Simple Terrarium

It is a shiny new year here at share a bit of love!  I thought I would share a gift that I made for a gift exchange this year in case your new year’s resolution is to give a little more, make the world a greener place, or to spruce up your home or office.

I made this simple terrarium (two actually) for under $10 with some help from mother nature.Terrarium6

Here is what you will need:

  • Clear glass vessel
  • succulent plants
  • moss
  • potting soil
  • activated charcoal
  • gravel
  • rocks & sticks for added decoration

1. Start layering in this order: Gravel, charcoal, & potting soil.

2. Plant succulent in soil.

3. Pat in moss around to cover- You can skip this step, but it adds nice texture.  I managed to peel some moss from our front yard. (thanks Pacific Northwest!)

4. Add stones/sticks (I used drift wood from a girls weekend at the beach a few months back, and stones collected from a camping trip)

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Hunt & Gather Wreath

As you may have noticed, I love living in the Pacific Northwest.

There is endless nature to be discovered, scenery as far as the eye can see, and gifts only the cool damp weather can bring.

With the holidays in full swing, I thought I would gather a few pieces of my favorite place and put a wreath together. I chose to hop over to my favorite green belt and pick up the left overs from a recent wind storm. It was a win-win.

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Here is what you will need:

Florist Wire

Wreath form (I used a maple branch)

Various Evergreen Boughs

Patience

Start by forming your wreath by bending the branch into a circle. Wire together tightly.

Grab about 4 boughs at a time, laying them on the wreath form, and tightly wrapping with wire to secure them. I used several pieces of wire instead of continuously wrapping. Continue around the entire wreath form adding different sets of boughs for different textures.  Wrap a hanger to the main circle of the wreath.  Tuck in a garnishments-holly, pine cones, or as I did, curly willow branches.

Give to your neighbors- hang on your door- share a bit of love.

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Homemade Gifts- Industrial Candles

It is the season of gift giving. Around here we don’t do a lot of shopping, but instead, do a little supply gathering. Our family LOVES to do homemade gifts for the holidays.  Today I took to some candle making supplies to test make some unique industrial candles. A quick trip to the hardware and craft stores and I was ready to go!

Here is what I used:

  • Galvanized Pipe Caps: 2 inch, 1 1/2 inch, and 1 1/14 inch sizes
  • Beeswax Pellets
  • Essential Oil (Sweet Orange)
  • Long wicks

In a double boiler, or in my case a regular pot of water with a heat safe bowl on top, heat the wax and about 40 drops of essential oil until fully melted. While you wait, glue the wicks to the bottom inside of your galvanized caps.  Pull the wicks to one side, pour hot wax into each cap.  Using skewers, prop your wicks up to keep them out of the wax. Don’t worry if the tops are a little rough, you can clean them up using a hair dryer and a skewer to smooth things out.  When everything is set, cut your wicks down and viola! A custom set of candles ready for gifting. Total estimated Cost: $16.00

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Fresh Eggs

We have this saying around our house that has us always in project mode- “why not?”.

We’ve had this corner of our suburban yard that has long housed a large purple rhododendron that was adored by me and despised by the Handsome. An agreement was made that it could be removed upon the addition of something really cool that doesn’t require pulling weeds.  Enter the chicken coop. (Why not? Remember?)

Crafted with our own four hands and a bunch of amazing reclaimed fence materials, in three (maybe 4) weeks after work and on weekends, we made this little gem.  It houses nesting boxes for three chickens, a roosting ladder, a window, garden space, and a small, self-contained chicken run. A friend had more than her share of mature hens and was happy to re-home three lovely ladies.  I will be introducing them in the future, one by one, as they allow me to hold and take their photo.

After getting them settled last night, we woke up to a beautiful brown egg this morning, only to be followed by two more by noon. We can’t wait to see how we do on the daily with this backyard flock, but if the eggs keep looking this beautiful, I think we will all get along just fine. Why not?

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In the Garden

I have this little piece of paradise. It happens to be in my very own backyard. It is so peaceful and calm- in the middle of the Suburban west. Slug destruction aside, this is a quiet little delicious sanctuary that I take pride in every time I clip a leaf of kale for salad or pull a carrot fresh from the soil.

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My Back Yard

When the sun comes out after a gloomy winter, we go immediately to the back yard.  We have worked for a few years to make it just the spot to enjoy when that bright light makes its way to the great Northwest.

I have been feeling sapped of all of my creativity in the last few weeks since we’ve had what can only be described as a weird April around here, and I am looking forward to a better month of May.  Here are a few snaps from my afternoon prepping the garden and spending time with my sweet girls.

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DIY- Industrial Iron Pipe Shelves

In between the day job and the portrait photography, I LOVE to create. Luckily, so does the Handsome.  Part of why we work so hard is to really enjoy our home and life together.  I found myself with some free time in the last days of my vacation recently, and could not sit idle.  We’ve been improving our home for the last 5 years, from bathroom/kitchen remodels, to a pergola, and a new 2nd story deck.  We tend to reuse materials often- we’re green like that.  The Handsome has been hoarding the old lumber for more than 3 years now, and was consolidating recently- we just couldn’t part with that old decking.

There has always been an unused portion of our tall living room wall that has never looked quite right.  It was time to fix it. Enter iron pipe and the salvaged lumber.A trip to the hardware store to get the following after doing a little math for how big we wanted this masterpiece to be:

2 – 6″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes

2  – 8″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes

12 – 10″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes

4 – 12″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes

6- 1/2″ Threaded T’s

4 – 1/2″ Threaded 90’s

2 – 1/2: Threaded Couplings

10 – 1/2″ Flanges

1 box of 1 5/8″ Counter Sunk Screws

1 can of Rust-o-leum Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray paint

1 can of Rust-o-leum Indoor Clear Polyurethane (optional)

You will need lumber if you don’t have the salvaged wood option

Directions and cost breakdown are listed below.

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1st, thing is 1st: your flanges will probably be silver. I was informed that they don’t make un-galvanized flanges because they are usually used outside and need to be rust-proof.  The can of spray paint will more than cover the flanges, so do this first to let them dry.

Gather your pipes and complete a configuration that will work with your space. I chose to have a mix of smaller and larger shelve spaces to break up the wall a bit. Your hands will be filthy- the pipes are not clean FYI.

My pattern went for each “leg” went from top to bottom: 90, 10″, coupling, 6″, T, 12″, T, 8″, T, 12″, 90.

I then attached 10″ pipe to each 90 and to each T.  These will be the pipes that hold your shelves. Depending on your wood width, you could use a different length.

To each 10″ pipe, I attached a flange.  This will serve as your connection to the wall.

With the Handsome’s help, we attached each “leg” to the wall. We used a level and a tape measure to ensure the distance was correct and that the shelves would stay level.  We pre-drilled a few of the flanges before attaching to the wall to make sure we had some solid footings in the wall. This is a fairly heavy frame, so a stud should be used to secure the shelf “legs” to the wall.

We went through some of the old decking that we had salvaged that had some dry wear on it.  Some cracks and dings didn’t scare us.  We measured a portion of the wall and made cuts accordingly.  54 inches in length for four boards. Our lumber was mismatched a bit, so we had to make a cut to make the depth match the iron pipe. Using Polyurethane, I added several coats to make a slick surface on the worn wood to make future cleaning much easier.  This is definitely not necessary, but for someone who loves to make cleaning easier, this is a lifesaver.

Once the boards were dry, we placed them on the shelving frame.  After a few days, I took out one of the middle planks to make the space a little more dynamic.  I am still working on adding our favorite collections to the shelves, but it has changed the entire feel of the room for a pretty small price all things considered.

Here is the cost breakdown:

2 – 6″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes $2.05 x 2= $4.10

2  – 8″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes $2.89 x 2= $5.78

12 – 10″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes $3.40 x 12= $40.80

4 – 12″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes $3.84 x 4= $15.36

6- 1/2″ Threaded T’s $1.95 x 6=$11.70

4 – 1/2″ Threaded 90’s $1.53 x 4= $6.12

2 – 1/2: Threaded Couplings $1.53 x 2= $3.06

10 – 1/2″ Flanges $6.24 x 10= $62.40

1 box of 1 5/8″ Counter Sunk Screws=$6.47

1 can of Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray paint =$6.42

Lumber = Salvaged ($0)

Polyurethane= Optional ($7.99)

Grand Total: $162.21