Tomato Tally

My buddy Amy suggested I keep a running tally of how many tomatoes I get from my garden this year. Being the garden-lover I am, how could I pass up such a fun idea?

Yesterday’s haul at 8:30 p.m. proved very fruitful, no garden pun intended. And I know we missed a bunch of pickins because it was getting dark. As of last night, the tomato tally is up to 33. Not bad! I am hoping to get enough to make a batch of salsa this upcoming weekend… that means that I need to stop giving them away and eating them, which is the hard part. I still have a few onions left from my garden and my jalapeño peppers are growing like weeds. If I have enough tomatoes, I should be able to make salsa almost purely from my garden :)

Veggies

In this picture you’ll see a green zucchini, a yellow squash, an oddly shaped cucumber, a handful of cherry tomatoes, three purple heirloom tomatoes, a few Roma tomatoes, a few early girl tomatoes and one yellow heirloom tomato. That are so pretty. There are also two banana peppers, which I do not remember planting. I wonder if labels got mixed up at Home Depot or something…. I planted tabasco peppers (those aren’t growing, darn), red bell peppers, green bell peppers, cayenne peppers and jalapeño peppers. Somehow the bananas snuck in there. They won’t go to waste.

Speaking of nature (good transition, yes?), Brian and I hiked the Billy Goat trail between the C&O Canal and Potomac River.

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It was the best hike we’ve ever been on and I can’t recommend it enough. If you are anywhere near Great Falls National Park, you have to hike this trail.

Great Falls

Other than hiking, I spent the weekend winning a round of mini golf….

Putput

(Go me! I never win at mini golf!)

Golf… hanging out with our neighbors…. (yes, our dogs are strange)

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… and visiting with my cousins. Oh, and I helped paint my friend’s basement. Quite the tiring and eventful weekend.

Hope you all had great weekends!

Fenwick Island

Drink happy

Brian and I spent last weekend in Fenwick Island, DE, with our best friends at their family beach house. I have gone to this beach house every year of my life that I can remember. In fact, it’s where Brian and I met 10 years ago!

10 years

We had a wonderful time reminiscing about when we met, but mostly living it up beach style with our best buddies.

We hung out at the beach, went to our favorite places to eat, drank a lot, read books, played games, went on the boat, kayaked…. basically the perfect weekend.

Oh, and one other thing happened…. MY BEST FRIEND GOT ENGAGED!!!!!

Proposal

I am so happy for Dana and her fiance Phillip. I was honored that Phil let me in on his engagement plan ahead of time, so we were able to trick Dana into coming to the beach later in the evening so I could photograph his sweet proposal.

Dana's Ring

Check out that bling! Phil picked a celtic knot ring for Dana and she loves it. I am so excited for Dana and Phil, I can’t even put it in words.

I’m sure there will be lots of DIYs in her (and my) future as she plans her wedding, and I cannot wait to help her along the way.

OK, one last picture from our weekend… it’s actually one of my favorites of my hubby ever.

Beach Hubby

Love him. Love my besties. Love love.

yay :)

Mobile Togs phone cases

I hinted a few weeks ago that I had an exciting new opportunity/project in the works and yesterday I got the email I’d been waiting for!  Four of my graphic designs are being printed onto phone cases for a company called Mobile Togs.

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It’s a pretty neat opportunity for me and I am pretty pumped that they reached out to feature my artwork.

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We chose four designs. My first choice was my Do What You Love print. So many people have reached out to me to ask about printing this design, so it seemed like a great design to pick.

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We also chose my Maryland state love print.

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The third print we went with was one of my Adventures with Remmy the Dog. I had to tweak this a bit to make it fit on the phone just right, but it is so flippin’ adorable!

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The last design we chose is one that I haven’t even shared with you guys yet! I’ve been working on a whole suite of animal prints for my Etsy shop and decided to choose one of the critters for the phone cases.

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The cases are pretty cool. They have a slot to slick your IDs or credit cards, which is awesome for metro riders or students who need to carry their IDs/card everywhere with them. They also have mirrors at the back (that’s why you see the grayed out corner on the cases — that means the designs are printed on the mirrored surface!). You can pick any color with any design, too.

I’m so excited to finally share this on my blog. It’s been tough keeping it a secret :)

Another floral arrangement

I got into another floral project the other night that was inspired by the arrangement I made last week and the boring TV show that was on right next to it.

Flowers by tv

Brian was watching Pardon The Interruption, which I actually enjoy during football season but find less interesting in the offseason (Sorry Tony and Mike!). So instead of watching TV, I started admiring my new arrangement. And then I noticed my other arrangement that I’d thrown together a while back on the other side of the room with additional flowers just waiting to be added. What better time than during PTI!?

My vase already consisted of these flowers…

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… and these flowers…. err, branches….
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… and the flowers on the right. But I wanted to add in the flowers on the left and a few more colorful sprigs of pink and purple flowers (kinda pictured below, and kinda pictured above).

Flowers1

The vase I wanted to use was a clearance score at Michaels. I paid less than $3 for this teal vase.

Vase

The vase is short and the mouth is narrow, but since the base is wide all of the flowers tend to lean to one side.

Much like the other arrangement, I started by cutting the ends of the wire off to shorten each stem. I did random lengths to not everything was the same height. To do so, I cut them with wire cutters/strippers. (Apparently, this might not be the appropriate tool to use since the top circles are used to strip the protective coating off of wire. But the bottom 3/4 inches are used for cutting wires, which the flowers are made of, so I stand by my choice! Plus, it was wayyyy easier than using traditional wire cutters. Ladies, if your hubby looks at you like you are crazy for using wire cutters, just ignore him :p)

Tools

Once all of the flowers were trimmed and re-trimmed, I started to assemble everything back in the vase. I ended up leaving out the accent branches — they have more of a fall color scheme to them anyway, so maybe I’ll be making seasonal arrangements later this year!

Unlike the other arrangement, I didn’t want to add filler to the vase, so the flowers had to stand on their own. When I had an arrangement that I liked, I gathered it up out of the vase and wrapped thread around the base where the lip of the vase would cover. This secured everything together, making the flowers stand tall instead of leaning to one side or the other.

Then, I filled in the opening of the vase with a few short, pink sprigs that weren’t tall enough for the arrangement. They add just a little more color and oomph to the arrangement.

Finished Floral Arrangement

As you can tell, I really like wispy arrangements.

This guy lives on the other side of the room on a game cabinet. It creates nice movement in the room because your eye is drawn from one arrangement to the other. I am thinking about moving the purple arrangement closer to our bar — the vase is filled with corks after all — and creating one more for the television cabinet. We’ll see.

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Even though I love to garden outside, I am not very good at keeping things alive inside. These fake flowers are a great way to bring the feeling of the outdoors inside without having to remember to water them!

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Imagine me singing the title of this blog post.

I got back from New York on Friday — four days away from my garden! … and my husband and my dog. But who cares about them (just kidding!). They don’t change much in four days, but a garden sure does. I came back to lettuce that was almost past its prime, cukes ready to be picked, my first two ripe tomatoes, squash, onions and a few cherry tomatoes! Oh, and a whole cup of blueberries! A WHOLE CUP!

My raspberry plants are growing by the minute and my strawberries are giving us a few berries each day still.

I’m so pleased! I spent yesterday clearing out all of he lettuce and onions, so now I need to figure out if I can plant something else in their spot or if it is too late. I think it might be too late.

I also need to figure out if my blueberries need to be moved around a bit. I have one bush that doesn’t doesn’t seem to be doing so well. I might move it into a sunnier spot, but that means I’ll need to transplant two raspberry bushes, too. It might be worth it if it will get those blueberries more sun.

New York!

I’ve spent the past few days in Hamburg, N.Y., visiting my family. We’ve hung out by the pool, gone to downtown Buffalo, visited the city’s science museum, visited at our favorite candy shop — all sorts of fun stuff. Here are a few photos from our trip!

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We come home tomorrow in time for fireworks! It’s been so nice to have a break from work and to see my wonderful family.

Paper flower arrangement

I went to Hobby Lobby to buy one knob and left with my knob and a ton of fake flowers. Hobby Lobby has the best flowers. I especially love their paper flowers, which don’t look real, but also don’t look like they are supposed to be real.

The best part about the flowers was the price! Each sprig was 80¢ on clearance.

Hobby Lobby Flowers

I scooped up all of the clearance flowers to make an arrangement for our family room. I wanted to use the vase that we used as our unity candle for our wedding. It’s been sitting in our guest room with the half-burned floating candle collecting dust. Instead of filling the vase with the glass marbles that often accompany floral arrangements, I decided to use corks. We got married at a winery, so it made sense to use corks with the vase for that reason. Plus, I have so many corks! So, corks were both creative and cost effective!

I tried out my plan before cutting any of the flowers down.

Flowers too tall in vase

Once I decided that I liked the cork and the flowers in the vase, I cut down the stems to fit.

Flowers cut

Then, I started to put everything together in the vase. This was easier said than done because the corks didn’t really want to fall nicely in line. First I tried stacking them so everything was in a vertical line. Five tries later… I gave up on this method.

Corks in vase

I opted to stick the flowers in first, then just toss all of the corks in and let them naturally fall into place. It seemed like the only other method to try, so I just did it over and over again under they fell a way that I liked.

Flowers close up

Here’s what I came up with:

Floral Arrangement

This picture took forever to take because someone kept getting in the way….

Rem and flowers

This was after he stole a cork and ran away with it, forcing me to chase him under our kitchen table. The joys of having a mischievous dog. Thanks, Rem.

Anyway… I love how this turned out and that it is secretly sentimental. If you look close you can see the inscription from our wedding. You can also see little specs of the green stem.

Corks

For now, the arrangement is living next to our television. I want to jazz up this space a little bit so it is less black.

Flowers by tv

We’ll see if it drives Brian nuts having a few sprigs in front of the TV.

Flowers

If you see any clearance sprigs at your local HL, pick ‘em up! They add such a nice pop of color and a fresh look to a room.

Pillow Talk

I mentioned in my post yesterday that one of my areas of focus for my living room is adding punches of color. I have set my sights on finding the perfect pillows for my mint couch that aren’t just some shade of mint or gray. It’s been a challenge because the mint couch has a dingy gray tone to it that is incredibly noticeable when next to bright fabrics.

Pillows

I spent some time in Photoshop to try to get a better feel for how some of these pillows will actually look against the couch. Here’s what I came up with:

Option 1 pulls in some navy, green and coral. I love the poppy pillow and I think it will look really nice with the mint and teal chevron pillows I already have on the couch. I also like that the base of the pillow is white, so they are bright. I love the navy pillows, but since I am trying to brighten the space I think I’ll stay away from these for now.

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Option 2 is just the poppy pillow. It pulls out the grays in my other pillows and makes the poppy pillow the true statement on the couch.

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Option 3 adds in a pillow with no mint or teal at all. *Gasp* And I like it! I like that both accent pillows have flowers, but not in the same way.

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Here’s a bunch of the other pillows I “tried” on the couch. I love each of them, but not on the couch (and certainly not together). The pillow in the center is the one I was originally going to purchase, but once I “tried” it on the couch, I’m not so crazy about it anymore. Glad I pillow tested.

Couch_Option4

My last option is buying two of the poppy pillow. I think I’m going to buy just one first (it comes in many different sizes from this Etsy shop) to make sure I like it in person. If that works out, I might add additional pillows.

Couch_Option5

As silly as it seems, I actually think having the coral on the couch is going to change the room a lot. If I learned anything from my class, it’s that color can make or break a room. Time to get my colors just right!

Interior Decorating Class

Last week I finished my interior decorating class that I took through Howard Community College. It was a 6-week class that met at a local high school during which we learned about basic design principles, color, accessorizing, floor plans, window treatments…. it was awesome.

The class was small — only 12 people — so we got to talk to our instructor a lot about projects we are working on and problems we are running into. I chose to focus on our living room during the class and actually made a lot of progress! For me, the most helpful classes were the floor plan session and the color session.

Floor Plan

There’s always been something off about the way I had the furniture arranged upstairs, so the floor plan class allowed me to get feedback and ideas from my classmates. They suggested that I take two chairs and place them directly in front of the coffee table to create a designated seating/conversation area. I’d been wanting to buy two chairs, but I had planned to place them on the walls, versus in the middle of the room.

When I placed the chairs in front of the coffee table, it really did create a much more conversation-ready sitting area.

Floor Plan1

You can kind of see that here:

Room

Those are the second set of chairs that I bought for the room. And guess what…

Dining Chairs

…those went back, too. I got them from Target for a great price, but since they are dining chairs they were just too small. Well, if I were to put them along the wall like I originally planned, they were perfect. But in this new configuration, they were too small and too obviously for a dining room.

Instead, I swapped them out for two charcoal slipper chairs from Target.

Slipper Chair1

They have a great button detail that sort of mimics the faux tuft in our couch.

Slipper Chair

I definitely sacrificed quality for coast on this purchase, which is unfair since the chairs are actually quite comfortable and very nice now. But, I’m pretty sure they won’t last more than a few years, especially with a furniture-loving dog and future kiddos — at $128 a chair, that’s not the end of the world.

Now, my next challenges. End tables and color!

Another portion of our class was spent looking through catalogs to see if anything piqued our interest. It really helped us nail down our individual styles, too.

I love the Ballard catalog best — does the circled table look familiar? That’s my coffee table (well, two of them) that I got from the thrift store!

Catalog

This page has the end table I’m pining over. They are $149 and I’d need two of them, so I’m basically waiting until I feel like dropping $300. I think I’m going to poke around at thrift stores for a few months before I make that decision. But if I don’t find anything else, I’ll eventually be purchasing these – I love how the iron will match the coffee tables without being too matchy-matchy. And the mirror will reflect lamplight and the light from our bay window! I just need to find them at a thrift store for $10/each now :)

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Yes, I am cheap. Well, not cheap. Just frugal.

Now color — that is my real challenge.  I love the gray and mint combo I’ve got going on, but I think the room is too dark and too monochromatic. So now I am working on adding more color to the space to create more visual interest in the space. I will be doing this through throw pillows and artwork. You can actually see some of the pillows I’m considering on my Pillows Pinterest board. I’ve been adding like crazy this weekend. Now I just need to make decisions. A lot of them are from Etsy, which means no returns. So it’s a little extra incentive to make sure I am positive before I purchase.

Pillows

I’ll hopefully make a decision soon and move on with artwork. The walls are crying for something on the. I’m thinking a gallery of some sort behind the couch and a console table with a mirror above it on the other wall. We’ll see what happens!

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