisances, and keeping house.  For a wealth of up-to-the-minute hints, turn to this handbook whenever you've burnt the rice, stained your shirt, or splattered paint on your hands."

What's not to like here?  Heloise and her mother before her,
the original Heloise, have been doling out solutions to household problems for a half a century (I know, can you believe it?). 
This go-to manual is ideal to have on hand to help with all those domestic dilemmas that spring up.  Need to know how
to properly launder clothes?  It's in there. Wondering about what will work as a substitute in recipes?  Yup, that too.  Everything from cooking, cleaning, decluttering (one of my favorite parts), and home maintenance can be found in the pages of this wonderfully written no-nonsense book.  This would make a great gift for a newlywed couple or a student headed off to college or just graduating.  In fact, I can't think of a person who wouldn't benefit from having this manual in their home library. 
Heloise rates right up there with Erma Bombeck as one of my personal (s)heroes.
That's what happens when you let your light shine...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Rattlebox Revisited

The yellow rattlebox is back to sprouting in the backyard.
I first blogged about this amazing orchid-like plant here.

Several have been planted next to the house
by the butterfly garden.
Something was needed to break up those blah grey walls.
Many more have been self-sown
all around the yard.
Can't ask for gardening any easier than that!

The sweet and delicate heads on the crowns of these beauties
are chartreuse-colored.

The seed pods are a similar color,
almost translucent in nature,
and yield a marvelous treasure-trove of goodies inside.

Here's what they look like after they dry on the stalk.

I harvested so many seeds last year,
yet oodles fell on the ground
and restarted themselves recently.
I'm happy to share if you'd like to
give this easy going plant a try!

The multitude of green leaves are lush and vibrant.

Climbing toward the heavens are these gorgeous
yellow blooms, just asking to be placed in a tall vase.

Like canaries spiraling toward the nest,
these gorgeous flowers just go on and on...

So delicate, yet so hearty.
Little care is given this plant and it thrives
on only the bare essentials.
Sometimes less really is more...

Wanna learn more?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Linens, Organized

We're really into the swing of things with organizing lately.
I think I had forgotten how satisfying it can be
to complete a task.

The hallway linen closet was sorted,
but still didn't feel right.
I knew it could be tweaked for a more streamlined effect.

Here's how it's looked for quite some time.
The baskets are useful and keep everything contained.
A little purging was in order.
One set of sheets and one extra pillow,
along with an old comforter set from the master bedroom
and a blanket no longer needed
were set aside for a trip to the animal shelter.
They always need linens.

Everything folded similarly makes it look more uniform,
but it still didn't make me feel all Martha
when I opened the door for something.
I decided to try to roll the towels instead of folding them.
After all, isn't that what spas do to make you feel
like you are being pampered?

Place the towel on a flat surface,
as smooth as you can get it.

Fold it into thirds,
one flap on top of the other.

Both outer parts come to rest in the middle,
so there are three layers.

Fold down at one end to get it started.

Then, rock-n-roll!

Yeah, I'm gettin' that spa feeling already!

The yellow towel was longer than the white ones,
so I just laid it on its side.
This also separates the towels from the washcloths
and hand towels, so the lil' guy can help himself
without confusion.

I also keep his sheets bundled
so that he can retreive what he needs
to change his sheets weekly.
I fold both the top and bottom sheets into block shapes.

These get tucked into the matching pillowcase.
We keep only two sets of sheets per bed,
as they are washed on a weekly basis.

There ya go! 
A nice, neat package
and only one thing to look for in the closet.
It's all about independence, baby!

His sheets and beach towel are kept on the same shelf.
One stop shopping!

A sprig of fresh rosemary from the garden
or a bit of essential oil on a cotton ball
adds a lovely fragrance each time the door is opened.

These plastic laundry bags provided during a rare hotel stay
are handy to keep around.
We usually pack these when we travel
to keep our dirty or wet clothes separate from the rest.

Rags made from old towels, washcloths and t-shirts,
are stationed on the bottom-most rack for easy access.
Around here, you make the mess, you clean it up!

An extra pillow and mattress cover fill the top-most basket,
as they are rarely needed. 
There is room to spare as we keep only what we use regularly.

I save the plastic bags that bed linens come in,
as new uses can always be found for them.
They work great for kids' larger toys
like wooden blocks,  a lil' girl's kitchen accessories,
or messy things like sand toys. 
The kids can find just what they need in these
handy see-through storage containers.




Ahhh, I feel so much better.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Reader's Digest Beginner's Guide to Gardening

"If the idea of a beautiful garden fills you with happiness
but your lack of gardening knowledge fills you with dread, Beginner's Guide to Gardening is the one book you need.  Packed with easy-to-understand and easy-to-implement information, this comprehensive handbook guides you through the basics of gardening.  Determine the style and features you want for your garden-as well as how much time you can devote to it-and then use the detailed information in these pages to create your outdoor dream space."

This 250+ page book has brilliant photographs and tons of information for the beginning gardener, or one who just needs a bit of a fresh perspective.  There are chapters on everything from soil basics to selecting plants to pest control.  Step-by-step instructions are given for basic tasks such as taking a root cutting or laying sod, and expanding to something as esoteric as forming an espalier. 

Because I am working hard to make our gardens native, I more enjoy books which have a local point of view.  The ideas in general gardening books such as this are out-of-sync with our climate and planting time table, so it takes a bit of rethinking to make some of the things work here in Florida.  Unless a book is written specifically for Southern or Florida gardeners, one can be sure that some adjustments will have to be made.  Still, this book does have some great general information to get a gardener started.  So many ideas in one book, it would take hours to digest them all.  Not a bad way to spend a stormy weekend!