Thursday, January 30, 2014

keeping the view in mind...2014

~Before I start this post I wanted to let you know about a new blogger I have met named Erin who has a wonderful blog called Wolfpen Gardens.  When you have a moment I do hope you will hop on over to say hello and visit her lovely space!

Garden designers will often design gardens with the views from the house in mind.  Many designers would say that it's important to have garden views from every window of the house.  To some that may seem extreme, but to me it is high on my list of priorities as I continue to create our garden.  

An example of this is Designer Eric Groft's beautiful garden project in the Hamptons 

Here is a quick recap of what has been accomplished in the front garden.  This was our home when we moved in 7 years ago.

I will be updating my plant list for this area in the spring with better photos.

Last year I focused on pulling out grass for an island bed and planting a Redbud Forest Pansy.  Several more perennials and grasses went into this sparse bed after this shot was taken to begin to pull the garden down to the sidewalk.

So keeping our view in mind, I sketched a design of where I hope to take this garden.  A garden in the round with shrubs, perennials and stone steps down to the sidewalk as we have a slope to contest with.

stone steps to connect to walk

a nice assortment of shrubs/layering

The biggest upfront challenge will be grass removal and amending the soil. The fun part will be planting. Plant lists for spring are being tucked into my garden books to be reviewed and studied at the end of the day.

One day I will sit in my living room and see green!

Dreaming of spring...Happy weekend folks!

Monday, January 27, 2014

around here....cold and baking

The winds were howling last night and all I could think about was our 55 year old Ash tree.  My fingers were crossed that no large branches had broken off.  This morning a few were hanging but nothing major.  Schools are all closed yet again as the temperature could go as low as negative 35 degrees with the wind chill.  We are generally in two modes here...snow or bitter cold.

The menu this week is soup, chili and homemade bread.  My new go to bread recipe is from Honey and Jam.  It's a no knead bread which makes it easy.  The recipe calls for a lower pan in the oven with water to help create steam which in turn forms a really nice brown crust.

After bread making homemade concoctions were made with water, flower, yeast, garlic powder, and dried basil.  Let me tell you, the smell was intense but the fun was fierce!

And the baking cupboard is just about finished.  Glasses were moved and sorted and now all of our tools and ingredients are in one spot.   

I found some great removable contact paper that I lined the back of the cupboard with

magnetic strips for recipes and lists

drawers beneath are filled with cake, muffin, and loaf pans

boxes at the top are filled with birthday baking supplies and holiday baking supplies

It's nice to have a bit of organization so that we know what we have and where things are!
I hope that your week is off to a great start and that wherever you are you're staying warm!!!  

Friday, January 24, 2014

grow your blog and a little giveaway....

After meeting such amazing bloggers last year from Vicki's Grow Your Blog Party at 2 Bags Full, I knew that I wanted to join in again!  A big thank you to Vicki for setting up this event to connect bloggers from all over the globe!

For those of you popping over from the party my name is Nicole and this is where I like to share the little bits of life that make me happy.  I feel honored to be a part of such a beautiful community of bloggers who share what is good in the world through their own passions and creative ventures!
I truly believe that Pinterest would not be what it is today without the ingenuity of bloggers.  That behind all of those great ideas are bloggers who are creating, growing, crafting, baking, cooking, name it, you're doing it! And to that I say bravo!   

here at My Garden Diaries I like to...

visit other gardens 

create art and thrift {vintage is always good!}

share my adventures with these 3 little beans

work on my garden {the hope is to create a sanctuary on a basic suburban lot}

make things 
{garden trellis made from wire coat hangers}

create interior spaces

cook and bake

 continue to learn

So in the spirit of things, let's get on to the giveaway!

The Giveaway

In our town there is a not-for-profit shop called War Chest Boutique with so many beautiful handmade treasures made by at-risk women from all over the world.  The money goes back to these women and children to help them create a better life. 

An example of this being the "Dominican Jewelry Makers" Paid $5 per piece, and additional $2 is set aside for their education.  One necklace a day pays about the local minimum wage of $6 per day, three necklaces a day is equal to a college graduate teacher's salary of $17 per day.

Uganda, baskets of hope

I will be giving away this glass beaded bracelet from the War Chest Boutique.  My hope is to spread the word about this amazing organization and support women who need our help.

How to Enter...

If you would like to enter this giveaway just leave a comment below!  It's open to all friends, old and new!  I will be announcing the winner on February 15th, so stay tuned!

If you are new here make sure to leave the name of your blog in your comment so I can pop over and follow along with you!!!

As always friends...happy making, baking, and growing!!!  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

end of week garden inspiration with tea & cookies

Some lovely container groupings.....

~Taunton's Container Garden Idea Book~

~Taunton's Container Garden Idea Book~


I enjoy sitting down at night with a cup of tea and my collection of garden photos.  And last night I had one of these...

The most amazing Double Chocolate Chip cookies from Real Simple.  My sis turned us on to these and we haven't looked back!  We usually bake several times a week so I'm working on a baking cupboard that I am excited to share in the next couple weeks.  

Joining Sarah for Tea Party Tuesdays

Wishing you all a lovely weekend ahead!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

one thing leads to another...

The thing about design is that it never ends.  Something new comes in to your space and it changes your whole perspective..and things shift once again.  It all began very innocently.  I was just going to vacuum and remove the last bits from the holidays.  

The downstairs rug moves upstairs and the upstairs rugs moves downstairs.   And "big brown" who has always been too large for our space is off to a new home.  

  Can you spy the little helper sweeping the floor?  He is back there if you look closely!

 I purchased "big brown" over 6 years ago from an outlet store and at that time big was in.  Understanding scale weather in the garden or in an interior is an important part of design that I look at more closely now.

So with the house in shambles we headed to Ikea with the beans to look for a smaller sofa for our space.     

Better, but after living with it for a couple of days it just wasn't right.  The hubs is very patient with me when it comes to things like this.  He knows this side of me very well and I appreciate that so much!

The thing I like about interior spaces is that, unlike gardens, they do what you say.  Pillows don't wilt and become temperamental! They just sit there and do their thing!  But seriously, to create the stage where our family life happens is a pretty cool thing and one that I will always be passionate about.  

The start of our little homage to Valentine's Day on the mantel.  A wooden love sign from my mom and a strawberry picking messy heart picture with my girl.

Interior Inspirations

 Source unknown


Now with little people we have decided to keep this couch thing to a reasonable price as I witnessed one of my beans using the chair as a kleenex today!  All of these sofas are under 600 bucks at The Classy Home.  

And then one of my favorites from West Elm.  

So as of now we have no couch in the living room which has been fun for the beans and their nest making habits of pillows and blankets!  For me it is a chance to hone in on a fresh new take.  Mirror down?  Art above the sofa?  What about you.... are you changing things up in the New Year?

As always friends...
Happy making, baking and growing!